A good family game should appeal to the whole family: simple enough for kids yet meaty enough for adults. A light-hearted theme is a must. It also has to remain interesting even after a dozen or more plays. Here are the 2019 titles that made us push back bedtimes to fit in one more play.
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We’ll be announcing the rest of the nominees over the next few weeks; then check back on Friday January 17th when we announce the winners of the 2nd Annual Diamond Climber Awards.
Letter Jam is a word game; each player is given a word, created using letter cards. Here’s the twist: a player’s letter cards are facing away from them such that everyone else can see them. In Letter Jam, players must work together to help each other deduce which letters comprise their word and then try to make a valid word using those letters. For fans of deduction and word games, Letter Jam is an excellent mix of these two styles.
Tiny Towns is a Bingo-style, city-building board game. Every turn the one builder player calls out a resource which all players add to their personal grid, trying to arrange these resources in the building shapes. Tiny Towns is easy to learn and quick to play, but provides thinky gameplay as players try to puzzle their way through the construction of their tiny town.
Birds, birds, birds! There is hardly a more inviting family game than the 2019 Kennerspiel des Jahres winner, Wingspan. The unique bird theme, the gorgeous artwork, the educational appeal, and the superb Stonemaier Games’ production make Wingspan a favourite amongst anyone who plays it. Wingspan is also a fantastic family game to introduce engine-building. It is, after all, with good reason that Wingspan is ranked #1 on BoardGameGeek’s family games list.
Slide Quest is an undeniably goofy cooperative dexterity game that takes the classic dexterity game of Labyrinth (deftly maneuvering tilting planes to move a marble through a maze) and lays on a fantasy theme. Now you must work together to move a knight along the chosen path to victory, guiding the marble-based pawn across a series of increasingly difficult landscapes. You’ll navigate pitfalls, avoid dynamite, and fight villains, all while battling your greatest foe: gravity.
Publisher: Blue Orange Games
Designers: Nicolas Bourgoin, Jean-François Rochas
Artist: Stéphane Escapa
In PARKS players control hikers traveling through various landscapes, collecting resources and snapping photos. PARKS is a wonderfully crafted board game with incredible, unique components and stunning artwork featuring the Fifty-Nine Parks Print Series. Since PARKS highlights the national parks, the game can be used as a stepping stone to learn more about these natural American playgrounds…and might even inspire a family trip to visit one.
Tuki is a fast-paced and stressful game in which players race to construct the structure depicted on that round’s objective card. This is done using their personal supply of rectangular coloured blocks and oddly shaped snow pieces. The positioning of each coloured block is shown on the objective card while the snow is used to prop up the structure or help balance and stabilize it. The dexterity and competitive race element in Tuki make it a fun one to bring out with the family.