Beyond The Board

I am an unabashed board game fan. I love playin’ em, I love givin’ em as gifts. Of course, not everyone on the planet shares this sentiment – for some, board games channel family time or hipsters playing Twister and thinking they’re being uber po-mo. I’m not denying I have similar associations, but I am going to encourage you to take a look at all of the options beyond the classic ‘board’ game. Here are my top 6 picks for new ways to liven up game night. Bop It XT – $26.99 (available in English & French)
My Bop It is currently in my kitchen. And I have to say, if there is a more addictive, maddening game than Bop It, colour me surprised. When I’m waiting for my bread to toast or my water to boil, I’ll lackadaisically pick up my Bop It and try and master it (something my boyfriend and I are constantly competing with one another to do) for the millionth time. If you’re not familiar, the game basically challenges you to move the various pieces that are called out at random over a timed beat. If you’re not fast enough, or if you ‘Spin It’ when you’re supposed to ‘Twist It’, you lose. The XT version has six different pieces to keep track of, four different levels with increasingly varied commands, and multiple modes that let you fly solo, go head-to-head with a group of people, or goof off with ‘party mode’ where you have to hit the ‘Bop It’ button with a various body part. It’s SUCH a simple concept altogether, but extremely addictive for all ages – a game for the mind as much as the body.

Monopoly Streets – $29.99 (for PS3, XBox 360 & Nintendo Wii)
A lot of people mentioned Monopoly as one of their favourite classic toys in the my Lite Brite post, and while there are literally hundreds of incarnations of the game these days, my pick for the best way to hook your kids on this family classic is the adorably animated Monopoly Streets video game, which is available on all 3 major gaming platforms. Whether you want to play on a classic virtual board (pictured top right) or immerse yourself in the 3D world of Monopoly Streets, kids (and parents!) will be instantly hooked with this re-imagining of buying land, building hotels, and attempting to bankrupt your fellow players. And if you get tired of the basic versions of the two variations of the game, you can grab extra boards with themes like ‘jungle’ to shake things up.

Hasbro Card Games – $6.99
And my pick for the best board game alternative that can fit in a stocking? These awesome reimaginings of your favourite games in pocket-sized card versions. Instead of dedicating hours, these games – from Life and Monopoly to Clue and Trivial Pursuit – can actually be played in minutes, just about everywhere. Pack them in your purse to distract kids when you’re waiting to catch a plane or sidelined from whatever daily adventures you’ve got going on. All of the games can be played with 2 or more players, giving you fast on-the-go fun for everyone. My personal pick? The Clue set, which much like the beloved game, has you guessing whether it was Colonel Mustard, in the Conservatory, with the Candlestick after all – through sheer process of elimination, and expert detective skills. Check your fave mass retailer – like Superstore, Wal-Mart, or Zellers – for a pack to stuff some stockings this holiday season!

Cranium Brain Breaks – $11.17
If you haven’t played Cranium – the activity-based board game that tests your trivia, linguistics, creativity, and acting skills – then you are sincerely deprived. And if you have and you’re looking for a new Cranium experience to dive into, may I recommend the family-oriented Cranium Brain Breaks. Packaged in a translucent purple ‘brain’, the set has everything you need for instant, quick-paced activities that can be done pretty much everywhere in under a minute. There’s no scorekeeping, no winner – just everyone working together to try and solve each of the 200 activities. Try doing one after dinner every night for some post-nosh togetherness, or bring it along to a family dinner and let the kids go wild on their own. what I particularly like about this one? The price. If you’re buying a gift for a family – like your kid’s best friend – consider this is a way to hit multiple birds with one very fun stone.

Family Game Night 4: The Game Show – $39.99
Transform your living room into a gameshow soundstage with this fast-paced free-for-all collection. Mr. Potato Head is your gentile host as he walks you through five reimaginings of your favourite classic family games – all of which are compatible with motion-capture systems like the Playstation Move, Xbox Kinect, or Nintendo Wii. Strike down Yahtzee dice with a bowling ball, play basketball on a virtual Connect 4 screen, test your reflexes with Bop It, channel your inner senior with Sorry! shuffleboard, and unscramble word combinations with Scrabble Flash. The best part is, even if you don’t win every game, you still have a shot at winning. The game is similar to the board game, Life, in that you simply collect ‘Monopoly Cash Cards’ which have unspecified values until they’re rung in at the end of the game. So even if you only win 2 of the 3 games, you might have the cash card with a mountain of money. Fun way to get kids off the couch and ultra competitive!

Scrabble Alphabet Scoop – $25
Playing this Scrabble-inspired word game is sort of like playing an insane Survivor challenge: incredibly frenzied, last-minute twists that constantly level the playing field, and a concept that makes it easy for pretty much any age to take part and enjoy. The concept is pretty straightforward. You get a card, and pick a word to ‘spell’ off the card – with easier words for newbie spellers and longer words for adults. You then take your scoop and grab spoonfuls of letter tiles, in an attempt to be the first one to spell your word, order the tiles correctly, and slam the lid on the ‘soup pot’ while yelling ‘YUMMY!’ It is of course, deceptively simple – there are certain tiles that cause you to lose *all* of your hard-earned progress, and it’s a serious free-for-all to dig in the pot and get as many tiles as possible. This is a great game for the whole family to play and put their competitive hats on in a condensed timeframe – your average game will only take about twenty minutes.

If you’re not already inspired for your next game night with family or friends, hopefully this’ll get you there: I’ve got one Clue: Suspects card game to give away to one lucky reader. All you gotta do to enter is:

1) Leave a comment below by December 23rd and tell me which of these not-so-board games you’d most like to break out on your next game night. Be sure to use a valid email address so I can contact you if you win!

2) Entries are limited to one per person per email address (or more if you score bonus entries). A random draw will be conducted on or around December 23rd to select the winner, who will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen in their place.

3) Entries are limited to Canadians that have reached the age of majority in their province. Quebec is not eligible to participate in this promotion.

4) Bonus Entry Time: Tell me which category of posts you’d be most interested to read more of – based on the list on the left side of the home page.

Want to go dizzy reading full rules & regs? You can email me for em. Best of luck kids!

77 Responses to “Beyond The Board”
  1. Anne Taylor says:

    Cranium Brain Breaks looks like a good time to me! I like how everyone works together!


    nancyrobster at gmail dot com

  2. Anne Taylor says:

    I’d love to read more posts re Compliments of the Chef!


    nancyrobster at gmail dot com

  3. Holly Sproule says:

    Family Game Night! And I would love to read more about Travellers Check!

  4. Andrea Amy says:

    We are big Cranium fans around here, so the Cranium one and Food for thought!!!

  5. Lori says:

    As a longtime fan of the Clue board game, Agatha Christie and all of the Law & Order incarnations, I’ve got to go with the Clue card game.

    Really hard to narrow down which category of post I’d be most interested to read more of — ‘Find of the Month’ is interesting, maybe it could be ‘Find of the Week’.

  6. Sophia says:

    I have always loved monopoly…so definitely monopoly streets!

  7. Gemma says:

    The Scrabble Alphabet Scoop looks fun.

  8. I would like to play cranium brain breaks!
    ksceviour at hotmail dot com

  9. I would like to read more of Gifts for Everyone.
    ksceviour at hotmail dot com

  10. belinda m says:

    I would love to play the cranium game


  11. Huguette En says:

    I like Bop It

  12. Amy Brown says:

    I’d like to play monopoly streets

  13. Amy Brown says:

    I’d like to read more about kiddie corner

  14. Kiki says:

    My fav is Monopoly Streets… looks like a new digital twist to an old skool classic!

  15. Kiki says:

    Would love to see more posts tagged under “purse-nal”… my stand-out fav post was the up-cycled leather purses by “Agent Reclaim”

  16. Elaine Miller says:

    brain breaks looks fun!

  17. Wesam Al-Baik says:

    I’d love Monopoly Streets – love Monopoly best game ever to whoop my family at.

  18. lisa bolduc says:

    I would like the Cranium Brain Breaks. I got it for my niece for christmas. I cant wait till we all play it together!

  19. lisa bolduc says:

    I like the find of the month posts.

  20. gibberish says:

    Cranium Brain Breaks looks like fun.

  21. gibberish says:

    I’d like more Traveller’s Check posts – they are interesting.

  22. Erin says:

    The Clue game that you’re giving away seems the most interesting to me!

  23. ellen chevarie says:

    monopoly yes! give it to my family any which way and they will have a blast

  24. Jon T says:

    A vote here for Cranium Brain Breaks – looks like a good time all around.
    And more Traveller’s Check would be superb – always looking for ways to make travel a bit better.

  25. Brandy says:

    Scrabble Alphabet Scoop looks like it would be fun πŸ™‚

  26. Laura Harrison says:

    I didn’t know that Clue was also in card form! so cool!

  27. Ali G says:

    Cranium Brain Breaks sounds like my kind of game! I’d like to read more Beauty and the Best.


  28. sean pynaert says:

    bop it looks good

  29. Sandi Larson says:

    I think our family would enjoy Cranium Brain Breaks as we’re always trying to one-up each other. And I’d like to read more on Travellers Checks.

  30. samantha h says:

    Bop it Xt looks like it would be fun, and funny to watch

  31. Tammy says:

    I’d choose the Scrabble Alphabet Scoop; it’s such a great twist to the classic Scrabble game. And I love reading all your posts so it’s hard picking just one category from the list.

  32. jane mcneil says:

    I’d choose Cranium, then Monopoly! πŸ™‚

  33. L Watson says:

    Brain Breaks! I have the cranium board game and it’s hilarious to play!

  34. Nice selection. I toats picked up one of these gifts for someone on my list. All will be revealed come Xmas morn. πŸ˜‰

  35. nicole aben says:

    The game show game looks like fun. Though cranium is usually always good too!

  36. CLC says:

    I’m a big fan of bopit!

  37. Carrie Chiasson says:

    Scrabble – Alphabet Soup would be my choice!! Ohh, and I also would love to read more on the Toyland / Kiddie Corner for sure, because I have kiddies πŸ™‚ But, I must say I like to read all of the posts there really are some great / unique gifts out there!!

  38. Jeannette Laframboise says:

    Sad to say, I have not played any of these games although I have heard of them all & I’m sure they are all great fun. I think I would choose the “Family Game Night 4: The Game Show” for Wii because I do actually have one of those…I have played a few games on the Wii but it would be nice to have this one to play with the entire family. Thanks so much for the opportunity to win!

  39. Jeannette Laframboise says:

    Wow, there are certainly no shortage of categories to choose from for the bonus entry. Tis’ hard to choose just one. I think I would go with the “One of a Kind” category because it is always nice to see one of kind things. My runner up would be “Tea for Two” because I am a major tea drinker. (I think I come by that honestly with my English and Scottish relatives.) Thanks again for the chance to win!
    Happy Holidays!

  40. Amy says:

    All the games are great… first pick would be Cranium though!

  41. Hal Jenner says:

    I’d use the Clue game – always loved the original so this would be fun to play too

  42. I would like to try the Monopoly Streets game. Looks fun!

  43. I would like to see more Beauty and the Best posts! great site!

  44. myra says:

    I am a fan of Monopoly original and the current issues

  45. Alaina says:

    The Cranium Brain Breaks – my husband would beat me at that for sure! Gotta make him feel good πŸ™‚

  46. Elizabeth Bryan says:

    I loved Clue as a child, so I would love this one! …And I would love to hear more from “Compliments to the Chef”.

  47. Erika K says:

    I would like to try out the Cranium Brain Breaks game, it looks fun. And I’d like to read more about ‘precious pets.’ Those pet bowls are the best!

  48. Susan says:

    Scrabble Alphabet Scoop looks like fun. I love word games.

  49. Susan says:

    I’d like to see more of “A Little Goes a Long Way”.

  50. cher says:

    Scrabble Alphabet Scoop looks like fun.
    I would like to see more of “Body Break”.

  51. Heather says:

    Cranium Brain Breaks looks amazing!!!! The game always takes so long, this looks like you’d be able to incorporate more people to get in on the fun!

  52. Stacey says:

    i love monopoly streets.

  53. Julie Plourde says:

    I love the scrabble alphabet scoop game, that would be great for my girls.

  54. Carly Thompson says:

    Wii Family Game Night! Time to take my board games nights to a more tech-savvy level!

  55. Evelyn says:

    I think that for us, the Cranium Brain Breaks would be the most popular one and it looks / sounds like it would be the one that everyone would want to play whenever we got a chance

  56. Jenn says:

    Wii Family Game night looks like lots-o-fun

  57. crystal C says:

    I would love Cranium Brain Breaks, looks fun and anything cranium goes well in our family!

  58. lmer says:

    Bop it would be a new game for our family to try. It sounds like fun.

  59. Christa says:

    Family game night for Wii!!! It looks SO much fun for me, the hubby and our 4 boys on a rainy day πŸ™‚

  60. alan shawn says:

    great products

  61. Ryan Betesta says:

    Family Game Night 4 is awesome!!

  62. Samorjj says:

    I think the Scrabble Alphabet soup would be a good one to start with in our house.

  63. Samorjj says:

    I would like to read more on All Green Thumbs and Kiddie Corner.

  64. Brook says:

    Family game night for the wii system looks like a lot of fun! We have a few games on the wii and it is so much fun to pay all together! Lot’s of laughter and good times!

  65. Brook says:

    Beauty and the best is one of my faves, so I would love more of this and the green thumb gets my attention!

  66. Tina says:

    I like the Bop It XT

  67. Marlene V. says:

    I really like the Monopoly Streets game — it would be great family fun!

  68. Marlene V. says:

    I would love to read more in the traveller’s check section

  69. Athena says:

    Cranium Brain Breaks looks like it’d be fun for us to play πŸ™‚

  70. Athena says:

    I’d love to read more in Compliments to the Chef!

  71. Jayme Lynn says:

    I would soooo love to play Monopoly on our Wii. I love this game and seeing it on the screen would make it even cooler.

  72. Kelly P says:

    Clue Suspect!!

  73. Sandra Betesta says:

    Monopoly streets would be fun to play!

  74. Jennifer Harding says:

    The Clue card game would be neat to try!

  75. Melissa Bonne says:

    I’d really like the Monopoly Streets

  76. Leslie says:

    scrabble alphabet soup
    bonus entry: Compliments to the Chef

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