Keeping Score: Battle of the Board Games

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By Catherine Royka

Cold weather has you cooped up inside? Ditch the television and opt for a board game and spend some time engaging with friends or family. Below, we have selected an array and eclectic mix of games – with a little something for everyone in your party.


Codenames

Calling all secret agents! In this relatively new game, two teams compete to see who can make contact with all of their agents first. Two rival spy-masters know the secret identities of twenty-five agents. Their other teammates know the agents only by the codenames given.

Spy masters give one-word clues that can point to multiple words on the board. Teammates try to guess words of the right color while avoiding those that belong to the opposing team, all while avoiding the assassin, too.
Ages: 14+
Level of Difficulty: Intermediate
Number of Players: 2-8
Playing Time: 20-25 minutes


Scrabble

This eighty-year old game that challenges the mind is one you are probably familiar with, players placing tiles bearing a single letter onto a board with a grid of squares. The tiles must form words which, in crossword fashion, read left to right in rows or downwards in columns. It is best to keep a dictionary around for this game. Hint hint on the dictionary, we have all had those times playing this game where we try to get our points with a “word” saying, “This is a word, right?!”
Bonus: For the kiddos, there is a Scrabble Junior game that can be purchased separately.
Ages: 14+
Level of Difficulty: Intermediate
Number of Players: 2-4
Playing Time: 50-70 minutes


Apples to Apples

This is a staple to have in the home or to bring to gatherings. Each person will have a select number of red apple cards, while a green apple card is placed in the center. Each person takes turns being the judge, placing the green card in the center, determining which red card best fits with the green card. Everyone else will select a red card from their hand that they think best describes the green card. Each round is filled with surprising and hilarious comparisons from a wide range of people, places and things!

Bonus: For the kiddos, there is an Apples to Apples Junior game that can be purchased too.
Ages: 12+
Level of Difficulty: Easy to intermediate
Number of Players: 4-10
Playing Time: 30 minutes


Pie in the Face

This is truly an exciting game for all ages, filled with fun and suspense. The simple premise behind the game, don’t be the unlucky person that gets pied in the face (but you know, it is kind of fun to be that person).
Place a dollop (or more) of whipped cream on the “hand” of the game unit, and start turning the handles, depending on the number you received from the spinner. You score a point for every time you turn the handle without getting pied in the face, and the first to score twenty-five points wins the game!
Ages: 5+
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Number of Players: 2 or more players
Playing Time: 5+ minutes


Spoons

All you need for this game is a deck of cards and spoons! The goal of the game is to be the first to collect four cards of the same rank. If an opponent has their set of four, they will grab a spoon and you will want to grab one quickly too. You do not want to be the last to realize you don’t have a spoon, because then you’re out!

Have your group sit in a circle with spoons arranged evenly in the center (if you have six players for example, you will have five spoons). The dealer hands out four cards to each person, and then begins by taking a card off the top of the deck to have five cards in their hand, then removes one and passes it facedown to the left. Each player discards to the person on the left, with the last discarding into a card trash pile.
Ages: 10+
Level of difficulty: Easy
Number of players 3-13 (best with 6-13 players)
Playing time: 5+ minutes


Wine Wars

Having a dinner party? Are you all wine lovers? For the adult crowd and wine enthusiasts, this is the grape for you. This fun and fascinating trivia game tests your knowledge of the fruit of the vine. Players will answer questions in categories such as Vine to Vino (growing grapes, making wine and world production), Wine Cellar (selecting, storing and tasting wine) and Cork Culture (wine people, business, arts and science and general trivia). Swirl, sniff and sip your way to victory! Tip: Naturally, this game pairs well with a glass of wine.
Ages: 21+
Level of Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Number of Players: 2-6
Playing Time: 55+ minutes

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