Disclosure: My family received these games in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.
For as far back as I can remember, board games and Christmas are just synonymous. I have many memories of receiving games at Christmastime. But my fondest memories are of everyone sitting around the dining room table before bed playing those games. I made sure to follow that tradition with my NDKs; a new game on Christmas is always under the tree from Santa. But, when you have adult children and younger children, you tend to already have the classic games. And, let’s be honest, how many quality games, that aren’t so fandangled, are still around? I don’t know about you, but settling down on Christmas night with a board game that has 9 million pieces and a novel for instructions can be very intimidating. I just want to play!
Wonder Forge to the rescue!
We love Wonder Forge games. They are creative, holding to traditional game values while thinking outside the box. Not to mention, their games have won more than 160 awards since 2007! These games are so much more than “roll the dice and move along the board.” You truly get involved in your game. Not to mention, the games usually feature a popular, licensed character. We are reviewing four new games and I really think you will find there is something for everyone.
Pictopia (2 to 6 players, ages 7+)
Make family game time magical! Discover playful trivia spanning decades of Disney magic, from animated classics and blockbuster movies to television hits and dazzling theme park destinations. It’s a game of teamwork – with a competitive twist! Along the way are guess-my-answer questions that reveal how much you know about the other players!
You’ve played other Disney trivia games before, but I can promise you, you haven’t played a game quite like this one. Perfect for a whole family, this game has questions that range from Snow White to Disney Junior, all the way to including theme park maps! This game uses picture cards with trivia questions on the back. But don’t be too frightened by your lack of modern TV knowledge. Most questions are answered through teamwork. You are the deciding factor as to how many spaces you move by using your wager coins.
Because this game is SO incredibly different than any game we have played before, I did use the instructions as we played the first round (it was MUCH easier to play as we read – we learn better by doing). Usually when you play a game and the 7 year old wins, the game is over. Well, that did not happen in our house that night! My older girls (19 & 20) wanted to keep on playing to see who would finish second and third! They even asked if they could invite a few of their friends over for a game night to play again.
What makes this game so different? The picture cards. Some of them are straight forward, pictures of characters or places that are easily identifiable. But others are very detail oriented, either showcasing different animated flowers from movies or pieces of theme park maps. One of the cards even involved different character eyes. The questions are not necessarily straight forward, either. One of the questions the card with the eyes (which is on the front of the box) asks “Which two of these characters spend most of their time underwater?”
This was an incredibly fun game. If you are looking for a great Disney family game for children 7 and older, this is definitely one to consider!
- Retails for $19.99
Star Wars Face Off Dice Game (2 to 4 players, ages 8+)
Go head to head in this action-packed bluff ‘n’ battle dice game! Roll hero combos to rack up points or push your luck and “go villain” to steal the win! Pack it all up in the collectible cup and play anywhere!
Following a similar pattern to other popular dice games, there are scoring patterns when you roll the five dice that just so happen to have images of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Chewbacca, R2-D2, a Stormtrooper and Darth Vader. Roll a combination of heroes or decide to “go villain” and try to roll the villains for more points!
The tumbler, featuring the face of Luke Skywalker on one side and Darth Vader on the other, has a nifty top that fits perfectly, keeping storage and portability simple and easy. A super fun and easy game for any Star Wars fan!
- Retails for $11.99
Star Wars Force Grab (2 to 6 players, ages 6+)
Force Grab is edge-of-your-seat fun! Race to spot when the Star Wars objects match the pictures. React fast! Grab the correct Lightsabers before the other players! Look out for decoys, bonus scoring twists, and other disturbances in the Force!
Star Wars Force Grab is a great game for a group! While you can play with only two players(which is how we played this game), I feel that a few more players would have added to the excitement. A very detail-oriented game, Star Wars Force Grab ties attention to details and speed in a fun and competitive way.
Once you roll the objects, players have to be quick and spot the matches. This is a game that does not necessarily have an “end point,” so play time can be as long or as short as needed. We had 15 minutes one night before bed and played two quick rounds. It was a great way to spend a few quality minutes before bed! And you have to admit, any game with pieces that are mini Star Wars figures has to be awesome!
- Retails for: $16.99
Disney Princess Palace Pets Royal Pet Salon Game (2 to 4 players, ages 3+)
Spend a day at the spa with your pawfeet companions! Get regally pampered in the dreamy, 3D Royal Pet Salon. Move your adorable pet from room to room through doorways sized just for castle cuties. Look for posh pet products, from fancy soaps and shampoos to tiaras, collars, and sweet treats – all hidden throughout the salon! If you find something pictured on a face-up card, it’s yours to keep! When the time is up, all of the Palace Pets leave the salon with grooming goodies. The player with the most wins!
Princess fans will have a great time playing this adorable game featuring Palace Pet cuties! Disney Princess Palace Pets Royal Pet Salon is a fun 3-D game with multiple rooms for the pets to roam and get pampered. Game set up is fairly easy; the walls slide into each other and meet at the plastic bases that sit in the game board. The entire game takes but a minute for set-up and clean-up, making this game non-intimidating at any time of the day.
Game play is simple(ages 3+), but could easily be adjusted for older fans. It is a game of “find this smaller item in the big picture,” which highlights attention in looking for details. When we played, we discussed strategies as to how we could get to the rooms that would feature the details we were looking for.
After game play, the pets and the rooms make an awesome play set, too! The pets are on a clear plastic base, so they will always remain standing. NDK played forever with the pets in the rooms after we were done with game. I love games that serve more than one purpose! This game is definitely worth price.
- Retails for $19.99