Thursday, 23 December 2010

Last minute Christmas ideas: Family board games

Are you the type of family that likes to play games after the Christmas blow out dinner? If you are, then these games were sent to us by ToysRus to test drive so that you don't have to.  No, really, it wasn't any trouble.

Logo Game
RRP £24.99
It's a board game with questions about the brands and products we see everyday - a simple but genius idea.  A minor drawback is that it might not be suitable for very young children who might not be able to answer some of the questions, but we had a lot of fun with it. The Teenager takes this to sleepovers and friends' houses a lot, and comes back with tales of how much fun they had, so I asked her to write this review - and this is it: "The best board game ever!"  Short but sweet.  Score: 9/10

RRP £69.99
I couldn't think of a succinct way of describing this game, so I'm going to borrow the advertising blurb:

"A lightweight headset containing sensors for the forehead and earlobes measures your brainwave activity. When you focus your concentration, a small foam ball will rise on a gentle stream of air. Relax your thoughts and the ball will descend. By using a combination of physical and mental coordination, you must then guide the ball through a customisable obstacle course - the various obstacles can be repositioned into many different configurations.  Mindflex combines advanced technology with the power of thought to create an interactive experience unlike any other- a game where players compete in the ultimate mental marathon!"

When we first tried this out it felt a bit weird, the Teenager thought it was 'freaky' and after one attempt refused to try it again. I think it's fascinating and although the headset can get a little uncomfortable after 10 minutes or so I've enjoyed using it, but Tall Daughter is not only addicted to it but is really good at it too.  She has managed to get the ball to go through some of the so-called easier obstacles (I haven't managed it yet) and has moved onto some of the more tricky ones.

We've left it assembled on the dining table for a few days and it's very tempting to try it out at every opportunity - finding the best methods to move the ball up and down is down to the individual, but it requires real concentration and control. It's a bit pricey, and needs two sets of batteries before you can get started (so make sure you have them in!) but once you get into it, it's very addictive.  Score: 8/10

Cranium 2nd Edition
RRP £24.99
If you have played Cranium before and enjoyed it you'll love this. It's the newest edition of the popular game, and includes 600 new questions which may require using sculpting clay, solving word puzzles, sketching or humming.  This is a real family game, everyone will want to get involved and it's the one we'll be playing on Christmas day.  A lot of fun. Score 9/10

You can still shop at ToysRus until 8pm on Christmas Eve.  Follow their Facebook page for news, fun competitions and giveaways.