Hunger for games
Find games, of the unelectronic board and card varieties, for everyone on your holiday list
Seemingly since the dawn of time, people have been trying to capture the Mouse Trap’s titular plastic rodent using the game’s Rube Goldberg–esque contraption that mocks gamers with every snag and flawed execution despite a perfect set-up. Give up; it’s impossible. Instead, let the mouse roam freely in its dusty, cardboard game box while you fill your holiday list with the perfect games for just about everyone. From zombies and dirty humor to caterpillars and boogers, we have you covered with the best games for the season.
Best for: Families.
Fibber takes the classic card game Bullshit and gives it a kid-friendly makeover. Players take turns laying cards face down, claiming they’re playing a certain number of a suit while others call bullshit!—make that fibber!—if they believe it’s a bluff. Those caught fibbing or incorrectly labeling another a fibber add a plastic nosepiece to their glasses. The player with the shortest Pinocchio nose at the end of the game wins. It’s a simple concept made fun by replacing traditional suits with characters such as bigfoots, ghosts and dragons, and goofy props. Even adults will find it hard to bluff staring down their six-inch multi-colored nose. Spinmastergames.com, $16
Cards Against Humanity
Ages: Not suitable for anyone.
Best for: Horrible people or people with a sense of humor.
The basic gameplay is similar to Apples to Apples in which one player reads a question and the other players anonymously submit their best answer card. However, instead of Apples to Apples’ lame politically correct cards, Cards Against Humanity’s answers include phrases such as “masturbation,” “the Three-Fifths Compromise,” or, simply, “AIDS.” Equal parts side-splitting laughter and cringe-inducing disgust, it’s the perfect party game to ensure you never look at your friends the same way again. Cards Against Humanity is available through retailers or as a free DIY download under a Creative Commons license. Cardsagainsthumanity.com, $25.
Best for: People who enjoy picking boogers until their brain explodes.
Someone, somewhere, thought it was a good idea to bring back this booger-picking game. Not much has changed since the game’s initial release in 1995, but a new generation of snot-nosed brats can now enjoy the anticipation of Perfection mixed with squishy nose goblins. Unlike real mining for nose gold, there’s no skill involved with Gooey Louie, just roll the die, pick the boogers, and maybe a Louie’s brain will explode. Kids love the gross-out factor, and it requires less set up with a bigger payoff than Mouse Trap. Gooeylouiegame.com, $16.
Zombicide Season 2: Prison Outbreak
Best for: Bloodthirsty co-op game nights.
The latest installment in the tabletop, zombie-slaying miniatures game arrives with a deadly new location, berserker zombies, and Zombivor characters that give players a new life after their seemingly inevitable death. This cooperative massacre is a great starter for people looking to explore more complex board games as it handles its RPG elements—leveling, equipment, and combat—in an approachable but immersive manner. The pressure and tension created by an incoming plastic horde of the undead will warm your blood through the long winter nights. Guillotinegames.com, $80.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Twirl & Toss Game
Best for: A rainy day.
Some games exercise the brain, some games exercise the body, and some games keep kids occupied. Little tikes toss plush fruit at the electronic whirling caterpillar from Eric Carle’s beloved children’s book, trying to be the first to stick three pieces to the hungry Lepidoptera. While the kids scramble around the room picking up far-flung fruit, they can practice hand-eye coordination and get in a little exercise, which should tucker them out just in time for a bedtime reading of the game’s namesake. Ugames.com, $20.
Best for: Silly parties, fans of buzzers.
In Gotcha! the rules rule. Players must follow the ever-changing rules while trying to catch others breaking them. The rules often reference or dictate real life; some rules only affect people wearing belts or jeans while others require people to whisper or start every sentence with their last name. Catch someone breaking a rule, hit the buzzer, and advance on the board. Easy to learn, almost impossible to master, Gotcha! is hilarious chaos suited to loud, wild game nights. Buffalogames.com, $25.
King of Tokyo
Best for: Fans of Rampage, Richard Garfield.
Players control a monster, robot, or alien in an attempt to destroy Tokyo, each other, or remain as the only creature standing when the dust settles. The straightforward gameplay—roll dice to deal damage, heal, or earn points or energy—is great for beginners but opens up the game to endless options and strategies for experts. Designer Richard Garfield (Magic: The Gathering, The Great Dalmuti) continues to prove why he’s still one of the biggest names in the gaming industry. Iellogames.com/KingOfTokyo, $40.
Best for: Families.
Many mobile games have attempted the jump to physical board games, most notably Angry Birds with mixed results, but Hasbro’s Bejeweled stands out as a high-quality game with a simple premise that stays faithful to its digital ancestor. Players slide jewels around the board, swapping and matching gems to earn coins needed to win the game. Kids will enjoy the sparkly gems and adults can appreciate a children’s game with some depth. Hasbro.com, $20.Home games
Whether you’re looking to pick up a new game or find a few new players, check out these local game stores for a wide selection of games, in-store events, and advice on finding the perfect game for the holidays.
One of Reno’s oldest game stores has something for everyone with an inventory of close to 3,000 games and accessories. In addition to the region’s best selection of jigsaw puzzles, dice games, and chess sets, Games Galore stocks hot games from Europe and RPG, family, party, card, and board games. In-store events (resuming January 1) feature board games (Mondays), Magic (Sundays, Tuesdays, and Fridays), and Heroclix (Wednesdays, Thursdays) in addition to open play spaces throughout the week.
Meadowood Mall, 5460 Meadowood Mall Circle, Reno.
Heroes Games & Hobbies
Heroes offers an extensive collection of Warhammer, Pathfinder, Magic: The Gathering, and Heroclix, as well as board games, model kits, model trains, and collectible card games. The store hosts weekly Warhammer, Heroclix, and Magic gaming events and they have two, 18-foot tables available all week for pick-up games.
1289 Baring Blvd., Sparks.
Merwin’s Game Shoppe
Find all of your favorite RPG, collectible card games, supplies, and board games—plus a few you never knew you wanted—at this family-friendly shop. Join in the weekly Heroclix, Magic, or Yu-Gi-Oh! tournaments or browse their personal library of hundreds of games that allow you to try it before you buy it.
4104 Kietzke Lane, Reno.