Not Much, Just Hanging Out

You don’t have to be a “Game of Thrones” fan to know that winter is coming. And when it does, you’re still going to want to have fun. Here are some great options.


Double Ditto (Inspiration Play)

double dittoThis is a light-hearted game for as many people as you can squeeze together in one room. The object is simple: one player picks a card and reads it out loud. Topics include things like, “commands you teach your dog,” “milestones for teenagers,” “parts of the human body,” “things you put on your head,” and 396 more. The rest of the players have 15 seconds to write down two answers. When time’s up, players take turns reading their answers. If one of your words matches with another player’s, you both score a “ditto.” If both match, “double ditto.” Comes with 400 cards and a 15-second timer. For 4-10 players (or more), ages 10+. Under $20.

Escape the Room: Secret of Dr. Gravely’s Retreat (ThinkFun)

escape the room retreatIf you liked ThinkFun’s Escape the Room: Mystery at the Stargazer’s Manor, you’ll love this next addition to the Escape the Room phenomenon—and don’t worry, more are in the works. Since the basic gameplay, mechanics, and idea (get out of the room before time runs out) of Dr. Gravely’s Retreat are the same as in Stargazer’s Manor, let’s talk about a few of the differences. First, the story is a little more complex and sinister, and the puzzles are a little more challenging to solve. Second, you may want to play this with a smaller group (for or fewer) of slightly older players, since a few of the puzzles are designed to be done by one person at a time, which means that everyone else has to wait. Whether you’re an Escape novice or a family of Houdinis, this game is a delight to play, and will give you the excitement of freeing yourself from a locked room, without the claustrophobia of actually being trapped inside. For 3-8 players, ages 12+. Under $22.


Max Traxx Tracer Racers Remote Control Police Chase (Skullduggery)

max traxx police chaseAlthough you and your racing-fan kids will enjoy this Max Traxx set during the day, it really comes to life (or, more accurately, “to light”) at night. This kit includes 36 feet of glow-in-the-dark track, track risers (so you can adjust the height), lane changers, a jump, and two cars: a Mustang and a Camaro. Once you’ve got the track set up, installed batteries in the controllers, and charged the cars, turn off the lights and get ready to be amazed. The cars themselves zip around the track at a scale speed of up to 500 MPH! But the coolest thing is the Light Trace Technology. As the cars fly by, they leave light streaks behind them. Wow! Ages 6+ About $119.


Trick Shot Sports (Tucker)

trick shot sports dudesThere’s not much to say about the Trick Shot Sports dudes except that they’re fun to play with. There are five sports—baseball, basketball, football, hockey, and soccer—and they all operate essentially the same way: Hold the figure, pull back a spring-loaded arm (or foot, hockey stick, or baseball bat), release it, and smack a sports-themed ping-pong ball. You can set up elaborate ricochet trick shots or compete against other players. There are no instructions, so you can make up your own rules or just let anarchy reign. Although we had a great time with Trick Shot, there are two things we’d like to see: some dudettes and some left-handed figures. Ages 5+.