Now for Something Non-Traditional

While there’s definitely nothing wrong with traditional games (especially newer ones that reimagine old favorites), we’re big fans of complete new games and those that completely transform the classics. Here are some of our current faves.

Mafia (Laurence King)

mafiaIn this beautifully designed game (and we’d expect nothing less from the folks at Laurence King), all you have to do is kill your friends. One player is the judge, and the others take on the role of civilians or ruthless gangsters. Then, it’s a fight to the death, as players try to figure out who’s an enemy and who’s a friend. There’s plenty of bluffing, intrigue, wild accusations, strategy, subterfuge, and, of course, murder. For 7-24 players.

The Writers Game (Laurence King)

writers game classicThe pen, as they say, is mightier than the sword. But some of those pens are mightier than others. Who wrote more, Charles Dickens or Fyodor Dostoyevsky? Who created the most memorable characters, Jane Austen or William Shakespeare? Who has the most commercial success while alive, Sylvia Plath or Virginia Woolf? And who was the most scandalous, Colette or James Joyce? There are two versions of this game, Modern Authors and Classic Authors. In both, players pit 32 great writers against each other. A great game for anyone who loves books.

OranguTwang (Play Monster)

orangutwangA neat twist (or twang) on the classic straw-that-broke-the-camel’s-back games. In this one, the “camel” is a grinning Orangutan that hangs from a rubber band between trees. Players take turns hanging fruit and other game characters from the Orangutan. That’s suspenseful enough, but there’s a limit to how much simians can hold, and when he reaches his limit, Twang! He shoots up into the air and sends whatever’s hanging from him flying into the air. No batteries (yay!) required, but giggling is mandatory. For 2 or more players ages 4+.

Mad Moves (Play Monster)

mad movesThe object of this game is to get you to dance like you’ve never danced before. And that won’t be hard at all. One player rolls a die, which directs him or her to secretly draw a card from one of three categories (animal, action, or person). Then he or she spins the spinner, which will randomly select a type of dance and play appropriate music. The player then combines the two (say, a zombie doing ballet or a penguin doing limbo) while the others try to guess the combination. Dance battles and other challenges make this game even more fun. For three or more players, ages 8+.

Snot It (KD Games)

snot itOkay, this is just gross. And fun. And did we mention gross? Put on the snot glasses (plastic Groucho-type glasses with an accompanying, long, oozing piece of snot that you’ll use to pick up correct colored boogers from a spinning bowl of boogers). Are you feeling queasy yet? The accompanying spinner tells you how many you need to pick up. Pick up the right number and color, and you keep them. Wrong number and/or wrong color and you either have to put them back or you actually lose boogers you’ve already collected. First one to 10 boogers wins. For 2-4 players. Ages 6+.

Pace Maker Extreme (Yulu)

pace maker extremeThis fun game has a variety of modes and levels of difficulty (including mild electric shocks) that will keep everyone entertained. Initially, it seems simple enough. The machine beeps and players, who have a finger inside a small paddle on the game device, tap their paddles, moving clockwise. But there are a number of twists. First, if you tap twice, you reverse the direction. Tap three times and the next player gets skipped. That means that everyone really needs to pay close attention. Make a mistake and you might get shocked (if you’ve selected that game mode). Batteries required, but not included. For 2-8 players, ages 14+.