Parents@Play 2017 Holiday Gift Guide #1

With Thanksgiving just around the corner and the Holidays around the corner after that, ‘tis the season for travel. With that in mind, we’re launching this year’s gift guides with a look at activities that will take you away, whether that’s just down the street to the barber, into the jungles of South America, inside an ancient pyramid, or even further back to the days of the dinosaurs. Ready to hit the road?

The Quest for El Dorado (Ravensburger)

quest for el doradoAh, El Dorado, the mythical, treasure-filled city in the jungles of South America. Players all start with identical cards in their deck, which they use to assemble an expedition team of experts, buy equipment, and plot out their journey. That sounds pretty easy, but since there are literally 100,000 ways to get from A to El Dorado, you’ll need to plan carefully. You win the game by finishing the quest—none of the items you acquire along the way count. It’s for 2-4 players, ages 10+, and will take about an hour to play.

VRSE Jurassic World Virtual Reality Set (Skyrocket)

vrse jurassic worldIt all seems pretty quiet on Isla Nublar, as you stroll about the island, taking in the stunning views, until… wait, was that a Velociraptor? And what’s that roaring in the distance? Sounds like a marauding T-Rex. Uh oh, better start running or you’ll never make it back to the Rendezvous Point at the Visitor Center. And even if you run, well, these things don’t always end well… The graphics, animation, and game play are amazing. If you’re not into dinosaurs, Skyrocket also makes a Batman-themed game that uses the same VR technology. Both come with the VR headset and a themed motion controller (for Jurassic, it’s a stun gun for slowing down big dinos, for Batman, it’s a batarang attachment). The app is free, but you’ll need a compatible smartphone. About $54.

Mask of the Pharaoh (Hasbro Gaming)

mask of pharaohA cool combo of a board game and VR. You and your team of archaeologists have discovered an unexcavated pyramid. Unfortunately, the only way in is too small for a human to get through, but with the Mask of Anubis, you can see through walls (but only if you use your smartphone and the game’s free app, of course). Taking turns, players have one minute to describe what they see to the remaining players, who use that info to create a map of the interior of the pyramid. This game is 100% cooperative—unless you play by yourself, which would be cheating.  For two or more players, ages 10+.

Leo Goes to the Barber (Hasbro Gaming)

leo goes to the barberLeo’s mane is out of control and he needs a barber. Fortunately, you and your team can help. Lay out the 30 path tiles (face down) to mark the route from Leo’s den to the barber. The journey starts at 8am and the barbershop closes at 8pm. Now, play cards to move Leo along the path. Turn over the tile and if the color matches the card, time stands still. If it doesn’t, you have to move the clock ahead from one to five hours. If Leo doesn’t make it to the barber by closing, the tiles get flipped back upside down and Leo has to start again. The second time through the path is easier, since you’ll know where the obstacles are and you’ll be able to play the right cards to avoid them.  This memory and matching game requires plenty of cooperation, otherwise, Leo’s unruly mop won’t get trimmed. For 2-5 players, ages 6+.