Drizzly Day? Go With These Games

As high-tech gadgets have claimed so much of the media spotlight in recent times, one decidedly low-tech option suddenly sounds like a great escape from our stimuli-a-minute e-world: The board game. I know, I know: for some of you, board gaming sounds like a snore—the kind of activity that blue-haired senior citizens sit playing after they’ve pulled on their nightcaps. But this year’s crop of board games isn’t just for Granny. In fact, there are oodles of products that will bring the entire family together for giggles and good times. Here are four family games that I recommend:

1. Nab It: Family Game of Stolen Words.Manufacturing giant Hasbro (www.hasbro.com) brings parents a game created by the makers of Scrabble. With this crowd pleaser, up to four people can turn any surface into their board for creating words with colored tiles. Tiles can be fashioned into a crossword and even staked to make new words.

2. Quelf. Imagination Games brings us a product that does double duty: it’s great for pulling together families as well as making your next party a laugh-out-loud hit. As players move around the game board as one of eight characters, things suddenly get a bit wacky—thanks to the fact that you’ve gotta answer trivia questions, perform stunts, and obey silly rules (like wrapping your face in toilet paper). It might sound ludicrous at first, but 30 minutes into it, you realize you haven’t cracked up so much since…well, never. Learn more about this game at http://www.imaginationgames.com

3. Sort It Out! Which is faster: a cheetah or a helicopter? That’s exactly the kind of puzzle you’ll have to piece together in a speed-round of this game (University Games). To win this game, you’ll need to keep your wits about you—and pull out the little knowledge you likely have on a vast array of topics. PS: Sort It Out was hailed as Game of the Year at the 2010 Toy of the Year (TOTY) awards.

4. The Office Monopoly Collectors’ Edition. This game is a twist on the classic Monopoly game, from USAopoloy (www.usaopoloy.com). Based on the NBC sitcom “The Office,” the game includes characters from the popular series, as well as most of the same components that first made the basic Monopoly set to popular when it was released (drumroll, please…) 75 years ago. Talk about staying power.

Here is what’s so amazing about games: Once you buy one of them, it can provide you with a new experience every time you play, making it one of the most cost-effective ways to use your funds during a cash shortage. And besides: It glues together moms, dads, tots, teens—and yes, even grannies—for more face time…and less Facebook time.

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