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It’s Monday and Matt and Dave are wrapping up their four-part series on family games to buy or give over the holidays. Let’s get to it.

Classic Games and their alternatives:

Battleship and Guess Who. Alts: Martinique and Mr. Jack.

Our recommendations for contemporary family games to check out:

Other things we mentioned:


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It’s family games part three! Join Matt and Dave in another discussion of fantastic games to buy for or play with your family this holiday season. We’ve got classic games (and contemporary alternatives) plus modern titles you’re sure to love. Enjoy!

 Classic games and modern alternatives

Meanwhile, the guys are both eager to get their hands on the special edition of Tokaido.

Contemporary suggestions:

Matt suggests Castle Panic Wizard’s Tower, a nice expansion to the family-friendly Castle Panic.

Dave lists two games for the youngest gamers on your list, including Gubs and Feed the Kitty.

Thanks for listening! Find us on Twitter, Instagram and on iTunes, where you can leave us a star rating or a review!

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Matt and Dave are back with more games your should buy or play during the holiday. In part two (part one is here), we list two classic games and contemporary alternatives, plus Dave and Matt have four more games to consider when sitting down with friends.

Classics and contemporaries

  1. Dave lists Monopoly as a classic game, and Matt suggests Ticket to Ride as a contemporary alternative. Also, Matt gives Dave a hard time for disparaging the thimble piece.
  2. Dave lists Sorry as a classic game, and Matt suggests I’m The Boss! as a contemporary alternative, with an honorable mention going to Diplomacy.

Games to play or buy this holiday

  1. Legend of Drizzt, with a caveat: WizKids have announced that it’ll be publishing future D&D board games. If having the latest and greatest is important to you, maybe hold off on that purchase (though we have no idea what WizKids’ release schedule is). Otherwise, buy Drizzt. It’s a fine game that you’ll enjoy for a long time.
  2. Morphology. This great little family game divides players into two teams. One person in each team must get her teammates to say a secret word by using the included pieces to make something that will tip them off. It’s hilarious and fun.
  3. The Adventurers. Both Pyramid of Horus and Temple of Chac are great, though Horus is a little easier to understand.

A question from Twitter

We got a question from Matt Smith on Twitter: “Any recommendations for fantasy card games with appropriate themes for 7-9 yr olds?” Why yes, we do have some.

  1. Fluxx, the card game that’s as simple as “draw a card, play a card.” There are several iterations available, including at least one with a fantasy theme.
  2. Munchkin. Talk about “several iterations.” Basic Munchkin has a fantasy theme and is fun. Just note there’s a “take that” component that some young ones might not like (unless they’re on the giving end, not the receiving).
  3. Finally, it’s not fantasy, but Sushi Go! is excellent for this age group. Here’s our full review.

This week Matt and Dave list several games that you should consider buying and playing with family and friends this holiday season. Plus ,Dave suggests some classic board games that the family might enjoy, and Matt schools him on contemporary alternatives.

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Clue is a classic game Dave enjoys, and Matt suggests Clue FX.

Scrabble is a classic favorite, and Matt suggests Quirkle. Also, “Wall Scrabble” is very cool.

Dave’s contemporary suggestions 

Matt’s contemporary suggestions

There have been many expansions for Survive, including the Giant Mini Squid and Dolphins and Dive Dice. Meanwhile, Dave is hung up on Ultimate Tic-Tac-Toe and Cards As Weapons has the best cover art ever.


chromecast games

Just in time for awkward family get-togethers, Google has launched several classic board games for its Chromecast ($39). Now you can have family game night on your TV, with Wheel of Fortune, Hasbro’s Monopoly Dash, Scrabble Blitz, Connect Four Quads and Simon Swipe. Of course I prefer the non-digital versions, but it’s nice to have choices. Read more.

This week Matt and Dave look at Forbidden Desert, the notion of games that “fire” another and how simple games can be a lot of fun.

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Matt and Dave look at a pair of fun family games, and Dave teaches Matt how to remember the spelling of “desert” vs. “dessert.” They make a Dune reference and then dive deep into Forbidden Desert from Gamewright Games.

Featured game review: Forbidden Desert

Forbidden Desert

Forbidden Desert

  • Designers: Matt Leacock
  • Publisher: Gamewright Games
  • Artists: C. B. Canga and Tyler Edlin
  • Players: 2-5 (Best with 4)
  • Ages: 10 and up
  • Duration: 45 minutes
  • Game Type: Cooperative, grid movement, modular board

Sometimes a game will come out that succeeds an existing game, fixing errors with the original. In this instance, it can be said that the successor fired its predecessor. We can safely say that Forbidden Desert fired Forbidden Island. Dave points out that playing the progression of the D&D board games lets you see issues get fixed in subsequent releases.

Finally, WizKids have taken over D&D Board Games.


Dave: A definite buy. Kids and gamers will enjoy it. Fixed all of the issues that its predecessor introduced.

Matt: A must-buy, for all the same reasons.

If you like…


This is the segment that introduces you to new games. This week our feature review was Forbidden Desert. If you like that game, you’ll probably like:

Pandemic, of course! There are very strong similarities between the two. In this game, you’re scientists traveling from continent to continent trying to combat a spreading disease. It’s a milestone cooperative game that helped solidify the genre. Here’s some more Pandemic goodness that the guys mentioned:

  • The expansion “On The Brink” adds a new disease and a bio-terrorist, who works against the group.
  • The expansion “In The Lab” adds a lab.
  • Pandemic: The Cure is a dice-based version of the game.
  • Pandemic: Contagion lets you play as the disease.
  • Pandemic: Legacy is unique in that the results of one game (or play session) permanently affects the game for all future playthroughs.

Also, “Beating a Dead Horse Munchkin” exists.

What we’re playing


  • Dungeon Roll. A press-your-luck dice game put out by Tasty Minstrel. Walk through a dungeon to gain treasures, XP and glory. What’s neat is two players have something to do with each turn, with one player being the adventurer and another the dungeon master. These rolls move as the turn goes from player to player. It’s fun, but seems to be biased to the person who is exploring the dungeon.


  • Igloo Pop. This crazy game has you picking up little plastic igloos, shaking them and listening to guess how many plastic beads are inside.
  • Progress: Evolution of Technology. A card game about moving your civilization through various stages of progress. It’s complex and the guys want to play it a few more times before passing judgement.