We could all use more time away from screens of all types and sizes, and board games are a fun way to do that and bond with friends and family. Classics like Monopoly and Scrabble may be tried and true, but there are dozens of newcomers in the board game world that are worth checking out. You can find plenty of unique sets out there now, from word puzzles to whodunnits to calming playthroughs that showcase the beauty of the little things in life. Here, we’ve collected 13 of our favorite board games that are not only great to keep on hand in your own home, but that will also make solid gifts this holiday season. From games with giant monsters to those with haunted mansions, we’re sure at least one of these will be a hit with friends and family.
King of Tokyo
Betrayal at the House on the Hill (3rd Edition)
Marvel Dice Throne
Votes for Women
This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/best-board-games-holiday-gifts-130003702.html?src=rss
For all chess enthusiasts and parents seeking engaging board games for their children, the EIFplay chessboard is a groundbreaking product that offers a host of innovative features to address the common concerns associated with traditional board games. From worries about storing pieces and missing parts to issues of portability and child safety, this intelligent chessboard from EIFplay, a startup company based in Shenzhen, provides an elegant and practical solution.
Go is an abstract strategy board game for two players in which the aim is to surround more territory than the opponent. If you are an avid ‘Pentoku’ or ‘Go’ player, you might have experienced the inconvenience of storing the pieces and the frustration of losing them over time. The EIFplay chessboard presents a revolutionary concept that eliminates these issues, making it an ideal choice for chess and similar game lovers. By employing a unique button system, this smart chessboard can effortlessly switch between the two pieces in Go (Chinese board game), showcasing two different colors to represent the pieces for each game. This innovative design allows for seamless transitions and ensures that your game is never interrupted due to missing pieces.
Parents often face the challenge of choosing suitable board games for their children, and traditional chess boards can pose a range of problems. Not only do they present the same issues of missing and storing pieces, but they also raise concerns about the safety of very young children who might accidentally ingest the small pieces. Furthermore, busy schedules can hinder quality bonding time over board games.
Fortunately, the EIFplay chessboard caters to the needs of parents as well. For families with young children, the intelligent design of the chessboard’s button system ensures that the game remains safe and free from small parts that could be swallowed. This eliminates the risk of serious consequences and makes the chessboard an ideal choice for family fun.
Additionally, the EIFplay chessboard provides the option to play against the computer, offering a man-machine mode with adjustable difficulty levels. This feature is precious when parents find it challenging to dedicate time to play board games with their children due to busy work schedules. Now, kids can enjoy the game at their convenience while sharpening their strategic thinking skills without having to engage with any smartphone or device, therefore, reducing distractions.
With their cumbersome size and numerous chess pieces, traditional chess boards are not the most portable gaming options. However, the EIFplay chessboard addresses this issue efficiently. With a compact size of 21mm*21mm, smaller than an A4 paper, this chessboard fits conveniently into school bags or travel cases, allowing you to carry your favorite board game anywhere you go.
The chessboard’s lithium battery, rechargeable through a type-c interface, provides a battery life of more than 4 hours. This impressive longevity ensures uninterrupted gameplay during long journeys or when access to power sources is limited.
The EIFplay chessboard is a remarkable innovation that caters to the needs of chess enthusiasts and parents alike. Its intelligent design, compact size, and long battery life make it a convenient and hassle-free option for playing chess games on the go. Whether you are looking for an engaging board game to enhance your strategic thinking skills or a safe and enjoyable activity for your children, this intelligent chessboard from EIFplay promises to deliver an exceptional gaming experience. Embrace the future of chess with the EIFplay chessboard and bid farewell to the worries associated with traditional chess boards.
Mobile gaming controllers come in plenty but their operating mechanism is more or less the same. They clasp onto your device from both sides, a good example being the Razer Kishi. Or be placed on top of a gamepad like the Turtle Beach Atom.
This refreshing concept ideation has caught my eye for its sheer functional merit courtesy of the ergonomic design for maximum immersion. The next-generation accessory brings into the equation a layered immersive experience to respond to the interactions in the most engaging manner.
Designer: Rahul Chhapia
There are three different modes to cover virtually all the playable genres, an avid gamer would want to have a strategic advantage with a controller. There is the Target Mode to hold the gaming controller like an assault rifle firing the bullets in the most suited position for maximum immersion. The second is the Pilot Mode to hold the controller like a steering wheel and gives real-time steering inputs for titles such as Grid Autosport sim. The third one is Classic Mode for role-playing games or arcade classics in a contemporary holding position.
Just imagine playing Call of Duty Mobile holding the controller like a shotgun, pointing in the enemy’s direction – how enhanced the whole experience would be. Rather than swiping position and hitting the shoot button on the screen, simply move in the intended direction and hit the trigger for a near real-life feel. It’s going to be somewhere between conventional mobile gaming and a truly immersive VR experience.
The button placement and the holding position looks optimum for all kind of gamers, with a fair bit of thought being put into the concept design. Bringing the gaming controller to life is highly probable with a few tweaks, and I hope it happens sooner rather than later. I already want to own it without a doubt, since VR gaming is not my cup of cake.
Many of us sit in front of desks the majority of our lives, whether we work at home or in the office or spend most of the day in school. Something that we see every day for hours on end is bound to have an impact on our minds in the long run. That’s why we put pieces of decoration, beautiful accessories, and delightful toys on our desks to inspire us or even to distract us once in a while. Sometimes, however, we also opt for products with cleaner and more minimal designs that evoke feelings of peace or mental clarity. Of course, there’s no reason why you can’t have something that is both minimal yet playful, like this set of desk accessories and trinkets that take inspiration from traditional Korean games that children play.
Designer: Jiung Yun, Siwook Lee, Jihyun Hong, Junsu Lee
Inspiration can come from many things and take many forms. Some are more direct, like flower-shaped wall clocks or UFO-shaped lamps, while others require some imagination to make the connections. These hidden details only make these items more interesting and more valuable, especially if their themes speak to the owner’s interests and tastes. Madang, for example, is a collection of desk accessories that take inspiration from Korea’s forgotten traditional games, bringing an element of fun to some serious productivity tools.
Some of the associations are almost direct, like Juldaligi, a wrist-stretching tool that is like a miniature form of a traditional Korean tug of war. A multipurpose tray’s dividers and containers make it look like a Sabang chigi playground that children would use in yards. A magnetic clip holder that looks both like a UFO and a hat is a nod to the Jeonlip hats used in a whimsical game of Sangmodoligi. And what better way to embody a see-saw-like game than with a clip that mimics that movement.
There are also some items that take some license in the reinterpretation of those games. A pen holder, for example, tries to call to mind arrows that are put inside a barrel, while the Gang Gang Sulae desk timer is supposed to represent a game where people hold hands in a circle. One of the oddest ones is the incense holder that adds a swinging ball just to make an association with another traditional game that revolves around swings.
Whether intentional or unintentional, the white and orange motif of the Madang set brings another tie to Korean culture. Almost like different forms of soft-boiled eggs, these desk accessories bring to mind some popular Korean dishes, especially those that use egg as a core ingredient. Whether it’s through their shapes or through their colors, the Madang collection tries to give a bit of life to your desk without being overbearing or extravagant. Its homage to almost forgotten games also tries to remind us to have some fun in our lives before it becomes too late to enjoy it.
The LEGO Atari 2600 set has been in the rumor mill since April this year, and now finally it has gone official. Pretty obviously, the set is based on the classic game console that triggered the era of gaming in the 80s. Marking the 50 years of the brand’s legacy, the LEGO treatment for the most popular console in their history.
All you gaming nerds might remember the four-switch version of the Atari 2600 that arrived in 1980, This particular LEGO recreation is based on that model with a total of 2,532 pieces and a moveable joystick to bring back old memories. I wonder why they didn’t make it a 2,600 pieces version though!
This LEGO set is a follow-up to the Nintendo Entertainment System comprising 2,646 pieces – but one can’t deny the Atari 2600 set’s significantly higher perceived value. To keep things interesting for gamers who love anything classic from the 70s or 80s, there are the three cartridges of the classic games – Asteroids, Adventure and Centipede – slidable into the main body of the brick console. Each of the games also gets a matchable mini figurine to complete the look. The LEGO console opens up to reveal the diorama of a 1980s living room which I absolutely adore.
The life-sized set is designed by Chris McVeigh who said that it has been “an incredible experience to bring two icons together – Atari and Lego.” Bringing back those cherished memories of the days when a handful of pixels meant the world to all of us, is what makes this LEGO creation special. To top it off the set recreates details such as the vented top plate and the wooden accents on the front. The only thing I miss here is the LEGO adaptation of the RF adapter for this set.
LEGO Atari 2600 will be available on August 1, 2022, which coincidently is Atari’s 50th-anniversary date. The price tag of $239.99 will have many collectors all over this set I’m sure, and don’t be surprised if it goes out of stock in a jiffy.
A screen-based game platform that’s still rooted in real life and tactile gaming.
Meet Rolling Seeds, a nifty little game that uses cutting-edge tech. A mixture of wordle, scrabble, crossword, roulette, and a bunch of other games, Rolling Seeds comes with NFC-based chips that you need to put into the ‘Smart Game Pot’. Roll the Seed in and the Pot reads the NFC tag, registering your move. Everything unfolds on an iPad or Android Tablet that docks right into the pot, and the Rolling Seeds app offers a wide variety of number, alphabet, and image-based learning games.
Setting up and playing your Rolling Seeds is rather simple. First pair the iPad or Android Tablet with your Game Pot via Bluetooth and download the Rolling Seeds app. The app offers 20 different games to choose from, and the company mentioned that game updates and new games will always ensure a never-ending fun experience. The games require you to play by rolling seeds into the pot, with different Seeds (NFC discs) for different games. Rolling Seeds currently offers games like Crossword, Go Fish, Soccer, Roll of Fortune, and Spelling Master, among many others. The Game Pot accepts the tokens (or seeds) you put in, and a flip-out drawer lets you take out the seeds from inside once the game is over. The pot uses RFID to recognize the Seeds in real-time, working without any lag or delay. Designed also for the visually impaired, each Seed comes with Braille markings too, allowing everyone to enjoy while learning and playing!
Rolling Crossword – Plant the correct Seeds to answer the clues!
Spelling Master: Spell the words in this speed challenge!
Roll of Fortune: Spin the wheel and roll to win!
Rolling Soccer: Secretly shoot and guess correctly to save!
Rolling Spoon: Grab a spoon to survive!
A winner of both the iF Design Award and the Good Design Korea Award, Rolling Seeds aims at making games dynamic and fun, without relying entirely on a screen or on a physical device. This hybrid combines the tactile fun of picking up objects, evaluating them, and playing your turn, with the virtual fun of an online game filled with vibrant UI and animations that captivate the mind of children.
The prime objective, however, is always to build skills and help kids learn and grow. The device comes with a 1,800mAh internal Li-ion battery that powers the Smart Game Pot for up to 10 hours and is chargeable by USB-C. The Rolling Seeds app is available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store for free, while the physical game is available for a Super Early Bird discount of $99 on Kickstarter.
Streamers and gamers who already have the Elgato Stream Deck on their buying checklist – don’t jump the gun yet. Razer is all set to rival the preferred option with its own streaming deck gadget that comes with more features at competitive pricing.
Razer worked in tandem with Loupedeck (who have their own streaming deck – Loupedeck Live) to create a new product for the booming market. A clear sign they want to have a big bite of the pie. The Razer Stream Controller with more knobs and buttons for expanded possibilities of use seems like a good prospect. The San-Diego-based company has been slowly inching towards the streaming end of market with previous releases, and now this accessory further expands the horizon.
Managing game streaming or live TV broadcast solo isn’t easy – this is where such streaming accessories come in handy. They simplify the task for the streamer, sitting in front of the PC while engrossed in-game action or broadcasting live. The multi-button device not only comes in handy for game streaming content creation, but also for editing videos or playing music. The Razer Stream Controller comes with 12 haptic switchable LCD touchscreen keys, eight physical buttons, and six analog dials – three on each side. Everything right from adjusting the lighting, adjusting the volumes or audio mixing can be fully customized with the compatible Loupedeck software for Windows and MacOS platforms.
The dials are what make the Stream Controller different from the Stream Deck which apparently has a big LCD screen with customizable tactile buttons. These dials on the Razer’s offering can be employed to adjust the volume levels for the mic, playing music, or something else. Swipe gestures can also be used to access more keys hidden from the homescreen view. For creators looking to go beyond just game streaming, there are native plugins designed for apps like Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects or Photoshop. User can also control Spotify or smart home devices such as Philips Hue lights from the Stream Controller.
The streaming accessory has an automatic profile switching feature that toggles the profile depending on the active application being used. For instance, if Photoshop is opened, the Stream Controller displays shortcuts and quick access to tools. When the switch back to broadcast software happens, the Twitch stream controls pop-up again.
For sure Razer’s offering is better than the $200 Stream Deck when it comes to features, but can it dethrone the market leader for $270 with an untainted user experience? Only time will tell, since it is slated to land come later this Fall.
Smartphones and gaming are closely knit together, as both casual and pro gamers prefer the convenience of pushing an app icon and enjoying high octane action on their mobile devices. The kind of processing power phones come with these days, ensures gamers don’t have to complain about lack of high-end graphics, crazy frame rates, or touch responses. This is especially true for flagships and dedicated gaming devices.
Most smartphones have gaming as a secondary function and mostly don’t have shoulder triggers or even cooling vents for hardcore gameplay for long hours. This calls for after-market accessories like controllers from Razer, SteelSeries, 8Bitdo, and other respectable brands. Most of these controllers are tailored for landscape orientation since most smartphone games are adapted to that configuration.
Designer: Thiago Viana
However, for people who like portrait orientation games simply because they prefer one-handed use, there’s a better way to do it. Yes, a smartphone gaming controller that allows you to play games in both orientations with equal dexterity. Meet Moby, a smartphone controller that brings the nostalgic Game Boy archetype to the fore. A compact controller designed to make playing games the utmost fun with an old-school appeal rooted in the gaming DNA of the 90s.
I like the aesthetics of the Moby controller as it does not elongate the controls when in landscape mode, and hides the shoulder trigger buttons behind the device. The joystick and input buttons are placed ergonomically for people with small hands who find it awkward to play games with other gaming controllers that have a gaping divide between the left- and right-handed controls.
All the user has to do is to slide in the Moby’s small tether attached to the back of the phone onto the main controller unit. Once that’s done, the accessory automatically connects to the Bluetooth and you’re ready for non-stop fun. The cherry on top is the three peppy colors the Moby gaming controller comes in, with a selection of different snap covers to customize.
For everyone who wants to move past the Nintendo Switch and Android-based gaming smartphones, the Apple gaming console could bring a fresh breath of air and likeability.
Handheld gaming consoles like the Nintendo Switch offer gamers entry into high-end graphics-intensive games as well as addictive arcade titles at the convenience of their pocket. In a way, gaming phones and even normal flagships give smartphone users another reason to enjoy high-end games on their smart devices. Apple is also in the mix of things with its industry-leading A15 Bionic chip that makes the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and MediaTek 9000 processor sweat in one-on-one performance.
Designer: Konstantin Milenin
This makes for a compelling case to have an Apple handheld console with the backing of Apple’s microprocessor technology powering the high-end graphics, highest frame rates, and multiplayer capabilities. Built for peak gaming performance along with tactically placed joystick, buttons, and shoulder triggers; the handheld comes with complimentary photography and video shooting capabilities. It’s loaded with a rear camera sensor and a front camera as well. The latter will come in handy for live game streaming on the fly. The front-facing speakers are positioned on the top left and right corners for surround sound effects while identifying the muffled enemy’s footsteps.
Just like other handheld gaming consoles, Apple’s gadget will also have the ability to connect to Apple TV, Apple Music, iCloud on the go when you’ve had enough of the gaming adrenaline rush. Going with Apple’s minimal design philosophy highlighted by the use of premium body materials, this gaming console is for serious gamers to say the least. The Prussian blue colorway of the gaming machine goes perfectly with the aesthetics reflected in the buttons. Though, the selfie camera could be a distraction in first-person shooter games if you’ve to spot the enemy in that particular area.
The Truth or Dare game has remained a classic favorite throughout the decades. It is the usual go-to game for family, friends, and acquaintances who want to get to know one another better.
The most common method is a drinking bottle placed in the middle, encircled by a group of people. But in recent years, we have seen more hi-tech and modern versions. Unfortunately, not many people realize this, but the game can be more intelligent.
Designers: Yuqing Liang and Yibo Fu
How can an ordinary pastime be smarter when you only need to do is answer a question or do a personal task? The use of a Markov chain, a mathematical system, makes it different. What it does is generate random prompts for Truth or Dare.
In a Truth or Dare game, the questions and tasks are endless, but it can be challenging to think of what to ask next. Let’s make it more fun by generating words and lines that may come out weird since a machine learning generator generates them. A device called Trouble Maker uses the Markov Chain to predict the next term. It will be based on a word previously used and the results will not always make sense which makes it crazy but unique.
The challenges that can be suggested are infinite, and you may be surprised at them because they could be something you have never imagined you would ever do. That is the work of the Markov chain as the results that can be generated are random. Be warned: the results really will not make any sense—and that is what makes this Truth or Dare generator more fun.
Machine learning is an essential component of computers and smartphones, but it is not perfect. Mistakes can still happen. Just like in life, uncertainties of the result can disrupt the norm and surprisingly make things lighter for people. This Trouble Maker game-gadget churns out the results via a thermal printer. You don’t need to use a mobile device with this generator. You only need this gadget to liven up a party, so turn off your phone or laptop. Do not dare check any other mobile device lest you want to be distracted.
Designers Yuqing Liang and Yibo Fu set five categories for the Troublemaker: Mime Challenge, Dark Drink Recipe, Antihuman Workout Instructions, Truths, and Dares. Some funny examples include being asked to breathe to your rhythm and let your chest rise and fall with each inhalation and exhalation, shake the vodka and orange juice with ice and strain into a cocktail glass and serve, or hold your knife in your right knee toward your chest. You may be asked questions like “What is the meanest thing you’ve ever said to a romantic partner?” or “What is your favorite thing to do with your friends that you’d never do in front of your parents?”. The generator may also dare you to let two people give you a new hairstyle or DM someone from your Instagram account and pretend to be the food Yep, the weird stuff. The weirder, the better.