Code 777 board game
Ligretto Dice dice game
Sequence board game
Zooloretto board game
Can't Stop dice game
7 Wonders board game
Wits and Wagers Family board game
Blokus board game
Ticket to Ride: Europe board game

Spiel des Jahres 2015 – nominees

Spiel des Jahres

Which will win Game of the Year?

The 2015 Spiel des Jahres, Kinderspiel des Jahres, and Kennerspiel des Jahres award nominees were announced this week and we’re happy to see that Colt Express is one of the 3 finalists!

For those new to modern board games, the Spiel des Jahres is the major game award each year. In essence, it’s Game of the Year.

The whole purpose behind the Spiel des Jahres is to “promote games as a cultural asset to encourage gaming amongst family and friends”.

Because many in the board game industry said the Spiel des Jahres only looked at lighter fare, a few years ago, they changed the awards up a little to include a category for deeper strategic games. Thus the Kennerspiel des Jahres appeared on the scene.

But with a focus on family gaming, we think the main Spiel des Jahres as well as the Kinderspiel des Jahres are right in line with what our readers and video review viewers are looking for.

Colt Express board game

We hope Colt Express wins Spiel des Jahres 2015.

2015 Spiel des Jahres nominees are:

Of the 3 nominees, I’ve played Colt Express and Machi Koro. And between those 2 games, Colt Express gets my vote!

I first played Colt Express at SaltCon in March and enjoyed it so much that it went to the top of my game wish list. After receiving it for my birthday in April we’ve played it as a family as well as for Guys Game Night. And it’s been well received every time.

Colt Express board game

Colt Express has the best trains in a board game by far!

It’s a fun game of pre-programmed movement where players are train robbers trying to get the most loot. In the first phase, players choose which action cards they want to play and in what order. Then in the second phase all those actions take place.

The actions include moving from train car to car, moving up or down from the roof, picking up some loot, punching, shooting, or moving the sheriff. And because the other players are also tossing in their actions, you never know if what you plan to do will actually go according to plan.

It’s lots of fun.

And we hope Colt Express wins.
Spinderella board game

2015 Kinderspiel des Jahres nominees are:


2015 Kennerspiel des Jahres nominees are:

Elysium board gameWe’ve heard good things about both Orléans and Elysium, but haven’t played any of these games, so we don’t have a favorite to cheer for.

And if you’d rather look back at past Spiel des Jahres winner to choose from, here’s the mega list going back to 1979.

Spiel des Jahres winners

YearGame of the YearOur quick thoughts
2014Camel UpHaven't played it. We've also heard the runner-up game, Splendor, is a great family game.
2013HanabiHeard lots of great things about it. Didn't enjoy it very much.
2012Kingdom BuilderOne of dad's favorite board games because of the variable layout, powers, and objectives.
Read our full review.
One of the connoisseur runner-up game of the year was K2 - one that dad loves as well.
2011QwirkleA great family board game of matching colors and shapes. Read our full review.
Although we wish the runner-up game, Forbidden Island, had actually won since it's a great family cooperative game.
The connoisseur game of the year in 2011 is also a big favorite of ours: 7 Wonders
2010DixitGreat party game with lots of creativity. Read our full review of Dixit Odyssey.
2009DominionA go-to favorite card game hands down. Dad's most-played game.
If you haven't tried Dominion yet, it's time to remedy that.
Read our full review.
This was a big year since Pandemic was also in the running. A very tough choice between the two because they're both excellent.
2008KeltisHaven't played it.
Though we do have a runner-up game, Stone Age, that's a great worker-placement game. It's the often recommended "entry-game" into the worker-placement style of board games. Our full review of Stone Age is coming soon.
2007ZoolorettoGood family game kids will love for the animals.
Review on the way soon.
We'd also really like to try a runner-up game - The Thief of Baghdad.
2006Thurn and TaxisSolid family board game that we haven't reviewed yet. We have it and have played a few times, but I'd like to play more.
2005NiagaraHaven't played it. The game box being used as the game board (with the waterfall going over the edge) looks like fun.
2004Ticket to RideOn our "Must Have" family board games list for a good reason. It's a game that everyone in the family can enjoy together. It's also great on the iPad.
Read our full review of Ticket to Ride: Europe.
2003AlhambraHaven't played it yet but would love to give it a try.
2002Villa PalettiHaven't played it. It's a building game requiring strategy and dexterity.
2001CarcassonneAnother board game on our "Must Have" family board games list. It's one of the games that got us hooked on family board games. There's a good chance it will snag you too.
Read our full review.
2000TorresHaven't played it and very hard to find.
1999TikalPlayed only twice - enjoyed it each time.
1998ElfenlandHaven't played it. But using dragons and unicorns as modes of transportation sounds fun.
1997Mississippi QueenHaven't played this paddle-wheel boat racing game.
1996El GrandeHaven't played it. It's another hard to find game currently.
1995Settlers of CatanIf you haven't played Settlers yet, stop what you're doing and play.
It's often credited as ringing in the modern era of board games.
Read our full review.
1994ManhattanHaven't played it.
1993Call my BluffHaven't played it.
1992Um ReifenbreiteHaven't played it.
1991Drunter und DrüberHaven't played it.
1990Adel VerpflichtetHaven't played it.
1989Café InternationalHave only played the iOS version. Read our review.
1988BarbarossaHaven't played it.
1987Auf AchseHaven't played it.
1986Top Secret SpiesHaven't played it.
1985Sherlock Holmes Consulting DetectiveHaven't played it.
1984Railway RivalsHaven't played it.
1983Scotland YardJust got a copy in 2014, and really enjoy it. It's a great deduction game where one player is on the run and the others work together to catch him/her.
Read our full review.
1982Enchanted ForestHaven't played it.
1981FocusHaven't played it.
1980RummikubFun family game of set creation and rearranging. Dad loves to rearrange a ton.
1979Hare and TortoiseHaven't played it.

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Cash ‘n Guns party game review

Nerf Guns game

It’s hard to fit all the Nerf guns in only one bin any more.

Early on in our adventure of raising 3 boys, we established a house rule that toy guns were not to be used to shoot at each other.

You can imagine how hard that is to enforce.

We’ve accumulated a variety of Nerf guns over the years that just beg to be used to shoot at each other. Especially when some of those guns come with Velcro tip Nerf bullets and vests for them to stick to.

Actually that was the funnest set.

It came with a set of 4 – for a Red team and a Blue team to have an epic battle. So shooting at the other person’s vest was deemed ok for family battles. And the set also came with glasses to protect against those constant ‘errant’ shots.

We’ve also had a standing family rule of no first-person shooter video or computer games. And that we’ve been able to stick to like glue.

Cash 'n Guns party game

It’s time to split the loot. Who’s going to walk away with the most?

So why then are we OK with, and have such a blast playing Cash ‘n Guns?

After all, it’s a game that uses foam guns for pointing at each other as a main game mechanic?

Probably because it’s a completely tongue-in-check diversion.

Even Brooke has a hoot playing Cash ‘n Guns.

(And she’s never had any interest in playing Cops and Robbers, playing with Nerf guns, or playing video games (other than Just Dance)).

To see (and judge) for yourself, check out Brooke’s video review of the party game, Cash ‘n Guns.

Can the whole family enjoy Cash ‘n Guns?

Read more »


Choosing a Family Board Game

Dicey Goblin board game storeWe’d like to give a shout-out to The Dicey Goblin online board game store.

A few days ago they posted an article we wrote on 5 Steps to Choosing the Right Board Game. And we highly suggest you check it out.

We’ve been doing family board game and card game reviews for more than 5 years and are extremely familiar with how many games there are to choose from. We’ve posted both video and written reviews of only about 250 games.

I say “only” because there are a few thousand new games published every year!

But even still, our current game review list of 250 games presents a lot of fun family games to choose from. So taking some time to think through these 5 Steps to Choosing the Right Board Game before buying a game is a great process we highly recommend.

And once you’ve decided on a game, check out your local board game store. Or if there isn’t a friendly local game store (FLGS) near you, check out The Dicey Goblin online board game store.

Read more »


Celebrate Time for Mom

Happy Mother's Day #TimeForMom

Trevor and Grandma – Happy Mother’s Day!

You know what would be really cool?

If we could have either Friday or Monday as a holiday to make it a 3-day weekend for mom!

Sunday May 10th is Mother’s Day in the U.S. and it’s such a wonderful time to pay homage to our mothers. Wouldn’t it be so cool to have it also be a 3-day weekend instead of just one day?

While growing up, I’m sure I didn’t show as much appreciation as I could to my mother. There’s always so much more I could have done.

But now that I’m older and have a family of my own, I’ve come to realize more deeply how much a mother truly cares for her children. And I’m not just talking about the physical or outward care they provide. But rather, the emotional work they perform.

Mothers are so deeply invested in their children emotionally. And even though I’m in this together with my sweet wife, I still realize that she has a different gear that she’s shifted into that I don’t seem to have.

Of course, I care about my children on many levels. But there’s something special about my wife, our mothers, and women all over the world. It’s a part of their god-given nature. They are built to inherently love unconditionally.

And I love them for it.

So celebrating our mothers on only one day of the year doesn’t seem enough. Of course it’s great that we do have a day dedicated to mothers. But let’s do more than that. Let’s build it into a habit into our lives to share appreciation of our mothers every day of the year!

How can you share your appreciation with your mom?
This new #TimeForMom video has a few suggestions.

And if you think time playing a game sounds like a great way to share time with your mom or wife, then you may want to consider some of the games on the list: Top 12 Best Family Board Games – Mom

Of course, that list is now a couple years old and a few more have been added to her favorites list.


Flip Out is a simple, colorful card game mom enjoys playing.

Here are the board games, card games, and party games currently topping mom’s list:

And she also thought indicate games that she enjoys playing with younger kids. These aren’t ones she’d necessarily pick to play on her own, but definitely enjoys playing with kids:


Happy Mother’s Day!

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But Wait, There’s More party game review

But Wait, There's More party game

Have we got a deal for you…But wait, there’s more!

Have we got a deal for you…

For a limited time, we’re offering you this amazingly special SUITCASE.

It’s so compact, that it’s perfect as a carry-on for your next getaway. Yet, it’s also strong enough that it HOLDS UP TO 50 POUNDS. That’s right, no more worrying about airline regulations. You can heft everything you need for your getaway on board the plane with you.

But wait, there’s more!


If that sounds like a crazy combo you’d like trying to pitch in 30 seconds, But Wait, There’s More! is the game for you.

Check out Jaden’s video review of this fun new party game: But Wait, There’s More!


Can the whole family enjoy But Wait, There’s More?

Read more »


Best Board Games 2014 – Nominees are in!

The Dice Tower Awards Best Board Game

Which games will take home the title this year?

What are the best board games and card games from 2014?

Well, it’s that time of year again – time to look back on 2014 and determine which were the best games published.

The annual Dice Tower Awards recognize the best board games published every year. While the award winners won’t be announced until the summer, we’re happy to share the list of nominees for 2014.

Over 3,000 new board games are published each year. So finding the best board games and card games is a tough job for sure. But that’s a challenge board game reviewers from all over the world take part in as part of The Dice Tower Awards.

Without further ado, here’s the list of nominations for Best Board Games of 2014.

Read more »


Doodle Quest – Fun family doodling

Doodle Quest board game

Ready for some underwater doodling?

The other day we shared 5 Traits that make a great Family Game.

And today we’re taking a look at a specific game that has all of those traits – Doodle Quest.

Like the name suggests, Doodle Quest is all about doodling.

But with each doodle, players are trying to score points from special objectives.

It’s really a unique and fresh type of family game.

See what the game is all about in Brooke’s short video review of Doodle Quest.

Can the whole family enjoy Doodle Quest?

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5 Traits That Make a Great Family Game

Lemming Mafia board game

What makes a great “Family Game”?

With thousands of new board games and card games published every year, there’s no shortage of game possibilities to play. But with so many choices, it can be a daunting task to narrow it down to just a few games to get.

In an effort to help make the right selection, it’s human nature to categorize items in groups and subgroups. And it’s no different with board games and card games.

There are plenty of ways to group games. The most typical grouping selection is by age, time, and number of players. While helpful, that still leaves huge ranges of games. So we create additional groups by type such as strategy, cooperative, abstract, deduction, bluffing, or racing. Or we group by theme such as adventure, fantasy, economic, area control, war, or travel.

In all the grouping and sub-grouping of board games and card games, perhaps the one that causes the most questions is the common label of “Family Game”.

The designation of “Family Game” seems to be the most vague.

So what makes a great Family Game?

To find out, we tapped the experts – our kids. And here are the top 5 traits they feel make a great family game.

  Read more »