5 Game Companies & 25 Games You Should Check Out

by ChristinaPilkington on February 13, 2013 · 2 comments

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Travel, both near and far, is our favorite way to learn about new things.

But playing games is probably our favorite way to learn new skills, get creative, stretch our minds and have lots and lots of fun!

We love all types of games- everything from pretend, made-up games and traditional board games to computer and video games.

Over the past few months, I’ve been collecting board and card game ideas on some of my Pinterest boards. In my hours of research, along with cataloging the games we already own, I’ve come up with a list of my favorite game manufacturers or companies. Usually, if there are at least two or three games that we love by the same company, it’s almost a sure thing that they’ll have others we’ll like, too.

Here’s a list of my 5 favorite board/card game companies or manufacturers. I’m also sharing a list of the games we either own or are on my wish list and giving you a brief description of each game in case you’d like to check it out, too.

* When I first wrote this post, I had 5 more companies and 23 more games to share with you, plus a list of 10 Game Award lists, but that post grew to over 3,500 words and I thought that would be a lot to give to you at one time! So I’m splitting the list into two posts.

Don’t forget to come back next week where I‘ll share more game suggestions and award lists to check out!  

1. Gamewright – You gotta love this company’s slogan: Games for the Infinitely Imaginative. Most of the games are card games involving a strategy and memory.

-Loot (Wish List) A strategy card game where you storm your opponent’s merchant ship and try to steal their treasure.

Rat-a-Tat Cat- (Own) – We just got this game this week.  This is a really, really fun game! It’s a card game where to win you need to have the lowest possible points. For most of the game the cards are face down in front of you, so you need to keep track of how many points you have, the value of each card, and the value of the other player’s cards, too. A great game for learning strategy, too.

 Iota (Wish List) – A puzzle/memory game where you have to add cards to a grid, making sure that color, shape and size are either all the same or all different across the rows.

Forbidden Island (Wish List) – Lots of great review and awards for this game – It’s a cooperative game where your mission is to keep the Forbidden Island from sinking as you seek the four treasures hidden within.

Scrambled States of America (Own) – I picked this up at a thrift store. Based on the book, The Scrambled States of America players learn names, capitals, nicknames, positions and shapes of the states while solving riddles and challenges.

Rory’s Story Cubes (Own) – These little story cubes are great to bring with on a trip. Who would think that 9 cubes with 54 images could spark so many different story ideas? I love to use them myself when I’m brainstorming story ideas. It’s a great way to make up a group story out loud, as a way to start a scene, to do a character sketch. And….there’s now an iPhone Story Cubes app… Interesting!

2. Learning Resources – While this company is a more overtly “educational” company, don’t let that keep you away from checking out their games. Yes, the games do have a more educational feel to them, but I’ve found most of them really fun to play, too.

Totally Tut –(Own)  This is such a great game for learning to look at numbers from many different angles. Players have to fill their “pyramids” with numbers by creating two, three, and four digit equations that equal a target number which rests at the top of the pyramid. Players can use addition, subtraction, multiplication and division in the same row to come up with the desired number. It’s a little difficult for my kids right now, but we play in teams which makes it doable.

 Sum Swamp Addition and Subtraction Game-(Own)  This is a fun little game for kids first learning adding and subtracting up to two digit numbers. You add and subtract as you move your way around the board. Also introduces the concept of even and odd numbers.

 Go to Press: a Grammar and Editing Game (Wish List) This game looks great for learning writing mechanics. Players pretend they work at a newspaper and go from department to department correcting headlines. If anyone else knows of more proofreading games, please let me know!

 The Allowance Game (Wish List) – I’ve heard a lot of great things about this game. Players race around the board doing chores for allowance and then save their money or spend it on things they want. Great for practicing money values and making change. Of course, I’ll always think learning about money is best done by being in charge of real money, but as a game, this is fun and great practice, too.

 Step Right Up: Estimation Game (Own)-I picked this up at a thrift store a few years ago, but I think the kids are still not quite ready for it yet. You guess the size and value of things while you attend a carnival.

3. Ravensburger Known best for their superior quality of 2 and 3D puzzles, this company also puts out many creative and unique games, too.

Make and Break (Own)-If you have a builder in the family, he or she will love this game! You have three levels of difficulty. You roll the dice to see how much time you have on the timer. Then, when the timer is going, you draw cards and complete the designs on the cards until you run out of time.

 Rivers, Roads and Rails (Own)-It’s hard to describe this game, but it’s much more than a straight matching game. Each player receives ten tiles with pictures of railroads, roads or rivers – sometimes just one of them, two or all three. You have to keep matching the cards until you have no more cards left to match. Jared and I enjoy playing this with each other a lot.

 Indigo (Wish List)- The game is played on a hexagon board where players lay pathways across the board to transport gems to their exits. There is also a cooperative aspect to the game, too.

 Casa Grande (Wish List)-I’m really excited about this game! It’s a strategic construction game where players are building contractors who compete to build the longest, tallest building in order to become a master builder. You get paid for each completed building, and payment is calculated by multiplying the area by the height of each building or combination of buildings.

 Labyrinth (Wish List) – Also looks like a really exciting game. Each player has to collect seven treasures. Before each turn, a maze card is pushed into the maze, helping the player reach her way to the prize, so the entire maze shifts and changes with each person’s turn.

4. ThinkFun –Their motto is Ignite Your Mind! Their mission is to build reasoning and creative thinking skills through play.

Math Dice Jr.  (Own) We just played this game this month. This is similar to Totally Tut in that you have a target number to reach in order to score points. You roll a 12 sided die to reach a target number. Then you roll five sixed-sized dice, using addition, subtraction, multiplication or division to reach the target die number. You move one space along the scoring track for every die you use.

Rush Hour (Wish List)- I’m really eager to buy this game. It’s a Mesa Select winner and has received high ratings. To play you select one of 40 challenge cards, then set up cars and buses in a specific pattern on the 6 inch square road grid.  You move the vehicles one by one until the red car can escape the traffic jam.

 Subtrax (Wish List) This is a solitaire type game for one person. You place pegs on a game board to match the illustrations on various challenge cards.

Turnstile (Wish List) – This is another solo game where you work your way through a logic maze. The goal is to move colored tokens through the maze to their respective corners. Along the way, you must pass through turnstiles, shifting walls to form new pathways and barriers.

 Swish (Wish List)- A game designed to strengthen spatial skills. Players examine 16 cards laid out on the table and try to create more matches than the other players.

5. Fundex- I think this company creates such unique games- mostly strategy. Probably more for older children.

Quoridor (Wish List) – It’s a strategy board game similar to chess where you have to move pawn-shaped pieces around the board. The difference is that you construct wooden fences to block your opponent.

Quarto (Wish List) –There are 16 pieces, each having four attributes: color, height, shape and consistency. The object is to place the fourth piece in a row where all four pieces have at least one attribute in common.

The Storybook Game  (Wish List) – I’m pretty excited about this game! The first player flips over a card and starts a story based on the picture that appears. The second person has to summarize the first players story to that point, flip over another card and add to the story. Then the third player has to summarize the first two players’ stories and then draw a third card to add to the story.

Pylos – The object of the game is to save your marbles so that you can be the one to place a marble at the top of the pyramid.


Photo Credit: osde8info

What are some of your family’s favorite games?


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  • Natalie F

    This is a great post. We have lots and lots of games at home. My daughter (she is 6) favors Monopoly, Scrambled States of America, Scrabble, Rummikub and chess. She is not a huge fan of solo games.

    • christinapilkington

      Thanks! We have Jr. Monopoly and really like it, too. In fact, we haven’t played it in awhile. I should bring it out again :) I’ll have to check out Rummikub. Jared likes to play chess against the computer on the Kindle.

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