5 More Game Companies, 23 Games & 10 Awards You Should Check Out

by ChristinaPilkington on February 20, 2013 · 4 comments

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Last week I shared 5 game companies you should check out. Here’s the link in case you didn’t get a chance to check out that list. Today, I’m back to share 5 more companies with you.

I’ve been impressed with the quality of games from these companies. The games I’m sharing with you I’ve either personally played or I’ve researched and they are now on my family’s wish list.

6. Mindware-“Brainy toys for kids of all ages.”  

Mindshift (Wish List) By moving a jewel, rotating a tile or shifting the board, you work to navigate your jewels through the mind shaft maze.

Qwirkle (Wish List) – This is a many-time award winning game that looks really fun! Using one of the 108 different wooden blocks with six different shapes and colors, players score the most points by building lines that share the same shape or color.

 Equate (Wish List) – I don’t think we’ll be playing this for a little while, but when we do I think it will be a different way to think about math. The game is basically like Scrabble except with numbers and math symbols. You put down up to 9 tiles on the board and earn points by correctly completing simple equations.

Q-bitz (Wish List) – Players recreate patterns on game cards using their set of 16 cubes.

 Bananagrams (Wish List) – I know so many people who own this game, but we haven’t gotten around to buying it yet. It looks like a great game, though! It’s an anagram game where players race against each other to build crossword grids and use all their letter tiles first.

7. University Games Their philosophy is to offer games that encourage social interaction and imagination through game play.

Abalone (Wish List) – This looks like an interesting strategy game. Players compete to be the first to push six of their opponent’s marbles off the board.

 Game of Knowledge (Have Played) – This is a trivia-type game that Alexa loved when we went to Maine this summer. It was one of the games at the home we rented. The six categories include: Our World, Science, Nature, Sports, Media and Fame.

 Totally Gross The Game (Wish List) – My kids are going to love this game! You basically have to complete science experiments to win the game. All experiments are based on based on science facts about “gross” things. You even used a blob of slime as a game marker.

8. Family Games- A company that used recycled materials for all their games, it has a wide range of really fun, unique games.

Katamino (Wish List) This is a game similar to Tetris and can be played singly and in pairs. Players have to build polygons in different configurations.

 Cathedral (Wish List) This looks like a challenging logic puzzle. The board is a medieval walled city where players battle to gain land space by repositioning their building pieces back on the board.

 Marrakech (Wish List) – It really caught my attention at how different this game is. Each player is a salesperson who tried to outwit the other players. From Amazon: In turn each player rolls the dice and then moves Assam, the market organizer. If Assam stops on an opponent’s rug, the player must make a payment to its owner before putting one of their own rugs on an adjacent space. When the last rug has been laid, the total number of visible rugs and the number owned by each salesperson are added up. The best player wins.

 Stratum (Wish List ) This game was a Mensa Select winner. Playing pieces are tiles of 4 connected hexagons. You have to layer the hexagons, trying to cover your opponent’s tiles while leaving your tiles open.

Sprocket (Wish List) Another building type game that Jared’s sure to like. In the game, players create gears with rotor pieces. When a gear is formed, a lug is added to the game. The first player to add all their lugs into the game is the winner.

9. Out of the Box Publishing – They specialize in games that are easy to learn and can be played in under an hour. I’ve found them to be one of the most creative game manufacturers out there.

Word on the Street (Wish List) – Team members choose a category card and brainstorm words that fit that category while the opposite team tries to sidetrack them. The team has to agree on a word and pull each letter of that word one lane closer to their side of the street.

 10 Days in Africa (Europe, Asia, ect.) (Own) I bought this game since we have been reading dozens of pictures books about Africa this past year, but we haven’t played it yet. I was sooooo excited to get this game! Players have to make connections by plane, car and foot for a 10 day journey through Africa using transportation and destination cards.

Pirate vs. Pirate (Wish List) – I think Jared will like this one. From Amazon: Three bands of pirates have discovered an island brimming with treasure. Conquer the island by capturing the gold and silver, or by eliminating the enemy pirates. Position your pirates carefully, enemies are all around and they are hungry for treasure.

 Snake Oil (Wish List) What a unique word game! I’m really looking forward to playing this. Players invent their own crazy two-word products and try to sell them to customers.

 Ninja vs. Ninja (Wish List) A two person strategy game. You Ninja must defend their dojo against a rival dojo and also work on infiltrating the rival dojo. The deeper you can penetrate the rival dojo the more points you earn. Jared loves anything ninja so this looks like a great game for him.

10. Gryphon/Eagle Games- This game company specializes in strategy games. The Eagle games tend to be heavy strategy, while the Gryphon games are lighter to medium. They put a high value on the artwork and production value of their games.

BuyWord (Wish List) – This looks like a fun word game that also combines money skills, too. The letter tiles in the game have dots on them. The amount of dots in a collection of times determines its buying and selling price. You must first buy tiles and then sell them at a profit by making large words with lots of dots.

Botswana (Wish List) – I’m especially excited to buy this game in the next few months since we’ve been reading lots of picture books about Africa and Alexa loves animals. It’s a card game with six cards in five suits of corresponding animals. Each player plays a card and takes an animal. You keep playing until one animal has all six cards played.

Bazaar (Wish List) – A good game to learn more about money, trading and the value of exchange. From Amazon: Through skillful trading and re-trading, each player attempts to gain the right combination of colored stones from the Bank to purchase the wares displayed in the Bazaar. Values of the various wares are determined by the number of stones the purchaser holds following his transaction. Trading is governed by the current rates posted at the Exchange. When all the wares from two of the stalls have been sold, the Bazaar is closed, the game ends, and the player with the highest score wins.

 Masters Gallery (Wish List) – I love studying art history and introducing my kids to artists, so this game looks like a great fit for us. Each player is an art critic and gallery owner. The game features 30 cards depicting famous works of art. Players use the cards to determine the relative value of each artist’s body of work. There’s some luck with this game but also a lot of strategy, too.

 Roll Through the Ages (Wish List) – I would love to play this strategy board game, but I think my kids won’t appreciate it until they are a bit older. In the game, players roll seven dice to collect workers and commodities to build their civilizations. The goal of the game is to score the most points by becoming the most advanced and prestigious civilization by acquiring cities, monuments, and developments while at the same time avoiding disasters.

Whenever I come across a new game company, I always look for ways to stay in contact with them. I know that if I’m not subscribed to their newsletter or have liked their Facebook page I might forget about them. Other things you can do to keep in contact with favorite companies are: order their catalog, and follow them through e-mail or RSS feed.

I also love Pinterest for keeping in contact with keeping track of games I run across when reading favorite blogs. I can immediately pin the post or website where I’ve found the game to the right board and I never have to worry about forgetting it.

The last thing I’d like to share with you is a list (with links) to some of the major game awards given out each year. This is an excellent way to find out about new games.

A game doesn’t have to win an award to be good, but scanning through a list of award winners is a great way to be introduced to new games that many people consider to be excellent.

1.International Gamers Awards

2. Mensa Select Award

3. Dr. Toy’s 100 Best Toys of the Year

4.Yearly Creative Toy Guide Best of Awards

5.Game Magazine Game of the Year Awards

6.Speil des Jahres

7.Golden Geek Award

8. Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Awards

9. Parent’s Choice

10. Gamer’s Choice Awards


Photo Credit: Hanna IrAYlinger Fotografie

What is your family’s favorite board or card games? Do you have a favorite game company?


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  • Sandra

    We love the so-called (at least in our part of the world) Eurogames. Special favourites are Carcassone and Dominion by Rio Grande Games, Ticket to Ride and Queens Necklace by Days of Wonder and also Bohnanza by Amigo.

    • christinapilkington

      I love Carcassone!!! I asked for that for my birthday about 10 years ago. It’s going to be so much fun to play these types of games with the kids when they get older. I hadn’t heard of Queens Necklace and Bohnanza so I’ll have to check them out. Thanks for the suggestions!

  • http://profiles.google.com/spoiledchef Sherrie Childress

    Thanks for sharing. We enjoy playing Real World Math — Unexpected Events. Blokus is another family favorite, as well as Risk. I look forward to checking out these that you posted.

    • christinapilkington

      Thanks so much for sharing these games, Sherrie! I had known about Blokus and Risk, but now I’ve put Unexpected Events on my Amazon wish list, too.

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