Patchwork

From the box: “Two players compete to make the best quilt! In the past, it was a way to make use of leftover pieces of cloth to create clothing and quilts. Today, patchwork is a form of art, in which the designers use precious fabrics to create beautiful textiles. To create a beautiful quilt, however, requires effort and time, but the available patches just do not want to fit together. So choose your patches carefully and keep a healthy supply of buttons to not only finish your quilt, but to make it better and more beautiful than your opponent‘s.”

Dan says: “Patchwork is a nice little tile-laying game for two players.  In it you’re buying  and placing patches of various Tetris-like shapes onto your square tableau.  The play is ‘timed’ against a spiral board where your pawns move toward the center.  Each ‘patch’ has a potential button and ‘time’/movement cost, so picking which of 3 available patches to buy has to measure the cost against the gain, including its fit in your tableau and the buttons it can earn you.  Quick to pick up with lots of replay value, this game is a great 2-player game.”

Amazon: Patchwork

5 Minute Dungeon

From the box: “Will you make it out alive? Test your wits in a battle to the end with 5-Minute Dungeon! In this chaotic real-time card game, players use quick thinking to combat monsters, overcome obstacles and escape dungeons – all within 5 minutes! With the clock ticking, it’s up to you and your team to battle together in pursuit of victory or perish alone.”

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Creative Team Building for Small Businesses

Despite its reputation for being, well, lame, team building is one of the best investments you can make to improve your workforce. Good team building exercises foster employee communication, morale, motivation, and productivity; help employees to get to know each other better; and learn about strengths and weaknesses. Even the best teams can benefit from quality team building exercises, and as most business owners and managers know, great teamwork is a key factor in any company’s success.

Quality team building includes four major components: 1) communication, 2) problem solving/decision making, 3) adaptability/planning, and 4) activities that focus on building trust. A mixer/lunch out at the local restaurant or pub isn’t going to magically make all that happen. But if your company is fairly small, shelling out a lot of money on expensive off-site activities might not be in the cards. Budget team building, often cobbled together by well-meaning HR employees, is full of DIY party games, lackluster mixers, and well-worn icebreakers like “Two Truths and a Lie.” Groan. Not another boring team building game.

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Steam Park

From the box: “As owners of a fantastic steam park, you’re to build gigantic, coal-powered rides to attract as many visitors as you can – but building attractions won’t be enough. You’ll also need to manage your employees, invest in advertising in order to attract and please the different kinds of guests visiting your park, and, above all, keep the dirt that your park produces under strict control! Steam Park is an easy-to-learn game with two difficulty levels: one for the less experienced gamers and a more strategic one for those who want a more exciting challenge. In this management game, you’ll have to build your own amusement park and make it the largest and most profitable in the region. By constructing the three-dimensional, wonderful rides designed by Marie Cardouat, you will see your park grow right before your eyes. Choose your strategy! Build Stands to attract more Visitors, or Toilets to keep the Dirt under control. Whatever decision you take, take it quickly: The less time you spend planning, the more time you’ll have to maintain your park. Thanks to a clever, original action-choosing mechanism, winning in Steam Park is as much a matter of being the best as of being the fastest!”

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Love 2 Hate

Loy says “If you like the idea of Cards Against Humanity, but it’s a bit raunchy for you, then you’re going to love this game. Love 2 Hate works on the same premise of Apples to Apples or CAH, but splits the difference between the two. It’s more risque for the teen / young adult crowd, but not anything beyond rated R. This is a great bridge game for that teen who wants to play a mature title but isn’t quite ready.”

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Rory’s Story Cubes

Loy says: “Looking for something unique and creative? Boy-howdy, have you found it in Rory’s Story Cubes. The box includes a couple of ways to play, but here’s our go-to: roll the dice and start to tell the story. You can tell the whole thing, or players can grab dice and jump in when they want. Or, you can have each person tell a sentence in a round-robin until the story comes to life. It’s not as easy as it sounds – be the one at the table with the best contribution and exercise your vocabulary, your imagination, and your thinking cap! This is a lot of fun as a game, and also works as an ice-breaker, a teaching manipulative, or a tool for overcoming writer’s block. Get your creative on!”

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Tokaido

Loy says: “As a graphic designer myself, it’s been a while since I’ve seen a game that satisfies my need for eye candy. Tokaido satisfies and then some. It’s visually stunning and the clear, well-thought design makes learning the game a breeze. Winning it is another matter. As Japanese tourists, players travel the length of the board – in a distinct change of pace, they’re traveling as slowly as possible – and collect tchotchkes, photographs, and fine food along the way. At each stop, players can also choose to donate to temples and visit wild spaces for additional points. The winner is the tourist who has experienced the most that the game has to offer. With lots of combinations, this game is unique each time, and offers an interesting view of Japanese tourism. Our family enjoys the journey.”

 

From the box: “In Tokaido, each player is a traveler crossing the “East sea road”, one of the most magnificent roads of Japan. While traveling, players will meet people, taste fine meals, collect beautiful items, discover great panoramas and visit temples and wild places. At the end of the day, when everyone has arrived at the end of the road you’ll have to be the most initiated traveler – which means that you’ll have to be the one who discovered the most interesting and varied things.”

Creationary

From the box: “Roll the LEGO® Dice to select one of four exciting building categories: vehicles, buildings, nature or things. With three levels of difficulty you can show off your building skills, while the others guess what you are creating. Creationary is a great game for family and friends to test your imagination, creativity, building and guessing skills to the max.”

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