In honor of the day…13 Great Games (all under $20!)

Rec_ABCBeautyWhile we usually like lists of five or a dozen, we realized today’s list of 13 Top Games Under $20 was meant to be!  Happy Friday the 13th.  Read our reviews at

The games included are:

Richard Scarry’s Busytown Eye Found It Game (I Can Do That Games)

Rainbow Race (International Playthings)

Scrabble Slam Card Game (Parker Brothers)

Appletters (Bananagrams)

Yamslam (Blue Orange Games)

Pairs in Pears (Bananagrams)

eeBoo Fairytale Game (eeBoo)

Ring-0 Flamingo (Gamewright)

Uno Moo! (Mattel)

Too Many Monkeys (Gamewright)

I Spy Flip 5 Games (Briarpatch)

Dr. Seuss Super Stretch ABC Game (I Can Do That Games)

Curious George Discovery Beach Game (I Can Do That Games) Six Great Games to Play with Your Kids

Here are six  great games to think about for the holidays. The complete reviews of these award winners are on our site,

Active Fun Games

Dr. Seuss Super Stretchy ABC Game (I Can Do That Games)

Boochie (Gamewright)

Pure silly fun

Feeding Frenzy (International Playthings)

Ring-0 Flamingo (Gamewright)

Concepts and Strategy Games

eeBoo Color Dominoes (eeBoo)

Double Shutter (Blue Orange)

Pick of the Day: Chickyboom from Blue Orange Games

Chickyboom from Blue Orange Games is a fun balancing game that appealed to our school age testers (and their parents). Most balancing toys like this ask players to add pieces – here you take away chicks, bales of hay and wagon wheels…they all have different weights and will affect the balance of the perch. Points are assigned for each of the play pieces–the players with the greatest point value (when the rail finally falls over) wins.  Easy to learn –and fun to play. The company says that each round takes about 1o minutes.  Our parent testers gave this one a thumbs up.  We’re giving this one an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award. A solid gender free choice for kids 4 & up.

Math Phobic? Here's a Great Math Game

My friend Lisa could attest to the fact that I was extremely math phobic as a kid. It just wasn’t my thing. My mother was great on the early hands-on math lessons…fractions were taught with Hersey’s chocolate bars. Leave it to her to find a fun connection to chocolate! But I never could get that chocolate rush when doing factors or geometry…

If this sounds remotely familiar–I have a game that makes practicing your math skills fun….really. Double Shutter is an updated version of an old pub game called Shut the Box. Here the game comes with two rows of numbered tiles. Roll the dice and then flip down the numbers you come up with…now you can play by adding, multiplying, dividing, or subtracting the numbers on the dice. I prefer the addition level. The object is to be the first one to flip down all the tiles. From Blue Orange Games (there are two versions — a jr. version has only one row of numbers).

Dominoes with a Twist, literally

bendomino.jpgOne of my favorite games to play with my grandma as a kid was dominoes. They came in a really neat leather blue case with a real buckle closure. Being old enough to open the case made me feel very grown up (at 5). it was our game–and unlike my other grandma, she would let me win. Probably why I loved playing dominoes. Being the youngest of three kids, I also liked playing dominoes because my brothers were not interested–so it became what we did, sans older, more competitive siblings. When our family home was hit by lightning (and destroyed)– one of the brighter moments was finding that blue case (untouched by the fire/water damage).

This is a long intro about why I really love the new Bendomino set from Blue Orange Games. How could you improve on a classic like dominoes? These dominoes are “bent” in the middle — making the game just a bit more challenging, but not so far off from the original to be disconcerting. When we played this game at a game testing day we discovered that perhaps my grandmother also made playing the game a bit easier by allowing the “blank” space to be a wild card. Other adults we played with disagreed. I haven’t found an answer to this “wild” domino question.

Bendominos comes in a sturdy red tin and for $15.95 this is nice toy that will be enjoyed for a long time. For other great games to share, visit our website.