I have a confession: our family has an obscene amount of board games. They require a space that is bigger than baby’s bed and they are all arranged by size in a closet specifically designed just for them. Some might say that’s over the top, but our family and friends know that coming over for Game Night at our house is always a good time.
When Out Of The Box Publishing contacted me and asked me to review a few of their new board games, I was surprised to find that we actually already owned 4 of their game titles and were already huge fans of Out Of The Box Games. Their most recognizable title is Apples to Apples, but I think even a casual game fan would recognize a few of their other titles.
If you’ve never thought of yourself as a board game fan, you should definitely reconsider. With so many families having a hard time making ends meet in light of the bleak economy, it makes good financial sense to consider Family Game Night in place of going out. Out Of The Box Games sell for roughly the price of 2 ½ movie tickets, which means it’s a cheaper entertainment option for any family with more than 2 ½ people, and lasts years instead of just an hour or two. What’s even better than that is that most games offer at least some educational value and every single game offers a family a great bonding experience that makes those nights spent at home memorable and full of laughter. What parent doesn’t want their kid’s childhood full of great family memories and lots of giggles?
We were sent Backseat Drawing and Letter Flip to spice up our Game Night and we were thrilled to add them to our collection. We enlisted a large group of extended family and friends to help us test them and each and every one gave them a ringing endorsement. As board game connoisseurs, we are always thrilled when we find a game that we can add into the favorite game rotation and bring out at any event, and Out Of The Box has a full list of game titles that fall in that category.
Both the games we tested are good for a huge age range of players as well as being able to handle a large amount of participants without hindering the game. In my opinion, nothing kills Game Night faster than having too many people that want to play and not enough player spots available. I hate having to take turns or leave someone out that is really wanting to play, so it’s great to have a multi-player flexible game that can handle just about any number of players. It’s games like this that we find ourselves going back to party after party because you just never know how many people will want to play.
The first game we tried was Backseat Drawing and we were lucky enough to have this right before our extended family Summer vacation, which meant that we got to play it on multiple nights and each time we played we had a few more players than the time before. Also great was that adults and kids could play together, which the kiddos were thrilled about. The game was simple to learn, fun to play, and could be tailored to fit any age range group with only minor adjustments.
The game is pretty simple, really. It comes with a set of game cards, four dry erase pens and two white board drawing pads, which really should come with every drawing game – it saves paper and it allows you to erase parts of your drawing quickly and easily on the fly. And you will be doing a lot of erasing on Backseat Drawing, considering you have absolutely no idea what you’re drawing. Yes, that’s right – the two people drawing have no idea what they are doodling and, in a twist on every drawing game I have ever seen, are actually helping guess what the object is as well as drawing the picture for the others to guess off of. But, wait a minute, how can they draw an object if they have no idea what it is? Well, that’s what the instructor is for, who is giving directions on how to draw the item without giving any clues as to what the object is.
The results are hilarious, and giggles are sure to ensue after each round when the two people drawing realize what the object is they’ve been sketching. We found that the game can easily handle more than the 10 players max that the instructions suggest, just by utilizing creative seating so everyone can see both boards. The age suggestion we feel is also just a suggestion as 12 and up seems a bit high. The game is absolutely clean and family friendly, and can be tailored to include anyone who can draw, really. We played it with kids as young as 9 and they were easily able to handle 95% of the words they drew on the “easy” side of the deck We found that by making sure an adult and child were instructing or drawing together, that it was easy to involve kids in the game as well. Which is good, because there is no way they would have stood for watching us all laughing hysterically but not be able to join in.
The second game we reviewed was the new Letter Roll word game that is the stuff that us wordies dream of. I pretty much love any word game (except Scrabble, too much chance for me), so this was the perfect game for me and my sisters. The game instructions start out like many word games with a rolling of a multi-sided set of dice with letters on them, and asks that players use those letters to form as many words as possible in a short period of time.
But then Letter Roll gets as crazy as a word game ever gets and shakes things up a bit. Instead of requiring players to use the letters rolled in a specific order or in a specific spot in the word, the only requirement is that the players use all the letters anywhere in a word, in any order on a word with any amount of letters. This makes the number of answers virtually limitless and means that the game is easy enough for those who don’t love word games to play. The one final twist is that players can only collect points for their words by being the only player with that unique word. That means that no one will want to play with my older sister, who rocks just about any and every word game she’s ever played (including Scrabble, which is probably why I can’t stand it).
Another favorite Out Of The Box Game title is Squint, which is a great picture game that requires a large amount of creativity but zero drawing. Instead of using pen and paper to get your team to guess an object, you use a collection of cards with basic shapes on them to layer and stack to create pictures. We have both the Junior version and adult version of the game and I think they are both a ton of fun for players of all ages.
If you are interested in putting together a Game Night for the memory books, or entertaining a large group on short notice, you would do well choosing any of the 5 titles mentioned. If you are specifically entertaining young kids, you will be happy to note that Junior versions are available on a good number of Out Of The Box Games’ titles.
Looks: Easy to understand and play in minutes
Overall: Fun for all ages
And now for the Giveaway…
Out Of The Box Games was so kind as to offer a Rave and Review reader a chance to win their choice of Backseat Drawing or Letter Flip! To enter, just visit the Out Of The Box Games site and let me know which of the two games would be a hit for Game Night at your house.
And, as always, there are extra entries available!
1) Subscribe to Rave and Review (1 extra entry, must be verified to count)
2) Tweet about this Giveaway using @raveandreview so I can see it (1 entry for daily Tweet, just post link here)
3) Blog about this Giveaway (1 extra entry)
4) Place my logo or link in your sidebar on your blog or website (2 extra entries, must have an active link)
6) Share this post on Facebook (1 extra entry)
7) Email love. Share this Giveaway with friends and family via email and cc Leanne@raveandreview.com for two bonus entries (I will never, ever contact your email recipients)
On October 20th at 11:59pm PST a winner will be drawn, announced here and notified via email
Thank you to Out Of The Box for sponsoring this review and giveaway