May 7, 2013

Board Games and Books for the Mothers (and Others) in Your Life

Actually, I wouldn't gift this one. It's WAY TOO HARD. Who made this game?!
So for Mother's Day I'm getting a new toaster oven. I know this because our current toaster oven (a wedding present, and thus nearly seven years old) recently gave up the ghost. It's crazy how sad I am about not being able to reheat slices of pizza in properly toasty fashion. The microwave is just not the same.

If, however, I wasn't getting a new toaster oven for Mother's Day, I would (of course) be totally interested in either books or board games, pretty much my two favorite forms of entertainment.

Here are some of my recent favorite board games and books, any of which would make perfect gifts (and some of which I've recently gifted)!

Qwirkle. We've given this to our last couple of friends to get married as a wedding present along with a restaurant gift card for a "cheap date night". You make lines of shapes or colors, building off each other (it's a bit like Scrabble meets Set), and it's perfect for non-gamey people, because it's easy to learn the basic rules, but you can get tricky with your strategy if you're so inclined.

The Secret Keeper. As you know, I love this book. And I actually did buy it for my mom for Mother's Day this year! (Don't worry, I'm not giving anything away, I gave it to her early so she could take it on a road trip).

Left Center Right. Noel just got this for his birthday, and it's super fun. It's a fast-paced dice game that's all luck, and can be easily adapted for really big groups. Someone told me they played it at their work Christmas party with dollar bills instead of chips, and the winner got to keep the center pot. That version sounds kinda awesome!

Cinder. Trust me, I've had the experience of trying to describe this book to someone, and feeling really dumb while doing so. "Well, it's like Cinderella, but set in a future dystopic Beijing. And Cinder is a cyborg, who gets invited to a ball by the Prince, but the Lunar Queen is trying to destroy the Prince and..." yeah. I recommend more of the "Just read it, no arguing!" approach. So far everyone I've gotten to read it has loved it.

Ticket to Ride. I like just about all Days of Wonder games - we also own Pirate's Cove and Cleopatra And The Society of Architects. But you can't beat Ticket to Ride, a classic strategy game where you're trying to get your train to certain destinations while the other players are trying to make their destinations, and you inevitably all get in each others' way. (Incidentally, this game has a stellar app too, and if your friend(s) happens to have the app too, you can play a Wifi-linked game, which is just about as awesome as the real deal).

Call the Midwife. You may have seen me babbling on Twitter or Facebook about how much I'm loving these books and the BBC TV show. The show is based on the books, which tell the story of a young midwife in the East End in the 1950s. They're so great, you can't go wrong with the books or dvds. I bet your mom and grandma and all your aunts would love this as a gift!

We Didn't Playtest This at All. This is a very silly card game, perfect for big groups. It's kind of like Apples to Apples meets Curses...kinda. But it's basically pointless, yet guaranteed to cause extensive giggling. (At least in my personal experience).

11/22/63. This one is for those whose mothers like hefty novels, and who aren't afraid to cry a little. This is probably the best book I've read so far in 2013, at least in my top three for sure. And, I heard that J.J. Abrams optioned the movie rights, so it's probably going to be an awesome movie too! Get it for your mom so she can be ahead of the movie-reading curve.

Likewise. This is a great game for those who like wordy party games, but are tired of Taboo and Catch Phrase . It's the opposite of Scattergories - you're purposely trying to get the same answers as other people. Sometimes you write your answers, sometimes you draw them, and it's always hilarious to see what people put.

False Colours. C'mon, you knew that I couldn't write a list of gift ideas without sneaking a Heyer in, right? This is one of my favorites, and I think any mom would love it. It's a tale of twin brothers who fall in love with two very different women; and who get up to crazy machinations in order to get their beloved, spendthrift mama out of debt. 

There you have it! Five each of the books and games I'm loving right now.

How about you? 
What are you giving (or getting?) for Mother's Day?

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