2011’s best games

NAPPA’s game awardees this year start with a visualization of our favorite book, and end with a new version of charades. This slide show start with toys for younger kids, then goes up in age.

Peggy Brown works for many of the world’s biggest toy companies as an inventor, designer, writer, creative director and consultant. She won the TAGI award for game design. Kim Vandenbroucke is a game inventor and developer, and president of Brainy Chick Inc. She writes for Games for Educators (G4ed.com) and runs a game review website, TheGameAisle.com.

We sent some parent media and game experts out to find the best for Chicago Parent readers. Here’s our list of great games for Christmas and Hanukkah.

The box bottom transforms into an airport with a dice-rollingcontrol tower. Charming, detailed illustrations make for wonderfulimaginative play. Wonder Forge; $19.99; thewonderforge.com; ages 3 and up.

Richard Scarry’s Busytown Busy Busy Airport Game

Hot Potato meets kid-friendly brainteasers! Solve the problem athand in your own unique way, then pass the “Buzz Blaster” timer sothat the next player can solve the same problem his way. Loadedwith content, it’s a different game each time. Highlights forChildren; $24.99; discovery baygames.com; ages 7 and up.

Highlights Buzz Blast

A puzzle, a game and a toy all in one, Trucky 3 is as simple oras challenging as you want to make it. Pack the clear payloads ofthree high-quality wooden trucks with funky-shaped blocks. There’sonly one solution to each challenge. Smart/Tangoes U.S.A.; $24.99;SmartGames.eu; ages 3 and up.

Trucky 3

Arrange and rearrange your striped “stix,” lining them up tomake “blocks” of colors. A race against time and each other, theclicks of the wooden sticks and the vibrant colors make for avisually beautiful play experience. MindWare; $19.95; mindware.com;
ages 5 and up.

Color Stix

Big fun comes in this tiny game where a simple die rollindicates a quantity in every question. Play against each other andagainst the imaginary “Joe.” “Any Joe” means all-play; “Just Joe”means you go it alone. Either way, every Joe has a good time.Gamewright; $9.99; gamewright.com; ages 12 and up.

Joe Name It

Instead of you acting out a word or phrase and having your teamtry to guess, this game has your whole team acting while just youget to guess. Chaos and hilarity are guaranteed in this fresh twiston an all-time classic. RETROPlay; $23.99; ReverseCharades.com; all ages.

Reverse Charades

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