Games: Featuring quick-draw and creative drawing

By John Lyle Belden

While out Christmas shopping, we noticed on the shelves at Target* a couple of the games we tried out at last summer’s GenCon Game Fair. Since picking them up after those demos, they have become among the games we insist on playing at friends’ gatherings — and other folks have come to enjoy them, too.

* Cobra Paw, by the makers of the word game Bananagrams, looks like a simple dominoes set (and you can play a really basic version of the game with it) but the tiles have colored symbols and there is a fingertip-sized dimple in the middle of each tile.

The idea of the game is to roll the accompanying dice and then take the tile that matches the symbols that come up. Fitting the game’s martial-arts theme, you are to capture using the kung-fu move of a single-finger strike. The player with the finger closest to or in the divot takes the tile. Then that victor rolls the dice and tries to strike again. All pieces are fair game, so captured tiles can be stolen, if the owner doesn’t put their finger down on it in time. First player to a designated number of tiles (usually six) wins.

We’ve had a lot of fun with this, and it’s great for all ages, as hyper young’uns get to one-up their elders. I’ve found that concentrating on the color rather than the symbol helps to spot the right tile quicker.

Also, by holding the tile with your finger or thumb in the middle, it can be a primitive fidget spinner.

* The Cat Game, by Spinmaster games, is basically a Pictionary-style game that involves a wipe-off board with a clear cover under which you have to place at least one photo of a cat. The supplied kitty cut-outs are in various cute and/or pouncing poses, so, for instance, you can doodle with two cats standing on the bow of the Titanic to get other players to guess the movie. There are cards that supply the names of “fLICKS”, “PURRsons or PURRfessions” or “CAT-tivities” to be drawn.

Sure, it resembles other games but — cats! There’s even fur on the box. So, for a fresh take on a familiar genre (which makes understanding the game easy for new players), this game is worth adopting.

* Speaking of getting people to guess your artwork, we picked up Imagine, by Gamewright games, at Barnes & Noble’s big games and puzzles area. This variation has players guessing what one “draws” by assembling symbols, shapes and silhouettes on various clear-plastic cards (so no artistic talent is required). While you can’t say what you are showing, you can move the cards in a sort of animated charades.

One thing we thought was odd about this game: One of the symbols is a bicycle, and one of the items printed on the cards was “bicycle” — seems kind of unfair.

Other suggestions, such as book titles and common phrases, gave us a reaction of “there’s no way I can do this!” But when I pointed one example out, other players replied with, “but you can take this card and this one and do this…” So, maybe, we truly are only limited by our own imaginations.

Both Imagine and the Cat Game turn out to be surprisingly challenging versions of the guess-the-drawing party game, and judging by play at holiday gatherings so far, quite fun.

Consider any of the diversions above for Christmas gifts, or just to bring to the party.

*(This is not an endorsement of any particular store, just letting you know that such games can be found at the “big box” retailers, as well as game shops.)

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The movie-themed game for everyone

With Christmas gift shopping hitting its peak, we’re providing some reviews of games we’ve discovered.
Double Feature game
By Wendy Carson

“Double Feature” is THE must-have game for any party or gathering.

While many movie games require you to know specific details and trivia of films, all you need here is to be able to name the title of a movie that has two items in common. Even if you haven’t seen many movies, you can still play along.

The rules are very basic: You have seven sets of cards representing different categories: PROP, LOCATION, CHARACTER, SCENE, a THEME or GENRE, SETTING, and PRODUCTION. Two different category cards are then turned over, and the first player to name a movie that contains both of the listed elements wins a card. Another card is played to replace the awarded one and the game continues.

An example of game play would be: CHARACTER, “Lions, Tigers or Bears,” and PRODUCTION, “Musical” – answers can range from “The Lion King” to “The Wizard of Oz,” or you could argue the film of “Les Miserables” for the sung line “…the tigers come at night…”

What makes this game such a hit is that you can’t help but participate. Every time I have played it, someone always says they “just want to watch,” and they always end up playing along. In fact, I have seen people just walking past the table during a game who have jumped in and played as well. Even the most game-averse people have enjoyed playing. Also, I have never seen this game not continue until all of the cards were used.

Plus, it is easy to understand and fun for young or old alike. Once you play it, you will have to get your own copy so that it’s always available to enliven any gathering. If you give this game as a gift, don’t be surprised if you end up playing it through at least once before you are finished unwrapping the other gifts.

Published by Renegade Game Studios, “Double Feature” is available at game shops and major retailers. For information, see www.renegadegamestudios.com.