Thames & Kosmos Games – Skill Building Fun for the Whole Family
Thames & Kosmos is one of our favorite makers of educational toys and science activity kits. Some of their bestselling and favorite educational toys include Happy Atoms, Magic Kits, Chemistry sets and many more, some of which have been featured in blogs before. Thames & Kosmos doesn’t just make educational toys, they also make quite a few board games that are fun for the whole family and also help with learning, imagination and problem solving. In short, Thames & Kosmos games are a great option for family game night and your kids will develop some great skills while playing.
For straight up puzzle solving games, there are a couple of really cool options. Both of these games are for one to four players, so if you live alone or have a small family, finding people to play with is not a problem. The first game is called Ubongo – Sprint which is a puzzle game very similar to Tetris so it’s a perfect alternative if you want to limit screen time but let your kids experience something like Tetris and play puzzle games. The next game, Dimension, is very similar in concept except that instead of matching with shapes, you use colored spheres and have to stack and configure the spheres by color. Dimension was reviewed at Gen Con in 2015 and you can watch that video to see how fun the gameplay is.
Both of these games operate on very similar mechanics, you get cards that basically dictate the rules you need to follow to solve the puzzle and win a particular puzzle and they both also use a timer to add some competitive tension. Whoever solves the puzzle first and within the time limit wins that round. While these games are great for solo play, playing with a couple other players will definitely add to the fun as you race against the clock.
Next up is a really great game, especially if you like Pictionary and are terrible at drawing. If you’re also terrible at sculpting, don’t worry, just like Pictionary, everyone else will probably be in the same boat! Dohdles! is a game designed by Klaus Teuber the renowned creator of the popular Catan game series, but in Dohdles! all the players create things from clay and each player asks questions and has to guess what each player made. Reviewers describe it as similar to Cranium or Dixit and the challenge isn’t just in guessing what people made, but also making something that isn’t too easy or too hard to guess. The game includes questions that are akin to Charades and it seems that they can give up to four answers to the guesses other players make. This game is not only great fun as a party game due to its competitive and creative nature, but it will also help children in communicating and asking questions to a targeted answer. Great fun and skill building all around, and it would be a fun party game if you have a bunch of friends over.
While the previous games are perfect for all ages and appear to be really friendly towards children of a certain age, Thames & Kosmos also makes some games that will be fun for older children, teenagers and even adults. The first is a very strategy-heavy game for two players called The Rose King. Rose King is based loosely upon the historical War of the Roses which was essentially a series of civil wars to decide the ruler of England. The Rose King has each player acquiring, reacquiring and controlling territory with the use of strategy and gameplay cards to win and outmaneuver the other player. At first glance it looks reminiscent of a more complex version of checkers with elements of chess, Othello and other games. One reviewer thought that the game felt different with each playing, so perhaps that might enhance replayability. It’s pretty affordable, so if you have a close friend or two who are looking for an interesting game to play, while you chat at the pub or coffee shop, this would be a fun option.
Lastly, a perfect game for a teenager –and actually several teenagers – if they’re into fantasy like Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones or D&D, Legends of Andor is a game set in a fantasy world. It boasts a really large looking board and a lot of pieces made out to look like standard character hero archetypes you’d expect in a fantasy setting, although they have a lot of original monsters. The game is somewhat reminiscent of some really cool 90’s board games, specifically Hero Quest, Battle Masters and Key to the Kingdom, but with a completely different style of play. Characters level up along the quest and as you progress different challenges and skills can be unlocked making it seem reminiscent of an RPG videogame like Final Fantasy, again without the screen time. If somehow you manage to play the heck out of the first game and want more, like with Hero Quest of the 90’s you can also pick up expansion packs like Star Shield, Journey to the North and New Heroes which enhance playing options. Overall, it looks like a really fun fantasy game with a lot of playability.
These days there are so many cool board games that really bring a new level to board games and there are approximately 5 million on Kickstarter with a hundred new ones every day that you just don’t know if they’ll see the light of day. Thames & Kosmos, on the other hand, has some really simple and fun games at reasonable prices ready to go now. If you’re looking for some fun and innovative games to liven up family game night or parties, these are some really fun options.