Highlights October 2020

Family Game Night: Best Games to Play in October

What better time to kick off a new monthly Family Game Night feature than with board games that go bump in the night and are guaranteed to delight and give a cool October-Halloween fright.

Mystic Market: Do you believe in magic? ThinkFun does and introduces Mystic Market, an easy to pick up, fast paced card game where you take on the role of a magician, buying and selling potion making ingredients. Set in a magical market, the goal of the game is simple. 2 to 4 players compete to buy and sell ingredients to earn coins. The person with the most coins at the end of the game, wins.

Players take turns buying different ingredient cards in an effort to make complete sets. Once you have a set, sell it to get coins to buy more ingredients to continue making more sets. As ingredient cards are played, new ones come in to play. What makes this fun is the constantly changing values of ingredients which shake up the game.

Each ingredient starts with a set value. And either through shift cards or trading in ingredients, those value constant change. What may have just been valued low could suddenly be set to the max value, increasing the cost of an ingredient, but also making sets worth more. Or less, depending on where ingredient values land.

As the game is about gathering ingredients for potions, potions can be crafted during a players turn. Different potions have different effects, all which can be used to your advantage.

For us as a family, we’re huge fans of all things magical. And for us, this game is one of the most fun ones we’ve played in a long while. The constantly changing values help you strategize your next move. Where the person you’re playing may think they’ll suddenly get a lot of coins, a quick value shift can turn the game around completely. And the fast nature of the game makes it easy to complete a game in a short amount of time, where before you know it, you’ll have played several rounds without realizing where the time went. Mystic Manor comes highly recommended.

Mystic Manor is available now and retails for $19.99. It’s recommended for 2-4 players ages 10+. For more on Mystic Manor, click here.

Escape the Room: The Cursed Dollhouse: Escape rooms are a lot of fun to do. Working as a team solving puzzles, finding clues, all in an effort to make your way out. Replicating this experience at home may not seem like the easiest thing to do, but ThinkFun has found a way to bring the fun of an escape room to everyone’s living room. The latest in their line of Escape the Room games is The Cursed Dollhouse, and it’s their most immersive experience ever.

As the fun of an escape room is discovering the secrets within, we’ll go easy on the details. What we will say is that with The Cursed Dollhouse, you build a three-dimensional house with five you need to investigate. Each room has different challenges and puzzles you need to solve in order to move on to the next room.

And this escape room is a lot of fun. The story grips you from the very beginning and constantly challenges you in the best possible ways. Think outside the box, look at things upside down and in reverse. With a variety of different puzzles and a range of types of solutions, The Cursed Dollhouse will keep you on your toes. But don’t worry if you get stuck, as ThinkFun has hints available online. Recommended for ages 13+, 1 to 4 players, this is perfect event night for the Halloween season.

Escape the Room: The Cursed Dollhouse is available exclusively from Amazon for $42.99. Learn more here.

Hocus Pocus: The Game: Rounding out a delightful trio of games comes Hocus Pocus from Ravensburger. Based on the beloved Disney movie, Hocus Pocus challenges you to stun the Sanderson sisters, a group of witches back from the dead, before the sun rises.

2 to 6 players are challenged to work together placing ingredients in a cauldron in an effort to keep the Sanderson sisters from creating their potion and sucking the lives from the kids in Salem. Win, and you and your team will stop the Sanderson sisters for good. But you only have one night to do this, and it’s a race to the end before the sun rises.

Players take turns gathering and placing ingredients in a cauldron. When five ingredients of the same color or type are in the cauldron, a witch is stunned and the sun moves one step closer to rising. If a witch is stunned three times, the sun rises and the players win with the witches being defeated. However, run out of ingredients before the sun rises, and the players lose.

Making things a little more challenging are the spells. After all, what good is a witch if there aren’t any spells? Spells are played when a player can’t play an ingredient or when an ingredient shows the Spell Book. Spells throw a fun little wrinkle into the best laid plans and help keeps players on their toes, never knowing what may be coming next.

And there’s where the fun lies in this game. With enough clever ways to change the game up, this is a game you’ll keep wanting to come back to. Appropriate for ages 8+, Hocus Pocus is the perfect Halloween game to play as a family during the witching season.

Hocus Pocus is available now and retails for $24.99. Learn more here.

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