Alright Holidazed Jet-setters… and you too, Stay-cationers, here are two great games everyone can play AND have the bonus features of being compact, which = super travel-friendly AND work directionality and executive function facets of the brain. Yes, these two games have therapeutic benefits for kiddos and adults alike who are directionally challenged and have trouble sequencing. Do Maki and I treat you guys like gold or what?!
Left, Center, Right
The first game is Left, Center, Right. This game is fast paced and ever-evolving. It works directionality, adaptability and attention. At first, when you open the game’s packaging (often times, a small plastic tube, unless you get the special tin box) you see immediately that this game is going to be simple,
there just aren’t that many components. It has 24 chips, which act as the games currency (like poker chips) and three dice. Each dice is marked with the following letters on 3 sides of the dice, L (left), R (right), C (center). The other 3 sides of each die is marked with dots. The dots represent a status quo (you get to keep your chips).
To begin the game, each player gets 3 chips, the remaining chips are left in a pot in the center of the game play space. The youngest player goes first and rolls the 3 dice. Each chip the player has to begin with (3 chips) corresponds to the three dice the player has rolled. Depending upon the results of that roll, the player passes a chip either to the left, to the right or to the center pot. If any dots are rolled, the player retains a chip for that die.
The next player to the left then rolls the 3 dice, one die for each chip they possess, up to three chips (more chips will be accumulated as the game progresses but fate of only 3 chips will be determined by the roll of the 3 dice). This player then passes chips as directed by the roll.
If the player has less than three chips, they can only roll as many dice as they have chips. If a player runs out of chips, they are temporarily out of the game. But fear NOT, even thought a player that has no chips does NOT roll there is an opportunity waiting to happen that will get them back in the game. Here is the ever-evolving whose in whose out aspect of the game– Should the person to either side of the empty handed player be required to pass them a chip, then they are back in play and have a chance to win the game.
The rolls keep passing from player to player around the table until only one player has chips. The last person with chips wins the game. Woot!
The second game, Fluxx, will be introduced by my partner in crime here at ETM. Take it away Maki!
Fluxx is a card game where the rules and victory condition keep changing. You start with a hand of three cards, and a Basic Rule Card: Draw One Card, Play One Card.
There are four types of cards to play. Rule cards change or add to the rule. Goal cards define the victory condition. Action cards force all or some players to do something, like trade hands. Keeper cards you place in front of you to meet the victory condition. For example, a Goal card might say “Chocolate milk.” A player with the combination of Chocolate and Milk Keeper cards win the game.
What makes the game fun is how quickly rules and goals can change. You might find yourself with eight cards in your hand, with a wealth of Keeper cards to choose from, but then someone plays a “Give up all but 1 card in your hand” Action card and find your options greatly reduced. Or you’re about to throw down the second Keeper card required to win, then the person next to you decides to use the “Reverse direction” Action card, and the goal changes while you wait for your turn again.
There is very little learning curb because you simply follow the rules laid down by Rule cards. Fluxx supports two to six players, and I recommend playing with at least four players. More players add to the unpredictability of the game. It’s probably best to play as a family, since Rule cards can sometimes stack on top of another to make them more challenging to decipher.
I hope the two games we’ve introduced here will make great vacation companions!