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Top 5 New Board Games of 2021

Best Board Games of 2021!

This last year has been full of surprises! The biggest surprise was just how much time we would be spending at home and with our families. You have probably been thinking of some fun ways to keep your kids entertained. Besides some fun scavenger hunts, or other indoor or outdoor games, let me suggest a couple of new board games for you and your family to try! There are a ton of board games out there, and knowing which ones will be a hit can be a gamble. Luckily, my friends and I have tried a ton of games released in 2021 and made a list of our favorites!

#5: Juicy Fruits

Juicy Fruits Board Game Box

Number five on my list of top board games from 2021 is the game Juicy Fruits. This game has a lot of moving parts, so you might have to play it a couple of times to get all the rules down. In this game, each player has their own Tropical Island to capitalize on. Each Island has fruits they can harvest to then use as a resource to gain points. There are multiple strategies to winning, but first you have to clear space on your board by filling orders on boats. Each boat order gives you points, so even clearing your board is one way to win!

Opposite of clearing you board is filling your board. Each player has their own Island, but there is a shared “Market” where you can buy vacation attractions, food booths, or other fruit baskets. Any attractions you buy are placed on your board and cannot be moved from their spot. This can make fruit harvesting a challenge, due to the games unique fruit sliding mechanic. Another way to win is to buy the moving food booths. These can be a great way to make lots of points quickly, but be careful of competition! Another island with a food booth could get all the points first!

Overall, this game is pretty fast moving and not too competitive! You spend all of your time and attention on your own island, so there isn’t much island to island competition. Because the turns can be pretty fast, unless you have planned ahead, your turn might come quicker than you expected and slow you down. Juicy Fruits is also only a four player game. Many families do not fit in that box and you might have just a few too many players in your family group. This one gets an 8/10 from me for its pure fun! I think the brightly colored and fun shaped fruit pieces really make the game, and as your family gets more advanced, there is an optional “Juicing Station” with lots of fun features.

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Capstone Games Juicy Fruits
  • A part of Capstone's new Family Brand
  • Quick and simple gameplay with remarkable depth
  • Utilizes a clever and unique sliding mechanic

#4: Tiny Epic Pirates

Tiny Epic Pirates game pieces

Do you like Pirate games? I have an uncle who collects them and we have reviewed some pretty awesome Pirate board games in the past! Since this is a 2021 game, it is brand new and freshly printed!

Tiny Epic Pirates was easily my favorite, but I cant quite give it the number one spot. This game is part of a series of games. Ever heard of Tiny Epic Zombies, Dinosaurs, Galaxies? If not, I highly suggest you look into these gems as well. Tiny Epic Pirates is called Tiny & Epic for good reason. When my copy came in the mail I was shocked at the tiny box size! Even better than the box size were the tiny Pirate Ships! I have a soft spot for small things and this one called my name!

You play as a pirate! (Obvious I know.) You take your ship and pillage, fight, recruit crewmates, hideout in secret coves, and bury treasure! Each player, hereto referred to as “pirate”, starts with a captain card with a special ability and a helm card. The rules can be tricky to explain and trickier to understand, but it basically works like this: Plunder Booty from islands or from sinking merchant ships, then sell that Booty for doubloons. once you reach 12 or 13 doubloons, you have to sail to an island and bury your treasure! The game ends when the first person buries their third treasure chest.

If you love pirates, doubloons, and tiny ships, this game is definitely worth a try! When playing, I found a couple of weird rules I wasn’t crazy about, but the reason Tiny Epic Pirates doesn’t take first place is because of its difficulty. This is not a game for small kids. Even tweens might struggle. The rulebook is quite lengthy, and there are some features of this game that feel overly complicated. All that being said, this was my personal favorite and I give it a 9/10 fun rating! If you have some real board game nerds in your family and feel up to the challenge, pop Tiny Epic Pirates into your Amazon cart next time you’re looking for something interesting!

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Gamelyn Tiny Epic Pirate Board Game - Notorious Pirate Ship Board Games, Strategic Board Games for Adults, With Rulebook, 210 Game Pieces, and 7 Ships
  • UNIQUE PIRATE GAME - Sailing a pirate ship is an adventure in and of itself, but it's just one possible...
  • REAL PLUNDERING EXPERIENCE - The popular board games offers plundering in a great way to acquire goods...
  • HIGH-END TRADING - Gamelyn's risk board game features a Black Market, which is the one place in pirate...

#3: MicroMacro Crime City

MicroMacro Crime City ranked best board game of 2021

MicrroMacro’s Crime City is one of the most surprising board games I have ever played! Crime City was created in Germany and won the most prestigious board game in the world, the Kinderspiel des Jahres award for 2021. In the board game community, that means this thing is kind of a big deal. Since winning the award, this game has been sold out all over the world. They printed more copies in September, but they were sold out in a week!

So, what makes it so great? Crime City is essentially clue and Where’s Waldo smashed together. The box comes with a 75cm x 110cm map of “Crime City.” Rightfully named, the map is covered in cartooned crimes to be solved. The characters on the map mostly resemble animals or blob shapes with bodies. The black and white cartoon nature means there are no explicit images, but there are some adult themes. Luckily, the creators of Crime City have a clear rating system on each case.

The game comes with 16 cases to be solved. Cases range from 6 to 15 cards, each asking for a new piece of the investigation. On the front card of each case, there is a title, a game length, a star difficulty rating and an icon with its rating. The instruction manual describes these ranks as either, “Accidents” or “Adult themed Crimes”. The handbook expressly recommends parents play through any adult ranked crimes to determine their playability for their children.

As a young adult, I think the couple of cases I have played through have been a ton of fun! Some are really challenging, but everyone has something to do! This game really is addicting, and MicroMacro knew what they were doing buy only having 15 cases to solve. Although there is a lot of variety in the cases, there isn’t much replayability. Which means you kind of have to stretch out the cases unless you rush out and buy the expansions.

My only other complaint is the map. It is so big, and its only glossy paper. Unless you have a large flat game-space, this thing is going on the floor. And, because everyone is leaning over the map to find the clues, wrinkles and creases are inevitable. Because it is black and white stains or spots might become a problem. Despite these shortcomings, I give it a 10/10 fun rating! There are so many surprises and the hunt for the crime is so thrilling! If you are okay with getting an expansion once a year, I highly recommend MicroMacro Crime City! And, if I haven’t convinced you, MicroMacro has a playable demo on their website here!

Pegasus Spiele 59060E - MicroMacro: Crime City
  • Together, the players solve 16 tricky criminal cases by determining motives, finding evidence and...
  • Deductive talent is important in order to unravel everything riddle
  • 75 x 110 cm large game board

#2: Bristol 1350

Bristol 1350 Board game pieces: picture includes the Patreon expansion

Bristol 1350 is the fourth and newest board game from Facade Games. Each game comes in a nifty Book box, and has delicate stylish pieces. Each game is historically themed, including Salem, Tortuga, and Deadwood. Bristol 1350 is themed after the Black Plague in England. It might seem a little dark, but it is actually a seriously fun party game! Unlike all the other games on this list, Bristol 1350 is a 9 player game. I’ve played this with 3 people, 4 people, and 7 people. Seven was easily the most fun!

Each player chooses a color peg. Then the each peg is placed inside one of three colored carts. Each round, 6 dice are rolled. The color on the dice represents how many spaces that colored cart can move. The symbol, either a rat or an apple, represents whether or not you have to “mingle.” This gets into the main theme of the game: get past the finish-line and don’t catch the plague! You also can’t have any infected people in your cart either. The whole game is a matter of avoiding the sick, and moving your cart.

Well, what happens when you get sick? That might just be the best part! In Bristol 1350, when you get sick, your win scenario changes. Now, you win when you infect everybody or if you cross the finish-line and make an noninfected person.

It’s a game of poker facing and sabotage. Its fight for yourself until you get sick, then its fight to destroy everyone else. I give this about a 5/10 for four or less players, but a 10/10 fun rating with six or more! I don’t have enough friends to play a 9 player game, but I bet anything it would be a ton of fun! It is very stylistic, and the rules are simple. The game is fast paced, and can be extended if you wanted longer play. But the coolest bonus: the awesome Book Box makes it great for storage.

Bristol 1350 Board Game of Strategy, Deceit, and Luck for 1-9 Players
  • Bristol 1350: The dreaded Black Death has descended upon Bristol and you need to escape! To win, be on...
  • Solo & party game modes: Bristol 1350 is a light strategy and social deduction game for 1-9 players ages...
  • Contents: 1 magnetic book box, 9 character cards, 27 remedy cards, 28 symptom cards, 3 miniature carts, 1...

#1: Happy Little Dinosaurs

Happy Little Dinosaurs board and piece set

Just by looking at the picture of Happy Little Dinosaurs, you can probably sense something familiar. This is one of many games made by Unstable Unicorns, most famously known for their games Unstable Unicorns, Here to Slay, and Llamas Unleashed. Their art style is known as the brand Tee Turtle. They make lots of quirky adorable tee shirts.

The cards have the same adorable and quirky descriptions, and the player boards are to die for cute. Although this is only a four player game, it is the shortest game on the list. My family could go three or four rounds of this and still have a great time! Similar to the play style of other board games like Exploding kittens, your goal is to avoid your own destruction, foil your opponents plans, and get the most points.

The winner is either, the first player to reach 50 points, or the last player left alive. When you near the end of the game, the tension ramps up, and you can smell blood in the water. That is when you pull out all the stops, play all your meanest cards, and force someone out of the game. Be sure to play nicely! Or your family might not want to play with you again.

This game is quick, lighthearted, cute, great for all ages, and affordable. You can pick this up at your local Target! No need to search board game stores or look online. You can grab this next time you stock up on toilet paper! This gets a 10/10 fun rating, and a 5 star review.

Happy Little Dinosaurs Base Game
  • Lately, it feels like we’re all just dinosaurs trying to avoid the falling meteors.
  • In this 2-4 player game, you’ll try to dodge all of life’s little disasters while tuning out your...
  • Happy Little Dinosaurs takes 30-60 minutes to play and is for 2-4 players. It is recommended for ages 8+.

The Verdict:

So, if you are wondering what your next Christmas family board game should be, I hope you will consider one of the five above! They are fresh, unique, and fun in their own ways. Every game on this list has brought smiles to my family and friends faces! These are the best from this year, and they get the official FunAttic stamp of approval!

7 Board Marble Games

Do you feel like you’ve lost your marbles as of late? Have you sat around feeling bored and wondering what could possibly keep you entertained while challenging our brain at the same time? Perhaps you’ve lost your marbles over the fact that your kids are equally as bored and in need of something to do. Luckily, you can get your marbles back with the help of 7 board games with marbles.

Board marble games are a fun way to pass the time. You can play board games no matter the weather outside, and some board games you can choose to play by yourself or with someone else. The list of board games below can help you choose those that best suit you whether you are looking for a game for you or perhaps your children.

1. Solitaire

Marble Solitaire - Made in USA
  • Board measures 8-1/2" in diameter.
  • Made from solid cherry wood.
  • Each game is finished with a clear non-toxic finish for long lasting durability.

Pass the time away with this single player board game featuring a round wooden board with 37 round grooves and 36 marbles. The goal of Marble Solitaire is to clear all but one of the marbles off the board by jumping one space over a marble using another marble. While that might sound relatively simple, directional movement limitations make this game both fun and challenging at the same time. For an entertaining brain teaser, this marble board game is highly recommended for one person looking to pass the time.Enter your text here…

2. Aggravation

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Aggravation
  • WHATS IN A NAME: Aggravation, comes from capturing an opponent's piece by landing on their space, known...
  • THE OBJECT: Two to six players compete in this classic game of race around the board from base to home....
  • THE PLAY: Take shortcuts to “zip” ahead. Or, try the super shortcut and shoot across the board! There...

Aggravation is a classic marble board game that was first introduced in 1962. The game is fun for 2 people or an entire family of 6. Aggravation challenges players to move their marbles around the board from their base positions to the home area. The first player to get all of their marbles to the home area wins the game. Keep in mind that challenging players can capture your marbles, which makes this a challenging, competitive, and fun game to play.

3. Chinese Checkers

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Wooden Chinese Checkers - Traditional Strategy Board Game with Set of 60 Colorful Marbles - Classic Puzzle Toys & Table Games for Family, Adults, Kids, & Seniors
  • SECOND TO NONE QUALITY: Our Chinese Checkers board is made from Natural Wood and sports an 11.5"...
  • SECOND TO NONE QUALITY: Our Chinese Checkers board is made from Natural Wood and sports an 11.5"...
  • A RAINBOW CONNECTION: Playset comes with 60 wooden marbles in six distinct and brilliant colors

Of the 7 board games with marbles found on this list, Chinese Checkers is perhaps one of the most well-known. The game offers a natural wooden board that is 11.5 inches in diameter and 60 wooden marbles in 6 different colors, including red, green, white, black, blue, and yellow. Chinese Checkers provides fun and challenging play for up to 6 players, a player for each set of colored marbles. The goal of the game is to move your colored marbles across the board to the adjacent triangle. 

You can move your marbles in any direction you would like, but you can only “hop” one space to an empty adjacent space. You are allowed to hop over the marbles belonging to other players as long as there is an empty space just beyond where their marble sits. Keep in mind that you are not allowed to jump over more than one marble at a time. All-in-all, this class marble game can provide hours of intellectual challenges and entertainment.

4. Mancala

Classic Mancala Game
  • Great game For Counting and Strategy
  • Challenging but simple game for adults and children
  • Wood board unfolds to 5-1/4” x 17-3/4”with storage sleeve

Mancala is yet another classic, yet well-loved, well-received game. The game is played on a wooden folding board with 48 beautiful glass gemstones or slightly flattened marbles. The game encourages strategic and fun gameplay among 2 players. To play, place the board long ways in front of you. You should have 6 holes on your side of the board and 6 holes on your opponent’s side of the board. Take the 48 marbles you have and place 4 in each of the empty holes.

The goal is to move your marbles in a counter-clockwise direction. You grab all of the marbles at once but you are only allowed to drop one at a time into the hole next to your gems. The first player to get rid of all of his or her marbles wins the game. In other words, losing your marbles in this instance is a good thing.

5. Hungry Hungry Hippos

Hungry Hungry Hippos
  • Classic Hungry Hippos game has 4 hippo heads and bodies plus marbles for them to chomp
  • 20 marbles included
  • One golden marble, cleanup is a snap with the marble and hippo storage

Most of the other board games mentioned above are for older children and adults. Young children might find the brain-teasing, mentally challenging games above too difficult for their liking. Fortunately, Hungry, Hungry Hippos is the perfect game for young crowds. The goal of this game is to get your designated hippo to swallow as many marbles as possible. Whoever manages to get their hippo to swallow the most marbles wins the game.

Hungry, Hungry Hippos supports up to four players. Each player chooses their designated hippo and the 20 small marbles are placed in the middle of the board. Players then send their hippos into a feeding frenzy in order to swallow as many marbles as possible. This game is great for groups of young children or even a fun, family-friendly game night.

6. Ker Plunk

Kerplunk Classic Kids Game with Marbles, Sticks and Game Unit, Easy-to-Learn, Makes a Great Gift for 5 Year Olds and Up
  • Ker Plunk! is a blast from the past with a cool look and attitude!
  • Create a "lattice" of sticks midway through the translucent tube and place the marbles on top; players...
  • Players take turns removing sticks while trying to prevent the marbles from dropping through.

For over 35 years, Mattel has used a combination of marbles and strategy to create a fun game known as Ker Plunk. In order to play, players must push 30 of the included thin sticks through the small holes in the middle of a plastic tube. You must then pour the 32 included marbles on top of the sticks. Players take turns removing sticks one at a time, but you must do so carefully. The player who causes the marbles to fall to the bottom loses the game. This blast from the past is a fun game to play for 2-4 players.

7. Screwball Scramble

TOMY Screwball Scramble Games for Kids
  • EASY TO SET UP: This maze game for kids is easy to set up but not easy to master
  • MANEUVER YOUR MARBLE: Use skills and hand-eye coordination to guide your marble through the crazy...
  • BEAT THE CLOCK: Challenge yourself to beat the clock on this time game or challenge a friend to see...

Screwball Scramble might be an older marble game, but it is still a goodie. This fun game encourages young players between the ages of 5 and 10 to race against the cock as they scramble to get their marble through a maze of obstacles. From a moving platform to jumping through hoops, this game can provide hours of entertainment with just one marble and some careful thought process. The game is just challenging enough to be fun and yet simple enough that young children will enjoy it, too.

Fun Facts About Board Marble Games

Marbles have a long history of use for fun. The first traces date back around 1588 according to TIME Magazine. One notable location where marbles have been used for centuries is Tinsley Green, West Sussex, England.

Ever since 1932, the British and World Marbles Championship have been held at Tinsley Green on an annual basis. The first championship in 1932 was won by a team from the Black Horse public house in nearby Charlwood. As history went on, the marbles playing season would go on from Ash Wednesday to Good Friday. As you can imagine, people back then were very superstitious. It was thought that playing after Good Friday would bring bad luck.

Professional marble players around the world often tend to collect several types of marbles of different shapes, sizes, and textures. Many people look forward to purchasing scarce marbles from known artisans and producers. A marble’s worth is primarily determined by the type, size, condition, and visual appeal, coupled with the law of supply and demand. Ironically, some ugly but rare marbles are also high on the asking price range. But you should know that this is rather an exception than a rule.

As you can imagine, marbles today are rarely made by hand. That’s why the artisan-made ones are so much more valuable as a rule of thumb. But in the older days, marbles were made mostly by hand, the most valuable ones being produced with stone or ivory. You could also find the more common clay, pottery, ceramic, or porcelain marbles that were made by rolling up the material into a ball and letting it dry over a fire. Either way, it’s outstanding to think about how much a little ball can be worth in today’s currency. For something so simple, marbles are really unique.

Verdict

The list above provides you with some of the most entertaining board games played with marbles that there are. Luckily, you can now use one of the games mentioned to prevent you from losing your own marbles. You can keep yourself, your family, and your children entertained for hours with any one of the games mentioned above.

Featured image via Unsplash