This year it’s money in the bank as you slam dunk your family’s Christmas gifts.
2K has you covered this Christmas with their flagship video game titles NBA® 2K18 and WWE® 2K18. Whether it’s wrestling over the remote or being coached by Mum on the British Monarchy, the gaming giant has the solution to all of your Christmas conundrums.
The highest rated annual sports title of this console generation is back with NBA 2K18, continuing the franchise’s tradition as the gold standard of basketball simulation with unrivalled realism and true NBA gameplay.
Shape your MyPLAYER and write your own narrative in an all-new open neighbourhood setting and much more in the perfect game to jump shot your way through Christmas.
Developed by Visual Concepts, NBA 2K18, rated PEGI 3, is available on PlayStation®4 and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, Xbox One, XBOX360, Windows and Switch.
The game is fronted by the NBA legend, Kyrie Irving – a.k.a The Ankletaker.
Available from: GAME stores RRP: PS4 & Xbox One £49.99 Standard Edition, £84.99 Legend Edition
Bored of family guests that outstay their welcome? Fed up of listening to your Dad question what you’re doing with your life? Want to take out your frustration but can’t be bothered to leave the sofa? WWE 2K18, the forthcoming release of the biggest video game franchise in WWE history, is here to let you lay SmackDown on all those Christmas annoyances.
Packed with new game modes, additional match types and even deeper creation capability, the latest iteration of the flagship WWE video game franchise promises to bring you closer to the ring ever before. You’ll be able to enjoy hard-hitting action, stunning graphics, drama and excitement alongside everything you’ve come to love from WWE 2K.
Available on PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One and Switch, the game is fronted by Seth Rollins, the former WWE Champion, United States Champion, WWE Tag Team Champion and “Mr Money in the Bank®.
Developed collaboratively by Yuke’s and Visual Concepts, a 2K studio, WWE 2K18 is provisionally rated PEGI 16.
Available from: Amazon.co.uk
RRP: PS4 & Xbox One £49.99 Standard Edition
I have one copy each of the WWE video game WWE 2K18 and NBA 2K18 to give away to one lucky winner on the platform of their choice (Xbox One or PS4).
Entry is via the Rafflecopter below and terms and conditions apply which you can find on my giveaways page.
UK entrants only and the giveaway ends at 11:59 pm on Friday 15th December.
There’s nothing some kids (and grownups!) like better than a game with a hefty amount of ‘ick’ and grossness and I have a game to give away that will really fit the bill, particularly with Christmas on the horizon.
SNOTCHA! is a grossly entertaining game from Drumond Park (rrp £24.99 for age 5+ – 2-4 players). It’s a sneeze spraying game which will get you all moving one way or another.
Each intrepid player takes a turn to get face to face with Snotcha (lean in close!) and spin the spinner to see how many times to push down on the top of his nose. With every slow, complete (no cheating, now!) push it’s time to see if he can hold in his snotty sneeze or not … And of course the big question is, will he sneeze AT’CHOO?
The tension rises as the ‘sneeze’ pressurises with every press, accompanied by excited squeals and giggles! Phew … you’ve stayed dry this time … or maybe not – AAAHHH CHOOO! He’s got you! Ewww that is a super wet sneeze! And you’re out of the game this time round.
Play continues with the remaining players taking their turns to spin the spinner and push down on Snotcha, until just one player is left. And that extremely lucky person, who’s managed to avoid being sneezed on right through the round, is the undisputed WINNER!
You might recently have seen ITV This Morning’s Ruth and Eamonn playing Giant Pass the Pigs and, in case you’re wondering what they were doing, Pass The Pigs is a classic family dice game which will keep everyone entertained both inside and out, no matter what the weather.
The game is really easy to play. Simply throw the 2 piggies up in the air and see how they land. Compare the pigs landing positions with your scorecard and earn points, the first to 100 wins. Each landing position is given a funny name and awards a set number of points – so a pig with all its legs in the air is a Razorback (5 points) and if it lands on its backside it’s a Rumper (15 points).
The Pass The Pigs Travel Game
A game of skill for 2 to 6 players suitable for aged three and above, it comes with a handy carry case, 2 pencils, 2 pigs and a pocket-sized scorecard. It is ideal for taking on holiday as the Pass the Pigs game comes in a handy travel case. It is available to buy online, from Amazon and all good toy retailers.
Giant Pass the Pigs
This is a super-sized version of the game which is perfect for parties. These giant inflatable pigs can bounce around the garden, house, beach or even the pool. Inflate your pair of porkers, throw them and see how they land. Will you get a Leaning Jowler, a Mixed Combo or will you Pig Out? It is suitable for aged three and above and available to buy from online, good toy retailers and Amazon.
Caitlin and Ieuan quickly got to grips with the game and loved the giant version. It takes you a while to match the pigs’ positions with the scorecard so you will need a strong referee (the ‘Swineherd’) to adjudicate and stop the fights! You’ll also need a bit of puff to inflate the giant pigs! We’ll be taking the travel version with us in a couple of weeks when we head back to Devon as the sun seems to have vanished since the kids broke up from school!
Let’s be honest. There’s nothing like a game involving general bodily rudeness to capture the imagination of youngsters (and many adults) and we’ve been sent just such a game to review by Drumond Park Games.
The electronic Og on the Bog (rrp £24.99), age 5+ for 2-4 players) is truly hilarious and takes revolting games to completely new heights with its outrageous brand of gross and disgusting toilet humour.
This may well be an acquired taste but my two found it very funny indeed. Og on the Bog is simple but appeals to a vast range of youngsters up to the age of 11 and beyond.
The aim of the game is to steal Og’s loo rolls and leave him stranded on the loo. Players take turns on the spinner to see if they can sneak a loo roll of its pole.
If your hands are unsteady, however, you’ll disturb Og who will fart loudly and scare them away!
As play proceeds anticipation and excitement build because if Og does a truly humungous, explosive fart, he blows his Bog apart!
To play you set up Og and his bog in the centre of the table. Each player is given a loo roll to start them off and the youngest player spins the tree stump spinner.
A red cross means you’ve made a noise and it’s not safe to tip-toe up to Og’s Bog, so your turn is over and the next player spins.
The hand holding a loo roll means you can pinch a loo roll from any other player!
A green tick means you can stealthily try to steal a loo roll from Og’s loo roll pole… and here’s the tricky part. You have to push down the front step of the bog to see if Og has heard you. If he says anything, he has – and you must run away; your turn is over.
If he grunts or farts he has not heard you – and you can try to lift that loo roll off the pole.
If you twitch it too much, Og will make another noise: if he shouts out something (which could be quite rude!), you must drop the loo roll back on the pole and your turn is over. If he grunts or farts – success! – he did not hear you and you can keep that precious loo roll.
A wobbly hand might just set Og off more than once during your loo-roll-lifting efforts, and the same rules apply; if he shouts, drop it – but if he farts, you’re safe (and I never thought I’d hear myself say that one)!
If Og does a monster fart and his bog explodes during your turn, you have to put two of the loo rolls you’ve already collected back on to the pole and finish your turn, raising the walls of Og’s bog once again so that play can continue.
The winner is the first player to collect three loo rolls if 4 of you are playing, otherwise you have to collect 4 loo rolls each.
You do need to have a steady hand to retrieve the loo rolls and it doesn’t take much for Og’s bog to explode, leaving him sat looking very disgruntled.
The game is just the right level of complexity for Caitlin and Ieuan and an ideal length – we found it lasted around 10-15 minutes which is ideal for their attention span.
It’s also blissfully easy to set up with a well printed set of instructions. There’s nothing worse than a game that takes longer to set up than it does to play (and we’ve had a few!).
I have one copy of Og on the Bog to give away to one lucky winner to test their own loo roll retrieval skills.
Entry is via the Rafflecopter widget and terms and conditions apply (on my competitions page). UK entrants only and the giveaway ends at 11:59 pm on Sunday 23rd April.
There’s nothing like a board game to get the family together on a dreary Sunday afternoon and this one has the added hilarity of snoring sound effects and a sleepy dad who springs to life for the unlucky player.
Drumond Park’s “Sshh! Don’t Wake Dad!” is an electronic game for 2-4 players (age 5+) which challenges the players to tiptoe by a snoring dad to snaffle the chocolate cake. The game requires 2 x AA batteries which are not supplied.
In this Don’t Wake Dad game, each player chooses a pair of slippers to creep by with and is given a selection of cards with household items on.
They move around the board by spinning the spinner and moving to the square of the colour it stops at.
You can also leap ahead of other players or take their cards.
If the player has the card shown on their landing spot they are safe.
If they don’t have the card they have to hit the alarm button on dad’s bed the number of times it says on the square and risk waking him up.
If he wakes you have to start your journey again and if any of the players are on the squares on the bed, they get knocked off and have to start again too.
I played this one with Ieuan (7) who enjoyed it enormously. It’s simple enough to understand easily and has enough of a risk element to add extra fun.
The game is also relatively short (around 10-15 minutes) which is quite long enough for youngsters.
“Sshh! Don’t Wake Dad!” (Don’t Wake Dad game) retails at around £22.99 from stockists such as Amazon.
We’ve reviewed quite a few games now and whilst most of them are entertaining and pass the odd hour as a family, we’ve not found one that challenges the brain cells of kids and adults alike.
Timeline: British History is different. It’s a card game where you have to assess whether one historical event occurred before another and put the cards in the correct chronological order.
The game comes in a brightly coloured tin which is really attractive. I particularly liked that the packaging is marked with symbols showing how many players, the suggested age range of players and the length of time it takes to play (in this case 15 minutes which is ideal for an 8 year old).
The box contains printed instructions and two piles of cards which are shuffled together to make one pack.
Each player is dealt four cards and therefore has four chances to place the events on their cards in the correct order.
Get it right and you have one less card to get rid of – and you’re closer to winning. A wrong decision means you return your card to the pile and take a brand new one.
The game commences with each player laying their four cards face up without looking at the date on the back. The first event is taken off the central pile of remaining cards and each player takes turns to put their card either before or after the events on the table. Cards are then slotted into place as the timeline builds.
The winner is the player who correctly places all four of their cards first.
It’s suitable for 8+ children and I guarantee that it will challenge parents and grandparents too. This gives the game a much more level playing field and the children are less likely to have a major strop because they consider the adults have an unfair advantage.
Let me give you an example. Which came later? The Peasants’ Revolt or Geoffrey Chaucer’s beginning of “The Canterbury Tales”? Answer, the latter in 1387. The Peasants’ Revolt was in 1381.
How about these. Which came later – Isaac Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation or the founding of The Bank of England? Again, the latter. The Bank of England was founded in 1694 and Newton’s law was discovered in 1687.
You can see that these are very challenging for a child as young as 8 but still really interesting and all the more entertaining to find out your mother is pretty useless at guessing!
Timeline:British History retails at around £13.99 which, for a game of this quality, is very good value. My only criticism would be that the playing cards are quite small but on the plus side, the game in its sturdy tin would be great to take on holiday.
I also think it’s the kind of game which will get more interesting the more you play it as you will begin to remember some of the dates of the events and get better at placing – and getting rid of – your four cards quickly.
I played Timeline:British History with Caitlin (8) and her cousin Emily (21) and Caitlin was surprisingly good at it! It’s a great opportunity to talk about historical events and to explain who some of the famous people are. In other words, you could easily use this game as a teaching tool.
We really enjoyed this one and if you’re looking for a game which is slightly more challenging but fun at the same time, I’d recommend Timeline: British History.
*We tested this game in our role at Approved Toy Testers for The Rainbow Toy Awards 2016
As we all know, despite trying very hard to monitor the appearance of all things gross and bottom-related, there’s nothing kids enjoy more, with the exception of making their friends and family even more disgusted. We were delighted, then when we received a Gross Magic Set for the kids to try.
I’ve 2 sets of Gross Magic to give away
Gross Magic by Drumond Park is a highly entertaining magic set with a difference – it’s best not attempted on a full stomach. It’s a set of props to help kids carry out 39 funny magic tricks involving poo, cockroaches, veins, loose teeth and all manner of yuk guaranteed to create shouts of “yuk!”.
The set comes with an informative guide to help kids carry out the tricks. Gross Magic is aimed at kids over 8 and even so, some of the tricks will need an adult to explain how to carry them out. There are a number of small parts in the kit which definitely makes it unsuitable for younger kids – for example, dummy teeth and cockroaches!
The Contents Of The Magic Set
The tricks are split into groups according to the props they use – a dustbin, sponge bogies, veins, bogie paddles and other accessories like the cube and the telepathic brain.
Of the 39 tricks in the instruction booklet, 31 of them need the Gross Magic props but the remaining 8 can be carried out without them using things you may have in the house. The one I like most is pretending you have a toothache and then spitting out tic-tac mints to pretend you’ve lost your pearly whites!
Or, even more revolting, pretend your eye has burst with the aid of one of those little sealed pots of milk some cafes give you for your tea. I won’t break a magician’s confidence but you can probably guess how it’s done.
Gross Magic was just the right level for Caitlin (nearly 9) but there was plenty to keep Ieuan (7) happy – including some disgusting brown slim and pretend veins.
The instruction booklet has some great tips for aspiring magicians (don’t tell everyone how it’s done) so that the tricks can be carried out as professionally as possible.
And with Halloween coming up, Drumond Park’s Gross Magic would be ideal to kick off the party games – adults will enjoy it too – or if you have the stomach for it, the set would certainly make a change from charades at your Christmas party.
I think I may use the Tic Tac trick anyway.
Drumond Park Gross Magic costs around £19.99 and is available from Argos, Tesco, Amazon and major toy stores.
Gobbit is a fast and frantic card game for 2-8 players that demands strong powers of observation, steadfast concentration and the reflexes of a ninja.
It’s like a rather violent game of Snap where the winner is the last player to still have some cards left.
The cards feature four animals in three colours, all of whom eat one another based on their colour and a rigid food chain: the chameleons eat the flies, the snakes eat the chameleons, and the gorilla eats anything.
You take it in turns to reveal the top card in your pile but you need to have your wits about you – slap your animal to defend it from a predator’s attack, or slap your opponent’s animal to ‘eat’ it and claim their pile!
This gets trickier the more players there are because you have to work out where to slap.
Once a player’s lost all their cards, they stay in the game in their new guise as a ghost. This means they can slap any matching pairs they spot between the remaining players. This obviously doesn’t work when there are only two of you playing!
The winner is the one with the most cards at the end of the game.
We played the basic game but as you master the rules of the game, there are several other versions which are more complicated and more challenging – for example “Poltergeist” where if you run out of cards, you can become a poltergeist and attach any cards that form a pair.
Our game also came with a beginners’ wristband in white which allows us to join the Gobbit Federation.
Caitlin and I were the test team as Gobbit is really suitable for kids aged 7 and over. Ieuan still doesn’t have the patience at the moment, although each game of Gobbit can be completed in about 10 minutes.
We did find that it took us quite a while to understand how to play which, for younger kids, might mean they get a little impatient and Gobbit is clearly a game which is more fun with a larger number of players.
It’s also a game that you have to play quite a bit to master
Gobbit, for ages 7+, is priced at £14 and available to buy from www.RulesofPlay.co.uk. Each game also comes with a wristband which permits entry into all Gobbit tournaments taking place in stores throughout the UK.
I think Gobbit is an ideal game to throw in a suitcase to take on holiday with you to keep the kids entertained on rainy afternoons. It would also be a great party game for adults.
I think I’ll be wearing the white wristband for quite a while though!
Hotel Tycoon sees players try to buy and build the best hotels, earn the most money and bankrupt their opponents. And once you’ve secured your land and built your hotel, you can charge players who end up outside your hotel entrance. The more luxurious your hotel, the more money your ‘guest’ has to pay.
The suggested age range for this one is 8+ and we found this to be right as it was a little too complex for Ieuan.
The other thing to bear in mind is that the game takes quite a bit of assembly (at least the first time around) as you have to build the hotels, which are assembled from cardboard cut-outs and add on roofs and bases.
We’d suggest putting the game together and then assembling the family if you are playing with younger children.
Like Monopoly, which I think is this game’s nearest equivalent, Hotel Tycoon needs several plays before you get into the swing of buying your land, applying for planning permission, constructing hotels and nabbing properties off your opponents.
The game certainly has an intellectual element to it which older children will enjoy. Caitlin, for example, loved having money from the bank and quickly understood the concept that the more land and hotels you had, the more likely you were to win.
When it’s time to put the game away, there’s a handy “cheat sheet” which shows you how to place your hotels back in the box without having to deconstruct them.
Hotel Tycoon is the kind of game which takes a good hour or so – it would be ideal on a rainy Christmas afternoon and I think the more you play it, the more you’ll become hooked.
Here’s how it works.
As usual, Caitlin managed to win by dint of buying everything in sight. Ieuan just wanted the “Uptown” hotels to construct his own version of Hogwarts – which is where he is now. Happily playing with all the hotels, building “Ieuan City” and shouting (I kid you not) – “Hurrah, I’m rich!”.
Hotel Tycoon is available from Waterstones at £24.99 and is also available from Amazon.
For a review of two other great Esdevium games, Disney Pictopia and Dobble (and a Dobble giveaway), click here.
*A PR sample was received for the purposes of this review
On a drizzly Sunday afternoon, there’s nothing better than settling round together to play a game or two – and given that we live in Wales, I have to say that’s quite a frequent occurrence.
So, when we were delighted to be sent two new games to play from Asmodee Games.
Dobble is a game of speed, observation and a great test of your reflexes for 2-8 players. Aimed at anyone over the age of 6 years, the game is a race to find the one matching image between one card and another.
There are 55 playing cards, each displaying 8 pictures and there is always a matching picture on any two cards. The images may be different sizes and placed on any part of the card, making them difficult to spot. Every card is unique and has only one picture in common with every other card in the deck.
Can You Spot The Matching Symbol – Say Cheese!
There are 5 mini games: Fill the Well, The Towering Inferno, Hot Potato, Catch them all & The Poisoned Gift
The cards come in a sturdy tin and are fairly small making this an ideal game to take on holiday.
The Husband is wearing his “I’m going to win this hands down” expression
How to play
We tried the first of the mini-games – The Towering Inferno.
The cards are shuffled and one card is placed face down in front of each player. The remaining cards go in a pile in the middle of the table (the draw pile).
When ‘go’ is called out, the players flip their card face up. It’s a race to spot the identical symbol between the card of any other player and the card from the draw pile.
The first player to find an identical symbol names it, takes the card from the draw pile and places it in front of him or her, on top of his or her card. This means a new card is revealed on the draw pile and the game continues until all the cards from this pile have been drawn.
The winner is the player who has gained the most cards.
We had a lot of fun with this one and it was just the right level of complexity for Ieuan (6) who doesn’t have, shall we say, unlimited wells of patience.
I was completely hopeless and appear to have the reflexes of a sloth. Caitlin thrashed us all soundly, much to the Husband’s annoyance, spotting the symbols at lightning speed.
In my defence, I hadn’t yet had my 5th coffee of the morning. When I’m feeling a bit stronger, I will be challenging our motley crew to one of the other mini-games to see if I can recover from the humiliation. It’s suggested in the instructions that if you could even host a Dobble Tournament. This is likely to involve many hours of practice in my case.
Dobble is a great alternative to Snap and UNO and we highly recommend it.
Dobble, from Asmodee Games is available from Tesco, Argos, WHSmith or Waterstones.
We were also sent Disney’s Pictopia The Ultimate Picture-Trivia Family Game to try.
Now we are all big Disney fans in this house but I have to confess my knowledge is probably stronger about the classics. I was fully prepared to be roundly beaten once more by Caitlin (who is dressed as a Disney Princess 80% of the time – i.e. when not in school uniform). Ieuan was going to be a wild card and we spent a good ten minutes debating whether Iron Man had anything to do with Disney.
Families team up to play a trivia game with 1000 questions covering the world of Disney. Not only is it competitive, but it’s also a team game too. Everyone gets a chance to show off their knowledge from Disney Junior and Disney XD to the Disney Parks and classic films (hurrah!).
The aim of the game is to reach the castle space on the board by moving your counter each time you answer a trivia question correctly.
Caitlin, already looking a tad too confident
You are given 5 wager tokens (to bet on the likelihood of you getting the right answer) and a cute answer dial in the shape of Mickey’s ears which allows you to secretly select your answer which is then revealed when everyone has set their dials.
Players take a turn being the host so they get to choose a card to read. The roll of the die selects the question the host asks – and there are 5 types of question which may come up.
Pick 1 – all the players work together to select the one answer they think is correct
Pick 2 – all other players work together to select the two answers they think are correct
Pick 3 – all other players work together to select the three answers they think are correct
Solo Pick 1 – each player except the host uses their answer dial to secretly select the answer
Spotlight – these are questions about the play and what they think which the other players then have to guess by matching their answer on the answer dial
But before the question is asked, you have to look at the card to see if you recognise the films/clues and then bet one of 5 wager tokens depending on how confident you are that you know the right answer.
If you get the answer right, you move the same number of spaces on your wager token.
The game is very well thought out but it may take you a while to get to grips with the rules. It is definitely more suitable for the over 7’s, although Ieuan was able to answer some of the questions. The questions which delve a little into the personality of the players (the Spotlight questions) are a nice touch.
Once again, we were no match for Caitlin who particularly liked the secrecy of the answer dial. If there is one aspect I thought was possibly unneeded, it’s the wager tokens and for younger kids, I think you would be better off just rolling the die again and moving the matching number of spaces.
Caitlin is itching to play this one again and we’ve promised her a rematch this weekend. There is also a free Pictopia app with bonus content and a lightning-round final challenge which we will download, although, fellow Lumia owners, be aware that the app is for iPhone or Android only.
Disney Pictopia is available from Amazon or Waterstones.
So, it being half term and having been majorly guilt tripped about “playing on my PC” (or blogging), I duly got the Junior Monopoly out for a session of warm, fuzzy parenting. You know the sort. The kind of selfless, emotionally giving and life-affirming mothering Mrs Walton managed to emit just by tidying her plait.
It started well enough. Colours were chosen, the excitement of being given money registered and the hope that you actually get a ‘chance’ card which pays you was lit large in their hopeful hearts.
All was going sweeter than a Werthers’ Original advert until Ieuan thought he’d missed a go (he hadn’t) and retired to the sofa in tears. Caitlin and I soldiered on. Eventually, when it became clear I had amassed a Murdoch style property empire and Caitlin was left with a pound, Ieuan’s gleeful chortle that Caitlin was going to lose meant she, too, dissolved in tears.
This is Ieuan’s Monopoly Face.
I found myself reflecting, rather gloomily, that all my attempts to create a maternal nirvana seemed doomed to failure. Some mums make it seem so effortless. They exude patience and cheerful stamina in the face of tantrums. I find myself occasionally having a tantrum which surpasses those of my kids when things don’t go well.
One dreadful occasion, which I am still ashamed to recount, was one of our first bonfire nights as a family. We went to the local rugby club and I kid you not, as soon as the first rocket was launched, both kids had a meltdown and begged to leave. We returned to the car in procession with me, absolutely fuming, stomping along at the front and Mat and the kids dragging their heels behind. To my eternal shame, I believe at one stage I even refused to hold Caitlin’s hand, even though she had no clue why I was so cross.
The fact is that they were probably too young for such an event, but the pressure to create ‘perfect family moments’ is so huge for us mums (and particularly us older mums who feel we have less time to get it right), that we put enormous pressure on our family – and on ourselves.
Yup – Another Hobbis Family Outing (digitalspy.co.uk)
So no, I should not have amassed a raft of properties on the junior monopoly board and let the kids win. But then, what is that teaching them? I should be sensible and not expect every family outing to be like the opening scene of “Little House on The Prairie” with the kids bounding happily through the meadow and Ma and Pa Ingles shining with love and happiness in the background.
But I can’t quite let my fantasy go. Can you?