CUDO Plays’ Stocking Stuffer/Tiny Game Gift Guide

Tis the season of giving, and that means giving games! Here are the recommendations from each member of the CUDO Plays committee for highly portable games. Perfect for putting in a stocking, or giving to a family member, loved one, tolerable coworker, or distant acquaintance in nearly any context. All of these games are recommended for play with passionate gamers and non-gamers alike, and they’re so small, you can bring them to any gathering! Many of these games are available at your local Target or other major department store or bookstore. And of course, all of them are available online! Click the info link to see more pictures, reviews, and where to buy.

 

 

Andrew – Sushi Go

It’s cute, it’s simple, it’s lots of fun, but your decisions are still very meaningful. Teaches the idea of card drafting – a great mechanic that shows up in a lot of games but usually comes with a ton of complicated bells and whistles. This is the simple version that I’ve played in restaurants before eating. There is also the more-advanced Sushi Go Party, which is great, but slightly too large to be on this list. More info

 

BJ – Mr. Jack Pocket

Mr. Jack Pocket is a fantastic spatial cat-and-mouse game for two. One player is Mr. Jack, whose identity is hidden among 9 possible characters in a 3 x 3 grid representing the backstreets of London. The other player controls Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, and their trusty dog, moving around the perimeter of the city. Players alternate selecting from four randomized actions (player 1 picks one, player 2 picks two, then player 1 gets the last action) that either move the detectives or rearrange the streets themselves. If, at the end of the round, one of the detectives has direct line of sight to Mr. Jack and no one else, he is caught! But stay undiscovered for six rounds and Mr. Jack escapes. More info

 

 

Chris – Gloom

For the people in your life who are a little bit contrarian. In Gloom you are trying to kill off all the members in one of four different families by layering bad life events on to them. And I literally mean “layering” as the clear cards allow you to still see the characters as you stack on compounding tragedies and situations. The game is easy to learn, the art looks like it came from early Adams Family comics, and the humor is dark like winter nights. More info

 

Jess – Windup War

Super cute game that’s toy-themed. The tiny cards are good for small hands and even if they don’t “get” it, kids will make up their own rules and just play and have a great time. Program the actions of your wind-up toy army and try to defeat all your opponents and be the last one standing! And did I mention it was designed by CUDO Plays veterans? More info

 

Kaity – Five Crowns

If you’re looking to level up your younger game-players (8+) I’d advise picking up a copy of the rummy-style card game: Five Crowns. I found it to be the perfect middle ground for newer game-players and those folks in the family who enjoy card-game classics like Rummy or Euchre. Full disclosure – I credit this game with tricking me into learning higher level card game concepts as a child when it was gifted to my family. The funny thing is, I didn’t even realize it because I was just mesmerized by the gorgeous art on the cards which continues to delight me today. More info

 

Katie – iota

This very small game has a lot of style. iota is like SET, but more thoughtful and way less stressful. Play cards with matching attributes to get points. Take it anywhere and teach to anyone! More info

 

Rebecca – Flexi Puzzle

In my family, the stockings were to keep us in bed & quiet until the parents woke up so I’m recommending a brain-teaser/solitaire game.
I like the Flexi Puzzle because it’s highly tactile and comes with specific challenges. If you had two, you and a friend could race to see who solves first! More info

 

Tim – Zogen

The pattern-recognition speed game with bluffing. Throw down your cards as fast as you can, but they can only have one shape different from the last card. You have to call out the difference as you play. In order to win, you may need to lie, and hope that you don’t get caught before other players pile on top. A simple, but frantic game. Great for kids and competitive people of all ages. More info

 

Tom – Mint Works

First off, this game comes in a little mints tin, and the playing pieces look like mints! That’s obviously awesome, but the actual gameplay is great too. Mint Works is a good way to introduce new people to worker-placement games, but it’s also a fun and highly portable example of that genre in its own right. More info

Weekly Rollup: Dec 8th – Dec 15th

Playability Workshop

Our first-ever Playability Workshop was a success! The teams that came out got valuable feedback on their written rules, and tips to ensure their games are playable by the judges, and by everyone.

 

 

More CUBED Playtesting!

More successful CUBED playtest events this week on both Sunday and Wednesday. Make sure to stay tuned to this blog and the CUBED page on Facebook so you never miss a playtesting event! Feel free to attend even if you don’t have a design, but just want to talk about your game ideas. The members of CUBED are always happy to do some brainstorming and give some helpful advice.

 

Upcoming Events

 

CUDO Plays December Game Night: Mo’ Playtesting! – Monday, December 17th

Hyatt Place Champaign @ 6:30pm – 9:30pm

Take a break from your busy schedule and get to know your fellow game enthusiasts! CUDO Plays Game Night is open to everyone! The featured games for this month are the new prototype games of CUDO Plays Season 6. Facebook event

CUDO Plays events will be a little sparse from now until the New Year. Happy holidays and we hope you enjoy some games time with your family and loved ones.

 

 

CUDO Plays Recommends

This week CUDO Plays recommends Lasers & Feelings.

Lasers & Feelings is a roleplaying game about playing in a ridiculous parody Star Trek-style universe. We don’t usually recommend tabletop roleplaying games here on the CUDO Plays blog, but this is a great one. Just one page of rules to learn, but it’s still tons of fun for RPG veterans and newcomers alike. A great game for getting a taste of what the RPG craze is all about. You can download the game for free here! There are also a number of L&F spinoffs for playing games in other genres.

Weekly Rollup: Dec 1st – Dec 8th

How to Present Your Game Workshop

Another successful HtPYG Workshop is in the books! Remember, teaching your own game is a skill; you’ll need to practice to become great at it!

 

More CUBED Playtesting!

More successful CUBED playtest events this week on both Wednesday and Thursday. Make sure to stay tuned to this blog and the CUBED page on Facebook so you never miss a playtesting event!

 

Upcoming Events

 

Playability Workshop – Saturday, December 8th

Champaign Public Library Room 215 @ 1:00pm – 3:00pm

Your game is going well, but can people understand it if you aren’t around to explain it? You’d better hope so since the judges will be playing your game without you in the room. Every year some games are played incorrectly by the judges, and we don’t want that to happen to you! Come to the Playability Workshop for tips and advice about how to write clear, concise rules for your game. This is our last informational workshop before Turn-In in February, don’t miss it! Facebook event

 

Beers & Board Games – Saturday, December 8th

Cafeteria & Company, Urbana @ 5:00pm – 8:00pm

CUDO Plays has joined forces with Cafeteria & Company to help them run their bi-monthly game nights. Come out to Cafe & Co. every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month to chill with some games, snacks, and beer/wine/coffee. Don’t miss the fun!  Facebook event

 

CUDO Plays December Game Night: Mo’ Playtesting! – Monday, December 17th

Hyatt Place Champaign @ 6:30pm – 9:30pm

Take a break from your busy schedule and get to know your fellow game enthusiasts! CUDO Plays Game Night is open to everyone! The featured games for this month are the new prototype games of CUDO Plays Season 6. Facebook event

 

CUDO Plays Recommends

This week CUDO Plays recommends Railroad Ink.

In this game, your goal is to connect as many exits on your board as possible. Each round, a set of dice are rolled in the middle of the table, determining which kind of road and railway routes are available to all players. You have to draw these routes on your erasable boards to create transport lines and connect your exits, trying to optimize the available symbols better than your opponents. The more exits you connect, the more points you score at the end of the game, but you lose points for each incomplete route, so plan carefully! Will you press your luck and try to stretch your transportation network to the next exit, or will you play it safe and start a new, simpler to manage route? A fun “roll-and-write” game for the whole family. Also, there are two different versions, and both are great!

Weekly Rollup: Nov 24th – Dec 1st

CUBED Focused Playtest: Horn of Plenty

Very successful focused playtest event for the cool trick-taking game Horn of Plenty (formerly titled Miro).

 

 

Upcoming Events

 

How to Present Your Game Workshop – Saturday, December 1st

The CU Community Fab Lab @ 1:30pm – 3:30pm

Teaching games is a skill, and you’ll need to be an expert at teaching your own game if your playtests are going to be successful. Come learn how to present your game, or any game, to new players. Facebook event

 

CUBED Focused Playtest: Diecano Island – Wednesday, December 5th

Titan Games, Urbana @ 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Every week until Turn-In, CUBED is running focused playtest events. Sign up to get your game played and get feedback from veteran local designers. After the feature game is played, there’s time for other playtesting as well, so feel free to bring your game even if it isn’t your week! Sign up for a slot here. Next week’s featured game is Diecano Island. Try out this gorgeous, chaotic family game. Facebook event

 

Playability Workshop – Saturday, December 8th

Champaign Public Library Room 215 @ 1:00pm – 3:00pm

Your game is going well, but can people understand it if you aren’t around to explain it? You’d better hope so since the judges will be playing your game without you in the room. Every year some games are played incorrectly by the judges, and we don’t want that to happen to you! Come to the Playability Workshop for tips and advice about how to write clear, concise rules for your game. Facebook event

 

CUDO Plays Recommends

This week CUDO Plays recommends Valley of the Kings.

Take on the role of Egyptian nobles at the time of the pharaohs, preparing for death and burial in this unique deck-building game. Players want to fill their tombs with food, canopic jars, statues, amulets and other treasures, and to do so they acquire cards that are laid out in the shape of a pyramid; purchase cards at the base of the pyramid, and it “crumbles” to bring cards higher in the pyramid to the base where they can be bought. The pyramid resets each round with new offerings. You score only for cards that you remove from your deck and stash in your tomb, so if you keep using valuable cards for their effects and don’t entomb them before the game ends, you could lose out on big points! Whoever collects the most valuable artifacts in her tomb wins.

Weekly Rollup: Nov 17th – Nov 24th

CUBED Open Playtest & CUDO Plays November Game Night

Sunday Nov 18th was CUBED’s monthly Open Playtest event at Gopher Mafia. The very next day was our own November game night which focused on playtesting. Lots of Season 6 competitors came to both! Already, the designers are making big changes to their games based on feedback from the Playtest Convention. If you couldn’t make it to these events, fear not! Lots more playtesting events are on the way!

 

Upcoming Events

CUBED Focused Playtest: Miro – Wednesday, November 28th

Titan Games, Urbana @ 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Every week until Turn In, CUBED is running focused playtest events. Sign up to get your game played and get feedback from veteran local designers. After the feature game is played, there’s time for other playtesting as well, so feel free to bring your game even if it isn’t your week! Sign up for a slot here. Also, this week’s featured game is Miro, the one-of-a-kind trick-taking game. Facebook event

 

How to Present Your Game Workshop – Saturday, December 1st

The CU Community Fab Lab @ 1:30pm – 3:30pm

Teaching games is a skill, and you’ll need to be an expert at teaching your own game if your playtests are going to be successful. Come learn how to present your game, or any game, to new players. Facebook event

 

Playability Workshop – Saturday, December 8th

Champaign Public Library Room 215 @ 1:00pm – 3:00pm

Your game is going well, but can people understand it if you aren’t around to explain it? You’d better hope so since the judges will be playing your game without you in the room. Every year some games are played incorrectly by the judges, and we don’t want that to happen to you! Come to the Playability Workshop for tips and advice about how to write clear, concise rules for your game. Facebook event

 

CUDO Plays Recommends

This week CUDO Plays recommends Fun Farm.

In this lighting-fast family game, players compete to spot and catch the animal shown on the cards before all their opponents. Each round, the active player reveals the top card from the deck, placing it next to any others still on the table. Each card depicts an animal, a black die (showing one color on this die), and a white die (showing one color on this die). The player then rolls the black die and the white die. If a die depicted on a card matches the color rolled on that die, players race to grab the animal toy from the table that matches the animal depicted on the card. Whoever does so first claims the card, and once the deck runs out, whoever has the most cards wins!