Talk about a game that makes your brain go in circles! Players try to be the first to read (or, more likely, decipher) the word in a colored band and say it aloud. Collect ten cards to win. 2 or more players.
Ages 10 and up, ThinkFun, $12.99
The hunt is on for a bevy of barnyard animals hiding from their farmer friend. At the count of three, gamers baa, bark, bray, and more, all at the same time (a tester fave, of course!), indicating which critter they've hidden under a card. The player who's the farmer then has to remember who's who as he tries to find the missing livestock. 3 to 6 players.
Ages 4 and up, Haba, $12
A roll of the die determines how many spaces players can move their rockets as they dash to dock them on the moon. The board tiles shift as well, and if you're stuck on the bottom tile when it moves, watch out! Your rocket is thrown into a black hole and out of the game. 2 to 4 players.
Ages 6 and up, Ravensburger, $20.99
The goal here is to get four pieces of the same color in a row. Easier said than done, as wild tokens, player bluffs, and a board with rotating levels make for a constantly shifting playing field. 2 to 4 players.
Ages 8 and up, Patch Products, $21.99
Based on the hit TV show Jake and the Never Land Pirates, this cooperative game has players draw cards to determine what action to take (slither, hop, crawl) and which of the included props to use (feather, cannonball) as the team tries to collect more gold than Captain Hook. 1 or more players.
Ages 3 and up, Wonder Forge, $19.99
Rich colors, shiny gems, and beautiful design are the hallmarks of this game. Using tiles, players build paths to move the gems across the board and collect points. Occasionally, two can work together to build a route that will benefit them both, but there can be only one winner -- the player with the most gems, naturally. 2 to 4 players.
Ages 10 and up, Ravensburger, $34.99
Does your family think alike? This fast-paced game pits a team of players against the game itself. Roll the category die, flip a doodle card, turn the timer, and start guessing what the doodle looks like -- and what your teammates will say. The more answers you share, the more points you earn for your team, while unique responses score points for the game. 2 to 6 players.
Ages 8 and up, Peaceable Kingdom, $24.99
Players roll a colored or numbered die to determine which chunky blocks to use as they build a lofty high-rise. Testers often created Leaning-Tower-of-Pisa-like structures seemingly kept upright only by the power of crossed fingers. 2 to 4 players.
Ages 4 and up, HaPe/Beleduc, $19.99
This colorful game combines math skills, memory, and a bit of luck in egg-zactly the right proportions. Players roll the die, then turn over a predetermined number of eggs (blue are positive, green negative), trying to equal the number set by the die. Keep your eagle eye on the eggs as other players take their turns. You'll need to remember the location of those numbers as you solve your own problem! 2 to 6 players.
Ages 7 and up, The Haywire Group, $19.99
Players take turns drawing cards and then work together to determine the best spots to place them on the board. The goal? To create a path from start to finish and gather special keys along the way. But if too many Ogre cards turn up before the path is finished, the grinning monster wins. 2 to 4 players.
Ages 5 and up, Peaceable Kingdom, $15.99
Originally published in the May 2013 of FamilyFun