Brian was invited to join the CBC Radio Active team to showcase some of his recommendations on this season's most popular stocking stuffer games!
Check it out:
Jessica: As we get closer and closer to the holidays, we have to start talking about gifts and things that can make really good gifts. Board games are a gift that I've actually loved giving in recent years, kind of like giving an experience, but an experience that you can share with people. So whether it's an actual gift or a way to connect with friends and family, we're launching our board game column this season. And of course, who better to guide us through this world than Brian flowers of Table Top Games? Brian, welcome back to Radio Active.
Brian: Thanks for having me.
Jessica: So we're starting with a small topic, literally, stocking stuffer games. How would you define that? What what makes a game a stocking stuffer game, tell me the size.
Brian: As small as possible, like a deck of cards, I guess they can go a little bit bigger depends on how big your stocking is. But something that’s cheap and small just fits in the palm of your hand.
Jessica: Are there are misconceptions about these small games in terms of the size doesn't matter at this point.
Brian: Most of them tend to be a lot faster, but there's still a lot of depth to, to some of them. But most of them are more for kind of more closer to kids and a lot faster than your regular games.
Jessica: So if you're looking for stocking stuffer games, it sounds like they kind of run the gamut.
Brian: Yeah, yeah, they can get like, we'll get into these in a sec. But they're the like, card based games usually go over pretty well as well. So they're like Wizard and all the classics and bridge itself. You could call that a stocking stuffer game. That's a huge, very deep game.
Jessica: But despite the fact that they are so small, it's not like a limit on the creativity.
Brian: No, not at all. They're they they're very varied. And beloved by many.
Jessica: Okay, so let's talk about the games that you brought. Let's start with one that, you know, popular game that's been popular for about 80 years Dutch Blitz.
Brian: Yeah, Dutch Blitz, it's the game you'll find in every church, every summer school or summer camp and every school, you're just rapidly sorting through cards in your deck is up to four players.
Jessica: That's which one?
Brian: That's the screen guy right here. It describes itself as a “vonderful goot game”. But it isn't actually Dutch, which is its own little thing. But it's been a classic and a strong seller for years. And there's an expansion lets you put eight people as well.
Jessica: You need a bit of a bigger stocking for this. What is the parameters of the game go because I see one person chasing after another person.
Brian: Yeah, the cover doesn't really make much sense. But you're rapidly sorting through cards to try and get your specific symbol out of the deck. And it has specific rules that are not the most easy to describe at the moment. But it's all about speed. So you're trying to go as fast as you can to achieve your goal.
Jessica: And it works well for some of our younger gift recipients. Is that right?
Brian: Yeah, they'll usually a lot of the speed based games, all the kids will beat the adults, they're just going to be faster at it than your parents. And that usually encourages them to keep playing it.
Jessica: And speaking of parents anything for an older set, maybe an adult who just loves games.
Brian: Yeah. It's also my personal favorite. I've been talking about this one for most of the years Scout. So if anyone has played Wizard or likes Rummy, it's another very tiny box. It's a Japanese import. So they made it as small as possible.
Jessica: Nice and bright, orange and purple box.
Brian: Yeah. And the trick of it is you're trying to play things like consecutive cards, like a bunch of twos that are all together or runs. But you can't change the order of the cards in your hand. After you pick them up. You have to strategically play the right ones to try and smoosh cards together to make a stronger hand later on.
Jessica: I love how we've given you this challenge of trying to summarize these games in 10 seconds or less. And I'm very impressed because you've got a lot of selections in front of you. Okay, there is also one that has pretty I think the cutest drawings of all of them. One of the most popular the taco cat series. Tell us about this.
Brian: Yeah, so Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza has been our best selling game for multiple Christmases in a row now. And again, it's another speed game where you're flipping cards over and you're trying to say those words in that order, flip a card and say taco flip a card and say cat. And if you happen to flip the same card as the word you say you slap the table and whoever does that last gets all the cards. But to mix things up, there's also action. So sometimes you have to be a gorilla or a narwhal, or a groundhog. And there's all sorts of variations of this game as well. That it just tries to trip you up to make you take all the cards.
Jessica: That sounds like a fun party game.
Brian: Yeah, it we I was hesitant to try it as an adult myself. But the it's still fun for even my age group. And just as a good little quick challenge.
Jessica: And you even have the newest iteration of that one, which is that?
Brian: Yeah, this is Taco Kitten Pizza. So it has even cuter tacos and cats and pizzas
Jessica: As if they weren't cute enough.
Brian: With much larger eyes. And it's a made for even younger generation, just to keep it a little bit more simplified.
Jessica: Card games, obviously a huge part of stocking stuffers. So is there are there other games that are perhaps less about speed, maybe ones where you want work cooperatively.
Brian: Yeah, that's, that is Bandido. So this is one we've had for quite a while. We're all working together to trap the bandit. So you start with a little, little card in the middle, that is a bunch of exits from the bandits jail. And then everyone has to take turns playing cards to try and close off all his exits. But just by the nature of the game, it's going to kind of spider out of control and you have to work together to still trap him and bring it all back together to one closed loop.
Jessica: I also like how on the front of it on the front of the box, it looks like a bit of like a Lego bandit, or thief of some sort. So if you've got a Lego lover in your life, that could be something for them.
Jessica: Not in card games. Where are we going next?
Jessica: How small is this? Can we open this one up? I’m kind of curious.
Brian: We can crack this one. It's kind of I'm gonna need scissors maybe for the plastic on this. But it's, it starts with a very, very, oh, there we go. We got a pin coming across here.
Jessica: I'm just curious as to how small because I'm looking at this. And it's honestly the size of actual cards. And quite frankly, I thought that there were matches inside. Even with the sound I was thinking oh, maybe they're just really heavy matches, I don't know. Yeah, I cannot believe that, oh, my gosh.
Brian: We have a little set of tweezers and a bag with a bunch of little cubes. And like kind of a little bit smaller than Lego blocks,
Jessica: Oh, I love this, are they wooden pieces too?
Brian: They are wooden pieces. And they're gonna start on a card that makes them go and like a very basic campfire. And then on your turn, it's going to tell you to flip, you're gonna flip a card, and it's going to tell you exactly what you have to put on the campfire. So, you'd have to take something like a long block and to small blocks and stack it on top without anything falling off. And it's by its nature, the tweezers are very small. So it's, it's a very, very precise game. And it's still very challenging. You can't get too tall without having a very big risk of knocking it over.
Jessica: But it's sweet. So basically, the longer blocks just to give our listeners an idea of what it looks like, are brown, like as if you've got a log. And the little ones are like the embers, they're yellow and the red. So, you'd get a card and it would be like red. And you would have to choose one of the red ones. Is that right?
Brian: Yeah, it'll look like or this one is telling me to use my off hand. So I have to use my left hand instead of my right.
Jessica: Oh my gosh,
Brian: To use tweezers to stack an orange and a yellow block on the piece of wood and then put that piece of wood on the fire.
Jessica: That sounds like a fun party game too. I feel like these games honestly pack a lot of punch given that they are so tiny.
Brian: Yeah, they do double duty. They'll work for kids, but they also make great to adult party games as well.
Jessica: Definitely. You also have one that you were super excited about Sea Salt & Paper. Tell us about that.
Brian: Yeah, so that's why we've been waiting to get in stock. I was expecting it. November 20. But this is another quite small card game like Scout, where you are trying to play pairs of cards. But the appeal of the game is the art itself is very origami based. And if anyone's played a big hearts fan, you have to once you have enough points in your hand you declare when the end of the game is and if you are right. Or if you give everyone else an extra turn, you get double points. But if you don't, then that's the end of the game. You get no points and they score everything.
Jessica: I love this idea. Brian, thank you for joining us for this first edition. I guess this would be the first edition of our holiday game calm. Yeah, you're nodding at me. So that sounds good. Okay, awesome. Well, thank you. We look forward to addition number two.
Brian: Thank you for happening.
Jessica: Brian flowers of Table Top Board Games Cafe. He'll be joining us for the next month to talk about game recos so that the gaming began.