Searching for a vacation activity that will bring the whole family together? Whether your goal is to embrace the latest technology, draw in a reluctant teen, sneak in math or social studies facts in order to stave off “summer learning slump,” or kick the tablets to the curb, these new games will help you get to your chosen destination.
It’s a chicken! It’s a pig! No, it’s a wacky hybrid farm game that challenges players to employ chess-like strategies to dodge hay bales, avoid a “pooping cow” and outsmart opponents on their way to get their herds home safely. Recommended for players ages 8 to 99, easy-to-learn Chickapig is wildly popular with tweens, teens and young adults and is a great addition to your multi-generational family vacation fun bag. Look for a junior version for younger players (Chickapiglet) to debut in summer 2019.
2. Dr. Biscuit’s Radical Road Trip
Got backseat screen zombies? Kick boredom (and missing pieces) to the curb with Dr. Biscuit’s Radical Road Trip, a family party on-the-move from the creators of Game Night in A Can. Play 60 wacky games, from side-splitting “Cat’s Meow” to refreshingly silly “Duck Duck Bruce,” with the creativity-powered road-ready box set. Game directions are stored in a portable tin equipped with an attached spinner and a dry-erase board. Recommended for ages 8 and up.
3. Bloom – the Wild Flower Dice Game
From the makers of Rat-a-Tat-Cat , Sushi Go!, Slamwich and other popular games, Bloom is a flower-powered dice game that’s similar to (albeit refreshingly more colorful than) Yahtzee. Kids will test their luck and fine-tune math and matching skills as they do their “blooming best” to roll and “pick” the right flowers to fill their personal bouquet. Designed for ages 8 to 15, Bloom can be played by one to six players.
One of the best new family games in 2019, Clack challenges players to simultaneously find and collect coins by matching pictures and colors, and compete to build the tallest stack. The best part of this game—besides the lively pace—is the satisfying sound made each time a successful match is made–thanks to magnetized game pieces that “clack” when connected. Recommended for ages 5 and up, Clack requires no reading skills and no waiting for turns–everyone plays on every round! Clack is designed for play by two to six players; however, it can easily be adapted for solo play, too.
5. Cobra Paw
Unleash your Ninja reflexes in Cobra Paw, a fast-paced tile matching game for the entire family. New from the maker of Bananagrams, Cobra Paw is simple to learn and comes in a compact case convenient for travel. Fun for all ages (the player with the littlest hands starts the game!), Cobra Paw can be played by two to six players.
6. Voice Originals: When in Rome
A Toy of the Year Finalist, When in Rome, starring Amazon Alexa, is a trail-blazing travel trivia game that makes social studies fun! Collect souvenirs to get extra points and earn upgrades to gain an edge on your opponents as you fly around the world, explore new destinations, meet the locals, and learn about geography and native culture. Your journey around the map is narrated by Alexa, compatible with Echo, the Echo Dot, Echo Buttons, and the Alexa smartphone app. Devices are not included. Voice Originals: When in Rome is recommended for ages 13 and up. A team play format allows for participation by younger players.
Adorable and portable, Bananagrams Word-a-Melon is a colorful memory word game that families can easily play on-the-go. The premise is simple: flip seeds, then use you “melon” to create words. The player with the most seeds at the end of the game wins! Word-a-Melon is designed for ages 6 and up and comes in a sweet melon slice travel case.
Love Yahtzee? Then you’ll go wild over Outback, a new family board game that takes your luck “Down Under” with an added element of ingenuity. In this game, you’ll help the rangers rescue endangered animals and move them to their ancestral home. Collect kangaroo, koalas, platypus and more, then line up a strategic route to get all of the animals to native ground. Outback is designed for two to four players, from ages 8 to 99.
Writer Jackie Perrin has covered the best of family travel for nearly two decades, for media ranging from newspapers and magazines to TripAdvisor.com. At home and on the go, she manages a crew of companions. Follow her on Pinterest, TripAdvisor and Instagram, @NYfamtravels.