The following is a guest post from Moshe Sambol:
All from "Cheapass Games," who unfortunately include their name on some of the cards in the game (it's only a matter of time until I hear "Abba, what does Cheapass mean?"):
1. Light Speed: my 6 year old has lots of friends who constantly carry with them various card games which I believe are fantasy role-playing kinds of things. He doesn't have anything like these yet as I was never into the genre. I thought maybe for a change it was time to get him something that is just plain fun. Light Speed - although not at all a RPG - seems to have hit the nail on the head. He learned it immediately and fell in love. He has introduced it to his friends and delights in destroying me at the game. His 8 year old sister immediately dismissed it as "such a boy game," which probably just adds to its appeal for him. There is a variant that adds some strategy, but I don't see a group of adults taking this one out for a strategy game. It is what it is: a $4 fun, colorful, really fast paced game that anyone can play and enjoy.
2. The Very Clever Pipe Game: Whether or not it's "very clever," it's clever enough to be somewhere between dominoes and blokus. (I'm new to tile laying games, so there may be much better analogies, this is just what I thought of.) Gifted to my 4 year old, he understood quickly and is able to play at a basic level. This is good enough for him as it's "his game," and I'm happy to have something not brain-numbing to play with him. The 6 and 8 year olds are happy to play this one too. Game play conveys some tactics that will be useful in many other games - like taking sets, quick small ones vs. large ones; taking points vs. blocking the opponent's progress; deciding which of your cards to play and which to hold for later. Also $4.
3. Girl Genius: The Works: Intended for my 8 year old daughter, she was turned off by the long instructions and hasn't put in the time to learn this one. I played a few games with her brother and have mixed feelings. The directions are indeed quite long for what seems to be a rather simple game. The cards are pretty but ugepatchket [busy] - too much stuff going on, much of it about the theme (taken from a comic book) and not contributing to the game. There is some strategy to this game, but only at a late stage in the game. We got most of the way to the required 100 points with very little thought. Perhaps for a fan of the comic from which the characters are taken this would be a big hit; with us, playable, colorful, different, but overall a letdown. $12