10 Games for Kids’ Easter Baskets
Easter may fall on April Fool’s Day this year, but there’s nothing foolish about filling kids’ Easter Baskets with sugar-free treats like these 10 fun games the whole family can play. All of these games are small enough to fit in a regular-sized Easter Basket. Some even come packaged in sturdy tins that can go anywhere. All ten of these games are kid-friendly: most kids can have fun playing them without the help of an adult. Adults will find many of them interesting, too. When kids find any of these 10 sugar-free games in their Easter Basket, they’ll know the Easter Bunny’s no fool. So without further ado, here are 10 games for kids’ Easter Baskets:
Fiery Dragons is a fun memory game in which players, as young dragons, race to be the first to reach their home cave. The racetrack spaces are each decorated with a dragon hatchling, fiery dragon, bat or spider. The face-down discs in the middle of the track each feature 1 to 3 dragon hatchlings, fiery dragons, bats or spiders. To move along the track, the racing dragons turn over a disc that matches the symbol on their current space. If successful, the dragon moves forward the number of symbols on the disc and gets another turn. If the symbol on the disc doesn’t match the dragon’s current space, his turn is over. That disc and any others he flipped are turned face down and it’s the next dragon’s turn. Play continues until one of the young dragons reaches her home cave.
Fiery Dragons features four colorful wooden dragons and sturdy cardboard track pieces, discs and home caves. 2 to 4 kids ages 5 and up can play this fun memory racing game in about 15 minutes. The bright yellow box with a dragon on the front is 7″ tall by 4.5″ wide and 1.5″ deep. Here Be Books & Games has a copy in their Game Library so they can teach you how to play!
Niya is a delightful Connect 4 type of game – with a twist – and lovely Japanese artwork. You begin by shuffling the 16 beautiful tiles and arranging them in a 4×4 square. Each tile shows one of four types of vegetation (maple, cherry, pine or iris) and one of four types of poetic symbols (rising sun, bird, rain or tanzaku – the small pieces of paper on which people sometimes write wishes).
To begin the game, the start player removes one of the tiles along the edge and places one of her tokens there. The other player does likewise, but may only choose a tile that depicts either the same type of vegetation or poetic symbol as on the tile the start player set aside. Play continues, with each player removing a tile (that matches one of the symbols on the previously removed tile) and placing one of her tokens until one of the following conditions is met:
- A player forms a line with four of her tokens in any direction.
- A player forms a 2×2 square with four of her tokens.
- A player chooses a tile which doesn’t allow her opponent to place a token.
That player wins.
There’s more strategy in this little game than first meets the eye because where you play directly affects and limits the choices of where your opponent can play. That and the beautiful artwork and lovely components make for a fun and interesting game.
You can play Niya as just a single game, as a best of three series, or as a point-based match, with the winner of a game earning as many points as the number of tiles remaining in the grid when she wins. In the last case, the player who first collects ten points wins the match.
Niya supports 2 players ages 8 and up and can be played in as little as 10 minutes. Matches with multiple rounds will take a little longer. Packaged in a nice tin with lovely bits, Niya makes a pretty addition to any Easter Basket. Dimensions: 6″ tall x 4.5″ wide x 1.25″ deep. Here Be Books & Games has a copy in their Game Library so they can teach you how to play.
3. Sushi Draft
Sushi Draft is a fun and light card-drafting game that plays in about 15 minutes. In Sushi Draft, your goal is to eat the best combination of sushi – not literally – so you can score the most points and beat your fellow players.
To set up the game, sort the Scoring Chips by type into 6 face down piles. Players each begin with a hand of 6 round cards. Why are they round? I have no idea. To be different, make you think of a plate, to match the sushi tokens? Doesn’t really matter, you start each round with 6 round cards. You’re looking to acquire sets of the same type of sushi – the players with the most of each type at the end of the round score. You also want to acquire a variety of sushi – the player with the most different types of sushi scores, too.
To start the round, you and your fellow players simultaneously pick a card to Eat. No, don’t eat the card, that’s just how the designer refers to Picking a Card in Sushi Draft’s rules. Place it face down in front of you and when everyone’s ready, reveal it.
Now, and this is where Sushi Draft differs from Sushi Go!: choose a card to Keep In Your Hand, then pass the rest of your cards to your neighbor. This is a neat change. If you’ve ever played Sushi Go!, then you’ve probably found yourself wanting to keep more than one card in your hand when you Pick, Pass and Play (agonizing decision). In Sushi Draft, you can! Now from your new hand of cards, which includes the one you just kept, choose one to Eat. When everyone’s ready, Reveal. Then Keep one and Pass the rest. Rinse and repeat until everyone’s left with one card. That card gets discarded. Now it’s time to score the round – you’ll play a total of 3 rounds. Doesn’t take long.
To score, award the top Scoring Chip for each type of sushi to the player who ate (collected) the most of that type of sushi. Give the top Dessert Scoring Chip (pink border) to the player who ate the most different types of sushi. In case of a tie, the chip goes to the player with the 2nd most of that type of sushi. If that’s another tie, then to the 3rd highest and so on. You don’t want to tie. The Scoring Chip denominations vary by sushi type with values of 1 to 5 points.
Deal 6 cards to each player and play and score two more rounds (total of 3 rounds). The player with the highest score wins. Oh, I almost forgot to mention: there are 2 Wild Cards in the deck. You can play a Wild Card as a copy of any type of sushi you’ve already eaten that round. You have to choose the type when you play the card by placing it on top of the sushi card it is copying.
Sushi Draft is a sweet, light snacky game for 3 to 5 players ages 8 and up. I can’t promise you won’t get hungry for sushi after playing, which could be a nice change for your tastebuds after all those hard-boiled eggs. Playtime is about 15 minutes. Sushi Draft comes in a nice little tin that’s 6″ tall x 4.5″ wide x 1.25″ deep. Here Be Books & Games has a copy in their Game Library so they can teach you how to play!
Unexploded Cow is a funny, fast-paced card game about blowing up mad cows. Your goal is to finish with more money than you started with. If you finish with the most money, you win!
In Unexploded Cow, you’ve learned of two problems: unexploded bombs in France – left over from wars gone by – and cows with Mad Cow disease in England. Being a savvy entrepreneur, you’ve come up with a solution to both problems: buy cows in England for cheap, ship them to France and let them run around the pastures and explode the unexploded bombs. The thankful populace will reward you with money! You’ll be rich!
On your turn, you can play as many cards as you like. Most cards are cows that you buy and put in your field. Some of the not-so-great cows – that cost money, instead of paying your money when they blow up – you’ll want to place in your opponents’ fields and make them pay for them initially and when they blow up. Some cards provide actions like drawing cards, making the cows move around, trading cows with fellow players, etc. Some cows have special abilities like being able to hand off a bomb to another cow or act as a spy for you (your opponent pays when you place your spy in his field and you get paid when your spy blows up – pretty good deal).
Which brings us to the second part of your turn: when you’re all done playing cards, roll the Bomb Die, then count cows clockwise starting at your rightmost cow. When you get to the number you rolled, that cow blows up and its owner gets paid the cow’s value (higher than what it cost). If you blow up one or more of your own cows on your Bomb Roll, you earn the friendship of the current French City (City deck): take the City card and do whatever it says.
When the last City card is won, the game goes into Sudden Death with players rolling and blowing up cows until they’re all gone – sort of a weird fireworks show. Then ya’ll count your money and the player with the most cash wins!
Unexploded Cow supports 2-6 players ages 12 and up and plays in about 25 minutes. I’ve laughed my head off in every game I’ve ever played of Unexploded Cow. Dimensions: 7.5″ tall x 4″ wide x 1.5″ deep. Here Be Books & Games has a copy in their Game Library so they can teach you how to play!
In Get Bit! Deluxe, you don’t have to be the fastest pirate robot in the water, just faster than the bloke next to you when the shark following behind takes a bite! That’s the premise of Get Bit! Deluxe.
Everybody starts with a pirate robot and a set of cards numbered 1 to 7. Each round you choose a card to play and place it face down in front of you. Then everyone simultaneously reveals their cards and moves their robots in order accordingly. After all the robots have moved, the last robot in line gets bit by the shark and loses a limb! Play continues until only two robots remain – even though they may be nothing but bobbing heads or torsos.
There are two versions of Get Bit!. Get Bit! Deluxe comes in a square little tin and includes stickers to dress up your robots as Pirates. The artwork on the cards features Pirate Robots, whereas in the original Get Bit!, the robots are just colored robots, no stickers.
Both versions of Get Bit! support 3 to 6 players ages 8 and up. You can also buy Robot Expansions to support more players. There’s even a Sharkspansion, so one player can play the shark! Get Bit! Deluxe comes in a 5″ square tin that’s 1.5″ deep. Here Be Books & Games has a copy of Get Bit! in their Game Library so they can teach you how to play!
6 nimmt! Junior is a version of 6 nimmt! designed specifically for kids. The cards feature barnyard animals instead of numbers making it a little easier to play. While the sun shines over the small animal farm, rain clouds are already visible in the distance. Each player’s goal is to help the big and small animals find shelter in the barn. The player who gets six different animals in a stall, takes those animal cards as her own. The winner is the player who has collected the most animals.
To set up the game, place the four stall cards in a column on the table. Each stall acts as the beginning of a series. Shuffle the animal cards and place them face down as a draw pile near the stall cards. The first player, draws the top card and places it into one of the four stall rows according to the following rules:An animal can only be added to a stall that doesn’t already have that type of animal in it.
- A card with more than one animal on it must be placed in a row that doesn’t already have at least one of the animals on the card. Multi-animal cards only count as one animal for scoring purposes.
- You must place the card at the end of a row.
- If the animal on the card is already in all four stall rows, then you may place the card at the end of any row.
Play continues the same way as each player takes her turn. Whenever a player places the sixth animal in a stall, she takes all the animals in that stall as her own, leaving the stall card in place. The game ends when the last card in the draw pile is played in a row. The player with the most animal cards wins.
6 nimmt! Junior also includes rules for two more variations of play. It comes in a small box that’s 4.75″ tall by 3.75″ wide by .75″ deep. We imported 6 nimmt! Junior from Germany: it’s generally not available in the United States. 6 nimmt! Junior is language independent and Here Be Books & Games will provide you with an English copy of the rules when you buy it from them.
BraveRats is a simple and short 2-player simultaneous action selection card game similar to War, but with a twist. Both players have a hand of eight cards, numbered 0 to 7, with each card having a special power. Each round, both players choose a card, then reveal them simultaneously. While the highest card wins the round, the cards’ special powers can change this and lead to unexpected results. Players play until one player has won four rounds.
A quick, fun game for 2 players ages 8 and up that plays in just 5 minutes. The pictures and character abilities ooze theme. The numerous variants in the rulebook provide additional ways to play. BraveRats comes in a small tin that’s 4.5″ high x 3″ wide x 1″ deep.
Attila, is a light and fast-paced game in which two players attempt to out-maneuver each other on the battlefield. One player controls Attila and his horde, the other Roman soldiers. Your goal is to trap your opponent so he can’t move.
To set up, form a playing area with the four game board tiles, then place your pieces on empty spaces.
To play, take turns moving one of your pieces in a knight’s move (as in chess). You can move over occupied squares and empty spaces as long as you land on a free space. Then place a scorched earth tile on any empty space. The game ends when a player can’t legally move any of his men: that player loses.
Attila supports 2 players ages 7 and up and plays in about 15 minutes. Attila comes in a small tin that’s 6″ tall x 4.5″ wide x 1.5″ deep.
Rise and Shine! In Sleeping Queens, the Pancade Queen, the Ladybug Queen and ten of their closest friends have fallen under a sleeping spell and it’s your job to wake them up.
Use strategy, quick thinking and a little luck to rouse these napping nobles from their royal slumbers. Play a knight to steal a queen or take a chance on a juggling jester. But watch out for wicked potions and dastardly dragons! The player who wakes the most queens wins.
Sleeping Queens 10th Anniversary Edition comes in a cute little tin that’s 6″ tall by 5″ wide by 2″ deep. It includes new Queens and Kings, plus bonus stickers!
Zeus on the Loose – Reach the top of Mount Olympus with Zeus in hand and you’re a mortal among the gods in this fast-playing card game.
Zeus is on the loose, he’s bolted from Mount Olympus and it’s up to you to nab this dashing deity. Play cards strategically, adding numbers as you climb up the mythic mountain. You can grab Zeus when the total reaches a multiple of 10.
Did you know that, in addition to their supreme powers, the Greek gods were endowed with the special ability to change the course of card games? Well, at least that’s the case in Zeus on the Loose! You can also summon the strength of Apollo, Poseidon, or the all-powerful Hera to bring Zeus within your grasp. A quick warning about Hera: though she may be the most powerful goddess in the game, don’t get on her bad side or else she might wind up helping one of your opponents steal Zeus and win!
As you figure out how to harness the strengths of the various gods, you’ll sharpen strategic thinking along with valuable addition and subtraction skills. Reach the top of Mount Olympus with Zeus in hand and you’re a mortal among the gods. To play is human. To win, divine!
Zeus on the Loose supports 2 to 5 players ages 8 and up and plays in about 20 minutes. The box is 5.5″ tall by 5″ wide by 1.5″ deep.
So there you have it: 10 sweet, sugar-free games for kids’ Easter baskets – no foolin’!