"Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability" Sam Keen

Summer is here at last — with a vengeance. The temperature has been hovering in the 30s Celcius (that’s between 80 and 90F for those of you who still use that system) and the humidity has been wicked. I don’t know about all of you, but when it’s this hot, I like to play games.

Board games.

We just received a review copy of a game called GiftTRAP from the inventor, a charming guy named Nick Kellet. GiftTRAP is not brand new: it won a bunch of awards in 2006, including a spot on the Chicago Tribune’s Top Ten Games list; GAMES Magazine’s Best Party Game of 2008; and in 2009, Spiel des Jahres Special Prize for Best Party Game.

Like all great games, the premise of this one is simple: give your friends the gifts that they really would like to have. The game mechanics are pretty straightforward:

  • DEAL – deal random gifts from one of the packs of gifts.
  • SHOP – think about how you match these gifts to the players.
  • GIVE – give one of these gifts to each player (using gift tokens).
  • GET – choose which gifts you want yourself (using get tokens Ok, Good, Great & No Way).
  • REVEAL – show people what you wanted and what you were given by each player.
  • SCORE – the giver and the receiver score for each gift (the giver gets GIVING points, the receiver gets GETTING points).

The game is played over a series of rounds. The game is over when one player manages to get both his GIVE and GET tokens into the end zone (easier said than done, as a bad gift — either giving or getting — can move you backwards.) The game components are sturdy and seem well-designed, with over 600 “gift ideas” beautifully photographed on heavy card stock, and clever plastic playing pieces (a wrapped box with a bow represents gifts you give, while an “opened” box represents gifts you get) packaged in colour-coded organza drawstring pouches.

Seems like a fun little game for dinner parties and cottage weekends. I think we’ll be ordering it in. There’s only one thing left to decide.

Would I rather receive the Hybrid Car, the 50 Bottles of Vintage Champagne, or the Fully-Equipped Workshop?

Decisions, decisions.

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