It's amazing how Hasbro Toys comes up with new designs for some of its popular board-game brands like "Monopoly," "The Game of Life" and "Battleship." For example, the most expensive version of "Monopoly" was produced by a San Francisco jeweler and was valued at $2 million. It featured a 23-carat gold board and diamond-studded dice.
My family and I just put a recent roundup of Hasbro games to the test and here is our holiday shopping advice:
"Angry Birds Star Wars Jenga Launchers Game," $15, 1 or 2 players
If Angry Birds wasn't popular enough, Hasbro combined it with a Star Wars theme and designed it for the tabletop. Just like in the video game, you are launching birds at structures trying to knock down enemy pigs. In the Tatooine version, players use a launcher that looks like the Millenium Falcon. One player launches the birds and another player rolls a dice to find out what structure to build. Players can also unlock Angry Birds Star Wars content on a mobile app with a special code in each pack. It's a fun game at a great cost and can be combined with other sets based on ice planet Hoth and the Death Star.
"The Game of Life zAPPed Edition," $25, 2 to 4 players
The game merges technology and cardboard together to play "Life" in a brand-new way. This version only works with an iPad. Lay out the colorful game board and place your iPad in the middle. Customize the peg on your iPad throughout the game but first choose college or career to begin. A colorful virtual spinner helps propel you around the board. The iPad keeps track of your progress. When you hit special spaces on the game board, you touch similar icons on your iPad and "America's Funniest Home Videos" play or mini games come up. The videos are hilarious and the games are fun. They will fill your home with laughter. Earn money, collect Life tokens, have children, avoid problem spaces and retire with the most money. Download the accompanying app in the iTunes App Store for free.
"Monopoly Zapped Edition," $30, 2 to 4 players
You will need an iPad, iPod Touch or iPhone to play. Set up the game board, pick a game piece and place your mobile device in the center of the board. Roll the dice on your turn and then interact with your mobile device. Did you land on a property? Purchase it! How about a Chance Space? Play a mini game on your mobile device to determine what happens. Unique play credit cards allow you to tap your mobile device to receive or pay money throughout the game. Your mobile device keeps track of everything! How about landing on GO TO JAIL? Now you can play a mini game to escape jail without paying $50. Cool! The Monopoly Zapped game app is available for free in the iTunes App Store. If you like "Monopoly," you'll love this new edition.
"Deluxe Battleship Movie Edition," $40, 1 or 2 players
This isn't your daddy's Battleship. Wow, electronic Battleship has changed over the years. This version pits earth naval fleets against alien fleets based on the "Battleship" movie by Universal Pictures. Choose your side and select your game mode. You can choose the standard version or an advanced version with unique abilities for each ship. Light, sounds and special weapons help players seek out and destroy their enemy's ships. Send out jets for recon missions, launch missiles that hit anything in a given row or even scan water with aircraft carriers before firing. It's a fun game and the best version I've ever played. My one gripe is that the legs of the electronic unit kept collapsing because they wouldn't lock into place. I gave up after they collapsed the 10th time and just played it flat.
Ryan Morgenegg is a multimedia specialist for the Deseret News.