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Board Game Review:‘Disney Cranium’ continues original game’s domination of fun
By Ezra Mann (Editor in Spoof)

The idea of freshening a classic game with an infinite number of themes goes back possibly even farther than when kids first got bored with throwing a ball at each other, though there’s at least a few successes in the forgotten flops. Trivia may be the most flogged horse of any category (first person shooters following closely behind), but despite my expectation of some day just saying no more, I’ve yet to shun the genre to date.

I’ll be honest and let you know that when I saw that this offering from USAopoly was coming out, I already had a positive bias from the original version. It was going to take some downright revolting decision making to turn me against it (like a teen heart throb heavy TV theme), thankfully they went with something honoring a mostly classic balance. “Disney Cranium” hearkens back to the first experiences I had, yet does more and makes it feel in some ways like a brand new game.

Again, the activity itself remains pretty much the same as the first Cranium in that your goal is to navigate your game piece to from one part of the board to the other before your competition. This version is set up for two teams of any size (though I wouldn’t say more than four or five to each team) and each team advances spaces on the board by successfully completing a number of activities.

All involved will quickly be laughing or at least having a great time because you can perform for your team, draw something, sculpt with clay and test your knowledge for starters. Of course, chance also plays into the mix as you must roll dice to see how far you move even if you get things right. Much of the focus for the game is on stuff released by the house of mouse in the past few decades, but most families will be able to find something they relate with.

The real trouble, if any, is that once you start playing it is hard to just call it a night after just a try or two. The game itself moves pretty fast, though using a digital timer might be more effective than the sand through the plastic 30-second-glass (sand seems to bunch up in a lot of games that include these timers).

In the end, those who relate most to the stuff featured will have best time of it, which is what should be expected from any theme. It’s certainly something to consider that even the most trying board games can have longer replayability than console equivalents. For not wasting what little time I’ve got for leisure, I give “Disney Cranium” three and a half out of five wonderful worlds.

More Info: Game can be purchased at several stores as well as online through

‘Ratuki’ a fast track to fun competition
Card Game Review

As a member of the male side of the human race, I admit it is no secret that dudes enjoy competing with each other when it comes to just about anything. Many times we of the masculine persuasion can become aggressive in our pursuit to win the top prize, though there are a few cases where bloodshed might be avoided in the process.
Near the end of last year I was sent a card game with the promise that it was both fast as well as addictive (and so far with no prison time) for the whole crowd and though I always have skepticism with anything mass produced, USAopoly delivered on the ad pitch. What started off as a gauge to slowly create a strategy on how to defeat my opponents transformed into something I couldn’t wait to play round after round, despite if I actually crushed them or not. “Ratuki” is an inexpensive activity that has endless rewards for those who dive into the frenzy.
The basic premise behind the activity is where two to five players attempt to get rid of the cards, numbered one through five, they are given through a personal deck each and gain points by collecting those that are piled in the middle. Speed and just a little bit of strategy will give one the edge as each pile is claimed by placing a five or ratuki card on the top of a pile.
Just to make it even more interesting, there can be as many piles in the middle as there are players and instead of taking turns everyone plays the card they are able at the same time. You can discard cards you don’t want to use right away, but this can come back to hurt you because any cards left over are subtracted from the final score once any player can no longer lay down a card. It’s almost better to risk losing a chance to grab a pile or two. The best point grabs come if you can slow down the progression of the numbers in a middle by reversing the order the counting is going and then claiming a large pileup (don’t worry, even my lack of math skills didn’t prevent me from understanding).
In the end, it’s a rare opportunity to play something and not get frustrated if things don’t go in your favor. In many ways this game feels like something completely new, but borrows from other winners like “UNO” and “Slap Jack.”
For putting out something that will be a repeat player for quite a while in the future, I give “Ratuki” four and half out of five jungle calls.
More Info: Game can be purchased in stores or at places like

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