Games for Shabbos

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    Some puzzles have squares.

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕

    R’ Moshe seems to asser puzzles if there’s any chibur (attachment) whatsoever. This teshuvah (O.C. 1 – 135) is quoted by Shmiras Shabos K’hilchoso (16 – 23, 62) and Orchos Shabbos (15 – 13, 23). R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach is similarly quoted as being machmir.

    🐵 ⌨ Gamanit

    I don’t see the point in doing a doing a hard puzzle if it doesn’t get to hang on the playroom wall when it’s done…


    Check out games by Ares Games and/or Fantasy Flight – both are leading companies in the “niche” board game market.

    A favorite of mine is War of the Ring – strategy game based on Lord of the Rings – about 2-3 hrs. Eclipse (space strategy game) is another good one. There is a large web site devoted to board games out there (some Googling can get you there) check it out and see what speaks to you.

    Board games in general CAN come with halachic ‘baggage’ when played on Shabbos – anything that might come to mind (borer, for example) should prob be addressed w your LOR (obviously).



    I would recommend a game that gets everyone to laugh and enjoy each others company as it says that on Shabbos you should have “oneg'”. I personally love playing apples to apples for that reason, it just gets so wacky that everyone has a great time.


    CODA is a good short strategy game.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    R’ Moshe seems to asser puzzles if there’s any chibur (attachment) whatsoever.

    most of the puzzles I do are ugly so there is rarely any attachment to them.

    Seriously tho, Gamanit, a puzzle is for the doing. If you want a poster you can buy one. I LOVE puzzles, but I love doing them. What would I do with pictures of m&m’s, snoopy, muppets, chocolate bars, sewing boxes etc on my wall. It would be weird to hang things like those in my house. Well, MAYBE the muppets. but I find most finished puzzles, even if they end up being nice pictures, are annoying to the eye because of the texture.


    Famous story about Rabbi/ Dr. Twerski, copied from Ohr Somaych Web site:

    I once heard Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski, shlita, tell a beautiful story about a rebuke that he once received from his saintly father, the Hornesteipel Rebbe, zt”l. He told this story at the 10th anniversary of the passing. He told it as an example of rebuke that makes its point and expresses love at the same time. The story took place on Rosh Hashanah when Rabbi Twerski was a young boy. Staying at their house was a man who should have known better, but asked the young Abraham Twerski if he would play Chess with him. The boy felt that there must be something wrong with playing Chess on Rosh Hashanah, but the man assured him that there wasn’t – “What could be wrong with a game of Chess?” So, they played and the young boy Checkmated the older guest. Later that night after Rosh Hashanah ended, young Abraham Twerski was told that his father wanted a word with him in the study. Nervously, he entered. His father, never taking his eyes from the book that he was studying, chided the boy “You played chess on Rosh Hashanah?” The tone said that he knew him to be above this kind of behavior, and that he was disappointed with him. The rebuke struck deep in the little boy, who felt very ashamed. When the father was certain that he had made his point, he lifted his head from the book he was studying, picked up his glasses and with a twinkle in his eyes he said to his son, “Did you win?”


    I think I can go Yserbius one better. (And even if I couldn’t, more games have come out since his post.) One of these days, b”n


    Monopoly (although many people don’t play it on shabbos), and definitely articulate!


    Stratego and othello


    The things people come up with…

    I assume the art in most of these games would keep us from

    playing them, but they might amuse you to read about.

    Kings of Israel is a board game taking place in Israel (the Northern Kingdom) during the reign of its kings up until Israel’s destruction by Assyria. Players are on a team, with each person representing a line of prophets that are trying to remove evil and idols from Israel, while building altars to help guide Israel in the upcoming difficult years. If the players are able to build enough altars before the game ends, they win. If the game ends by either the team running out of sin cubes or idols, or by Assyria destroying Israel, the prophets lose.

    A typical round has four phases:

    1. King’s Godliness Phase: During this phase, if a bad king is reigning over Israel, the players must draw a Sin & Punishment card, which means bad things occur in Israel because of evil or in response to evil. If during the reign of a good king, the starting player receives a Blessing card.

    2. Sin Increases Phase: Location cards are drawn and sin increases at each revealed location. This can possibly cause idols to appear or sin to spread further if sin increases at a location with an idol.

    3. Prophets Work Phase: In this phase each prophet gets to use four actions to accomplish their goals. They may use their actions to move, remove sin or idols, draw resource cards, build an altar, make a sacrifice at an altar, or to give resources to another player. A prophets may also play Blessing cards at this time if they have them. In expert mode, after all the prophets take their turn, the false prophet takes his turn.

    4. End of Round Phase: The starting player changes to the next player and the timeline token moves down to the next king chronologically. In easy mode, any player who had made a sacrifice that turn then draws a single Blessing card.

    The family version of Kings of Israel is available on the game’s website. This version eliminates the King’s Godliness phase, Abilities, and the Blessing cards, which makes for an easier, quicker, and more simplified game.


    Kingdom of Solomon is a worker-placement game with a few new twists and turns. Do you claim a resource space, an action space or throw in all your remaining pawns to grab a powerful Bonus Space? Will you spend your resources to extend Solomon’s kingdom, take some points in the Market or add to the Temple? These and many other choices await you in this highly interactive game.

    You play Kingdom of Solomon in rounds of four phases.

    You start the round placing your pawns to get resources, take actions or get a bonus. In this placement phase players take

    turns, each placing one pawn at a time. After all pawns have been placed, players resolve what they get from placing their pawns. This is called the resolution phase, and each player, in turn,

    resolves the placement of all their pawns before the next player.

    Next the players can go to the Market to sell or buy resources. In this market phase, like the placement phase, players alternate

    taking turns, except that players take turns in reverse order. The last shall be first, and the first shall be last.

    Finally, you build in the building phase. Players, one at a time, can build a building, roads and add blocks to the Temple.

    When you place pawns to take actions, you can get an additional resource for a resource space, trade one resource for another, steal a resource from an opponent, get victory points or draw

    Fortune cards. You can play Fortune cards at any time. Fortune cards provide resources, victory points or special actions. Bonuses your pawns can gain for you include one of every resource, three Fortune cards or victory points with a rearrangement of turn order so you become the new first player.

    The game ends at the end the round when a player places all his building tokens on building sites, there is a building token on each of the building sites, or the Temple is complete. The player with the most victory points wins.

    (Kingdom of Solomon is infamous for its rulebook’s “numerous instances of ambiguity or omission” – additional documentation is necessary to play properly.)


    QuestZion (The Game of Israel)

    The object of this educational game is to enter Jerusalem and place a ‘Note’ in the Kotel (the Western Wall).

    The board is a (disproportionate) map of Israel and is broken up into 7 regions. When a player passes through each of the first 6 regions, they earn the corresponding Activity Diploma that is

    required to enter the final Jerusalem region.

    Depending on the space that the player lands on, they must either: 1) Answer a question; or, 2) Draw a Yesh/Gevalt card and follow the instructions.

    By answering the trivia questions, players learn about Israeli history, Hebrew, Judaism, Jewish heritage, and Jewish traditions.


    In Nehemiah, players take the role of Israeli leaders who help to rebuild the Jerusalem wall (Ed: see Sefer Nechemiah). The game is based on a unique, worker-placement mechanism:

    Players will place their workers on ever-changing labor cards.

    When a player activates his worker, he may activate other labor cards in the same row of cards that have already been activated. Doing this will cost him gold, but it may help him utilize his

    resources better.

    When players are not watchful, the row of labor cards may be changed before they have a chance to use their worker(s), so it’s important to place new workers on good cards, but also to use

    the workers already placed.


    Promised Land: 1250-587 BC is a history of the Promised Land from Joshua through to the Babylonian captivity. Players compete in two teams, out of which just one individual will be

    crowned the winner. Hebrew units are split between Northern and Southern kingdoms, but Hebrew players will have the opportunity to use both these factions through the game. Similarly there are eleven Heathen kingdoms for the Heathen players to use. Play happens at an individual, human level as well as at the movement of nations level.

    Each player has two Farmers, two Merchants and two Priests. A number of these can be placed after conquest into lands occupied by the kingdom just played. Farmers collect two bronze coins

    for plains and one for hills. Merchants collect two silver coins for ports and one for roads. Priests collect two gold coins for temples and one for cities. Players may have only one of their Patriarchs in any one land. Players may share occupation of a land, but only one type of Patriarch may be in each land.

    Players use the coins generated by their Patriarchs to buy artefacts that influence game play but can instead choose to secure objectives on the Kingdom track to highlight the development of the nation and score victory points of course!

    A variety of strategies are available, and players must

    make choices throughout the game in order to emerge victorious.

    Listed among the components are:

    Canaanites, Philistines, Arameans, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Edomites, Ammonites, Midianites, Moabites, Assyrians, Babylonians

    Joshua, Gideon, Samson, Saul, David, Solomon, Omri,

    Jereboam, Hosheah, Zedekiah (and more)

    “The Ark (of the Covenant, not Noah’s)”


    Package Has Arrived / ????? ?????

    A game from 1965 designed by the famous Israeli writer Ephraim Kison, describing the bureaucracy around receiving a package from the Israeli post office in the late ’60. Players roll the dice, advance their markers on the board and follow the instructions while collecting all the necessary documents.


    A Reign of Missiles is a low-complexity, solitaire simulation game of the Gaza Missile Crisis of November 2012. The player takes on the role of the Israeli military high command as it attempts to fend off the missile strikes launched by Hamas from Gaza.


    Last but not least, there is, (not making this up) The Settlers of Canaan.

    (And that’s leaving out all the wargames based on modern Israeli wars…)


    More things people came up with

    (may or may not be suitable for frum audiences):

    Torah Slides & Ladders

    Shabbos is Coming! (another Chutes & Ladders clone)

    Get Ready for Shabbos

    The Holigame: A Celebration of Jewish Holidays

    Around the Jewish Year

    Chametz: The Search is On!

    Cholent: The Game

    Exodus: The Game of Passover

    The Whole Megillah

    The Young Maccabees

    Aleph Bet Adventure


    Mish Mosh: The Jewish Word Game

    Quick Shtick: The Jewish Quick Thinking Game

    Letter Getter: The Jewish Rummy Game

    Apples to Apples – Jewish Edition

    Apples to Apples Jr. – Jewish Edition

    Apples to Apples Yiddish Edition

    Jewish Fluxx (Not a full game but an official Fluxx expansion)


    Yiddishe Kop



    Candle Quest

    The Siege of Jerusalem

    Magical Mitzvah Park (I had that one as a kid)

    Mitzvah Millionaire

    The Jewish War – The Zealot Rebellion against Rome – 66 to 73 AD

    Bonus game (not Jewish-themed): Honey Nut Cheerios Spelling Bee Game

    uncle tj

    Whats wrong with monopoly


    on Shabbos? a lot. the money poses a problem, ask your LOR. my rav said kids over bar/bas mitzvah should definitely not play it on shabbos


    tana – depends who. I play Monopoly on Shabbos, but many of my cousins and friends don’t.


    For the amount of choice you get in it, Monopoly is too long.

    (In fact, its length would be too long for most games.)


    Monopoly is probably more assur cause of bitul zman than anything else. Also, a message to Comlinx: Cholent is not a game.


    There is a card game called Cholent: The Game.


    cholent is not a game. cholent is a derech hachaim. the card game creators are guilty of motzi shem ra.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    zogt – i get the feeling you are either a girl pretending to be a boy, or a non-yeshivish person (of either gender) pretending to be yeshivish. just saying.


    You’ve been getting attacked by a lot of people tonight, so I won’t call you out on being choshed biksharim, motzi shem ra, etc. Maybe take a break from posting and let the steam out… I can’t help but ask, though: what about liking cholent (and expressing that like in a humorous, over-the-top way) makes you think I’m a fraud? You seriously think that someone would only say they like cholent *if and only if* they are lying about their gender/level of frumkeit?! Shtus v’hevel.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    fraud? Gd forbid! I don’t think you are a fraud!


    Sorry – a great card/board game


    Let me fix that for you:

    Sorry – a great piece of cardboard

    The Queen

    Perpetual commotion is a fun card game to play with the whole family.


    Snake Oil is loads of fun for those people with big imagination.



    Really, Yserbius…

    Agricola, 7 Wonders, RaceftG, and Dominion are not gateway!

    Are you still playing? (Have you tried Roll for the Galaxy or

    7 Wonders Duel?)


    Okay, maybe anybody can play Dominion. I stand by the others.

    Me: I think I can go Yserbius one better. (And even if I couldn’t, more games have come out since his post.) One of these days, b”n…


    I still haven’t done it… Is anyone interested in this subject?


    Chanukah gift guide? (Probably won’t happen…)


    @Rand0m3x: You’re suggesting Eclipse and telling me that Agricola isn’t gateway enough?

    I just found out that there’s a third game in the “Forbidden” series called Forbidden Space. Looks like fun, but a little more complicated than its predecessors.

    Hanabi is an amazing family game that’s also small and cheap.


    As for Shabbos issues, Rav Ribiat in his 38 Melochos series goes into detail for several toys and games. He is OK with most puzzles as long as they’re not built in a frame. For something a little more specific, a talmid of Rav Yosef Berger from Baltimore published a kuntrus on his psak halachos of toys on Shabbos and he goes into detail on games and puzzles.

    Don’t quote me on this, but I recall one or both paskening that there’s no halachic problem with a game that has play money, it’s just something people don’t do.


    Oh no Joseph is gonna be triggered


    >It wasn’t me who suggested Eclipse.<

    The new Forbidden game is called Forbidden Sky.
    It includes batteries (you build an actual electric circuit during the game).
    I think it’s been getting mixed reviews.


    Maybe you could get away with 7 Wonders as a gateway game… I’d probably
    start with a simpler drafting game, like Sushi Go Party! (or maybe
    Treasure Hunter, which I still have yet to take a close look at).


    Did I really just say 38 melochos?



    One that is definitely not a gateway game, but for the dedicated gamer has almost unlimited replayability, is Terraforming Mars. It’s a long game, longer than I usually have patience for, but it keeps drawing me in.

    On the other end of the spectrum, something that’s light fun for all the family and can be played in ten minutes, is Looney Labs’ Find the Macguffin


    (Please review the following on the basis of informative/useful you found it:)

    2-5 players / 8-10 and up / 45 minutes(?)

    Players build an old French town together, trying to control different
    kinds of areas so that only they score when those areas are completed.
    On their turns, players must draw and add a single tile to the board so
    that it matches any nearby tiles, and may put one of their pieces on it
    to take control of an area no one controls yet. When an area is finished,
    the controlling player gets some points and all pieces there go back to
    their owners. “But how could more than one person have pieces in an
    area according to what I just read,” you ask. The answer is that while
    you can’t get into a controlled area, you can place a tile in such a way
    that multiple areas become one.
    There’s also permanent piece placement for end-of-game scoring
    that you should start playing with after a couple of games.

    Some notes:
    The fewer players, the better, according to the gaming community.

    A widespread house-rule that makes the game faster without really
    changing it: Players draw their tile at the end of their turns instead
    of the start of their turn, letting them think on other players’ turns.

    An expansion is a separately sold box that adds elements to a game;
    Carcassonne has a ton of them. “Traders & Builders” is probably the
    first one you should get should you choose to go down that road.
    (There are also numerous alternate versions* of the game, each with
    its own little twist. However, they are not generally compatible with
    the expansions – even if they were, the visuals wouldn’t match.)
    There’s even a much-simplified kids’ version, My First Carcassonne.

    As a variant, you can have players draw 3 or 4 tiles and only draw
    another 3/4 after playing their last tile (make sure the number of
    tiles in the game is divisible by [player count]x[hand size]).


    (Ignore the asterisk. Also, if you want to play it “seriously,” you should get a reference sheet showing the amount of each unique tile in the game so that you can know whether it will be possible to fill in a particular space in the map – I think the app version gives you that information automatically.)


    (Get the MacGuffin, to be precise.)


    Playing Carcassone seriously means reading the instructions for how farms work.

    What I find hilarious is how every expansion has some kneitch that seems to totally contradict how the rules work. L’moshol, in one expansion it comes with special meeples in every color plus gray, which isn’t one of the playable colors. There are at least two expansions that have changes to the farm rules, but the original rules mentioned are different than what’s in the original box.


    It seems the first 3 editions of the base game each had a different set of rules for farmers.


    <checks box> Indeed it is Get the Macguffin. 2-11 players, 5-10 minutes, lots of fun and very little thought required. Just the thing to relax with after a 3-hour game of Terraforming Mars.

    Another recent game that’s pretty, easy to learn, and a lot harder than it looks is Azul.


    We’ve been playing Azul using 100 Ticket to Ride trains and paper boards
    I made myself with pen/pencil and markers. I’ve just taken a good look at
    the new Stained Glass of Sintra version; making its double-sided
    columns out of paper doesn’t seem like a great idea.


    Target has some things on sale:
    Klask – 38.5 (21.5 off)
    It’s like air hockey, except you control your striker from underneath the board with a magnet, you mustn’t fall into your own goal, and you mustn’t get 2 of the 3 non-puck magnet-bits stuck to your piece. (I hear ordering a spare parts pack and playing with 4 can be even more fun.)
    (By the way, if you live in Lakewood, Toys for Thought also has this on sale for 40 through Chanukah. I think that’s in-store only.)

    Imhotep – 22 (18 off)
    Egyptian-themed light strategy game for 2-4. You mostly load blocks of your color onto public ships or send a full-enough public ship to one of several places to unload its cubes in the order they were loaded, with each of those places scoring differently. There are 2 playable versions of each place for variety.

    Kingdomino – 12.8 (10.2 off)
    Lighter strategy game for 2-4. Take turns picking an available tile to add to your grid, always having to match a nearby tile – the better the tile you take, the later your turn will be in the next round. Scoring is based on the size of each area of a single type and the number of crowns on the area’s tiles. (The Target-exclusive version comes with a tile-dispensing tower.)

    Santorini – 23 (7 off)
    (Note: This game has a cutesy Greek myth theme and includes the names of Greek avodah zara.)
    Position-based strategy game for 2-4 (but don’t play with 4). Players each have 2 pieces on the same 5×5 grid. On a turn, move one of them like a chess-King and then build nearby. Buildings (which don’t belong to the players) can go up to 4 floors, and players can only move upward by 1 floor in a move. The object is to get a piece onto the 3rd floor of a building (4th floors can’t be moved to) or prevent your opponent from having a legal move. That’s the basic game, anyway – players can also each have a different special rule. The buildings are plastic and pretty nice.

    MegaLand – 20 (5 off)
    Light push-your-luck game with some strategy. In the first part of each round, players must choose when to back out from a public card-draw, somewhat blackjack-style – staying in is always rewarded but runs the risk of losing all the round’s gains. In the second part, they use their rewards to buy cards that progress them toward winning (and may help them in future rounds). Nice art.


    Kingdomino and its sequel/expansion Queendomino are excellent games.


    nap time


    Hey, Yserbius and Milhouse. 3 words: Machi Koro Legacy. :):):)


    (In post #1631901, by “playing with 4,” I meant 4 players, not 4 non-puck pieces.)


    Meh. Machi Koro is OK, but if I’m going to play that sort of game I’d rather play Dominion.

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