5 cool games for $25 or less


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“Family game night has always been very popular,” says Kerry Smith, spokeswoman for Toys R Us. And while there is still a nostalgic pull for classic board games, “a lot of the games have been updated for the tech-savvy.”

Some of the cool offerings this year include the following.

Ravensburger Puzzle

“It’s a really cool puzzle that works with an app,” says Adrienne Appell, spokeswoman for the Toy Industry Association.

This 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle boasts “augmented reality” — once you’ve completed it, a free app brings it alive with extra views, sound effects and facts about the scene. Versions include Above the Roofs of Paris; Lofoten, Norway; the Animals of Africa; and Underwater Realm. (This works with iPhones and iPads.)

Zynga Words with Friends

This board game version of the popular online phenomenon is similar to another crossword-esque word game. No electronics are necessary, and two to four can play.

The Game of Life: zAPPed Ed.

You need an iPad for this version of the classic board game. Download the app for free, then set your iPad into the game board, which incorporates clips from “America’s Funniest Home Videos” into the game. This is playable with two to four people.

Rush Hour

A brainteaser and a game all in one. “This is a really cool game that all the retailers are talking about,” says Kathleen McHugh, president of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association. “It has four levels of difficulty, and it allows players to progress at their own pace,” she says. “The kids love it, and the parents can play, too.”

Look Look

This game tests players in their powers of perception to match identical creatures, then they do some fast math to win, says American Specialty Toy Retailing Association’s McHugh.

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