Modern Classics at Cogs The Brain Shop

Modern Classics

Modern Classics at Cogs The Brain Shop

With the growing resurgence in tabletop board-gaming we thought we would look at some of our favourite games now considered to be Modern Classics among gaming fans. These titles, we think, belong in any games collection right next to your traditional games like Monopoly and Cluedo.


Ticket to Ride Europe

Players: 2-5  //  Ages: 8+  //  Time: 60 minsTicket To Ride Europe

Build a rail empire spanning from London to Athens, from Moscow to Madrid! Collect cards of the same colour to build railway routes across Europe, meeting the demands of your tickets and scoring bigger points for the most ambitious routes. A terrific light strategy game that keeps players of all levels coming back for more.

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Players: 3-4  //  Ages: 10+  //  Time: 60 mins


The trailblazer that heralded the modern era of tabletop gaming, Catan remains a huge hit with players across the world. Establish settlements and cities across the bounteous island of Catan, harvesting resources and trading with your opponents for the cards that you need to see your colony flourish and achieve victory.

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Players: 2-5  //  Ages: 7+  //  Time: 35 mins


This iconic game sees players taking turns placing tiles onto a map full of ever-growing cities, roads, grassland, cloisters and more, deploying their ‘meeples’ onto the right tiles at the right time to score points. The randomised tiles mean that every game is different – but always exciting!

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Players: 3-6  //  Ages: 6+  //  Time: 30 mins


The game of communication and interpretation! Dixit features 84 cards all beautifully illustrated with surreal and abstract art, to which players must give verbal clues in an attempt to have some – but not all – of their rivals correctly identify their card. The creativity and imagination of Dixit perfectly demonstrate the variety of experiences on offer in modern board gaming.

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Players: 2-4  //  Ages 14+  //  Time: 60 mins


Four infectious diseases are spreading across the world and it’s up to you and your friends to find the cures and save humanity! In Pandemic, players work as a team against the game to travel the world, hold off outbreaks and epidemics while researching cures before time runs out. You’ll win or lose together, and have a blast either way.

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Our Top 5 Travel Games for Kids

Our Top 5 Travel Games for Kids

Our Top 5 Travel Games for Kids:

It’s summer holiday time and you want to bring along some games for the kids or the family that don’t take up too much room in your suitcase. Here’s our pick of 5 small games that we think pack a lot fun.

1. Dobble

An award winning card game that requires speed, observation and reflexes.


Between any two cards there is always one and only one matching symbol. Spot it fast to win! Includes 55 cards and illustrated rules in a durable travel-size tin.

Age: 6+  Players: 2-8  (Also available in Dobble Kids and Dobble 1,2,3 for younger kids.)

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2. Rory’s Story Cubes

With Rory’s Story Cubes, anyone can become a great storyteller.

Rorys Story Cubes

Roll the cubes and use the nine face up images to make a story. With infinite story possibilities, Rory’s Story Cubes offers hours of imaginative fun. Enjoy playing on your own or taking turns

Age: 6+

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3. Travel Spirograph

The classic design toy for the budding artist.

Travel Spirograph

Travel Spirograph is the classic way to create countless amazing designs on the go. This portable Spirograph studio has a built-in design ring, work surface and storage compartment for holding your wheels, pens, paper, design guide and finished artwork.

Age 5+

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4. Travel Qwirkle

Plays like the original family favourite. Now you can play Qwirkle anywhere.

Travel Qwirkle

Create rows and columns by matching tiles with the same symbol or colour. Match both for maximum points. Create a line of all six and you score a Qwirkle. This clever game comes with a handy travel pouch.   

Age: 6+  Players: 2-4 

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5. Sleeping Queens

A Royally Rousing Card Game that’s entertaining and imaginative.

Sleeping Queens

Use strategy, quick thinking and a little luck to wake the most queens and win. Play a knight to steal a queen or take a chance on a juggling jester. But watch out for magic potions and dragons. The average game will last about 20 minutes and the game box is neat enough to fit in a small carry bag.

Age: 8+  Players: 2-5

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Our Top Family Boardgames for 2017

What is a good Family Board game?

By family board game we mean a board game that can be played by the whole family including kids from 7 or 8, teenagers and of course parents and grandparents.

The criteria we used for choosing this list of best family board games was the following:

  • The game must be easy to learn or teach
  • The game must be fun to play
  • The game can be played by 4-5 players or more.
  • The game must have a good replay-ability


The top of any list of best family board games 2017 has to include the 2017 Spiel des Jahres Winner (Game of the Year) , Kingdomino. Kingdomino is a family strategy board game for ages 8 and up, for 2 to 4 players. Kingdomino is a short game, each turn is quick, it takes t 15 to 20 minutes to play. It is a fun and colorful game to play and has enough strategy in it to please young and old alike. Counting your points at the end of the game is a really good for your kids to practice their Maths skills without noticing it. It really ticks all the boxes with regards to best family board game. A great board game if you want to try something different this Christmas. 


Ages: 8 – Adult

Players: 2 – 4

Price: €24.95

Ticket To Ride

Ages: 8 – Adult

Players: 2 – 5

Price: €44.95

Ticket to ride is a multi-award winning 2 to 5 player family board game for ages 8 to adult, that has a playing time of 30 to 60 minutes. The game is easy to learn, meaning you can quickly start playing. Players compete to connect different cities by laying claim to railway routes.  Ticket to Ride is fun, strategic and very competitive as you need to decide which routes to build or be cunning and try to block your opponents building their routesTicket to Ride is a game that will entertain kids and adults alike, it has really become a classic family game since its release in 2004, when it won the Spiel des Jahres award (and many other awards). 

Settlers of Catan

The Settlers of Catan is a 3-4 (you can play 5-6 with the Catan 5-6 player expansion ) player family board game. Players assume the roles of settlers, each attempting to build and develop holdings while trading and acquiring resources. Players are awarded points as their settlements grow; the first to reach a set number of points, typically 10, is the winner. As of 2015, more than 22 million copies in 30 languages had been sold. The game involves large amounts of strategy, while still being fairly simple to learn. Definitely one of those best classic family board games that you must try! 

Ages: 10 – Adult

Players: 3 – 4

Price: €47.95

King of Tokyo

King of Tokyo

Ages: 8 – Adult

Players: 2 – 6

Price: €42.95

King of Tokyo is another multi award winning family board game, for 2 to 6 players suitable for ages 8 to adult. In the game you play as mutant monsters, rampaging robots, or even abominable aliens battling in a fun, chaotic atmosphere. Roll the 6 dice and choose your strategy: Will you attack your enemies? Heal your wounds? Improve your Monster? Stomp your path to victory! 

30 Seconds

30 Seconds Board game is an Irish quick thinking fast talking description board game & is suitable for any group, party or family, big or small. It’s an easy game to play & has broad appeal – it’s not narrowed by gender, age or interest. It’s a game for everyone. The content of the board game (both Irish & international) is based on names & topics that most people will be familiar with including, celebrities & famous people from film, music, sport, politicians (only a few!), places, songs, bands, books, TV, movies, shops & brands etc. Some names are more difficult than others but most will be known by the average person in the street.

30 Seconds Board Game

Ages:  7+ (junior version)

Ages:  12+ (adult version)

Players: 3-20

Price: €29.95

Review of Yoga Spinner Game from Thinkfun

Just like its name suggests, Yoga Spinner, from ThinkFun, helps spin kids into 54 yoga poses, training them to become flexible, focused, and firm in both body and mind. Designed for kids ages 5 and up, the game steals kids away from tablets, smartphones, or the TV, by offering a healthy indoor group activity for two to four players.

The youngest player begins play by setting the spinner into action. If the spinner lands on a blue, green, or red space, the player must draw a card of the same color and perform the yoga pose the card indicates. If the player can hold the pose for 10 seconds, he or she gets to keep the card.  The first player to win a red, green, blue, and white card wins the game.

yoga spinner gameBut there’s more to the game than the red, blue, and green cards. Spaces like Steal a Card, Lose a Card, and Player’s Choice add some luck and chance to the game, allowing players to pass around cards without doing yoga poses. The Partner Up space lets kids draw a card from the white deck, grab a partner, and perform poses that require some teamwork.

Kids should warm up before twisting and turning to assume the different yoga poses. Even if kids have no experience with yoga, each and every card provides a picture of the pose to help guide them, and difficult poses like those in the Partner Up deck feature detailed written instructions on how to form the pose as well. Kids must use patience and common sense while getting into the pose and watch each other closely to avoid injury. Balance and quiet meditation are the pillars of yoga and must be observed to not only win the game but also gain control over the mind as well as the body.

Yoga Spinner provides a great introduction to yoga and will have kids getting into silly positions that will undoubtedly erupt in explosions of laughter, like the Lion pose, which involves sitting on all fours and growling like a lion, and Downward Facing Dog, which resembles a dog stretching its spine. Poses in the Partner Up deck require kids to remain coordinated and maintain their balance to win, but trying to get them right might spur funny accidents—especially when a pose like Half Handstand involves one person standing erect, while lending his or her back to the other to stand upside down in a right angle with hands above his or her head—whew!

Thanks to its fun, fast, and silly gameplay, Yoga Spinner will guarantee a healthy lifestyle for kids; improve their visual perception, spatial reasoning, and motor skills; and strengthen interpersonal communication as they learn to work in groups.Reposted from Toyinsider

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Screen Addiction Is Taking a Toll on Children


Excessive use of computer games among young people in China appears to be taking an alarming turn and may have particular relevance for American parents whose children spend many hours a day focused on electronic screens. The documentary “Web Junkie,” to be shown next Monday on PBS, highlights the tragic effects on teenagers who become hooked on video games, playing for dozens of hours at a time often without breaks to eat, sleep or even use the bathroom. Many come to view the real world as fake.

Chinese doctors consider this phenomenon a clinical disorder and have established rehabilitation centers where afflicted youngsters are confined for months of sometimes draconian therapy, completely isolated from all media, the effectiveness of which remains to be demonstrated.

While Internet addiction is not yet considered a clinical diagnosis here, there’s no question that American youths are plugged in and tuned out of “live” action for many more hours of the day than experts consider healthy for normal development. And it starts early, often with preverbal toddlers handed their parents’ cellphones and tablets to entertain themselves when they should be observing the world around them and interacting with their caregivers.

In its 2013 policy statement on “Children, Adolescents, and the Media,” the American Academy of Pediatrics cited these shocking statistics from a Kaiser Family Foundation study in 2010: “The average 8- to 10-year-old spends nearly eight hours a day with a variety of different media, and older children and teenagers spend more than 11 hours per day.” Television, long a popular “babysitter,” remains the dominant medium, but computers, tablets and cellphones are gradually taking over.

“Many parents seem to have few rules about use of media by their children and adolescents,” the academy stated, and two-thirds of those questioned in the Kaiser study said their parents had no rules about how much time the youngsters spent with media.

Parents, grateful for ways to calm disruptive children and keep them from interrupting their own screen activities, seem to be unaware of the potential harm from so much time spent in the virtual world.

“We’re throwing screens at children all day long, giving them distractions rather than teaching them how to self-soothe, to calm themselves down,” said Catherine Steiner-Adair, a Harvard-affiliated clinical psychologist and author of the best-selling book “The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age.”

Before age 2, children should not be exposed to any electronic media, the pediatrics academy maintains, because “a child’s brain develops rapidly during these first years, and young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens.” Older children and teenagers should spend no more than one or two hours a day with entertainment media, preferably with high-quality content, and spend more free time playing outdoors, reading, doing hobbies and “using their imaginations in free play,” the academy recommends.

Heavy use of electronic media can have significant negative effects on children’s behavior, health and school performance. Those who watch a lot of simulated violence, common in many popular video games, can become immune to it, more inclined to act violently themselves and less likely to behave empathetically, said Dimitri A. Christakis of the Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

In preparing an honors thesis at the University of Rhode Island, Kristina E. Hatch asked children about their favorite video games. A fourth-grader cited “Call of Duty: Black Ops,” because “there’s zombies in it, and you get to kill them with guns and there’s violence … I like blood and violence.”

Teenagers who spend a lot of time playing violent video games or watching violent shows on television have been found to be more aggressive and more likely to fight with their peers and argue with their teachers, according to a study in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

Schoolwork can suffer when media time infringes on reading and studying. And the sedentary nature of most electronic involvement — along with televised ads for high-calorie fare — can foster the unhealthy weights already epidemic among the nation’s youth.

Two of my grandsons, ages 10 and 13, seem destined to suffer some of the negative effects of video-game overuse. The 10-year-old gets up half an hour earlier on school days to play computer games, and he and his brother stay plugged into their hand-held devices on the ride to and from school. “There’s no conversation anymore,” said their grandfather, who often picks them up. When the family dines out, the boys use their devices before the meal arrives and as soon as they finish eating.

“If kids are allowed to play ‘Candy Crush’ on the way to school, the car ride will be quiet, but that’s not what kids need,” Dr. Steiner-Adair said in an interview. “They need time to daydream, deal with anxieties, process their thoughts and share them with parents, who can provide reassurance.”

Technology is a poor substitute for personal interaction.

Out in public, Dr. Steiner-Adair added, “children have to know that life is fine off the screen. It’s interesting and good to be curious about other people, to learn how to listen. It teaches them social and emotional intelligence, which is critical for success in life.”

Children who are heavy users of electronics may become adept at multitasking, but they can lose the ability to focus on what is most important, a trait critical to the deep thought and problem solving needed for many jobs and other endeavors later in life.

Texting looms as the next national epidemic, with half of children aged 12 to 17 sending and receiving 60 or more text messages a day, Amanda Lenhart of the Pew Research Center found in a study released in 2012. An earlier study by researchers at JFK Medical Center found that teenagers send an average of 34 texts a night after they get into bed, adding to the sleep deprivation so common and harmful to them. And as Ms. Hatch pointed out, “as children have more of their communication through electronic media, and less of it face to face, they begin to feel more lonely and depressed.”

There can be physical consequences, too. Children can develop pain in their fingers and wrists, narrowed blood vessels in their eyes (the long-term consequences of which are unknown), and neck and back pain from being slumped over their phones, tablets and computers.

10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Society of Pediatrics state infants aged 0-2 years should not have any exposure to technology, 3-5 years be restricted to one hour per day, and 6-18 years restricted to 2 hours per day (AAP 2001/13, CPS 2010). Children and youth use 4-5 times the recommended amount of technology, with serious and often life threatening consequences (Kaiser Foundation 2010, Active Healthy Kids Canada 2012). Handheld devices (cell phones, tablets, electronic games) have dramatically increased the accessibility and usage of technology, especially by very young children (Common Sense Media, 2013). As a pediatric occupational therapist, I’m calling on parents, teachers and governments to ban the use of all handheld devices for children under the age of 12 years. Following are 10 research-based reasons for this ban.
1. Rapid brain growth
Between 0 and 2 years, infant’s brains triple in size, and continue in a state of rapid development to 21 years of age (Christakis 2011). Early brain development is determined by environmental stimuli, or lack thereof. Stimulation to a developing brain caused by overexposure to technologies (cell phones, internet, iPads, TV), has been shown to be associated with executive functioning and attention deficit, cognitive delays, impaired learning, increased impulsivity and decreased ability to self-regulate, e.g. tantrums (Small 2008, Pagini 2010).
2. Delayed Development
Technology use restricts movement, which can result in delayed development. One in three children now enter school developmentally delayed, negatively impacting literacy and academic achievement (HELP EDI Maps 2013). Movement enhances attention and learning ability (Ratey 2008). Use of technology under the age of 12 years is detrimental to child development and learning (Rowan 2010).
3. Epidemic Obesity
TV and video game use correlates with increased obesity (Tremblay 2005). Children who are allowed a device in their bedrooms have 30% increased incidence of obesity (Feng 2011). One in four Canadian, and one in three U.S. children are obese (Tremblay 2011). 30% of children with obesity will develop diabetes, and obese individuals are at higher risk for early stroke and heart attack, gravely shortening life expectancy (Center for Disease Control and Prevention 2010). Largely due to obesity, 21st century children may be the first generation many of whom will not outlive their parents (Professor Andrew Prentice, BBC News 2002).
4. Sleep Deprivation
60% of parents do not supervise their child’s technology usage, and 75% of children are allowed technology in their bedrooms (Kaiser Foundation 2010). 75% of children aged 9 and 10 years are sleep deprived to the extent that their grades are detrimentally impacted (Boston College 2012).
5. Mental Illness
Technology overuse is implicated as a causal factor in rising rates of child depression, anxiety, attachment disorder, attention deficit, autism, bipolar disorder, psychosis and problematic child behavior (Bristol University 2010, Mentzoni 2011, Shin 2011, Liberatore 2011, Robinson 2008). One in six Canadian children have a diagnosed mental illness, many of whom are on dangerous psychotropic medication (Waddell 2007).
6. Aggression
Violent media content can cause child aggression (Anderson, 2007). Young children are increasingly exposed to rising incidence of physical and sexual violence in today’s media. “Grand Theft Auto V” portrays explicit sex, murder, rape, torture and mutilation, as do many movies and TV shows. The U.S. has categorized media violence as a Public Health Risk due to causal impact on child aggression (Huesmann 2007). Media reports increased use of restraints and seclusion rooms with children who exhibit uncontrolled aggression.
7. Digital dementia
High speed media content can contribute to attention deficit, as well as decreased concentration and memory, due to the brain pruning neuronal tracks to the frontal cortex (Christakis 2004, Small 2008). Children who can’t pay attention can’t learn.
8. Addictions
As parents attach more and more to technology, they are detaching from their children. In the absence of parental attachment, detached children can attach to devices, which can result in addiction (Rowan 2010). One in 11 children aged 8-18 years are addicted to technology (Gentile 2009).
9. Radiation emission
In May of 2011, the World Health Organization classified cell phones (and other wireless devices) as a category 2B risk (possible carcinogen) due to radiation emission (WHO 2011). James McNamee with Health Canada in October of 2011 issued a cautionary warning stating “Children are more sensitive to a variety of agents than adults as their brains and immune systems are still developing, so you can’t say the risk would be equal for a small adult as for a child.” (Globe and Mail 2011). In December, 2013 Dr. Anthony Miller from the University of Toronto’s School of Public Health recommend that based on new research, radio frequency exposure should be reclassified as a 2A (probable carcinogen), not a 2B (possible carcinogen). American Academy of Pediatrics requested review of EMF radiation emissions from technology devices, citing three reasons regarding impact on children (AAP 2013).
10. Unsustainable
The ways in which children are raised and educated with technology are no longer sustainable (Rowan 2010). Children are our future, but there is no future for children who overuse technology. A team-based approach is necessary and urgent in order to reduce the use of technology by children. Please reference below slide shows on under “videos” to share with others who are concerned about technology overuse by children.
Problems – Suffer the Children – 4 minutes
Solutions – Balanced Technology Management – 7 minutes
The following Technology Use Guidelines for children and youth were developed by Cris Rowan, pediatric occupational therapist and author of Virtual Child; Dr. Andrew Doan, neuroscientist and author of Hooked on Games; and Dr. Hilarie Cash, Director of reSTART Internet Addiction Recovery Program and author of Video Games and Your Kids, with contribution from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Pediatric Society in an effort to ensure sustainable futures for all children.

Technology Use Guidelines for Children and Youth
Mountain View

Staff Picks – Square Up

We really love Square Up in Cogs The Brain Shop.

Just shake the cube to determine your puzzle and then let the fast and furious fun begin. Race your opponent to be the first to slide the tiles, solve the pattern and slap down your game board to win.

This unique visual thinking game also enhances fine motor skills as your fingers race to keep up with your brain.

Strengthens Logic, Focus, Visual-Thinking And Problem Solving Skills

Easy To Learn, Yet Challenging Game That Will Leave All Ages Addicted