Some of the most exhilarating moments in my table-top gaming memory are getting the ‘money shot’ in Mousetrap.

The rules state that you have to build the rube-golberg-like machine throughout the course of the game. After dozen of failed playthroughs, my young mind realised that the tedium could be bypassed by setting up the Mousetrap right at the start.

Suddenly, you turn the crank, snap the plank, boot the marble down the chute, watch it roll, hit the pole, knock the ball in the tub, which hits the man into the pan. The trap is set, here comes the net. Brilliant.

These games below have taken the thrill of smashing cheap plastic against other bits of cheap plastic, and modernised them. These seven are a little more appropriate for a older audiences, but retain a lot of kinetic movement.

Cube Quest

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Some strategy games are boring because it’s all based on random dice rolls. In Cube Quest, it’s based on skillful dice flicks.

After custom-building an army to fight alongside your king, players take turns to flick the cubed units at each other, barging off rubber mats. Different cubes have special abilities like extra flicks, repositioning and healing.

Buy Cube Quest: Amazon UK (£19.90), Amazon US ($18.28)

Flick ‘Em Up

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Transform your desktop into a wild west full of sheriffs, until one side is decimated.

For a cheap game, Flick ‘Em Up is surprisingly immersive. It’s all based about flicking ‘shots’ at the other side, while maneuvering out of the way. You can hide behind cacti, barrels and shops to prevent your bandit being toppled.

If you’re into video games, imagine the chest-high walls of Gears of War mixed with tension of Red Dead Redemption.

Buy Flick ‘Em Up: Amazon UK (£49.36), Amazon US ($47.89)

Rhino Hero

Super Rhino Collapse

It’s backwards Jenga! Rhino Hero has some of the same rise-and-fall flow of Mousetrap.

As you take turns to make the heroic Rhino’s journey longer, the tower grows taller and more unstable. The winner is the person to be rid of all their construction materials first, but, really, there’s rarely a winner. There’s only a loser – who knocks the whole tower town.

Watch our lengthier explanation here.

Buy Rhino Hero: Amazon UK (£6.60), Amazon US ($12.95)


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Towers rise, towers fall, but only one victor remains.

Just from looking at box, you can tell Bandu is all about building a tower higher than you opponents’ without it falling out.

Bidding and currency adds a twist: for the right price, you can refuse one of the difficult-shaped blocks. But when’s a good time to blow your load?

Buy Bandu: Amazon UK (£23.86), Amazon US ($41.99)

Hamster Rolle

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Players take turns to place objects somewhere on the wheel without them falling out…

… Hang on, are those pieces defying gravity?

Well, no. Hidden magnets keep pieces partially stuck to the side or top, making this game a great conversation piece for you next dinner or sex party.

At first glance this seems childish – almost like a toddler’s toy. But halfway through a game it turns out to be very challenging, with a delightful dash of modernism.

Buy Hamster Rolle: Amazon UK (£37.71), Amazon US ($50.34)

Riff Raff


Woooaaahh there! Sea-men ahoy!

This game is the most kinectic and frantic one on the list. Each turn tasks the captain with adding one of their pieces to the to the tippy-toppling ship.

It’s not just a case of ‘who topples, loses’, though. When the boat swings to one side and dumps the cargo (and men) into sea, you need to catch them to send them out of the game. The person who gets rid of all their pieces first is the winner.

Buy Riff Raff: Amazon UK (£45), Amazon US ($69.63)