What do 16 year-old girls and horror movies have in common? Lots!

Or at least that’s what our experience at Starlux Games indicates. “We were in the midst of play testing our current Glow Battle game,” says Judd King, founder of Starlux Games, “When one of play testers said, ‘You should make a Michael Myers game. You know, where one player hunts down the other players!’”

Who is this play tester? And why did she suggest modeling a game after a renowned (fictional) killer?

Her name is Ella Gneiting. She’s a sixteen-year-old high school student from Lindon, Utah. “We play this game where one person is Michael Myers from the movie Halloween, and the rest of us are just regular people,” she explained. “We have a safe spot, but we try and get this one object. So you have to try and not get tagged or else you die.”

“I loved the concept immediately,” King says. “We’ve had multiple retail partners and customers tell us that they wish they had more game for teenagers and I thought, teens love horror movies, why not create one inspired by an actual player?” He also recognized that there is powerful need for active and interesting things for teens to do.

To amp it up, to further link it with the horror genre and to make it even more adrenaline pumping, he added horror tasks. Actions for the non-killers (called “Suburbos”) range from creating a dummy to mislead the killer to recording a video apologizing to your parents for all the bad things you’ve done. The killer fulfills absurd antics as well: smelling another player, reciting a 1-minute monolog about the wrong done to them in life, even chasing a player on all fours!

Suburbo Cards
Let's Split Up killer note

The results? “It’s really fun, especially for teenagers because you can make it creepy,” says Ella after she tested the new version of the game.

The title “Let’s Split Up” came from a friend of King’s who works on horror films and thought that would be a funny spoof of what characters always do in scary movies. Then, the actions for the game characters followed with more spoofs of ridiculous things that horror movie characters do. The killer types in the game came from the maniacal characters in scary movies. Then, through vigorous play testing, a point system was developed to balance the game so that everyone has a chance to win.

“Even though it was originally geared towards teens, it’s really a game that all ages and combinations of ages can play,” says King. “Slumber parties are a great place because they are already watching scary movies, so this gives them a chance to kind of be in one.”

He adds that it can be played at family gatherings, like during the holidays, to drive intergenerational interaction. He joked, “Who doesn’t want to see Grandma as the killer?”

Let’s leave you with that thought: Who wouldn’t have fun playing Let’s Split Up with their Grandma as the killer?

Teen Playing Let's Split Up game

It’s back-to-school time and while most parents are high-fiving and celebrating having a structured schedule again, it does bring other challenges. One of those is how to get that after-school energy out of your kids. According to the American Academy or Pediatrics, children ages six and over need at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. While some kids may get a portion of that during the school day with recess and PE class, they will usually need more after school.

In fact, only one out of every three children in the U.S. spends time being physically active each day, and less that fifty percent of the time that kids spend in P.E. class involves enough activity to be considered exercise. And, physical activity is what kids need to build healthy bones and muscles, develop motor skills and coordination, improve strength and endurance, plus promote mental and emotional well-being.

Physical activity is so important for children’s growth, but often kids are tired and mentally drained after school or they have homework and school projects. As parents, it takes some organizing and encouragement to get kids physically active. Plus, it takes creativity to vary up ways to motivate them. Encourage you kids to balance homework time with valuable active time with this list of ways to use up after-school energy:

  1. BACKYARD TIME. Spend 30 minutes outdoors jumping rope, climbing trees, or playing ball in your back yard, front yard, side yard or any yard.
  2. GAME TIME. Pull out their favorite silly active game like Starlux Eyeballs of Madness or Bump Rumble and get out the giggles between homework assignments.
  3. PLAYGROUND TIME. Walk to a local park to swing on playground equipment, play hopscotch or climb on the jungle gym.
  4. SPORTS TIME. Join an athletic team like soccer or basketball and stay active practicing and playing games
  5. FRIEND TIME. Play outdoors with neighbors and siblings, ride scooters, skateboard and play kickball.
  6. FANTASY TIME. Tune into your kids’ imagination with games like Starlux Wizards and Werewolves or Vikings of the Northern Lights that will spark their fantasy and their fitness.
  7. REC TIME. Visit your local recreation center or YMCA a few times a week for classes like karate or swim lessons.
  8. FAMILY TIME. Take a walk as a family after dinner, or go on a bike ride around your neighborhood after school.
  9. DANCE TIME. Put on some fun music and have an after-school dance party.
  10. GLOW TIME. Just because it’s dark outside, doesn’t mean kids can’t still be active with games like Starlux Glow Battle or Capture the Flag REDUX.

We need physical exercise, but also fun outlets to give our minds a mental workout. The best way to do this: practice critical thinking with strategic games that keep players engaged, thinking and problem solving. Besides strengthening your cognitive skills, strategic games strengthen your social skills — best of all, many can be played in the comfort of your home.

Keep reading to learn more about how these top 12 indoor strategy games can strengthen your brain.

TOP TWELVE INDOOR STRATEGY GAMES:

  1. CHESS: In the game of chess, players must gain the mental advantage over their opponent by using all their pieces to control the board. The ultimate goal: checkmate your opponent’s king or call a draw.
    Players: 2
  2. DARKRIDGE REUNION: This murder mystery game lets players slip into the roles of geeks, jocks, and rebels — all with special powers granted from artifacts. Each player must carry out goals and missions without running into the slasher. At the end, teams wager their points to guess the slasher. The team with the most points wins!
    Players: 6-12
  3. CATAN: On this fictional island, players use different strategies to place their settlements where they can gather prime resources: sheep, wood, brick, ore and wheat. Get 10 points first and you win Catan!
    Players: 3-4 or 5-6 with an expansion set
  4. BATTLESHIP: It takes strategy to sink your opponent’s ships and win Battleship. Players try to outwit their opponents by placing their battleships horizontally and vertically on their board. If the other player calls out the right coordinates, the battleship sinks and it’s game over!
    Players: 2
  5. CHECKERS: Checkers is a game of many strategies: forced moves, advancing en masse, and blocking. Players pick a color (red or black) and then advance across the checkerboard to capture as many pieces as possible from their opponent.
    Players: 2
  6. CONNECT FOUR: If you can anticipate your opponent’s next move, you can win Connect Four. Be the first to get four of the same-colored pieces in a row (horizontally, vertically, or diagonally) and you win.
    Players: 2
  7. DOMINOES: Players try to score the most points in Dominoes by strategically placing their dominoes to match those placed on the table. The first player to use all their dominoes wins, or the person with the least dominoes.
    Players: 2-4
  8. JENGA: It takes more than luck to know which Jenga blocks to push or leave until the end. Players must anticipate their opponent’s move with each placement and hope the tower doesn’t topple. The winner places the last block on the top without knocking it over.
    Players: 2-6
  9. MONOPOLY: Your objective: Build and buy as much as you can in this real-estate game, but make sure that you can pay your rent or you might go bankrupt. The player with the most money at the end of Monopoly, or the one player who doesn’t go bankrupt, wins!
    Players: 2-8
  10. RISK: Eliminate your opponents and conquer the world in the game of Risk. The game features a map of six continents with 42 territories. When players have no more territories, they must quit. The winning player claims world domination when they defeat all other players.
    Players: 3-6
  11. SCRABBLE: Scrabble is more than just a wordplay game that strengthens your vocabulary — it takes tactical skill to win. Players must interpret their opponent’s next move while using as many letter tiles as possible to earn the most points.
    Players: 2-4
  12. SCYTHE: The game of Scythe takes place in an alternate history of the 1930s known as “The Factory.” Players try to outsmart their opponents and lead their factions to become the richest and most powerful. The objective: be the player with the most coins in the end.
    Players: 1-5

Choose any of these strategy games to keep your mind active and sharpen your critical thinking skills. Then, use strategy to plan your next move, outwit your opponents and win the game. Give your mind a workout while you have fun with friends and family with this list of top 12 indoor strategy games.

Planning for a large group event can be overwhelming. The key to making it awesome is finding the right activity: engaging, active and memorable. This top fifty list combines new and classic games.  It should give you some great options!  

50 BEST OUTDOOR GROUP GAMES

1. FLASHLIGHT TAG – run, hide and “tag” players with by shining a flashlight on them – outdoor, ages 4+

2. HEDBANZ – guess the mystery character or word displayed on a card on your head – indoor, ages 4+

3. SCAVENGER HUNTS – find the treasure items on a pre-made list – indoor/outdoor, ages 4+

4. OBSTACLE COURSE – create obstacles to balance, jump over, and climb – indoor/outdoor, ages 4+

5. LIMBO – shimmy under a bamboo stick as it goes lower and lower – indoor/outdoor, ages 4+

6. CHARADES – act out and guess scenes or words without speaking – indoor/outdoor, ages 5+

7. CAPTURE THE FLAG REDUX – run, chase, strategize with glowing “flags” – outdoor, ages 8+

8. FLAG FOOTBALL – pull flags off the ball carrier instead of tackling – outdoor, ages 5+

9. THE FLOOR IS LAVA – navigate an area without toughing the floor – indoor/outdoor, ages 5+

10. MUSICAL CHAIRS – circulate around chairs, grabbing one when the music stops – indoor/outdoor, ages 5+

11. RED ROVER – run and break through opposing team’s chain – outdoor, ages 5+

12. CORN HOLE – toss bean bags toward a board to score points – outdoors, ages 5+

13. STUCK IN THE MUD – chase and tag players until they are stuck – outdoors, ages 5+

14. SARDINES – reverse hide and seek – indoor/outdoor, ages 5+

15. GAGA BALL – dodgeball played in an octagonal “pit” – outdoor, ages 6+

16. TWISTER – see where the spinner lands and place your hands and feet accordingly – indoor/outdoor, ages 6+ 

17. JENGA/GIANT JENGA – take turns removed wooden blocks without making the tower fall – indoor/outdoor, ages 6+

18. PICTIONARY – draw and guess scenes or words without speaking – indoor, ages 6+

19. KICK THE CAN – kick, count, hide, seek and chase – outdoors, ages 6+

20. LEFT, RIGHT, CENTER – roll dice and gather playing chips to win – indoors, ages 6+

21. FLICKIN’ CHICKEN – throw rubber chickens at a target to win – indoors/outdoors, ages 6+

22. VOLLEYBALL – serve, bump, spike over a net to your opponents – outdoor, ages 7+

23. EXPLODING KITTENS – strategic card game of Russian roulette – indoor, ages 7+

24. UNO – card game where you race to empty your hand of cards – indoor, ages 7+

25. BADMINTON – serve and volley a “birdie” over a net to opposing team – outdoors, ages 7+

26. SPUD – throw a ball and eliminate other players by catching it, – outdoor, ages 7+

27. SPOONS – pass playing cards and don’t be the last to grab a spoon – indoor, ages 5+

28. BEAT THAT – bet on your ability to complete the challenge rounds of this board game – indoor, ages 8+

29. VIKINGS OF THE NORTHERN LIGHTS – part freeze tag, part scavenger hunt with glowing gems – outdoor, ages 8+

30. BOP-IT – mimic actions of this handheld electronic game – indoor/outdoor ages 8+

31. ASSASSIN – card game where you eliminate players with a wink of an eye – indoor, ages 8+

32. WEREWOLVES & WIZARDS – hunt, hide, howl and search for glowing crystals – outdoor, ages 8+

33. BUNCO – roll dice, match numbers and score – indoors, ages 8+

34. KUBB – toss wooden batons to knock over opposing pieces – outdoors, ages 8+

35. BUMP RUMBLE – roll the cube and bump, balance and race in a ring – indoor/outdoor, ages 8+

36. DARTS – aim at a bullseye, and throw rounds of darts – indoor/outdoor, ages 8+

37. BAMBOOZLED – roll the dice and bluff your way to win – indoor, ages 8+

38. WATCH YA’ MOUTH – speak and guess phrases with cheek retractors – indoor, ages 8+

39. BOCCE BALL – take turns throwing balls to hit the target ball – outdoors, ages 8+

40. KANJAM – toss a flying disc toward a can to score points – outdoors, ages 9+

41. DODGEBALL – teams throw, dodge, catch any number of balls – outdoor, ages 10+

42. FOWLING – lawn game that is a combination of football and bowling – outdoor, ages 10+

43. GIANT YARD PONG – strategize, aim and throw balls into giant cups – outdoor, ages 10+

44. CATCH PHRASE – guess the clue, pass the game before the buzzer goes off – indoor, ages 12+

45. WOULD YOU RATHER – trivia game where you choose option one or option two – indoor, ages 12+

46. GLOW BATTLE – battle with harmless glowing swords – indoor/outdoor, ages 8+

47. APPLES TO APPLES – card game of funny comparisons – indoors, ages 12+

48. EYEBALLS OF MADNESS – toss a rubber carrot to knock over opposing eyeball stakes – outdoors, ages 12+

49. DARKRIDGE REUNION – murder mystery game where players act out parts – indoor, ages 12+

50. SILVER BULLET – card game where you eliminate werewolves – indoor, ages 14+

With so many great options, you’re well on your way to throwing a memorable group event! Yes, it might be intimidating to organize, but know that you’re providing an opportunity to get people off their phones, bring them together and forge new memories. Enjoy!