Winnipeggers love their games. When the temperature drops way below zero and the wind chill brings tears of pain to your eyes, there is nothing better than staying in with a great video game or board game. Here are some of my favourite games from the last year -- all of them guaranteed to amuse and occupy until warmer weather returns.
8. Wonderputt by Damp Gnat
If you like indie games, this award-winning 2012 release is a great choice. Wonderputt is a whimsical version of miniature golf set in a charming, Monty Python-esque environment. You can play online or on your iPad. But be warned that Wonderputt can be quite addictive.
Price: Free online or 99 cents from the iTunes store.
7. Carcassonne -- for your iPad
This classic medieval-themed tile game got an iOS version this year that is excellent on an iPad screen. Carcassonne iOS is the perfect sitting-in-bed-with-a-cup-of-tea kind of game. The price is a bit steep for an app, but if you love Euro-style board games, you will definitely get your money's worth from this little gem.
Price: $9.99 from the iTunes store.
6. Dominion -- for your iPhone
Released in January 2012, this app is my favourite waiting-in-line game. A fantastic iOS version of the Euro-style card game, it is perfectly suited for the size of an iPhone screen. Unfortunately, this legal but unofficial version of Dominion was yanked from the iTunes store when Rio Grande, the game's creators, planned to release their own version through the Goko game service. When the troubled Goko retreated to beta, the official release of iOS Dominion failed to surface. If you were one of the lucky few who bought the unofficial version created by Cory Hammer, back it up! Who knows when this great version will be available again.
Price: Free (when available).
5. Settlers of Catan -- for your Xbox
This is a fantastic and wildly popular Euro-style board game. It is perfect for playing with friends but can very time-consuming if you include a few expansion packs into your gameplay. The Xbox version is more of a light treat than a full Catan meal -- but it is a delicious treat nonetheless. Need to unwind, work off some stress, or just kill some time? Ten minutes with Catan on your Xbox is a great alternative to a coffee break.
Price: $11.60 or 800 Microsoft points.
4. Halo 4
This flagship first-person shooter for Microsoft's Xbox 360 never fails to satisfy. Halo 4 offers an engaging new campaign for kick-ass hero Master Chief and also a great multiplayer combat environment. Get together with your friends and throw grenades at them. Repeat. Price: $59.99.
This game features a first-person revenge plot as you play out the quests of disgraced former bodyguard Corvo Attano. It is a game of stealth, supernatural powers and steampunk gadgetry. The story is top-notch -- as is the lush and gothic setting: the London/Edinburgh-inspired city of Dunwall. Available for Xbox, PS3 or PC.
2. Mass Effect 3
The Mass Effect series is a fabulous combination of first-person action and morality-driven role-playing with a dash of sex and romance. This final installation of the trilogy was controversial because of its ambiguous ending that includes the death of lead character Commander Shepard. But Mass Effect is wonderful because of its rich visual world, strong writing and engaging gameplay -- regardless of Shepard's fate. This game is worth playing and replaying. Available for Xbox, PS3 or PC.
1. Cards Against Humanity -- Canadian Edition
This infamous card game manages to offend everyone yet remains deeply entertaining. If you haven't tried it yet, you really should gather a crowd of your rowdiest and most sharp-witted friends for a night of subversive satire.
Price: $25 to $40 online or at local game stores.
Danishka Esterhazy is a screenwriter, film director and self-confessed video game addict. She prefers games with a story but will settle for a good sword fight.