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The line between board games and video-games is usually easy to draw, however there are some interesting exceptions for families.

Skystones Smash takes the popular tile matching game from Skylanders Giants and gives it an educational edge. At the same time it hones the play to appeal to a wide audience of young and old players.

It's one small part of Skylanders Trap Team (and Skylanders Giants before it) but has become a popular past time in its own right for many players.

Trying out a new level of the Skylanders Trap Team (Rainfish Riviera) today at an event in Cologne I was shown the new version in full. Having been a big fan of Skystones I was a little skeptical about some of the changes. However seeing the game first hand it all makes sense.

Like a good board game it's a really simple succinct challenge but one that expands with the experience of the player. Unlike a board game it also evolves as you progress through the main game. Players collect more and more "Stones" to use and need to make tactical choices about which they will have in their own deck for a particular battle.

As well as being good fun there is also an educational angle here. The game involves simple multiplication and addition in a way that expands as the players tactics evolve. As you can see in the video here, it's also pretty eye catching (jump straight to Skystones footage here).

With the Wii U version of the game you can access Sky Stones Smash straight on the gamepad. This further underlines the board-game feel and gets more members of the family involved. Being able to jump in and play Sky Stones Smash on the Wii U without having to get to a particular level also makes it feel more like a board game because you can play it when ever you want.

If the levels of enthusiasm around Sky Stones are translated to Sky Stones Smash in my household we will be using this feature a lot. Now we just need a board game version!

Skystones is available now in Skylanders Giants and Skystones Smash will be available in Skylanders Trap Team when it launches in early October on consoles and tablet devices.

Avatar for Andrew Robertson
Andrew Robertson
Andy Robertson is the editor of AskAboutGames and has written for national press and broadcast about video games and families for over 15 years. He has just published the Taming Gaming book with its Family Video Game Database.