Smart thinking games for under the Christmas tree

executive skills

I know the secret of Santa, but eeehhh… can I still hang my stocking?

Even if they haven’t believed for a long time, the magic of a present in your stocking remains. Even if you’re 10 (or older).

Give those teenagers a cool thinking game, for example from HenMarGames. HenMarGames is a Dutch games collective that specialises in thinking games. The games are handy and come in a small case.

Choise of 5 original thinking games

There are five of these mind games-in-a-case. They differ in difficulty and playing time: Hostile Takeover, Pawn Stop, Try-Angle, Double Cross en Ni-Ju. Personally, I really like PawnStop.


PawnStop is a super-fast game in which the aim is to be the first to collect three discs of the same colour. A real brainteaser, as you have to make your own plan, but also keep an eye on your opponent’s strategy. In January 2019, HenMarGames a day with me at the Dutch Education Fair. Of PawnStop, he had brought a life-size version then. Great way to combine thinking and movement!

Update 2023: Meanwhile, HenMar Games also makes large-format PawnStop on commission. You can have the thinking game made in your schoolyard, for example. Students can then get some fresh air, run around, think (at the same time) and return to the board to make a move. You can read more about it in the magazine Learning by Games.

A degree more difficult is the game of Ni-Ju. The idea is that you place the cards exactly like the pattern on the card. But your opponent does the same and thus breaks your pattern. Make sure you are the first to have a complete pattern. It takes a lot of thinking and planning to win this game.

Pawn Stop

Ni Ju

Always new games in the collection

With a game from HenMarGames, you have an original gift, because these games are not available on Amazon or in regular shops.However, they are very easy to order through HenMar’s own website.

HenMarGames keeps developing new games all the time. In November, I came across them at the Spell Show in the Jaarbeurs and there were four new games on the table again. This time stylishly executed in wood. A justifiably proud Ellis (owner of HenMarGames).


General information


  • number of players: the games Pawn Stop, Ni-Ju,Hostile Takeover and Double Cross are for 2 people, Try-Angel is played with 2 to 3 people
  • time: one game takes 10 minutes, the other takes half an hour
  • age: depends on the game
  • price: from € 12,50 per game

This is an update of an article I wrote in November 2019.


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