Family Game Night

     Growing up one of my favorite things we did as a family was play board and card games. Even as an adult my family still loves to play games when we all get together. This is a great time for gaming, never have there been as many different varieties of board games as there are now. It almost guarantees there is a game out there for just about anybody. Gone are the days of dragging people to the table to play an outdated game of Monopoly or Life. I’m here to share with you some of my family’s favorites and hopefully to help you start a family game night of your own!

     I have younger children so finding a game that isn’t too difficult for them and keeps me and my husband interested can be difficult. Thankfully there are tons of cooperative games out there. The great thing is you are working to beat the game versus beating the person next to you. The littles feel like they are helping and parents get to enjoy some strategy.

     Forbidden Island is a great starter co-op game. The overall goal is to escape a sinking island, with its treasures in tow. To help keep it interesting, each player is given a role with unique ability that helps along the way. The play area is made of tiles that your player marker moves on and each turn you have options, such as keeping parts of the island from sinking just so you can survive until the next round. At the end of each turn you draw from a deck of card to try and collect sets to gather one of the four treasures. Things get more difficult as you go because shuffled into that deck of good cards, are “Water Rises” cards. These really change things and make the lighthearted card gathering game a tense race to the finish.

     If you want a bit more difficulty, Forbidden Desert is a good next step up. And for a more adult coop Pandemic is great and has several expansions to keep the game from ever feeling stale. Pandemic Legacy really steps things up and is the most involved “story driven” coop game I have ever experienced. It’s definitely worth a play through once you have mastered the mechanics in some others.

     One of the most popular, or best known categories out there is party games. Cards Against Humanity is probably one of the most recognizable. I like crude humor every now and then, but it isn’t always where I want to direct my family when we are together. For a more PG option, give Apples to Apples a try or for something really unique, I highly recommend Telestrations. Do you remember the childhood game Telephone? You know the one, you whisper in someone's ear and they whisper in the next person’s ear and so on until you get to the end of the line then the last person shouts out what they think they heard. You usually end up with something completely different than what the first person said and it gets a good laugh from everyone. Telestrations is the same basic thing but with drawings! Using really neat little spiral bound white boards everyone draws based on the word or phrase they’re given. The board gets passed from player to player, each either trying to guess what was drawn, or drawing what the last person guessed. After all the drawing and guessing, we look back through and see how “Person riding a horse” warped into a rocketship. Anyone who can read, can play and it’s always a hit. My favorite memory is playing with my mom, she starting by drawing a coyote and somehow ending up with Godzilla! If you still want a little of that Cards Against Humanity feel there’s even an “After Dark” edition that has more adult humor.

     Having fun is always priority when playing a game and sometimes the most simplified games give you the best experience. Qwirkle is a color and shapes, tile laying game. This an easy game to learn and fun to play over and over again. The overall goal is to score the most points by playing tiles, without repeating either the same shape or color in the row. My husband, who is colorblind, usually teams up with our youngest to help him identify colors. Not only are we playing as a family and having fun, but she is also getting familiar with shapes and colors.

     Another simple to learn light strategy game is Ticket to Ride. Your goal is to complete Railroad routes from point A to point B on a map of the USA. You collect cards to claim routes and score points while competing with other players trying to do the same. The way you plot your path can block your opponents. This was our family’s introduction to modern gaming and as such holds a special place in my heart. My oldest daughter, now nine, was only about five when we started playing and it’s still one she asks for. Now her younger sister wants to play too, and because it’s fun for any age it is a game we will always come back to. If you want more variety, Ticket to Ride has several maps of other countries you can add and even other Ticket to Ride games with more rules and complex strategy.

     My family game night started as a way to get to know people after moving. It turned into a way to bring my family together and to have that time to just sit down and be with each other in the moment. We talk, we laugh, we compete, but most importantly we are together and that is what family game night is all about. What are some of your favorite board and card games? Do you have any special memories of sitting around the table with loved ones? Share with me in the comments section below, and if you have any suggestions for topics you’d like to read about, drop me a line!