We love games of all kinds in this house. We love to play games when we eat, so our favorites are most often games we can play at a table with food on it and have time to eat in between turns. We like one on one games (like chess), multiplayer games (like Monopoly) and team games (like charades). I’m not sure if its lack of experience, lack of coordination or hand size, but my younger two don’t hold cards well so we haven’t gotten much into card games – yet. Once in a while I’ll try to teach my kids a new card game. We played “Bullshit” a bunch last month (I told them it was called “Bull,” I think others call it “I doubt it.”) My youngest is so good though and after beating the rest of us 6 games in a row, no one wanted to play anymore.
My kids are 8, 10 and 12, so they can understand and hang in there for most older games, and be reasonable to excellent competition on some of the more thinking and strategy games. I’ve mentioned that we play some games make my kids cry; most of our favorite games don’t involve stealing or sabotage. Sarah and I have posted about games before (see Games and Board Games) and given/received good suggestions).
We still enjoy chess, Uno, Pass the Pigs, Monopoly, Sorry, Clue, Ultimate Mastermind, Dixit, Apples to Apples, Googly Eyes, Pie Face, Shut The Box, Pit, and Gobblet. Set has our renewed interest and has been our go to game over the past month.
Here are some of our current favorites, in no particular order (Amazon Affiliate links.)
Codenames: I requested and received this game for Christmas for myself and we played with family of mixed ages. I’ve also played at home with kids. It’s similar to the gameshow Password, with some twists. I really like it and many of the adult and kids family members and we played with liked it, but it wasn’t for everyone. It’s likely best for a group of about 6 “cerebral adults” because pushing your cleverness to the limit and appreciating other’s out of the box thinking is the biggest part of the fun. My kids can hang in there, and my younger kids are fans, but there are definitely references and words (geography, current events, history, vocabulary) that make it a lot more fun with adults.
Ticket To Ride: My younger two and I love this popular strategy game. My older daughter isn’t a great risk taker, and only reluctantly plays with us. My son plays by impulse and can win here and there, and my middle daughter has a strategy that gets her a win most of the time. It’s fun to play because the strategy can be as simple or complex as you make it.
Schmovie: This is a silly sort of Balderdash-esque crossed with Apples to Apples game that has the players making up movie titles given a topic and genre. My kids love it. Sometimes it’s super funny. Sometimes you want it to be funnier. It’s generally always fun enough.
Telestrations: Telephone meets Pictionary. This game is great for all ages, crowds, levels of intoxication, etc. My kids love to play with their friends and we’ve given it as a gift a bunch of times.
Bellz: This is another game my younger two and I love and my older daughter isn’t that into. It’s like magnetic pickup sticks, but less arbitrary if something moves.
Tenzi: Everyone gets 10 dice and you make up what happen next. There are a few game rule suggestions to get started (for example first player roll all 10 the same number) and you can buy an additional book of game ideas (or I’m sure the internet holds many ideas!), but we have fun making up our own games. The dice come in all different colors. We don’t recommend getting a set with blue dice and yellow dots as they are by far the unluckiest dice in our set, even bringing down the luckiest set when teamed up together. In kindergarten or first grade my daughter wanted to (very randomly) give her class dice for Valentine’s day, and I bought a 5 lb bag of dice on Amazon for a few dollars, you could do that and make up your own Tenzi style games too.
LCR: Left Right Center. Another dice game. It’s totally a game of chance and you can lose your chips right away and still win in the end. We’ve played with candy (M&Ms) and pennies as the chips, and winner takes all. You can play with any age or bigger groups with no skill or concentration needed, making it very versatile. We have a game, Swipe, which two of my kids enjoy, that is similar to LCR in concept but requires slightly some stealing from neighbors.
What are you playing these days? We’d love recommendations!