My family plays a lot of games. Every time we get together, everyone brings games. My family, and our extended family–my big siblings bring games, my cousins bring games. . . it’s food and games, always.
And we don’t just play monopoly and scrabble. Although we do like the ‘traditional’ family games–Balderdash is one we just recently pulled out again, and I forgot how much fun it was! But we get new games for birthdays and Christmas, and just because. My brother Andrew is a game designer–in fact, he just released his new game on Kickstarter (and there’s still time to back it!)–and he’s always bringing new games and teaching us to play them, and play-testing his games. And he offered to do a giveaway with me, with his book of coloring! So keep reading, let me know what your favorite family games are, and enter the giveaway below!
(Oh, and if you need any games for the coming holidays, I’ve included affiliate links to all my favorite games below. That means that if you use my links, I’ll make a tiny bit of change for other games later on, at no extra expense to you!) Also, the games are in no particular order.
One of my favorites, the first time we went to New Zealand our hosts had Catan, and we played it all the time. It’s a long game, but we still love to sit down for a 3 hour game. Andrew is great at this one, and after he started winning every game really quickly, we learned to play different games with him. . . not that the results were much different. But since it’s so long, it seems like we haven’t played it in a long time. . . I think that ought to change, and soon.
The Cloud Dungeon
Naturally, Andrew’s first game! This isn’t like any other game I’ve played before. It’s a paper craft game, which means you literally get to destroy the game. It’s in a book form, and you cut out your characters, color them, and give them quirks–maybe that’s just hairy legs or pointy ears, or it could be that they’re very, very insane, or be a pirate. It changes every time you play, and nothing is predictable when you explore The Cloud Dungeon.
This one is quick (depending on who you’re playing with!), and easy. We play it with our cousins a lot at family gatherings, and just three or four of us at home, too. In most of our games, one of us is really good at this or that game, and they win every. time. That person is called ‘the barracuda’. This started a long time ago, when my Grandma started beating everyone at darts, and she is the original barracuda, but we have barracudas in several other games as well. . . Andrew with Catan, and Bethany with Qwirkle.
I don’t have much to say about this one. You’re building cities, and roads, and farms, and trying to beat everyone else doing it. . . It’s not complicated, but you design the board, and it grows as you play, starting as one single piece, and each player places another piece during their turn, so you need a big area to play, because it will sprawl all over. It’s a lot of fun, and there are so many expansions you can do anything–add gold, add towers, add who-knows-what. I have only played a couple of the expansions, but there are many different ways to add to it.
I just got this one for Christmas last year, and it’s beautiful. The players are traveling from one Japanese hotel to the next all the way, and you have choices of what to do on the way, and the different characters (that you pick at random), have their own abilities as well, so the game changes when you play it.
Save the world, or die trying. You and the other players play together against the board, trying to eliminate the illnesses before they eliminate the world. What’s especially fun about this game is that it’s not just a cooperative game, where you always win and there are no losers and everyone’s happy–no, because you can all lose. The board game can and will beat you. I’ve never played a game quite like it before, and we pull it out often.
Especially great for artists, or creative people. This is a beautiful game, with gorgeous extensions, too! One person comes up with a clue, and everyone puts in a card–then, everyone has to choose which illustration is the right card. It can be easy, or it can be very tricky. . . it’s best when you have some people you really know, too, because then you can introduce inside jokes as clues, and it just gets crazier.
Ticket to Ride
Another one our hosts had in New Zealand, this was the one we played a lot this last time we went. My new favorite, because apparently, I’m pretty good at it! That came as a shock to me. Still does, really, but I love it. I’m not usually the barracuda at anything. Guess it’s my turn.
We bought this game at the bookshop where I work, and put it in Mack’s stocking for Christmas last year. We didn’t know a thing about it, but it sounded fun–the cards change, which make the game change. Little did we know that we would play it so often! This game can take anywhere from 5-20 or 30 minutes, you can make it very, very confusing (which is a lot of fun), change the rules and goals over and over, and there are so many different variations, too–Monty Python, Batman, pirates, stars, and on, and on. . .
Apples to Apples
Always a good group game, it’s great for laughs–especially when you have creative, nutty people to play with. We really like to do ‘sour apples’ and give the person the opposite of what the word is. It’s fun when you know the players really well, because then you’ll get to know what kind of cards they tend to pick–serious, the opposite, or just by random (there’s always one).
Do you have suggestions for me? Let me know–I love new games!