Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Games, Games, Games

My daughter got an Operation game for Christmas. It made me smile remembering the hours I spent as a kid trying so hard to pick out that funny bone and not touch those metal edges. Growing up, one of the things I was blessed with was a family who loved to play games. I've written before about the epic Scrabble battles we used to have. It seemed like there was always some board game spread out somewhere.

I've been blessed a second time with a husband who has the same love of play. So, with Christmas behind us, and the New Year and many months of winter still ahead, I thought I'd share some of our family's favorite games with you. I hope you'll reciprocate with some of your own in the comments - we're always looking for something new to play.

For the Young Set

Chutes and Ladders and Candyland are always perennial favorites. Here are a few more that might tickle your little one's fancy.


Okay, I lie. This game isn't only for the young. It's addictive. With a simple pictoral bingo board and plastic picture chips delivered by an ingeneous dispenser, this is a fast paced game the youngest kids can play and the oldest kids can still enjoy. I can't say enough about how fun this game is.

 Sequence for Kids

This board game, filled with colorful animals, challenges kids to use their cards to get four animals in a row. The luck of the draw is important, but so is strategy to block and outmaneuver opponents. We had a lot of fun when the kids were young playing this one. 

Older, But Not Necessarily Wiser
(Or More Mature) 



Ah, where would our family be without Munchkin? This hilarious tongue-in-cheek card game is based on D&D  with a choice of cleric, thief, mage or warrior. But with monsters to fight such as the Ether Bunny and the Bi-Polar Bear, curses to face (including Chicken on Your Head) and rewards (Bribe the GM - Go Up A Level!), this game will have you chuckling, snorting and guffawing the whole time. There are tons of add on packs, too, to keep the fun going.

 The Farming Game

Yay! The Whole Valley Is Green!
This game was literally created on the seat of a tractor. A farmer from the valleys of Eastern Washington (where my own grandpa was a farmer!) came up with the idea for the Farming Game when he wanted to show us city-slickers what it was like to really work. This is probably the most board-gamey of my suggestions. Players roll dice and move around the board planting and harvesting hay, wheat, cows and fruit (Fruitage! - sorry, we used to have all night tournies in college and they got a little - uh, yeah). Just when you think you're in the clear, Wham! the fruit borer beetle decimates your harvest, or the IRS swoops in and garnishes your wages for the year. But when things go right just that once and you get that $80k payout - wow, what a feeling. Ha ha. Great memories with this game.


This is an all time favorite. On a player's turn they draw a challenge card, which is an action they must perform ('You are a grade school bully. Try to take another player's lunch money.' 'You are in a TV soap opera. Tell another player why you can never marry them.') That's funny enough, but things really get wild when the player then draws a curse card which they can hand out to any other player ('You are a Vulcan. Whenever you laugh, say, "That is not funny." with a straight face.' 'Whenever you speak, use your arms to do some dance moves.'). The curse is in force for the duration of the game and must be performed at all times. Curses can also be compounded with other curses, so people often end up with a combination like this: 'Speak only in a high-pitched falsetto voice,' AND 'You are Mr. T. Whenever you speak, say "I pity the fool," AND 'Whenever you speak, a swarm of invisible mosquitoes surrounds your head. Swat them away.' AND 'Whenever someone makes an animal noise, shout the name of a lunch meat (in a high falsetto voice, first saying, 'I pity the fool,' and swatting yourself).'
Try this one. Seriously.

 Ugg - Tect

My husband just gave this one to us this Christmas, and I think it's shaping up to be another winner. You are part of a team of cavemen. Your task is to listen to your team's Ugg-Tect to create a structure using colorful building blocks before your rivals finish theirs (Only the Ugg-Tect can see the structure plan card). Communication is only allowed with a few gestures, guteral grunts, and a blow-up 'wooden' club (complete with spikes!) Yep, that's our kind of game, all right!

So, now that you've gotten to know my family's tastes probably a little too much, what games do you and yours enjoy?



  1. Operation was one of my favorites too! We spent all day yesterday playing games. Pass the Pigs was by far my youngest two's favorite of the day. Agreed, Munchkin is great, especially when played with friends. The others we haven't tried yet... so many games - so little time :)

  2. Thanks for the suggestions! We just got Curses for Christmas, so I was surprised to see it on your list. So far we love it!

  3. My family loves games too. I'm really surprised that I've never played any of these. I'll have to hunt a few of these down. We played Spot It at my sisters house on Christmas Day. It is a real simple concept, but very challenging. It was lots of fun.

  4. My husband comes from a family of 5 kids, and the all have their favorite board game. It was always just my sister and me, and both our parents worked, so we didn't play a lot of board games. (Opperation, and card games like Old Maid, but we didn't get into epic Monopoly battles or wage war on one another in Risk, the way my husband's family did.) I'm slowly learning to love them though, particularly now that my kids can play, too. I can't wait to check a few of these out. Thanks Susan!


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