Growing up, my family played games every Saturday night. For a lot of my growing up years, we didn’t have TV and so this was the one night of the week that got to relax and have some treats. We always rotated who picked the games and then we also always had a treat- usually either popcorn or half of a candy bar. Yes, that was a HUGE treat for a family who lived in a rural village in West Africa.
I wouldn’t call myself a “gamer”, but I do enjoy a good board game with some of my favorite people. Although, I won’t lie…anyone who knows Theo knows that he is one of those “lucky” people who always seems to pick the right card, roll the right number on the die and just generally win every single game he plays (whether the game is based on luck or strategy!). My competitive nature sometimes gets in the way when we play games, but for the most part we keep it civil.
Tera has quickly taken to games and LOVES to play games. It is SO fun seeing her start to grasp some strategy concepts and be able to focus all the way through the games. We have found so many fun games that are easy enough for her to play, and fun enough for us to not also be board out of our minds.
I thought I would do a fun little roundup of our tried and true favorite games. This is not all the games we’ve ever played, but just the ones we own that I would recommend you owning, too!
This one is SO fun! It’s a cooperative game that is great for kids, but also keeps the adults entertained. It’s similar to Clue in that you are trying to figure out who did it by receiving clues throughout the game. It’s our go-to when we need to include kids in a game, but also want the adults to not be bored out of their minds.
Richard Scary’s BusyTown
In this game, the kids move along the path candy-land style to get to the end. When a child lands on the “find it” space, all players look for certain items on the board (ice cream cones or fire hydrants or bicycles or whatever the card tells them to look for).
Matching Memory Game
You can’t go wrong with memory! We happen to have this set and the kids love it. We also love this one because adults can play and not be too bored. We also use the set to play Go Fish!
How Does Your Garden Grow
I snagged this one a few years ago and it’s one of our favorites! Players draw leaf colors to match up with their garden. But beware! If you draw a pest, you have to give up parts of your garden! The first player to complete their garden wins. Tera can fully comprehend this game at age 4.
This one is still a little above our kids heads, but Heavenly (age 11) loved it! Even my younger kids like spinning the spinner and moving their little cars and being told what their cards say, so it’s a win for all!
Settlers of Catan
This classic just hasn’t gotten old yet! Every time we play, it’s different and the strategy has to be adjusted accordingly. It can get super competitive, though!
Ticket to Ride
Can you ever go wrong with Ticket to Ride? I think not (unless Theo gets nine straight tickets and beats you by 100 points)! Each player works individually to complete their train routes- but watch out because it gets crowded on the board with everyone working towards completing their own routes and possibly blocking other players! It’s also one that changes every time it’s played, and therefore the strategy needs to be different each time!
There are many different versions of this game, but the US one is still my favorite.
This is a new game in our rotation, and is a cooperative game, so all the players are working together to beat the game. The world is being taken over by viruses and as a team, you have to stop them. It’s very fun and intense!
Oh, Dutch Blitz. My one claim to fame. I was a beast at this game back in my glory days! It’s a very fast paced card game where everyone is taking their turn at once. It’s fairly simple in that you simply have to match colors and be able to count to 10- but also do it very FAST. Faster than everyone else. It also gets very competitive and is best played with people of equal ability levels (it just isn’t as fun if one person is really really fast and the rest are slow).
This is a fun one that is played on teams and is a little slower and less competitive than the ones I’ve listed above. Teams work together to try to get five in a row without being blocked and while simultaneously trying to block the other teams from getting five in a row. Very simple and fun! Also, sequence has many different variations and even a fun kids version!
Pass the Pigs
This pig rolling game is always fun and super simple! I love how small and compact it is! Players take turns rolling two pigs. They way that they land gives different levels of points. Players can continue rolling and save all their points or accidentally roll a zonk configuration that causes them to lose all their points! My kids love this one and it’s also very helpful for teaching addition skills!
This is the only game I’ve ever played that literally has NO STRATEGY. I’m not even kidding when I say that. It sounds impossible, but it’s all luck. This is a fun one to play with a calm party group or to sit down and play with your Grandma. Players draw and lay cards and based on what was dealt to them they collect chips. It’s a great game to play while having conversation because it doesn’t require too much concentration.
Our favorite two person game is backgammon! We love to pull this one out after the kids go to bed to play!
Games on Our Wish List
Count Your Chickens
This looks so fun! And bonus points that it teaches number sense for our little ones.
Cooperative games are the newest craze in games, and this one is fun! Players play together to try and prevent the island from sinking.
Because Bingo can entertain anyone for awhile. I love games that my kids can play, and I can’t believe we don’t own Bingo! This also comes in Dogs, Birds, Ocean Animals, etc. I can see this coming in very handy during homeschooling!
This sounds like one of those silly, fun games that both adults and kids can enjoy!
I don’t even remember how to play this game, but I do remember that we played it one time and really enjoyed it. A strategy game that changes every time and keeps everyone on their toes until the very end!
One Night Ultimate Werewolf
I’ll admit that I thought for sure this game would never be in my home- it looks so dark and creepy! But I’ve heard rave reviews from people I respect, and when I read the description it turns out it’s a more complicated version of the old group game Mafia. In the game, everyone is assigned a role and has to play out that role (not acting like charades, but if you are the doctor than you need to save the person who is hurt, etc.) Lots of moving parts and the whole game can change on each turn!
What is your favorite family game? Do you have any games on your wishlist this year?