Game Night: 10 Favorites to Play

While we have yet to instate a family game night (yesterday, Scout tried to dump of box of playing cards through the heater vents, so we’ve got a ways to go over here), I’ll forever be an advocate for a good old-fashioned match of wits. Growing up, it was always Trivial Pursuit with my grandparents, sun tea sloshing around in sweaty glasses. Taboo at the beach with cousins, our mouths full of sandy goldfish crackers. UpWords during my sister’s (serious) spelling bee prep. Mall Madness or Dream Phone at every slumber party until we moved on to more important things, like face masks and SNL.

Once, at my grandparents’ farm, one of my father’s (many) brothers invented a slapped-together rendition of Balderdash with nothing but a dictionary and a borrowed pack of index cards. We played noisily, yelling Bull! from sun-up to sun-down, stopping just once for a peach pie break (but only because it was a la mode).

Games are it for me, is what I’m saying. Here are a few – new and old – we love to love:

With the Young Kids

Colorfox

A modern (beautiful) spin on dominoes, this one’s both a puzzle and a game in one and offers multiple sets of difficulty levels for a variety of ages. Bee almost always reaches for this one first. Find it here ($17).

Guess Who

Just the click-clack-clack alone takes me back to the plaid sofas and shag carpet of my childhood. Plus, it’s short enough to squeeze in a quick round before dinner. Win/win! Find the classic version ($20) here.

Sorry

An easy starter lesson for the young kid dipping their toe into strategic choices and priorities, but without the mind-numbing pace of Candyland or Chutes & Ladders. Bee never has to twist my arm to play this one with her. Find the retro edition ($14) here.

Uno

I can’t help it; I’ll always love Uno. I keep a pack in the car or in our suitcase to stave off travel boredom, but it’s just as fun around the kitchen table after breakfast. Find the retro edition ($11) here.

With Another Couple

Euchre

If you’re not a Midwesterner (or apparently, Australian?), euchre might be a mystery to you. The official rules are here, but the best thing about a euchre game night is that you can carry on a conversation while you play (depending on how competitive your opponents are), so it’s perfect for double date night fun.

Puzzle

(I know; I’m always talking puzzles.) But of note: While not necessarily a traditional game, I love having a puzzle started so social guests can linger and talk while their introvert spouses have something to do. I always find it fascinating how the quieter crowd suddenly opens up when their hands and minds are a bit preoccupied finding the missing corner piece. Current favorite puzzle (80’s pop culture!) is here.

At a Party

Head’s Up

Easy to set up, simple to learn, this one’s manageable for a crowd when divided into teams. (I’m notoriously bad, fair warning if we’re ever paired together.) The app is here (99 cents), but there’s also a game version available here ($20).

Loaded Questions

Invite a few of your favorite couples for game night to see how well you truly know them (I’m ever-surprised by every single answer, always). This one’s perfect for family and friends alike, and is always good for a hundred laughs – we play it almost every year at Thanksgiving. Find it here ($20).

For All Ages

Code Names

Equal parts strategy and skill, we couldn’t stop playing this one in London. It’s an ideal mix for older kids and parents, or with larger families. There’s some focus involved (and a timer for the deep, i.e. slowwwwww thinkers), so it’s a good choice for pulling in even the most ambivalent of players. Find it here ($15).

Game of Phones

I was hesitant to encourage phone usage at the table, but after giving this one a test run at Christmas, it’s surprisingly fun and entirely funny – whether you’re a tech addict or are entirely screen averse. (Any non-phone-users get to be the judge!) Find it here ($19).

Checkers

A classic if ever there was one, Ken and I played a nightly round of Checkers for nearly four years straight in L.A. We’ve since shelved the tradition, but I have a feeling he’s up for a rematch soon enough. Find the outdoor version here ($17).

p.s. Tell me: what are your game night favorites? I’d love to add to the list!

  • Skip-Bo is a great one for the kids. I’m currently obsessed with Sequence (older version) and Dutch Blitz. Enjoy!!

  • I have been playing Scrabble with my 8 and 10 year old lately (they enjoy it as long as I’m willing to help if they get stuck). We also enjoy Exploding Kittens, Sorry, Gubs, and Rummikub.

  • We love Molerats in Space (Peacable Kingdom). It’s a cooperative game and in general those are our favorites. Also a game called Ribbit which we play both competitively (get your frog to the pond first) or cooperatively (try to get all 5 frogs there simultaneously). Also Uno lovers over here!

  • Snails Pace for the 4-8+ crowd. The great thing about this game is that the snails are the winners and losers not the players. When my kids outgrew it I too it to my first and second grade classroom. It was a free choice favorite there too.

  • As a Family (kids are 5, 3, and 1) “the Farming Game” and ‘One Deck Dungeon’ are our favourites. Carcasonne and Antike are the favourite strategy games. For a fun history trivia: Chronology.

    The kids can play the first three with is, the others are more for older kids and adults.

  • We like Octiles (adults). You could definitely play with an older (8+) year child. We’re having a hard time finding good two player games for the husband and I. Any suggestions besides Scrabble, Bananagrams, and backgammon? Many games say you can play with two, but the game’s just not as good with two.

  • Scrabble!! and Yahtzee, which now comes in a variety of editions like a nature one with pictures of animals, tents, etc. instead of standard dice. Also Dominoes. And Battleship.

  • We love Euchre, and Wizard!
    Mad Gab, pop 5 (it’s a cranium game), good with a crowd of people, taboo is another favorite for sure .

  • Can I ask how old Bee is? Only because I’m thinking of getting ColorFox for my nephew who is almost 3, but Im thinking it migjt be a bit old for him still?
    Really enjoy your blog btw. :)

    • hi hannah! bee’s 5 1/2 and JUST started getting into colorfox. but when she was 3, she liked to organize and line up the different colors, so i’d say it’s not a lost cause entirely!

      when she was 3, she was more into feed the woozle. ;)
      http://amzn.to/2DBIgaa

  • We are huge game players!! We actually changed our family room into a room that better fits game playing bc the floor doesn’t work well for aging bodies 😏

    Hasbro ‘piloted’ a subscription gaming crate and it was awesome. They are revamping it and should be available soon. Our most recent box had a game called Motor Mouth we play a lot.
    We also LOVE Sorry! It’s timeless. We replaced the game at Christmas bc ours was well loved and the rules are different 😬

    We also enjoy Rumikub as a family.
    Rudy and I love cribbage. We bought an awesome travel board when we were in Seattle.

    Hoping the kids carry this Love into their families.

    • oh goodness, you’re so full of wisdom in this area!!!! (I LOVE RUMIKUB!) thanks for the head’s up on hasbro. ;)

  • Apples to Apples. When our family gets together this is a must game night. A game of knowing (or figuring out) how the other players think. Witty, and can be down right gut-wrenching hilarious.

  • Sleeping Queens & Mancala are my kids’ favorites right now. Monopoly Deal is a hit, too.
    Anomia is a hit for adults and works with tweens+ too. It’s fast-moving and laugh-provoking .
    Euchre; if we found a couple to play with us, on a double date, I’d consider myself a rich gal. I have many fond memories playing Euchre.

  • Qwirkle was just introduced to our family at Christmas and it’s great for pre readers to play with adults (we just leave the littlest ones’ tiles face up in case they need help)!

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