Favorite Family Games

February 21, 2014 in Playroom by Melanie

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 Top 5 Favorite Family Games from Forty Eigheten

I love family game night. We LOVE playing games together, and this past Christmas we discovered a few new faves.

Top 5 Favorite Family Games from Forty EighetenTelestrations

My artistic skills are already pretty laughable, so I’m generally not a fan of games that rely on my ability to draw anything recognizable, but this game keeps us cracking up all night. Telestrations is a clever mash-up of Pictionary and the Telephone Game.

Each player starts with a drawing pad and a word to draw. The next person guesses what their picture might be. The third person has to draw what the second person guessed. The fourth person guesses what they drew, and it keeps going like that around the circle until it ends up back to the person who started it all. Did I lose you?

Occasionally the end result is surprisingly spot on, but more often we end up so far off we’re not even on the same planet. Know what I mean? One round started with “the bearded woman” as the clue. Which turned into a gypsy… minecraft… and somehow ended up “tic-tac-toe!”

Little kids and big kids can play together and we all have a hilarious time. If I can have fun with my complete lack of drawing ability, anyone can!

The other night we were playing Telestrations together. The older 2 girls weren’t home, so it was just the 3 younger girls playing with their dad, and I was helping the 5-year-old with the reading and writing. One girl started with the word “camel.” She drew a great camel and her sister guessed it right away. Dad was next and drew an amazingly realistic camel for having only a black marker and a wipe-off pad, complete with pyramids, sand dunes, and palm trees. I guess living in the Middle East for over a year made him pretty familiar with the landscape. He passed it to my little team. Chuck took one look at it, her eyes lit up, and she turned to me and said in her most excited stage-whisper, “A Llama!!!”

Top 5 Favorite Family Games from Forty EighetenQwirkle

I love puzzle games that take more thought than skill – probably because I’m better at thinking through a puzzle than doing just about any skill required in a game.

Qwirkle reminds me a bit of dominoes, but it’s more colorful and more fun. The idea is simple: make rows of 6 blocks either by color or shape. The actual game play involves a little more strategy than that, and there are a few restrictions as you’re creating your rows.

It’s simple enough for the younger kids to play and complex enough for the older kids to really get into. Even my 5-year-old refuses any help and loves to play on her own. Of course, her favorite part is when she knows she has thwarted her dad’s big plans and put her own pieces in the way of his big moves. We may be a little cut throat…

Top 5 Favorite Family Games from Forty EighetenTicket to Ride

At first glance my kiddos weren’t too sure about this one, but after one round, they were hooked. Now we play it every Sunday night without fail… and some other nights in between.

Ticket to Ride is another game where the overall idea is very simple: build trains from city to city. Add in certain routes you’re trying to claim, getting in the way of others’ routes, and trying to get the longest route bonus, and you’ve got a game full of strategy and fun.

Ours is a United States version, but you can also play on other continents. We may have to start collecting more. Just watch out for Bree – she has more fun getting in the way of your routes than actually trying to claim her own.


A few more honorable mentions aren’t new games we’ve just discovered, but they are long-standing family favorites:

Top 5 Favorite Family Games from Forty EighetenPit

I have been playing and loving this game for as long as I can remember. I’m pretty sure we have our own family version that doesn’t involve all of the rules, but I’m okay with that ‘cuz it’s fun every time.

Quite simply, you’re trying to collect all 9 of one commodity so you can throw down your cards and yell “PIT!” thus declaring yourself the winner. You get there by loudly shouting “two, two, two!” as you try to trade your cards with someone else who is also yelling how many cards they’re trying to trade. We have tried silent versions of the game, but that takes away half the fun.

You keep trading the same cards back and forth until you realize that everyone is trying to get rid of their Wheat. So you collect all of the wheat and WIN! What’s not to love?

Top 5 Favorite Family Games from Forty EighetenScattergories

This has been my all-time favorite game to play with my family since I was a teenager. We crack ourselves up and laugh all. night. long. I’m pretty sure cut throat Scattergories players would NOT be impressed with our games, but we have no plans to change.

If you have never had the great fortune of playing this game, here’s the basics: You are given a list of 12 categories and a letter of the alphabet. Before time is up, you try to list a word that fits into each category and begins with the chosen letter. If you can come up with multi-word answers that all begin with the chosen letters, BONUS POINTS for you!

Whether or not your answers are acceptable is totally up to the group. In my family, cleverness counts.

Top 5 Favorite Family Games from Forty EighetenUno

No family should be without a deck (or 2… or 3) of Uno cards. Every variation I’ve ever played has been fun (Uno Attack, anyone?), and even the younger kids understand the concept of matching colors and numbers.

Any game that puts this smile on my Chuck’s face has got to be a winner. Amiright? Is she winning the game? Oh, no. She’s just playing a little old draw 2 on Mom. Mwahahaha!

And of course, who doesn’t know a million more games to play with Uno cards? My favorites are Speed and Spoons, but I never turn down a game of War with my big brother – even though it may never end…

What are your favorite family games?

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