I love playing games with my siblings and my kids. When we were growing up my least favorite game to play was Monopoly, that is until Risk came out, and now I have two games that I hate playing. Mostly because the games seemed to take forever, especially with my older brother, who is an excellent strategist, not only to win the game, but make it last as long as possible!
Because of that love of playing games, I raised my kid’s playing games, and we love to do so. But my favorites are ones that don’t take very long. That way we can play for a long time or quit after just 2 or 3 rounds depending on time. The other nice thing about short games is that more people have the opportunity to win, which, when you have 4 kids, it makes a huge difference in feelings by the time you’re done. I have 2 children who are strategists and love long, never ending games. They get that from their dad, who will on occasion play Risk or Monopoly with them. Then I have one that just loves playing, whatever, and rarely cares whether she wins or loses, it’s about the time spent together. The last one loves to play but has little time for strategy, but he wants to win and the games on occasion ended up like the one in the picture above, at least when they were younger. Now he just walks away when he gets frustrated, thank goodness!
Over the years we have had a number of favorite family games though, so I thought I would share here some of our favorites and I would love to hear in the comments some of your family’s favorites as well!
First and all-time favorite, not only with my kids, but when I was growing up as well: UNO. This has been a staple of our family game nights. I like this game because it can be done in under 10 minutes, or you can play for 2 hours if you choose. I also really like that this game is easy to play at almost any age. Little kids just learning numbers and colors as well as adults. UNO has had a number of different spins put on it the last 20 years, but we like the classic. Cover Your Assets is another fun card game. This one doesn’t take a super long time, and the swings from one person winning to another can happen at any point in the game, even up to the last few cards. This is one of those “it’s not over till it’s over” type of games, and we have enjoyed playing it. This one however does take more than 2 people, I believe 3 would be the minimum, but it’s more enjoyable with at least 4 or more players. This also requires a little more strategy, so I wouldn’t recommend it for really young kids.
Sometimes only one child wants to play a game, so I have a couple of favorite 2 person games. Mastermind is the first. There is a new online game called Wordle that is similar in concept. Mastermind is colored pegs. I like playing this game because it involves more deduction and less strategy. I also like Mancala. This one involves a lot of strategy, but it is really simple to teach to younger kids. It involves rocks (ours has rocks, some may have different items like beads) that you move around a wooden board with cups in it, trying to collect more rocks in your end of the board than your opponent.
I am not as big a fan of board games, but I do have a few favorites. Life is probably my most favorite board game. It’s a pretty quick game to play, and I enjoy the funny “real life” situations that it presents and that everyone can reach a million dollars by the end. I also enjoy Catan. This one is more recent in our house. We played it with family while visiting Utah a few years ago and really enjoyed it. That Christmas we got the game and my kids have enjoyed playing it ever since. This game takes a little bit longer and requires a lot more strategy so I wouldn’t recommend it for younger children, but it’s not hard to understand or play.
Those are some of our family favorites. Game nights are a great way to spend time together with family, teach strategy and especially patience with each other, and most important, build family relationships. What are your favorite games?