You know I realized as I wrote this title that might not sound quite right….. Most of these games are recommended for 8 years and older:
Our family tradition for many years before we had kids who expected us to pay attention to them was to have friends over on New Year’s Day and spend the entire day playing board games of varying degrees. We’d have about 10 people over and a couple of different games going at a time. Some took lots of time to play, others didn’t. And because I enjoyed this tradition and many of the games we played I want to share them with you.
And, actually these are only the ones that Amazon recognizes, I’ll add a few after I describe these, ranked according to what I believe is the level of geekiness you exhibit when you own this game.
1. Cranium– Most of you are probably familiar with this one. It combines a bunch of fun party games into one. So, if you’re not good at Trivial Pursuit then maybe you’ll be good at drawing or acting it out. I like this for that reason. Jeff hates anything that requires him to try and hum or sing because he doesn’t remember song titles. So, we only tend to play this in large groups.
2. Imagineifff- This is a really fun party/large group game. You draw a card and it’ll say something like “Imagine if Bob were a sport, what sport would he be?” Then it gives you 5 choices, or maybe it was 6. Everyone votes and majority rules. That means you could be wrong about yourself according to the game. You may really believe you are baseball, but everyone else thinks you’re hockey, so they get a point that time and you don’t. It’s lots of fun to talk around, and we bring this to any large group party. And, this one drives Jeff crazy because it doesn’t have any logical rules, at all.
3. Transamerica– this is an entry level strategy game. Total game time is probably about 30 minutes. You can play this with anyone who can read, and it has so many benefits. It teaches a basic geography, and it REALLY explains how our railroad system was designed. I mean seriously, why do I have to go to Chicago to take a train to Denver? And that is how our railroads are designed. Why? Because of how it was most economical for the people to build tracks when they were. We tended to play it as people arrived because it’s over in a few rounds, it’s first person to 10 points loses (it’s like golf you want a low score). We’ve taught this to several friends and they usually end up buying it.
4. Carcassone- This game has more expansions than most any game I know of, and each different expansion adds in some fun new ideas to go with it. I just bought a mini-expansion that adds in a few different tiles and crazy heretics living monasteries. So, basic game play is you draw a tile and find where you can legally play that tile, then decide if you want to put a guy on that tile to build a town, a road, or be a farmer. At the end of the game the person with the most points for building cities and what not wins. This is one of my favorite games. It’s about the level of strategy I like, and it plays in about 45 minutes to an hour. This is another one that once we’ve shared it with friends they’ve tended to buy it.
5. Munchkin- Honestly I added this because about half of the games I came up with Amazon hadn’t heard of. If you read lots of fantasy books or do any role-playing of any sort you’ll enjoy this and get the humor in it, otherwise you probably won’t enjoy it. I’ll probably leave it at that.
6. Puerto Rico- Jeff likes this one. This is a 2-3 hour game, and involves lots of strategy. You’re building up plantations in the New World, and trying to be the one to have the most conquest points at the end. Honestly, I have to remind myself of the rules every time I play, because we don’t play often enough. It’s a very fun game, but it does take some getting used to.
Some very fun games you probably have to go to a comic or game store to find. The ones listed above you might find at Target (okay, you won’t find Puerto Rico or Munchkin, but you might find some of the others). But these are some SUPER fun ones that I really love.
Democrazy– You start off with a small handful of coins. As the game progresses the people playing vote on the laws that are going to be used for scoring your coins and how you get coins. I think this game is hilarious, and it’s really fun to play. It’s also a great mockery of our congress, which let’s face it no matter what side you’re on is a bit of a joke. So, you get to try and pass laws that say “You must vote with your left hand, or lose a coin.” I love this game because it’s somewhat unpredictable.
Killing Doctor Lucky– Sadly I think the company that produced this went out of business, but if you can find a copy BUY IT! It’s the night before the game of Clue, and you’re all at Dr. Lucky’s house and you hate the crazy old man. So, you all decide to off him, but you don’t want to be caught. It’s lots of fun to play, and if you want you could follow it up by playing Clue, or watching the movie.
Who Stole Ed’s Pants-I think I got this for Jeff because the name amused me and figured we’d play it once, and then put it in the Goodwill box, but it turned out to be surprisingly good. This is for 3 or 4 players and you play in teams. Ed woke up one morning to discover his pants have been stolen, and he is very embarrassed about this, but doesn’t want to make a big deal about it. However, he discovers the whole town knows and are trying to blame each other. This is a game where it doesn’t matter if you’re guilty, just if you can blame someone else. It involves some strategy, but not an overwhelming amount, and it’s a good teamwork game.
And last game, because I just remembered this, and I’m up against my self-imposed deadline of when I need to get off the computer:
Five Crowns-You’ll probably find this at teacher supply stores, that’s where I got our copy, actually this is our second or third copy because we’ve given them away to friends. It’s a lot like rummy, except there are 5 suits. Each round you are trying to get a different number of cards the same or in a row. The first round is 3, the next round is 4, so on and so forth. And each round a different card is wild. This is a great game to introduce your young child to strategy games. I’d say probably 1st or 2nd at the youngest depending on your kid. The people who made this game also have several other games that are great for younger kids to play (as in early elementary to start playing). It’s a nice alternative for family game night to yet another round of Monopoly (which in my house growing up usually ended with the board being thrown or some other show of nonsportsmanship).
I hope everyone has a HAPPY NEW YEAR!