Friday, December 7, 2012

Fun and Family-Friendly Board Games

What do you think of when you hear the phrase 'board games'? Personally, I remember how much fun I used to have playing Trivial Pursuit with my dad. We had one of the 'older' versions that was mostly geared toward adults, but somehow I managed to beat my dad a few times. Personally I think he let me win, but he denies it. Either way, it was a fun way to bond. A lot of things have changed in the passing years, but one thing is the same-board games are a great way to have fun and form lasting bonds with family and friends. As wonderful as classics like Monopoly and Clue are, sometimes you want something more, say, updated? Active? Challenging? In that case, here are some of my favorite board games that are sure to become favorites of yours too.

These might seem too 'grown up', but a lot of these games have kids' versions. Plus, kids are often smarter than we think. If you've got older kids, honor students or kids with specific interests, they might enjoy more of a challenge. Plus they can often learn things like critical thinking, strategy or words. It's a good way for kids to stay sharp during school breaks.

For the trivia freaks, Trivial Pursuit has come out with many new versions that are more geared toward younger players. I myself have several-the one my dad and I played (yes, it's still functional), the 20th Anniversary edition and the Greatest Hits. The last two have more questions from the 80s, 90s and now, so kids are more likely to know them. There are also several kids' and family versions, as well as some for the Nintendo Wii. For a look at the list, check out this page.

Another new-ish game that has a great potential for family fun is Apples to Apples. One person is designated as the 'dealer' who places two decks of cards next to each other and deals everyone a hand. How many cards depends on how many players. Then, the dealer turns over the top card from the 'topic' deck with a word or phrase on it. Then, everyone else selects the card from their hand that is most like that word and places it face down in the middle of the circle. The cards are turned over and read to the group, the dealer picks the one that fits the best and the person who submitted it gets the topic card. The person who collects a number of topic cards first wins. This game can get pretty wild because the cards are totally random and can make for some really odd comparisons; for instance, we once got Cuddly Giant Squid! It's great for a laugh, if nothing else. Because it's card-based, it travels well. There is a 'Junior' version for younger players.

If you've never played Balderdash, you're missing out! Basically one person draws a card with a word on it, and the other players make up a definition. Then, the definitions are read aloud and a guess is made as to which one is the right definition. There are two ways to gain points-write the right definition and get other people to think that your definition is the right one. This can get pretty hilarious, depending on the definitions! Similar games are 'Loaded Questions' (answering random social questions) and The Game Of Things (silly categories). Like the one above, the 'randomness' makes the game!

If I described every one of my favorite board games for groups, I'd be here forever. Instead, I'm going to give you a place to look for suggestions:

Have fun!

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