“Life is more fun if you play games” – Ronald Dahl
Over the holiday, we had a mini game night at my aunt’s house. It was a lot of fun. Game nights are something that I feel are missing today. Oh, sure, there are plenty of video games, but families are missing out of creative fun with board games.
I remember growing up and always playing board games. We had some at home and we had some up north. I remember playing Clue (which I was never really good at), Connect Four, Yahtzee, Battleship, Sorry, and Life (which I really never understood as a kid). Battleship and Sorry were probably my favorites. They were easy to play and didn’t take 9 hours to play (like Monopoly, which we hated)!
There were also two card games that were favorites up north and at home: Uno and Cribbage. According to Wikipedia, Uno was developed in 1971 and became popular in the 80’s. This would make sense as my first memories of the game are during summers in Caseville. Cribbage was also a game I played up north with my grandpa and my dad and eventually played at home and with friends once I got my own board.
In the mid-80’s, Trivial Pursuit was THE game to play! I think I read somewhere that it sold over 20 million copies in one year. There were various editions that came out after the original success (Sports, Entertainment, and Baby Boomers to name a few). I’m not going to lie, some of the questions were damn hard! The game was a staple at radio stations, as many of the questions were used to give away prizes. Today, you can find three to four copies at any Goodwill or Salvation Army store.
My Favorite Games
In 2019, I am making a vow to spend more time playing games. Whether it is with my kids, my wife, or with friends. Here are some old favorites and some new ones (not including the ones mentioned above). Game nights can be filled with laughter and the world needs that. So here is my list:
- Scrabble. Yes. The word game. Grab a dictionary and start spelling. Get to know the words that use “z”, “q”, and “x”! Every now and then, change it up and allow common nouns, dirty words, and onomatopoeias! I still love playing this game.
- Pictionary. I suck at drawing, which makes this game even more fun to play. Charades with a pencil! Love it!
- Scattergories. This remains one of my favorite games. I love the big honking die with all the letters on it. My version is probably the original version, so I still have the original categories. I hear that the newer version has some new ones. Either way, I love the challenge of coming up with answers that no one else has. I love trying to come up with Double and Triple point answers.
- Apples to Apples. Random things on cards that you match with a subject card. You have to be real creative sometimes to make it work. Sometimes you have the perfect card, sometimes you have to go with a card that means nothing, and sometimes you just have to play to the judge. A fun game that my kids love too!
- Cranium. What I love about this game is that it takes some aspects of other games and combines them in one. It has four categories: Creative Cat (which may involve drawing or sculpting), Word Worm (which may make you spell a word forwards or backwards, solving anagrams, fill in the blank type answers, or word definitions), Data Head (which is your basic trivia stuff or true and false questions), and Star Performer (where you play charades, impersonate celebrities, or hum a song in hopes that someone will guess it).
- Taboo (and Celebrity Taboo). What is great about this game is that you have to get your team to guess the answer on the card without mentioning the five things most associated with the answer. I haven’t been able to find Celebrity Taboo for some time, but I liked it better! Imagine trying to get someone to guess John Lennon without saying: Paul McCartney, The Beatles, Yoko One, Imagine, or Twist and Shout!
- Guesstures. Someone described this game as “Charades on Speed”, and that really is a great way to describe it. Cards have easy and hard words on them. harder words are worth more points. There is a timer device and the player has about a minute to get his team to get the answers before the timer eats the cards.
- Catchphrase. It’s come a long way since the original version. Now, it is electronic. It’s a battery operated disc that generates random words and has a timer. Each time tries to get their members to guess the word on the disc, and when they do, they pass the disc to the other team. Whoever gets caught with the disc when the timer goes off loses the round.
- Can You Name 5? (sometimes called Name 5). This game was a lot of fun. The name says it all. Random categories have teams naming 5 baseball teams, classic rock groups, types of running shoes, and more. You can play as a team, against a team, all play and other ways. some categories are not as easy as you might think. Great time for sure!
- Scene It. If you love movies, TV, Disney, or Harry Potter…you will love this DVD game. The best stuff is when you have to watch a TV show or movie clip and answer a question about it, but there are other categories too. Sound Clips, fill in the blanks, what’s missing, and other fun stuff. My kids love playing this game….just be sure you haven’t lost the remote to the DVD player!
While all of these are tons of fun, I have two absolute favorites:
- Balderdash and Beyond Balderdash. The original was all words. The goal of the game is to bluff and get others to think your answer is the right answer. The word might be “Glacket”. Maybe it’s that little ball in the spray paint can? Maybe it’s the plastic piece at the end of the cord on window blinds? With Beyond Balderdash, the categories include words, dates, movies, initials, and people. You can really get creative with this game and I absolutely love it. I still have pervious answers saved in the box that made me laugh out loud!
- The Game of Things. Much like Balderdash, you have to create an answer, but the twist is that the reader reads all the answers and people have to guess who wrote what answer. All of the topics start with “Things …” (Things you shouldn’t wear to a funeral, Things you shouldn’t kiss, Things you wish you could get for free…). As you can imagine, the answers can be very funny. One of my favorite cards was “Things you shouldn’t put on the kitchen table”. It was hilarious that every single player wrote something about an “ass” as their answer! Lots of laughs that night!!
So, what board games are a must play for you?