Favorite Family games?
August 30, 2008 10:38 PM   Subscribe

What are your favorite family games?

What are your favorite games (any age range) to play around the table? Bonus points if it is "fun for the whole family"--age 4 to 94. (Assume nothing. This is the 21st century and many don't know the card games which were common knowledge a generation or two ago.)
posted by keith0718 to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (24 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Monopoly, Checkers, Chess, Uno, Poker, Jenga, etc...
posted by DonSlice at 10:52 PM on August 30, 2008

Best answer: Two weeks ago, I played Ticket to Ride with my parents, and they loved it. Probably not suitable for 4, but 6 or 7 should be able to play (I could be wayyyy off-base there, I don't know how smart various ages are in the slightest).

Realistically, metafilter's own Matthew Baldwin has the double plus good Good [Gift | Gateway] Guide. Should be all you need.
posted by Lemurrhea at 11:00 PM on August 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Apples to Apples, hands down. And yes, absolutely fun for the whole family! Littler ones may need help reading the words on the cards, but the great thing about this game is that age/intelligence give you no real advantage. It has brought a ton of laughter to the table every time we've played it.
posted by muxnaw at 11:02 PM on August 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Bohnanza and Settlers of catan if you are the competitive sort. I also play hearts a lot when i only have a deck of cards.
posted by ihadapony at 11:02 PM on August 30, 2008

I enjoy playing Acquire, Power Grid, and St. Petersburg with my family. However, these games aren't going to be good for a 6 year old. Conversely, games designed for 6 year olds are probably not going to be very fun for adults.

I think perhaps the game with the widest appeal I have played is Apples to Apples, as long as no one takes it too seriously.
posted by demiurge at 11:02 PM on August 30, 2008

Best answer: Carcassone is brilliant for ages 10+ and 2-5 players. It is a tile-based game where you "build" castles, roads and farms to score points. Because of the tiles, it is a different layout every time. There is no money, no fighting, and no trading, which means it is about the only game my fiancee and I can play without pulling hair. It also makes it appealing to parents. But there can be as much strategy and scheming as you like. There are a number of optional expansion packs that add different dimensions to the game. I don't know about kids' ages, but we sometimes simplify the game to suit friends or family (but it's pretty simple anyway), so you could probably devise a set of rules that would work with slightly younger kids.

Scrabble is the only other game we can safely play - it's a classic.
posted by rocks009 at 11:38 PM on August 30, 2008

Best answer: My family plays games like Pictionary, Taboo, Balderdash, trying to even out the teams with rough age equivalents. We've been going since the littlest was pretty small, but there's a lot of us so we have large enough teams that one person doesn't make a huge difference.
posted by jacalata at 11:46 PM on August 30, 2008

We love playing 500 in my family. It's disadvantages are that its probably not really suitable for anyone under, say 12? I think thats when I started to learn. It can take awhile to get the hang of, but it is hands down the most rewarding game I know. A great mixture of luck, stratergy, teamwork and competition.

There's always Yahtzee, I think it has quite a wide age appeal. Agreeing with rocks009, Scrabble is a classic, but I only started enjoying that round the 16/17 age mark.

Mafia is another favourite of mine, but again this only appeals / works with about, say, 14+ age groups, and it also takes a few goes to get to the stage where you really love playing. But I think in general games that take a little while to get the hang of will be more rewarding than most of the more versatile options.
posted by atmosphere at 2:19 AM on August 31, 2008

My family has loved playing board games together for ages, and every Christmas I buy them a few new ones to try out. In the last few years, the biggest hits have been Spy Alley (similar to clue) Blokus (Sort of like othello) and the big winner, Settlers of Catan (Brings together the best of Monopoly and Risk).

Of course, you have to enjoy the classics as well: Sorry! Risk, Monolpoly, Yahtzee, and Scrabble, etc.

Have Fun!
posted by sambosambo at 3:27 AM on August 31, 2008

Uno without a doubt. They have some simpler versions with cartoons (e.g. Pooh Bear) rather than numbers which make it easier for little kids, but doesn't change the nature of the game for the adults. It also has the advantage of being compact so you can take it pretty much anywhere and use it to kill time (e.g. hanging around an airport, stuck in a hotel on a rainy day, etc ...).
posted by monkeydluffy at 3:58 AM on August 31, 2008

Seconding Blokus.
posted by chr1sb0y at 4:57 AM on August 31, 2008

Rummikub has us in stitches every time. My German MIL introduced us to this after it won German game of the year. Three generations play it frequently and our youngest got in on the act when he was just four.

It's mainly about pattern recognition with numbers which as an Asperger child gives him the advantage and he tends to win 1 in 2 games which does great things for his self-esteem. But besides that, it's fun!
posted by Wilder at 5:23 AM on August 31, 2008

My family plays Fluxx, which is a card game with simple rules and a perfect mix of skill and dumb luck which means that adults and kids as young as 4 (or just old enough to read) can have fun together. We're also addicted to Double Quick which is basically Scrabble without sitting around waiting for everyone else to find "the very best word". Unfortunately Double Quick is really hard to find in the US. When the letters on our set wore out we had to ask my grandparents to bring us a set when they went to England on vacation, but if you can get your hands on a copy it's awesome. My brother started playing when he was 4 or 5 and now (at 10) he wins as much as anyone else. He's learned a bunch of new words from it too.
Hearts and spades are good, standard card games. They're easy to learn the rules and there's a lot of subtle strategy to learn as you play (especially in spades).
Cranium is also fun but for the original version you need at least 6 and preferably 8-10 people to make it work. I don't know about the variations.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 6:33 AM on August 31, 2008

My family loves to play Apples to Apples (age 10+), Balderdash, and Toss Up (8 and up on the package, but I'd say younger kids could play), which doesn't seem like much, but is really addictive and lots of fun.
posted by mewithoutyou at 7:45 AM on August 31, 2008

If you're three, Manni is strategic and fun.
posted by softsantear at 7:54 AM on August 31, 2008


It's amazing how fast kids pick this game up. Before she was eight one of my daughters was starting to appreciate the nuances of the game, e.g., evaluating the risk/reward ratio of a bluff, betting a decent hand appropriately so as not to scare off the sheep, etc.

The beauty of poker is that it's not one game, but several. Start with draw and stud, and graduate to omaha and hold 'em.

Buy a decent set of clay chips in colors the kids appreciate, throw a wool blanket over the kitchen table, and have a family poker night every once in a while. You'll be amazed.
posted by dinger at 8:17 AM on August 31, 2008

Nthing Apples to Apples -- even people I know who don't like board games seem to like that one. There's a kids' version which is, honestly, still a lot of fun to play. One of the things we regularly do is include a stuffed animal player who plays cards at random. The stuffed animal has won a couple of times.
posted by gnomeloaf at 8:33 AM on August 31, 2008

Uno, Max, Cadoo (these are all for playing with little kids).
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:04 AM on August 31, 2008


Really, really, really. If you're a kid, or buzzed, it's just a simple game. If you're paying attention, it's a fascinating study in how people make connections in lateral thinking.
posted by lothar at 9:19 AM on August 31, 2008

Password. Even if you don't have an old "home version" of the game, everyone can write down a variety of words on slips of paper and put them in a big bowl for players to draw from.
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:16 AM on August 31, 2008

No one's said charades yet?! Really, really fun and doesn't require the purchase of a damned thing!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:22 PM on August 31, 2008

The Farming Game. A 6 year old I know is obsessed with this game and his parents get a big kick out of it too. Bonus: the people who cooperate best win.

Many others have suggested Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne, and Ticket to Ride - while these are my absolute favorite games in the universe (Alhambra is pretty great too) they might be better for the 14-114 crowd than the 4-104.
posted by arcticwoman at 1:10 PM on August 31, 2008

Nthing Apples to Apples - fun for all ages, super easy to learn and play, and once the kids (if any) go to bed, mixing it with a bit of alcohol produces fun on a whole other level.

I just got back from a trip with the fam to Destin, Florida, and we spent a night playing Chicken Foot dominoes. It's one of those that is mindless enough to where you can converse easily while playing, but still involves strategy to some degree. (Mexican Train can also be played with the same set of dominoes)

I'm surprised no one's mention oldies but goodies Scattegories or Guesstures.

Also, in the card game genre, Skip Bo is uber simple to play, being the cousin (more or less) of Uno.

All of the above can be played by all ages, even 3 to 95! Hah!

For something a bit more, interactive, I was surprised at how much of a hit Rock Band was with my parents and siblings and their SOs, given that the vast majority of them hardly even know what an XBox 360 is.
posted by mrhaydel at 7:20 PM on August 31, 2008

Thirding Blokus! You can play an eight year old against three adults and have the eight year old consistently win.
posted by kenliu at 9:09 PM on September 4, 2008

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