Games for mixed group
December 25, 2018 6:33 AM   Subscribe

I’m looking for games and activities that are suitable for a family of mixed abilities including one senior who has trouble learning complicated new rules but does remember a lot of general knowledge stuff, especially literature and history. We used to play games that rely on mental ability but lately that seems unfair. Games like quirkle, chess, scrabble or rummy are out.

We used to have a lot of fun playing games together but as one of my parents gets older they have trouble remembering rules and staying on top of the game. I’d like to find a game that lets us be goofy together without being boring for one or two challenging for another.

Too late to buy any board games or other supplies but can use them in future.

I am pretty sure I can find a basic deck of cards if that helps.
posted by bunderful to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (18 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
*too challenging
posted by bunderful at 6:36 AM on December 25, 2018

Telestrations! It's pictionary + telephone, but easy to pick up. A mixed group is advantageous - when we played with players ranging in age from 20s to 80s, my grandma drew what she considered a "nerd," and it was just someone in a baseball cap, and spiraled hilariously downward from there.
posted by Drosera at 6:42 AM on December 25, 2018 [6 favorites]

For the future: Timeline is a game with very very simple rules, and general knowledge of history is extremely valuable in it. It is the best mixed generation game I've played. The seniors are, if anything, at an advantage. There are several versions, and you can mix decks.
posted by Adridne at 7:20 AM on December 25, 2018 [3 favorites]

If you have a smartphone/tablet, the game Heads Up is a charades party game that is easy to play.
posted by xo at 7:24 AM on December 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

We really like Heads Up for this; the categories vary enough that you can find something for everyone, and when we’ve played the fun is in the acting out/guessing, not scorekeeping. You can see it in action here; $1 on the App Store and no other set up needed.

(On preview, jinx!)
posted by stellaluna at 7:27 AM on December 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Came in to say Timeline. Very simple, and leads to lots of good table talk.
posted by batter_my_heart at 8:23 AM on December 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Uno? That’s always been a pretty universal go-to game for us.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:31 AM on December 25, 2018 [3 favorites]

For the future: Sushi Go. It’s for age 8 and up. The game is short, 15 minutes or so, so even if you’re new to the rules and don’t quite get it at first you get to start fresh with a new round and you aren’t locked in to a long game at a disadvantage.
posted by Secret Sparrow at 9:19 AM on December 25, 2018

Don't break the ice? Chutes and ladders? Both classics my preschooler can also handle
posted by typecloud at 9:41 AM on December 25, 2018

Wits & Wagers has pretty simple rules. It also has the advantage of being enjoyable by someone with a lot of "general knowledge" in their brain while simultaneously allowing people without a lot of "general knowledge" to still succeed at the game.
posted by Johnny Assay at 10:07 AM on December 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

Tenzi is one of the easiest games to play. You roll ten dice and keep re rolling till you get ten dice all the same. We played it with my MIL with dementia and she was able to pick it up.
posted by Pretty Good Talker at 10:08 AM on December 25, 2018

Fluxx has the rules written on the cards, and the base rules on a card that's displayed on the table at the beginning. Family Fluxx is a little easier and simpler. You can use strategies with it, sure, but you can also win on the second round with the draw of one card, so the luck element balances things out.

The Apples to Apples family of games (including Freestyle Apples and Big Picture Apples to Apples) and related games like Funemployed or The Game of things, captioning games like Bubble Talk, and other party games might be worth a try, too. I'm not sure if your group includes kids, but if so, there's Apples to Apples Junior. The others vary in "adultness," but typically have enough variety that you can pull out the raciest ones and still have plenty to play with.

(With most of these games, any complex rules they may have can just be ignored in favor of having people vote for the funniest, or whatever. We also have a house rule that you can discard and replace any card you get that refers to something you're not familiar with, which helps with generational/cultural/etc. differences.)
posted by wintersweet at 10:12 AM on December 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Do you have an older (Genus IV) copy of Trivial Pursuit? Not great for young children, but it definitely favors older people's general knowledge. (It basically assumes baby boomer or older players who grew up in the US or Canada, which means my dad is the only person with a hope in hell of getting most of the entertainment questions. My brother and I are admittedly into trivia but have been competitive with adults since junior high.)
posted by hoyland at 10:32 AM on December 25, 2018

I love Timeline and was excited to find a boardgame version a couple of years ago. It's reasonably interesting to play, but I like the cards version better. I'm an old so I like having that advantage (heh).
posted by MovableBookLady at 10:36 AM on December 25, 2018

Just finished playing Bring Your Own Book with a group ranging from 7 to 74 and a good time was had by all.
posted by kittydelsol at 5:06 PM on December 25, 2018

Tsuro is a board game where you each place tiles to create a network of paths. Each person's turn is actually really simple and you can find enjoyment at all ages and skill levels even and especially in groups with a mix of such.
posted by odinsdream at 9:52 PM on December 25, 2018

Dweebies? Or what about Yahtzee? My spouse’s grandma can still play that because she learned it a long time ago.
posted by kerf at 11:19 AM on December 26, 2018

The Ring on a String game. We never did it with the song (as they do in the link), I think it's best when you can say and do what you want.

But yes, do a search for Parlour Games.
posted by miles1972 at 1:34 PM on December 26, 2018

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