The Games We Play

Since I wrote a post about books, I thought I’d also write a post about the assorted games we play at our house.  While they may seem unrelated, about half our games are word games, so in my mind, they go hand in hand.

Games are a great way to spend time together, and if you choose wisely, are among the simplest forms of entertainment.   We tend not to buy large board games because they take up room that we don’t have.  In fact, all of our games fit into three small drawers in my apothecary cabinet.

By limiting our games to a small selection, we actually play them more often.  This is a common theme in simplicity; the fewer things you have, the more you enjoy them.  We also try to choose games that aren’t repetitive; while we enjoy playing Monopoly at someone else’s house, there are only so many times you can pass Go.  With a limited amount of games, it’s important to choose ones that won’t get boring quickly.

One of our favorite games to play is Forbidden Island.  We brought it down to my parents’ over Christmas break and must have played it 15 times.  The best part is that is a cooperative game, not competitive.  All the players have to work together to win.  Basically the players are an expedition team that is on a sinking island; the goal is to collect 4 treasures and get off the island before it sinks.  Each player has their own special ability (eg. diving, moving diagonally, etc) and they use those abilities to help each other collect the treasures and move around the tiles.  It is a great way to teach strategy and cooperation to kids; it’s also great for adults to play in a non-competitive atmosphere.

We also love to play Life and Scrabble.  These games came from Target, because we love the small wooden boxes they come in.  They are the vintage, original versions, so some of the rules are different, but we are looking forward to playing them with our kids someday.

Then there is Quiddler.  This is a fun word card game where players spend each turn trying to make a word from their cards.  There are 9 rounds; each round adding one more card to the hand.  Each letter is worth a certain amount of points, and whoever creates either the most words and the longest word gets an extra 10 points.

Blokus is a good spacial game that is a little like Tetris.  Each player has to lay down their pieces, using as many of them as possible, by connecting them at the corners.  Opponents try to block the other players corners while covering as much area as they can.  We have the Duo version, but there is also a 4 player version, which is very fun if you have a bigger family.

And finally, Bananagrams. This is, by far, one of my favorite games.  It’s an interesting mix between Scrabble and a crossword, where each player makes their own crossword using letter tiles, occasionally having to switch around words (hence anagrams), while racing against the other players.  Whoever uses all of their tiles first yells out “Bananas” and the game is over.  It’s a very fast-paced, intelligent game.

We have a few other games (chess, mancala, face cards, etc), but that’s about it.  Like most things in my life, I like to keep it simple when it comes to buying and playing games.  Though, of course, I’m always on the lookout for new, fun games.  If you have any suggestions, let me know in the comments.

P.S. Also, because I’m a really big geek, one of our new favorite “games” to play is when Travis flips through my etymology dictionary, shouts out a word, and I guess the language of origin.  (I’m actually really good at it.)  It just goes to show that imagination is definitely more important that the actual games you own.

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One thought on “The Games We Play

  1. We love Quiddler! I personally like games that make you think more than chance games. But I do like a few chance games (like Phase 10 and Uno). I love playing Nerts with face cards. And we just got this game called Scrabble Slam that is pretty fun.

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