Tag Archives: family games

Rainy Nights and Family Games

We’re only a month into summer break here, although it seems like it’s been much longer.  That’s the sign of a good summer vacation, though, right? When it lasts forever and you can barely remember the last day of school anymore, you’re doing it right.

We’ve been busy and not busy, here and there, and filling up evenings with some funny new activities- including teaching the children to gamble.  That seems like an important skill to learn when there’s no actual money at stake, and so Matt and I have convinced ourselves that it’s actually quite good parenting.

So far we’ve taught the kids Blackjack and Texas Hold ’em and Matt and I watch with amusement and sideways glances as each child catches on to the games at different points and suddenly the betting changes drastically.  We have some cautious betters and some ALL-IN betters in this house and the contrast is clear when we play.  Poker seems as good a way as any to gain insight into your kids’ inner workings.

We also started playing RISK, one of those long-drawn out games like Monopoly that spread out over several nights in a row.  Like poker, Risk throws into sharp relief the different personalities at play: which kids are more strategic thinkers, which kids are willing to throw caution to the wind and which kids are decidedly not, and which kid is six moves ahead in his mind, but therefore cannot fully see the move he’s actually on. 

Funnily enough, in both games we’ve played out to the bitter end, Gabe has ended up achieving world domination.  If you’d have asked me before we ever played if he would be the one who took over the planet, I would have said no flat out.  But it turns out he’s really good at looking at the map and seeing where he should strengthen his forces and how he can move across the space.  He knows when to stop attacking and when to shore up, he is patient, and he is quite pleased with himself.  This makes his siblings crazy.

Owen is way too risky – he cannot see when it’s time to stop battling and he gets his armies spread too thin in his quest to take over the world all at once on every turn.  Then he gets crushed on the next time around the board.  Bridget is afraid to commit fully to any battle and as soon as she starts losing armies, she backs off and won’t risk losing so she never actually wins.  And Quinn doesn’t quite see the strategy yet – he doesn’t see where he’s strong near someone else who is weak, so he sort of haphazardly chooses his battles and just likes to roll the dice and hope for the best. 

We’ve had arguments, allegiances, laughter, and some choked back tears if the truth be told.  We’ve let the kids stay up way too late some nights and paid for it in spades the next day.  As this chilly, drizzly England summer rolls on we’re making memories  that I only hope my children will treasure the way I know I will.  I’m hoping for another summer ten years down the line when we all laugh about that rainy July in England when Gabe took over the world. 

Long live summer.

The Best Family Board Game EVER

1-family games

We almost always get a board game for the kids each Christmas; we’re a big game-playing family.

This year’s game is my favorite one ever — since Christmas Day we have probably played it 30+ times, no exaggeration.  My parents were here for 10 days and they played it too, and the four of us adults played it almost every night AFTER the kids went to bed! 

The game is called Munchkin and there are MANY variations available.  We got Munchkin Legends Deluxe but there are tons of other options.

munchkin legends deluxe

It’s complicated at the beginning.  Like, really complicated.  We were honestly playing it wrong for probably the first ten games we played, but it was fun anyway.  Then once you catch on to the rules, it’s SO, SO fun. 

The other cool thing is that there are expansion packs so you can build up a huge set and make the game more complicated, more interesting, and more fun.

This is not a game for really little kids.  You really need to be able to read and add/subtract easily to play, and parts of the game are complicated.  The first few times we played, since my parents were here, we played with four “teams” of one adult and one child and that worked out well.  Now all three of my older kids — ages 11, 9, and 7 — can play without assistance.  My youngest, age 5, is still on someone’s team, but the more we play, the more he picks up on the rules, and I know that it won’t be long before he can handle playing on his own.

This is absolutely, hands-down one of my favorite board games ever and I’m so glad we bought it!

What are your favorite family games?

Also, here are some other family games we love, and that time we used board games (and lots of other distractions) to help us with a family tech detox.


Family Games

1-family games

Family game days are my favorites.

I love the planned ones  that we all look forward to for days and I love the impromptu ones on a random Tuesday night after dinner.

We play lots of different games–and we’ve amassed a pretty good collection to choose from.

It can be a challenge to find games that work for both a 4-year old and a 10-year old, but we’ve managed to figure out some options that do work for everyone.¬† When a game is too complicated for Q, he plays on a team with someone else, and when a game is too simple/easy for the older kids, we add in challenges to make it more interesting (i.e. if you roll a certain number on the dice, you have to complete a task before you can take your turn).

There are some games we always seem to fall back on that we know everyone loves:

  • Apples to Apples Jr
  • Pictionary
  • Family Trivia (we use these cards in different age ranges for the questions)
  • Blackjack (complete with poker chips and advice on when/how to bet)

And there are some games we don’t play as often, but have really enjoyed (and I think we should break out again soon):

  • Doodle Dice
  • Quirkle
  • Bunko
  • Sorry
  • Monopoly

With a few snow days looming in our future this week, I’m opening up the game cabinet, getting some snacks ready, and preparing for a few hours of board games.

What are your family favorites?

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