I’m not sure what you guys lie in bed at night watching.
Game of Thrones? Friends reruns? Stranger Things? The 10 O’Clock News? This Is Us?
Do you want to know what
I fall asleep listening to Handy Husband watches?
YouTube videos of people playing board games.
Try not to be jealous of my life.
This is akin to my kids watching YouTube videos of people playing Minecraft instead of just playing Minecraft themselves.
I’m giving you this window into my very glamorous life to illustrate an important point. When Handy Husband takes on a hobby, you can be guaranteed that he will take that hobby on 110%. There’s no half-way. All the research is done. I kid you not there’s probably a spreadsheet somewhere detailing spreadsheet-y board game things. He will read game reviews and participate in online discussion forums. Yes, they have those for board games. All of this activity is before he’s even ordered the game.
Handy Husband is fighting an uphill battle because while the kids LOVE playing board games with daddy, I’m not so much into board games. Finding a game that kids, adults and non-game players enjoy, well, that’s the kind of challenge he likes to tackle.
For this Cyber Monday, I’m sharing 5 board games that kids of all ages, from 7 to 70, have enjoyed playing at our house lately. Even me. Chances are you’ll enjoy them too!
Tsuro is a tile laying path game for 2 – 8 players. Lay a tile ‘path’ for your game piece to follow and if you are the last one on the board – you win.
This game is a nice balance between luck and strategy. Luck with what tiles you draw and strategy for the order in which you lay the tiles down.
I have videos of my 7-year-old son and my 71-year-old father playing this game together that make my heart ache with happiness to see those two matching wits.
The other thing I really appreciate about this game – parents, I know you’ll get me – is it doesn’t take long to play!
Handy Husband wants to get Tsuro of the Seas next because it adds a dice element to the game. I’ll keep you posted on that one!
This 2-player game has won an award for best abstract game, which might make it sound hard to play, but it’s not. If my 7-year-old can do it and teach his buddies how to play, so can you!
Onitama has a bit of a chess feel to it in it’s simplicity and timeless feel. You can move your pawns around the game board, but your moves are restricted to the instructions on the cards you hold.
As an added twist, the card (or move) you play will go to your opponent next. So you not only have to strategize how the card will impact your pawns, but also your opponent’s pawns.
Here’s the manufacturer’s description of this game: “You have come to Nottingham with your goods on market day, and the only thing standing between you and your hard-earned profits is the Sheriff. All you need to do is bluff or bribe your way past him…or maybe, tell the truth!”
I’m not sure which is funnier – when Handy Husband plays the role of sheriff in this game or when my kids do!
Either way, to see my kids try and bluff their way through this game is equal parts funny and scary!
Sheriff of Nottingham does require some set-up, so it isn’t the quickest game to play straight out of the box. If you’re giving it for Christmas, you might want to read the directions before you wrap it up.
Next up on the list is Love Letter!
Here’s the game set-up from the manufacturer: “In the wake of the queen’s arrest, all the eligible young men of Tempest (and many not so young) seek to woo Princess Annette. Unfortunately, she has locked herself in the palace, and everyone must rely on those within the palace to bring their romantic letters to her. Will yours reach her first?
Love Letter is a game of risk, deduction, and luck, for 2–4 players. Get your love letter into Princess Annette’s hands while keeping other players’ letters away. Powerful cards lead to early gains, but make you a target. Rely on weaker cards for too long and your letter may be tossed in the fire!”
In full disclosure, it took 4 of us adults one and a half rounds of playing this game before we understood the rules. Basically, we were WAY over-thinking it. (I
think know my kids caught on faster.) After that, it clicked and it was a breeze.
The entire game fits in a small pouch, so this is a game that travels well. It also doesn’t take long to play a round because there are only 16 cards.
2 players can play, but it is much more fun with 3 or 4.
Last, but certainly not least on my list is Deep Sea Adventure by Oink Games.
In this game, each player is an undersea explorer with dreams of striking it rich by finding treasure. Unfortunately, each of the explorers is still poor and their budgets (or lack thereof) mean they have decided to share a submarine and a single tank of air on their next deep sea dive.
They have to collect treasure and get back to the submarine before they run out of air.
This “push your luck” game is interesting because there can be a bit of cooperation at the beginning, but then everyone develops their own strategy of how much treasure they want to collect at the expense of their companions.
The other pro to this game is it is compact, so it doesn’t take up a lot of space on the shelf and it travels well. The game is played in multiple rounds, but each round doesn’t take long to play.
Let me wrap this post up by saying I still don’t consider myself a board gamer. After all, I’m the girl that collects decks of cards, but rarely plays a card game.
When Handy Husband goes to the trouble to find board games we ALL will enjoy playing together, I will happily give them a chance. With busy lives and electronics vying for our attention, encouraging quality family time with shared experiences seems more urgent to me lately.
Handy Husband has picked board games that make us think, laugh and don’t drive me absolutely nuts. If you’ve ever played seemingly endless games of Candy Land with a preschooler, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
This week we are learning a new game called Mysterium. If it makes the cut, I’ll tell you all about it later.
P.S. The YouTube series that plays through all these games is called TableTop with Will Wheaton.
*affiliate links to Amazon used in this post*