We play a lot of games together as a family. A LOT. Board games, card games, dice games, video games… games for fun and educational games. We are just a gamer family (shrug). I mean we taught my daughter Uno when she was 3. I’m not even sure she knew all her numbers at that point, but we played Uno together as a family quite a bit because that’s what she could play! Now she’s 7 and my son is going on 19 – our game collection (both tabletop and video) is EXTENSIVE.
So believe me when I say we know games.
Now, you might be thinking of all the “traditional” games like Monopoly or Battleship or even Risk and Scrabble… and yes we have those too. But those are by far NOT our favorite games to play. We like games that are little more… involved? A little less “see-who-gets-to-the-last square-first” and a little more unique.
In no particular order, I present to you – Our Favorite Family Games!
I know I said these weren’t in any particular order, but Dominion IS probably our favorite game out of all of our games. It is a MASSIVE card based game with over 12 expansions. At one point we owned every expansion that existed but I believe we are short 1 or 2 as of this post writing. This game is different every single time you play, with more expansions providing even more play strategies and variations. You don’t NEED any expansions to enjoy this game but I guarantee you’ll WANT them after you get the hang of how to play.
Our daughter does not yet play this game as it involves quite a bit of reading – each card has a different “function”, and actions you can take within the game, printed ON the cards – and some advanced strategy. This game plays well as a 2 player game but I find it to be the most fun with 3 or more. It can be a lengthy play, some of our playthroughs have taken 2-3 hours or more – depending on how complex we’ve chosen to make it with the various cards in play. A simple, straight forward, no-frills, game setup could probably be played through in 45 minutes or so.
Our favorite expansions:
Hubby’s pick: Prosperity, for the higher value money and point cards introduced
My pick: Seaside, for the duration effect cards introduced
NOTE: I highly recommend getting the BIG BOX set if you are looking to invest in the game, as it comes with the Intrigue expansion which adds a lot of playability from the get-go and you CAN NOT get this expansion as a stand-alone set anymore!
Alhambra is a tile based, city-building game and plays well as a 2 player game. It accommodates up to 6 players – adding more players tends to change the strategy of the game a bit and significantly increases the speed of the game play. 2 players could play through this game in roughly an hour, whereas 4 to 6 players could finish in under and hour.
We recently taught our 7 year old this game and I love it for it’s education value regarding money management. Part of the strategy of this game is collecting enough money of a certain color to hopefully purchase the tile piece you need to add on to your city. Critical thinking and spatial orientation skills are exercised in determining just how to structure your city.
Advanced players will enjoy the strategy of purchasing pieces that will help you get more points than your opponent(s) or force your opponents into taking a less desirable piece. This game includes just enough random chance to be satisfactorily re-playable, balanced with strategic play that is easy to repeat.
3) Sushi Go party
Sushi Go Party is a stand-alone expanded version of the card game, Sushi Go! Sushi Go Party includes all the same mechanics of the fast paced Sushi Go! with the added benefits of more variety, and the ability to have up to 8 players (versus 5 players max for the original Sushi Go!). This game plays best with 3 or more players and the difficulty level can be tailored up or down for younger or advanced players.
The game consists of 3 rounds and can be played through in 20-30 minutes. It’s a cute game and is fairly strategy-light when using the basic cards. We picked this game up when K was 5 or 6 and it was really easy for her to learn! We often play this at family get-togethers too. Overall this is an adorable, lighthearted game for all ages!
4) Ticket to Ride – Europe
This is a game based on collecting colored “tickets” to complete legs of various train routes, in order complete “trips” and earn points. You’ve probably even seen this game in big box retail stores as it’s gained in popularity over the last ten years.
There a SEVERAL versions of this game including the original version, which is based on a map of the continental US, as well as versions for Nordic countries, Japan, India, and a “first journey” edition aimed at younger kids. The Europe edition is our favorite as it is slightly more complex than the original version with added game mechanics.
Our 7 year old can play this game and although she hasn’t quite grasped the larger strategy of the game yet, she’s getting there. From a homeschooling perspective, I love these games to introduce/reinforce some World/US geography.
The game accommodates up to 5 players (depending on version) and can be played through in roughly an hour, give or take. As a 2 player game, it provides an easy relaxing night of fun – with more players things can get a bit more competitive as critical routes become more highly sought after. This is one of our “go to” games!
This word-building game was first introduced to me by my bestie and her family during a summer trip to Pennsylvania. I ordered it from Amazon before I even got home so that it would be waiting for me, I was that excited to share it with my family. Actually, my husband is the only one in our home, to date, to actually play it with me as our daughter is not yet spelling-advanced enough to do so and our son is living states away.
Scrabble-esque, this game requires you to make words with drawn letter cards, starting with a 3 card hand and working up in rounds to a 10 card hand. In Scrabble style, more common letters are worth fewer points while letters like W, X, or Q are worth 10, 12, or 15 points (respectively).
This is probably my favorite TWO PLAYER game simply for it’s ease of set-up, duration of play, and medium-level of strategy required (hubby and I often play this game before bed). However, it accommodates up to 10 players. Play through can take anywhere from 20 minutes to over an hour, depending on how many players, how quickly you draw the letters you need, and how much you fish for those higher point value cards!
We have SO MANY other games that we love, that my list was growing too long to include reviews of them all in one blog post (LOL)! So I’ve simply linked the rest below so you can check them out (though I’ll likely return to review some of these in another post 😉 ).
What are some of your family’s favorite games? Let me know in the comments! We are always on the hunt for new games to add to our collection 🙂
ADDItional games we recommend:
- Goat Lords (we play this one a LOT, good for younger kids too)
- Unstable Unicorns
- Mille Bournes
- Constellations (educational and fun!)
- Dos (admittedly not my favorite, but my daughter wanted me to include it so here it is)
- Power Grid (long game with advanced strategy)
- Jaipur (back in print! I had to wait so long for this one!)
- Lost Cities (the card game version, not the board game. 2 player only! Difficult to find)
- Toss Up
- Scram (currently not available on Amazon)