Before an era of controllers and digital devices, sitting down to play a game meant clearing off a table, making sure you had enough chairs, and then agreeing on a board game to select from the closet in the family room.
While many of these board games have been moved to storage, some families are recalling the tradition now that digital fatigue has set in.
If you haven’t already, this holiday season is a great time to remind your family and friends to put down the phones, grab one of these titles, and revisit a cherished fun that is sure to survive the test of time.
Apples to Apples — It’s simple, fun, and as clean as you want to make it. Much like the inevitably raunchy adult game Cards Against Humanity, Apples to Apples involves fun word associations, but doesn’t go out of its way to offend. The rules are simple: To win, you’ll have to know the psychology of your teammates even better than the nuts and bolts of the game itself.
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Saboteur — A real-life version of Schrodinger’s Cat, players are allies and enemies at the same time. You’re either a dwarf miner, trying to tunnel your way to piles of gold, or you’re the saboteur, trying to prevent that. You don’t know who’s who, and it plays into your psyche, making you paranoid of everyone. It’s great fun!
Munchkin — Think of the typical pen and paper game, like Dungeons & Dragons, and turn it into a wacky, silly card game. That’s Munchkin. With endless expansions and add-ons, you can grow your collection to make sure you never experience the same game twice!
Mad Gab — Love hearing your family sound like they’re talking with their mouth full? With Mad Gab, you’re given a series of words or syllables and you have to figure out the phrase. The example always used is “Eye mull of mush sheen,” which translates to “I’m a love machine.” The game involves a high level of ridiculousness, which is even better if you’ve got a large family.
Sounds Like a Plan — Similar to Apples to Apples, one player judges your answers to questions like, “What’s the best plan for climbing Mount Everest?” Players receive points based on the what the judge deems the best answers, so knowing your audience is just as important as your intellect. It’s also a chance to hone your dramatic inclinations or penchant for persuasion.
The Classics — Most families still have classic board games that have been around for decades. This holiday season is a good a time as any to teach (or re-teach) them to your family. It’s no mistake that Monopoly, Clue, Pictionary, Boggle, and Scrabble (even Candy Land or Chutes and Ladders, if you have little ones) are considered classics. Many of them created a half a century ago or more. The rules are easy to learn (or remember!) and provide countless hours of fun for everyone involved. Watch for the weird uncle who starts stealing Monopoly money when nobody is watching!
If your old copy of the game isn’t in working order, there are no shortage of classic board games at your local retailer or online.
Board games may feel like a forgotten hobby, but they’ll probably be relevant for a long time ahead. There’s little that can substitute for the camaraderie you can build with your loved ones when you’re face-to-face or huddled around a table, feeding off each other’s energy and laughing in real-time.
Even if certain members of your crew seem resistant to such an old-school concept, they’ll thank you later.