Get Excited About Games

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Posted by Joe Butler on Nov. 7, 2018, midnight

The family that plays together stays together, right?

We’ve often heard this adage accompanied by efforts to get families to spend more time together, preferably off of their phones. (That goes for Mom and Dad, too!)   

Getting together for games goes a long way to strengthening familial bonds and provides a nice break from busy schedules, even if an appointment for “family fun” might have to be blocked out on everyone’s busy calendar weeks in advance.

A regular game night, whether with immediate family or friends that you just don’t see that often, allows you to catch up in an informal setting with plenty of fun, snacks and tasty beverages. And a little friendly competition can help teach little ones (and some of us big ones, too) about teamwork and losing gracefully.

As the holidays approach, there are often more opportunities for gaming, whether it’s breaking out the childhood games from back of the closet, trying out a new gift from Santa or looking for other ways to entertain visiting family or the kids during the winter school break.

Consider some of this year’s gaming gems that could present enjoyable options.

"The One With All The Cards" ($15)
If you like “Cards Against Humanity,” the hilarious and twisted phrase-matching and creating game for adults, but secretly wished there was more Matthew Perry, your prayers have been answered. This unofficial expansion deck features inside jokes from the iconic 1990s ensemble TV show “Friends.”
Impress your friends with your extensive Ross and Rachel knowledge and perhaps start a “Smelly Cat” sing-along. You’ll laugh as much as you do watching the show itself, as long as no one in your family is as competitive as Monica.

Monopoly Game: Cheaters Edition ($20)
Admit it, most marathon Monopoly sessions seemed to end with embezzlement, extortion or promises of future favors, which is why Parker Brothers created a variation of its classic board game especially for those whose gameplay strategy involves bending or even breaking the rules. When shenanigans are encouraged, feel free to fake dice rolls, steal property cards, bribe your way out of jail or claim that your opponent promised they’d pay the rent for you this time around. It’s much more fun when everyone does it.

Suspend Family Game ($17)
Somewhere between Jenga, Tinkertoys and “Don’t Break the Ice” exists this family-friendly balancing strategy game from Melissa and Doug. The goal is to carefully keep adding new pieces to a super structure without knocking the whole thing down. A Junior version with brighter colors and lighter pieces is also available for kids ages 4 to 7.

Super Mario Party ($50)
If your family has a Switch, the hybrid video game console introduced by Nintendo in 2017, then pass those Joy-Con controllers around for this game that’s intended for plenty of players, even if they don’t consider themselves gamers in the slightest. It includes 80 mini-games intended to be fun, not frustrating, everything from “Trike Harder,” which simulates tricycle racing to “Slaparazzi,” which gives players points if they pose for pictures better than their competitors. “Pie Hard,” where you compete to see how fast you paste your opponents with nicely-rendered pastries, is the perfect post-dinner, pre-dessert activity during your holiday gathering.