I know a lot of nerd types that like playing games. To be clear, I’m not talking about mind games or computer games here, but good old-fashioned family games that usually involve a board or pack of cards of some sort.
This post covers off some of the Thompson family favourites that we keep coming back to, to keep our minds sharp and gently take the mickey out of each other.
- Uno. This card game was introduced to us by a family we met on summer holiday in 2014. We still play it now, and we still keep in touch with the family. In fact, we went on holiday to Spain with them in 2017 and played Uno every night whilst drinking the all-inclusive gin. You basically discard one of your cards when it’s your turn to match the colour or value of the card in the middle, with various special function cards such as change colour, skip a go, reverse direction, pick up two (for the next player). This game provides the perfect blend of luck and skill to allow all ages to play together.
- Frustration. A board game, based on the older game Ludo. Instead of a handheld die, there is a clear dome ‘Popamatic’ in the middle that you push down to make a satisfying pop and spin the die (in newer versions, the outside of the board has a mini paddle for each player that flicks the underside of the dome for the same effect. Again, thanks to the random die factor, this makes for a great game for all ages.
- Dobble. We only recently discovered this card game and it is as fun as it is frustrating. The pack comes with 55 cards and there are a number of alternative game options you get instructions for (you can probably make up your own too). The premise is that each card has a fixed number of symbols on it (tree, sun, igloo, etc.) and that any two cards only have a single symbol in common with each other. The common theme with the game types is being able to recognise the common symbol between the cards the fastest. This sounds simple enough, but the symbols appear at different sizes on cards and as symbols are matched by a , some of the cards are removed/replaced by others and so you get this manic panic going on (might just be me, evidence suggests otherwise!) where you are trying to spot the common symbol and somebody gets to it before you, then you have to start again. Great, fast paced mind game, again for all ages
- Backgammon. Still trying to get my 10-year-old daughter in to this, but my wife and I love playing this ancient classic, especially with the doubling cube to add that extra level of skill
Less popular alternatives
There are many other games that we sometimes drift back to from time to time e.g.
- Pie Face (doesn’t really have longevity, but good fun for larger family get-togethers)
- Speak Out (in the same ilk as Pieface in terms of longevity
- Various quiz games inc. Trivial Pursuit
I’d love to hear from other people who spend a lot of time playing these type of family games. If you have other suggestions, or comments on mine, please do leave a comment below. We’re always looking for that next time-consuming game that lets us turn the telly off and put our electronics down.
Till the next time.