Can you recommend some unusual family games for Christmas?
5 parents have answered
There's been an explosion in great and alternative board games over the last few years. In fact, the picture you use is of Settlers Of Catan - which is set to become a family-feud-creating classic in the mould of Risk and Monopoly.
Funnier, and weirder still are the Cheapass Games portfolio. Named because they assume you have dice, pieces, fake money already - so they cut the cost of the games by only providing rules and board. Kill Doctor Lucky was one of theirs (it's now available elsewhere in a more expensive guise with pieces etc). It's essentially Cluedo in reverse - Dr Lucky wanders his mansion while you try and get him alone, out of sight of the other similarly murderously-minded players, and do him in with a comedy weapon (the tight hat being my favourite). Other Cheapass games include Lord Of The Fries, a card game set in a zombie-run fast food restaurant. That probably gives you a flavour of the games.
I'd also add the classic Junta (you're greedy families running a banana republic into the ground - political and scheming strategy), Robo Rally (robots race and shoot each other across ludicrously dangerous factory floors) and many more.
Many of these games are far superior to the tired old boardgames many resort to at Xmas. That said, nothing wrong with a bit of gin rummy, Chess, Scrabble etc. The classics are classics for good reason.
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My Favorite party game is Celebrity. Check out the rules here.
In summary, divide into two teams, each person writes down 4-10 famous people (anyone everyone playing would know) on little sheets of paper. They all go in a hat, and then the two teams alternate 1 minute rounds trying to guess the celebrity.
Round 1: Taboo. The clue-giver can say anything except for the name of the celebrity.
Round 2: Charades (The website above switches the order here, but I think charades should be second.)
Round 3. One Word. The clue giver can only say one word. If they look at the paper and immediately say "dang," that's the only word they can say. It works because everyone has seen the clues two times already in rounds 1 and 2.
Play goes for one minute at a time. At the end of the minute, tally up all the points that team got and then the other team goes. When the clues are up, switch to the next round. Team with the most points wins!
Its such a fun game because it gets people up and moving, talking, singing, shouting...all the best qualities of games!
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Christmas is traditionally family time. But alongside the gathering of kin there are usually less welcome yuletide rituals, like overlong sessions of Scrabble or Monopoly. If your family heaves a collective groan at the thought of haggling over Mayfair, here are some alternatives.
First, check out Hanabi. Winner of the Spiel des Jahres , a coveted German family game award, this is a co-operative card game. Everyone wins and loses collectively, so no more bitter recrimination over the turkey. It’s easy to learn and fast playing, but very challenging to communicate properly with everyone else and steal a win.
If you want something with a board and not just cards, try Ticket to Ride. It’s based on the classic card game Rummy but instead of just collecting sets you cash them in to claim routes on the board. This, of course, means an instant bloodbath as you steal tracks other players were working on.
For those who favour digital formats, Hide & Seek’s superb iOS app TinyGames might get them into the real world. You put in your location and number of players and it suggests one from a staggering array of real-life games like Infinite Hide & Seek or The Elephant in the Zoom. You get the ‘lounge’ games for free, so there’s no excuse not to try this wonderful enabler of play.
Finally, there’s free pen and paper classics Eat Poop You Cat and 1,000 Blank White Cards. In the former players take turns to write a sentence and interpret it as a picture, before folding and passing to the next player and seeing how the meaning changes. The latter is an anarchic free for all where you draw cards and make up rules as you go along. Both are fantastic for impromptu family fun.
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Personal favourite that was 'adapted' from uni for family fun is: Ibble Dibble.
Rules as follows:
First of all, assign a number to each player around the table (i.e. numbers 1 to 7 if there are 7 players). Then, using the lighter or matches, blacken one end of the cork.
There are two pieces of terminology used in the game:
- ibble dibble - which is used to refer to players in the game
- dibble ibble - which is used to refer to a black mark on a player's face made by the cork
The first person starts by passing play onto somebody else by stating the following information:
- who they are
- how many black marks they have
- who they are passing play onto
- how many black marks that player has
For example, if player 1 passes onto player 3, then they say:
"This is number 1 ibble dibble with no dibble ibbles calling number 3 ibble dibble with no dibble ibbles".
Player 4 then immediately responds in a similar fashion, passing on to whoever they choose. If there are any hesitations, incorrect wording or getting the number of dibble ibbles wrong, then the culprit receives a black mark from the cork on the face and drinks 2 fingers.
Later play might therefore include statements such as:
"This is number 2 ibble dibble with 4 dibble ibbles calling number 5 ibble dibble with 7 dibble ibbles".
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We love to play dobble card games together.
Dobble is a speedy observation game where players race to match the identical symbol between cards. Reliant on a sharpe eye and quick reflexes, Dobble creates excitement for children and adults alike while keeping every player involved in the action.