Family Game Night Favorites

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After every Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner since I was a kid, my family and guests have played board games. Some games were a flop, while others stood the test of time and were requested year after year. As we all got older, and my kids joined in the fun, it was sometimes difficult to find games that multiple generations could play and all enjoy. We've now compiled a tried-and-true set of games, some old and some new, that are guaranteed to provide a fun time for all ages! Guesstures

We've been playing this game of quick charades for years. I have the 1990 Milton Bradley version (available here), but there are also versions by Parker Brothers (available here) and Hasbro (available here). When it is your turn to act out the words for your team, you pick up four cards. Each card has two words on it, with point values from 1-4, depending on the difficulty. You select one word on each card, then insert the cards into the clapboard timer. The timer starts, and you quickly act out each of the words for your team to guess before the timer swallows up each card. We especially love the speed of the game, and that if you get stuck on a word, it soon drops away and you can just move onto the next. (4 or more players; ages 12 and up--I think appropriate for younger; when my kids were young, we'd just select the cards for them that they could read)

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Reverse Charades

This is another version of charades we discovered last year, and it became an instant favorite! Instead of one person acting out the word, and multiple people guessing, this "reverse" version has multiple people acting out the word simultaneously, with one person guessing. Your team has 60 seconds to act out as many words as they can. You'll be in hysterics as you watch players try to act out words like "kitty litter," "snorkel," and "plunger" at the same time. If I ever need a laugh, I just picture my son, sister, and father all acting out "jellyfish" together! (6 or more players--though we just play as one team if there are fewer of us playing; ages 6 and up)

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Apples to Apples

This is a fun game of comparisons and opinions. There are two types of cards in this game: Red cards that feature the name of a person, place, thing, or event (cell phones, glaciers, baking cookies, the Olympics, Batman, etc.), and Green cards that feature a characteristic of a person place, thing, or event (senseless, shy, dirty, lovable, foreign, etc.). The "judge" turns over a Green card to reveal the characteristic. The rest of the players select a Red card from their hand that they think best describes the characteristic on the Green card. After they have all been handed in, the judge selects the Red card that he or she thinks is best described by the Green card. Trust me, this is not as clear cut as you think! Sometimes none of the cards fit the description, and sometimes several do and the judge needs to really think hard about which one is best. We've had great debates over why the judge should select our cards! We often grab a stack of cards of each color and take them on vacation or to play when we are out to dinner. If you are playing with younger kids, I suggest that you weed out the cards they might not know, such as psychiatrists, Stephen King, French wines, and Vietnam-1968. Save these cards for adult-only game nights. (4-10 players; ages 12 and up--though, again, we just select the kid-known topic cards when the kids are playing) There is also Apples to Apples Junior for ages 9 and up, Apples to Apples Kids 7+ for ages 7 and up, andBig Picture Apples to Apples for ages 7 and up that uses photo cards instead of word cards.

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Trivial Pursuit Family Edition

We are all familiar with the original version of this game. The Family Edition is perfect to play with the kids, while being challenging for all generations since kids answer questions from the "cards for kids" and adults answer those from the "cards for adults." Our kids love watching my husband and me being stumped by our questions, and even attempt to answer them! (2 or more players; ages 8 and up)

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Dinkee

I just discovered this new game at a recent toy expo, and my family and I have enjoyed playing it! Each card has four questions. Players shout out the answers to each question, then try to work out what links the answers. For example, the answers to the four questions on the card might be sun, banana, yolk, and lemon, so the connection is "yellow." Adults might not find the game too challenging, but they can work with the kids to help them solve the answers. Dinkee is a kid version of Linkee, which is for ages 12 and up, so to make the game more challenging for adults, you can purchase Linkee, too, and play them simultaneously. (2 or more players; ages 8 and up)

Do you have a Family Game Night favorite? I'd love to hear about it! Please share below in the Comments section so we can all discover some new great games!