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December 15, 2014 / Jett

Board Game Night Playlist: Family Game Night

Up until this very moment, I never really thought about all of the different meanings that “family game night” can entail. There’s a difference between parents playing board games with their young children versus adults playing board games with their even older parents, which is where I’m at now. The definition can vary even further, as there are a seemingly endless number of family configurations out there.

Trying to approach a family game night to fit every family configuration is a lost cause. However, coming up with one is a bit easier if you’re looking for games that are fun for all ages that don’t have any sort of objectionable content within them. Hopefully this isn’t too late for the holiday season. Here’s my Board Game Night Playlist that may work wonders for your next family game night!

Apples to Apples

4-10 players
Ages 12 and up
30 minutes

Apples to Apples is a game of comparisons. Each turn, one player is designated as the judge. They play one green card that contains a description, such as “cool” or “depressing”. In response, the remaining players put one of their red “thing” cards that they thing best fits that description, which may include things like “Bill Clinton”, “Hip Hop” or “Underwear”. After shuffling the red cards, the judge reviews all of the submitted red cards and chooses which they think best matched the description.

You can try to play it in a very literal sense, though you’re highly encouraged to play the funniest answer. Or, at the very least, play the answer that best appeals to the person judging. Every turn is an opportunity to create laughs, which is what the game excels at. Best of all, if you’re creative enough, you can create dark humor with your answers that will probably fly over kids’ heads. Older crowds will probably prefer Cards Against Humanity for its slant towards mature audiences, though Apples to Apples will work with just about anyone.

Buy Apples To Apples Party Box Now From

Forbidden Island

2-4 players
Ages 10 and up
30 minutes

You and your group of explorers have taken a helicopter over to an island in search of four legendary artifacts. The problem is that the island has begun to sink. Personally, I would have hopped right back on the helicopter and gone home as soon as things got bad on the island, but these explorers have chosen to risk it all in order to fly away with all of the artifacts in tow. If you’re unable to get all four treasures and reach the helipad before the island sinks, then you’ll all die a horrible death.

Unlike most games, Forbidden Island is a cooperative experience where you’ll work together to gather the treasures while trying your best to keep the island afloat. Not having that competitive angle to it will certainly it more appealing to some. The premise is exciting for players of all ages, and the game itself is not very hard to learn while still providing a good challenge. Personally, I think that its sequel, Forbidden Desert, is the better game. However, it’s also more complex to the point where I don’t think it works as well with younger or casual audiences. If you’re looking to go on an Indian Jones like adventure with your relatives, certainly check out Forbidden Island.

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King of Tokyo

2-6 players
Ages 8 and up
30 minutes

Inspired by Godzilla and King Kong, King of Tokyo is a game where players take on the roles of giant monsters and fight each other for control of Tokyo. The action is primarily conveyed through dice, which you’ll roll Yahtzee-style in order to gain health, points, hit other monsters or collect cubes that can be used to buy power-ups. The first player to reach 20 points or the last player that is still standing wins.

King of Tokyo has proven to be a huge family hit. Throwing the dice is easy enough, but it’s the decisions you need to make about which results to keep versus which to re-roll that keeps the game interesting after multiple plays. From kids to adults, the likelihood of players of all ages enjoying this one together is very high. The only caveat to this is the fact that some players can get knocked out early. Having to sit and wait until the game is over can be frustrating, especially for the younger crowd, though I still get enjoyment out of watching others play and matches don’t take too long anyway. King of New York is out now, though the simpler rule set of King of Tokyo makes it a safer bet.

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