Let’s face it: the last few months have been rough. The political tensions that are splitting the United States right down the middle have cut across friendships and families. As we gather together for the holidays, this may not be the best time to discuss politics for many people. So what are we to do after the holiday lunch and presents? Let me suggest you consider these board games. Board games are inexpensive entertainment that just keeps on giving as they can be played over and over again. They do not need electricity or lots of cables. Here are three suggestions to pick up for your holiday gatherings this year:
Named after the actual length of Christmas, which is twelve days beginning on December 25th, this card game is simple, quick to play, and comes in a small enough package to carry with you to a holiday gathering in your purse or over-sized pockets. It is a Christmas-themed card game based on the twelve gifts from the classic holiday song, “Twelve Days of Christmas.” The pictures on the cards, which are called “presents,” almost look like stained glass and can bring holiday spirit just by looking at them.
The game lasts 12 rounds, one for each “day” of Christmas. The deck contains cards of varying value, with more of the less valuable cards and less of the more valuable cards. On each turn (called a day) players secretly bid using using a card from their hand on a card worth some number of points. The idea is to win the card without over-bidding.
This game has a fixed length so it won’t run all afternoon. It only requires knowledge of numbers one through twelve. There is more than one way to score points so it will rarely be evident who is going to win until the game is actually over. 12 Days is recommended for ages 8 and up.
Qwirkle is a simple tile-laying game. The tiles have various shapes of various colors on them. Players are tasked with laying out rows of matching shapes or colors, scoring 1 point for every tile they are able to put in a row. This game is simple enough that you do not even have to be able to read yet in order to play, but it can handle all of the thought and strategy you want to invest in it.
Unlike many games where you have to lay down pieces to fit an existing pattern, in Qwirkle it is rare for players to be unable to play on their turns keeping everyone engaged. Qwirkle is recommended by the manufacturer for ages 6 and up, but please keep an eye on the small wooden tiles.
Forbidden Island is a cooperative board game, the players are working together to defeat the game itself. This is a great game if you have a sore loser in your group because you will all win or lose together. Since the players are working together, younger or less experienced players can be guided through their moves by more experienced players.
The players’ goal is simple: acquire all four hidden treasures before the island sinks out from under you. Each player has his or her own unique role to play, and everyone must work together to outrun the rising waters.
Forbidden Island is recommended by the manufacturer for ages 10 and up.
If you would like to see these games in action, check out the videos below where you can watch Will Wheaton (who you may have seen on Star Trek or The Big Bang Theory and some of his friends play these games. Please note: these video do contain some mild language that may not be appropriate for children or sensitive adults.
What about you? What are some of your favorite games to play with family on the holidays?