We have well and truly been flung into board game season with the cold, wintery weather, not to mention that many of our followers are just out of the Macedon Ranges and in lockdown at the moment. Who knows, we may all be soon too so it’s best to be prepared!
Our family has become keen board game enthusiasts, over the last few years especially, so I thought I would share some of our favourites. All these opinions are my own and my family’s. I hope you find some new board games to try and rediscover some wonderful classics.
Sushi Go Party: Pass the cards around and collect various Japanese dishes. The person who earns the most points over three rounds is the winner. It is a great game if you want to familiarize yourself with Japanese cuisine too!
Ticket To Ride: Collect your tickets at the start of the game and work out where you have to place your trains on the map. Every track and ticket earns you points and the person with the most when someone has two trains left, is the winner. There are versions with the map of of Europe and with a map of the United States. It is a wonderful way to learn the geography of these places.
There is also an easier version for kids, Ticket to Ride: First Journey if you have kids under eight that would like to learn the basics.
Catan: This game involves collecting various elements, (wood, brick, rock, sheep and hay) of which different combinations allows you to build roads, houses, cities or buy development cards. You can haggle with the person whose turn it is to swap elements with them. And watch out when someone rolls a seven, they can steal a card from you! The first person to ten points is the winner. This is a great game to teach negotiating and problem solving.
Monopoly Empire: This game involves collecting company brands to put into your tower. The person who fills their tower to the top first is the winner. It is much easier and quicker than the original game but just as fun! I personally prefer it to the original.
Cluedo: This is another classic game that has been updated to look more modern and has a few new extra features, (if my memory serves me correctly because I don’t remember the extra clue cards). There is now also an equal amount of female and male character pieces, which is nice. Can you find out who was the murderer, where they did it and what the murder weapon was? This game never gets old.
Sequence: You can play this on your own or in teams. Our older children (aged 8 and over) are just getting the hang of it. Everyone is dealt a hand of cards and the board has almost all the cards in the pack in miniature on it. Your goal is to get five tokens in a row on the board. If you have the 10 of Hearts in your hand, for example, you can put your team’s token on the miniature version of it on the board. Every turn you must put down a card (and token) and pick up a new card. Black Jacks can take tokens away from the other team, and Red Jacks act as a wild. The first team with two sets of five tokens in a line is the winner.
Kids Know Best: A game where the kids are pitted against the adults, what could be more exciting?! On each turn the card has three different questions for the kids and the adults. With each question answered correctly, your token can move forward a space and if you get all three correct you can move a bonus space. Our biggest problem has been when the kids can’t read the adult questions for us if there are difficult words! But with a bit of spelling we get there. Nonetheless, it’s lots of family fun.
Monkey Bingo: This is the best Bingo game I have come across for kids. It says it is for 4 plus but toddlers may be able to play. Each Bingo card has 9 animal pictures on it, along with their name. Push the monkey forward on the special card contraption and it releases a card with two animals. If one or both are on your Bingo card, place a token on it/them. The best part is that the kids can play this very easily by themselves!
Rummikub: I first learnt to play this with my Dutch grandparents when I was a child. I still love playing it. Everyone receives 14 tiles at the start of the game. The idea is to place the tiles together in front of you that are the same colour in a sequence or the same number in various colours. Tiles must be put down in groups of three or more. To begin play you have to put down tiles in this fashion that add up to 30 points (the number on the tile is also the number of points it is). Once different people’s tiles are in play on the table, you can take and add to other people’s melds as long as there are still three tiles in a meld. When you can’t put down a tile on the table, you must pick up a new tile from the box. The first person to get rid of all their tiles is the winner. It sounds tricky but my five year old can almost play entirely by herself. It’s a great way to practise counting and addition!
Risk: Each player randomly receives cards at the start of the game which dictates where you place your army. You also receive a card with your mission (for example, to take over the orange troops, or to take over the continents of Europe and North America). Each turn you choose how many troops you will use when trying to take over enemy territory and this directs you to how many dice you and your opponent roll. If the person invading has a higher number, they take over that territory. The winner is the person who completes their mission first. This can be a little confusing until you get the hang of it. I recommend it for children aged 8 and up.
Whenever you can, please buy your board games locally.
Have we missed your favourite board game? Let us know. We would love to check it out!