It’s always a great time to reach out to your family and pass on a game or two to help them pass the time. But with so many options available and with accessibility being a potential issue, it can be difficult to know where to start.
So, here are ten of our favourite, fun, and easy-to-play games that deserve a place at every kitchen table. Starting with-
10. Santorini (2016)
A beauty to build and to play, Santorini tasks you with constructing a three tiered building on an increasingly cramped map, with the first person standing atop such a structure crowned the winner. With ‘move’ and ‘build’ being the only moves available, the game plays lighting quick and is easy to grasp. The addition of a unique player powers and rules adds an additional wrinkle of complexity to you play – breathing fresh life into the game once your parents get the hag of it.
9. Wits & Wagers (2005)
Or ‘family quiz, the game’, Wits is designed to open up the audience for a trivia night. Players are read out a question and not only provide an answer…but bet on who they think is likely to get it right. A focus on numerical questions (“What was the first year Godzilla showed up!”) makes the playing field open for right-brained types but still allowing room for weird answers and hilarious choices. Matching intelligence and taking a punt, this is perfect for your first game night together in the wake of lockdown.
8. Monopoly Deal Card Game (2008)
Or ‘Monopoly, but good’, Deal is a fan favourite version of the game that not only plays quickly, but packs more strategy and interesting decisions into each hand than a single turn of the regular game. Combining hand management and set collection, the ‘Monopoly’ wrapper can help players get their heads around the rules quickly as you struggle to complete three sets. Quick paced, cutthroat, and strategic – this is perfect for players looking to dip their toe into more complex fare.
7. Qwirkle (2006)
An abstract delight that mashes Scrabble’s area control with just enough strategic planning to make it accessible – Qwirkle is a firm favourite for families throughout the world. Playable on any surface, the game tasks you with matching shapes and colours – beginning with straightforward plays the quickly expand into multi-row score fests. Quick to learn and possessing immense strategic depth; while the highest scoring player wins, it won’t be long before you’re back for another lighting quick match up. While table space may be an issue, Qwirkle is gorgeous cost effective pick that has more than stood the test of time.
6. Machi Koro (2012)
Everyone gets dice, right? Offered in a gorgeous and stylised box, Machi Koro combines hand management and dice rolling as you struggle to build out your town/accumulate heaps of points. Build around a simple loop, rolling dice can trigger buildings that you own. This in turn spews out money, empowering you to buy even more buildings and complete your loop. Once you’ve accumulated enough, you can pop on landmarks and the first to beautify their city takes the title. Teachable in an instant and with surprising depths, Machi is the perfect gift for players of all levels.
5. Telestrations (2009)
Another party masterpiece, Telestrations is ‘The Telephone Game’ write large. Best played in large groups, participants are given a phrase and a picture that is replicated as the pad is passed from player to player. Before long, the message gets warped and where you started and where you finished is entirely different. Honestly more of a social exercise than a game, this a great way for artists to stretch their muscles and dissolve into laughter once their original sketch of a monkey using a typewriter is warped beyond recognition.
4. Onitama (2014)
Perfect for parents raised on Chess, Onitama strips the game back to its core principals. Two teams, a row of pawns, a king, and two moves to make on your turn…which both change for every game. Minimising the available decision space with the use of movement cards, the agonising waiting time is taken out of the game – letting you cram five bouts into the time it would take to complete a standard game of chess. Gorgeous, elegant, and easy to learn – Onitama is the ideal pick for thinkers everywhere.
3. Azul (2017)
Replicating the feeling of being caught in a very enjoyable car compactor, Azul is recognised as modern masterpiece with good reason. Every turn, players draft tiles from the available supply and use them to complete patterns on the boards in front of them. Before long, the options become limited and poor choices are met with catastrophic failure – making the game a great choice for the quiet thinkers amongst us. Affordable, flexible, and easy to teach – Azul is simply a no brainer.
2. Balderdash (1984)
And for those that love to get together and lie to their parents, the perennial beauty of balderdash is the perfect choice for players of all abilities. A trivia game where you provide the answers, each team makes up their own response to the question; with points awarded to those that guess the right answer and those who pick the lies you made up. Creative, hilarious, and effortless to play – Balderdash deserves a place in every collection and has a simplicity and inventiveness that suits every player down to the ground.
1. Ticket to Ride (2004)
Known as the entry game for a reason, Ticket To Ride is the perfect choice with one single caveat…choose a version that matches where your parents live. The game enjoys a wealth of expansions that allow players to rumble through Europe, visit the UK, trundle past Germany, put down tracks through India and more. The ability for a player to feel invested and create routes to their home city is a tremendous experience and the perfect way to open your family’s eyes to everything the hobby has to offer.
Which game would you play with your parents? Share it in the comments below 🙂