Our Favorite Games

Dear Reader,

Are you looking for some good gifts for the whole family? Our family loves playing games so I thought I would share some of our favorites. Of course, we also play some well-known ones like Scrabble, butbelow are some that you might not have heard of. I give my estimate of the age ranges for each one. They are all games that I haven’t minded playing, no “twaddle” games here, you know.

Chicken Cha Cha Cha — ages 4-9; This is a game like memory but more interesting and more competitive. In my experience the kids usually win.


Hiss – ages 3-6; Take turns by drawing cards and building snakes by matching the colors on their body parts. Whoever finishes a snake takes it and whoever has the most cards at the end wins. This is not hard but plays quickly and is aesthetically pleasing so while I wouldn’t want to play endless games my husband and I never found it too tedious. In fact, I think my husband is a little heart-broken that the kids no longer want to play it 😉 The hardest part for little ones with this game is learning to take turns.

Sleeping Queens – ages 5-10; Especially popular with girls, in this game you can practice your adding skills as you play your king cards to awaken the sleeping queens. I will admit adults get sick of this one after a while, but it is a cute game and kids can easily play it by themselves too. The cards are really cute.

Frank’s Zoo – ages 7 and up; No top age for this one because here we are getting into games that are good for adults too. In Frank’s Zoo, you have a handful of animals. Some beat (eat?) others. So, for instance, if I play a polar bear, you can beat it with two polar bears or one killer whale. Points are given for taking certain animals like lions and hedgehogs. Younger kids won’t do as well with this one; there is some strategy involved, but if you go easy on them, they will likely still enjoy it. It works best for 3 or more players, though we have come up with our own version so we can play with just two. Consider buying card holders for the little ones so their hands are manageable; they are a huge help with any game involving cards.

Five Crowns – ages 7 and up; A rummy-like game with its own set of cards. There are five suits hence the name. A nice touch is that after the first player goes out, everyone else gets one more turn to try and make sets. What is wild changes every round so that when you have 3 cards in the first round, 3s are wild and so on until you have 13 cards and kings are wild.

Bohnanza – ages 8 and up; Everyone has a bunch of cards with different beans on them (chili beans, black-eyed beans, etc,; another one with cute pictures). You trade them and try to make sets in your “bean fields” (i.e. down on the table in front of you). A nice feature of this game is that it has modified rules for two players. It is easier with just two which makes that a nice way to play it with kids on the younger end of the spectrum.

Bob’s Hat — ages 9 and up; I am wavering on what age to put on this one. It might be more like 10 and up, though our kids have also started playing it younger. This is a bridge-like game (in a very general way) in that there is a trump which changes every round and one has to bid one what colors they think they will take befpre playing starts. The hands are then played in tricks, with everyone playing one card at a time and the highest card taking it. When your kids can play this game, they have really become interesting people.

Tayu — ages 6 and up; The idea behind this game is pretty simple. There is a bag of tiles with lines on them. These are rivers; one has to play them connecting them to what is already on the board. The goal is to get the most river ends at your sides of the board. One nice catch is that your score is the multiple of how many river ends are on your one side times how many are on the other side. So if you get 10 ends on one edge but zero on the other, your score is still zero. It is a two-layer game with an option for  a third player who is the “flummoxer” and just tries to keep the other players from getting points. I can’t even begin to tell you how much my 10-year-old likes flummoxing others.

Tsuro – ages 5 and up; This game is super easy to pick up and plays very quickly. It one of the prettiest and most aesthetically pleasing games ever. Everyone had a marker which is a pretty colored stone and three tiles at a time. The tiles have lines representing paths. You play one in front of your marker and then move it along the path. As more tiles get played, the paths get complicated. The goal is to be the last one to not either run off the board or crash into another player.

Those are some of our favorite games. What does your family like to play?




One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Karen on November 28, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    My daughters have been playing lots of Monopoly lately. Boggle is another favorite. Racko gets played some, too. My younger daughters still enjoy Memory and Catch the Match.


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