Our Favorite Games to Play as a Family

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Our family is passionate about board games. The classic games like Monopoly, Life, and Clue are terrific, but our favorite games are ones that aren’t as common. I’m thankful for the time we have spent around the table playing games together, laughing, talking, and making memories.

If your family loves playing games too, check out this list of our favorite games:

  1. Settlers of Catan is easy to play and is never the same game because the board is made up of tiles that you lay out before the start of each game. There are even expansion packs you can add for more players or to change it up a bit. This is a great game but the competition can get intense. For instance, if you roll a 7 you have the opportunity to place the “robber pawn” on someone’s tile, preventing them from receiving that resource while it is there. During the game you also are building roads and cities and might block someone in the process. These elements are part of what makes the game fun, but if you have a child that is very competitive be forewarned that it might be an issue.                                                                                                                                                        
  2. Forbidden Island also changes every game because you lay out tiles to play on. One of the best things about this game is you have to work together as a team to retrieve artifacts and get off the island before it sinks. The game is designed for 2-4 players; our family is still able to play all together because someone just pairs up. It’s actually nice to be able to pair up like that when you have little ones though, because if they need something you can help them without the whole game having to wait for your return. Forbidden Island comes in a nice tin and has become very affordable since we first purchased it. This is our go to when we are giving a game as a gift.
  3. Forbidden Desert plays much like Forbidden Island but instead you are trying to find pieces to build a flying machine and escape before you are buried by sand. It is entertaining but more challenging. In fact, we still have not beat it. 😉
  4. Pandemic is another cooperative game. You work together as a team of specialists to find cures for diseases before mankind is wiped out. We really enjoy games like this where we have to work together instead of competing against one another. Actually we enjoyed this game so much we got the expansions too.
  5. Ticket to Ride is one of my personal favorites. They explain it best – “Ticket to Ride is a cross-country train adventure in which players collect and play matching train cards to claim railway routes connecting cities throughout North America.” The random draw of the train cards, the strategy, and the points earned make this game extremely enjoyable. As far as board games go it is not a cheap game. We have gotten our money’s worth out of it and also out of the other Ticket to Ride games we have purchased. Did I mention it is one of my favorite’s?
  6. Reverse Charades is lively with just your family or friends as well. Instead of one person trying to get your team to guess what they are acting out, your team works together trying to get only one of your teammates to guess. What I really like about this game is the wide range of ages that can play. It’s a surefire way to laugh and make memories together.
  7. Paper Game – I’m not sure if that is the proper name for this game, so feel free to name it something else. 😉 This is a fantastic game to play with friends or extended family. Best of all, you only need paper and pencils to play.

How to Play the Paper Game

  1. Each person gets a small piece of paper for however many people are playing. (For example, if there are 5 of you playing each person gets 5 small pieces of paper.) Each person also gets a pen or pencil to write with.
  2. Sit in a circle and each of you write a word or short phrase on the first piece of paper, such as, “pumpkin pie” or “Old McDonald had a Farm.”
  3. Next everyone passes their entire stack of papers to the person on their left and silently reads what was written down.
  4. Then each person puts that piece of paper on the bottom of the pile they are holding and quickly draws a picture to depict what they read. You can set a timer if you like; we usually just ask if everyone is ready to pass.
  5. Once everyone is finished, pass the stack of papers to the person on the left. Everyone looks at the drawing that was passed to them; then places it on the bottom of the stack of papers and writes what the picture was of.
  6. Play continues as before words…pass…picture…pass…words…pass…picture…and so on until everyone ends up having their original stack of paper.
  7. Now for the really fun part, take turns going through your papers sharing them with the group.

It’s hilarious seeing how off track the drawings and interpretations of the drawings can go. The more people that play the funnier it is.


I hope this post has inspired you to spend some time making memories with your family.

If your family loves to play games too, please share your favorites in the comments. We’re always looking for a new game to play together.