Keep the Whole Family Entertained This Holiday Season With These 7 Games
I have a large extended family that loves indulging its competitiveness in post-Thanksgiving dinner board games. In the past, Trivial Pursuit was our go-to game, but it always seemed to devolve quickly in to arguments. After joining the family, my husband — a self-proclaimed board game geek — introduced us to a world of board games and card games that are plenty more exciting without all the arguing. Here are some of my favorites that can entertain all ages and family sizes!
King of Tokyo is one of my new favorites. If you've mastered the Yahtzee dice roll, then you'll easily handle the King of Tokyo dice which allow you to gain points and launch attacks on opposing monsters like Gigazaur and Cyber Bunny to kick them out of Tokyo and the game. The game can be played with two to six players and is appropriate for ages 8 and up.
Ticket to Ride has become a pretty popular game, and it's easy to understand why. The premise is pretty simple: you draw cards that empower you to claim railroad routes between major U.S. cities. Things get tricky when you and your opponents need to claim some of the same routes to reach your destination cities but can't. Once you've mastered the concepts, you can switch things up a bit by collecting boards from other parts of the world. Ticket to Ride accommodates up to five players aged 8 and up.
If puzzles are more your thing, then Alhambra is the game for you and up to five others. To master Alhambra, you must amass coins that allow you to buy tiles to build out your personal Alhambra. To increase your chances of winning you must vary the color tiles you use for construction and extend the exterior walls of your Alhambra as far as possible. Alhambra can be played by six players at a time and is recommended for ages 8 and older.
Animal Upon Animal is a wonderful choice if you want to include the younger members of your gathering as it's designed for up to four players ages 4 and up. It challenges your dexterity as you try to stack animals on top of one another, using all of the animals allotted to you. I love the whimsical design of the animals -- they could double as decor in a child's room when not in use! Animal Upon Animal was recently released in a beautiful 10th anniversary tin for sturdier storage.
Love Letter is an easy-to-learn card game that can be played quickly. Players draw character cards that offer them powers to use against their opponents. The goal is to be the last player remaining by withstanding elimination attempts by others. And, as a card game, it tucks away easily in a purse or pocket while traveling. Love Letter involves two to four players aged 8 and older. There are plenty of versions of this game, including Letters to Santa and Love Letter: Batman Edition.
If you've seen Parks and Recreation, then you know Settlers of Catan is Ben Wyatt's favorite game. As long as you're not playing against a world-ranked Catan player like Ben, you'll love working against your family members to gain control of natural resources and build the largest settlement in Catan. While the base game can only be played by up to four players, Catan also features expansion packs that can increase the player count to six. (I'm reserving judgment on Ben's Cones of Dunshire game.)
Last but not least is Splendor, a card game focused on amassing gems and wealth. You must use your turns to decide how best to invest your current store of gems to increase them in number and value. Bonus points are awarded to players who collect a certain number of specific gem types. Splendor can be played by up to four players aged 8 and up.