We’ve been playing games pretty much nonstop here for days, pausing only for sandwiches, truffles, and Swedish fish. My family relishes involved board or card games. I love how they bring out our personalities. Patient sons who kindly explain rules to me, often repeatedly, can also be quite ruthless distributing curses. Couples tend to team up, or arrange nice trades for each other, and nobody ever throws the board anymore.
Here are some of our favorite games. For the record, we’re all ages 21 and up, but these games would work for teens, too. I’ve been known to put games in my novels because I trust that like-minded readers will be playing them in the future, too.
- Dominion In this game, each player builds his or her own deck of cards that include treasure, victory points, and actions which can, in turn, engage more cards. The point is to gain the most victory points before certain stacks on the table are empty, but strategies can vary widely, and skill matters. Each game is different. We can play this for hours, and there are many editions of the game.
- Splendor Another game of cards, this combines skill and chance as players use chips to buy jewels, and then use the jewels and chips to earn cards worth more points. Long range planners can often win, if they’re not sabotaged by others who reserve key cards.
- Munchkin While this game has a board to keep track of leveling up, the real action of the game depends on each player’s hand of cards, which include races, classes, actions, fighting items, curses and monsters. People tend to be helpful at the beginning of the game and cutthroat at the end, when they pile curses on the player who is trying to beat their last monster to win. Adult humor is included.
- Pandemic Our favorite new game, Pandemic, requires all of us to work together as a team to cure four diseases that are taking over the world. The board features four regions with major cities, and colored cubes pile up in areas of infection. Players strategize where to build research centers which act as portals, and whether to eradicate or merely cure diseases, while random epidemics spread contagion. It’s fascinating, and we lose more often then we win, which only makes us want to try more.
- Scrabble When we can’t fight disease, monsters, or curses anymore, we like to fall back on Scrabble. Our old set might be short a letter or two, but the disadvantage is the same for everyone. Besides, sometimes it’s nice to already know all the rules.