In November 2018, Slate came up with The 40 Greatest Family Games, entertainment for the whole family. There are five things games should be: the right length, fair, action-packed, helping you learn something, and encouraging spontaneity. “Not every good game follows all these commandments, but the best ones balance them well.”
I will only note the ones I have actually played.
Sorry! – wrote about its greatness here eight and a half years ago
Concentration – I’ve always been notoriously bad at this. By the time my daughter was eight, she could beat me. I used to watch a TV version with Hugh Downs as the host.
Uno – I am a harsh competitor. Even when she was much younger, if the Daughter didn’t say “Uno” when she played her penultimate card, I made her take two more. I also insisted she keep her cards above the table. Slate calls it Bloodthirsty, Thrilling, and Desperate
Air Hockey – when we’re at the timeshare, the daughter, nieces and I often play. Something visceral about it.
Apples to Apples – “asks players to decide which of a set of proposed nouns best fits that round’s designated adjective.” It’s often hilarious.
Boggle – My wife is MUCH better finding words than I.
Cribbage – I actually have a cribbage board and deck of cards both in my office and at home
Pictionary – I’m lousy at it because I cannot draw worth beans
Chess – I learned how the pieces move, but that is about it
Scrabble – I played this with my great aunt over 55 years ago. My college roommate painted me a Scrabble board. I’ve reviewed a book about Scrabble. I haven’t played in a while. No, I’ve seldom played Words with Friends online.
Scattergories, Stratego – I’ve played them but never owned them
Trivial Pursuit – in the 1980s, I ROCKED at Trivial Pursuit. Now, any 21st century pop culture question would ground me
Yahtzee – a dice game that I like because it requires decision-making and odds calculating
Slate also notes the 10 Worst Family Games
Candy Land – pretty lame, I thought, even as a child
Clue – I never “got” Clue
Hangman – boring
Life – I actually liked it as a kid, but quit by my teen years
Monopoly – I’ve played it enough that, at one time, I could have told you the price and rent of every property on the board. I suppose they’re right, though – “the most famous branded board game of all time can be made enjoyable — with the help of some aggressive house rules”
Operation – hated it from the start
Risk – never warmed to it
Tic-tac-toe – statistically boring
For ABC Wednesday