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Popular Family Board Games for Wintertime

By Edited May 6, 2014 2 8

Winter Games Night Family Tradition

Monopoly board game new edition of Monopoly City
You have a golden opportunity when your children are young to get them interested in board games or card games. A family game night is a great way for the family members to bond together. Turn off the TV and PC game consoles and get the family together to enjoy some of the most popular games of old. The experience will be a rewarding one for all the family and the children themselves will look back on these game nights with fondness and pleasure many years later, perhaps even when they are establishing the tradition with their own family. Cool board games from the past that have withstood the tests of time are still popular with kids despite the virtual variations available online and on consoles. Pre teenage kids will appreciate the games night better than older children. The social interaction is all important and is another good reason for a Saturday games night (or any other night that suits the family). Games can continue throughout the summer but my childhood experience of this family games tradition is that they always occurred on dark, bleak wintry nights. The summer sunshine meant that we were outdoors playing until just before bedtime and had little thought for indoor games. Wintertime was different as we were confined indoors by the rain and wind and the shortened daylight hours. Most evening we had home work from school to be completed and Sunday night was not a night for staying up late so it was Saturday that was declared the board game night and we looked forward to it very much.

Family together-time

Tips for surviving another winter

The Monopoly set we used as children was of the London streets so we learned the names like Piccadilly Circus and Bond Street without even knowing anything else about them. It was many years later before Monopoly introduced versions of the game suited to the major cities of the world. This was more educational too as you could associate with the local street names and airports on the board game. The funny thing now is that they Monopoly game I play with my grandchildren is Simpson’s Monopoly. The evolution of the game has done little to decrease its popularity. Some folks say that they electronic version ruins the game, as the part they liked best was holding their own paper money as they played. It could be argued that the banker in the game developed good math skills. Math ability is no longer a requirement as the calculator does all the work (and prevents cheating too). My gripe is that the play tokens are no longer made from metal (pewter) and are plastic instead. I don’t mind the change in the token shapes as I think the mobile phone token is a good modern piece for the monopoly game and brings it into the twenty first century. Many themed sets are available now and my favorite one is the Lord of the Rings Monopoly set which has an added dimension where by the ‘One Ring’ travels around the board. This feature works well because the game ends when the ring reaches ‘Go’ and most games only last about one hour. Older Monopoly games ran on and on for several hours (4 or 5 hours sometimes) and became boring, especially if younger kids were playing.

Traditional board games 

Fruity word games

There are many educational, word based, board games available which are great fun for all the family and will help the kids to learn their spellings. Board games offer life-experience and learning to the young members of the family unit and contribute to their emotional development too. The old reliables like Scrabble, Risk and Clue are perennial favorites that have not altered much down through the years. Two rather newer games however are interesting and concern everyday fruit in the form of bananas and apples.

Spend quality time with your family

Bring on the games

The first one is called Bananagrams and does not need any board for playing at all. It is a fast paced game and the object is to spell words in crossword fashion until you have used all your letter tiles. You can create rules to suit the family and we make the adult players draw two letter tiles for every one the kids use. This evens the game up but kids less than 7 years old will find this game more difficult to play than Monopoly where they enjoy throwing the die and using their money for buying property.

The second one is called Apples to Apples and is best suited to teenagers and adults. This is a card game with over 1,000 game play cards and the objective is to match them together in a ‘like with like’ or ‘apples to apples’ formula. The cards are dealt to the players who select a card from their own hand to match that of the master card played by the judge (dealer). The comparisons, or what people think are comparisons, can lead to great hilarity. The subject matter ranges from events, people, places and ordinary things which are all printed on the cards. For true fans of Apples to Apples there are expansion sets available with extra cards. Just like Scrabble and Monopoly the Apples to Apples Game has a junior game version for younger kids.

10 more popular games to consider

There are many existing popular games for children including Lego, My Little Pony, Transformers, Battleship, Thomas Train and other popular toys and older kids might prefer chess or philately which are not so family orientated. However the next 10 games are popular words, tiles, logic or card games that you might like to try out:- 

Pictionary – A game featuring a pencil, paper and drawing.  

Quiddler – A word game featuring up to 8 players making up words 

My Word– A game featuring a word search using letter cards 

Tri-Virsity– A word game similar to Scrabble but uses cards too

Trivial Pursuit - A board game featuring trivia questions and challenges

Taboo – A game featuring cards, phrases and the ‘Taboo’ words

Qwirkle - A game featuring logic, tile shapes and strategy

Wizard Card Game – A card game featuring a mix between Hearts and Gin Rummy

Smart Ass – A card game featuring Who, What, and Where Am I clue cards 

Rory's Story Cubes – Featuring the imagination using a story generator with 9 icon dies

New 2013 Ticket to Ride Game

Ticket To Ride
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(price as of May 6, 2014)


Oct 13, 2011 9:31am
Interesting article Tom. Glad to follow your work.
Oct 13, 2011 5:44pm
Thank you very much for the visit and comment on these family board games. I appreciate your interest in my work.
Oct 16, 2011 11:38am
Making non existent words and robbing 100 off the "banker" when they weren't looking. Oh such memories.
Oct 17, 2011 4:53pm
Thank you for your comments. Yes, robbing the banker was good fun...all gone now with the electronic version. Still, we can always cheat at Scrabble, except for the online dictionaries. Is nothing sacred anymore?
Dec 16, 2011 9:23pm
Never heard of these fruity games but sounds like something I'd enjoy.
Dec 18, 2011 10:28am
Thank you for visiting and for your comments livluvla729. Bananagrams is really popular with its zipped, banana like, purse for holding the letters. It is a speedy, fun game and best of all you don't even need a playing board as any surface will suffice. Bananagrams is an award winning game and better suited to younger folks who might find that Scrabble is too staid or slow for their taste.
Dec 19, 2011 12:27am
I've always been a fan of games. As a kid, I often received at least one board game for Christmas. Unfortunately, no one else wanted to play, so I would play the games against myself.
Dec 19, 2011 2:36pm
Thank you, LLWoodard for visiting and for your comments too. We also received one new family board game each Christmas but never had any trouble getting someone to play, we were rather oversubscribed, as I had many siblings. I often wished to be able to play the game by myself. Strange world, huh!
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