Playing Games: Our Favorite Five Plus One

Holiday Traditions

I grew up in a game-playing family.

In the summer, we played hide-and-seek (and on our farm there were amazing places to hide) and a variation called, I have no idea why, W-Raw. Instead of trying to get to base, you avoided capture by the “it.” The winner was the last person “it” found. (Not sure I even have the spelling right. It could be W-Roll.)

In the winter, we played board games, lots of board games, including Masterpiece, Rook, Clue, Aggravation, Scrabble, Boggle, Yahtzee, Chinese checkers, Life . . . I am sure there were others. We seemed to get on game binges.

We also played cards: euchre, canasta, Tear the House Down, Tripoli, and various variations of rummy.

Naturally, I played games with my children–Bethany, Jillian, and Nate–especially during the holidays. I asked them to share their favorites and here’s the consensus of our favorite five in no particular order.

  • Hand and Foot
  • Risk/Lord of the Ring Risk
  • Settlers of Catan
  • Euchre

The fifth is one you’ve never heard of because the kids created it a few years ago: Donley-opoly! It’s a handmade, personalized game that includes family fun and foibles.

Plus One Bonus Game

Castle Panic!

I learned to play this cooperative gave this past Thanksgiving.

In this game, the players work together to defeat the monsters, openly discussing strategy and trading cards to keep the orcs, trolls, and goblins from knocking down the castle towers and walls.

Individual players also earn points so if all the monsters are defeated, there is a winner among the players.

We played several games, though, and found ourselves ignoring the individual points (unless someone did extremely well) because we were so focused on beating the monsters together.

Memorable Moments

Bethany and I once played Hand and Foot, which requires six decks of cards including the jokers, on an airplane. Thankfully no one was sitting in the middle seat because we had cards everywhere.

Nate and Jill’s husband Jacob played LOTR Risk when it first came out–moving from the kitchen to the dining room to the living room as other activities took over their spaces. We’ve played the game since and it’s never taken as long as it took the two of them that night. I’m not sure now what they were doing–perhaps making up their own rules.

Nate taught us to play Settlers of Catan. So annoying! He’s so good at it that he barely paid attention but won over and over and over again. We finally sent him away.

A group of us were playing Apple to Apple late one night when Jill’s younger daughter, a toddler, sleepily wandered in from her bedroom. She looked at all of us then made a beeline straight for my arms. Be still, my heart!

Your Turn

What are your favorite games? Or do you have other traditional activities when family and friends gather for the holidays?

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7 thoughts on “Playing Games: Our Favorite Five Plus One

  1. I’m so late offering my two cents on this post, but I’m lazily reading as I recover from post-Christmas activities. I enjoyed reading this so much, because I am a big lover of games. Unfortunately, in our family of four, my son and I are alone in our gaming love and are always goading the remaining two in joining us. My hubby always will, but he isn’t competitive in the slightest and I AM. So it makes for a one-sided type game. 🙂 We really need to try the many cooperative games out there like Castle Panic. It sounds fun.