Board Game Night

Next Friday I’ll be putting on a board game night for our neighbourhood youth group of kids around grades 4–7. Of course, I’ve started geeking out about this already. Over the past four or five months I’ve had a lot of fun playing designer board games and building a small collection of great games to play with my ten-year old son, my wife, my four-year old daughter — the whole family.

Here’s a few of the games I’ll be putting on. It’s very likely, if you’re reading this post, that you won’t be coming to the board game night. Sorry, readers. Still, you might find something here that’ll create some laughs and surprises on your own family fun night around the kitchen table.

Riff Raff

This game is ridiculous and kind of stunning to look at set up. The picture might not clearly show it but if you’re sitting down looking at this game on a table the top of the mast on that teetering wooden ship is going to be over your head. The idea here is to put cargo and sailors all over this ship without it falling off. Of course, the whole thing wobbles and falls out of balance, and you wind up laughing like an idiot or maybe cursing under your breath. It’s always funny.

Survive: Escape From Atlantis!

Image courtesy of Board Game Duel

Another ridiculous and hilarious game. You’re escaping from an island that’s sinking into the sea. There are sharks, whales, and sea monsters out to get you. That the other players control! And there aren’t enough boats! If you play this with your kids be prepared for them to gang up on you to send sharks after your swimming miniature people tokens. This somewhat off-the-radar game has been around for 30 years and there’s a reason why. You’ll have a great time playing it. And if you buy it today it comes in a really well-produced 30th anniversary edition.

Forbidden Island

Another sinking island game but in this game you and up to three other players are cooperating together, against the game itself, to discover four hidden treasures and escape the island before the last bit of land disappears. It’s just as much fun to lose as it is to win at this game and you feel a bit like Indiana Jones when you’re playing.

Sushi Go

Image courtesy of Purple Pawn

The illustrations in this game are amazing and the play matches them. It’s easy to learn too. Pick a card from your hand, pass the rest to your left, and repeat until you run out of cards. That’s it. The way the cards score and allow you to win — or lose! — explain themselves after a 1 minute summary. It’s a great little game.

Love Letter

Image courtesy of Dice on Fire

A “micro-game” of only sixteen cards where you only hold a hand of two cards at a time. According to the rules everyone competes to deliver a “love letter” to a princess for “tokens of affection” but in practice it’s a super-fast game of devious bluffing and mind games.

I’ll be hauling out a few other games too, like our big box of charades cards. It should be a good time.

3 responses to “Board Game Night”

  1. Sounds like a fun night! Related question. I’m looking for a good starter game for family game night with my daughters aged 5 and 7. Any recommendations?

    1. I have two recommendations. Hoot Owl Hoot and Carcassonne we own both and play both as a family. My son thinks eight or nine is probably the age limit on Hoot Owl Hoot but he’ll still happily play it with his sister. That lines up with the age ranges on Board Game Geek. It’s cooperative so there’s less chance of epic sister vs sister battles. 🙂 It’s a really well-produced game with the added bonus of being environmentally friendly.

      Carcassonne isn’t recommended for kids younger than eight but my daughter likes to play it and manages to be competitive enough at it even though she doesn’t get the strategy so we do play it with her and she’ll even request it. That might be because the rules implicitly allow for two different styles of play. A pleasant activity of laying down pretty tiles to make a nice-looking map with little people on it who will score you some points or a fiercely competitive battle where you wind up stealing those points from each other. Which is why I’d recommend it. It’s fun for adults to play too, after the kids have gone to bed, or over coffee on a Saturday morning. There’s a semi-optional “farmers” rule in it that I’d leave out for playing with your daughters. Which is what we do when we play with the kids.

      1. Thanks! We tried Carcassonne once a few years ago but it was a bit early. Worth another shot. And I ordered Hoot Owl Hoot for Friday night. 🙂

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