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April 18, 2013

Top Ten Family Games, Part 2

by Anne Paddock

Computers, i-pads, and i-pods have diminished the popularity of board games but sitting down with family and friends to play a game is still one of the all-American after dinner activities in our home, especially in the summer when we have no access to a television and intermittent access to the internet.  Everyone has their preferences but we all agree that taking the time to sit down and play the game isn’t just about the game, it’s about sharing time together, talking, laughing, and having fun. Below are a few games bound to bring laughter and fun to your family:

images-133Ticket to Ride: Years ago while living in Switzerland, I discovered this game in the European version which my daughter and I played often. Ticket to Ride also has a North America version with the same objective: to see as many cities as possible by collecting train cards that enable players to build train routes connecting cities.The longer the route, the more points earned. Best played with two to five players ages 8 and up, this board game takes about an hour to play. Available at Target and through Amazon for about $35-$40.

images-131Yahtzee: Yahtzee is a classic dice game that’s been around for more than 50 years. The object of the game is simple:  score the most points by rolling five dice to make certain combinations. Simple, easy, and fun for all ages, Yahtzee is the game that never goes out of style. Available for under $10 at most toy stores, Target, Walmart, and on-line at Amazon.

Five Crowns: A card game that is easy to learn:  the game starts with 3 cards and 3’s are wild. The next hand has 4 cards and 4’s are wild,and so on. Five Crowns is a double-deck of cards that contains 5 suits (stars are new) but no aces or twos. The challenge is to arrange your cards into sets and sequences to make the right combinations and be the first to go out, while the other players scramble with one last chance to cut their losses. The game isn’t over “til the Kings go wild.” This card game can be purchased for about $12 at Set Games, most toy stores, book stores, Target, or through Amazon.

Unknown-33Hearts: I learned how to play hearts from my friend,Lee who is the most mild-mannered, non-competitive person in the world except during a game of Hearts when she turns into a Godzilla of sorts. Hearts is a card game that can be played with any normal deck of cards.

The object of the game is to avoid the Queen of Spades and finish the hand with as few points as possible. Players (4) are each dealt 13 cards. Each player chooses 3 cards (the Queen of Spades and any high heart, preferably) and passes them to another player.

The player with the 2 of clubs starts the game by putting the card in the center.Each player follows suit by putting a spade down or if a player doesn’t have a spade, a card of any other suit is played. The highest card of the suit wins the trick and takes the cards. Each player accumulates points based on the tricks they win with the hearts the face value of the card and the Queen of Spades garnering 13 points. This process is repeated until all the cards in the players hands have been played. For a complete list of rules, click on Hearts.

images-132Spot It:  A fun, fast-paced simple card game in which f two to eight players 7 years and up can participate. The game consists of 55 cards with eight universal symbols (fruit, snowflakes, dragons, etc) on each card with only one matching symbol on each card. Whoever spots the match first, calls out the symbol and wins the hand. The winning player then draws two new cards, places them on the table, and repeats the process. A sharp eye and a bit of speed is all it takes to master this game. Young children love this game. Spot It can be purchased for about $12 at most toy stores, Target and Amazon.

Unknown-34Quirkle:  This award-winning (Mensa Select, Parents Choice) board game is for 2-4 players, ages 6 and up. Quirkle consists of 108 wooden blocks with six different shapes in six colors. Using the blocks, players attempt to score the most points by building lines that share the same shape or color. An addictive game of strategy, Quirkle is also fun for young children because the game is so easy to learn. Qwirkle can be purchased for $20-$25 at most toy stores, Target, Walmart, or on-line at Amazon.

If you counted a total of eleven games, you’re right….”Top Ten” sounds so much better than “top eleven.”


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