It’s that time of year again. Looking for a unique present for a child or grandchild that is not only fun, but will also promote face-to-face interaction between family members? In an always-connected electronic age, tabletop games are a great way to turn the heads away from the screens and towards each other.
The past several years have seen a resurgence in new game design, and the market is full of games that will engage parents, children, and grandparents alike. Here are some recommendations straight from our family game shelf.
My advice from years past remains unchanged - A $20-$40 game that will be played over and over again over the years is a far better value than a $10 game that gets played twice and then gathers dust on the shelf.
Collect temporary gem chips to exchange for permanent gem cards, of which the more expensive earn points. Be the first to collect the right combinations of gem cards, and you earn a noble tile, earning more points. This game is a regular favorite on our family table.
(2-4 Players, 30 minutes, Ages 10 and up)
You are ancient Egyptian builders, placing stones to build pyramids, temples, obelisks, and other monuments. Where you place each stone has scoring implications, with players constantly trying to outmaneuver one another. A 2016 Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year) nominee.
(2-4 Players, 40 minutes, Ages 10 and up)
Collect cards with different star types, with the goal of trading them in for constellations tiles. The more stars you need for that constellation, the more points you earn. You also earn points for placing the constellation tile near its neighbors in the night sky, and for matching gem shapes along the tile edges. And as an amateur backyard astronomer, I am appreciative of the scientific facts sprinkled liberally on both the cards and tiles.
(2-4 Players, 30-60 minutes, Ages 8 and up)
Walk the Plank
Lay down three cards, then take turns revealing as you attempt to push all the other players’ pirates off the ship, onto the plank, and into the sea. Last pirate standing wins.
(3-5 Players, 20 minutes, Ages 6 and up)
For more suggestions, here are links to my family-friendly game recommendations from years past, all of which are great fun games worthy of a spot on any family's game shelf.
Christmas 2014 Family-Friendly Game Recommendations
Christmas 2015 Family-Friendly Game Recommendations