Inspiration

Fun Games to Play over the Holidays

November 15, 2018  —  Written by Julia Marcum 

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Are you a game person/people? We have friends over almost weekly to eat, chat and play games and it’s become one of our favorite, very chill, traditions. But over the Holidays, it seems like everybody becomes game people–and isn’t that fun!? Here are a few of our favorites:

Monopoly Deal —probably 100x more fun than regular Monopoly
Skip-Bo
Exploding Kittens (Great for small groups. Our girls even love it. Definitely get the expansion pack! It adds some fun twists to the game)
Code Names –This is our current favorite when we have a big crowd over. It’s so fun and hilarious and sparks a lot of conversation.
The Game of Things–We played this with some friends at a New Year’s party and then went out and bought it and played with my family because it’s so fun! It’s a game you can play it as couples or individuals where you read the hilarious topics and write down your answers, then try and guess who said what.
Trouble–Our daughters’ favorite game
Time’s Up! –If you’re familiar with the game “Celebrity” then you know what Time’s Up is all about. The first round you try to get your partner to say what’s on your card (could be a person, movie, song, book, place, etc.!) by saying pretty much anything besides what’s on the card, the second round you can only say one word and the third round you can only act it out. It’s one of our favorite party games and we still haven’t gotten through all the cards it came with!
Wacky Six –We’ve been in the dark about this one, but some friends introduced us to it and we’re hooked. They actually sent it to us as a thank you for hosting game night with a note that said, “No game house should be without it.” It was so sweet (and true!).
Sequence –Classic but every time we play, I remember how much I love it
Anomia
Name 5–This is one of those games that we end up playing for hours, lounging around the living room
Like Minds–Another great one to mix up partners with!
Rummikub
Catan
Farkle–Great for all ages!
Pit
In a Pickle
Scrabble
–Lately, we have been using the tiles to play speed scrabble! Everyone starts with 7 tiles and as soon as someone has connected all of their tiles into word(s), they say “go!” and everyone has to grab 2 more tiles and build on their personal crossword.
America —
we played this a few times in a row over the holidays it was so fun.
Timeline
Telestrations
–Maybe our favorite game of all time, that we play year after year with all sorts of groups–even our 8 year old joins us.
Ticket To Ride

Scum. When I showed my family playing this card game up at our cabin over Christmas, a few of you chimed in that you know it as a$$ho#*. By either name, my whole family loves this game and we often play it with our friends, too. All you need is two decks of cards for a group. Here’s a breakdown of the rules.

Mafia. I hadn’t played Mafia for a decade, but it’s still just as fun as I remembered! Basically everybody is handed a card besides the moderator/narrator. For our group of 12 there were 3 Mafia (Aces), 2 Police (Kings) 1 Doctor (Queen) and the rest were towns’ people (number cards). Every “night” (the portion of the game where everyone closes their eyes) the Mafia chooses someone to kill by quietly pointing out someone to the moderator. Then they go back to sleep and the police silently ask the moderator if someone is mafia or not. Then the doctor is able to save one person. In the “morning” (when everyone opens up their eyes), someone is announced dead by the moderator (unless the doctor saved the exact person the mafia chooses to kill) and deliberation to vote someone out of the town begins. You can lie. Persuade. Anything but show your card. And then you do it again until all the mafia or all the common folk are eliminated. It’s a riot.

Reverse Charades. You can actually buy this game, (we always use the free app called Reverse Charades). This game is one we played with Chris’s family a few years ago and we still laugh about it! The rules are simple, roles are reversed in charades (so your whole team is acting something out while one person tries to guess what it is.) but it’s hilarious to see what people come up with!

Karaoke. Ever since I got a karaoke machine for Christmas back when I was a tween, we’ve had a karaoke night around Christmas time. Nowadays, the setup is a little different. We use our TV (it’s one of those smart ones that can access apps including YouTube) as the Karaoke machine–YouTube has never let us down as far as lyrics and songs go–and these mics that can hold your smartphone and sync with your bluetooth if you don’t have a smart TV you want to use.

Did I miss any of your favorites? Sound off in the comments!

 

What do you think?

  1. Jen says:

    Thank you for this list! We love playing games and whenever we’re ready for a new game, I always come back to this list!

  2. Rikki says:

    We love the games Cover Your Assets (a great group game!), One Night Ultimate Werewolf, my kids adore Sleeping Queens (it’s so fun and I even enjoy it!), and we love Code Names too. That’s our favorite right now. Thanks for the list!

  3. Mexican Train is the game we play more than any. It is easy to understand and set up, and allows for some talking and munching while playing, too. It is not a “funny” game but we always end up laughing until our sides ache.

  4. Kirstin says:

    My kids LOVE Sleeping Queens! They also like Rat-A-Tat-Cat and Pass the Pigs….just a couple of fun suggestions for the kiddos. They also make great stocking stuffers!

  5. mary says:

    Balderdash and Apples to Apples are two favorites.

  6. Meghan says:

    Bang, Avalon and Betrayal at House on the Hill are all really fun for large groups. Dominion and their expansion packs, splendor, and ricochet robots are some of our favorites. Bohnanza is a fun game for all ages and if you’ve never played Dutch blitz or euchre definitely look up the rules for those games! There’s soo many more but those are some of our favorites :)

  7. dd says:

    My son is studying in Japan for a year and lives in the university’s international house with students from around the world. They play Codenames more or less in English but try to figure out clues in German, Finnish, Korean, French, and of course, Japanese. He says the game is loads of fun!

  8. KarenJ says:

    Cards Against Humanity! I love games but everyone I know hates them! I often have to literally beg family and friends to play. So sad

  9. Sara says:

    My husband designs board games as a hobby, so shameless plug for his published games :) they’re more strategy type similar to Catan: worlds fair 1893, gold west, atlas enchanted lands, prowlers passage, daxu, and sentient are all games you should check out!

  10. Mandee McEvoy says:

    TENZI! fun dice game for all ages!
    https://ilovetenzi.com/

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  12. Sera says:

    Love this and your blog. Thank you for your helpful tips!

  13. Nicole says:

    We love Machi Koro: Harbor Expansion, No Thanks, Gamewright’s Sushi Go and Sushi Go Party. Playing games with family and friends is one of the best things!

  14. Wendy says:

    Wits and wagers is a fun one to play with a small group.

  15. Andrea says:

    We are big on games. Love Telestrations. I always end up crying at some point because I’m laughing so hard. For another train game (when you want something quicker than Ticket to Ride), TransAmerica is great and easy to teach. Kids can even play it. Everyone seems to love playing 7 Wonders when they come to out house. The rules can be tricky but once you play it once, you start to get the hang of it. Nice thing is that experience playing the game doesn’t necessarily mean you are more likely to win because the strategies of other players will have an effect on you. Happy Salmon is a super easy game that kids can play as well. It does get loud though as you are yelling out your card to try to match it with other players. Spyfall is a fun game for older kids and adults. One person is a spy while everyone else is at a location. You ask questions and the spy tries to determine the location while the other people try to figure out who the spy is. Cash & Gun is a fun game too. You are thieves dividing up your loot and decide that dividing among less people is more advantageous. Complete with orange foam guns. And Wits and Wagers. If you don’t know the answers to the trivia questions, you can at least get ahead by betting on the answer that you think is correct. Those are our go-to games when we are playing with 6 or more people. And if all else fails, there is always “spoons.” Can get dangerous depending on who you play with. I was once dragged over the table (while pregnant) by my uncle who refused to let go of a spoon! Happy gaming everyone!

  16. Katie says:

    One of our family favorites is Say Anything. It’s so much fun. Love this list for Christmas gift ideas.

  17. Ali says:

    Where is that cute Christmas tree w the buffal check holder from?

    • Julia says:

      Tree is from Crate & Barrel (they are selling a flocked one this year right here), buffalo check basket is from the Target dollar spot if you can believe that!

  18. MARA SMITH says:

    I’ve stayed up into the wee hours of the morning playing Canasta. However, it’s only a game for four but SO much fun!

  19. Amy says:

    Goodness, great list! Has anyone heard of Dixit? It is a French game that has spread around the world… and since we started playing 3 years ago, it’s been a main stay at all our family gatherings. Such a beautiful, creative, fascinating game! Totally worth a try.

  20. Cara says:

    King of Tokyo is such a fun game too.

  21. Julie says:

    https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/11/bohnanza
    This is my favorite game, we call it beans. It’s super fun easy to understand and great in a group.

  22. Brittany D says:

    Search Amazon for “The Werewolves of Miller’s Hollow.” It’s a version of Mafia and it’s SO much fun! Thanks for all of the great suggestions! We are definitely game people. We used to host game night weekly in college and continued that tradition a couple of years into our marriage.

  23. Sarah says:

    They’ve made mafia into themed games you can purchase- look up Werewolf or Secret Hitler, but I’ve always loved the original mafia handed out via card deck. I was a summer camp counselor in college and mafia literally saved us one rainy week when we couldn’t be outside. We used to come up with the most elaborate backstories for the townspeople and the death of each person.

    Your list is missing Settlers of Catan which is a little more elaborate than any of the others you’ve mentioned but a great strategy game. It’s also ruthless if you add the Cities and Knights expansion. My sister-in-law is still talking about a game from three christmases ago.

    Otherwise this is a great list!

  24. Katherine says:

    I love this list! We really love playing the Mexican Train domino game (no idea why it’s called that), we’ll play for hours! I’m thinking about giving my four-year-old niece a couple of her first board games for Christmas. Do you have any recommendations for games for young kids/good first board games that parents don’t mind playing too?

  25. Alex E. says:

    Do you have any games you enjoy playing when it’s just you and Chris? My husband and I used to play Boggle and Scrabble sometimes but have stopped playing many games when it’s just the two of us.

  26. Rebekah says:

    Thre3peat has been a fun one for our family the past couple years. I don’t know that it is available beyond a couple game stores located in west MI though.

  27. Gurston says:

    If you like playing ‘speed scrabble’ try Bananagrams, it’s the same but comes with some interesting twists and cool packaging!

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