I’ve mentioned before that we love games in our family. While Bunny was really little we really struggled to play games for a few reasons (partly related to sleeping issues and sleep deprivation issues). When she was a small toddler she just wanted to be involved in what Mummy and Daddy were doing, which means that most games were no good – anything with tiles or small counters just had pieces flying everywhere when she came to look.
Another hazard of gaming and parenthood is the rattle of dice. Whatever you do, you can’t wake the baby! I found a solution to this online (in the BoardGameGeek forums) – use a fabric placemat or napkin to roll the dice onto! This has seriously changed our ability to play games during naptime. Polystyrene or foam cups can help with the rattle if you use a dice cup too.
All that to say here are some of our favourite games, some which we can play as a family with help or adjustments for the smallest person, who is 3 and a half (I’ve used a code “F” – Family – for this), and some which I play with hubby while Bunny sleeps (I’ve used a code “A” – Adult – for this – not because it is rude but because it is difficult or too easy to mess pieces up!). If you like the look of a game and want to click over to Amazon to buy it, (remember Christmas is on its way and there are plenty of people you might want to buy for!) you should know that all the links are affiliate links, and thank you in advance! If you buy after clicking on an affiliate link I receive a small commission on anything you buy at no additional cost to you.
1. Carcassonne UK/US
This is a tile-laying game which never turns out the same and makes a really pretty picture. You make a map with cities, fields, roads and more, which you can score from in various ways. You don’t (necessarily) know who is going to win until the very end. There are lots of expansion packs for it too. (A)
2. Pandemic UK/US
I got this for Hubby for his birthday this month and we’ve had a lot of fun playing it! It is a cooperative game, which is great as neither of us are good winners or losers, so at least we can be happy or miserable together! You fight the game to try to cure 4 epidemics before various losing situations happen. (A, Bunny does like to join in when she is awake, but she tends to get bored after a few turns and we always tell her what moves to make anyway)
A tile-laying game which has similarities to Scrabble or Upwords, so you create a sort of crossword grid, but without a board. The strategy element comes in through laying your tiles on top of other players’ tiles, so that when the game ends you gain points for words in which you have laid the highest tile. (A)
This is a card game in which you collect carrots (while collecting bunnies and killing other players’ bunnies and trying to avoid the death of your bunnies). The winner is not the person with the most carrots, but the one with the correct carrot! This means that when the game ends, pretty much any player (as long as they have at least one carrot and at least one bunny) can win! There is a lot of strategy involved in the game but the actual choice of winner is somewhat random. This is quite good for us as it means that the winner doesn’t feel as proud – because there is an element of luck – and the loser doesn’t feel as upset – because it’s not really their own fault! (A)
5. Quirkle UK/US
A tile-laying game with colours and shapes, in which you end up with a “crossword” grid but it is based on colour- and shape-matching. The game scoring is where it gets a little more complicated, so if we play with Bunny then we don’t bother scoring – though we try to stick to the other rules when we play with her. (F)
6. Star Fluxx UK/US
This is a fun card game in which the rules change as you play! They can change (e.g. number of cards you pick up or play in a turn can increase or decrease) or you can add entirely new rules (e.g. a maximum hand-size limit) and the winning scenario changes frequently too! That is true for any Fluxx game – there are a lot of variations – but as a child I experienced a lot of Star Trek and so I find the Star Fluxx amusing. There are other SciFi references too – to Star Wars, Hitchhikers Guide and more. (A)
An old favourite card game with lots of versions out there to entertain you and your family. Bunny can pretty much get on with playing this with us, though scoring is tricky and little hands don’t like huge handfuls of cards – try looking for card holder tutorials online or you can buy them on Amazon UK/US. (F)
8. Monopoly UK/US
Another old favourite! I do love Monopoly, and took it into my head (when I was at University) to make my own version, based on my college. A few years ago, before Bunny was born, I made a version for Hubby called Pokémonopoly. It just adds a little interest and fun factor – especially the Chance cards. Yes, I laugh at my own jokes. (A)
This card game is a little rude – bottoms, gas and back hair, not swearing (there is an explicit version too so make sure you choose the one you actually want) – and involves exploding kittens. Not real ones, obviously. In case you wondered, I’m not a cat person. Anyway, the strategy is in trying to avoid picking up an exploding kitten, keeping defuse cards in your hand, and trying to force your opponent to pick up an exploding kitten! It’s a fun game, light-hearted and tongue-in-cheek. I especially like that you don’t need a huge table space, just room for a draw pile and discard pile. (A)
Thanks for reading through some of our favourite games! I hope they give you some ideas for family or grown-up fun after your Christmas dinner.