Family Game Suggestions

Every weekend my house transforms into a gaming palace.  I sit at my computer desk just outside of the gamer-bubble and watch as my husband and two kids cast spells, plot courses and strategize.  There are many yelps and squeals that all end in a hand shake for the victor. It is pure magic happening around me…old fashioned game playing at it’s best. My husband has spent a great deal of time researching  and playing games, and has even roped in neighborhood kids and visiting adults. It occurred to me that I need to share his expertise in games, so I asked my husband and kids to write a list of their favorite games.  Hint-Hint…Christmas is around the corner… and these would all make GREAT gifts!A Bolt of Blue - Family Game Suggestions

**All of these games are great for boys AND girls!!

Faery’s Tale Deluxe – (Ages 6+)

“Play a pixie, brownie, sprite, or pooka in an enchanting storytelling game of imagination and wonder. Suitable for ages 6+, Faery’s Tale Deluxe is a perfect introduction to adventure games for children and adults.”

This was one of the first interactive storytelling-role playing games that my husband played with my kids. All you have to do is visit the site, download and print the storyline and instructions, dig up some dice (Yatzee maybe) and let the adventures begin. My husband was the director of these adventures and both kids were able to design their characters and start casting spells.  This game is non-violent and will offer MANY hours of FUN!

Monopoly Deal (Ages 8+)

This is the card version of Monopoly and it has been a HUGE hit with my family and it never seems to get old. It’s their go-to travel game and they have managed to even get my parents and sister to play as well.

Munchkins (10+, although my kids started at 8)

“You and your friends compete to kill monsters and grab magic items. And what magic items! Don the Horny Helmet and the Boots of Butt-Kicking. Wield the Staff of Napalm . . . or maybe theChainsaw of Bloody Dismemberment. Start by slaughtering the Potted Plant and the Drooling Slime, and work your way up to the Plutonium Dragon . . .”

This is an interactive card game. And like, Monopoly Deal, this game has staying power. It has at least 9 additional packs which allow you to add on additional characters, weapons, and scenarios. This is my daughter’s favorite game and my son likes how one minute you can be completely losing and the next turn you can win the whole game.A Bolt of Blue - Family Game Suggestions

Ticket to Ride (8+)

“Ticket to Ride is a cross-country train adventure in which players collect and play matching train cards to claim railway routes connecting cities throughout North America.”

This game is great for strategy and geography.  You create train routes between cities and there are several different versions of this game, Europe, Nordic countries, Switzerland, etc.. which allows for different geographic venues. It does take some patience, or so says my daughter.

Survive:Escape from Atlantis (8+)

“It’s early in the 20th century – a time of exploration and adventure. The mysterious island of Atlantis has been discovered in the middle of the ocean, and there are rumors of great riches to be found there! After reaching Atlantis, the explorers are ready to return home with treasure and artifacts. But Atlantis begins to sink! ”

This game places you in a sinking Atlantis and you need to strategize and plot your escape.  This one is not a huge hit with my kids, but my husband and his friends all like this…maybe more of an adult game night.

Small World (8+)

This is similar to Risk, but more simple. The board is a map and you are instructed to take over certain parts of the world with your army.  It’s fun and strategic and funny at times. This is also a favorite of my daughters, she likes how the characters are ever-changing each time you play.A Bolt of Blue - Family Game Suggestions

Heroscape (8+) with Multiple kits

“Customizable 3-D, interlocking-tile board with terrain and terrain accessories. The field and the battle will change with each game. Includes miniature playing pieces and 10 battle scenarios that players construct terrain with. Expansion sets, featuring new characters, terrain tiles and more, are sold separately.”

The tiles reminded my daughter of LEGOS and she thought it would be a great game for kids that are into building. You read the story and then construct your world from a map.

Pathfinder – The beginners box (13+)

“You”ll find simple rules to create and customize your own hero, as well as a robust system to run your character through challenging adventures and deadly battles against villainous monsters like goblins and dragons!”

This is a role playing for older kids. You create characters and initial adventures with a map. My daughter really likes this because not only do you create your character but you can create a backstory as well. This is great for kids due to it’s storytelling appeal. The kids get to design and create their own characters. My son likes how the characters look and how the story unfolds. Some of the stories can take 2+ hours to unfold…A Bolt of Blue - Family Game Suggestions

Wiz-war (10+)

“A classic board game of magical mayhem!”

This is a fantasy board game about wizards.  There are two ways of winning, either kill the other wizards or be sneaky and steal their treasure. You can decide which one to choose. The strategy is about casting spells.

Carcassonne – (8+)

“A simple tactical game that offers a unique experience. A majestic way to discover a new world!”

This board game is all about building castles and taking over land.   It’s strong on strategy and building. There are add-ons for this game that make it more complex. My son thinks that by adding the towers, it becomes very difficult and challenging.


Poker is one of my kid’s favorite games and they’ve been playing since they were at least 8. I think they like all the different variations on the basic poker game.  I also think kids get excited playing for money…have them play for pennies. We own a traveling poker case that comes with us on each and every road trip!

Photo credits: 1, 2, 3, 4

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