I grew up playing games like Life, Clue, Monopoly, etc. In the summertime when would go camping, we would play Rummikub or Uno by lantern light at the picnic table. With friends in high school and during college study breaks I would play Apples to Apples, and other conversation games. Then I became an English teacher and found games like Taboo, Scrabble, and Catch Phrase to be helpful in teaching communication skills with my classes.
Luke grew up playing a much wider variety of games with his family. His brother and him liked strategy and challenges and got further into the nerdom realm with Dungeons and Dragons, Settlers of Catan, varieties of Risk and of course video and computer gaming. (To give you an idea of the challenge and competition here Luke’s brother Nathan is the teacher for the Chess Club at the school where he teaches in China). Playing games with Luke’s family can not only be challenging for strategy purposes but also because you have to keep up with the loving banter and jokes.
During the time Luke and I were dating we played a lot of games with our friday night college group. Luke had a bucket-load of games he’d collected over the years and my family added a few extra. It took awhile for me to truly appreciate the value Luke placed on playing games. But with time I learned that from word games, to strategy, to the wacky and weird, playing board games was a great way to connect with friends and get to know new people and their personalities. As time went on, we picked up some games of our own to play with our family, friends and onour own. So by the time we left SoCal we had a large heavy plastic bin full of dice, cards, boards, and accessories.
When we moved into our rented home we didn’t want the game bin in the basement so we bought a cedar chest to store our games in which doubles as our living room coffee table.
It is great place for me to spread out my notes, organizer and computer during the day but it also serves as a perfect spot for playing games at night while sitting on our comfy couches.
When we open up the game chest there is a small row on top (one of the reasons we bought it to begin with) which we have filled with decks of cards, dice of all shapes and sizes, and any other smaller pieces.
With a little strategy we have been able to fit more than 28 games inside.
Fortunately there are plenty of games Luke and I can play together on those nights we want don’t want to veg. in front of the TV or read our books.
Our current favorite is Dominion, a deck building card came requiring strategy. The object is to play your built deck right to gain enough money to build/ own the most property.
A favorite cooperative “us vs. the world” game is Pandemic. In different roles such as researcher and paramedic we work together against the board, fighting to cure four different viruses/diseases before they turn into pandemics and destroy the world.
A great two person card game we picked up was a variation on Battleship. We play this when we want a quick game with less set up. Luke and I played several rounds to keep us awake waiting for our next connecting red eye flight back from our vacation in May. Instead of a grid each player has face down cards with their ships and misses. With a hand of five cards , each player uses their ammo cards to explore and hit the other players ships or to shield or heal their own.
Another fav. is Ticket to Ride. This a diverse game great for a large group or for two. You may have seen me playing Ticket to Ride during our vacation in May (see vacation highlights part 2). In this game you are given ticketed routes with the objective to lay railroad track across the country from city to city. Points are counted in the end by the amount of track each player lays and how many ticketed routes are completed.
We also have some common large group social games like Apples to Apples, Pit, Jenga, Risk, and Quelf.
But we also have games for the more nerdy like LOTR, Killer Bunnies and Munchkin.
To us, this game chest (craftily disquised as our living room coffee table) is a grown-up toy box filled with a treasure trove of memories of past and potential for future good times with friend and family.
What are your favorite games to play? Are you competitive? Who do you like to play gam