Does your family like games? Mine does. We love all games in all shapes and all sizes. Sometimes, however, you need a game that doesn't take up much closet space or table space. Small games make great gifts for end of the year celebrations or a fun addition to a family trip. They also fill Christmas stockings or Easter baskets with great fun. Here are thirty great games that would satisfy any game fanatic!
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If your gamer has never played Phase 10, Uno, or Skip-Bo, it is time to introduce them to the fun of these timeless games. Each of these card games can be played quickly, or for hours. They also double as great cards to use with math games.
Phase 10 has ten rounds to complete a full game, but you don't have to complete a full game every time in order to have fun. If you want a crazier version of UNO, try UNO Attack to add a fun twist to the classic game. Skip-bo feels like a type of solitaire game played with friends. All of these three games are great for all ages because, while you can use strategies to play, there's still a lot of chance thrown in to throw advanced players off of their game and give the little guys a chance to win every now and then.
So you might think that these games are boring, but when my daughter picked her reward for reading 100 books, she chose for the whole family to play Go Fish with her ten times in a row! Old Maid is the same way. It's simple to play, easy to learn, and so much fun with little kids.
These three card games are newer on the scene, but remind us of the old classics we played as kids. Did anyone ever finish a real Monopoly game? I remember we would have that game set up for days when I was a kid. Even then, I'm not sure we ever really declared a final bankruptcy resulting in a winner. Monopoly Deal is a quick and fun way to collect and sell properties, but finishes in a quick 15 minutes. So if you want to revisit those marathon Monopoly game days, you can just play multiple times!
They've also come out with a nod to Life with Life Adventures, and my son's favorite Sorry Revenge. These three card games would be great to take on a trip for a little fun family game night without taking up precious cargo room.
Really though, a simple deck of cards isn't a bad way to go either. I remember playing Cribbage, Nerts, and Canasta with my grandparents as a kid. These classic card games don't require much more than a simple deck of cards, and provide fun for hours.
Cribbage and Canasta require a bit more skill to play, but once you learn how the games work, everyone will enjoy working to perfect their game. Nerts is a little like Skip-bo, but is played with as many people as you like, and it's super fast paced. This is such a fun game with a crowd.
If we're talking old school, you can't leave out dice games. Yahtzee and Farkle are two classic dice rolling games that are fun to play for hours. Dice are not out of style however. There have are new games involving dice coming out all the time.
Two fun dice games we've played recently are Qwixx and Deer in the Headlights. Qwixx plays just like it sounds - quick! There is so much fun strategy involved in playing this game, that it's fun to play over and over. Deer in the Headlights plays in a similar way to Uno, but adds dice to bring twists to the game. Once you learn the rules, you'll have everyone itching at the chance to get in the game.
Pass the Pigs is kind of like a dice game, but you use pigs instead. Depending on how they land, you get different amounts of points. I think these are the funniest little pigs to "roll".
I purchased Guillotine when we were in Cycle 2 of Classical Conversations. The cards feature famous French Revolution historical figures and brings history to life in a clever way. It's worth a play.
In Challenge I this year, my good friend introduced me to Pit as it was a great game to help understand the stock market and how things work. In this game you win by cornering the market by collecting all of the cards of a certain commodity. It's loud. It's fast. It's fun. You've got to try it!
These tile games are small to store, but they'll need some space to spread out as you play.
In college we played "speed scrabble" which now is called Bananagrams. It's so fun to build your own mini scrabble board under pressure. We always just used old scrabble tiles from a game picked up at a garage sale or thrift store. The fun part about the scrabble tiles is that they have point values on the letters. That way you can score the words similarly to scrabble and rack up the points by using the "z" twice!
Qwirkle is another fun tile game that is actually better in the travel size than the regular version. It combines the strategy and critical thinking of scrabble, but with colors and shapes instead of letters.
If you're looking for a little mind bending fun, try one of these fun games.
I grew up playing Mastermind with my sister. It's a great critical thinking game as you try to crack your opponent's code. Dust off your logic skills of deductive thinking, and enjoy this game with your kids.
When we were out of town one time, and I was looking for something to entertain my son, I bought him a Rubiks Cube. I pointed him to some videos that showed him some solving strategies, and he was hooked. There are so many wonderful life principles that one can learn while messing with a Rubiks cube which makes it a truly worthy investment.
There are so many versions of the Bop It, but my mother-in-law came over with the R2-D2 one, and it was ADORABLE!! While the sounds of the original Bop It can get on some people's nerves, the R2-D2 sounds are awesome and make the game much more bearable as a parent!
Boggle is a classic word game that will bend your mind, but not too far! It plays quick, but still offers hours of fun.
In Once Upon a Time, players compete to take control of the direction of the story. There are twists and turns, but every story has a beginning and an end.
Story Cubes bring storytelling to life with a simple role of a dice. This game is more of a cooperative game, but is a great way to bring people together in creating a story in an educational and entertaining way.
Games don't have to be big or expensive to please the whole family.
What small games are your family's favorite?
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Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.