"I'm a writer living in the Perth Hills with my relentlessly fun seeking children.
Published February 12th 2017
Life is More Fun if you Play Games Roald Dahl
The world is split roughly into two different types of people. Those who had a traumatic childhood experience with Monopoly and hate board games with a vengeance and those who see every family get together as an opportunity to whip out Balderdash and recruit a captive audience. My feet are firmly planted in the latter camp. It's no surprise to me that board games have undergone such a massive resurgence in popularity in the last ten years.
Box of Delights
It's All in the Game Although getting together with friends is still one of the nation's favourite pastimes, in today's global climate there are new challenges. It's harder to make conversation in a world that is so politically and socially charged, that you risk offending someone before the first glass of wine is poured. Games are a safe ice-breaker in a group that doesn't know each other very well and also a great way of giving a social evening some momentum, among friends who do.
Get off the island before the floods rise
A Game the Whole Family can Play You don't need a large group of people to start a games night. Usually 4-6 adults is plenty to have a great evening. You can take turns at hosting the event at each others houses. A games night can also be a great way for families with kids and no funds for a babysitter, to get some respite and adult conversation. Usually the kids are happy to have their own mini games night in the next room to the grown ups, followed by popcorn and a DVD. It's a monthly event everyone looks forward to. We often start early and have a dinner party first, but you can just as easily eat before you come out and just go wild with the nibbles.
Kids can play their own games
It's All in the Game
Ideally you want to get through about 3-4 games in an evening and make sure that there is a good variety to keep everyone happy. Look at the suggested playing time on the box to give you an idea of how long a game will take. Avoid long games like Monopoly and Risk first time around, if you ever want to see your friends again. Include at least one warm up round of games that have a familiar format. Most people have used playing cards at some point in their lives, so games like Rummikub, Yahtzee and Mahjong all have similar principles to card games.
Tuck into some Chinese goodness
Game Changer Board games can range from very simple layouts to great sprawling mega boards, with more pieces than a ten year old's Lego set. Ones that I would recommend to players who are new to board games would be any game from the Ticket to Ride series, 7 Wonders and Forbidden Island. All these games are very easy to learn and have a playing time of around an hour. Whether your attempting to build a railway from Berlin to Moscow, constructing an ancient monument, or working collaboratively to stop rising sea levels, there's sure to be something here that everyone enjoys. It's a good idea to get one of you who is suitably nerdy to read through the rules of the games you're playing the night before games night, so someone at least has an idea of what's going on.
Ticket to Ride
Pick of the Crop Buying board games can be a costly affair. You can generally pick up some of the old standards from op-shops and secondhand sellers, but the newer best selling games don't come cheap. Once played, they often become favourite games that don't often get sold on. We get round this by either taking turns as a family to buy a board game, or all chipping in to purchase a new one. It's also great fun to pick up something cheesy for a couple of bucks at a charity store and have a go at playing it. One of my favourites was a 1970's Sale of the Century game, complete with real buzzers that was so bad it was hilarious. Buying a brand new board game is really an investment, most can be bought from Games World easily. You will get hours of fun out of playing it, for the price of a night out in the city. If it turns out it's not your thing, these games can be sold secondhand very easily without losing too much in value.
Stacks of Fun
Wrapping Up After you've consumed enough cheese and potato chips to fell a lumberjack, it's time to finish off the evening with some lighter fare. We always find time to include a word game or two like Scattegories or Balderdash. These type of games are great because you can make them as long or short as you want and you can assign points for creative or just plain ridiculous ideas. I also love Pictionary as a stand alone team game, but as nobody wants to play with me, I have to concede it probably belongs in that category of most hated along with Monopoly.