I love playing board games, and my childhood Christmasses always had one game or another. When we were with my nan, she loved to play charades (although she was terrible at it), with friends we played Pictionary, and just us it was usually Trivial Pursuit. Fun family games are a big part of many people’s Christmasses.

My OH doesn’t play games. Ever. Even if we’re with friends and everyone else is playing, he refuses. Unless it’s a ‘guess the track/band’ music quiz and he might shout out some answers.

Luckily N loves playing games too, and others in the family do. So when we’re all together for Christmas we’ll take a favourite board game along or be introduced to new ones. That’s how we discovered Dobble and Rummikub. And the randomly named ‘Saucepan game’ which turned out to be a variation of Who am I?

This Christmas is likely to be different for lots of people, but games are still something that can be played, whether it’s over video links or with your family together. I think ours will be maybe N and I getting a couple of games out, and maybe we’ll have to organise a tea time family quiz to have some kind of family get together.even if we can’t all be in the same house.

If you’re new to playing games, or your children are just getting old enough to play them, then here’s some of the games that go down well here for all the family. And they don’t have to just be board games or card games.

fun games for all the family to play at Christmas

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Family games to play at Christmas

Who or what am I?

(aka The Saucepan game – as named by one of my nephews)

There are so many variations of this game. Basically everyone writes a name or item on paper, puts it in the pot, then others pull a paper out and have to describe it to the rest, who guess the person or item. The winner is the person who guesses the most correct. It can be played in teams describing it to a partner or team before switching to the other team’s go. Or you can have lists of 10 people on a paper, and each go is to guess as many as possible in a set time.

We play where everyone takes a piece of paper out, then it goes round the circle with people asking a question before they’re allowed to guess what’s on the paper. They can choose who to ask in the group, and what order, but one question and one guess each go. Once you’ve guessed and know what the items are, you then need to work out who wrote each item. The winner is the person who guesses the most correctly. The funniest part is usually trying to work out who wrote which bit of paper.

Pictionary

You can obviously buy the Pictionary board game*, but all you need is sheets of paper and pens. Get into teams or pairs. All the items/names are on pieces of paper or cards, and one person from each team pulls a paper out and has to draw it while their partner guesses what they’re drawing in a set amount of time. (a US drawing game is ArtsyFartsy* – comedy name!)

Charades

As Pictionary but acting. The classic Christmas game which is great for all generations. Play as teams or just individually.

Dobble

We were introduced to Dobble* a few years ago at Christmas. It’s very portable, and great for all ages because it’s basically a more complicated version of Snap. Players have to match one of the items on their top card to the same equivalent item on the table card. It’s fast and furious, and sometimes a little frustrating when there’s one person who’s so much faster than you are! Great fun, and there’s a junior version too. But we’ve found the standard version fine for all.

Cheat

I love card games although I’ve struggle to get N interested in playing. Cheat is one that’s great for small or large groups to play (I remember playing with a massive group of us on a year 10 choir tour to Austria). If you’ve a large group just add an extra pack of cards in. Essentially you need to get rid of your cards by saying what and how many cards you’re putting down on the table – the rest of the players have to guess whether you’re cheating by putting down more, fewer, or different cards to what you said you were putting down. It’s loud and lots of fun. Find the rules to Cheat online.

Quizzes

A quiz is lots of fun. Yes, you could use Trivial Pursuit. But it’s more fun to get family members to create a puz quiz round each (you can even zoom in other family and friends, or even do one with your street). Picture and music rounds go down well. You can often do these through smart tvs too. If you’ve a big group of people, why not put up baby photos and you have to guess who is who.

Scavenger Hunt

An excuse to get outside. Make a map or clues beforehand, and win treasure or prizes at the end.

Tension

I’ve only played Tension as part of a pub quiz, but a card is drawn stating the category, and everyone has to guess the 10 items in that category the card has on it. It’s harder than you think. It’s a bit like family fortunes in that there could be lots of answers but you need to find the ‘right’ ones. Depending on the categories, it’s suitable for all ages, or you could play in teams.

Similar games include 5 Second Rule – where you try to name 3 items in 5 seconds for a topic.


Rummikub

Similar to Gin Rummy card game, Rummikub* is about getting the right numbers and coloured tiles to put down sets or runs and score the most points. Best for older children, although it doesn’t take long for an 8 or 9 year old to get the hang of it with a bit of prompting on the rules.

Generation Game style tasks

If it gets messy, set up outside or in a garage. Set up tasks for teams to do against the clock, then have a memory game ‘conveyor belt’ of items at the end. Try crafts, decorating biscuits, making sandwiches, painting pictures etc.You just need a host to keep a track of time and the scoring.

Christmas bingo

Create your own bingo boards – do pictures or words if you’re going to do it as a family watching Christmas tv shows or movies, or you could have all the fun traditional happenings that go on in your family Christmasses – e.g Uncle Bob falling asleep after dinner, or the dog stealing the turkey etc. Alternatively, keep it simple with normal numbers, have a caller.and play the game straight (or after a few sherries). You could even do this virtually with family members or friends you can’t meet up with this year.

What kind of fun family games do you enjoy playing over the Christmas period?

This post is part of my Blogmas series.

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