How to Have the Best Family Game Night Ever!
Getting your entire family together to have a shared experience can be difficult these days, with so many different responsibilities and outside factors demanding your time and attention, or keeping you away from the ones you love. However, it’s still important to make time for each other, and a great way to do that is to set up a recurring game night with your loved ones!
Board games come in many different genres and types, so you can find options that will cater to everyone in your gaming group. Along with the games you’ll actually be playing, you’ll need all the other essentials that will enhance your game night, and set the tone for an enjoyable experience.
Kohl’s is here to help you get to work on creating the best game night experience for you and your family. Getting together to play games is sure to create memories that will last a lifetime!
- Why Should You Have a Family Game Night?
- What Kinds of Games Should You Incorporate Into Family Game Night?
- Genres of Board Games
- Game Ideas for Any Gaming Group
- Stay Off the Ground When Playing The Floor is Lava!
- Make Your Way Through Areas Made of Sweet Treats in Candy Land
- Use Your Knowledge of Internet Memes to Win at the What Do You Meme? Card Game – Family Edition
- Build Train Routes Across the Country in Ticket To Ride
- Crack the Case in the Classic Mystery Game of Clue
- Settle Pastures, Fields, Mountains, Hills, Forests, & Deserts in the Classic Game of Catan
- Embrace Your Evil Side When Playing Disney’s Villainous Game
- Take to The Skies in Pan Am: The Game
- Get Your Spies to Guess the Correct Words in Codenames
- Rack Up Points by Creating High-Scoring Words in Scrabble
- Planning a Family Game Night
Why Should You Have a Family Game Night?
Aside from the obvious benefits of playing games and having a good time together, why should you and your family play games? It’s a great question, and the list of reasons for playing games together is surprisingly long!
The benefits of playing games are especially important for growing children. Kids aged two or three are at the perfect age to start playing more organized games. Playing games will help children develop social skills, help them learn how to follow rules, take turns, and learn the importance of being a good winner and a good loser. Additionally, a game night provides an opportunity for bonding, no matter if it’s with family, friends, or new acquaintances.
Games also help build confidence, encourage teamwork, improve motor skills, and give your children a way to work on their problem-solving skills.
Kids aren’t the only ones who benefit from playing board games. Adults are sure to also find that playing games with each other and with the whole family can provide instant benefits that will improve and enhance their everyday lives!
Daily life can cause stress and frustration, so what better way to relieve stress than to sit around the table with those you love and get a game going! Playing a board game can take your mind off the stressful parts of life, even if for just a hour or so, giving you a bit of a refresh. Adults can also always hone their skills, too, including important everyday skills like communication, critical thinking, and problem solving.
What Kinds of Games Should You Incorporate Into Family Game Night?
There are so many games to consider for your family’s game night, and at first glance, choosing the right games can be a bit daunting. The main focus should be on picking games that the entire family or group can enjoy, no matter if there are brand-new gamers in the group, as well as veterans of the hobby.
Another factor to consider is the vibe that a game presents. Is your gaming crew laid back and more casual, or are you into competitive gaming with deep strategic components? Picking games that work for everyone’s preferred levels of intensity ensures that each individual has a good time and can get enjoyment out of game night.
And, of course, taking into account the ages of the players is also key. Find games suitable for the youngest members of your family, but ensure there are a few options that the older players might find interesting, too.
Basically, making sure that the games you add to your collection cater to the preferences and wishes of as many people in your group as possible is vital. No one wants to feel left out, bored, or overwhelmed.
Genres of Board Games
When looking at which games to add to your game night, you’re sure to want to know the various genres of board games out there. You might have heard of “worker placement” or “area control” in relation to games, but what does that actually mean?
Let’s look at some of the popular types of games out there and find board games that work best for you.
This style of board game usually includes a board that features a map or space that players are tasked with occupying. This can simply mean that a player must move pieces into an area, or it could also mean that a player must remove an opponent’s pieces from a zone to gain control of the area. One of the most well-known and timeless examples of this game genre is Risk, where players use their armies to battle for control of territories across the globe.
These are games that require certain physical actions or activities to participate. Whether it’s flicking something, throwing an object, balancing pieces, or even contorting your whole body, dexterity games require players to move and perform actions to achieve the goal. Options in this category include Jenga and Twister.
Push Your Luck
These are games that require the player to make a decision on when to stop their progress, and when to push on, trying for bigger achievements or more success. Make the right choices, and it could pay off big time. Stumble, and you could lose all your progress. Examples in this area include card games like Blackjack, or newer games like Codenames or King of Tokyo.
This is the classic style of board game that almost everyone is familiar with. As the name implies, you roll a die or dice (or use another movement device, like a spinner or cards), move around a board, land on spaces that activate certain events, and try to be the first to reach the finish or conclusion. Monopoly, Sorry!, and The Game of Life are iconic roll-and-move examples.
These games are dice games, where you roll and look for certain outcomes or results. Once you get the result you’re looking for, or are out of rolls, you write down the score on a sheet of paper where points are tallied. Yahtzee is the most well-known roll-and-write game out there, while other popular options include The Castles of Burgundy and Qwixx.
This kind of game offers some intrigue, as one of the participants is a traitor, a villain, or has a secret they don’t want to get out! Players in that secret role will need to bluff their way to success, while the other players must work out who is trying to trick everyone with their hidden identity. Popular social deduction games include Coup, Spyfall, and One Night Ultimate Werewolf.
Use your vast vocabulary to your advantage when playing a word game! This genre uses letter tiles, cards, or other means to allow players to spell words and score points. The most well-known word game is Scrabble, while other options include Bananagrams and Upwords.
In this game type, players are given an assortment of “worker” pieces that can be assigned to different spots on the board, allowing you to achieve goals and produce resources during your turn. Other players can use in-game mechanics and their own workers to try to combat the work your pawns are doing. This means you must always be ready to have a backup plan in case things go sideways! A few worker placement game examples are Everdell, Lords of Waterdeep, and Carcassonne.
Game Ideas for Any Gaming Group
Now that you know the various kinds of games out there, you’ll want to know which ones are right for your gaming crew. If you’re playing with young children, looking for age-appropriate games is a must. Some of those styles of games mentioned above might be too much for gamers on the younger side of the spectrum. So what games should you consider for kids of various ages?
Before digging into the specific games you should look for, consider the following factors that will help you decide which game is right for your crew:
- Player count: you need to know how many potential players there will be. The game box will have this information on it, making it easy to know how many players the game supports.
- Play time: when young kids are playing a game, they are likely to lose interest after a certain amount of time. Again, game boxes usually include the time needed to play a game, with many options falling in the 15-45 minute range. Older kids, teens, and adults might be interested in games with longer play times that can stretch to 60 minutes or even more.
- Theme: is your child a fan of certain movies or TV shows? Then consider a board game that features characters and themes from those franchises! Otherwise, there are plenty of games out there that offer other fun themes like animals, cars, fairy tales, and more.
Now that these features have been discussed, here are some ideas for great game options for gamers of various ages:
The Floor is Lava! is a dexterity game where players jump on foam “stones” without touching the floor. Various activity cards add to gameplay, and the quick setup and simple instructions get you playing right away.
- For ages 5 & up
- 2-6 players
- Play time: varies
This classic board game is many kids’ first experience in the world of board gaming. In Candy Land, players move along the board, trying to be the first to reach King Kandy’s Castle, while avoiding obstacles and opponents along the way.
- For ages 3 & up
- 2-4 players
- Play time: 30 minutes
Compete with your friends and family to create the funniest memes, based off of real pictures used online. Do this by using one of your caption cards to caption the photo card displayed in each round. The winner of each round is decided by a rotating judge.
- For ages 8 & up
- 3 or more players
- Play time: 30-90 minutes
This extremely popular board game has earned accolades ever since its release in 2004. In every game of Ticket To Ride, you and your opponents must compete for train cards, which in turn allow you to run your trains between notable American cities.
- Ages 8 & up
- 2-5 players
- Play time: 30-60 minutes
You and your group take on the roles of amateur sleuths in the timeless mystery game, Clue! Using skills of deduction, players move around the board, making guesses over which shady character committed a murder, in which room the deed happened, and with what dastardly weapon. New updates to this iconic game include bonus cards to enhance the fun.
- Ages 8 & up
- 2-6 players
- Play time: 45 minutes
Originally known as Settlers of Catan, this game is a modern board gaming icon, bringing a whole new generation of gamers into the hobby. In Catan, players control their own civilization and acquire resources that help them expand and control the spaces on the modular hex-board, which is different each and every game.
- Ages 10 & up
- 3-4 players
- Play time: 60-120 minutes
In the epic battle of sinister power, each player takes on the role of a Disney Villain and strives to achieve their own devious objective. Discover your character’s unique abilities and winning strategy while dealing twists of fate to thwart your opponents’ schemes. Playable villain options include such Disney icons like Maleficent, Captain Hook, and Jafar.
- Ages 10 & up
- 2-6 players
- Play time: 50 minutes
Relive the Golden Age of air travel by taking control of your own airline in Pan Am: The Game. Expand your routes by sending your engineers to claim new airports, planes, and destinations for your airline, all while using your income to buy Pan Am stock to help build your company. Whoever has the most Pan Am stock at the end of seven rounds wins!
- Ages 12 & up
- 2-4 players
- Play time: 60 minutes
Spymasters give one-word clues that can point to multiple words on the cards in the middle of the table. Members of their team must then try to guess the words, as these are the codenames for their squad’s secret agents. The team that finds all their secret agents first wins! This is a modern party game classic that’s great for bigger groups.
- Ages 14 & up
- 2-8 players
- Play time: 15 minutes
This timeless word game has entertained millions of players for many years. This updated version includes the classic game, but with several twists, including power tiles that offer a strategic twist for more scoring options. No board game collection is complete without a copy of Scrabble!
- Ages 8 & up
- 2 players
- Play time: 90 minutes
Planning a Family Game Night
With a complete collection of board games to choose from, it’s time to start planning your family’s game night. Games are the main consideration, but other factors must be taken into account prior to the gathering. Keeping all these things in mind will help ensure that your game night goes smoothly, and everyone has a great time.
- If you are planning on making game night a recurring event, be sure to schedule it at a consistent day and time. Put game night on the calendar, setting aside an hour to an hour-and-a-half. Again, if you want to make this part of your routine, try setting up two game nights in a month. Add more evenings in each month if game night goes over well, or scale it back if everyone’s schedule gets too busy. Be flexible, but put a priority on making sure game night happens.
- When game night approaches, give a reminder to your family when you’re about 30 minutes away from the start of play. This allows everyone to finish up what they’re doing, so all players can come to the table, ready to go!
- At the start of game night, turn off all distractions. This means phones, TVs, tablets, etc. Put all your focus on spending time with the ones you love, and this will also ensure that game setup and explanation goes off without a hitch, especially when introducing new games to the group.
- Select games that everyone can enjoy. If you have a group with young kids, don’t choose advanced strategy games. Likewise, offering to play Candy Land with your teenagers probably won’t go over well! Choose a variety of game types, like a dexterity game, a word game, and a roll-and-move game, to keep things interesting. If a game is a bit too advanced for young players, allow adults or older family members to team up with the little ones.
- Designate someone in your family to “host” each game night. This allows one person to be in charge of choosing specific parts of the evening, including games for the night, drinks and snacks that are served, and maybe even the background music that gets played as you all have fun around the game table.
- Speaking of the table, make sure the space you hold game night in offers the proper amount of room for all players. If the games you’re playing require a large board and lots of pieces, ensure your table has enough space for everything. If some of the games require moving around, ensure there’s enough space for that, too. And don’t forget about chairs as well…everyone needs a comfortable spot to sit!
Putting together a game night for your family is a great way to enjoy quality time together. Games encourage communication and critical thinking, all while ensuring everyone has a great time playing together.
If board games aren’t your thing, take game night outside with fun, interactive outdoor games. If you need a non-board game activity to do inside, look for a fun, yet challenging jigsaw puzzle to put together with your loved ones. Our wide selection of toys features fun options for kids of all ages, keeping them entertained for hours both during and after game night!
There are many activities and options that can help make your family’s game night one to remember. So get out the dice, set up the board, and choose the first player…it’s time to get your game on!