To me, the holidays are kinda like the “Board Game Academy Awards”. It’s the time of the year when my family of non-gamers gather around for the evening, and often, gaming is a part of the plans. So why is this like the Academy Awards? Because only the best and brightest of the year get pulled out on these events. I don’t get a lot of chances to game with these folks, so I only have time to show them the best!
The holidays are also like the Academy Awards because there are nominees, and then there are winners. Being nominated isn’t a sure win. We will typically break out a half dozen different games, but only two or three will actually get the honor of being played. After all, I’m not the only judge.
So, drum roll please, here is the list of “Games to play after Thanksgiving dinner while you are trying to digest that second piece of pumpkin pie – 2011” nominees:
The top of my list has to be “Telestrations”. It has become, without a doubt, the biggest hit in my household I think I’ve ever seen. I can’t even think of another game in recent memory that gets requested even half as much as it. This silly party game is hilariously funny, extremely easy to learn, and isn’t very long. If you aren’t familiar with this game, it’s a cross between the game “Telephone” and “Pictionary”. Click here to read our full review of Telestrations.
2.) Last Call
“Last Call” was a surprise hit this year. Usually bar tending/drinking themed games are a flop, but this one really had a large amount of skill involved. However, there is just enough luck to keep the game interesting and even keeled between new players and veterans. It’s also pretty fast paced, which helps keep everyone focused. Click here to read our full review of Last Call.
3.) Word on the Street
“Word on the Street” makes the cut for being an extremely fast paced word game that plays great with two people or twenty people. You play in teams, and all work together, which is great for people who are non-gamers. But each team only has a few seconds to decide upon their word, so you can’t go eat another piece of pie while waiting for your turn to come back around. Also the “tug-o-war” mechanics make it very exciting and competitive. Click here to read our full review of Word on the Street.
4.) Forbidden Island
Forbidden Island is part of a great category of games that I started off hating and now love: Co-op games. Everyone wins together, or everyone loses together. Your goal is to rescue the four artifacts from the island and get back to your helicopter before it all sinks around you. This is very similar to pandemic, but the mechanics are a little easier to grasp. Because of this, it’s one that I could see some of my family members playing. Not too hard, and everyone can help each other. Click here to read our full review of Forbidden Island.
So there you have it, the best of the best family friendly games for 2011. There are other games that I would put on the list if I was playing with my regular gaming buddies, but for an evening with Family, games like “Nightfall”, “Thunderstone”, and “Black Friday” simply won’t do. They are simply too complicated for the average non-gamer to pick up very easily. Is your newest favorite on this list? Or perhaps we have given you some ideas for what to pick up at your friendly local game store.
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