Tired of the tried and true? Here's four great games to add to your family game night rotation!
Picture this: you're around the table with your mum, your dad and your little brother. In the middle of the table is the familiar cardboard of Scrabble. Your dad's phone is poorly hidden behind his letter holder, the glow of Facebook illuminating his hand. Your mum is helping your brother. He's old enough that he knows how to take his own turn, but he still needs the guidance now and then. You're staring directly at the board without focusing, the colours blending to make a formless haze of shades, when a triumphant squeal from your left snaps you out of your stupor.
Your brother hit a triple letter tile. Again.
If you've found yourself in a similar position recently, chances are your board game collection needs a little face lift. Here's four games to reinvigorate the spark of family game night!
- Players: 2 - 4 (up to 6 with certain expansions)
- Age: 10+
- Average game length: 1 1/2 hours
- Game style: Player VS Player
In Catan, you and your rival settlers have just stepped off the boat onto uncharted land. It's your job to build and expand your settlements by collecting the game's resources. As you play, you'll earn victory points - first to ten wins!
For those whose copy of Monopoly is now either damaged beyond recognition from overuse or locked safely away to prevent fights from breaking out, Catan is an upgrade worth looking into. While the game is purely competitive, the real challenge comes from bartering with your opponents. Unless you manage to take control of all resource production, you'll need to trade resources with those around you to further your domination of the island, leaving you in the mercy of your enemies. Will you be able to sweet talk your way into your final settlement without your opponents noticing, or will you have to find another way?
If you've got a hankering to move past the tried and true days of property management into something with a little more strategy and bartering, the island of Catan is for you!
- Players: 5 - 10
- Age: 12+
- Average game length: 30 minutes
- Game style: Team VS Team - Hidden Traitor
The Resistance has you playing as a group of rebels trying take down the Imperials, a ruling class with a tight grip over the world of the future. You take turns completing missions to destroy crucial structures in your quest to end tyranny. However, all is not as it seems - Imperial spies have infiltrated your ranks and want nothing more than to upset your missions.
With its secret team system, The Resistance will feel familiar for those who have played Mafia, Werewolf or Secret Hitler. Deception is the name of the game here, which makes The Resistance a true test of your acting abilities - you've never faced a real challenge until you've tried to play as an Imperial spy against your mum, who's spent the past however many years learning all of your social cues.
If you're from the sort of family that has the cousins and the grandparents around every weekend, and you're looking for a way to sow discord into family dinner, give The Resistance a shot!
- Players: 3 - 6
- Age: 12+
- Average game length: 1 hour
- Game style: One VS Many
Betrayal at House on the Hill sets you and your friends on a journey to explore a creepy old mansion. As you step through its various decrepit rooms, you'll soon discover that there's more to this place - and to your friends - than what's on the surface.
What makes Betrayal special is its dynamic feel. Gone are the days of a set game board - you build the layout of the mansion's three floors as you play, giving each session its own unique feel. The objective of each session is also decided during the game based on set variables. With fifty different stories, you'll find that each game of Betrayal feels radically different from the last.
Betrayal is the perfect game for those who grew up playing games, love a good story, and are ready for a bit more of a challenge. If you've got the grit to handle the spooks and scares of the haunted house on the hill, then Betrayal is definitely worth your time.
- Players: 2 - 4
- Ages: 10+
- Average game length: 30 minutes
- Game style: Cooperative
In Forbidden Island, you're tasked with trekking through a lost world, filled with ancient treasures that let those that possess them control the four elements. But beware - those who lived here before have left some nasty surprises for anyone who would dare to claim this power as their own!
Forbidden Island is perfect if you're looking for an evening of unity rather than division. If you want to survive the rising water, you'll have to work together with your team to keep the island around you above sea level. Each player has their own special abilities, meaning you'll be spending your turns planning amongst your team to try and stay afloat.
Be warned - this is a high stakes game. If you need something friendly to bust out for Nan, keep this one on the shelf. But, if you and your team can handle the tension, then set sail for Forbidden Island!