Board Games Without the "Bored"

Laugh off some good-natured competition with these family-friendly games

By Dana Rossi

Each game of Trivial Pursuit ever played with my family went something like this: My father would ask a question along the lines of “What's the capital of Indonesia?” That's when my mother would pipe up, “What is Jakarta?” Then Dad would snap, “Why are you answering in the form of a question?” To which Mom would reply, “Oh, is that what I’m doing?”

Game night in our family was, and still is, rife with arguments and sarcasm that somehow exploded into laughter. Something tells me we're not the only ones prone to bickering over hourglass time limits, bonus points and questionable answers. Quality family time is often spent debating the mundane with those you love. These four games are sure to help you and yours verbally duke it out and laugh it off over the game board.

Catch Phrase
[photo catchphrase align=right max-width=100]Okay! Um …um…an actor…he was really good-looking when he was young…but packed on serious heft in his later years…uh…uh…The Godfather…uh…STELLA! Please tell me you guessed Marlon Brando? Catch Phrase is the love child of Password and Hot Potato. So not only do you have to be eloquent, you have to be fast-talking. Be creative and succinct when rattling off your descriptive words. Get your partner to shout out “Japan!” by blurting “Hello Kitty” and “Tokyo.” Then get rid of that potato (a plastic, buzzing disk). Throw it if you have to, because whoever is holding that demon of a phrase machine when the timer goes off loses the point for their team, and respect for themselves. * An electronic version is also available; four-player minimum; Buy now on Amazon!

Apples to Apples
[photo applestoapples align=right max-width=100] You’re holding a handful of nouns and the judge has flipped over the adjective “dead.” You've got “bookcase,” “Sanskrit,” “Paul McCartney,” “flower,” “DNA,” “flame” and “centrifuge.” Out of those nouns you've been dealt, which could the adjective “dead” describe? Sure, Sanskrit fits but…snore! Take a chance. Flex a well-toned creative muscle, and show everyone how ironic you can be by placing "Paul McCartney" down instead. After all, wasn’t he dead for a while back in the day? The judge (every player gets a turn being that person in this game) has the final say, and picks the noun he or she deems the best, most clever and most creative? Consider yourself warned, though. If you go out on a creative limb, the judge may not get it. So be ready to defend every ounce of your misunderstood brilliance. * Four to 10 players; Buy now on Amazon!

Don't Quote Me – Original Version
[photo dontquoteme align=right max-width=100] Who said, "Be not ashamed of mistakes and thus make them crimes"? Was it (a) Descartes, (b) Confucius or (c) Yogi Berra? If you said Yogi Berra, then you're probably the type of person who reads instruction labels on shampoo bottles. But if you guessed Confucius – in less than 45 seconds – you're well on your way to obtaining the 30 points it takes to win this game. “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.” Three points if you can answer right off. No? Then, here’s a two-point hint: “feminist” and “undercover Playboy bunny.” Still need help? For one point, it’s either Marlo Thomas, Betty Friedan or Gloria Steinem. Gloria it is, so start that round of high fives.
* Two to five players or teams; Buy now on Amazon!

Blast From the Past
[photo blastfromthepast align=right max-width=100] Haul out your roller-skate key and tighten up your trivia prowess. Here's your chance to fill your grandkids in on everything pop culture had to offer before their time, and here’s their chance to make you feel old. Blast From the Past covers Nehru jackets through French-rolled jeans, Sean Connery through Pierce Brosnan, and Castro through, well, Castro. Be the first to fill your answer card, and you'll be deemed Grand Master of all things considered retro. Plus, the decks are equally stacked — your Kennedy assassination is their O.J. trial. * Two to six players; Buy now on Amazon!

Senior Moments
[photo seniormoments align=right max-width=100] How’s your memory these days? Test yours against the youngest brains in the family with this game that shows how good, or miserable, your short-term synapses are snapping. Pick up a memory card and try to remember the entire list in the allotted time (dust the door tops, clip coupons, find Fido a flea bath, drop Doris at Dan’s, sit with Sue for Sally). If you can recite them all, you move on. If not, you won’t reach the holy grail of this board game: finding your lost keys. * Two to eight players; Buy now on Amazon! –(Read our review of Senior Moments.)

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