As our thoughts begin to turn to the holiday season, it seems like more and more classic board games are lining the shelves and seeing action on family game night. Am I right? There’s actually a good reason for this. These games, the ones you probably remember from your own childhood, are just plain FUN and fun with the kids never gets old.
Chutes and Ladders (Or Snakes & Ladders)
Chutes and Ladders is a simple race to the finish. Players take turns moving across the board, “climbing” to a higher square when they land on a ladder or “sliding” down to a lower square if they land on a chute (or snake). Way back when I was ickle (yes there was such a time) we had snakes and ladders I had no idea what a friend of mine was talking about a few weeks ago when she spoke of “playing chutes” when she was a kid.
It’s easy to learn, which makes it a great game to teach to younger children. The kid-friendly illustrations on the original game board are sure to take you back to your own childhood. These days, more contemporary versions of the game are available featuring themes such as Disney and cartoon characters or superheroes.
Like the classic board game Pachisi, Sorry! is a game that pits up to four players against each other in a race around the board. Each player takes turns drawing cards and moving their pieces according to the cards that they draw.
For example, if you drew a five, you would choose one of your pieces and move it five spaces. If you draw a Sorry! card, you get to move one of your pieces from the start to the space an opponent’s piece is on, sending their piece back to their start. The first players to move all of their pieces from the start all the way back around the board to their “safe” area wins.
My kids love this game, but I cannot stand it. I always hate having to choose who to send back to the beginning and end up feeling huge waves of guilt. I think it should be renamed “Sorry you are teaching your child to be a dick.”
Don’t Break the Ice
Don’t Break the Ice is a simple board game similar to Jenga that tests both your kid’s coordination and luck. The game comes with a blue plastic frame and several plastic “ice” cubes that press together inside the frame. There’s also a plastic ice skater that goes on top.
Players take turns using small plastic mallets to knock blocks of ice out of the frame. The game is over when one player “breaks the ice” and knocks out the ice squares that support the little skater. Once that happens, whoever knocked out the most cubes wins.
This is a slightly quieter alternative to Janga! because you do not suddenly have a pile of wooden blocks crash to the table.
Everyone is likely to remember the classic guessing game Battleship, whether they’re most familiar with the original board game or with the more modern electronic versions. Two players place five ships of different sizes on a ten by ten grid, then take turns picking squares to find and “hit” their opponent’s ships. Players keep track of each shot that they take on a separate grid, marking each “hit” or “miss” to help them keep track of what they’ve discovered. There are many variations of the game, which include more or less ships of different sizes, different rules for taking shots, and rules for moving ships during play.
Never play Battleship against our middle son. He has some kind of semi-psychic ability and will beat anyone who tries to take him on.
These are just four of many fun games I played when I was a kid. Playing them with your own children will not only bring back fond memories, but it will also create loads of new memories too. Just remember, if some of those memories are of your children crying because you are jumping up and down shouting looser at them, you may want to reconsider your parenting technique.