Amanda Cade

Worth It! (Things to try, read, watch, hear, and discuss)

What are we going to do today? I don’t feel like going out tonight. There’s nothing good on TV. We’ve eaten the cake and opened the presents…now what? I’m bored. Sure, let’s all get together…what are we going to do?

When I was growing up, game night was a regular thing for my family. We had a huge collection of board games, and added to it frequently. Playing games was an inexpensive way to spend time together and have a lot of fun, and we still frequently play games as a (now larger) family. By the time I was a teenager, I started having game nights with friends, and that has also remained a regular part of my life. I’m now the proud owner of my own game collection (as are my sisters). Actively participating in a game, whether it’s cooperative or competitive, encourages connections between people while having fun.

Game nights are good for all ages, all types of groups, and can be planned or spontaneous. Here are a few “Amanda Approved” suggestions:

Board and Card Games

Screenshot 2019-09-15 at 8.39.58 AMTried and true, as well as reusable, these kinds of games can be pulled out and played at a moment’s notice. When I was a kid, our staples included Life, Monopoly, and Clue. We also enjoyed party style games like Pictionary, Outburst, and Taboo, which can be played in small or large groups. These days, my personal collection includes all the above, as well as  more complicated games like Arkham Horror, Ticket to Ride, and Pandemic (just to name a few). Apples to Apples is also a favorite (and some of my friends swear by the similar, but R rated, Cards Against Humanity…not really my thing, but really popular with people who don’t mind things getting raunchy).

Untitled design (2)There are also trivia games, traditional card games, memory games…I could go on, but you get the idea. I do want to mention just one more re-playable game, though, because it’s a little bit different and a ton of fun. A writer friend recently introduced a group of us to The Storymatic, which can be used for independent writing prompts or for cooperative storytelling. We drew cards related to settings and characters, and went around the room adding our cards to the narrative, then drawing new cards until the story was “finished”. It was a more free form kind of game, required some creativity, and was hilarious. I mean, when a pirate and a psychic walk into a hospital waiting room, anything can happen.

There are so many games out there, so check your basement, poke around on Amazon, or visit a game store, and you’re pretty much guaranteed to find something perfect for a few hours of fun with friends or family.

Puzzle and Mystery Games

I’ve talked to a few people who’ve balked at the idea of spending $20 or more on a game that they can only play once, but when I think about how much it costs for three or four people to go to a movie or other entertainment activity, I don’t see a problem spending less than that for a fun evening in. I’m a big fan of mystery box games, and am now getting into escape room box sets.

Screenshot 2019-09-08 at 9.23.09 AMMy first mystery game experience was when I was fourteen. The game was called “Barbecue with the Vampire”, designed specifically for teenagers, and a friend’s parents put it together for her birthday party. I loved it, and over the years have played, and hosted, many other box mystery sets. The concept is simple: each player is assigned a character, and given specific knowledge and information. The games also provide clues and information for the group. The goal is to solve the crime and identify the guilty party…unless you happen to be the guilty party, in which case you’re trying to keep from being found out. Everything you need is in the box, and the experience can be as simple or elaborate as you want. I’ve participated in games where the host decorated their house according to the theme and we were encouraged to wear costumes, and I’ve had groups decide last minute to just open the box and get started. If you don’t have the maximum number of players, one person can take on multiple roles and shepherd the game in a more “gamemaster” style (I’ve used hats and accessories to indicate when I’m becoming a different character). There are lots of box sets available, and although the same people can’t play the same game twice, they can be loaned out and passed on for others to play with their friends and families.

Untitled designI’ve been an escape room freak for almost two years now, and have posted about why they’re such great experiences. I have to admit that I was a little skeptical at the idea of trying it at home, but I’ve been surprised and pleased at how much fun my friends and I had when we tried it. Last weekend, we played a game called “The Werewolf Experiment”, which promised, correctly, that we could just open the box and start playing. The instructions were easy to follow, the puzzles were challenging but doable, and while we had to look in the hints booklet twice (three times was the game’s suggested maximum), we never had to get into the answer book (although we were glad it was available, just in case). When we unlocked the last box, everyone cheered.

Untitled design (1)This is another case where each player can only play once, but the game can still be reused. This particular game has PDFs on their website to allow you to print new copies of the consumable puzzles, and detailed instructions for putting everything back together. I’m planning on taking it to my parents’ house for our next family get together, so they can play while I control the hints and add to the atmosphere. Two of my friends have asked to borrow it to do the same with other groups of people, so we’re definitely getting our money’s worth. When we considered that the game cost just over $20, and most physical escape rooms cost about that much per personwe all agreed that it was worth the cost for just one play…and then we ordered three more.

final answer

What are your favorite games? Who do you play with (or plan to play with)? What are some ways to make game nights even more awesome? Let’s talk!

25 thoughts on “Worth Trying: Game Night

  1. The Eclectic Contrarian says:

    We never really have time for a game night….

    Does looking up silly memes count?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      It’s still an interpersonal experience. ☺

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The Eclectic Contrarian says:

        Lol! 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻

        Liked by 1 person

  2. shellteacup says:

    Our favourite when I was a kid was snakes and ladders and Monopoly although this could last for hours and always ended up with one of my siblings crying because they were losing!! Sunday afternoons were always games occasions. I organise games every Christmas Eve for my sister and her family when they come round, quiz style or complicated pass the parcels are popular as is Pie Face. X

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      I’ve never played Pie Face. I’m going to have to look into it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. shellteacup says:

        Amanda it’s hilarious. X

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Amanda. Game night consisted of Clue, Monopoly, Sorry and a few card games like Spoons Today’s gaming has been kept alive by ex-neighbors who are crazy into games (this same couple takes Amtrak to St. Louis for the weekend to catch the Cubs play the Cardinals). They put on game nights 2 or 3 times a year, one date always being New Years Eve. The night usually consists of light snacking and beverages with 2 other couples with the boy vs girl play in effect. The game is Pass the Trash (?), but using a device that gives you a name of something or someone and starts counting down until you or your team gets the answer from your verbal clues, After getting it right, the device, still counting down, is passed to your opponent who must announce to her team what the clues to the new device-driven word are before the buzzer goes off. Whoever is holding the device when it goes off, loses and 1 point is given to the opposition. It’s fun but nerve wracking because the gamemaster doesn’t like to lose. So there’s much verbal encouragement to come up with good clues. The contest goes until one team wins best of 5 games. The winning teams enjoys bragging rights until next game night. Since the teams are husbands vs wives, much gloating and posturing is done by the winning team.
    Whew. Long post. I needed to write it, being back home and recovering from back surgery, I’m sorta bored already. Anyway, it’s good to see you post again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      That sounds like so much fun!
      I felt bad about missing last week’s post, but the weekend got away from me, and by Monday morning I was down with another sinus infection. I’m pretty much recovered now, but between that and work craziness I didn’t have a chance to write until yesterday.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Crazy weather is causing all sorts of health problems, to much rain and to much heat causing to much sickness . You take care.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I remember growing up with board games too.
    Ludo
    Snakes and ladders and Chinese chequers when I was little.
    Mastermind and Scrabble when I was older.

    Very comprehensive game round up Amanda.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      There’s a such a variety that I’m always finding something new. I bought a new card game this week that I’m really looking forward to trying.

      Like

  5. masercot says:

    My oldest is into the board and card games. I think because we spent a lot of time with Milles Bourne and Magic the Gathering…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      I played Magic for a while in college, but haven’t played in some time.

      Like

  6. Paul says:

    We still have plenty of game nights. And game days for that matter.

    Personally I tend to go for strategy games such as Latice or Tsuro but for a lrager group, you can’t go wrong with a party game like Exploding Kittens.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      Exploding Kittens? I don’t know that one. It sounds intriguing.

      Like

      1. Paul says:

        It’s a fun game. It’s essentially a card-game version of Russian Roulette in which you have to avoid drawing the exploding kitten card. Things get tense when you start to work out where this card is in the deck. And the artwork — which is done by the person behind The Oatmeal website — adds to a general air of silliness.

        What I like about it is that it’s very easy to pick up, but there is enough strategy in the game to make it worth bringing out regularly.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Amanda Cade says:

        Sounds like a great game!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Kamber Shaffer says:

    The adults in my family get together for Cards Against Humanity at least once a month. We play clue, guess who, monopoly, and uno with my oldest. The younger one is almost old enough for candy land. Honestly, we tend to play more board games in the winter though, when weather keeps us from getting outside. We should play them more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      I started with Candy Land, too. I have a very distinct memory of overhearing my mother telling my father that sometimes he needed to let us win. Lol

      Like

  8. fakeflamenco says:

    Great post. I come from a similar family. We love charades, Pass the Pigs, backgammon. apples to apples is fun for three generations. Hope your sinuses are better! Rebecca

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      Apples to Apples is one of my favorites. I had a few rough days with the sinuses, but it’s passed, thankfully.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. fakeflamenco says:

        A. To A is so accessible multigenerationally, Utter Nonsense is fun too.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Lara/Trace says:

    Amanda, my family from Illinois just made us a visit and over two nights we played Yahtzee – it was fantastic. The twelve year old Lauren is Queen at the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      I haven’t played Yahtzee in forever! I’m going to suggest that next time.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: