Monday, 23 July 2012

Board / Card Game Recommendations please!

OK so I've started this slightly bizarre tradition of taking a trip down memory lane each year before our family holiday and remembering a game I used to play as a child with my sisters and finding it on eBay so I can play it on holiday with my kids.  So far, we've played Pit, a card game where you trade commodities trying to avoid a bear market.  Wow, that sounds a lot dorkier than the game actually is.  In reality you end up completely hoarse from trying to out shout everyone else around the table.  The game is a lot of fun, quite simple and a bit like a shouting version of Happy Families.  This was a game my mum had remembered from her childhood and I remember playing it on the last day of the summer term one year with Jude, Ali and Pee (real name Louise, called Pee because you Pee in the loo) and being told off for being too loud.


The following year we played Contraband, where you try to smuggle goods through customs, lie about having the diplomatic bag and try to keep a straight face when you get the Ruritanian Crown Jewels.  This game is all about having a good poker face so my oldest daughter excels here as she lies easily and with no compunction.  My sisters and I used to play this in Granny Smith's loft room which I remember being a store room full of interesting things for us to poke around in.


Last year we got hold of an old copy of a childhood favourite of mine called Careers where you work your way around the board trying to score love, happiness and wealth in a variety of interesting careers like Prospecting for Uranium and Travelling to the Moon.  Since this game involves very little skill and mostly luck, it's a great family game for all ages.  And it doesn't last forever like Monopoly which has to be the most boring game ever invented because it goes on for so long.  I used to play Careers for hours with my next door neighbour, Kate Harris, who was much cooler than us because she was the youngest of five kids, her parents worked full time so life at her house was pretty unsupervised and her Dad worked for a biscuit company so they had a whole room dedicated to biscuits.  


So what I'm looking for is some kind of a family game - new or old - ideal for 2-6 players from aged 10 upwards.  Not one that lasts six weeks like Monopoly and not one like bridge where, after a glass of wine, you don't stand a chance of remembering key information.  Nor one like Mouse Trap that takes six weeks to build.

104 comments:

  1. Hungry Hippos? Yeah they dropped one of the "Hungry"s for the latest version. There's also Snap Dragons which was sort of similar. I also remember an awesome game called Hog Holler from the early 90s where you have to boom down a tube to move your pig closer to the centre of the board. It's 4 players with a tube on each corner.

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  2. Ghostly Galleon. That was, hands down, my favourite board game as a child. Of course, they probably still sell it in the shops, because it wasnt that long ago.

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  3. 1. I've never heard of any of these games...
    2. Settlers of Catan - I've never met anyone who did not like that game.

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    1. Hi I'm Angela
      Nice to meet you. I don't like Settlers of Catan.

      Now you know someone. ;)

      (But I always played it with someone who knew what moves I should be making without ever seeing any cards but his own. That's just annoying. lol)

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  4. It's true I lie well. I'd forgotten it was one of my key talents. How about Risk (aim = world domination which should appeal to you), or Scoop where you have to fill the front page of a blank newspaper with scoops and ads. ps don't forget Kate Harris' cool cellar with record player, Ziggy Stardust giant poster and sofas. fab.

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  5. I recommend the card game Uno. It is great for all ages. My family used to play this with three generations. Great fun. Kids always loved it when they could catch an adult forgetting to say Uno as they played their second to last card.

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    1. Friends introduced me to a modified version of Uno called "Fast Uno" - just like the regular Uno but with two exceptions. 1) If you have an identical card (both color and text), you can jump in out of turn and play continues from you and 2) Cards accumulate so, yeah, one poor soul can end up drawing 12 cards.

      Loads of fun!

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  6. Definitely Settlers of Catan! We played it a lot in the past few weeks. I think it's for ages 10 and up but our 7 year old plays it as well (with a little help) :)

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  7. I think you should try Miles Bourne. It's a card game in which you must complete a 500mile trip. We played this game for hours in the summer.Or how about the old game of Life? My friends and I loved that game too.

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    1. I used to play this with my sisters too. It's really easy.

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  8. We had an excellent game called Smuggle which sounds like it's the same as Contraband. What about Game of Life? Although that might have been a bit naff, you could have a Guess Who competition with round etc, we used to play with 2 cards each then you really had to remember things! Have fun whatever you choose!

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  9. jenga -the block building game
    you can either be very loud or no
    have a fun vacation
    and uno is good too, so you should pick a game and add uno

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  10. We used to play a lot of card games ... Chase the Ace kept us entertained for a remarkably long time (don't know if that is a damning indictment of what our school holidays were like). And poker isn't too hard to pick up even for 10 year olds I think.

    In terms of board games, my best friend's family's games of RISK always led to full-scale family warfare (in a happy way!)

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  11. We used to play a lot of card games. Some of the games mentioned are in our arsenal but (whispering) I HATE board games and always try to get out of playing them! Di x

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  12. Pass the Bomb is always a winner in our house, and it is quick too!

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  13. Well, this isn't a very specific suggestion, but do you know boardgamegeek? http://boardgamegeek.com/

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  14. Have you tried Apples to Apples?

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  15. Apples to Apples is fun. There is a lot of laughter with that game!

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  16. These two are favourites of mine:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farkle
    http://www.pagat.com/climbing/asshole.html (sorry about the title but it is known by a lot of names!!)
    Also love Rummikub and triominoes.
    Will keep thinking about other games we loved as kids and still play now.

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  17. The card game 'Donkey' is fun - you collect pairs of animals, but there's only one donkey and you don't want to be left with it at the end. Hilarious when you play with people like my mum who can't keep a straight face!

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  18. Mastermind - with coloured pegs, where you have to guess what 4 are hiding behind the little plastic screen - the original with a criminal mastermind and his glamourous babe on the box! It's been glammed up, but the original is the best x

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  19. Anything but Cluedo or Monopoly. Hated them both as a child and round two as a parent (as my MIL conveniently gave us the carefully saved ones she had kept for all these years, apparently just to torture me). They aren't old games but have you ever played Head Bandz? Particularly fun when it is just adults and there is a bit of booze involved.

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  20. definitely 'mexican train game', everyone can play it, it can last forever, but you can put restrictions on it. we also like bananagrams.

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  21. Cranium comes in several versions and has enough variety to engage various personality styles. I love getting the card to create something from clay.

    Hated Trivial Pursuit. We played the old fashioned Mastermind travel version endlessly when we lived in Brazil and TV was all Portuguese.

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  22. Have you played Tripoly? A card game with MONEY!!

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  23. Taboo and Pass the Bomb are my favourites. They are really easy to learn but so difficult to do. Absolutely hilarious.

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  24. Set is my rave. It's a card game thats relatively quick but can be played over and over. There's a learning curve too. You'll get better and better.

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  25. I loved playing Clue when I was a kid. I felt so clever trying to figure out the mystery!

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  26. Off the top of my head our favourites that span the generations and are always good ...
    Settlers of Catan
    Masterpiece - probably on ebay
    Ticket to ride (europe)
    Pass the bomb
    Risk

    Chris x

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  27. I used to play "Smokers Wild" with my best friend. It's a fabulous family game about the perils of tobacco
    http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/1656/smokers-wild
    :-D

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  28. Everyone had Uno when I was a kid, and it's self-explanatory enough for playing after a few drinks. There is also Wheel of Fortune that I loved but had no one to play with.

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  29. If only I could remember the name of the board games I used to buy cheap at the local gas station. We did use to play spoons with cards. You only played in groups of 4 though, and put 3 spoons in the middle. When someone got 4 of a kind they either quickly or sneakily took a spoon. When the others realized a spoon was missing they took a spoon too. Whoever didn't get a spoon was OUT. Then you reduced it by a spoon, Until you had a winner. Causes chaos and laughter.

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  30. LOVED Careers too. We always had fun with Yatzhee and/or Boggle.

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  31. Taboo, Mastermind, Apples to Apples and FLUXX, a game whose rules keep changing. Great fun!

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  32. We were almost kicked out of a campground one night because our children were so loud as they were playing PIT in the motorhome :) Happy memories. We really like the board game "Sequence" and the card game "Phase 10"

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  33. We love "Ticket to Ride" (the Europe edition), too! You are given multiple routes at the beginning of the game and lay train tracks to connect the cities. The more routes you complete, the more points you score. It's fun most of the time....except for when somebody beats you to a city and you have to reroute. {grin} "Dutch Blitz" (and it's up-to-8 players cousin "Perpetual Commotion") is a pretty engaging game. It's fast-paced and really gets the heart racing! Also, "Bananagrams" (free-form Scrabble where you can rearrange your 'personal' board at any point in the game to accomodate your letter pool) and "Set" (a card game where you have to find sets of three where everything is different, everything is the same, or some combination of the two).

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  34. Ohh I adore careers! We used to do marathons! I love scrabble and clue.

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  35. Uno is great - my hubby loves "Killer Uno". As far as board games, my family played "Aggravation" - a fun marble game similar to "Sorry". Fun tradition you have!

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  36. I used to love a game called Park and Shop. Its an old game from the 50's we used to play when we were camping. What girl doesn't love a game involving shopping? With large groups a card game we called Cheat but I'm sure it has lots of other names, great fun and noisy too!

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  37. I can't wait til my kids can play games! My favorites were Mille Bournes, UNO, and Life. Also look up a game called "Egyptian Rat Screw". It's played with a standard deck of cards and there's lots of slapping and such.

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  38. my family LOVES playing quelf. It is hilarious with outrageous "roolz" that change for the player depending on the card you pick up.

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  39. There are two games that my friend has introduced me to, from her childhood and I love them: 1) Pigmania - you roll little pigs as dice and how they fall determines how you score... the positions have names such as hoofer, snouter, makin' bacon. I believe there is a current version you can buy called Pass the Pigs, but the retro version is much cooler

    2)Waterworks - a card game where you build water pipeline with cards and the other people can sabotage you with leaky pipes, etc to slow you down and there are several ways to fix... fun for a variety of ages with a little more thought/skill involved than in Pigmania

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  40. I had forgotten about Mille Bourne; that's a fun one. We love Ticket to Ride . . . if you have more than 5 players, you can play in teams.

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  41. My all time family favorite is Lie, Cheat & Steal, a political simulation where the players are trying to be elected to public office. It uses all the time-honored political methods of vote buying, libel and under the table deals to advance to office.

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  42. Blokus is a relatively new game that my whole family (old and young) just love! It is simple to grasp, but challenging to master. Quick, too. And as a quilter, well.... you will love it!!!!

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  43. OH. I was going to say Mouse Trap. I saw the game in a thrift store one day and thought,"How cute! I remember that game!" I did not buy it, however. Two days later I went back (not-buyer's remorse?) and it was not there!! Sad day.

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  44. We loved Careers when we were younger! We played Go For Broke, which is like Monopoly but the aim is to lose your money asap - it goes much quicker! We also loved Bucaneer - everyone loves pirates - you had to collect treasure! I love Rummikub - like the card game, but lasts a little bit longer, and involves some thinking. My favourite at the moment is Bananagrams - it's effectively a pack of scrabble tiles and you start with 11 and have to make your own personal crossword - there's lots of shouting funny words and you can define what a real word is or not - it can last only a few minutes a round, so you don't have to sit round for ever. And as for card games - we play Canasta. Whatever you play - have fun!

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  45. Pictionary is great fun for all ages but my fave of all time is Beetle, either the very old version in which you draw the parts on or the newer version in which you assemble a plastic beetle. Have fun whatever you choose. ATM we are playing Hickory Dickery Dock with our 3 yr old grandaughter, she also loves dominoes.

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  46. Definitely Cluedo!! Nothing like Professor Plum with the lead piping in the dining room!! Great fun! Also what about Coppitt? Still have these games somewhere in the loft!

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  47. Ahhh! I absolutely love Pit and Careers! I learned to play both at my grandparents' house, and its a memory that will stick with me forever. I also love Mille Bourne, which is a card racing game that you play with a partner against other teams. Bananagrams is a favorite because its small and portable and easy to play a few rounds on the go or in between activities. I saw that someone mentioned Set, which is a phenomenal game about matching. I love the games that are good for your brain too!

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  48. My sister and I loved Payday as kids and we had our own crazy rules for Life that involved traveling twice around the board and divorcing your first husband! LOL We also played a lot of Mystery Date (vintage even then) and the card game Spoons.

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  49. Bananagrams. A very portable pseudoScrabble which is easy for spellers of all ages.

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  50. Monopoly Deal is our new favorite. It is Monopoly in a deck of cards. Very quick game, and full of surprises. Our 8yo son likes it as much as his 74yo granddad.

    We also like Wits and Wagers, which equalizes the playing field. If you don't know much about history, or dates, etc., then you can wager with the person or team which you believe to be more accurate.

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  51. we love Balderdash...you pick a word and say it out loud, then everyone makes up a definition for it and you must guess the correct one. It's hysterical. Do you know what a snickersnee is?

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  52. We often played Yautzee, Canasta, Connect Four, and Racko. They were all fun. I think I'll look into getting some of these before my family arrives at Christmas time. Thanks for the reminder!

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  53. I must have lived under a rock because I have never heard of the games you mentioned nor most of the ones other commenters mentioned. Maybe living in the land of eternal sunshine just hasn't been conducive to board games!

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  54. How about Dominion? We played it both with adults and with 8-12 year old kids and enjoyed it very much. It's a card game and you don't really have to remember the rules too much, as most of the things you need to do are written on the cards.
    Discworld Ankh-Morpork is also good, probably a bit easier and you don't have to know Terry Pratchett's books to like it :). This one is both with cards and a board.

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  55. Miles Bourne is a favorite - we also like Bananagrams, Othello, Scrabble, Sorry, and Zonk (a dice game - easy to take on the road as all you need are 5 dice and a scoresheet)

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  56. Sorry, Yahtzee and Jenga. All loads of fun

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  57. Oh my goodness! We loved Contraband. I haven't heard if it for eons. If you want that era you must go for Totopoly. Its all about training your race horse and then running in the National. One side of the board is the training where you pay the vet, but feed and find a jockey and then after one circuit you flip the board over for the big race. Depending on how well you train the better you do in the race. Its brilliant and great fir a family. If you can get an original the metal horses you use instead of counters are really great. Very retro. Think you will love it. I am off to look for Contraband on eBay ha ha. My son still plays Pit by the way.

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  58. Our number one family game hands down is Cranium!! In my opinion one of the most unique and creative games around - and everyone, young and old have fun! Lots and lots of laughing, and competition!!
    We were introduced to quelf last year, and that is an absolute hoot, but does take a couple of hours :) (NOT like monopoly lol) And last but not least we found a game last year, i think it's called Dicecapades ? Played with their cards and a bunch of different kinds of dice - lots of fun and competitive! Can't wait to hear what you try! (now i'm off to look up settlers of catan, ticket to ride and miles bourne! Never heard of those!)

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  59. I forget the name of it, but it involves building a railway line across Europe (or the US). It's more fun than it sounds and our 7 year old won last time, nevermind it isn't necessarily a little kids game.

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    1. Ticket to Ride. :D I just recommended that one as well.

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  60. As an only child I didn't get board games, but we did have a very memorably family Christmas where my cousins and I trounced the 'grown ups' at Pictionary...

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  61. At our last Independence Day Celebration, my family played a game that was new to us and a lot of fun for all ages. It's a card game called "Spoons" and can be played a number of different ways, but the best description of how we played can be found here---> http://www.ehow.com/how_4608089_play-spoons-card-game.html Instead of using spoons for elimination, try using candy or some other sweet treat for a tasty twist to the game.

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  62. I actually work in a store in Washington, DC, that sells non-electronic board games, card games, jigsaw puzzles, puzzle books, and old wooden puzzles. I've now played so many different games for all ages that recommending games to fit peoples' needs has become something of an art form. :)

    My strongest recommendation for the best staple family game is "Ticket to Ride" by Alan R. Moon. It's a great gateway for more complex and interesting board games, but it's simple and fast enough that it's quickly accessible for both younger kids and older generations, meaning everyone will want to play it together at family gatherings. Also, it has trains and trains are awesome.

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  63. I love Pit- often play at Christmas. I have played Contraband too- the pictures on the cards are hilarious, stockings and handbags etc! We bought Carcasonne at Christmas and it is a simple game, but you can be strategic too the more you get to know it. Suitable for adults or children or together, we played with my 7 yr old nephew, try not to be deterred by the dungeons and dragons packaging, it is great fun!

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  64. I should have added, Florence-FlossieTC is a fan- that seems to make it sound classier than if I recommend it- maybe it is her French appearance!

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  65. You have the edition of Careers that I had as a child. I loved that game--the rest of my family didn't.
    Another fun game is Scattergories--I like the older editions. Great word game. (I am partial to word games.)
    When my nephew as a little guy, we spent hours playing Battleship. I do not like the newer editions at all but one that 3 or 4 decades old is quite a bit of fun.

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  66. Have you ever played 'spoons'?
    This is played with a standard deck of cards, or two decks, or three if there are loads of you!, round a table. In the centre of the table you place a spoon for each player, less one. ie, 10 players, 9 spoons. You then deal three cards to each player. Now, the essence of this game is to keep it moving, and the object is to get a set of three matching cards in your hand. The way to acquire these, is dealer picks the top card of the remaining set, looks at it and either adds to his hand and discards one from his hand to the next player on the left, or discards the one he has just looked at.
    Next player picks up the discard, and at the same time dealer takes the next one off the top of the deck, the whole lot of you will end up picking up and discarding at once, quicker the better. When you have your three matching, you quietly take a spoon. However, you may, if you wish, continue to pick up and put down, as long as no-one has noticed you grab a spoon. As soon as you notice someone else grab a spoon, you also grab a spoon. Points are marked against anyone left with no spoon.

    This usually, in our house at least, ends up with a load of hilarity, why, I do not know, but I recommend having a target to get the game to stop, eg game over when first person reaches 25 points. Lowest score wins.

    we have played with as few as four players, and as many as 16.

    Enjoy!

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  67. Just back from holiday and we loved playing Blokus, Rummikub and Bananagrams. Great fun was had by all ages!

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  68. We loved playing Pit in my family - it still comes out at family gatherings sometimes but the bear is very very beaten up poor thing, and quite easy to spot. Another game we loved as kids and have started playing with my kids when at M&D's is Stop Thief. It is fun and quick and easy, and adults would enjoy it too. I did try looking for it on ebay last year but seem to remember it was quite expensive. Contrabrand sounds fun - will have to try and find one.
    Good luck with your hunt and enjoy the holidays. Juliex

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  69. This isn't a board game, but we love Guesstures. It's similar to Charades, but timed. Loads of fun.

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  70. Taboo (lots of fun bursts of shouting), Clue ("Professor Plum in the Library with the Candlestick!") and Cranium are always fun. I've also heard great things about Apples to Apples and Settlers of Catan. Have fun!

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  71. I haven't seen it listed but we also played Parcheesi and Life. Yahtzee is a great dice game too.

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  72. My husband would say ticket to ride, he spends hours and hours playing, I would say carcassone - even my 4 year old loves it if we simplify the rules a bit, and there's always gloom for a bit of a laugh.

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  73. We had the boardgame KGB... probably similar to your diplomatic one... loved it!

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  74. Goodness, I lived a very sheltered life! How about Rumikub bit like the card games but wi counters like scrabble with numbers!

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  75. Settlers of Catan
    Shadows over Camelot (it's played against the board, so all the human players win or none of them do)
    Dominion.

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  76. Well, the game of Life has an ending, but it sounds similar to the Careers game you described. It too is about luck. We loved card games so Euchre is a good one as well. See Uno and I remember twister.. Lots of good suggestions for you I see. Enjoy.

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  77. Pay Day was a favorite board games. Also Sorry and Trouble!

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  78. GOsh so many suggestions! I had completely forgotten about Contraband which we also used to play at my grandparents.
    In my skim reading no-one's mentioned Articulate which I LOVE as does my son and since we both like words and get wickedly competitive my husband's not so keen! It's like pictionary but you describe the word instead of drawing it-gets hilarious at times

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  79. Balderdash ....love it! So fun for a group and lots of laughs!

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  80. We like Ticket to Ride. There's a couple different versions. Puerto Rico is also good. If you search for them on Amazon and find the company, look for other games by the same company.

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  81. Hello Lynne. You are going to have a fun holiday with your books and games. We used to play Careers endlessly too. Mille Bornes, as recommended above by Janice, has the advantage of being in a small box and is also fun and not long to play. We called it Milly Barnes. You will almost certainly like Pictionary.

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  82. I really love the post. . .I miss that games during my childhood. . . thanks a lot for reminding me..
    vapor recovery tower

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  83. Thanks for the nice history trip, I've never heard of any of those ;)
    Jenga is great fun, Operation is a laugh and we always had to play trivial pursuits with my parents!!

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  84. Our favorites are Taboo and Apples to Apples. Scattergories. We also fall back on playing card games cuz all you need is a deck or two.

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  85. Oh playing games is so much fun. We (my sisters and I - ages 60 to 51) still have our games from our childhood. Most of them are still in great shape and we still play them with our kids - and now grandkids. Yikes! How did we get so old? You've had lots of good suggestions, I would also suggest Mexican Train. Great even for every age even little kids that can't count as they can go by the colors on the dominoes. And the electronic train sounds are too much fun!

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  86. Uno is a good one, in which everyone has a chance and can have fun. In our family--and when playing with teenage friends--it was always quite happily raucous.

    Our favorite game was called "Facts in Five" which was re-marketed as Scattergories. Again, everyone can play. We keep it on hand and when we have visitors we pull it out to break the ice.

    Final suggestion is Yahtzee. That is still my favorite, and can be played solo if everyone else is busy having fun without you. :)

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  87. As kids we played Masterpiece (was an art game) and Probe. Haven't played either in ages...Our favorite card games are Five Crowns and Dutch Blitz (that one is like a speed group solitare!. We are game freaks and hope you enjoy them!

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  88. ticket to ride is awesome but does take some time to play. we also played Uno a lot and love Quiddler. It's a game with letter son the cards and each round you have to spell words - sort of like scrabble. it's fun and good for building vocab!

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  89. My favorite great aunt and uncle always played Pit and Touring (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Touring_%28card_game%29) with us. We loved it!

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  90. One of our favorites even though it has been around awhile is Balderdash. When the family is all together over the holidays we always have a game night, another fun one is Apples to Apples. This event always provides good laughter and good times.

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  91. Frustration!!!! They're changed the way you roll the dice in the update version (which I thought was the best bit!) but it's still fun! I also love Yahtzee, Game of Life and most card games (not Bridge!). I think the children would enjoy 'poo' head (the more polite name for it!) but you may wish to think of a new name!! Have fun!

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  92. Love Pass the pigs (mentioned above) - great game to play in the pub or when drinking anywhere else! Lots of cards games like Cheat, or Pits or Whist!

    Tiddlywinks, good ol' Charades, Labyrinth is fab and so is Articulate - we have the junior version!

    You have quite a choice there Lynne!

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  93. Have you played Scotland Yard...a detective game through the streets of London?

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  94. Like Randi, we LOVE apples to apples. So fun!

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  95. My, these suggestions bring back memories. I'm sure we still have some of these somewhere! For card games, I always loved playing Mille Bournes, Waterworks, and UNO, and we still play Flinch. For board games, Parcheesi and Scrabble. We recently discovered one from Ravensburger called The aMAZEing Labryinth that my DH loves. There's a fancy version now but we have the plain one. I too remember playing Yahtzee and Rummikub. Mastermind is lots of fun if you're logically-minded. If you have four players, Pictionary.

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