Yesterday I reviewed some newer games that my family enjoys. Today I’ll look at some classics that stand up well to the test of time. The appeal of these games is generally that they’re simple to learn but have a good mixture of luck and strategy. The strategy component keeps older players interested in the game, but the element of luck makes it possible for even younger players to win sometimes.
First, a game I don’t recall having as a kid, but I know I played it at other people’s houses: Sorry. We have a couple of versions of this game, including a card-game variation. The version I played as a kid was called Trouble, and it had a cool pop-o-matic die inside a bubble. You probably all know how it’s played – move your pieces around the board, trying to get all your pieces into the safe space at the end. If a player lands on a space already occupied by another player, the player who was there first goes back to the start. This is a great game for Family Game Night. Tonka is a killer at this game, and it’s been great for teaching him number recognition.
Scrabble Junior and Monopoly Junior are simplified versions of the classic games that make the game more accessible for younger players. Personally, I’m not a fan of classic Monopoly because the game can drag on so long and become rather bloodthirsty (I’m looking at you, Fixit!) – but I find Monopoly Junior to be quite enjoyable, and I’ve already written about how Tonka, at the ripe old age of five, can easily beat his mother at this game. Scrabble Junior can be played competently by any child who recognizes the letters of the alphabet, and their appreciation of the game will deepen as they learn more reading skills. Both of these games work well with a mixed-age group.
Finally, don’t forget about the classic game of checkers. Although I sometimes think of checkers as the gateway to the more complex games of chess and backgammon, there’s something to be said for enjoying the simplicity of checkers. If you need an excuse to sit down and chat with your kid, a game of checkers is a good catalyst. The great thing about checkers is that everybody knows how to play it – it’s a great way for kids to connect with those distant relatives they only see once or twice a year.