This Christmas, give your video game system a rest and dust off one of your family’s favorite board games. The best games are the classics, but even so, game creators are still coming up with new twists on old favorites.
Here are 15 great classic games to play with the family and their newer extensions:
1. Uno and Uno Attack! – Mattel
UNO is a favorite family card game because it’s pretty simple to learn and everyone can play. To speed things up, some families created their own rules to the game. Now, UNO Attack! comes with its own shooter that randomly shoots cards out to players who have to draw. You may get two cards or a big stack.
2. Scrabble – Parker Brothers
Scrabble isn’t the most exciting game to play, but it can be a relaxing game to play with adults and still be able to chat. The wooden tile spelling game has been around for years with never a change until recently. Now, you can purchase themed versions of Scrabble based on The Beatles, The Wizard of Oz, Cooking, Gardening and more. There is even a Christmas Holiday version.
3. Scattergories and Scrabble Scattergories – Hasbro
Scattergories is a modern classic where individuals must come up with a list of words all starting with the same letter, but in different categories and before the timer goes off. Hasbro has come up with new versions of the game for individual or team play, including the new Scrabble Scattergories.
4. Trivial Pursuit – Trivial Pursuit Party – Hasbro
The problem with playing Trivial Pursuit is that you need to know a lot about many subjects or you’ll feel foolish and game play can take forever before the winner finally gets all of his wedges in his playing piece. Over the years, Hasbro has created different versions of the game with different themes. More recently, the makers have come up with a way to make the game play faster and more interactive with Trivial Pursuit Party. You get to answer the questions you want and you can ask for help.
5. Taboo – Hasbro
Taboo is a guessing game where you try to get those on your team to guess the secret word or phrase. You can give all the clues you want except for a list of five words. The game is essentially the same as it was when it first debuted in the 80’s, but it too has a new version with 1,000 new words and a “game changer” die.
6. Outburst – Bible Outburst – Talicor
There are at least two versions of Outburst, the game where it is okay to shout out the answers all at the same time. Teams of two go back and forth listing 10 items of a different subject matter. It’s a lot more fun than it sounds. A few years ago, the makers came up with a Bible version where each list is based on something from the Bible, so you can do your Bible study and play games at the same time!
7. Balderdash – Mattel
Families of faith may have a hard time encouraging their children to lie, but that’s the point to this game, which is completely harmless. The classic game, known to some as the Dictionary Game, asks players to make up a description to an unfamiliar word. The descriptions are read aloud and players guess which answer is the correct one. The new version has the words separated into five categories: peculiar people, incredible initials, marvelous movies, laughable laws and weird words.
8. Catch Phrase – Mattel
This game hasn’t been around long enough for a major overhaul with the exception of it being re-branded as Scrabble Catch Phrase, although has nothing to do with the wood tiled spelling game. It’s a great group game though – part guessing game, part “hot potato.” Rounds are quick-paced an often have hilarious results.
9. Sorry – Hasbro
One of the earliest games by Parker Brothers (now Hasbro) is Sorry, a traditional board game for two to four players. Each player has four game pieces that they have to try to get them around the board and back “home” before someone takes there spot and claiming “Sorry!” It is played with cards instead of dice and has been a family staple for years. There are some new games with the “Sorry!” title, (including a card game), but they stray pretty far from the classic game. However, there is a new version of the main game with something called “fire and ice powerups.”
10. Monopoly and Monopoly Empire – Hasbro
This is another old favorite created back in 1936. The main drawback of playing a game of Monopoly is that it takes too long to play and has lost some of its popularity over the years. But Hasbro isn’t ready to give up on this game just yet. There are many themed versions of the game available and handful of new games that are just similar enough to be called Monopoly. One of the latest is the Monopoly Empire where players compete to have the tallest tower filled with billboards.
11. Pictionary – Disney Pictionary – Mattel
Pictionary is not about drawing well. It’s about drawing well enough so that others can understand the concept of your drawing. It’s a game of charades in pencil and paper form. The game has basically stayed the same over the years. A couple of years ago the company came out with Pictionary Man where you actually draw on a small figurine. More recently, Mattel has added a Disney version to make it more family-friendly.
12. Creationary – Lego
Creationary is Pictionary for LEGO lovers. Players try to get their teammates to guess the mystery word based solely on what they are able to create with LEGO’s. Don’t be surprised if the kids beat you.
13. Jenga – Jenga Angry Birds – Parker Brothers
For years, Jenga was played by stacking and restacking little planks of wood of the same size and whoever knocks it down is the loser. Somewhere down the line, that became too dull for many players, so the company began releasing new versions of the game including multiple versions based on the Angry Birds app game. There is the Pirate Pig Attack Game and another based on the Angry Birds Star Wars App. Each come with a launcher and five pigs.
14. Cranium and Cranium Party – Hasbro
Cranium began as one of the oddest games that was really eight games in one, asking players to hone their skills in humming, drawing, sculpting, spelling, singing…you name it. It still does well, but there now is a new “party” version of the game which includes 400 of the best challenges over the years and you can play individually or as a team.
15. Charades and Reverse Charades – Continuum Games
Most people are familiar with the traditional game of Charades, but how about Reverse Charades? Instead of one person acting out the clues for a team to guess; this game requires the team to act out the clues for the one person!