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The Other Winter Games – Family Favorites

After posting recently about our new games in 2022, I thought it would be fun to revisit some games that I’ve written about previously on my blog Life Over Lunch. So join me as I take another look at some of our favorite family games and board games discussed in two earlier posts. The first post was obviously written in the backdrop of the 2018 Winter Olympics.

from Feb 8, 2018 post with the same title

Welcome to the Winter Games! The Davidson version! Though most winter games include snow, our winter games involve avoiding snow! Like preferably by a fireplace. And definitely with friends. You could include caramel corn, hot chocolate, maybe. Or you could break out the preferred Davidson snack trio of popcorn, salt and vinegar chips and peanut M&Ms.

Our winter games did not begin with ceremony, parade and torch but with a trip to Goodwill. It was an accident really. I went to Goodwill searching for a spinner to use for a children’s game in Sunday School. Rather than ordering something online, I could have the instant gratification of a spinner soon-in-hand for under $3. I found what I needed, but as I rifled through boxes my eye caught sight of something familiar. Could it be? Yes, it was! There in front of me was a very unused board game that Eli had been wanting for over a year! Tsuro for $2.88! Score! Truly, theoretical “mom” points for me!

As I hugged Tsuro to my chest, I saw something else unbelievable! What! Code Names! I’d played that at a party, and it was an excellent party game. I strutted to the checkout, head held high like a true Olympian, with my three games in hand. And just like a true mom, I had to share my triumphant find with the clerk and others in line. Ah!, if only my children had been there to share my glory and be embarrassed as I boasted before strangers!

Like any good shopper I asked to open the games before I bought them. Sure enough, all the pieces were there and the games appeared unused!

Let me tell you about these games and the others we received for Christmas.

Tsuro: The Game of the Path

Tsuro board tokens on paths

The object of this game is to be the last player on the board. There is a little bit of strategy here, but it is often overwhelmed by the chance play of another player and therefore anyone is qualified to seize the victory! It is the perfect game for mixed skill levels and ages, and we have often fallen to our youngest players.

Each player selects their starting location on the edge of the board, and during their turn, builds a path that will move their token. As a tile is laid, every token whose path has extended must move to the edge of their road. As you can see from my picture, this tile moves one player over and another player off the board. Sorry orange token, you lose! Game play is 15-20 minutes. The box is labeled 8+ and up, but I think it’s fine for younger folks. 2-8 players.

Code Names

family games - Code Name cards and Spymaster grid

This team game is great for a group of mixed competitors and non-competitors! The way Code Name works is that the opposing red and blue Spymasters do the challenged work of providing clues to their teammates, grouping similar words for a quicker win while avoiding the Assassin (specified card on the field) and the other teams words. So assign the mastermind competitors as Spymasters where they can view the grid which maps out which of the laid out words belong to the red team, which belong to the blue team, which is the Assassin and which ones are neutral.

During each Spymaster’s turn, he can give a one-word clue and a number which designates how many words are related to his clue. His teammates can then work together and guess words which words they think their Spymaster is indicating. Their guesses are then covered by the Spymaster with the appropriate color card as it corresponds to the grid which only the Spymasters can see. The first team to correctly cover all their words wins! But if you guess the Assassin, you automatically lose! Game play is 15 minutes. 2-8+ players because there are variations for 2-3 people. Ages 14 and up.

Dutch Blitz

family game - Dutch Blitz cards

This one has been around for awhile, but it was new again to us when Maia got it for Christmas. Test your speed against your friends as you flip through the cards in your hand AND  in your stacks to create piles in the center that number 1 though 12. Fast paced fun for 2-4 players! Ages 8 and up.

Sushi Go! – The Pick and Pass Card Game

family game Sushi Go! tin and cards

This adorable game is won by scoring the most points in three rounds. Unlike any other card game I’ve ever heard of, you select only one card to keep from your dealt hand! Players reveal their selected cards and then pass the hand to the left where play is repeated by again selecting one card, revealing, and passing. Cards have different values which vary depending how they are grouped so select wisely! After all cards have been distributed, points are tallied, and all but the pudding cards (which remain laid for all three rounds) are discarded and another deck is shuffled and dealt. After the third round, pudding cards are included in the count and high score wins! Play time is 15 minutes. Ages 8 and up. 2-5 players.

from May 11, 2020 post

Tsuro of the seas 

family game, Tsuro of the seas board

This version adds another dimension to the original Tsuro that we introduced in an earlier post. Like the original, you are still trying to be the last player on the board as you lay out a path to travel, but now you are in a sea with dragons who can move and devour you. Their placement and their direction of travel is completely dependent on the roll of the dice.

Ticket to Ride 

family game - Ticket to Ride trains on board

And let’s not forget this favorite! Can’t travel? Well at least you can pretend to (and learn a little geography) as you complete your train tour across the board, cough, continent. In this game for 2-5 players, you will be selecting secret destinations and laying down track, while racing to complete your mission before the other players. Different countries and continents are available for purchase.

Hope you enjoyed some of my favorite family games I’ve pulled out of the game closet. Feel free to share some of yours as well!

Are you a team player? Be sure to comment and share.

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