Wednesday, December 17, 2014

5 Awesome Games You've Probably Never Heard Of

When I think holidays, I think games. Board games, card games, no pieces needed games (think Charades or Mafia). This all comes from my connecting family to holidays and games to family. Every family gathering that I can remember has had at least one game going most nights. So after growing up with a game playing family, I went to a super nerdy college that boasted many Friday night game nights, and then the icing on the game cake: I married a man who also loves games.

And so here you have many layers of pure game loving family time. Our kids are just getting to the ages where they can join in on games that are actually fun for adults (not that Chutes and Ladders isn't a good game per say , but you can only take so many rounds of it, am I right?). Games, in my mind, are the perfect way to get together those who don't know each other as well, or to spend quality time with your favorite people. They bridge age gaps, encourage learning, and are all around fun.

Most of the ones I list here are also available for free 2 day shipping via Amazon Prime. Not a Prime member? Nothing like right before Christmas to sign up for a free 30 day trial. Games are always a good Christmas gift. =)

So in case you think you've played them all, here are 5 of our all-time favorite games that aren't as popular say as Monopoly, for the mainstreamers, or Carcassone, for you more nerdy type. 


Have you ever played Mafia before? This game is basically Mafia played with cards, set in the Wild West, and without the whole making up some story to exonerate oneself (which is my least fave part). Since you do need at least 4 players, this is a great group game, but not so much for a night with your honey. 

Game says 12 + up, but we've played it with 7 year olds before. They just need to be reading pretty well.

4-7 Players


It's small size makes it a perfect stocking stuffer, and this is a great one for so many occasions. Fast paced and easy to learn, it's reminiscent of Double Solitaire, but more fun. There is an Expansion Pack that allows you to play with more than 4 players, but I've never played that way. We have tried just playing with two decks, and that works out ok though you have to sort the cards in the end.

Recommended age is 8+, but if you're patient, you could probably teach a focussed 5 or 6 year old to play.

2-4 players


Definitely the perfect family game - fun and challenging for everyone. Especially good for building quick thinking and acting skills, this game challenges you to make sets based on similarities or differences. You can group cards according to colors, shapes, shading, or number of each. So much fun, and everybody plays at once, so it can be as short or as long as you choose.

Ages 10 + up recommended - I'd say definitely as young as 6, maybe even 4.

Play solo or with a group - totally flexible here!


I remember my dad teaching us this game when I was in high school. Another classic - this one based on a car race. Each player adds mileage via number cards aiming for 1000. All the while their opponents are attempting to knock them out of the running with flat tires, out of gas, and other casualties.

Ages 7 + up, pretty accurate. You need to be able to add well, read some, and understand the logistics of removing the casualty cards.

2-8 players - with this particular copy the number of players is higher. I believe ours only allows up to 4 due to number of cards. Games can be combined to allow for more!


Ok, so I almost didn't include this one because it's out of production, but I've found copies at Goodwill/Salvation Army, so it's worth a look. I'm actually quite horrible at this game and always end up losing, but I still find it so much fun. Each person picks a secret word and then letter by letter words are guessed. It's a great learning game to increase vocabulary, but even if yours is limited, you can hide simpler words and make them hard to guess. 

Ages 8 +up, I'd say this was an accurate recommendation 

2-4 players, but multiple sets can be combined for up to 8 players

I'd love to know some of your favorite games! We haven't found any new ones in a year now, so we're definitely on the lookout for more tried and true winning choices.

Linking up with Jenna today at Call Her Happy for 

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This post: 5 Awesome Games You've Probably Never Heard Of first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 16 December 2014


  1. I love games, so I'm definitely going to keep this post in mind. I have played Mille Bornes before, my husband's aunt, cousin, and her two kids love to play games and they have that one. I love when we visit them because we're always learning new games and we stay up late every night playing games. In fact the slowest might be nice for some gift ideas for them.

    1. We're big Pass The Pig fans. Also introduced to us my by husband's cousins.

    2. We love Pass the Pig, too - I grew up on that one. =)

  2. I love games and the holidays are the time I get to play them most. Some of my favorites include bananagrams, monopoly deal, bohnanza, and ticket to ride. The last two are probably better for kids over 12 though. :)

    1. Love, love, love Ticket to Ride! Monopoly Deal - also always a great one. I actually haven't played Bananagrams or Bonanza, so I will add those to my list. Thanks!

  3. Oooh my husband and I love Carcassone! Dominion & Ticket to Ride are arriving this Christmas. We're stuck with 2 player games since until our 10 month old grows up :)

    1. Dominion is one my husband wants to add to our collection - he plays it at work now, but I have yet to play it. Ticket to Ride is so good. I love that it can still be challenging with just the two players.

  4. How fun, Sarah! I have to get some of these for my parents' house. We're a competitive bunch, and Bananagrams is getting a little old. :)

    1. Yay! Love competitive family bunches. =) That's *just* like we are. So much fun.

  5. Replies
    1. Isn't it just the best - I actually discovered it in college, and then brought it home to my family over a break one year.

  6. Looovee Dutch Blitz! And Mille Borne! Clearly, I need to get these other games.

    1. Yay! Clearly so. And come play with me. Why aren't there mom game playing days? Complete with cocktails of course.

  7. Thanks for tbe great ideas! I've decided to give the kids (seven of them, aged 13 to 6mo) several new games to play as a family over the 12 days of Christmas.

    1. That's a great idea - a perfect way to keep the celebration going!

  8. Great game recs! Thanks Sarah!

    1. Hope they were helpful - games are one of my favorite presents. I actually just ordered 'Dominion' for my husband as an addition to the family pile.


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