So, it’s Saturday night and you have no real plans. You, your spouse, and your kids all want to do something but you don’t know what. You could go to the movies, or a sporting event, or stay at home and watch TV, or worse, you each stay in your separate areas, sullenly playing on your phones.
Or you could be an active participant in a fun, shared, group experience with your family. You could have a Game Night! Your family says, “That’s a great idea, Dad. You’re a genius. What do you want to play?” “Uhm, I don’t know. What do we have in the closet?”
Tucked inside the lone, misfit closet that every house seems to have, you pull out your “game collection”. Monopoly, Sorry, Trivial Pursuit, Battleship, Parcheesi. Too long, too simple, no fun for the little one, only two people, is this even a game? One box has a blown-out corner and the sides have begun to curl away. One box is missing half its pieces from the “Vacuum Incident” of ’08. Jeez, is this all we got?
“Let’s get some new games” you say in another flash of brilliance. But it’s back to the same old question. What do you want to play? Charade like party game? Doodle game? That one where you stick that thing in your mouth and try to talk? Hey, didn’t Doogie Houser put out a game this year? I don’t know, but that dead painter from the 70’s did, what was it called?
And so, it goes, until game night is a bust. No games were played, no bonds were created, but at least your kids got two squad kills in Fortnite, and that’s a lasting accomplishment, right?
The party game industry is booming. Dozens, if not hundreds, of new titles are released each year. The movie “Game Night”, no relation, was a sleeper hit last summer. (Plus, Jason Bateman is a comedic god, but that is a post for a different website.) Game review YouTube channels, such as “Geek & Sundry”, and “Sit Down & Shut Up” are very popular among the Millennial crowd. Wil Wheaton has become the poster child (Child? Poster adult? Spokesman? Let’s go with Ambassador) of Party Games.
All this new content and growth is awesome and hopefully even more great games will be created to meet demand.
Most of this Gaming Renaissance is aimed for the younger, hipper crowd with expendable income. But what about the slightly older, “hey, we used to be cool, too”, 30+ somethings who have families of various ages and development stages?
There are a ton of sites dedicated to reviewing, ranking, and safety checking toys and games for toddlers and babies, as well there should be. But I don’t know of any that help parents find good, smart, and most importantly, fun games to play as a whole family. The game sophistication of an 8-year-old is vastly different for that of a 10-year-old or a pre-teen. The game of Risk is listed for ages 10+, but is it really right for a 10-year-old? Or fun? Really? Let’s find out.
So, who are we to deem ourselves worthy to pass judgment on all things Gamey? The short answer is we’re just a family who loves to play games. One Dad, one Mom, and two boys, aged 10 and 12. We try to have a family game night once a week. And we get together every other week or so with other friends, some with similar families and some not, to play even more games.
We firmly believe that playing games with your children is one of the best ways to help them grow intellectually, socially, and independently. All while having fun and spending “quality time” with the ones we love. And it’s important to help the kids to learn how to win and lose gracefully. Someday, even Dad might learn this too.
Now these reviews aren’t just for families. Playing with your allegedly adult friends is important too. We will review Cards Against Humanity and woe to anyone who thinks playing that game with a child is a good idea.
We love to play new games, but, like everyone else, we are often at a loss about what game to buy on our low-priority, not-substantial game budget.
We don’t really have a game budget, but we’re not rolling in dough either. There is a game based upon the cult film “Big Trouble in Little China”. I am uncomfortably eager to play it but can I really justify the $100 price tag? I suppose for the sake of completeness and for humanity, I’ll have to bite the bullet. And as your old pal, Jack Burton, says, “What are you clutching that C-note for? You can’t spend it when you’re dead!”
We love all types of games too. Variety is the spice of life, and of gaming. We will try any game in search for that next big victory rush. We will review board games, party games, card games, dice game, role-playing games, and maybe co-op video games. My sons forced me to write in that last one. No promises. If it requires more than one person to play it, then it will probably make its way here. So, stay tuned for that Tic-Tac-Toe review, it’ll be our most viral post. You betcha.
Our first reviews may seem random and scattershot. We’re going to start with the games in our closet and the new ones we got for Christmas and move on from there. But hopefully, over time, this website will be cohesive and comprehensive. And maybe even useful.
So stay turned and game on!
Life is more fun if you play games. — Roald Dahl