Everybody Wins: 7 Tips for Surviving Family Game Night

A humorous guide on how to play board games with your family during the holidays
Family playing a board game
Mike Harrington/Getty

12/30/2013 10:00AM

The holiday season means entertaining extended family, and many inevitably turn to games to fill the gaps between meals.

Before you go unboxing Clue, it's important to know family game night comes with its own set of rules. TV commercials make it seem simple, but in reality this group activity is a delicate ballet that hopefully doesn't end in anyone getting disowned.

To ensure you don't lose your ride to the airport, we put together simple instructions for when your family gathers around the game board. Read on and then let the dice roll.

1. Nobody Wins Monopoly





Sure, one person ends up with a fistful of $500 bills and a hoard of hotels. But after spending three hours essentially bankrupting, jailing and evicting your entire family, it's hard to call it a win.

2. Save Game Play Until The End

You know what's fun? Scrabble! You know what isn't fun? Spending dinner listening to your uncle argue how "gnu" shouldn't be a word. Play games at the end of the night to avoid awkward meals and gift exchanges.

3. Cheaters Never Prosper

To cheat during game night is to tarnish your reputation. You will be remembered as the kid who couldn't handle a game of Risk, and you'll be reminded of it at every family gathering to come.

4. Use Games As an Initiation Ritual



Board games aren't simply fun, they're evaluations of your psyche. Use this to your advantage, and play a round of Pictionary with your sister's boyfriend to get a peek at his true personality.

5. Know Your Family's Breaking Point

A few hands of Uno can go from cordial to cutthroat with a single Draw Four. Figure out your family's tolerance for losing and respect those limits, or accept the consequences.

6. Keep It Old School

Holidays mean free-flowing drinks and food comas. This is not the time for the new card game you learned at college. Stick to checkers. Everybody knows checkers, even after three plates of turkey.

7. Stop Trying To Make Jumanji Happen



Unlike the movie, there are no rhinos, rainstorms or a scruffy Robins Williams. Just two dice and some animal-shaped pieces of plastic. Save everyone from disappointment and stick to the movie.

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