Bend the Rules on Game Night

Peggy BrownBy Peggy Brown, NAPPA Board & Card Games Judge

Games bring us together and get us giggling, and they can greatly enrich our free time as families. Instead of bringing out the games when there’s nothing more exciting to do, set a special night each week to play a game with the whole family. Take turns suggesting which game to play, pop some popcorn, pour the root beer and make game night an event everybody can look forward to with wild anticipation.
If you don’t have a closet full of games, trade games with other families or check them out of the library to keep things fresh and interesting. You can even plan an all-family shopping trip to the game store and see what there is to see. The trip in itself can be really fun – pick up a pizza on the way home and you’re ready to play!
ChickyBoomAfter you choose your games, remember this: once you own a game, it’s yours to keep! That means you can change the rules at will. Sometimes it’s fun to play a game over and over, but alter the rules each time: add stunts, ways to win more play money, new pitfalls and free moves. Rules can be tweaked to level the playing field for younger players and allow them to participate and compete with older kids and parents. Rules can amp up the fun and learning in all kinds of ways. To teach manners, for example, make a rule that if somebody says a bad word, or burps out loud while you’re playing, he has to stick an ice cube down his shirt!
When you play different games every week, you’ll get a feel for what kinds of games your family likes best – some families might be competitive strategy gurus, while others might like lighter games of chance. Some families might like to play in the dark with flashlights or to wear funny hats … ours does! Whatever and however you choose to play, remember there’s a lot happening during a game: you’re learning about each other, you’re spending face-time together, and you’re creating memories that will last.