Sunday, December 6, 2015

Forced Family Fun

I'd feel remiss if I didn't note that it's been many months since my last post. I have a lot of excuses. I have time. I should write. I love to write. I need to write. I'm thankful for my friend who gets me to write at least one blog a year, her and my dad are my number one blog fans so talking with either of them gets me back in writing mode everytime. Guess I should be talking to them more often, or getting more fans :)

Now, with that out of the way, how about I tell you about December. I decided, based on my sisters brilliant suggestion, to do a board game advent calendar this year. I wrapped up 25 games, some new, most old, and attempted to pile them up in the shape of a Christmas tree. It came out a little more crumbling pyramid than tree but it's all about the effort right? I had plans to number the packages so we didn't accidentally play Risk on a weeknight and to avoid other time related disasters. But... the kids begged to choose, and I was flustered because I started late, and it was already feeling like a half assed plan, so I gave in.

I still maintain that the idea is a good one, but 6 days in I've learned a lot of what not to do :) This advent calendar essentially forces us to sit down, interact and have fun, or fake it so as not to be the Debby Downer in the group. This has proven to be a Herculean task for my children.

Let me preface by saying that my kids love games!! They have patience, follow rules and a few can even develop strategies.  But, they are very used to choosing the game. They  now have a nightly struggle of possibly miss out on fun or play the game I think I don't like. It doesn't help that the kid who loves the chosen game rubs it in everyone's faces that they finally get to play and no one can veto. We may need to work on sportsmanship. Hence the phrase, forced family fun. Try it, you'll like it, and most kids won't cry!

At least one kid has cried every single night that we've played. We've had to switch games twice because of timing issues and we've had to delay bedtime twice in order to finish a game. Oops!
Bad pa renting examples displayed daily at our house.

I'll keep you posted on  how it goes the rest of the month,  and I'll share with you what we played and suggestions on games to try from our board game loving family to yours. Merry Christmas!
The 2 yr old taking uno seriously.
Indestructible waterproof uno cards. 

Settlers of America. Needs space, has lots of small pieces.

The advent calendar. Don't count closely, some were in the mail or at a friends house so they weren't wrapped yet.

The cards have to pictures to choose from, you only need to match one.

The mess of choosing which games to wrap. I used up 3 rolls of wrapping paper!

Games played so far:

December 1st - Loonacy Card Game
A fast paced card game similar to Spot It. Match pictures and be the first to get rid of your hand. Game play lasts under 30 minutes and is always entertaining.

December 2nd - Settlers of America
A great version of Settlers of Catan! Bonus that your kids learn the states as they play. Double bonus that they all sing "Jackson, Mississippi" like Bruno Mars whenever they're near that area. The goal of the game is to travel from east to west by train or covered wagon. You need to build settlements and deliver goods to other settlements to win the game. Game play lasts about 2 hours.

December 3rd - Uno H2O
It's Uno but with waterproof cards. If you've ever tried waterproof cards than you know just how amazing they are! Practically indestructible means even the 2 year old can play. She doesn't have strategy but can easily match colors and numbers.  All my kids started out with uno as a first game and all still enjoy it. Game play is usually under an hour.

December 4th - Phase 10 masters
Phase 10 is a favorite in my husband's family and they take it seriously. Phase 10 masters tweaks a few of the rules (in ways that I love!) and is a faster paced more strategic version. I had a moment of weakness and felt bad that I was beating my children so soundly. I eased up for a round or two and ended up losing terribly. I generally think a game should be fun whether you win or lose and usually stand strong against whiners but I had a moment of weakness. Never again. Game play was about 2 hours.

December 5th - Dominion
This card game is fairly new to our family but we are obsessed! It's a card game with different variants so the strategies change based on which setup you choose. Your goal is to build a deck of properties using money and action cards so that you have the most victory points (properties) in the end. Game play is 45 minutes.

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