Archive for June, 2010

Planning for a Family Board Game Night

I remember when I was a kid, my parents used to set time and date where we had to gather in the living room and play board games. There were no internet and video games back then so we had not so much to choose from. Still, it was fun. And those fond memories made me appreciate childhood and the value of spending quality time with family. Those times are just memories today. Sad to say, less and less families hardly play board games anymore. With all the technologies and individual activities each family member can do, a family gathering just to play a board game is really hard to come by. So if the opportunity knocks and you really want to tie your family together, board games are still the best way to do it.

Planning for a family board game night is not a very hard thing to do. But if you don't know where to start, read on…

1.) Clear all our schedules and make it an important date. Doing this sends a message to your family about your priorities. It may be hard to gather all the members for a night, especially if you have teenagers. So you have to announce it early and be a role model. Once you have set the time and date, stick to it. The last thing you want to do is to cancel the night because of some important appointments or deadlines you have beat.

2.)No guests allowed. There may be occasions where you want to invite friends, relatives or neighbors to play with you, but this time, it is a closed-door session. If you keep it to your family, every member will realize their role and identity. Also, this is a great opportunity to improve communication among each other.

3.) Do not entertain interruptions. Turn off your cellphones and PDA'S and let the machine answer your phone calls. Make sure that there are no other things that need to be done like homework and chores.

4.) Use different games. No matter how much you love certain games, if you play them night in and night out, the activity can become boring. Once in a while, buy new games. It doesn't matter what type of game you play for the night as long as everyone can participate. Also make sure that games have a balanced combination of luck and strategy so that everyone can have a fair chance of winning.

5.) Utilize this moment as a venue to teach lessons such as fair play and becoming a good sport. Use family night to encourage positive behaviors and social skills that they can use when they grow old and when they interact with others outside the house.

6.) Prepare some snacks. Children love to play but they also love to eat. Easy to prepare and easy to eat foods can be placed in a bowl where they can just dunk with their hands.

Other useful tips:

a.) Introduce board games to your kids as early as possible. Many board games are designed for kids as young as 4 years old so you will not have any problem when choosing the games that will fit to your youngest child.

b.) This night is for your kids so let them decide the games that they want to play.

Kids Board Games the Family can Enjoy

Whenever they ask me, "what is the best board game for my family?" I often return the same question back. Not because I don't have the answer or I simply don't want to give them any information, but because recommending one or two board game titles to everyone would mean that I have objectively identified what are good board games and what are not. To be honest, I have not cracked the criteria on how to judge board games. Perhaps, determining which one good is very subjective. And so where do we go from here?

Identifying the board games that are enjoyable for the family relies on the age of your kids, the available time you have on playing and the skill level of the game. Choosing among them will be your task.

There are hundreds of board games around and many of them are for kids. But the fact is a lot do not deserve any of your time. Still, many are indeed very enjoyable.

In this article, I have enumerated some of the board games that are easy to play and have a simple theme that appeals to younger ages. You can base your choices here:

Chutes and Ladders (also known as Snakes and Ladders) is a classic and simple game played by two or more persons. The game is played on a board with numbered grid squares. On certain squares there are a number of chutes (or snakes) and ladders, connecting two squares together. The lack of skills needed and the simplicity of the game make it less appealing to older folks but for kids who can roll a die, this game is a sure winner.

Connect Four, while this is not exactly a board game, it deserves all the rights to be included in this list. Also known as Four in a Row, Plot Four and Four in a Line, this fast-paced game develops concentration, cause and effect, and strategy. The aim of the game is simple: be the first to connect four checker pieces in a row while preventing your opponent from doing the same. Connect Four is a two-player game and can be played by children, 7 years old and above.

Monopoly Jr. If Monopoly (the original version) is very technical for your kids, why not try Monopoly Jr.? It has much simpler rules and less properties to manage, purchase and bargain. Monopoly Jr. is recommended for families with kids 5 years old and above.

Sorry! The object of the game is to be the first player to reach all four pawns or tokens from the start square to the home square. Players rely on randomizers (cards that are drawn from the stack) so it can be played by kids as young as 4 years old.

Zingo is very similar to bingo; but instead of numbers, the players have to pick a board with nine pictures. Then, the players take turns by sliding Zingo chips to release 2 pictures. The first player to match all nine pictures from his or her board wins. This game is recommended for families with kids of at least 4 years old.

Other kids games you should consider are Life, Don't Say It, Taboo, Pictionary, Settlers of Catan, Catch Phrase, Upwords, Othello, Uno, Cranium Conga, Balderdash, Apples to Apples, Uno and the all time favorite, Checkers.

How to Enjoy Your Favorite Board Game?

We all come to a point where we get tired of playing board games, hide them under our closet and forget that they ever existed.

At this point, you simply stop playing because you lost the interest anymore. While it is very unfortunate and should not happen at all, the reality is, it does. This doesn't mean, however, that you cannot bring back that lost interest you once had.

Here are some of the ways to rejuvenate your interest in playing your favorite board game and start enjoying it as if it is the first time you play the game:

Play with your best pals
You have to agree on this: in most cases, enjoyment is not dependent on the game itself but on the people you are playing with. Board games just facilitate the fun no matter how bad or how well it is rated by the experts since a good company of friends can always turn a horrible game into a source of laughter. Make sure that you maximize the number of players in the game. And if the game allows you to play with as many players as you can, call all your friends, schedule the time and date, order some snacks and play till your hearts content.

Play with your family
You do not always have to schedule a family night in order to play with your parents, brothers and sisters. At any given moment, when everybody is doing nothing, you can always bring out your board game and invite your any member of your family to play.

Don't think of anything; just focus in the game
Spoilers come in different forms but they all arrive at a very bad timing – when everyone is starting to have fun. An unwanted phone call or a text message in the middle of the game, a burning pot in the kitchen, a knock on the door from an unexpected visitor or an unfinished task that must be done immediately always ruin the activity. So before you begin playing, make sure that the homework is finished, the cell phones in quiet mode and doors locked. Simply put, play when you do not have anything to do.

Improve every time you play
Challenge yourself to become a better player after every game. To do this, you can read some tricks, tips and techniques on how to play your chosen game better and apply it each time you face other players on the table. It is also recommended to play against better opponents no matter what type of game it is.

Read and learn the rules
Players can always modify the rules of the game as long as everyone is aware of the changes. But playing outside the official rules of the game is more than a consensus. This is not to say that players always cheat. It only means that many rules of board games are not always used because no one is really aware of it. Reading the rule book is not so hard. Just spend some time in understanding what it says will make a difference between appreciating the game and getting bored after several times of playing.

Rules can be bent, of course. But only if you understand the game well will make some changes in the rule sensible and at the same time, leaned towards the enjoyment of everyone.

Game Board Tricks and Tips: Monopoly

Monopoly is a game to improve business skill. In fact, everything you learn in the game can be applied in real life situations. But before thinking about becoming a millionaire because you have played monopoly, you need to improve on your game first. Here are some important tricks and tips that can help you become a good monopoly player:

Pick the right properties
Many players would suggest that you buy all available properties you land on as long as you have the money to pay for them. While this may be a good idea on the first stages of the game, having properties that do not yield any profit is worth nothing. Buy smart. As much as possible, pick 2 or 3 properties of the same group or buy a property that blocks other prayer from completing a set.

Maximize low income mortgage
Build 4 houses quickly if you happen to own low income mortgage. This way, you create a building shortage that will hamper other players the chances to build on their rather expensive properties.

The Illinois Avenue and the B&O Railroad
Your token's moves depend on the roll of the dice but for some strange reasons, the Illinois Avenue and the B&O Railroad are the properties most often landed on. Be the first to own these two to make exceptional profit.

3 houses are always better than 1 house
The rent rises significantly when you build 3 houses instead of 1 or 2. If funds permit, build 3 houses as quickly as possible. Try to monopolize all the properties in a group. This way, you increase your opponent's chances of having to pay for the rent.

Prefer railroads over utilities
Of course it is good to own everything but if opportunity arises, try to purchase railroads over utilities. If you land on the B&O Railroad, purchase it right away. Short Line, however, is the least visited railroad on the board so try to reconsider and assess your financial positions before buying.

It is sometimes better to stay in jail
Early in the game, it is worth paying $50 to get out of jail. In fact, experts of the game advice to get back into the game immediately after you landed on the jail. But if the board becomes very risky to move around, especially on the latter part of the game when all the properties have been bought, staying in jail is a better choice.

Monopolize the Orange Properties
If the Illinois Avenue and the B&O Railroad are the properties most often landed on, the jailhouse is the 'space' most often landed on. A roll of 6 or 8 (two of the most common rolls in dice) from jail lands your opponent on orange properties. If you own them, you will get the ROI fast.

Mortgage Smart
Do not mortgage a property where you own two or more of the properties. Remember that you cannon build on any properties in that group if one of its properties is mortgaged.

Know the rules
The reason why Monopoly is so popular is because it is a good game. But most players tend to overlook the importance of the rules. Read the official rule book and make it known to all the players. This way, everyone is on the same page and understands how the game is properly played, which helps everyone to become better.