Our Family’s Favorite Games

It happened again tonight when Justus (our 13 year old) was eating his potato soup. I started giggling for no reason. This happens to me occasionally when my family is around the table playing games. Tonight, we had to head out the door after dinner, so we were finishing our game and eating at the same time. Justus took a bite of soup, and it was outrageously funny. Except that it really wasn’t, even a little bit.

I admit it. I was getting loopy. We had been playing Settlers of Catan, the Cities and Knights version for way too long. We started it last night after church, took a turn at breakfast this morning, played a few more rounds after lunch, and by dinner, my brain was fried. The game is awesome, but it takes some thinking skills. And we had been playing in and around our regular day of school and work and life. Thus, the potato soup eating hilarity.

Ah, but this is what memories are made of. As our boys get older and are now able to gather around the table for “big kid games” we take advantage of every spare moment we have to spend time playing together. Their schedules are busy, so we have to be intentional to make it happen. Here are some of our favorite games:

Settlers of Catan, especially the Cities and Knights version

ticket to ride

Ticket to Ride



Apples to Apples and Apples to Apples Junior


Uno Attack





Pass the Pigs

Disney Scene It





Don’t tell, but here’s the new one we’re getting this year for Christmas.

Now tell me about the games you and your family love to play!  (And do you ever get loopy after playing games just a little bit too long?!)


  1. Nikki M says

    Your new Christmas game is one of our favorites! My brother in law brought back from Germany years ago and we return to it often. We had fun playing Logo with my sister’s family this summer – might end up being our new game this year.


  2. says

    Oh, thanks much for this list – so many ideas for holiday gifts! Our favorites lately are:
    Spite and Malice
    Fill or Bust (which I think is like Farkle?)
    Phase 10
    They’re calling for snow tonight in our non-wintery Pacific NW town so we’re gearing up for some big-time game playing and hot chocolate drinking!


  3. Hanneke says

    I love games my fav are ticket to ride especially the Europe version, blokus and the card game wizard! Ps love love your new Christmas present, we own quite a few of the extensions as well, great fun!


    Laura Reply:

    Oh yeah! I forgot to add Ticket to Ride. We love that one! I’m adding it to this list now!


  4. says

    Ooh, I think my son would LOVE the Settlers of Catan games! Does it make more sense to start with the original or go ahead and start with the Cities and Knights expansion? Also, any idea if either would work with just two players?
    Thanks much!


    Norma Reply:

    You can start with the cities and knights expansion, but the rules may seem a little convoluted. I think it’s probably better to start with the original. And it’s great for 2 players. My husband and I play all the time.


    Kendra Burrows Reply:

    Great to hear you and your husband enjoy it! I suspect for now it’ll just be me and my son, but I’ll definitely get it for him for Christmas.


    Kathleen Reply:

    You can’t play any Settlers of Catan expansions without the original game, and it is for 3-4 players. There are also 5-6 player expansions and a 2-player card game called The Rivals for Catan.


    Kendra Burrows Reply:

    Thanks! Card game sounds great, too.


    Laura Reply:

    Start with regular Settlers of Catan. You have to have it anyway, because Cities and Knights just builds on it. And it’s best to get the hang of regular Settlers before learning the other aspects of the game!


    Kendra Burrows Reply:

    Thanks, Laura! Boys can keep all kinds of rules in their heads but mamas are disadvantaged in that way (at least this mama is!), so it sounds like the original is definitely the place to start. ;-)


  5. Audria says

    We love Carcassonne, also. It works great for two people or a larger group. My husband gets expansion packs for holidays, now. One of the few games he and I can enjoy and still be challenged with after the babies are in bed.


  6. Tiffany says

    We love Dixit, Lost Cities, Too Many Cooks and Rat-a-tat Cat here. Yes, at Thanksgiving my family played Dixit and we had to end the game early because everyone just kept laughing.


  7. Melissa Wheeler says

    My kids aren’t old enough to play, but my husband and I get together with other couples often. Our all-time favorite is Ticket to Ride. We have three versions! We also love KingdomBuilder. It’s a different game every time you play. If you’re looking for European-type games, goto wikipediaand look up “Spiel Des Jahres” which means game of the year. There’s a whole list of winners and runners up. We get lots of ideas from there. Happy game playing!


  8. Beth says

    This brings back so many memories of my girls growing up. All three girls are married now and have small children of their own. As they were growing up I always bought a game each Christmas for our family to play. I love playing board games. When they came home from college they always agreed to play a board game with their mom. One year when they were in college and high school, they requested to play Candyland. Oh the memories!


  9. Carole says

    We love mad gab- lots of laughs and you can play just by reading the cards- super easy. Also, bridge for dummies is super fun, just need 2 decks of cards. Thanks for the reccs!!


  10. Kristi says

    I grew up playing games of all kinds, and we still bring a bag of games to wherever the family is gathering. We play different card games, as well as tons of board games. The newest 2 that we love (and laugh at): quelf and Loaded Questions. So much laughter!


  11. Kristin says

    For the 3-5 year old set, anything by Eboo is great! My girls especially love Build a Robot and Picnic, though Storefront bingo and classic bingo are also nice. Don’t Break the ice and Honeybee Tree are good hands on games. Thankfully, I have acquired many of these games from garage sales.


  12. Erin says

    Dutch Blitz around here!! Hands down, Dutch Blitz. Every age loves it and it gets wild and I may have to get a new deck soon as the cards are all sticky and bent from the kids taking it to youth events at church. Sumoku turned out to be a real find last year. That’s great for all ages and you (shhhh!!) learn some math, too :)


  13. Elizabeth says

    Ahhhh! Can we come over to play? Love Cities and Knights, Ticket to Ride, Sequence and Carcassonne!

    Our other faves are Tripoley, Quelf, Bananagrams and good ol’ cribbage.

    Games! Love games! Smiling my way away from the computer now.


  14. Pam says

    We love games, too! Besides the ones that you mentioned, the “10 Days” games are awesome and great for teaching geography. 10 Days in the USA, 10 Days in Africa, etc.


  15. Gen says

    Fun, I’m excited to try some of these! We like Qwirkle, it can be good with kids of all ages since it’s color and shape matching with some strategy. Even little kids can match the colors or shapes.


  16. Linda Hoover says

    I love the Settlers of Catan games & expansions, too!! Also, Ticket to Ride & Apples to Apples are more favorites! :-) Based on your enjoyment of the above games, you might want to try Dominion (& expansions), as it is another great game. Also, it has less rules to remember than Settlers of Catan, but is very interactive, like Settlers. Fun times! :-)


  17. laura carney says

    I second Dominion. It even works for two players which is great because our little ones are, well, little. We also love Puerto Rico and for a colaborative twist, Pandemic. We got that one after my husband and I were getting too competitive playing Catan ;)


  18. Sheri Beeker says

    We like Ticket to Ride also. It has a 1910 expansion version which is really fun as well. We also just got a new one called Thurn and Taxis.


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