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11 Fun Games for Friends and Family

Easy Travel Games

Pass the Pigs

This game really only requires two little plastic pigs– usually they come in a case like this

or this

But in the end, if you learn the rules, you only need the pigs. Now, you also want a flat surface, like a table or a box– probably not the best car game, but it is possible. According to how you roll the pigs, you accumulate points and try to win! We played this as I grew up overseas, and, I mean, come on, look at those cute little oinkers!


This is a family game that we started playing a few years ago when we got together at my grandma’s house in Bellville. It’s similar to Pass the Pig– all you need are six dice and a little set of rules.

You try to roll 1s, 5s, or sets of 3 or more (three 4s, four 2s, etc.)  You keep on rolling and accumulating points, but if you roll a hand with no 1s, 5s, or sets of three, you must (MUST) yell the name of the game: FARKLE!!!

It’s pretty silly, and quite a lot of fun, if I do say so myself.

Games If You’re Really Close…


Now this is a game that requires at least some bit of knowledge about your fellow players. Yes, you can play it with anybody, but then it just becomes a game of random guesses.

You put down the names of the players on the board and then you read out cards.  “If JULIE was a color, what color would she be? Pink, Green, Black, White, Blue, or Silver?” You try to guess what Julie’s color would be and/or what the rest of the group is going to guess. If you get Julie’s color, you move ahead. If you guess the group majority, you move ahead. If you are Julie, and no one guesses your color, you move ahead!

It’s quite revealing, and sometimes shocking. “YOU THOUGHT THAT IF I WAS A MAMMAL, I’D BE A PRAIRIE DOG?!” Slap!  “Why do you think my favorite food is Chili?!? Do you think I’m fat?”  Double Slap! “Hey, I don’t like the color PINK!” Punch in the gut.  It’s quite a rambunctious game!  But really, it’s usually quite fun and low-stress. Now Pit, on the other hand….


In Pit, it’s best you are close with the people you’re playing with, simply because you spend the entire time screaming, yelling, waving your arms around, grabbing cards, shoving cards away, slapping cards down on the table.  No, really. I’m not joking this time.

You try to get a full hand of a type of crop or product– Sugar, Wheat, Corn, etc.  You do this by trading cards with other people. It’s supposed to be like the Stock Market, and it gets loud FAST!

It’s definitely not a mild-mannered game, but it sure does get the blood pumping and the adrenaline racing!

Games for All Ages


Come on. You didn’t think I could leave Uno off the list, did you?

But really, the reason I like Uno so much, and one of the reasons I picked it as a camp nickname years ago, is because it’s fairly simple. Match the card on the deck, either by color or number.  Skip people, Reverse the flow, make people draw cards, or choose your own color with a Wild card. Try to be the first person to get rid of all your cards. Shout Uno!  Pretty simple.

That being said, what I also love about Uno is that you can find and create all sorts of variations on the simple game. There’s Uno Attack or Uno Stacko or the Uno Dice Game. There’s Texas Uno cards, Spider-Man Uno cards, Green Bay Packers Uno cards. You can play Wild Uno, Jungle Uno, Double Dutch Uno (I just made up that name, but for all I know a variation exists!).

You could even play… Backwards Uno… more on that later…

Balderdash/Dictionary Game

While I was young, when we’d get together at my grandma’s house in Bellville, we’d play what was called “The Dictionary Game.” Basically, we’d pull out a big dictionary, each person would get a pen and a piece of paper and we’d each take turns playing a word. You’d say the word, write down the definition, and then other people would write down their own definitions. Sometimes they were silly, sometimes they were serious. Sometimes you couldn’t tell which one was real.

Now looking back, I realize that it was probably pretty easy to tell which definition seven year old Evan wrote for “feudal system.”  Was it “the political, military, and social system in the Middle Ages, based on the holding of lands in fief or fee andon the resulting relations between lord and vassal” or “a group of people that argue alot” ?  Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Later, I found out this game was called Balderdash.  And while I still hold a special affection for our poor man’s version of the game, either will do.  And though I look back and am sure that I wasn’t a great competitor, I still really enjoyed it as a kid. It lets kids and adults compete at the same level– they might carry different levels of knowledge and intelligence, but they can come together and imagine and guess together for fun.

World Domination Games

Wildlife Adventure

Now, I have come to love the board game Risk.  After all, I have created three Risk Boards in the past four years.  But looking back, I realize there might have been an influential factor in my love of the game. A certain game that paved the way, you might say.

At boardgamegeek.com they describe the game thus: “In Wildlife Adventure, players guide expeditions around the world to locate endangered species. Each player gets to extend one expedition on their turn, and travel vouchers allow the player to make extra moves, place obstacles, or change their mission. The game ends when one player locates all of his animals.”

I loved this game. Love, love, loved it.  I don’t know if it was the animals, the travel, the world exploration, or just the little colored arrows.

If you can find the game online, like at eBay or Amazon, you should pick up a board. Until then, let me know and I’ll have you over for a game any time!


Risk. Ahh, what can I say about Risk.  So much to say.  So many factors and elements that make the game so engaging and emotional and divisive… What can I say?

Risk is Epic.

Group Games

I Have Never (Never Have I Ever)

If you don’t have cards or a board game or perhaps you just want to get to know each other, I Have Never is a big old wrecking ball that can break down walls and barriers between friends.

Basic rules- Person in the middle says something they HAVE NOT done before. If anyone in the circle of chairs HAS DONE that thing, they must get up and try to find another seat. Whoever is left in the middle goes next.  Pretty simple, but also pretty revelatory.

“I have never intentionally ran over a bunny!”  You now know those seven people do not have a soul.

“I have never listened to a full Ke$ha album!”  Those sixteen people that just got up– you might want to avoid going on a road trip with them in the near future.

“I have never eaten chocolate!”  Well, now everyone can just stare in pity at that poor soul in the middle of the circle, because surely no one is going to get up!  Oh, look, Albert is up– poor Albert.

Anyway, it’s a fun game. One of my favorite stories about this game– I was in high school and we were at a friend’s house for an post-dance party.  We were playing the game, and one of my friends, who was in the middle, leaned in close and said to another one of my friends… well, maybe I shouldn’t tell that story right now…


My first encounter with this game was on a high school trip– we were at a hotel after a day of drama/art/writing competitions, and we were relaxing in the hotel hot tub.  The basic rules of the game is that you send someone out of the room, and then everyone decides on a group “problem” or “psychosis” that we all suffer from. The person comes back in the room and tries to guess the problem by asking us each questions.

The problem could be:

– We all have a nervous tic when he uses a world with the letter “u” in it

– We each pretend to be the person to our left

– We are all mirroring one person

It’s sometimes difficult to come up with the problem, but once you are in the full swing of things (especially with a group of dramatic, odd people) it can be quite a fun experience!

Four on a Couch

I did not play this game until a couple of years ago at a camp get-together.  It really is possibly one of the more difficult games on this list, though it seems pretty simple.

The goal of the game is to get four people of the same gender on the “couch”- the couch could be a set of specific chairs, pillows, or taped off area.  Each person has written down their name, put the names in a hat, and pulled out another name for their eyes only.  The game starts with two guys and two girls on the couch, and there is an empty spot to the left of the couch. The person to the right of that spot calls out a name– whatever name you are HOLDING is the name you answer to.  So if someone calls out Sarah, and your name is Sarah, but your piece of paper says Hazel, DON’T GET UP!  If your paper says Sarah, you get up and sit down in the blank spot. Now you switch papers with the person who called out Sarah.  The person who is to the right of the empty seat, the place you just left, calls out another name.  And so on and so forth.  You eventually figure out who has what name and figure out how to get people on the couch, get people off the couch, open up the right empty spot, etc.  There are a few rules– no communication about who has what name, no calling out a name twice in a row, etc.

It can seem very confusing, but it gets real fun real fast!


Anyway, if you ever have a need for good game for a party, event, get-together or family night, try one of these!  I promise you, it’ll be quite fun!  And I haven’t even spoken of Bang!, Mafia, Scrabble, Apples to Apples, States… :)

Posted under: Fun

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