New fun & games in our house

In a Pickle, from our friends the Shepherd family

Speed Scrabble, courtesy of  The Common Room.  Ditch the Scrabble board for this one, and feel free to combine more than one set of  Scrabble letters.  Everyone starts with 7 or 10 letters.  No need to keep them hidden.  The rest of the letters are turned face down in the center of the table.  Everyone works at the same time using their own letters to build their own miniature crossword on the table in front of them.  Each time somebody – anybody –  has used all of her letters she calls out “GO!” and each player takes a new letter and continues to build and rearrange her own letters, trying to use them all.  The game ends when all the letters are gone and somebody has used up all of hers.  In theory you could each add up your score at the end and declare a winner, but we think the fun is in the play.

Dutch Blitz, discovered in the Vision Forum break room.  One of the interns brought a deck to work during the crazy the 4th quarter and life hasn’t been the same since.  Yesterday our new set arrived here at the  house.

Pen, another discovery from The Common Room.  This one is fast and furious fun!  It requires a single die, one pen, plus a sheet of paper for each player.  Take turns rolling the die.  If you roll a 1 or 6, grab the pen and start writing numbers from 99 down to 1.  Other players keep taking turns rolling as you write.  As soon as another player rolls a 1 or 6 she grabs the pen from you and starts writing her own countdown.  Players don’t start their countdown over each time, but continue their countdown on subsequent turns.  Play continues until somebody reaches zero.

Younger players may be given an advantage by starting their countdown at 50 or 20, or even by counting up rather than down, making this truly a family game.  I laughed when the Headmistress mentioned in her instructions for Pen that girls should tie back their hair.  Then we learned the hard way when somebody nearly lost a handful of hair in the excitement.  Incidentally, if my instructions don’t make sense then read the Headmistress’s.

Greed, an old standby.  This one takes 5 or 6 dice and a sheet of paper.  The instructions on Wikipedia are so similar to the way we play that I won’t bother to type my own instructions.

Set is not new in our house, but it’s another great favorite.  This is one of the few challenging games in which a fairly young child stands a chance against an adult.

We also enjoy Cribbage, Dictionary, Tonk and Rummy.

What games does your family play?  Extra points if they don’t require special equipment.


  1. My family has had fun playing “Picture Gossip.”
    Everyone gets a small piece of paper (each about 3×5 inches), and draws a picture on their paper, labeling who it is by, and “#1”. When finished they each pass their paper to the person on their left, who studies it for about 30 seconds.
    Then set the paper facedown, and each person tries to draw what they remember seeing, while labeling it with their name and “#2.” The papers are passed around again, until finally, each person has had a turn to draw everyone else’s picture. When finished, staple the matching pictures together (#1 first, #2 second, etc.) and see how the pictures changed over time. It’s fun, (sometimes hilarious) and you’ll have a little booklet of artwork when you’re finished.

  2. My parents play (And love) speed Scrabble

  3. Bananagrams is lots of fun, and I’m also a big fan of Uno and Yahtzee. =)

    “Which Proverbs 14:1 Woman?”

  4. Newspaper: All but one player sit in a circle. One player (IT) stands in the center with a rolled up newspaper. IT calls the name of one of the players and then runs to tap (GENTLY) that player on the head.
    IF the player whose name is called calls the name of another player first, IT has to veer and try to get to that player before he calls out another name. As soon as IT taps somebody before they’ve called out the name of another player in the circle, that tapped player becomes the new IT and the former IT sits down and joins the ranks of the clobbered.

    This game is much sillier than it sounds, because people get flustered and call out their OWN names, or the names of people (in one case, book characters) who are not in the circle. It’s a great ice-breaker for a group of guests where you may not all know each other’s names.

    Categories: ordinary deck of cards, divide it up amongst players; players set cards face down in front of them. Choose a category, then each of you choose an item in that category-
    Examples: cars and car makes; football teams; flower species; dog breeds; authors; colors, books of the Bible; snacks; countries; mammals; sea creatures; names of streets- anything at all.

    So…. using the dog breeds category, I might be an Irish Wolfhound, the FYG a poodle, the Equuschick a Great Dane, etc, etc.

    We take turns to turn over the top card in our pile (play moves quickly)- if the card in front of YOU ever matches the card in front of another player, you both must try to call out the name the other player has chosen for that round (if I and the EC both had 5s in front of us, I would shout Great Dane and she would shout Wolfhound)- and then the person who shouted the correct name first wins the stack of face up cards in front of the other player, and play continues.

    That game is over when all the cards have been turned over, winner has the largest stack. Put the cards back in a pack, shuffle, redeal, and the dealer picks a new category. This is what makes the game challenging as you have to learn a new list of names each round.=)

  5. Blokus is our new favorite. A little pricey but durable and a blast to play-an easy to learn but difficult to master-strategy game. Cons-lots of smallish pieces and each one is crucial to playing fairly–maximum of four players.

  6. how funny… we call speed scrabble “Take One!” The best way to play scrabble! 🙂

  7. 1, 2, 3, 4 I declare a Thumb War; 5, 6, 7, 8 Try to keep your thumbs straight! And the giggling begins….:-)

    On a totally unrelated note, I was watching “Return of the Daughters” the other night, and when they showed footage from the Father-Daughter retreat, I said “Hey, that’s Perry Coghlan and daughters!” And then laughed at myself, since I don’t actually know you IRL! Love to read your blog, though, and it was fun to see you in the video!

  8. Those sound like fun, if I only had someone to play with.

  9. those games sound like fun. To bad I don’t have anyone 2 play with..

  10. My advice is to mark YOUR set of Dutch Blitz cards (dot in the upper corner or something) so you can combine them with another set for when another family comes over or something and not go crazy sorting them after, and that you laminate them — they’ll last you MUCH longer! Dutch Blitz is definitely my favoritest game ever!

    So is Pen, which we call Mennonite Madness. An additional rule might be for everyone to cut their fingernails first! There are some people I refuse to play with unless they do so….ahhh…so much fun!

  11. Casino requires a regular deck of cards. The rules are detailed so follow the link, but this is great as it teaches some basic addition skills.

    Swap is one of our fun games to play with all ages, much the same as Uno, but with cards that require you to switch hands with other players, slap the deck and other fun-for-kid actions. ANYONE can win, even the youngest.

    Family Fun Cranium is another fun-for-the-whole-family game. Like the original, it has answers that are easier for the children to act out or hum and requires almost no knowledge of pop culture. It also has some over the top physical stunts that gives everyone a chance to move around. Simple enough for our 3 year old to play and interesting enough to keep the adults and older children involved and happy.

  12. Apples to Apples is great because the winner could be absolutely anyone! It all depends on the players who pick their favorite answers, and who knows how one answer will strike another person to pick it. Very fun for guests around the table to play. Here’s the link:

  13. Heather Wawa says:

    A favorite in our family is Pass the Picture.

    Each player has a piece of paper and a pen. Everyone draws a circle to be used as the “head” then passes their paper to the left. Everyone draws any one facial feature on their new paper in front of them (both eyes and both ears count as 1 item). The papers are again passed to the left and another feature is drawn. You go around until you feel you’ve completed. Anything goes – freckles, hats, beards, glasses. The game ends and it’s a MUST to name your character.

    This is a great game that can be played by almost any age. My 3yo is great at this!

  14. We like bananagrams (though I always lose!) and sequence. The sequence games are vicious and intense. We invited a friend to play once with us and umm….we trounced him. He was kinda shocked, I think. :-p

  15. Have you tried Snorta? It’s our newest favorite!

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