The table is set for traditional holiday celebrations: out-of-town visitors, nap-inducing indulgences, exchanging gifts and words—very terse, insistent words—usually after a family game night that gets as tense as the waist of your pants.
Before you find yourself waving a gravy-stained napkin over who won, cheated, or botched a game meant to strengthen domestic bonds, prepare for a holiday fiasco with a selection from these games that reflect family dynamics, whether you’re catering to the Brady Bunch or a houseful of Belchers.
Blank Slate plays to the finicky “sibling rivalry” chemistry that facilitates an uncanny ability to think alike which, until now, has only lent itself to corroborating post-curfew alibis in your teen years.
As the Blank Slate slogan goes, “[Your Family Name] Minds Think Alike” in a casual and easy-to-learn word association game, where you must rely on first instincts and even others’ vocabulary to create compound words, match another’s answers, and be the first to rack up 25 points as a result.
If you’re often faced with the conflict of being your sibling’s best pal or number-one nemesis, leave it to fate by filling in your slates and discovering that you have more in common with “the black sheep” than you’d like to admit.
It might be harder to gauge the extent of your family’s vocabulary if you grew up with, say, your mom using every G-rated curse word under the sun when you got in trouble. Give thanks to the folks who raised you by letting them win a fast and fun game of Tapple.
Something about the quick reactions, sound effects, and tactical Tapple wheel will remind you of pushing your parents’ buttons as you try to be the last one standing in this casual game of “think fast.” Draw a category card, start a ten-second timer, and name something from that category beginning with an untapped letter of the alphabet until everyone’s been stumped.
It’s an easy victory to pass onto the loving, deserving maternal figure in your life, so just pretend you can’t name an animal that starts with the letter “T” unless you want Cersei Lannister mashing the living daylights out of your potatoes with frustration.
When gathering with family, having your words and stories twisted is practically a requirement. What you told your aunt somehow gets relayed entirely differently to your grandma, and in the end a hilarious (and not at all accurate) story comes about.
Miscommunication abounds, and laughter ensues. So how is playing Telestrations any different than a conversation with your family? You’re at the mercy of each other’s drawing skills and Grandma can’t blame her hearing aid for ignoring you.
Despite providing ample grounds for wires to get crossed, Telestration’s cooperative nature makes this the easiest game to work together and “play nice” to make sense out of everyone’s attempt to sketch the same word. If you’ve conveyed the word “hedgehog” to the clan without anyone guessing it was Uncle Todd’s toupee, you’ve earned the point in more ways than one.
Get your friends and family together this holiday break to play a game after you dig into a feast and before you start digging at each other.
Blank Slate is available at Target.
Tapple is available at Barnes & Noble.