9 Jan
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Favorite Family-Friendly Card Games

There isn’t a whole lot I enjoy about winter, but a family game night at home because the weather is too frightful to be outside in is one of the positives of cold-weather living. We’re experiencing a winter with intense winds which makes the safety and warmth of home a giant blessing. Our wind is soul-sucking at times. More than once in the last month I’ve asked myself (and my husband) why we continue to live here. Thankfully our summer and fall are wonderful enough to keep me living in Arctic-like conditions, for now.

We own a lot of board, dice and card games. Each Christmas we add more to the collection. Our kids now range in age from 7-14, so it’s tricky at times to find games we can all play that hold everyone’s interest. I like card games more than board games. My perfectionist tendencies have
me constantly straightening the pieces on a game board. It’s also difficult to find a board game that six people can play simultaneously. My Amazon.com shopping cart has several card games waiting for a reason to be purchased. My top gifts for birthday parties are books and games. It’s fun to share an activity you find entertaining with your friends.

The following are our current favorite card games, as well as a bonus game that, next to UNO, is our favorite go-to game:

Nacho Loco Nacho Loco — This game is played with triangular-shaped cards, like tortilla chips, and can have two to six players. Players attempt to be the first to get rid of their cards while stopping their opponents from unloading their cards. The rules say it’s suitable for ages 8+, but our seven-year-old has played with all of us for a couple years now. Younger kids can play with a little assistance, but aren’t as good at outwitting a teenager or adult.
SET SET: The Family Game of Visual Perception — One or more players can play this game, and children as young as six can participate, but may just be a little slower at seeing the sets. Players identify sets of three shape/color/pattern cards out of 12 cards placed in the center of the playing surface. The sets have to be either all the same or all different on all three cards. The player with the most set of three wins. Admittedly, the first time we played this game it was slow and frustrating. It took us a few games to get the hang of spotting the sets in accordance to the rules. I’m still slow on the up-take each time we play. It takes me a bit to get in a groove with this game. Once we start playing it’s difficult to stop. There’s a lot of begging for one more game when this is the center of family game night.
Five Crowns Five Crowns: The Five-suited Rummy-style Card Game — This card game can be played by up to seven players and suggests ages 8+. Once again, our youngest plays this game with us. She requires a more partner-type relationship with one of the the parents playing, but it works fine to help her along. Five Crowns is from the same company that created SET. The game consists of 11 rounds starting with three cards and adding one card each hand with changing wild cards. Players make combinations out of the cards until one player can make enough combinations to only have one or no cards remaining in his hand. Points are given on the remaining cards in each player’s hand at the end of each round. The player with the lowest number of points after 11 rounds is the winner. Much like SET, it took us a few rounds to understand what we were doing and come up with strategy. It’s another game that’s hard to put away once we start.
Spot it! Spot it! — We were slow to join the bandwagon for this game. It’s great for younger kids as well as teens and adults to play. It’s another visual perception game. Players attempt to match an image on their card with one in the middle. There are several ways to play the game which gives you options to keep from being bored. Our youngest adores this game. It’s not complicated. Our older boys were skeptical of playing it because it looked too easy. Honestly, it does look easy to spectators — “Why can’t you see that both cards have a cactus on them?” It’s not until you play the game do you realize the pressure of spotting objects quickly makes it more difficult than on first glance I like that the round cards are in a metal container with a snug-fitting lid. The game is easy to carry in a purse or leave in the car. There are several editions of Spot It! I plan on purchasing an edition different than what we have at home for our vehicle.
Pass the Pigs Pass the Pigs — This is my bonus game. You’re welcome. It’s not a card game. It’s a pig-shaped dice game, sort of. Players toss two rubber pigs and earn points based on how the pigs land. It takes a little bit to learn the terminology, but phrases like double trotter, snouter, and razorback will become second nature after a few games. This is the game we are most likely to bring to a party. We’ve played as many as 10 players at once. There is also a version, Pass the Big Pigs, with bigger pigs that will be moving from my Amazon wish list to my final cart here soon.

What are your favorite family-friendly card games? I’m always looking for more games to add to our collection.


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