In between camp and swimming, we’ve been spending quite a bit of time playing Sleeping Queens.  This card game was a birthday gift, and when I first read the directions, it sounded way too complicated.  Actually, it’s pretty simple, and it was popular on vacation with all of the cousins. It’s got a little bit of goofiness, a little bit of learning, some luck & some strategy.  It says 6 and up, but J’s enjoying it just fine–the only part she needs help with is a little math once in a while.  Actually, come to think of it, my sister’s recommended Rat-a-Tat-Cat and Loot, and they’re both from the same company, Gamewright.  I think it might be time for some online shopping!  (And no, they didn’t ask me to say that.  Like they know who I am.)

This picture includes a cardholder that Gamewright makes, too–nice for little hands.  The cards themselves are creative and pretty, too.  M’s favorites are the Heart Queen and the Pancake Queen, and J’s is the Rainbow Queen and the Cat Queen.  But there are kings, knights, and dragons, too.  And except for the occasional tearful outbursts when the game doesn’t go their way (because M & J still aren’t great losers), I’d have to say that it’s the least annoying “family favorite” game we’ve had.

Because “family favorite” really means kid favorite.  The ones they want to play over and over and over again.  Sure, W and I like to play Blokus, but the girls lose interest before it’s over.  Which I understand.  It’s kind of like Scrabble–by the end, I always feel stupid.

Our first family favorite game was Guess Who.  Basically, two players each pick a person, and then you take turns asking yes/no questions to–everybody, now!!–guess who the other player picked.  We got the original as a birthday gift, and later, after we’d played approximately 700 times and broken some plastic pieces, we invested in the more deluxe edition that lets you switch out between people, monsters, and household appliances.  In Googling up a site to link, I also stumbled on someone’s directions on how to make a personalized Guess Who game.  Which he says he decided to do after playing it with his girlfriend.  Ummm, couldn’t they come up with something more fun to do with their grown-up time?  Well, that’s not my business.  Anyway, if you are an overzealously crafty mommy, that sounds like good wholesome fun for your preschooler.  And if you’re an overzealously crafty college student, it sounds like the basis for an excellent drinking game.  But whatever.

The next big family hit was Zingo.  It’s really just Bingo with simple words and pictures.  I don’t know why the kids love it as much as they do.  But they do.  M even brought it into class as her special activity back in 1st grade.  Of course, after playing it twelve times, I would pretty much want to run screaming from the room.  So as far as I’m concerned, long live the queen.

How about your kids?  What are their favorites?


  1. Michelle

    We love Qwirkle – though right now we have sort of created our own rules (or, more accurately, have not been enforcing some of the more challenging-to-a-five-year-old rules).

    My little recycling queen also loves Whats Rubbish – though it can get VERY long because strategy is not her strong suit yet.

    Other favorites in our house are: Feed the Kitty (which is a little like Left Right Center), Uno, and Brown Bear Panda Bear What Do You See (based on the Eric Carle book).

    Adult favorite has to be Balderdash – followed closely by Whats Yours Like (which can be PG enough to play with older kids, but is also quite entertaining after a few drinks).

  2. Michelle

    Gamewright makes some pretty great kids games, as does Ravensburger. I’ve heard good things about a few games by Blue Orange, but we don’t actually have any, so I can’t be sure about that.

    Hurray for family game nights!

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