Mobile devices are everywhere.

They’re just soooo entertaining and addicting.

As I’ve mentioned before, there are many things in our society that end up paying the price for this, but perhaps the biggest issue is that mobile devices steal quality family time.

And as we all know there is only a finite amount of family time – or even the opportunity for family time.

Many families wait to have family time primarily on vacation.

But these are too far and few between – it kind of sends a hidden message that there is our regular life where we don’t really have time for one another, and then there are these special times that pop up every several months or even every year where that’s where we’re a real family.

This is strange.

Dedicated Family Time Should Be More Than Just Vacations

I’m of the belief that we should try to have quality time structured around the family as much, if not more than most other things in our lives.

One important way I’ve found is to reserve a day or at least a portion of a day each week to quality family time.

In our household, family-time occurs on Sunday afternoon.

And one major activity that we engage in during our family time is the form of boardgames or cardgames.

Why Analog Games Can Be Better Than Video Games for Family Bonding

In today’s always-on, digital world I find that old-fashioned analog games are great for a few reasons:

  • They not only encourage, but require face-to-face interaction with members of the family.
  • Depending on the game, these games also give one an opportunity to exhibit teamwork.
  • The pace of these games is much slower than most video games so this is a great opportunity to expose children to the joys of slowing down. Children can learn that there is a different mode of life that they rarely experience – that is, entertainment with other people that is slow and deliberate. This can be important not only to help de-addict children to fast-paced digital entertainment but also open their eyes that such a thing even exists.
  • Because the games are much slower, that gives the family more opportunities to engage in quality conversation.

Game Recommendations

If you’re curious about what are some good games to start with, I can at least tell you what has been a big hit with our eight-year-old twin boys.

They love these ones:

  • Catan Jr. A nice strategy and trading game aimed at kids. Involves capturing gathering resources produced by territories you own and building ships that gather more resources. The first to create X ships wins the game.
  • Kingdomino. We got this a few weeks ago and it’s been an instant hit, probably our favorite at the moment. Involves building up land around your castle and earning points based on how big continuous land blocks are. As the name implies, there are certain dynamics that are similar to dominoes.
  • Sushi Go. Really interesting game with great artwork. Involves trying to make the most valuable combination of cards from a common pile. There are some complexities in the rules so if you have an older kid or your kid is around my kids’ ages and they like a challenge they’ll probably really like this one.
  • Sleeping Queens. We played this many times a couple of years ago. It’s a great card game that even younger kids can play (5+).
  • Ticket to Ride First Journey. If your kids like trains they’ll love this one.
  • Uno. Classic card game involving matching colors and numbers. Good for kids as young as 5.

We have quite a few more but those should be good to start with. However…

BoardGameGeek: The Definitive Source of Boardgame Information

If you want to find other really good ones or want to verify a game you’re considering is worth getting, be sure to check out BoardGameGeek first. Tons of hardcore fans of boardgames have rated just about every game in existence on there.

If you’re just looking around for a good game and aren’t sure where to start, be sure to go to the BoardGameGeek Advanced Search page.  This lets you search based on the complexity of the game (weight), age range, number of players, playing time, and several other factors.  Besides age range, I’ve found that anything below a weight of 2 is good for my 8-year-old boys (this measures how generally complicated the game is).

Another side note: Places like Amazon are full of fake reviews so you have to really be careful just going by those. Using a site like BoardGameGeek can be a very good cross check.

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