Food & Gatherings

Family Game Night: Put some jolly in your hollies

December, 2015

Most of us have family stories that include board games. There are the relatives who marked face cards, the siblings who threw tantrums and let’s not forget (though you’ve likely tried) those most unfortunate game pieces that were either swallowed or inserted where they shouldn’t have been. Ah, nostalgia. It really is the stuff of holidays.

Speaking of, what better way to start the holidays than with a family game night. Besides being a welcome distraction to talking politics or ex-boyfriends, games can take the pressure off newcomers and, quite literally, even the playing field. So gather your family, your friends, your neighbours—whoever. Then get ready to make new memories and connect. No Wi-Fi required. Take a look.

With board game cafés popping up everywhere and colouring books for adults being the “it” thing, our inner kids have never had it better. Here are some picks for a grown-up game night of your own.


“We’re definitely seeing more twentysomethings. Instead of a girls’ night out, they’re hosting games nights in. Whoever does the hosting does the choosing. Sushi Go, Roll for It and Portal are all really popular.”

–Cheryl Cameron, River City Games

Loaded Questions

As you’d expect, this is a Q&A game. The person who rolls reads a question from the category they land on (Hypotheticals, Anything Goes, No-Brainers & Personals). The other players write down their answers, which are then read aloud by the previous roller. The current roller then has to guess who gave which answer. Every match moves you ahead on the board. There are different versions, so be sure to pick up the one you’re after: Adult, Junior, Political Par ty, Parenting 101 and Pop Culture.

Cards Against Humanity

How to describe this game… Well, perhaps its tag line says it best: A party game for horrible people. How it works? A player asks a question from a stack of black cards, and everyone else answers with their funniest/most awkward/despicable white card. The humour is calibrated to startle without being outright offensive, but let’s just say that your mileage may vary. Definitely adults only.


Finding a great board game can be as fun as playing one. Visit game rooms, shop online and keep an eye out at garage sales for classics like crokinole and Rummoli. The key to keeping it all friendly? Measure your success by how much you laugh, rather than by your score. Bribes go a long way, too.

Ticket to Ride: Europe

In this beautifully illustrated game, players claim train routes between the great cities of turn-of-the-century Europe, collecting points as they connect cities across the board. Tunnels, stations and ferries add tons of interest to the routes, and in no time, you feel like you’re travelling. A great game for the whole family. All aboard!


This game’s an oldie but a goodie. And there’s nothing like a pile of poker chips to make kids feel like grown-ups. Players ante-up into each pot on the Rummoli board and are then dealt poker hands, which they bet on. The best hand wins the poker pot, and each of the other pots goes to whoever has the cards that match symbols on the board. Players take turns laying their cards down, and the Rummoli pot goes to the first player with an empty hand. Simple to learn and geared for all ages.

5 Second Rule

As the name implies, this is a game based on speed. Playing is easy. Draw a question card, and respond with your answer before the 5-second timer goes off. All the cards begin with “Name 3…” and give you a specific challenge. The timer starts after the card is read. Great for all ages.

Bringing everyone together and taking some stress off family gatherings is always a win. But a game night can bring a community together, too. Holy Family Parish here in St. Albert has a games night as one of its youth programs, and Mission Fun & Games also hosts events. So check your community calendars or find a board-game café. They’re great places to host an evening, and you won’t have to clean the house to do it. Game on! t8n


Board Game Cafés & Game Nights

The Hexagon Board Game Café

Location: 10123 Whyte Ave, Edmonton

How it works: $2.50 per hour gets you full access to a library of games

On the game menu: Over 500 games to choose from

On the food menu: Specialty coffee and tea, beer, light bites and pastries

Table Top Café

Location: 5716 75 Street, Edmonton

How it works: $5 gets you all the games you want for as long as you want

On the game menu: A library of games to choose from and even a selection to buy

On the food menu: Specialty coffee and tea, beer and light bites from candy to panini

Mission Fun & Games

Location: 560 St. Albert Trail, St. Albert

How it works: Friday Night Magic is a family-friendly card night held every two weeks. Pay $5 and play. For drop-in gaming on Sundays, you pay $2 and play board games all day.

On the game menu: Drop-in gaming on Sundays gives you access to over 600 games; Friday Night Magic has a card-game format that changes weekly

On the food menu: Concession-style drinks and munchies




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