Hobby Games for the Family

This is the first post in the ‘What you might like’ series looking at games that may suit your style of play or your situation.

First up is games for the family. In this time of isolation I see a lot of family time happening and especially playing games that you can pick up from Kmart or Target. This is all good but there are so many more games out there that can offer lots more strategy, engagement and fun than current mass market offerings. 


Twister is a family favourite or is it just that game that comes out just because and no one really enjoys it. Dad’s old football injury is flaring up or grandma doesn’t want to accidentally fall on the kids. So why not keep the dexterity on the actual table? There are plenty of fantastic dexterity games that you can enjoy with the family with some of the most popular being Rhino Hero, Junk Art and Men at Work.


Hobby Gamers can get a little antsy about Monopoly probably due to the hold that it has on the majority of the market. But to break it down there are two major problems with Monopoly, first is that not many people play by the actual rules and second that the game is ‘roll to move’ meaning that there is very little strategy involved and winners can be determined by a roll of the dice. 

So what is the best alternative? In my mind the best alternative to Monopoly is Catan, a game where there is an element of dice rolling, but is more about trading and building up your own little empire. Catan is really a great family game with lots of expansions and most importantly it can be played with anyone who is old enough to play Monopoly. 


While this one has never been a massive game in Australia (as far as I can tell) it still bears a mention as a classic family game that might need some replacing. The great thing about modern board games is that there is such a wide range of options for you. Betrayal at House on the Hill and Mansions of Madness both have a supernatural element to them and allow some role playing, as well as cooperative play and in some cases a Betrayer role where one person goes against everyone else. Other games that fit the mystery element are games such as Mysterium and Obscurio where you must deduct a mystery while working together. 

Classic Strategy Games

Games like Chess, Checkers and Backgammon have held their place in culture for a reason, but there is a problem with them as well. This problem becomes obvious when a new or casual player sits down to play anyone with a bot of experience – a bloodbath ensues…

So what are the options? There are plenty of great ‘abstract’ games that you can find on games shop shelves these days which are unique enough that they will not have that ‘over learned’ element to it. Games such as Hive, a chess-like game of insects, or The Stars Align are great 2 player abstract games to share with the family. Other fantastic selections in this range are games like Onitama, Shobu in addition to multi player games like Azul

What other games are you and the family wanting to move on from or had enough of? I would love to offer some more suggestions of things to play in future instalments of What you might like! 


Cameron B Author

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