COMMENTARY: This Holiday Season, Let’s Not Forget the Value of Games

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 3.21.15 PMJust this weekend, I attended a party at a friend’s house—a “FriendsGiving” gathering hosted by her and her husband. After a delicious pre-holiday feast of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and veggies, we decided to let the food settle while playing a game of celebrity Charades. Our game was spontaneous, so we worked with what was at hand: post-it notes, a pen, and a salad bowl. We tore up the post-its, wrote the names of celebrities, and tossed them into the bowl before breaking into teams and doing our best Michael Jackson, George Washington, and Vanna White impressions.

This reminded me that games aren’t just for kids. Somewhere along the line, the concept of “fun and games” became synonomous with youth, a lack of responsibility, and blissful ignorance. But one could make the argument that grown-ups need games even more than kids sometimes, to help us unwind, loosen up, and chill out at the end of a busy day or a hectic work week. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Make ‘n Break Party Induces Fits of Laughter

A simple concept: Use 10 blocks to assemble a structure depicted on a card. Sounds simple enough, right? There’s one small catch: you can’t see the card. Instead, your partner must describe the structure to you as you attempt to build it. OK, still not so hard. Now, here’s a blindfold. Oh, and by the way, sometimes your partner can’t say specific key words, and other times you’ll have to build a structure with no description at all.

Make ’n Break Party, from Ravensburger, is an ice-breaking, laugh-inducing, 60-minutes of team-play fun. I’ve never valued words including, “thingy,” “belly-up,” and “NO- THE OTHER ONE,” so much in my life. The game is designed for three to nine players ages 10 and up, and will be sure to pull your guests away from the chips and dip and get them bonding after the first few turns.

MakenBreakPartyHilarity ensues as a player works to assemble a structure depicted on a card in one of four game variations: building according to team members’ descriptions, building while avoiding “taboo” words, building blindly, and creating objects such as truck, elephant, clock, and middle finger. Teams work together and race against the timer, and the more structures you build in one round, the farther along the game board you move and the closer you come to victory.

[Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Breaking the Ice: Adult-Appropriate Party Games

It’s Saturday night (undoubtedly after a long work week). A friend is throwing a huge party for the big game, or a birthday, or just because, you know, it’s Saturday. So you set off on an adventurous evening, teeming with excitement, even braving the seasonal elements if necessary. Your friend welcomes you with a cheery embrace, but as you look around the room, you come to the realization that you don’t know a single soul.

You know the moment. How do you make your way into a conversation without coming across as anything but your cool, confident self? Luckily, there’s a saving grace for these types of scenarios: party games. [Read more...]