Tag Archives: cooperative board games

New Holiday Tradition: Christmas Family Game Day

I had a wonderful Christmas – the most relaxing Christmas I can remember, actually. Once we finished up with all the last minute stuff on Christmas Eve, everything kind of settled into place.

Our Christmas Eve “feast” was a night of snacking: easy, comfortable, fun. We bought ready-made food from the local Chinese grocery store – fried rice noodles, egg noodles, BBQ pork, seaweed salad, black pepper pork ribs, savoury turnip cake, shrimp chips, egg tarts, spicy deep fried tofu – and a selection of frozen appetizers from the grocery store (sausage rolls, samosa, shrimp with dipping sauce).  My daughter was here, so it was all five of us, and such a cozy evening.

Christmas morning was the usual fun of opening presents. Dylan was very excited because Santa had brought him the Zoomer Dino he’d asked for, along with a Plants vs. Zombie Popper toy (huge thanks to my friend Brette – my heart sunk when Dylan put the Popper in his letter to Santa, because the toy isn’t available her in Canada, but Brette saved the day. She bought it and shipped it to me well in time for Christmas!).

Photo 2014-12-26, 12 55 15 PMCreeper is fascinated by his new toy

The cats loved their presents – especially the catnip. It was their first experience with catnip. They quite enjoyed it! We also got them a magnetic popup toy that works really well. I usually stay away from battery operated toys for the cats. They always seems o flimsy and easy to break. This one, however, is quite solid, and is challenging enough the cats aren’t bored after a few minutes.

My older son Sean is always the hardest to buy for. He’s a gamer, and since he tends to buy any game he’s interested in when its launched, he never has a wish list. In the past, I’d print up coupons that said things like “valid for a game of your choice”, and then give him books so he’d have something to open (which he also never asked for, but I find with him, if a book’s at hand, he’ll read it.)

Earlier this year, he’d expressed an interest in cooperative board games. He sometimes watches Will Wheaton’s board game YouTube channel, Table Top, and we’d talked about getting a game and starting family game night. So I went ahead, researched the various adult cooperative games out there, and got the ones that sounded like the most fun.

Pandemic

Everyone loved Sean’s presents! After the gifts had been unwrapped and we’d all eaten our fill of Christmas Eve leftovers, Sean decided to open up Pandemic. All the other games I’d bought him were for ages 14 and up, but Pandemic is rated for ages 8+, so Dylan could play. It’s only for up to four players, which was okay as my husband’s not really much of a games type of person. The rest of us played two rounds of the game and we had a blast.

Arkham Horror

So much so, I mentioned we should play Arkham Horror later in the evening, another of the games I’d bought for Sean, once Dylan was in bed. Arkham Horror, which you can probably tell is based on Lovecraft’s stories, is recommended for ages 14 and up, which meant it was a much more complicated game than Pandemic. Well, as soon as Dylan heard this, and realized we thought it might be too complicated for him, he really really wanted to play it.

We thought, well, why not give it a try? And we were right. It was much more complicated than Pandemic. The first round of the game we played was slow and everyone except Sean and I got bored (all five of us played, as the game accommodates from 1 to 8 players). My throat was hoarse from reading  out loud from the instruction book every turn, because there were so many things to remember (each turn has five phases!). And then about an hour into the game, we realized we hadn’t been doing some pretty important things that we should have been doing, so we decided to start over. While Sean reset the board game pieces (of which there are MANY – I wish now I’d taken a picture of the game all laid out), I reread the instruction booklet from cover to cover (the thing even has an index!).

Sean, Dylan and I sat down to play a second round (Hayley was napping and Ward, bored by the first round, decided to sit this round out), and with the rules of the game more solidly under our belt, we had a blast! It wasn’t too old for Dylan after all, so I’m confident he’ll be able to play the other games I bought Sean. If you’ve never played any of the adult cooperative games before, they’re definitely something I recommend. Working together is such a blast, and the games are intricate and very exciting.

My two older kids had to leave in the late afternoon to go to their dad’s, so the rest of the evening was spent sitting around and relaxing. I played Plants vs. Zombie Risk with Dylan, and the experience really couldn’t compare with the cooperative games. It’s just a much nicer feeling working together toward a common goal rather than competing against each other. Still, we had fun. We had another round of snacking when the kids came back home, and then the rest of the evening was spent lounging around some more. I was mainly on my phone, checking out 365 day project ideas (I’ve got a few in mind for the new year).

It was, hands down, one of the best and most relaxing Christmases I’ve ever had. I loved playing the cooperative games on Christmas Day. I think we might have started a new Christmas tradition!

How were your holidays? What kinds of holiday traditions do you enjoy?