More family games you can play sitting down

We finally got some snow on the East coast.We were hoping to get out the sleds for Christmas vacation, but what’s covering the ground is more of an icy, grainy, slush, not great for coasting. So I’m wracking my brains to recall more family games, besides the ones I suggested for Thanksgiving gatherings. Here’s what we’ve been doing:


Caption This

My sister Abby (who may have invented this game, I’m not sure) describes it like this:

“One person writes a sentence or phrase and hands the paper to the next person. He illustrates it, and then folds the paper so only his illustration is showing, and passes it to the next person. He writes a caption for the illustration, and then folds the paper so only his caption is showing, and passes it to the next person, who illustrates the caption, and so on. The round ends with a caption at the bottom of the page. Then you compare the original phrase with the final caption.”

It’s sort of like Telephone, but with words and pictures. This game works the best if you have lots of people playing, and it’s actually more fun if the people involved are not great artists. We also made it zippier by making a thirty-second limit before you have to pass the paper along.

I wish I had a sample to show you, but I may have been filling some time this week by shrieking, “We need to get this place cleaned up! I cannot live like this! Get up, get up, we need to throw all this stuff away!” So I think we threw them away.


One-Word Round Robin Stories

In a standard round robin story, each player contributes several sentences before passing the plot along to the next person. In this version, each person contributes only one word. So you might end up with an opening sentence like this:

“One day, four miserable Russians decided to excavate their uncle’s bedroom floor, and they found something TERRIFYING.”

This works best when you play with siblings or people who know each other’s thought patterns well, and some element of telepathy helps to keep the sentences afloat.



Werewolf is an actual store-bought game with cards that one kid got for Christmas (we have the deluxe edition), and it’s been a big hit. The play is simple, but it’s the psychological aspect that makes it entertaining.

I’m not great at explaining games, but here’s the general idea: The premise is that, when night falls in the village, a werewolf comes out and kills someone; and everyone else has to figure out who the werewolf is and what to do about it. Everyone closes his eyes, and the leader instructs one person at a time to wake up, take a look at the card that reveals his role (werewolf, bodyguard, witch, villager, etc.), and then go back to sleep. There are several rounds of play, in which the players anonymously decide to kill, save, protect, or silence each other.

[img attachment=”86257″ align=”alignnone” size=”medium” alt=”Sometimes the werewolf is the last person you’d suspect” caption=”Sometimes the werewolf is the last person you’d suspect” /]

Then everyone has to vote on whom to lynch. Players are eliminated one at a time, and it becomes more and more evident who is killing everyone, who is being framed, and who is lying through their teeth (and, in my case, who forgot the rules and accidentally blabbed too much information).

[img attachment=”86258″ align=”alignnone” size=”medium” alt=”Sometimes they are a little too eager to lynch each other.” caption=”Sometimes they are a little too eager to lynch each other.” /]

Depending on your family dynamics, you may not want to play more than a few rounds of this game! It tends to bring everyone’s core personality front and center.

And oh yes, I do have  “Where, oh werewolf” stuck in my head 24/7 now.

So, what are you doing over Christmas break, if you’ve got one? Any games you can suggest for us? Because night cometh, and I may have given birth to more than one werewolf . . .


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