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Five family games we’re loving right now


Family games night

We’ve had a few new games this Christmas, which have already established themselves as favourites. Here’s a roundup of our current top games – old and new – for a family games night.   

Kaker Laken Poker (Cockroach Poker)  

Ages: 7+

Players: 2-6

It might have poker in its title but its only resemblance to the betting game is the element of bluffing aka fibbing. Kaker Laken Poker (Cockroach poker) is quite novel in that there’s no overall winner, just one loser. However, this doesn’t mean it is in any way less competitive.

The aim of the game is to force another player to collect four of the same kind of creature (cockroaches, stinkbugs, bats, toads et al) or use up all their cards; both these situations result in them forfeiting the game. This is achieved by making a fellow player guess incorrectly about the identity of the card that’s passed to them. On their turn a player receives a card from their neighbouring player. They can choose to accept the card and decide if the player’s telling the truth or not about the creature on it. If wrong, they add the card to their pile, but if they’re correct the previous player has to add it to theirs. Instead of accepting the card, they can also choose to pass the card on either confirming the previous player’s claim or changing the identity. The subsequent player again decides if what this player says is the truth or not.  

It all gets very duplicitous and is deliciously entertaining.

Kaker Laken Poker


Ages: 5+

Players: 2 (but can be teams)

Family games

My husband has had this game for 20 years or more. He introduced it to me many moons ago then we introduced it to the kids. It remains a perennial favourite. Our friends now know it well; it gets ‘rolled’ out at many gatherings.  

It’s a real game of skill and a sort of modern-day twist on shove halfpenny, but played at each end of the ‘board’ – in this case mat. Two players take consecutive turns to roll their three spherical playing pieces into successive zones. Players then move their score counter up the side for each successful zone they achieve (in order) terminating with the ‘end zone’. Play continues until one player gets all three of their counters to the top.   

It is highly addictive and frequently frustrating.


Ticket to Ride

Ages: 8+  

Players: 2-5

This is a brilliant strategy game for older children and adults but is equally fun for younger children who can play on a more elemental level. The aim is to build railway routes across America. This is done by collecting different types of train cards and claiming sections of track, which connect cities. The more routes completed, the more points earned, with longer routes being the trickiest but most lucrative. Extra points are up for grabs at the end of play for the longest overall track, which can literally be a game changer. Points are deducted for incomplete routes. There are plenty of opportunities for accidental sabotage (or deliberate if that’s the way you’re playing!).  

We got rather addicted to the online version during lockdown 1 then received the original board game for Christmas; it doesn’t disappoint. The gameplay is pretty much identical, but it has the added old school charm of a board game and is more immersive than its digital cousin.

Ticket to Ride

Flipping Hats Game/Hats Off

Ages 4+

Players: 2-4

If you’re looking for a game of silly fun which requires skill, but no brain power then this is perfect.

Each player chooses a colour, and the aim is to get the six small witch hats into the corresponding coloured section. The little hats are launched using a very fun flicking device. The winner is the first to do it. That’s it! 🙂

It’s fast, furious and ultra-competitive.

Flipping Hats Game

Vintage Hats Off

Family Fortunes Kids v Parents

Ages 8+

Players: 2+

Most people are familiar with the format of this long-running TV gameshow. We started watching it as a family earlier this year and the girls love it (they’re fans of Gino anyway). It prompted me to get it for Christmas.

The board game is pretty faithful to the show. Play includes four Face Off rounds and two Fast Money rounds with each team trying to get as many correct, and specifically top, answers as they can whilst avoiding the dreaded uh-uh (incorrect answer). Everything is recorded on the wipeable scoreboard.

The kids absolutely love anything that pits them against adults and the questions are tailored well for two different generations. We’ve all thoroughly enjoyed playing it and it is perfect for a family games night.

Family Fortunes Kids V Parents

Let me know of your family favourites in the comments below.

The Entertainer toy shop has loads of new and classic games and is currently doing a mix and match buy one get one half price – board games


About Author

I’m Fran: wife, mother-of-three and freelance publicist. My love for communicating and writing mirrors my passion for trying to be the best mum I can be. I love good food & wine, Italian culture and football and have a keen interest in personal finance. I also blog over on Epsom & Ewell Families and Habyts, and write sporadically for a number of other sites.

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