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When I was 4 years old I would beg my dad to play Pretty Pretty Princess with me. It was the only game I would ever intentionally lose.
For those of you who missed out on childhood and never played this game, let me explain. To win, a player must acquire and wear every available piece of jewelry ranging from sparkly clip on earrings, to matching bracelet, necklace and ring set to a crown. If I let my dad win this one game I got the satisfaction of looking at him dressed as a princess and I would roll on the floor laughing while calling for my mom to get a camera so I could take his picture.
I don’t usually play Pretty Pretty Princess nowadays, but I can’t remember a time where I wasn’t obsessed with board and card games in general. I was always the kid who was bugging adults to play with me because other kids my age got bored with the time or focus needed to play complicated games.
Here is a list of some of my favorite games that many people have not heard of, but I would highly recommend.
For the nerds: Settlers of Catan
I like to describe this game as a mix of Risk, Monopoly and Oregon Trail. Basically players build settlements (think monopoly houses) and cities (hotels) in order to get points. The first person to ten points wins. To build players need resources that they get through rolling dice. This game takes a bit of backstabbing and a good amount of strategy, but is addictive if you’re into that kind of thing.
Time to play: 85 minutes give or take
Number of players: 3 or 4
For the unusual soul: Killer Bunnies
This game is a tad violent and quite funny if you take the time to read all the cards (my favorite is the green gelatin with pineapple chunks weapon card). And okay it’s pretty weird, but that’s a good thing right? The point is to collect carrots without having your bunnies die due to starvation or other bunny attacks. It’s horrible to learn but once you figure it out you feel like you’re part of an elite club who know how it works.
Age: 12+ (although my brother loved it when he was 8)
Time to play: 90 minutes
Number of players: 2 to 6
For the word lover: Bananagrams
It honestly has nothing to do with bananas except that it comes in a banana bag and you use words like “peel” when you want players to do something. It is basically a variation on games like Scrabble. Each player gets their own letters (usually around 20 depending on the number of players) and they create a personal word puzzle but the catch is, it’s a race!
Age: 3+ (anyone who can spell)
Time to play: 5 minutes
Number of players: 2+
For the card shark: Euchre
I learned this game with all of my uncles when I was 8 years old and it is my absolute favorite card game (regular deck of cards). They all told me it was a game they played when they are in college, but if you ask me, it’s regrettably become less popular. The premise is to have two teams of two and each partnership has to win three of the five “tricks” per round to get a point. You win by having the highest card which is often one of the suit that is deemed “trump” at the beginning of the game. The catch is that the jack of trump always becomes the highest possible card and the jack of the trump color (that is not trump) is the second highest. The rules will keep you on your toes at first but once you master it the fun part becomes the funny sayings you make up with friends and family to guarantee a win. Are you aligned with the bathtub? Did you cut thin to win?
Age: 14+ (unless you’re an ambitious kid)
Time to play: 30-60 minutes
Number of players: 4
Here’s some others that are more well-known but I love so much that I couldn’t help but mention:
What games did I forget? What’s your favorite? I’m always looking for new ones to try!
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