We love our Tree House for so many reasons – the sand dunes, the beach, the miles of antique shopping, and the list goes on! – but there’s one part of our time up there that I always look forward to the most: The down time. The sliver of time in the afternoon when some of us decide to nap, read a book or pour the first beer. The time we fill bowls with sour cherries from the local fruit stand and sit on the stoop. The one – maybe only – moment of the day when the kids are napping or engrossed in a movie. But perhaps my favorite way to unwind during this time?
Board games (or card games or any type of game; I’m using that term loosely!) feels like a rite of passage if you’re spending time at a little lake house, don’t you think? It feels like a very cabin-y thing to do. I have memories of road tripping to the Great Smoky Mountains with my family and, hours later, finally settling into the home we’ve rented for the week (complete with overstuffed couches and paneled walls), and we always had games in tow. Thinking back, after long morning hikes and hours in the sun, retreating around the table with a stack of games was, like, the thing to do!
Maybe this is silly, but one of the main (only?) reasons we added storage to our DIY banquette was for the games! We needed a place to stash them – along with blankets and extra pillows, of course! – but they needed to be out of sight, too.
Not wanting to part with any of our games from our Chicago home, we made a list of our very, very favorites (with bonus points for nostalgia). Then we filled our online shopping cart to the brim and excitedly awaited for their arrival. We kept in mind all age groups, from baby blocks to Catch Phrase, and I’m looking forward to the day that these cardboard boxes begin to soften with love and use:
Our Favorite Board Games
Jenga | A classic, but not to be played during a nap!
Apples to Apples | The G-rated version of everyone’s favorite party game, so no one needs to feel embarrassed in front of their mom and dad.
Guess Who | This was, hands down, my favorite childhood game! I haven’t played it in years, but my heart swells knowing that I’ll get to introduce this to Lucy soon enough.
Uno | We played Uno a few weekends ago, and there are some new-to-us cards that have been introduced (and I’m still on the fence about, so time will tell). It’s an oldie but a goodie.
Codenames | Our first time playing Codenames was with this awesome crew (miss them terribly!), and it was just as fun as everyone promised. But, oof, it’s hard for someone like me who is incapable of brevity.
Scrabble Deluxe Edition | If I thought I was terrible at Codenames, I’m even worse at Scrabble. But! I’m challenging myself to be a better wordsmith, and it starts with this. We sprung for the Deluxe Edition, because what’s more annoying than someone accidentally knocking the table and having your letters slide around? (I’d hate to be that person.)
Monikers | You’ll laugh ’til you cry, and it’s probably best you wait until the kids go to bed. It’s great for larger groups, and you’ll want to play it again and again (and again!).
Catch Phrase | Our old standby, and it never disappoints. What to watch out for: Heated arguments over who was holding the game when the buzzer goes off.
Blockus | Scott’s parents introduced this game to us last Christmas, and we were instantly hooked. It’s like the Tetris of board games, but more challenging – and it forces you to use your noodle.
Heads Up! | Although this is an app, it’s too good not to include. When all else fails and you’re not packing heat, I guarantee that someone has their phone. Tip: The ‘Friends’ category is worth the download alone!
We were thisclose to picking up another set of Cards Against Humanity (the 90s Nostalgia Pack is calling my name!), and we’ve also heard great things about What Do You Meme? (Have you played it?) And guys, I know we’re forgetting about so many, and I have a feeling that we’re not the only ones passionate about a competitive match with friends and family. So, tell us, which games are your favorites? We have a lot of empty banquette space to fill!