Games to play with your family on Thanksgiving (weekend)

OPINION: Nothing brings families together like a little competitive jostling over fake money and small prizes.

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Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

I don’t know about your family, but my family loves a good game or two over a holiday weekend. Because my family has some size to it, playing games usually makes for a loud, raucous, entertaining time. What better time to break out the board games than Thanksgiving when you typically get the max amount of participants? Exactly. Now, maybe your family isn’t really into games; perhaps you all are more Bible passage readers (which is fine) or outdoorsy folks and would rather go hiking or chop some wood (also fine). But if you are at all interested in playing some games, allow me to offer up a few options to get you all in the competitive holiday spirit. 

1. Spades

I mean, you knew this was going to be the first one up. For starters, you play with four people, and it only requires a deck of cards. You can set some of the rules in advance, which automatically leads to talking (read: arguing) and if you play best two out of three, you can rotate family members on and off the table with relative ease. Either way, spades is a game that works and is battle-tested throughout the centuries (more likely decades — spades really ain’t that old of a game). 

2. Monopoly

The most “duh” duh that ever did “duh.” Yeah, I had to because it’s possibly one of the most classic family board games ever, and it teaches responsibility, cutthroat business practices and money management. And for those who are bad and have a temper, it serves to demonstrate who doesn’t need to be part of family game night.

3. CultureTags 

This new card-based game is a real hoot. It takes a bunch of culturally Black statements and drills them down into acronyms. You get a clue and then you have to guess what the acronym means. It’s so simple but so effective. This game, like so many, gives you a chance to play with a ton of people and laugh over the right answers and shake your head in disbelief when you miss one. Tons of fun for the whole family and it’s Black-owned and created. 

4. UNO

I love UNO for all of the right and wrong reasons. I love beating my kids at UNO (wrong reason?), and I love playing with rules that UNO doesn’t agree with (also wrong?). But you can get like 15 people together to play at once and Draw-Four folks to death and have all the jollies and joy around a huge table or floor. Plus, if you’re like me, you have collector’s editions of UNO created by Black designers like Nina Chanel Abney

5. Lyrically Correct 

Another Black-owned card-based game where you attempt to finish lyrics of popular hip-hop and R&B lyrics. And nothing by artists like NBA Youngboy or Future (as far as I can tell), but by artists like New Edition, SWV and legions of artists who many of us 35-and-ups grew up listening to. It doesn’t get any better than that. And for the holy in the room, there is also a gospel music expansion pack that allows you to get down with holy ghost lyrics. What makes this especially epic is that you know what happens when you get to talking about songs and music? People get to singing. And when people get to singing, it’s possible for sing-offs and sing-a-longs to happen. I’m gonna go ahead and recommend Lyrically Correct as fun for upper ages and educational for the younger folks in the room. Everybody wins. 


Panama Jackson theGrio.com

Panama Jackson is a columnist at theGrio. He writes very Black things and drinks very brown liquors, and is pretty fly for a light guy. His biggest accomplishment to date coincides with his Blackest accomplishment to date in that he received a phone call from Oprah Winfrey after she read one of his pieces (biggest), but he didn’t answer the phone because the caller ID said “Unknown” (Blackest).

Make sure you check out the Dear Culture podcast every Thursday on theGrio’s Black Podcast Network, where I’ll be hosting some of the Blackest conversations known to humankind. You might not leave the convo with an afro, but you’ll definitely be looking for your Afro Sheen! Listen to Dear Culture on TheGrio’s app; download it here.