3 Games Perfect for a Relaxing Thanksgiving

3 Games Perfect for a Relaxing Thanksgiving

After I get the turkey in the oven on Thanksgiving, I like to kick back and relax, visit with my family and friends, play games and otherwise have a good time. Unfortunately not all of my family and friends are as much into games as I am. These three games, however, have proven excellent for both gamers and non-gamers alike.

Codenames Pictures

Codenames Pictures

1. Codenames: Pictures – Start it & everyone will want to join the fun.

At the top of the list, only because it’s the newest is Codenames: Pictures. Just like in its predecessor, Codenames, players divide into two teams: red and blue. One player from each team is the spymaster, giving clues to the whereabouts of her team’s field agents. It’s up to the rest of the team to guess the correct locations.

The spymasters sit side by side with a grid – showing squares colored red, blue, beige and black – standing in front of them. Red and blue squares indicate the locations of each team’s field agents, beige squares represent bystanders and the black square the Assassin. Random picture tiles are placed on the table where all the players can see them in the same grid arrangement. Each picture represents the location of a field agent, bystander or the assassin.

Codenames: Pictures components

Codenames: Pictures setup. The spymasters sit on this side so they can see the grid Key.

Spymasters take turns giving a one-word clue, followed by a number indicating how many field agent locations that clue applies to. Their teammates discuss possible answers – the spymaster must not say anything or give any clue as to whether they’re on the right track at any time – that’s the hardest part about being the spymaster. To make a guess, one person from the team touches the chosen picture card. The spymaster – without saying anything – then places a tile on top of the picture to indicate who is at that location: a red team agent, a blue team agent, a beige bystander, or the black assassin.

If the team found a one of their agents, they can guess another location. The maximum number of guesses a team is allowed each turn is the number the spymaster said after the clue plus one. Of course, a team can choose to pass at any time: they do not have to use all of their guesses.

Should the team guess wrong and point to the location of a bystander or one of their opponent’s agents, their turn ends immediately. Should they point to the location of the dreaded assassin, the game is over and they lose immediately. Otherwise, the first team to find all of their agents wins.

Whenever we play Codenames, anyone not playing is invariably attracted to the game and eventually joins in as well. It’s easy to add more players in the middle of the game, just assign them to a team as they show up. This makes it a great game to start game night with. You can play it while waiting for everyone to arrive and add players easily when they show up. Codenames games are great for all ages and any number of players. Well, 4 or more if you want to compete, though you can certainly practice your skills with just two. Oodles of fun every time you play!

Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective

Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective

2. Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective – Play it while lounging on the couch

After you’ve set the table, while the turkey’s cooking, kick back in the living room and solve a mystery together. You don’t need a table to play Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective. Just gather round and enjoy the discussion.

One person can read the mystery, another should take notes. There are some newspapers you’ll want to pass around for everyone to read and a map to consult. Otherwise, it’s just a matter of coming to a consensus as to where to investigate first, discussing the case and trying to discover whodunit.

Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective includes 10 mysteries to solve, with more available online. Playtime runs about an hour – depends on the mystery, how many places you investigate and how long your discussions and debates take. Fun for the whole family.

Telestrations

Telestrations

3. Telestrations – Laugh out loud fun

Do you remember playing the Telephone Game when you were a kid? You’d whisper something in your neighbor’s ear, they’d whisper it to the next person who’d in turn repeat it to the next and so on until the last person said it aloud – usually completely wrong – and everyone burst out laughing? Well, Telestrations is the Telephone Game sketched out.

Telestrations results example

Telestrations results example

Everyone chooses a word or phrase from their card, writes it on the first page of their dry erasable sketch book, turns to the next page and sketches it out. You don’t have to be an artist, stick figures will do just fine. When you’re done, pass your sketch book to the next person, who turns to the next page and writes down what he thinks you drew. He then passes your sketch book to the next person, who reads what the previous player wrote and sketches that, the next player guesses, the next player sketches, and so on until your sketch book makes it back to you. Then it’s time for the reveal – when all the laughter and hilarity ensues.

The instructions provide rules for scoring, but we never bother. Up to 8 people can play the original Telestrations. A party pack version is also available which supports up to 12 players.

 

Copyright © 2016 by Tina G. McDuffie. All rights reserved.
Photo rights retained by their respective copyright holders.