Classic board games offer something that all generations can enjoy: a chance to interact with family members while having a good time.
Were connected today with cell phones and the Internet, but we miss that face-to-face interaction, says Tim Walsh, inventor of the game TriBond and author of the book Timeless Toys. Many of the traditional games that baby boomers grew up with can provide that interaction, and some longtime favorites have received updates that make them even more appealing to younger generations.
Here are some favorite board games that you might want to buy or break out of the closet for a family gathering:
Monopoly. Older kids and adults love this game of buying and selling real estate, which debuted in 1935. The traditional version still is a blast, but numerous other Monopoly games have been introduced over the years, including editions based on Disney stories and characters, and Monopoly Junior, suitable for ages 5 through 8. Younger (or math-challenged) players also might enjoy the Electronic Banking Edition, which features toy debit cards instead of cash.
Scrabble. Part crossword puzzle, part game of chance, Scrabble has spelled fun for families for decades. Players score points by forming words with lettered tiles. Strategy is involved, as players earn extra points if they can place a word on the game boards colored squares. Special editions include the Junior game for younger players and another for New York Yankees fans, with a playing board shaped like a baseball diamond.
Hi Ho! Cherry-O. In this counting game for preschoolers, players try to be the first to pick 10 cherries from a tree. Participants spin a wheel to determine how many cherries to pick, but those whose spinner lands on a bird, a dog or a spilled bucket have to return cherries to the tree. The game is a fun introduction to board games, as well as to basic addition and subtraction.
The Game of Life. Life has changed a lot since 1960, and so has The Game of Life, which first appeared that year. Players still can go to college, get married and end up at Millionaire Acres, but the latest version of the gameappropriately called Twists and Turnsallows players to make a variety of lifestyle choices. The giant wheel of fate has been replaced by an electronic Lifepod that keeps track of players moves and manages their financial matters, using toy VISA cards instead of play cash.
Checkers. Players have been moving their pieces toward kings row on the checkerboard for centuries. A version of this two-person game was played in ancient Egypt as early as 1400 B.C. The object of the game is to capture and block your opponents game pieces and become the last player with checkers remaining on the board. Checkers is simple enough for children to master, but also intrigues experts who compete in international championships and in online matches.
Clue. Kids of all ages like to play detective, and Clue still is the best game of deduction around. Other versions of this murder mystery game include Clue Jr., for the elementary school-age set, and an interactive DVD edition. Fans of The Simpsons may enjoy Simpsons Clue, which features characters, locations and weapons based on the popular animated TV show.
While many classic board games have been updated, older generations will find them just as much fun as the original versions. So gather around the tableor the DVD playerand let the games begin!