Sunday, November 29, 2009

Game Day 2009

On the Friday after Thanksgiving, we celebrate what we call "Game Day".  It's basically a day when  the kids come over and we all invite our friends over.  Then we eat and play as many games as we can.  I honestly can't remember when and how it started.  We did discuss yesterday and it's at least been 7 years that we've been doing this.

We start out in the morning with breakfast stratas.  They are basically egg, bread and cheese casseroles, but they are actually so much more. The one on the left is sausage and monterrey jack cheese and the one on the right is spinach and gruyere cheese.  Both of these are delicious and are a work of art when you pull them out of the oven.  The secret...shallots.

The rest of the day consists of lots of appetizers and eventually leftovers with a freshly cooked turkey.  Yes, I cook another turkey.  Why?  That's a really good question and the answer is because I'm a little crazy.  You see, once you put leftover turkey in the starts to taste like refrigerator to me.  I love a real turkey sandwich and the only way to get that for me is to make another turkey.  And let me tell you, my sandwich was incredible and worth the effort.  It also makes sure I have lots of leftovers to hand out.

Finally, this brings us to the games part of the day.  Over the years, we have built up quite a collection of games and this year was no exception.  We added Wits and Wagers and Likewise to our collection.  Both were very fun, but I think Wits and Wagers turned out to be the best of the new games.

Cait and I discussed all of the games we like to play and came up with our top ten list of games.  Here they are:

Top 10 Games List

1.  Pit - This game has been around for years.  I remember hearing about it when I was a kid.  Just never played it until Krissy introduced us to it.  Object of the game is to corner one of the grain commodities listed on the cards.  You do this by trading with the other players.  It's very fast paced and tends to get a tad loud, so play this one when there aren't any little ones taking a nap.

2.  Loaded Questions - This is a newer game, but it has quickly become a family favorite.   A questions is read out loud and all the players write down their answer to that questions.  The person who is "it" for that round, must decide who gave which answer.  They get to move ahead one spot for every correct answer.  I'm pleased to say we have some very witty folks in my family and some of the answers just leave us all in tears with laughter.  You also find out some very interesting things as well.

3.  The Boat Game - This is a German game with the actual title of Rette Sich Wer Kanin.  Which I believe translates to "Every Man for Himself".  We just call it The Boat Game (darn, we are so clever).  This object of this game is to be the player that survives in the lifeboats to make it to land.  Several boats start out the game and you load up your tokens in the different boats.  You then create temporary alliances to vote the weakest player out of each boat hoping that your tokens survive long enough to make it across the board.  If you get this game on line, make sure you get English instructions....helps a lot.

4.  Snorta - This is great game for a group.  This one requires you to pick an animal from the available pieces.  Every player then makes their animal noise.  The object of the game is to get rid of your cards and to do this you must remember and make your opponents animal noise before they do.  You can't help laughing as people baa, oink and moo their way around the table.  Don't expect to play this game all evening.  Two times is our usual max for this game as our brains quickly turn to mush trying to remember all the right noises.

5.  Cranium - You play this game as teams and what works best about this game is that it appeals to all the different brain type.  If you are a "fact' person, there is a category of questions that just asks you True/False and Multiple Choice questions.  If you are good with words, there is a "Wheel of Fortune" type category.  If you are good at charades or acting, there is a category for that and if you are good at art, there is a category that lets you draw your answers.  Granted, you will have to do all the categories at some point during the game, but you will have a chance to do well at some point.

6.  Catch Phrase - This is a fast-paced game of words.  Basically password with a beeping timer.  You pass the word disc around the table giving clues to your teammates that will get them to guess the word displayed in the little window.  As you play, the electronic timer beeps faster and faster.  You lose if you are the one with the disc in your hand when the timer goes off.  We have decided we need to upgrade our version, cause the little window is proving to be a challenge for some of our older players.  There's a bit of focusing going on that tends to eat up time.

7.  Trivial Pursuit - This game has been around in the main stream long enough to now be a classic.  Many of my family members are trivia buffs (can you say Jeopardy junkies)and this game never goes out of style.

8.  Apples to Apples - Probably the simplest and best game for a large group.  Easy to explain and always fun to play.  Each player is given 7 cards listing places, people, events and things.  Then the player who is "it" for the round, selects a card with a descriptive term on it.  Each player gives one of their cards to the "it" player that best fits the descriptive term.  Your goal is to select the most appropriate card so that your card is chosen as the one that best fits the descriptive term.   Keep in mind that one appeals to a teenager might be different that one appeals to a grandma.

9.  Bang - This is probably one of the most complicated games to learn.  In fact, since Krissy had the boys, we haven't been able to play this game.  It takes a long time to understand and play, but once we got going it was a blast.  Truth be told, we've only played this game once while on vacation several years ago, but it made such an impression that we all still talk about playing it of these days.

10.  Wits and Wagers - Newest addition to the list.  A question is asked that always has a number as the answer.  For example:  How many feet below sea level is Death Valley?  Everyone writes down their guess.  The answers are laid out in order (lowest to highest) on a board.  You then players place bets on which answer they this is closest to the correct answer without going over.  After 7 questions, the person with the most chips wins.  It was very fun and actually quite interesting to figure out the logic and strategy for betting.



  1. May I please be part of your family? Sounds like you all have so much fun together. Another turkey? That's unbelievable....but I do believe you and I bet it taste even better on Friday.

  2. Hi,
    You guys are serious game players! We love that Apples to Apples game.
    I gave you an award on my blog, if you are interested!

  3. I love cranium!! We used to play it all the time back in Texas! Sounds like a blast!

  4. If you like Apples to Apples, you have to try Say Anything. Somewhat similar concept, but way better.

  5. We love Apples to Apples and Catch Phrase too!!!

  6. What fun Thanksgiving traditions, not only the games but the 2nd turkey ... wow, I'm impressed! We are Scrabble nuts here and Beyond Balderdash groupies plus Yahtzee for those who like to visit ... for those bolder, Risk!!!Thanks for the great Christmas ideas!

  7. I have been REALLY wanting to make a second turkey. For me, I'm just not "done" with Thanksgiving. I did get to have 2 leftover plates, but it's not enough!

    Looks like a really fun selection of games!