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Love Rook?: Suitable New Options for Family Game Night

People Playing Ticket to Ride Board Game

Every week, my German relatives gathered at a family member’s house to play cards and catch up. They loved playing Rook, or at least some version of it, and ended with Hand & Foot or Mexican Train. I got looped in and grew to love getting together to play games. As I grew older, I realized a lot of Adventist families played Rook but had their own “house” rules. It was fun comparing our own versions with friends and laughing about how Rook was dubbed the “Adventist Game.”

If you are into games, here are some others that I have enjoyed playing and might be a great way to introduce variety into your next game night.

SKULL KING
Skull king unboxing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6tKezt1NMI
Quick how to play: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlFHfCqY-5YI

Card game, 3-8 players | 30+ minutes | Ages 8+

Skull King is similar to Rook in that you lead a round, and someone tries to win that trick. You have to place your bid before each round, and scoring is based on how many tricks you’ve won. The difference is it adds five pirates, which trump any suit. It also adds five ships, which allow you to “escape” a trick just in case you don’t want it. There are other cards with abilities that you can add or leave out, depending on how difficult you want the game to be. We keep it to the base game and enjoy it more than Rook.

AZUL
Strategy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_FL5WowU5I
How to play: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0sUnocTRrY

Tile game, 2-4 players | 45 minutes | Ages 8+

Azul is a beautiful, puzzly game that is easy to learn. It introduces strategy and planning for people new to the hobby. On your turn, you choose one pattern of tiles in the middle of the table and add them to your board. All of the players take turns until there are no more tiles, and then points are scored based on how you placed your tiles to decorate your board. There are no numbers or words for this game, only patterns.

SCOUT
Playthrough: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bH6-NSo_gmU

Card game, 3-5 players | 15+ minutes | Ages 9+

SCOUT is similar to Skull King and Rook, but adds an additional element: the cards have different numbers on either end! When you are first dealt your hand, you are not allowed to rearrange the order. You have to pick the cards up in the way they were dealt to you, and then you are allowed to flip your hand over and choose which “hand” you like better. After deciding, you have to keep your hand the same for the rest of the round. Instead of placing a bid on tricks, you try to be the first one to get rid of all your cards by playing runs and pairs of numbers next to each other from your hand. It adds a whole new level to trick-taking, and people end up loving this game for its uniqueness.

Super Mega Lucky Box

Super Mega Lucky Box
How to play: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6pvi1hs2hM

Card game, 1-6 players | 20 minutes | Ages 8+

Super Mega Lucky Box is a very light number game, and for some people might be too close to scratch cards that people get at gas stations. However, this is not a gambling game so you should be fine bringing this to your next church game night! Your goal is to score as many points as possible over four rounds. Each round, a numbered card from 1-9 is flipped over, and you mark that number off on one of your cards. When your card is all filled up, you can turn in that card for points at the end of the round. Lightening tokens allow you to change the number by +1 or -1 depending on how many you use. This game is great for people who do not want to think much when learning a new game. It can also be played through a cell phone app, which can be a lot of fun when you are killing time in the car or on an airplane.

NMBR 9

NMBR 9
How to play: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_zIgammdHE

Tile game, 1-4 players | 20 minutes | Ages 8+

NMBR 9 is a tile-laying game with numbers. To begin, a card is flipped over with a number from 0-9. You take that numbered tile from the box and place it in front of you. As the cards are flipped, you take tiles and place them adjacent to a previous tile or on top of multiple tiles if there is no overhang or gap underneath. When the cards run out, everyone scores. Every number touching the table on level zero is worth zero points. The next layer is one multiplied by that numbered tile; the next layer above that is two times the numbered tile. Try to stack as many numbers as high as you can to score the most points! These are a few games that could work at your next family or church gathering. They’re light enough to learn and quick enough to play.


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Title Image: cottonbro studio from Pexels

Banzainator is a content creator and Twitch streamer specializing in board gaming. She can be found on Instagram here: Banzainator

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