Recommend very-light games for a non-gaming family. EARN GEEK GOLD!
David G.
United States
Moorpark
California
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I would like some recommendations of games to play with my family. Suggestions I like will get Geekgold gifts! Please read my criteria below:

Criteria:
* No 2-players
* Suitable for wife, 13yo girl, 15yo boy, 17yo boy.
* Have to be family-friendly
* Not overly thinky
* Not Mean
* No heavy fantasy theme
* Anything over an hour is pushing it


So, I've been a gamer for a long time. Trouble is, we old-school gamers sometimes have a different view of what a "light" game is. Or at least, what a family of very casual gamers like. I've added some games to the geeklist so you can see what type of things are working.

Games that won't work
If I attempted any of these games, it would certainly result in someone swearing to never play games again.
Agricola
Laughably bad idea. If you think this is a good suggestion, thank you so much for taking time, but your family clearly is a bunch of gamers.

Dominion
Too much shuffling, too different, too difficult to understand the combos. Too many variations on the cards.

Puerto Rico
FAR too heavy. I'd never get past the rules.

Games that are on the far-edge of acceptable
Catan
I can get the family to play this on RARE OCCASIONS. It'd better be the third day of a week-long vacation for this to make it to the table.

Ticket to Ride
This hits the table more often, but its length is prohibitive, and the frustration of someone else blocking you is a bit tough.
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1. Board Game: Around the World in 80 Days [Average Rating:6.58 Overall Rank:1660]
Board Game: Around the World in 80 Days
David G.
United States
Moorpark
California
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Here's an example of one that works real well. Scales well. There's not a lot of thinking, and you don't need to plan many moves ahead. You also can't impact others much, so there's not much "gotcha".
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2. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:168] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Board Game: Ticket to Ride
David G.
United States
Moorpark
California
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This one is good, but like I said, it's length and frustration in getting blocked means it doesn't get to the table very often.
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3. Board Game: TransAmerica [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:1068]
Board Game: TransAmerica
David G.
United States
Moorpark
California
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This one is nice and light. It gets to the table often, and is also a favorite to teach friends that come over. Scales well. We very seldom play with Vexation, because, that's "mean".
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4. Board Game: 10 Days in the USA [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:2156]
Board Game: 10 Days in the USA
David G.
United States
Moorpark
California
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Another family favorite. If you play it without bothering to watch what people are drawing you have little ability to impact other players.
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5. Board Game: Würfel Bohnanza [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:1796]
Board Game: Würfel Bohnanza
David G.
United States
Moorpark
California
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Nice and light, PLUS you get to do something when it's not your turn. No planning needed, little thought. Perfect little game after a long day of work, preparing dinner, and helping with homework.
 
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6. Board Game: Bohnanza [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:446]
Board Game: Bohnanza
David G.
United States
Moorpark
California
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This one is pretty good, but the trading means the game slows down, and often times lack of trading causes arguments, hard feelings.
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7. Board Game: 6 nimmt! [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:599]
Board Game: 6 nimmt!
David G.
United States
Moorpark
California
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Big hit with the family. Matter of fact, when it started to wear out, I looked into getting 6 Nimmt they rebelled, because they liked the "original version".
There is some "gotchya" to it, but it's seldom intentional.
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8. Board Game: This Game is Bonkers! [Average Rating:5.79 Overall Rank:10553]
Board Game: This Game is Bonkers!
David G.
United States
Moorpark
California
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I can get my two non-gamer kids to play this, but it's too frustrating for my wife. One bad game with bad luck, and she was out!
 
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9. Board Game: Careers [Average Rating:5.81 Overall Rank:5577]
Board Game: Careers
David G.
United States
Moorpark
California
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Another game my wife has sworn off of because of one bad experience. Nice and light, though, and scratches that "commercial" itch that kids like, while giving this gamer something to do.
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10. Board Game: Can't Stop [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:709]
Board Game: Can't Stop
David G.
United States
Moorpark
California
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Family favorite. Now that the kids are older, "all that adding" is no longer a problem.
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11. Board Game: Coloretto [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:534]
Board Game: Coloretto
Kent Reuber
United States
Mystic
Connecticut
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Very simple rules and it plays quickly. If they like this, they can try Zooloretto.
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12. Board Game: Dixit [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:258] [Average Rating:7.27 Unranked]
Board Game: Dixit
David Montgomery
United States
Modesto
California
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The Shipyard - Star Trek Attack Wing spoilers and reviews
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It's best with 5+ players but it will work with as few as 3, though 4 would be better.
It rewards creativity, and knowing each other. You can play as many or as few rounds as you want, most people play to 30 points which takes roughly 30-45 minutes.
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13. Board Game: No Thanks! [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:439]
Board Game: No Thanks!
Kent Reuber
United States
Mystic
Connecticut
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This is a filler game that our group likes.
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14. Board Game: Ingenious [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:411]
Board Game: Ingenious
Kent Reuber
United States
Mystic
Connecticut
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We've enticed some non-gamers using this one.
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15. Board Game: Qwirkle [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:777]
Board Game: Qwirkle
Kent Reuber
United States
Mystic
Connecticut
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"Scrabble for those who can't spell." Again, very simple rules (I've taught an 8 year old how to play for example).
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16. Board Game: King of Tokyo [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:302]
Board Game: King of Tokyo
Guido Gloor
Switzerland
Ostermundigen
Bern
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No clue whether this counts as "heavy fantasy theme" ... kind of like a themed Yahtzee, but much more fun.
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17. Board Game: Hey, That's My Fish! [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:819]
Board Game: Hey, That's My Fish!
Guido Gloor
Switzerland
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Bern
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Short, tactical, strategical, but very portable and explained in less than five minutes.
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18. Board Game: Fast Flowing Forest Fellers [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:2256]
Board Game: Fast Flowing Forest Fellers
Taylor Nakamoto
United States
Montrose
Colorado
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May be considered mean by some with the potential to push players into currents taking them backwards, but it doesn't have to be played that way.
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19. Board Game: Slide 5 [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:2721]
Board Game: Slide 5
Taylor Nakamoto
United States
Montrose
Colorado
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The harder you think about it, the poorer you do... whistle
 
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20. Board Game: Rum & Pirates [Average Rating:6.44 Overall Rank:2392]
Board Game: Rum & Pirates
Taylor Nakamoto
United States
Montrose
Colorado
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No Felds on this list yet?
 
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21. Board Game: It Happens.. [Average Rating:6.19 Overall Rank:3743]
Board Game: It Happens..
Taylor Nakamoto
United States
Montrose
Colorado
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A lite dice placement game.
 
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22. Board Game: Eleminis [Average Rating:6.03 Overall Rank:8749]
Board Game: Eleminis
Culp Smash
United States
Massachusetts
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This one is adorable... like a rock, paper, scissors... with a cute "elements" theme. Quick play. You can be as passive as you need to be for the kiddos, but sometimes there is nothing that can be done about a "lost hand" and so it helps with fairness. My students love this one & my best friend is very excited to play this with his daughters. I like it a lot to introduce light fare for new gamers, and for playing with kids when friends visit my house with their young ones. Have fun if you try it!
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23. Board Game: Piece o' Cake [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:1768]
Board Game: Piece o' Cake
jack elfrink
United States
McKees Rocks
Pennsylvania
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Though it may not match your "no heavy thinking" criteria, the rules of this one are literately a piece of cake to learn. If you have ever heard of that old axiom that to divide something fairly one person splits and the other chooses then you already know how to play. All that is left is learning how to count score.
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24. Board Game: Get Bit! [Average Rating:6.15 Overall Rank:2338]
Board Game: Get Bit!
jack elfrink
United States
McKees Rocks
Pennsylvania
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Only a little bit mean. The theme is light hearted and silly and what I like best is there is ZERO downtime. All turns are simultaneous.
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25. Board Game: Forbidden Island [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:699]
Board Game: Forbidden Island
Culp Smash
United States
Massachusetts
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I list this as a possibility for you. I love it! Cooperative game that can play within the age ranges for your kids easily. A lot of fun. And you all win or lose together.

EDITED FOR GRAMMAR
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