Every family knows the struggle of getting the younger members to put their phones or tablets down and spend time bonding with each other rather than their technology. Heck, even older members can get a bit too attached to social media feeds when you’re just hoping to get a little more real-life face time. This can be especially frustrating when the holidays roll around and you’re surrounded by loved ones you might not see as often the rest of the year. If your brood is anything like mine, there’s nothing quite like some friendly competition to inspire everyone to shift their focus back on each other — by crushing them with your superior gaming skills, of course.
My family likes buying a new card game each year to crack open and play for the first time together on Christmas Eve. It’s a great way for everyone to have fun and make sure we’re actually tuckered out enough to catch some Zzz’s no matter how excited we are for presents in the morning. Plus, there’s really nothing like watching teens ignore their phones for hours on end to challenge the rest of us to just one more round.
Check out some of the best card games you can snag for your family this year!
Best Card Game for Families
Taco vs Burrito
Where to buy: $19.99 (Originally $24.99), Amazon
This “deliciously unpredictable” game was invented by a 7-year-old, but it’s challenging enough for everyone in the family to get a kick out of. The goal is to “create the weirdest, wildest meal” while each player takes turns laying down cards that describe different ingredients, or ones that reduce points with problems like “Tummy Aches,” and others like “Hot Sauce Boss” that amps the points up. Action cards like “Trash Can Panda” can thwart fellow players to help you win, but they might use others like “Health Inspector” to turn the tables back against you. It’s sort of like Uno, but with hilarious hypothetical food concoctions instead of numbers.
Best Card Game for Teens
Unstable Unicorns Card Game
Where to buy: $13 (Originally $20), Amazon
Unicorns have a reputation for being whimsical and sweet, but the description for this strategy game paints a different picture: “Build a Unicorn Army. Betray Your Friends. Unicorns are Your Friends Now.” The goal is to be the first to fill your stable with your “army” of seven unicorns using cards that contain magic, instant upgrades, and downgrades against the rest of the players. The whole family can play, but teens will especially enjoy destroying their loved ones while gathering up unicorns. One reviewer wrote, “This game has become such a favorite with my kids that my 13-year-old son even brought it to school for a game day in one of his classes!”
Best Card Game for Adults
Cards Against Humanity: Absurd Box
Where to buy: $20, Amazon
This wildly popular and often hilariously inappropriate card game still ranks as one of the highest-rated options out there. This edition takes things up a notch with “300 of the weirdest cards we’ve ever written.” Warning: You might learn more about your family than you ever thought (or wanted to know) while explaining some of the more risqué cards — but that’s what makes it so amusing. One reviewer wrote, “I had no idea my mother was so funny and such a horrible person.” Ha!
Best Card Game for Kids
Not Parent Approved: A Card Game for Kids, Families and Mischief Makers
Where to buy: $24.99, Amazon
Despite the name, this game will definitely be approved by parents for their young ones. Inspired by Cards Against Humanity, this is a much tamer version that will still have the whole family giggling at how they decide to fill in the blanks of a prompt card with their stack of silly suggestions. Plus, it will encourage the kids to sharpen their reading abilities while they laugh. Scholastic gave the game its Gold Star Toy award saying, “Consider it your secret weapon against reluctant readers, as one tester said it improved her daughter’s reading skills.”
Best Card Game for Two
Throw Throw Burrito Game
Where to buy: $30.99, Amazon
This fun card game mixes elements of Go Fish and dodgeball with players drawing cards to find matches of three — and occasionally prompting them to toss one of the squishy toy burritos at their opponent to steal points. As long as you keep things good-natured, this is a perfect way for old and young family members to challenge each other to perhaps the silliest type of duel while enjoying some bonding time.
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