If your family is anything like mine, you've worked your way through every board game in the house over the past month, and you feel fully qualified to rank and review them.  These are the four best because the kids said so.

I feel victorious when I find a game that, first of all, has all of the pieces intact, and second, holds the kids' attention for more than fifteen minutes.  These four games have been huge winners at my house while we've been quarantining, and we're on a roll so I feel like we'll keep playing them even when we can start leaving the house again.  As long as the dog doesn't chew up the fake money and run off with the parts, that is.

1.  The Game of Life.  I played a version of this game growing up, and now we've got an updated version with pets, more expensive property, better salaries, and new retirement funds.  It inspires the girls to dream about what they might grow up to be and it gently nudges me toward a mid-life crisis, but that's okay.  At least it's a bonding experience.

2.  Pictionary.  I'm at a huge disadvantage with this one because I am the worst artist in the family.  All three girls have natural artistic ability, and even the second-grader can draw better than I can, so the only reason anyone wants me on their team is for the stream-of-consciousness guessing.  I'll spit out ten guesses in ten seconds, just hoping one hits.  Piper drew a straight line the other day and my third guess was a thermometer, which happened to be right.  Sometimes artistic ability is overrated.

3.  Sequence Cats.  We love animals, and any game that features them is a huge hit.  In this game, the cards in your hand feature different breeds of cats, and during your turn, you can place a chip on the spot on the board that syncs with one of the cats in your hand.  The goal is to have your partner across the table help you with a streak of five chips in a row, and if you get two of those cat sequences you win. And after it's over, you will probably end up adopting a cat.

4.  31. This is a game my grandma Simona taught me at her kitchen table as I was growing up.  She used to call it "Skat," but 31 sounds less like wild animal droppings so I changed it.  Three cards are dealt to each player, and one card is turned over to start the game and create a discard pile.  When it's your turn, you can either pick up the card on the pile or draw a card, and you've got to discard one so you always have three in your hand.  The goal is to reach 31 and you win.  Aces and jokers count as eleven, face cards count as ten, and a winning hand has to be in the same suit.  The girls and I play this while we're watching TV because it takes very little concentration.  And that's probably also why Grandma drank Pabst Blue Ribbon while she played.  It's an easy game for multi-tasking.

Games create fun fights because someone usually cheats, argues with a move, or insists that it's their turn when everyone else knows darn well it's not. Games can channel away some quarantine tension that's been brewing and give it a new place to go.  They're the perfect stress reliever.

If you've got a favorite game, let me know!  If it pairs well with Pabst Blue Ribbon, it's a winner.


READ MORE: 6 ways the whole family can play together at home

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