First of all let me say how odd it was to write that post title. Is this like asking who’s your favorite doo-wop band, or which soda fountain in town has the fizziest drinks? Do people even play board games anymore?
Well, Amish do. Last night we got in a red-eyed round of Settlers of Catan,a hit game in Lancaster County and elsewhere. Other friends enjoy Life on the Farm, a dairy agribusiness simulator.
Board games appeal to Amish for the obvious reasons-they’re easy to pick up, don’t take electricity and are great for the family. That said, not everybody likes them.
So what are your favorite board games? Or are you like another Amish friend of mine, who considers them “bored” games?
You might also like:
Question on the Amish? Get answers to 300+ questions in 41 categories at the Amish FAQ.
My kids are such board game fans. We play checkers, connect 4, and Chutes and Ladders. They are learning chess, which is something I will never master. It is wholesome fun.
I love board or bored games!!!
My husband and kids love Chess, I have no clue when it comes to that game.
My favourite is The Game of Life, Chutes & Ladders, Trivial Pursuit and good old Monopoly.
Another very family favourite and our Christmas Day Tradition is Crokinole we have such a great time and the laughs are non stop!
I wonder do the Amish make Crokinole boards?
new to me!
Some of these games are not familiar at all! Could you explain what the “settlers” and “Crokinole” games are? Always looking for something new!
I never heard of Settlers either. I found a website if this is the same game.
Settlers of Catan
That looks like the site. Settlers of Catan is a strategy game where you attempt to build towns, cities and roads which score points. You do this by collecting resource cards (brick, wood, coal, etc) you acquire by rolling dice, and then trading in resource cards to achieve certain goals. There’s a lot more to it which I’m sure you can find on the site. It’s quite an addictive game and big among the Lancaster Amish at least–you’ll find it and its various “extension packs” in Amish stores in the area.
Our family loves to play Scrabble.
I’d say Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit. I do have one daughter who doesn’t like board games at all. Even though it’s not on a board, we’ve been playing Apples to Apples pretty much and that’s funny.
We love board games in our family! We like Wits and Wagers, Pilgrim’s Progress, Scrabble and Scattergories, just to name a few! 🙂
This is so fun to hear of other games…what are “wits and wagers” and “Pilgrim’s Progress” (like the book?)
We like Apples to Apples as well and scrabble, most word games are fun. Our family likes games that challange us as well. We always give board games to each other and try to find something new and interesting for each other to play. When together as extended family we all enjoy the board games and sitting around the fire in the winter.
Favorites from childhood
As a woman in her 60’s, I remember growing up with Board games!! There were no video games or hand held electronic games!! My 2 childhood playmates and I usually played Scrabble, Chutes & Ladders, Candy Land, Clue, Monopoly, and more that I can’t remember! plus several card games, too. Not much TV watching for us!
I introduced my children to the same ones, and they in turn have “handed down” the same ones to their children!! BUT, with one difference — they also buy electronic games for them for the TV or computer!! HA —
I think board games are a great teaching tool plus you are socializing and interacting with a “live” person(s)and having fun!
Innovation and ghost stories are definitely my top for the year, but i also really like Go.
For real hardcore boardgamer, follow me on twitter, i usually post twice a day about boardgame : http://twitter.com/#!/jutrasimon
Down here in Pinecraft the old people play “Marbles”. The rules vary so the rule is that in whoever’s house we play, we play by their rules. I love playing a game or two with a group of older people for it brings out their personalities. You can hide who you are behind conversations but when it comes to playing board games, that is a different story especially if you are old and set in your ways…
It’s not a board game, but Dominoes is our favorite.
We played alot of the game memory when my son was little. He just loved playing board games. Now that he is an adult, I don’t get to play board games and my husband doesn’t like board game. It is a really fun way to interact with family and friend. We also played alot of card games when we were younger.
I really like Sequence or Scattegories. Others we play are checkers, chess, Rummikub, and Trouble. Most of our playing occurs in the winter when daylight is scarce, or the temperature outside is just too cold.
I played a game they called sequence..but was home made with chips ..on wooden board. The women who brought the game called it Rookboard. She is from Lancaster,PA..it is played like sequence..with no King/queen pictures..and just colored numbers.
Does anyone know where or how I can purchase this game??
Crokinole is my favourite. As far as I know it’s a Canadian thing, and it’s very popular among Mennonites around here. We call it “Kjnipsbrat.” Other games I like are Scrabble, Pictionary, the occasional game of Monopoly. My family’s very favourite is Dutch Blitz, but I suppose that isn’t really a board game!
Our Mennonite Home and Native game night in Canada
Jessica: Do you read “Canada’s History Magazine” [formerly “The Beaver”, I wish they’d change it back out of respect for when it was the Hudson’s Bay Company employee / in store magazine], particularly the August – September issue? They have a brief article in their “Currents” section under the subsection labeled “Our Home and Native” about Crokinole. I’ll have to check for you to see if there is an online link to the article. According to the article which I now have at my desk notes that there is a championships held in Tavistock, Ontario, are you near there?
I’d be interested to see what the article says if you can find it! But no actually, I’m in Alberta. My family heritage is Russian Mennonite from the southern Manitoba area, and I always love to come across old photos of relatives playing crokinole.
I like strategy games and different card games but if I play a board game it is almost always Trivial Persuit, it is my partner’s favorite and he always end up managing to get me to agree to playing it. I also like Yatzee but that is not a board game either.
Checkers, which my 7 year old can now beat me at, and chess, which she is just learning and will probably be able to beat me at by age 8. Uncle Wiggly and Candyland now and then, and tic-tac-toe, if that counts as a board game.
I have disliked board games since I was young, and I don’t care much for cards, either. I haven’t played a video game since “Pong,” which is at least as old as Erik. The only games I enjoyed were the numbers type games like Yahtzee – I’m not sure if I’ve spelled that right.
Hey hey, I “Ponged” a little bit back on my Atari 2600. Amazing how little it took to keep us 1980s kids interested back then.
I love board games but don’t have anyone to play them with. When I was much much younger my mother and I played Sorry almost every evening, then we learned to play Canasta. I like Cribbage too, not a board game but fun.
What's your Favorite Board Game
My favorite board games are Chinese Checkers and Sorry!
A friend of mine and I meet once a month for dinner and a board game. We alternate months on who is responsible for the game that evening. I’ve learned that I like Bananagrams, Tile Rummy and Pechanga.
It brings back memories of Saturday evenings with my family. My parents would decide that we weren’t watching any television that night and we would play board games or put jigsaw puzzles together. Takes me back to a real pleasant place. Sometimes I pull out my board games at home and play eventhough I am the only player. Smile!!!!
My children are in their 20’s (all married) and LOVE to play Settlers of Catan and Life on the Farm! They are such a hit here in western Colorado. The kids will go to coffee shops and play with others their age for fun during the evenings. And also when they come home we will sit at our table that seats 12 and play these games long into the night. Fun times! 🙂 They will love hearing that the Amish like the games as well!
Debbie, very cool to hear that young people are going out in the evenings to play BOARD GAMES! There is hope for us all yet 🙂
Monopoly. And we always played for blood…
Not sure if I have a favorite. When my husband and I play Monopoly he usually becomes a tyrant and buys up everything and charges me rent. Our games also last for hours.
Guess we prefer cards. Hubby likes to play Spades and I like Cribbage.
Settlers of Catan for me
I have loved playing Settlers of Catan since I was introduced to it a few years back. It is a newer game that originally came from Germany and has taken on quite a following around the world. It has all the elements that make up a great game — strategy, some trading amongst players, easy to learn, lots of possible outcomes…and usually ends in a little more than an hour.
I am amazed at the mention of Crokinole and pleased to learn Mennonites play it! I should have figured anything of great meaning would be learned on Amish America 🙂
Born in ’49, I grew up playing it. My parents are in photo’s playing it at my grandparent’s home in the 30’s.
The family Crokinole board was brought with my German ancestors when coming to America in the late 1800’s.
After I lended it to my brother and never saw it again, my children located a Canadian man who made replicas of them. They gifted me with it a year ago Christmas and quickly became a favorite with my kids and grandkids.
Crokinole is our favorite board game…it brings much energy and laughter as even
on-lookers are drawn in the competition.
I do not know Crokinole, but I love the name. When I first read it in this thread it sounded Dutch to me (Netherlands Dutch, not PA Dutch–I’m reading a history of Amsterdam right now which may be why). I’ll put Crokinole on my list.
Found an interesting little “history” of the game on Wikipedia.
“The earliest known crokinole board was made by craftsman Eckhardt Wettlaufer in 1876 in Perth County, Ontario, Canada. Several other home-made boards of southwestern Ontario origin, and dating from the 1870s, have been discovered since the 1990s. It seems to have been patented on April 20, 1880, in New York City by Joshua K. Ingalls.
Crokinole is often believed to be of Mennonite or Amish origins, but there is no factual data to support such a claim. The reason for this misconception may be due to its popularity in Mennonite and Amish groups. The game was viewed as a rather innocuous pastime – unlike the perception that diversions such as card playing or dancing were considered “works of the Devil” as held by many 19th-century Protestant groups. The oldest roots of crokinole, from the 1860s, suggest the British and South Asian games are the most likely antecedents of what became crokinole.”
Ruth Ann Standish: I would have thought Cribbage is a board game of sorts, because you do need a board to play, don’t you? I remember my father and my uncles playing. I loved to watch them, but couldn’t get into playing myself.
My father and we kids would play Battleship together; that is technically a board game. That is the only video game from the late 1980s early 1990s I remember my father getting into though.
I really liked Scrabble, and I guess I still do. There was an Amish America article about card games, earlier this year, and it talked about the popularity of “Uno”, that was a great game too.
Jessica: I’m still working on the CHM link about crokinole. My grandfather initially settled in Manitoba. I was born in Ontario, but I consider Manitoba my own “ancestral homeland” which I have been to and like to visit, like immigrants speak of their homeland, I consider myself partly Manitoban.
Our family loves to play Settlers of Catan and were excited to recently find out our Amish friends in Holmes County like to play it, too! Another family favorite that we picked up in Holmes County is On and Off Checkers. Great board game with horse and buggies pictured on the board. Our friends introduced it to us a couple of years ago. I could not find it on the internet or anywhere so had to get it when we visited last year. Of course, we love Dutch Blitz as well if that counts since it is a card game not a board game. SET is a fun game that is great for all ages. We just purchased this and took it to our Amish friends as a little thank you gift for their hospitality last month. Playing board games with them by battery-powered and kerosene lights is one of my favorite activites! Great topic, Erik!
Not so much board games. We like playing dominoes (Mexican Train) and playing Uno, Skipbo, and Dutch Blitz.
It doesn’t really count as a board game but another game my mom loved when I was growing up Amish was Mind Trap. Now we play a lot of Settlers of Catan and Rook.
Love board games!
I’ve recently gotten really into buying and playing games. I just bought a whole bunch in the last couple weeks. Some really great games are Ghost Stories, Cyclades, Dominion, Pandemic, Smallworld and Last Night on Earth. I’m constantly having people over to play games now and everyone loves all of these.
I’m finally getting a chance to go through some of these posts and comments after getting back from PA and enjoying them as always.
Glad for all the great responses on this thread, and wonderful to see that board (and other non-video) games are thriving. There really is a nice family element to them. While on vacation with my folks and brother we played Scattergories, which turned into a hilarious event (mainly due to some of the “words” that were invented for the game).
Life on the Farm continued
An addendum to the Life on the Farm anecdote–I returned to play a follow-up game with this family a couple days later.
It had been a long day for them (filling silo) and so we made it a short one, just to 30 cows.
After the 6th-grader beat us all (again), he and dad made for the barn–where they encountered some (real) new life on the farm–a cow which had gone into labor before our game started was just delivering a new calf.
we like ticket to ride
also an amish made game using rook card and poker chips on a special gameboard called on/off rook
Any idea where to find the game rules for ‘Rook On/Off’? We found a custom made game board, but no one we know, knows how to play…and we’re always looking for a great new game!
My in laws purchased the game in Holmes Co. Of course, they were on a trip & can’t remember where they ordered it. We love to play it with them. I would like to give the game to my brother’s family. Do you know where I can order it?
Favorite Board Game
My absolute favorite board game is Blokus…..Then Scrabble, UNO, Apples to Apples, and Yahtzee. I doubt the Amish play those games…do they?? OH, maybe Scrabble. We have lots of games at our house still. My youngest still loves to play board games and card games. The older girls love the game of Life. I wish more would play board games rather than the electronic ones. It does bring family together…the bonding that takes place and the laughter that is shared (we often become very silly) is irreplacable.
Kristin, for sure the first two, and I’m not sure what Apples to Apples is. Yahtzee I wouldn’t be surprised.
favorite board games
Scrabble was number one in our home, and then 42. It is a game you play with dominos. 42 is mostly played in Texas, that is where it started . I am a teacher and we tried to play board games with the first graders and they don’t know what they are . How sad.
I have always enjoyed playing board games! Not so much for the playing, but for the fun and conversation it brings with those playing along with you.
Also, playing checkers with my grandpa was a “right of passage.” When Grandpa asked you to play checkers with him, it was special — that was the way he built relationships with his grandchildren. Again, it wasn’t really about the game, it was the conversation that took place between the moves! :0)
Nowadays we always enjoy getting our nieces and nephews to play board games with us for the same reason.
Sorry. Wow would that bring out the obnoxious side in everyone in my family.
I’m not s big fan of Monoploy, probably because my husband always bests me!
Carrom / Carom
Carrom was and is THE Game in my father’s family. (Our name for Crokinole was “the other side of the carom board.”) Grandpa had a special stool made to put the carom board on — the legs of the stool were sawed off to make it the optimum height for play. They usually used cue sticks, (made from dowel rods?) but usually we kids shot with our fingers. We call the wooden playing pieces “caroms,” and frown on the newer plastic kind which play completely different than the wooden ones. Great fun.
Great comment Ellen, was your family Amish?