Getting people to laugh more at work takes more than just screening Will Ferrell movies in break rooms or starting every meeting with an improv session. It requires a serious dose of strategy, wit and humour.
These board games will help you achieve these goals, with options suitable for families with young children, school-age kids or adults. Try them at home or bring them to a family game night hosted by your organisation.
Chinese checkers is a simple yet engaging strategy game that is fun for all ages. It can be played by two, three, four, or six players and requires some strategic thinking to win. The board is shaped like a star with six points, each with ten “peg hole” (marble) holes. The middle of the board features a hexagonal shape, with each side having a length of five holes. There are six sets of ten pegs, each with their colour, and the players place their pieces on the coloured points on the board.
Although the name Chinese checkers may suggest it was invented in China, this game originated in Germany as stern halma or hop ching checkers. It was a simplified version of an American game called Halma, and it experienced a boom in popularity in the 1930s. Despite the changing times, this game has held on to its classic rules and is still a great way to have family fun. The first player to move their pieces into their home corner wins.
The Floor Is Lava
The new Netflix show Floor is Lava upgrades the classic childhood game of jumping from a piece of furniture to a piece of furniture while imagining the floor is molten lava. It’s a fun show, but it’s also a silly one. And it joins a growing list of kids’ games turned into reality competitions that are more slapstick than strategy.
The “lava” is supposedly a mixture of water, red food dye, and some non-toxic goop. But how do contestants make it across the obstacle course without falling into the lava? Unless they’re parkour professionals, it seems impossible. But watching the teams struggle makes for a surprisingly entertaining game.
While it’s hard to know exactly what the slime is made from, most TV slime these days comprises a thickener like hydroxyethylcellulose (also used in foods such as fruit pies and some cheese sauces) and a colourant. In this case, the lava may be a similar combination but with more heat and bubbling action to make it seem more like real lava.
What Do You Meme?
If your teen has spent much time online, they will appreciate this hilarious meme-themed card game. In each round, one player plays a photo card while the rest play a caption card to make a meme. A rotating judge picks the funniest pairing and crowns a winner each round.
The original version of this party game was heavy on off-colour humour, which made it too intense for family games. Still, the new family edition uses a lot of the same gameplay but removes all of the R-rated content. You’ll laugh out loud as you compete to be crowned meme queen or king.
Another great option is Jenga. Classic family board games are perfect for a barbecue or a lawn party and encourage friendly competition as you try to build the tower without it toppling over. This is also an engaging way to reinforce reading skills as your teen decodes the words on the cards. It is also a fun way to work on expressing emotions and can help your teen learn how to read other people’s expressions.
Despite this game’s wacky and often gross-out nature, it isn’t for the easily offended. The ridiculous drawings of bats farting and cats shaped like hairy potatoes add to the fun factor. The instruction sheet features a similar style of humour, which will please players and help them find the right tone for the play.
The basic game is a push-your-luck Russian roulette-style card game where players draw cards hoping not to pull the exploding kitten card that destroys them and their entire hand. The game was an overnight success on Kickstarter in early 2015 and has become one of the most-backed games ever, with over 219,000 backers.
While it may not be the most complex card game, there are still plenty of opportunities for strategy. The card effects are explained clearly so that even younger kids can get to grips with them. It’s a great way to introduce the concept of probability, and a good amount of strategic thinking is involved in knowing when and how to use a card’s ability. The game is quick enough not to require lengthy sessions and can be used as a palette cleanser between more complex board or card games.
A party game that’s fun for ages 8+, Telestrations is an engaging drawing game that can get people laughing at the silly drawings they are creating. It’s the kind of game that works best with multiple players and can be played in short rounds. It can be a great icebreaker for large groups and works well as an entertaining activity during dinner prep or when the kids are getting restless.
The gameplay in Telestrations is all simultaneous, so it’s a very social game, and there’s no downtime while everyone is waiting for their turn. That also means that the results of playing are funnier the more players are involved – it’s ableist comedy at its finest.
The basic game has eight booklets, supporting up to eight players. However, a party pack has 12 flyers for an even larger group. We like that the game uses dry-erase markers, and the spiral binding makes it easy to flip over and keep previous drawings and guesses secret as the play progresses.