School Holiday Fun: Retro Games To Play With Kids
STORY: Pearlyn Tham
20 March 2021
Put away the phones and tablets, and spend quality family time together over a card or board game instead. There’s a lot of plotting, manoeuvring and sabotage involved – just what you need to keep the family happy together!
Uno: If you like sabo-ing others
The beauty of this card game is it can be played between two players or among 10. Each person is dealt seven cards face down. Throughout the game, there are two piles of cards: the Draw and the Discard ones.
By trying to match your cards with the top-facing one in the Discard pile, the end goal is to get rid of all your cards. The first player to end up with just one card has to shout “Uno!”. If you don’t and are caught by another player, the penalty is to draw two new cards.
There are also “action” (or sabo) cards like Draw Two, Reverse, Skip and everyone’s favourite Wild card.
Jenga: If you like holding your breath and having sweaty palms
This 1980s classic was basically made to test your hand-eye coordination skills. If you are a klutz, you’ll probably lose the game by being the first to topple over the entire stack of wood blocks.
And how do you know that this game has entered modern times? It now comes in many forms including a giant-size version (for when you want to get the kids outdoors) and the very-PC Jenga Ocean Game which uses plastic blocks made from recycled fishing nets.
Boggle: If you like reading the dictionary a lot
Within three minutes, find as many words as you can from the randomly placed alphabets on the game grid. You can’t skip or jump across letters and they must be touching vertically, horizontally or diagonally in a chain. And don’t try to cheat with anything fewer than three alphabets.
This may also be a good time for you to tell your emoji-loving tween that internet speak like IRL or IMOH are not proper words.
Happy Family: If you like collecting families
This is one time when having more than one family is okay morally. Each player starts out with the same number of cards and has to ask the rest for specific cards (try doing this in a language other than English to up the difficulty level) to form a complete family.
No lying is allowed – if you have the card that is requested, you have to hand it over. The player with the most sets of “happy families” wins the game.
The Game of Life: If you like planning your life
It’s what the name says: you go through life on a board game, finding a job, snagging a spouse and having children. Will work better with older children. Be warned: this game can go on and on for a long time.
Twister: If you like showing off what your yoga class taught you
You’ll need a lot of space for this (but don’t shock your neighbours by contorting your family of six in bizarre positions on the common corridor) and a lot of yoga-savvy postures too.
Mastermind: If you like second-guessing things
Who would have thought that you could have this much fun with a handful of tiny coloured pegs?
This is a deduction game for two players, with one being the code maker and the other, the code breaker. The code maker places four coloured pegs behind a screen on the game board. The code breaker then has to guess what the pegs are. After each guess, the code maker uses smaller pegs to show if the other player has got the colour as well as placement of the pegs right.
The game continues until the code breaker gets the exact peg combination right.
Ludo: If you like really antique games
You’ll probably have seen this very Pop Art-ish, coloured board game around. But did you know that Ludo was created in Victorian times?
In this game meant for four players, each person chooses one of the four primary colours on the board and is given four tokens in that colour. Throw a die and decide which token to move along the board.
The first player to move all four tokens into the home triangle wins.