Growing up, my mom taught me numerous things like how to tie my shoes, addition and multiplication, and how to read. These skills have helped me throughout my life, and I’m so appreciative for them. Amongst these valuable skills, my mom also taught me about friendly competition and how to be a grateful winner and loser. Fast forward several decades. As I’ve learned about the board gaming hobby I’ve wanted to share those experiences with my mom. For this Top 6 list, I’ve taken some time to choose the games I most wanted to share with the woman who brought me into this world.
One of the classic word games, Scrabble, is a fantastic game to play with mom. The rules are fairly straightforward and everyone understands the basic mechanism of building words from a set of letters. If your mom is as competitive as mine, she’ll even have a printed out list of all of the two letter words, which she will most likely not share with you during the game. Also, if your mom is a fan of Scrabble, I recommend checking out Paperback or the recently funded Hardback, which are popular deck-builder word games.
The Resistance: Avalon
While I was growing up, my mom taught me to always be honest with everyone I met. The Resistance: Avalon (Avalon for short) takes the idea of telling the truth and throws it right out the window. In Avalon, players are divided into teams where some players are minions of evil and the others are working for good. The goal of the evil team is to sabotage missions where the good team wants them to succeed. The trick is, the evil team members know who each other are but the good team doesn’t know who is on either team besides themselves. Every time I’ve played Avalon with my family, hilarity has ensued while people I’ve grown up trusting have lied to my face.
I remember having a set of dominoes while growing up, and though I recall setting up intricate domino mazes more often than I actually remember playing, there is something nostalgic about the game. Kingdomino, recently reviewed by Meeple Mountain, is a fantastic reimagining of dominoes where you’re building a kingdom out of domino style pieces and you’re placing them together. Kingdomino is a great game to play with your mother because it has just enough take-that in it that you can still interfere with each other’s plans while still building a nice world. As a bonus, this is an especially great game to play with dad as well! My dad, the civil engineer, gets a real kick out of planning his city.
Codenames is one of the few games that works well with a small group or a larger crowd. In Codenames, two teams are working against each other to select sets of words assigned to their team before the other team can find theirs. One player on each team is the spy master and knows what words their team needs to identify. The remaining team members are working together to piece together clues from the spy master. I really enjoy playing this with my mom because it breaks us into teams and it’s always fun going through the post-game de-briefing to understand what the spymaster was thinking when they gave their clues. Codenames is a modern classic.
Lanterns: The Harvest Festival
In Lanterns, players are collecting different colors of cards by building a collective pool of lanterns. On their turn, players will place a tile which has a color on each of its four sides and each player will receive a card corresponding to the color facing them. Once players have collected certain sets of colors they can trade them in for victory points.
I really enjoyed playing this with my mom for two reasons. First, each turn you’re giving something to the other players. Playing with family, it’s a fun challenge to try and find moves that benefit multiple people around the table, while still setting yourself ahead. Second, even though Lanterns is a competitive game, there’s still an aspect of working together and building a beautiful portrait of the lanterns festival. Check out our review of Lanterns to see if your mother would like it.
Sushi Go: Party
This is my mom’s favorite game and for good reason. Sushi Go: Party is a card drafting game where the goal is to collect various types of sushi. There are several very good reasons she loves this game. First, there are always tense moments. Trying to get a read on what your opponents are going for while balancing your strategy around that is a constantly moving target. Second, the light-hearted and gorgeous theme of collecting a plateful of delicious sushi is something any fish fan can get behind. Third, this game plays up to seven people and it gets them laughing.
Sushi Go: Party is one of the few games where players are immediately incentivised to pay attention to what their opponents are doing and make decisions based on it. I’ve never played a game where players aren’t grinning from ear to ear as they prepare to flip over the card they drew that round.
So what are your favorite games to play with your mom? Tell us below in the comments! Also don’t forget to tell your mom how much she means to you this Mother’s Day.
I love you, mom and happy Mother’s Day!
Are you a mother, and want to build up a love of board gaming in your kids? Check our Top 6 games for kids under 5 for some great suggestions!