When I was a kid, my parents enforced a limited-TV rule. The commands to play a game and go outside and play were predictable when we drove my parents nuts. Mom and Dad played games with us and extended family gatherings began with the ritual of dinner, followed by card or board games. Everyone had their favorites and lobbied hard during decision time.

Occasionally annoying during my introverted moments, but a source of pleasure during my childhood. I have fond memories of playing games with my parents, siblings, grandparents and friends. 

8 Memorable Games That Might Be in Your Family Closet

Yes, folks, this was a time before video games and smart phones and, left to our own devices, we got creative. I remember many a Kick the Can game where inevitably someone would modify the rules and mutiny would ensue. Or the time when we got bored with ordinary ping pong and created a team-based game where the goal was to blow the ball across the table edge goal line. My grandmother was a pro.


I shared my love of games with our children. Through the years our collection grew, spanning the spectrum of Hi Ho Cherry O and Candy Land in the early years to more advanced games like Risk and Mastermind in the later years. I’ve purged a handful of games here and there (mom, we don’t play this anymore), but cling to the childhood classics I can’t part with. Rarely-played games like Masterpiece conjure up memories of favorite paintings and auctions gone bad when disagreements broke out over forgeries.

As I sift through the games, I’m wondering whether they too are in your closets and what memories they hold for you. Here are eight. I would love to see what you come up with!


I was in sixth grade and all I wanted for Christmas was Battleship. Okay, so I was a nerd, but I loved this two-player game and enjoyed the hit and sunk moments with my own children. My brother used to aggravate me by not placing his ships on his board and my frustration would rise as I couldn’t locate this vessels.

8 Memorable Games That Might Be in Your Family Closet


This go-to game was one of my earliest memories of group board games. Everyone loved Aggravation, so when no one could agree on which game to play, it represented common ground.

8 Memorable Games That Might Be in Your Family Closet


No game collection was complete without Monopoly. It was the all-afternoon game or the game played in segments with someone yelling no one touch this at break time. This game originated in the U.S. in 1903 and, according to Wikipedia, was created to demonstrate that an economy that rewards wealth creation is better than one in which monopolists work under few constraints. Who knew?

My unwavering goal was to snag Park Place and Boardwalk and was willing to kill for it. Through the years our collection expanded with several themed variations like Monopoly: Junior, Monopoly: Garfield and Monopoly: New England.

8 Memorable Games That Might Be in Your Family Closet


Scrabble was a perennial favorite, producing fierce competitors that still play the game today. My father and grandmother were known as avid, competitive players. I smiled that day at our lake cottage in 1988 when my soon-to-be husband beat them and my grandma quipped that was fun. It still provides us with a good laugh.

8 Memorable Games That Might Be in Your Family Closet


What it Professor Plum with a lead pipe in the conservatory? Clue was a favorite growing up, but my kids would rarely choose this game. I always thought Miss Scarlett was cool.

8 Memorable Games That Might Be in Your Family Closet


Nothing could get under my sister’s skin more than hearing my voice yell sorry!  When my son was little, Sorry! was one of his favorites, despite his crying jags when his pieces got sent back to start one too many times. We still joke about this.

8 Memorable Games That Might Be in Your Family Closet

Mille Bornes

This French game was one of Mom’s favorites. Mille Bornes is a road race card game with hazards, remedies, safeties and distance cards. I grew to loath the Flat Time and Out of Gas cards.

8 Memorable Games That Might Be in Your Family Closet

Playing Cards

My maternal grandma loved playing Kings in the Corner and Pokeno. I remember watching her carefully placing her kings and holding her cards, and the snap of the little red discs on the Pokeno board. My husband and I both come from families where cards are played. Our current loves are Euchre, Gin and Spades.

8 Memorable Games That Might Be in Your Family Closet

Games bring people together and build relationships in a way that few mediums do. That’s why I like them and get excited to ask who wants to play a game?

What memories do you have of playing games? What are your favorites?

1 Comment

  1. I grew playing lots of games and my kids loved them. Now I enjoy playing games for little kids with my granddaughter. She loves Chutes and Ladders like my kids did. Thanks for the memories!


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