I want to tell you about a game I love called Munchkin from Steve Jackson Games, for some reason it seems to divide audiences, you either love it or hate it.
It is basically two decks of cards, a die and some sort of tokens or coins (you provide your own tokens, we use pennies) to keep track of what level you are on. You get equipment for you character and you go on an adventure to defeat monsters and help or screw over your friends until one of you achieves level 10 and wins the game. There are deluxe editions of the game where you have a board and cardboard characters rather than tokens so you can see what level everyone is on.
The game comes in a variety of themes, such as space, vampires, spies etc, these can be played on their own or you can shuffle the cards together for a hybrid game. The core rules are the same for each game but the cards are themed for the game. So, for example, expect facehuggers, android sidekicks and laser guns in space instead of dragons, hirelings and swords. There is some reference to traditional role playing games within the structure of the game and in the basic themed game particularly, but you absolutely don't have to be a role player to enjoy this.
You can also get themed expansions to increase your card numbers. With more cards there is not really a limit as to how many people can play, the more people the longer the game. A game with a few of you can take all night, but probably wouldn't take all weekend.
The rules are fairly simple, although the tradition in my sister's house is to decide at the start of the game if it is a "cheating" game or a "non cheating game". In a cheating game you can try to get away with taking more cards or other sleight of hand to get an advantage, but if you get caught you have to put it all back. The rules are written in a light-hearted way, which perhaps encourage this kind of approach that you perhaps would not think of in other games. I think that is why I love this game, it's a competitive game that is impossible to take too seriously, meaning that it's hard to take it personally when you don't win or your family all gang up on you.
The cards themselves continue the light-hearted approach, the monsters or items often raise a smile at least They are totally irreverent of the theme or genre they are set in, the cartoon illustrations often provide further comedy. For example, in Munckin bites monster cards include "fruit bats" illustrated as a banana, orange and apple with little bat wings and the "mortal kom bat" which is shown with a skull with bat wings. If you find these types of puns annoying, then this is probably not the game for you.
The game mechanics are fairly simple, which make it an ideal family game, it it is complex enough to be fun for all ages. Adults can pair with younger children to play a joint hand, but my niece could play her own hand by the time she was eight.
Here is our Amazon affiliate link to get the game, if you buy it via this link we get a small payment but it does not cost you any extra.
A fun friendly competitive game for all ages, what's not to love? Let us know in the comments if you have played it and what you thought.