Games: Cranium Family Fun Game and Rack-O

Al asked for a Family Night, and the holiday tomorrow allowed for staying up late this evening playing games. So we gathered around the game table downstairs, and we picked out Cranium Family Fun Game as one mostly likely to work well for all ages and provide lots of fun and laughs.

Like most of Cranium’s games, this one has a number of different kinds of activities. Depending what color you land on, you pick out a card from one of four decks: Creative Cat, Word Worm, Data Head, or Star Performer. We quickly agreed that Data Head was the easiest category, generally depending more on knowledge than ability. Recognizing common objects from photos showing just a small detail is probably the hardest in that category, while the true/false questions and multiple choice were usually easy for all of us.

Word Worm is my favorite category, as I really like words. Spelling words backwards is not very challenging for any of us, but finding six words starting with six different letters (roll the letter dice to get your letters) in six specified categories can be quite a challenge. So much so, in fact, that we never managed before time was up.

Creative Cat and Star Performer require more ability and creativity, and generally are where the laughs come in. How do you pantomime playing musical chairs, or doing instant messaging? My husband had somewhat more luck acting out being a race car driver, and later being a waitress (the latter was quite memorable and will probably continue to generate laughter whenever we remember it).

I had to crab walk around the room with a plastic frog on my belly. There was some question as to whether the frog was still on my belly, as it slid down near my hip, but as I made it around the room, panting with the effort, my husband decided I had accomplished it. On other rounds, we raced around the house collecting items, such as something made only of cotton (a T-shirt), or something with batteries (a remote control). Kyra helped with this category, providing both something alive, and something for a dog to fetch.

The hardest were probably drawing with your eyes shut (it’s hard enough to draw a recognizable pinecone with your eyes open) and drawing by moving someone else’s hand while he holds the pencil. (This is like Pictionary, where the other people on your team have to guess what the drawing represents.) Somehow my older son recognized my blimp, but he couldn’t figure out my bunkbeds. And I couldn’t figure out my younger son’s parachute.

Similar to this activity is sculpting objects out of clay. My husband figured out my ant when I added the legs, and I figured out my older son’s piggy bank when he scratched a slot in the top. Making a necklace out of clay wasn’t too hard, but a giraffe was quite a challenge for Al. But the most memorable was probably my husband’s attempt to sculpt a toilet out of clay. (After time ran out, I made a bigger one and kept adding details until Al guessed it.)

After four games of that, with four different sets of winners (we played in teams of two, so I think everyone got to win at least once), we decided it was time to move on to another game. My husband suggested Rack-O, and we gave our younger son instructions on how to play. This is another game that works well for a wide range of ages. As long as you can put numbers in order, and have at least a rudimentary sense of strategy, you have a reasonably good chance of winning.

We played four games of Rack-O, and while I don’t think everyone got to win this time (but I did!), we all had fun. We agreed that we need to plan more Family nights.

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