Game nights are a bit of a tradition in our family. Our Grandma Rose has been hosting a Pinocle game at her house every Tuesday night for the past twenty-five years. When I was growing up, my parents carried on a nightly romantic tete-a-tete over an old English Cribbage board. And when my son Jack was little we couldn’t get enough of Candy Land on the floor.
These days we are enjoying some of the sweetest Christian fellowship over a potluck meal and a friendly challenge of popular board games. “It’s hard building relationships with other believers just on Sunday mornings,” said Shelly Duclos, a Santa Rosa mom & worship singer. “So Paul and I decided to open our home every other week for a potluck and game night. The relationships are definitely growing! Nothing’s better then building godly relationships in our home around food and fun!”
It doesn’t matter if you are seven or seventy years old, board games give us a free pass to relax and be silly. Laughter breaks through walls, guards come tumbling down and true personalities shine through. Without any pressure, games offer a very organic way to get to know new people. Bonding comes naturally when you’re sharing good old fashioned fun.
A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22
Reflecting on this proverb, Christian author A.B. Simpson said, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine. Joy is the great restorer and healer. Gladness of spirit will bring health to the bones and vitality to the nerves when all other tonics fail and all other sedatives cease to quiet.”
Lately we’ve fallen in love with a game called TABOO by Milton Bradley. TABOO is a spoken word game that involves trying to get your team to guess a secret word without using any of five clue words specified as “taboo”. For example, how do you get your teammates to say the phrase “back-seat driver” if you can’t say the words car, directions, rear, meddler and advice? As a player gives clues, he is constantly monitored by someone on the opposite team; if he makes one little blunder and accidentally says a “taboo” word, he is disqualified with a goofy buzzer and a point is deducted from his team’s score. This is a great game and can be played with teams large or small.
With a crowd on game night comes a pot luck dinner. To rev up the fun train, start out with some appetizers. Finger foods like Assorted Crostini, Exotic Cheesy Kiwi Bites or Stuffed Mushrooms with Italian Sausage will always please a crowd. For the main course, I recommend casual dishes that travel easily. Crock Pot Chili, Homemade Meatballs over Spaghetti or Enchilada Casserole are a few easy-to-make, pot luck favorites. And be sure to serve one or two simple salads on the side to keep the meal light and balanced. So try a game night tradition in your house. And remember, it’s not about whether you win or lose, it’s just about having fun, breaking bread and building relationships.
To get you started, here is an easy to make, super delicious recipe for the BEST MEATBALLS EVER! Serve these over your favorite pasta, a basic Marinara sauce and some Parmesean cheese on the side.