154 – Player Interaction – The Family Gamers Podcast

Funky Chicken Cards: Bump

Episode 154

Player Interaction

We talk about player interaction this week. What games will encourage your family to really connect or collaborate? Andrew (and Anitra) also try Mexican hawthorne pulp, “for science!”

What We’ve Been Playing

We’re going camping with a large group of people. Lots of opportunity for games! We’re looking forward to using Order of Invention for a larger group, from our sponsor, Breaking Games.

Draftosaurus – we are big fans, and we’ll have a review for you very soon.

Ticket to Ride New York

Mystery of the Temples

Animo – recently rediscovered by our kids (remember when we talked to the creators?)

Mystery of the Temples from Deepwater Games.

Slide Quest

Drop It


Get the MacGuffin

Most Wanted

Dogs of War – do you want to be a mercenary?


The Hearmees – listen to infer what shape was drawn! Tough for a 5-year-old but doable.

I Have a Train to Catch – train race with pickup & delivery

Penny Rails


Bang! The Dice Game (with one of the same guys Andrew played with at Dice Tower Con)


Doug asks us about teachers using boardgames in the classroom. We have some anecdotal evidence (like our interview with Liz), but we’d also be interested to find more hard data. Our guess? Boardgames are moving in a similar direction to videogames, so hopefully there will be more research soon. Also check out the forum called Games in the Classroom on Board Game Geek.

Thanks for the Apple Podcasts review, too!

For Science!

Andrew (and Anitra! and even Claire!) eat Mexican hawthorn pulp coated with chili powder.

Want more gross/weird foods “for science”? Send your weird food to:

The Family Gamers
PO Box 528
Auburn MA 01501


Don Aranda asks: “What are some family games that really demand a lot of interaction between players (not necessarily in a take that way)?”

Interacting with our family members is a big part of why we play games! Let’s start with categories and work our way down to more unique games that encourage interaction.

Trick Taking

Trick-taking games (like Pikoko). You’re limited by what’s in your hand, but you need to play a mind game of what other people (might) have.

Guessing Games

Guessing games require you to talk to each other or give clues in specific ways (examples: Concept, Dixit, Hearmees, Mysterium, Detective Club) Codenames would fall into this arena, although you’re only interacting with your own team.

We love a subset of guessing games where everyone is trying to deduce common information and the focus simply shifts every turn: Purrrlock Holmes, Hanabi, Spyfall, and Dinosaur Tea Party.

Happy Planet

All of the Happy Planet Games emphasize players interacting with each other. A little bit of take-that in Dirty Pig, counting and racing for the best monster in Monster Match, and dancing with a partner in Happy Salmon and Funky Chicken.

Judging games or “Make Your Case”

Another genre of party games that aren’t guessing games; “make your case” games. This style was inspired by Apples to Apples but involve every player in judging and/or arguing why something should win: Cluster Fight, Champion of the Wild.

Two Player Games

Of course, most two player games are better at player interaction. You need to be focused on what the other player is doing, whether it’s an abstract game like SHOBU, checkers, and chess, a more euro-style game like Jaipur, or a head-to-head sports game like Sports Dice: Baseball and Sports Dice: Football.


Obviously, attacking another player is interaction. Some of the ones our family enjoys are Dice Throne, King of Tokyo, and Fire Tower.

Unusual Interactions

Onitama is a two player game, true; but there’s an extra layer of interaction. You’re literally passing moves back and forth between the players.

Quoridor and Maze Racers both require players to build a maze for the other player, and going through a maze built by others. Quoridor might be the more interesting choice here, since it can be played with four players, and on every turn you’re weighing whether to add to a maze or try to walk forward.

We’re not shy about our love for Spaceteam. Admittedly, you’re screaming at each other, but you’re doing it to work together toward the goal of fixing the spaceship. And some cards specifically require everyone to do something together (“everyone touch this card”)

Gnomes at Night – requiring turn-taking, coordination, and communication. An excellent cooperative game that requires interacting with the other people.

We discuss Anomia, Duple, and Lanterns. They don’t involve so much player interaction.

But how about Poetry Slam? You must perform your poem for everyone, and everyone is incentivized to listen.

Magic Maze is completely the opposite! You’re not talking at all, but you can’t do it alone. You must cooperate and figure out how to do it without speaking! Slide Quest (review out now) has a little bit of a similar feel and also requires a lot of interaction.

Looking for more?

Tell a story together with games like Untold, Story Cubes, or Robit Riddle.

Or social deduction games (One Night Ultimate Werewolf, In Vino Morte, etc.) aren’t a favorite for our family, but you’ll spend a lot of time examining other people’s actions and reactions!

What did we miss?

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Thanks again to Breaking Games for sponsoring this podcast. Check out their games at the link below:

Breaking Games: Order of Invention

This week’s opening and closing music is Orchid by You Bred Raptors?.