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Top Five Games To Get Your Teenagers Talking To You


Ever get a bit fed up with your teenage children’s monosyllabic replies to everything you ask them? Ever wish you weren’t the only person in the house without earbuds in, so that you could start a conversation without eliciting an eye-roll before repeating yourself? Here are my suggestions to get them talking to you:


Mysterium, published by Libellud. This is another coop in which each player is a psychic trying to guess the killer of the ghost haunting the manor. Picture clues are distributed by the one player acting as the ghost. These will hopefully lead each psychic to a different suspect, location and object, but it isn’t as easy as it sounds because the ghost only has a finite number of cards to work with.

Sometimes you get really clear clues, sometimes you get whichever cards are left over. Because the psychics can all help each other, you get a fascinating insight into how different minds work – is the ghost trying to lead you towards the colours, the shapes or objects on the card clues? It provokes a lot of discussion and debate. There is also a smaller version – Mysterium Park – it works slightly differently but is also good fun.

Shadows Over Camelot

Next up, the first cooperative game I played was Shadows Over Camelot, by Days of Wonder. As a mother of two teenagers in my forties, I hadn’t yet discovered that board games had moved on from the Monopoly, Risk and Cluedo of my childhood. In Shadows Over Camelot, you play at being legendary knights, forging across the board and completing quests in a collaborative effort to keep the forces of evil at bay. I loved the game’s theme and I loved the mechanics. Most of all, I loved how everyone had to talk about how to succeed. Phrases like ‘I’ll help mum defeat the Picts’, tripped off my son’s tongue. And who was going to team up with Aunty Gemma looking for the Holy Grail? Before we knew it, we were all cooperating like mad. Even the traitor has to make a good show of it.

About Time

About Time is a game I bought on a colleague’s recommendation. I had my doubts. The basic premise is that you guess which year a particular event took place and the closest guess wins that round. I’m rubbish at dates, so I’m always keen to play this game in teams. You are provided with a timeline for guidance. On it are plotted such events as the Bronze Age, the French Revolution, first man on the moon.

What I like about this game is how much my offspring know! My daughter will say ‘I knew it was after the Industrial Revolution.’ Did you? How? And sometimes nobody has a clue what year to guess but it doesn’t matter. Even if you miss the chance to get an extra hint by using a time card, you can be ludicrously far from the correct answer and still win the points as long as the other team’s guess is even worse.


Articulate has to be in this feature. Such a simple game – get your team to guess the word from your verbal clues. There aren’t really any restrictions on the clues you can give. Who would have guessed that this unsophisticated structure would have us crying with laughter so often? For example, there was the time when my son hummed the wedding March, and my niece guessed the national anthem straight away (funny because it was the right answer). And clues like ‘I think it’s a city, maybe in Europe’ draw a groan from everyone because we know how bad my sister’s geography is.

On moving our team token across the finish line, we always opt to go round again rather than end the game. You can choose to team up with members of your own family, who will know what you mean by ‘what the dog ate last Christmas’, or make it more challenging by teaming up with people you know less well. Everyone can laugh at themselves during this game, perhaps because the process of playing easily trumps the winning.

Trekking The World

And last but not least, Trekking the World by Underdog Games. This game gives you a variety of destinations to visit on the board map. The designers have tried to include as many amazing places as possible without using only the obvious tourist attractions. When you’ve collected the appropriate trek cards to take a tour at your chosen destination, you claim the relevant card. It’s nicely illustrated and on our first play of the game we agreed to read out the information on any card we visited. By game two, we were discussing bucket lists, road trip itineraries, and holidays we wanted to go on. Lots of positivity and excitement about the future. Sometimes I choose this game just to start a conversation about travel.

My teenagers are 20 and 22 now. They sometimes talk to me voluntarily, but I still enjoy all the above games with them, as well as many others.