6 Fun Games for Family Game Night {Tween Edition}

6 fun games for a tween family game night that parents won't mind playing.
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We are a big gaming family.  Although my husband and son enjoy video games, I’m not talking the electronic kind.  I’m talking about board games.  If my daughter had her way, we’d play board games every night.  Finding a board game that is fun for EVERYONE, including the adults, can be challenging.  It has to be easy enough that the kids can win, but also have a high interest factor for the parents, so we don’t get bored to tears.  Here are some of our newest game additions and a couple of family favorites.

A fun domino game perfect for family game night!

Mexican Train – This is a domino game where the object of the game is to get rid of all of your dominoes.   Our set came in an aluminum case that stores the dominoes.  You can play a quicker game and just do a round or two.  Or, you can play 13 rounds, in which the game can last hours!  This game is recommended for ages 8+.  We first learned about this game from my parents and we often play on family vacations to their Rhode Island beach house.  This is a great multi-generation family game.  I recommend that you purchase domino holders, if your set doesn’t come with them.  They are super helpful in keeping your dominoes organized when playing.

An award-winning maze strategy game perfect for family game night.

Mine Shift – This is a maze strategy game for 2-4 players.  It is recommended for ages 8+.  The object of the game is to be the first player to move all four of your jewels from one side of the board to the opposite side. This is a Mensa Select game winner and a 2018 Toy of the Year Finalist.  Our first time playing took about 25 minutes.

A fast-paced matching game perfect for family game night.

Spot It – This is a fast-paced matching game for 2-8 players.  It is recommended for ages 8+.  Each card has only one matching symbol to another card.  You need to “spot” the matching symbols and call it out.  Believe me, it is not as easy as it sounds.  When you’re competing with others and under stress, it can be difficult to spot the match.  The instructions come with eight different game variations that can be played.  We usually play each game one time and all games can be played in about 20 minutes.

A fast-paced dice game that is fun for tweens and adults.

Sushi Dice –  This is a fast-paced dice game for 2 – 6 players.  It is recommended for ages 6+.  Two players go head-to-head, rolling their set of six dice, to try to complete one of the sushi platter cards.  When they have all the matching items they ring the bell and the next round begins.  However, you mus beware of the black skulls.  If you roll one and your opponent sees, you have to re-roll all of your dice.  If the players not actively rolling the dice spot both players with black skulls, the game ends.   The first player to win five sushi platter cards wins the game.  This is a quick game and can be played in about 15-20 minutes, depending on the number of players.

A fun pass the cards game for tweens!

Sushi Go Party! – We first played this game at a school-sponsored family game night.  My son enjoyed it so much he requested it for Christmas.  This pass-the-card game is for 2-8 players and recommended for ages 8+.   In this game, you win points by selecting different sushi combos.  However, since you pass cards, you never know what you will end up with.  There is a card-only version available.  However, the Sushi Go Party! game comes with a board and pawns for help to keep score as well as a menu board that allows you to customize games and play different variations.  The game consist of three rounds and can be played in about 30 minutes.

Wits and Wagers is a fun guessing trivia game for the whole family!

Wits & Wagers – This is a trivia game, where you don’t actually need to know answers.  You just have to be able to guess well!  It’s for 4+ players and is recommended for ages 8+.  Someone reads a question that everyone answers on their mini dry-erase board.  Then everyone bets on which answer is closest to the actual answer.

What is your favorite board game for family game night?


Escape the Mystery Room {Family Date Night}


We recently celebrated my husband’s birthday.  When asked what he wanted to do, he requested we visit Escape the Mystery Room at the Palisades Mall.  This is one of those places where they lock you in a room and you must solve a series of clues to escape before time runs out.  My children are 9 and 11 and we thought this sounded like a fun family date night.

Escape the Mystery Room has locations throughout the Eastern part of the United States and one location in Austin, Texas.  There are several different themed rooms to choose from with a variety of difficulty levels (1 through 5).  During our visit themed rooms included Black Ops, Escape from Alcatraz, Treasure Island, Superhero’s Adventure, Houdini’s Magic Cell, Sherlock’s Library, Special Agent, Zombie Apocalypse and Hollywood Premier.  The room themes change approximately every twelve weeks.

We arrived at the Palisades location around 3:3o PM.  When we arrived we went to the desk and asked for suggestions of themed-rooms appropriate for families.  The girls at the desk noted that their most popular room is Escape Alcatraz.  However, they had no more reservations for the evening.  The other two rooms they recommend for beginners are Superhero’s Adventure and Treasure Island.  They did note that only 50% of visitors are able to escape the room on their first visit. We let the kids choose and they voted for Treasure Island.  However, the next reservation available wasn’t until 7:05 PM.

Escape the Mystery Room costs $20 a person, regardless of age.  The experience for the four of us cost $80 plus tax. They accept credit cards and once we paid and reserved our spot, we were told to come back at 7 PM.  Luckily, the place is located in a large shopping mall, so we shopped and ate dinner before our reserved time.

We arrived back at Escape the Mystery Room at 7 PM.  We were given a sheet of rules and instructions to read over before our experience.  There was also a list of charges if you broke locks, keys, or other items in the room.  Phones had to be turned off and pictures are not allowed to be taken.  Although you can be grouped with others, fortunately, it was just the four of us in our room.

We were escorted to the Treasure Island room, given a super brief overview and locked in. We were allowed to call for assistance two times, if needed. We had 50 minutes to figure out the 4 digit code that would unlock the door and set us free. There was very little direction given as to what you were supposed to do and it took a good 10-15 minutes before our daughter found our first clue!  We were on our last clue when we needed to request a clue.  Honestly, we didn’t find the info given very helpful, but we were at the last clue.

This was a Level One (beginner) room and we escaped with 6 minutes to spare!  We were told we could use the extra minutes to continue on and try to figure out the Level Three puzzle.  Unfortunately, there was not enough time for us to complete it.  But we were super excited that we were able to complete Level One!

I thought that there would be a fun photo op at the end or some recognition for escaping the room, but there wasn’t.  So we had to take our own picture in the lobby as a souvenir!

I think my 9 and 11-year-old were at a perfect age to do Escape the Mystery Room.  The Level one room was challenging, even for us adults.  If your children have short attention spans, are easily frustrated, or are not interested in puzzles, then I don’t recommend this experience.  My kids enjoy these types of challenges so this was right up their alley.  As soon as we left, my daughter wanted to try another room!

The Details:

Escape the Mystery Room
Palisades Center (this was the location that we visited, but check the map for the nearest location to you!)
3681 Palisades Center Drive
West Nyack, NY 10994
(845) 358-1978

Hours:  Sunday – Thursday: 10 AM – 9:30 PM, Friday & Saturday: 10 AM – midnight
Cost:  $20/person
Parking:  Plenty of free parking

*Reservations are highly recommended.  You can call or book online. If you want to make a reservation while at the mall, arrive several hours before your targeted time.

*If you want to make this a couples only date, I recommend gathering up some friends to make it a group date.  Otherwise you may be grouped with other people.

*If this is your first time doing an Escape the Mystery Room try a Level One room.  My husband and I found this room challenging for our first experience.