The 10 Best Games for Black Families to Play During the Holidays


According to Andy Williams and everybody who has covered his famous song, it’s currently the most wonderful time of the year. For many of us, that means lots of gatherings of friends and family as we make our way to Christmas and New Year’s Eve.


And what’s a great way to spend time with your friends or family? Drinking Hennessy, of course! We’re talking about black families! But what goes best with a little Hendo? Games. Big ones. Small ones. Some as big as your head. We’re talking board games and card games and games where people have to sit and games where people have to stand. That means it’s a perfect time to RANK the best black family (or friend) games!

10. Go Fish (Classic)

One of the few games (along with Uno) that literally the entire family can play at the same time with double and multiple decks. Kids in particular love go fish because it’s so easy to play.

9. Life

Classic board game.

8. Charades

If you drink enough (the adults, anyway), it has the most shenanigan potential, which is what usually suffices for family events and gatherings.

7. Dominoes

As with spades, not everybody can play this game—unless you’re from the islands or Southern California, where it’s pretty much a requirement. But in many families, the domino table is where you can find the older chaps waxing poetic about their youthful glory days or arguing about politics with that one Republican uncle who thinks Donald Trump is good for black people.


6. Jenga

No other game replicates the idea of a club in the hood better than Jenga. Grand opening? Grand closing. For some folks, as soon as they try to pull that first block, the whole shit comes tumbling down. The only downside to the entire game is having to rebuild the tower, but black folks getting up. It’s why we fall down sometimes—word to Donnie McClurkin.


5. Taboo

Squad up and get to work over who has to wash the dishes (with the exception of those whose hands prepared the dishes) after everybody eats! Nothing like playing Taboo with black folks, since our references are never the words on the cards anyway. The clue is “heartbeat”? Cool. J.T. Duck. Eddie King Jr. Dresser and Choirboy. Bong.


4. Spades

This would be higher if more than 5o percent of black folks knew how to play this game. I’m always ashamed of black folks from HBCUs who can’t play, but hey, such is life. Also, if you need a reason to fight a family member, spades gives you the outlet. Just be on a different team and accuse them of reneging (or renigging, if you extra black) and square up with Uncle Junior.


3. Monopoly

I have a cousin named Terrell. Do not play Monopoly with Terrell. We played two very intense games of Monopoly over the holiday and Terrell had hotels up before the rest of us passed “Go.” He took all of our money and property. A fight almost started between two of my nephews, and I think Brick killed a guy. Monopoly is that much fun. And also hurts your feelings. Also, do not play Monopoly with Terrell. Or people named Terrell.


2. Black Card Revoked

I played this game with my family over the Thanksgiving holiday, and the shenanigans were plenty. Also on full display was just how much people do NOT know about black history. The “majority rules” cards let you coast, but the “correct answer wins” cards are where you find out who has no idea that there was a Black Wall Street in Oklahoma in the early 1920s. It’s educational and confrontational; it’s blackness every February.


1. Uno

The most universal of universal games. Nothing brings families together like watching a 9-year-old be on the tail end of a Draw 2, Draw 2, Draw 2, Draw 4, Draw 4 murderer’s row of choice cards. That, my friends, is how you do holidays.


Panama Jackson is the Senior Editor of Very Smart Brothas. He's pretty fly for a light guy. You can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking all her brown liquors.



Re: Uno

I legit contemplated running away from home many years back, simply because my wonderful parents trapped me in that Skip/Reverse/Wild Draw 4 trap for what felt like 20 min. I did not have any Green, they knew I didn’t have any Green, and still made their only begotten son try to hold up half a UNO deck with his little fingers while they Harlem Shaked in my tears