I have recently seen some television ads about ‘family game night’. These ads suggest that you go out and buy some new board and video games to play with the family once a week on family game night. I see nothing wrong with this idea. I used to love playing board games when I was a kid (which was before the advent of video games by the way). But you should not forget games played with regular playing cards and regular dice, classics that have been played and enjoyed for years. Including some of these in family game night would add variety for little extra cost.When I think back to my childhood, I remember having fun playing the board games and store-bought card games that were popular at the time. But I also fondly remember when my family went camping and we would sit at the picnic table at night playing Cribbage by the light of a kerosene lamp. My wife cherishes the times when she was a girl and she went to her grandmother’s house and played Canasta all afternoon. And when I was in college, I loved playing Hearts and Oh Pshaw with my college friends.How many card games do you remember playing as a child? War, and Memory, and Go Fish, and Crazy Eights. And you may have played Authors and Old Maid using cards specifically printed for those games, but they can both be played using regular playing cards. And you may have played the dice game Shut The Box using a special box with numbered tiles on hinges, but you can substitute playing cards for the tiles. Instead of shutting the box, you flip the cards. And you can play the dice game Yacht, the free version of a similarly-named dice game, using five dice and a readily available score sheet.I think in this day and age of computers and video games, people tend to forget simpler times when playing Hearts could bring a group of people together for an evening of conversation and snacking and fun. It’s sort of ironic that Hearts is a game that most people can find in the Games folder on their computer. You can play against three computer opponents, but you cannot ask “How was your day?” and expect an answer from any of them.Go to a bookstore or library and pick up a book of game rules. Or look on the Internet for ‘Card Game Rules’ or ‘Dice Game Rules’. Brush-up on the rules of a card or dice game that you like but have not played for a long time. Or learn the rules of an unfamiliar game that looks interesting. Then bring the game to family game night.You can even try a ‘family game night lite’ where you lay a couple of decks of cards and a half-dozen dice on the table and play nothing except classic card and dice games. Who knows? Maybe the family will request ‘family game night lite’ once a month.Copyright (c) 2010 – Paul Hoemke. All Rights Reserved.