Texas Living

10 Ideas for a Wild West Family Game Night

By Michaela Brandt 1.4.19

When cabin fever sets in, it’s time to mix things up with one big family game night. This is a competition like no other: Compete for railways, become the sheriff and lock up outlaws, win gold nuggets on the frontier, hit the ice with the Dallas Stars, and train to become Houston’s next astronaut. This is Texas family game night, and it’s bigger and wilder than you can imagine. Is your family ready for the competition?

Wild West Family Game Night

Photography by Natalie Goff

PULL UP A CHAIR

Roll up your sleeves and get in character to push across the frontier of these boards.

Monopoly: Texas Edition

If you’re lucky enough to have found this 1999 limited-edition game, pick your cowboy hat, longhorn, horse, or armadillo and make your way across the Lone Star State on a mission to own all your favorite landmarks and cities. It’s a truly Texas spin on the classic family game night favorite. Available here. Ages 8+ | 2–8 players | 60–240 minutes

Ticket to Ride

Throw caution to the wind and claim old U.S. railway routes in this cross-country train adventure. For extra Texas flair, compete to see who can connect the three Texas cities on the board — Dallas, Houston, and El Paso — first. Available here. Ages 8+ | 2–5 players | 30–60 minutes

Dice Town

Welcome to the city of luck and prosperity, where players aim to be the town’s richest citizen by rolling for gold nuggets and properties. It all comes down to the luck — or bluff — of the roll. Available here. Ages 10+ | 2–5 players | 45 minutes

Wild West Family Game Night

Photography by Natalie Goff

HIDE YOUR HAND

Deal out a few cards and a healthy dose of competition for these games.

Texas Hold’em

Created in Robstown, Texas, in the early 1900s, this game requires nothing but a 52-card deck and some leftover stocking sweets to turn a classic poker game into a family activity. Wager your last candy cane that you have the best hand at the table and hope for a four of a kind. Available here. Ages 15+ | 2–10 players | 60 minutes

Bang!

Play cops and robbers from the comfort of your living room with this Western-style shootout game, where different roles lead to different goals. Take turns being the sheriff to eliminate the outlaws. Available here. Ages 8+ | 4–7 players | 20–40 minutes

The Good, the Bad, and the Munchkin

Dive into the Wild West and become a cowboy with a 20-gallon hat or a Native American on a catamount. Fight Wild Bill Hiccup, the Killer Jalapeño, and a barbershop quartet. Enjoy all these and more Western puns in your fight to be the first compadre to reach level 10. Available here. Ages 10+ | 3–6 players | 90 minutes

GET PLUGGED IN

Take family game night into the digital realm.

Work in a virtual world.

Jump into the year 2050 with this Austin, Texas-produced virtual reality game where robots have replaced human jobs. Relive the glory days of work by simulating the ins and outs of automotive mechanics, office work, and more. Available on PlayStation VR or Oculus. Ages 12+ | 1 player (at a time) | 10–120 minutes

Play as your favorite sports team.

Too cold to go outside to throw the football? Grab the controllers and play as your favorite Texas teams and players on Xbox or PlayStation. Run with the Cowboys or Texans in Madden NFL 19; take to the court as the Spurs, Rockets, or Mavericks in NBA 2K19; or tear up the ice as Jamie Benn or John Klingberg in NHL 19 for your sports fix in the dead of winter. Ages 8+ | 1–4 players | 20–60 minutes

Learn with NASA.

Pay homage to Houston’s NASA Johnson Space Center with this online launchpad for young astronauts. The award-winning site teaches children about space and earth science — and there are plenty of resources for parents, too. Available online. Ages 8+ | 1 player (at a time) | 5–15 minutes

Wild West Family Game Night

Photography by Natalie Goff

INSTATE A TOURNAMENT

Break out the dominoes to play the unofficial “national game of Texas” — Texas 42. Originating in Garner, Texas, in 1887, this trick-taking game pits teams of two against each other in a fight to reach 250 points first — and boasting rights. To make the game work for a larger group, break into tables of four and play with tournament-style brackets in a competition to name the best Texas 42 team. There are plenty of ways to shake up the classic game with optional rules and variations, so you can find the best way to play for your family. Ages 10+ | 4 players | 30–90 minutes

Want to give your night in an all-around Texas theme? Try some tunes from Lone Star history and tailgate like your game is the big game.

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