YouTube player

With Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner, our thoughts turn toward the time we will spend with our extended families – and of course the copious amounts of delicious home cooked food to be indulged. For many of us, this is the rare occasion when extended family comes together, and this is a great opportunity to exchange stories with our cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. about the adventures we’ve had over the past year, to open up, and to learn from one another.

With that in mind, a great way to produce natural and fun debates and dialogue among the different generations is with a board game. You know, that classic, non-technological medium that fosters friendly competition, laughter, and hours of enjoyment. Who doesn’t love a good board game!?

But instead of whipping out the dusty Monopoly or Scrabble box from the bottom catacombs of the closet, let’s try something new and more reflective of the people playing.

Let’s instead make a board game that is a direct reflection of the entire family celebrating the holidays together. Make a game in which each family member is a star and even features knowledge on the family’s ancestral history. Instead of pre-fabricated rules, let’s make a game based on whatever rules everyone collectively agrees on.

Let’s make a family tree board game! And we can go a step further by building a vertical three-dimensional cardboard family tree game featuring family photos inserted into the base.

The above video is a detailed step-by-step walkthrough on how to create your own custom family tree board game with the aid of Bristol board templates, scrap cardboard, dollar store hinges, glue and spray paint. The process will take a day or two to complete, but the end result will be a stunning, detachable game that can be customized in infinite ways.

Like any family tree, the game’s playing spaces are split into multiple generations. The bottom sections in red are for children (generation 1), then the purple spaces for parents (generation 2), blue spaces for grandparents (generation 3) and the top silver spaces representing great-grandparents and ancestors. The orange square can be adapted for aunts, uncles, cousins, extended family, or family pets. The game allows for six players to start from the bottom, but only one winner to claim the top yellow space to become the ‘supreme family knowledge champion of awesomeness!’

All the generation levels are connected with drawn on lines to properly link family linage. It should be noted the colors used for playing spaces are arbitrary and anyone who makes this will have their own personal color choices.

The creation of this game involves a simple template system of tracing and cutting. Once all the pieces are cut out, it’s just a matter of spray painting the pieces your desired colors and gluing together. The creative process should include family members and the decided rules can change based on the mood of those playing. The main thing I want people to take out of this concept is that there is no limit on how to use, play, and decorate the game.

Family members can choose to make a trivia game or a truth or dare game with each space landed. In the base of the game, there is ample room to store photo albums, game pieces (dice, pawns, etc.), and other kick-knacks.

If creating game rules isn’t your forte and you are unsure how to best play the game, you can download completed rules using the coupon code ‘YFTG10’ for a 75% discount.

Whatever you decide to do with this idea, I hope it helps bring your family together in conversation, fun, and understanding. It is truly a special and glorious occurrence to learn previously unknown facts, stories, and oddities about the unique personalities in your family. You’ll be amazed at how little you really know about each other.

Bond away and enjoy every second of it! Cheers and happy holidays.