|The Entertainment Page|
Games, Movies, and More
Entertainment and Christianity sometimes causes division and arguments. This pages are not here to preach to those who are not Christians, they may enjoy the links and info I have here without concern I am preaching or judging them. But hopefully I can reach some Christians who have misconceptions about entertainment.
I originally had a page for the game called EverQuest. I had many links on it discussing gaming and Christianity. That page is long gone since I rarely play EQ. But have some of those links available here and others as well.
Some Christians believe games and some entertainment like movies are evil and wrong, and they take a legalistic approach, believing God does not want us to participate in such. This stance is made by opinion, bad doctrines, and false myths.
In fact, the man whom "fathered" my faith more than any one else, Watchman Nee, had such problems. He didn't believe in any games of chance. To him ALL games must be games of skill, he didn't endorse even a mixture of skill and chance in a game, so he would have condemned Candyland and other board games because there is a spinning of a wheel or the rolling of dice. His mother was addicted to gambling and this made his view imbalanced. But Watchman Nee has long since died, and most of what I learned from him was from reading his writings. Sadly I have to disagree with him on this issue.
I will make my case with several resources against such stances. Some of these are links about RPG's (role playing games), others about video games, or violent video games.
A PARENT'S GUIDE TO ROLE-PLAYING GAMES - This I believe is a christian page which discusses RPG's and details myths and truths about them. A very informative page.
Confessions of a Dungeons & Dragons Addict - A look at D & D and other RPG's from a christian perspective, and detailing the truths about such games.
Criminal acts by gamers? - A nice page with some facts and studies, such as:
The claims by conservative Christian groups that gamers commit suicide or engage in criminal acts do not appear to hold water:
Michael Stackpole calculated expected suicide rates by gamers during the early years of Dungeons and Dragons. He used B.A.D.D.'s estimate of 4 million gamers worldwide. Assuming that fantasy role game playing had no effect on youth suicide rate, one would have expected about 500 gamers would have committed suicide each year. As of 1987, B.A.D.D. had documented an average of 7 per year. It would appear that playing D&D could be promoted as a public health measure, because it would seem to drastically lower the suicide rate among youth.
Suzanne Abyeta & James Forest studied the criminal tendencies of "gamers" and found that they committed fewer than average numbers of crimes for individuals of the same age.
The Association of Gifted-Creative Children of California surveyed psychological autopsies of adolescent suicides and were unable to find any that were linked to these games. Their National Association has endorsed Dungeons and Dragons for its educational content.
The American Association of Suicidology, the Center for Disease Control, and Health & Welfare (Canada) have conducted extensive studies into teen suicide. They have found that no link to fantasy role-playing games exists.
Dr. S. Kenneth Schonbert studied over 700 adolescent suicides and found none which had fantasy role-playing games as a factor.
The Committee for the Advancement of Role-Playing Games was organized in 1988 to counter the attacks by B.A.D.D. and other groups. The Committee has investigated each of the 130 suicide or criminal cases that B.A.D.D. advanced. 21 are missing name, date and/or place and could not be located. Of the over 100 that the Committee has found, they have been unable to find any that were caused by role-playing games.
William Schnoebelen has listed (only) 11 suicides or murders which he believes were tied to D&D.
Appearances - a great page discussing the argument used by some: "abstain from the appearance of evil"
DOES PLAYING VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES CAUSE AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR? - a look at a several studies about violent video games and their effects on people. Also found here: Click Here
Dispelling the Myth - a good article for gamers in how to approach others on these issues.
Eight Myths About Video Games Debunked by PBS - This article surprised me, it's by PBS and is on their website. Here is some info:
(myth) 1. The availability of video games has led to an epidemic of youth violence.
According to federal crime statistics, the rate of juvenile violent crime in the United States is at a 30-year low. Researchers find that people serving time for violent crimes typically consume less media before committing their crimes than the average person in the general population. It's true that young offenders who have committed school shootings in America have also been game players. But young people in general are more likely to be gamers — 90 percent of boys and 40 percent of girls play. The overwhelming majority of kids who play do NOT commit antisocial acts. According to a 2001 U.S. Surgeon General's report, the strongest risk factors for school shootings centered on mental stability and the quality of home life, not media exposure. The moral panic over violent video games is doubly harmful. It has led adult authorities to be more suspicious and hostile to many kids who already feel cut off from the system. It also misdirects energy away from eliminating the actual causes of youth violence and allows problems to continue to fester.
(myth) 2. Scientific evidence links violent game play with youth aggression.
Claims like this are based on the work of researchers who represent one relatively narrow school of research, "media effects." This research includes some 300 studies of media violence. But most of those studies are inconclusive and many have been criticized on methodological grounds. In these studies, media images are removed from any narrative context. Subjects are asked to engage with content that they would not normally consume and may not understand. Finally, the laboratory context is radically different from the environments where games would normally be played. Most studies found a correlation, not a causal relationship, which means the research could simply show that aggressive people like aggressive entertainment. That's why the vague term "links" is used here. If there is a consensus emerging around this research, it is that violent video games may be one risk factor - when coupled with other more immediate, real-world influences — which can contribute to anti-social behavior. But no research has found that video games are a primary factor or that violent video game play could turn an otherwise normal person into a killer.
Most Real Fantasy - an article about fantasy
Video game controversy from Wikipedia - some highlights (please note that Wikipedia is an evolving website and information can change regularly):
...Over two hundred studies have been published which examine the effects of violence in entertainment media and which at least partially focus on violence in video games in particular. Some psychological studies have shown a correlation between children playing violent video games and suffering psychological effects, though the vast majority stop short of claiming behavioral causation. Critics to these argue that many of the studies involved fail to use standardized and reliable measures of aggression, and many selectively discuss findings that support their hypothesized link between video games and aggression, and fail to discuss findings that disconfirm this link.
The American Psychological Association summarizes the issue as "Psychological research confirms that violent video games can increase children's aggression, but that parents moderate the negative effects." Craig A. Anderson has testified before the U.S. Senate on the issue, and his meta-analysis of these studies has shown 5 consistent effects: "increased aggressive behavior, thoughts, and affect; increased physiological arousal; and decreased prosocial (helping) behavior". However, some studies explicitly deny that such a connection exists, most notably Anderson and Ford (1986), Winkel et al (1987), Scott (1995), and Ballard and Lineberger (1999)...
...A US Secret Service study found that only 12 percent of school shooters were attracted to violent video games, while 24 percent read violent books and 27 percent who were attracted to violent movies. An Australian study found that only children already predisposed to violence were affected by violent games...
Now I am not saying there is no danger in games nor that any and every game can be played as often as desired. There are concerns. Here is another source:
Myth 6. There are no studies linking violent video game play to serious aggression.
Facts: High levels of violent video game exposure have been linked to delinquency, fighting at school and during free play periods, and violent criminal behavior (e.g., self-reported assault, robbery).
Other studies have disagreed, but there may be some concern. But this shows high levels of violent video game exposure can be linked to bad actions. But this is not the cause! Here are some quotes from above sources:
...Some psychological studies have shown a correlation between children playing violent video games and suffering psychological effects, though the vast majority stop short of claiming behavioral causation...
...If there is a consensus emerging around this research, it is that violent video games may be one risk factor - when coupled with other more immediate, real-world influences — which can contribute to anti-social behavior. But no research has found that video games are a primary factor or that violent video game play could turn an otherwise normal person into a killer...
...In any case, it is argued, people that do commit criminal acts related to computer games obviously have mental problems to begin with; such as a man who locked his children in a cupboard so they did not disturb him while he played a computer game was obviously not instructed to do it by the game, but did it due to mental instabilities or deficiencies. Even without violent games or movies, most people who have done such things would probably have done them anyway; it is argued, for example, that the students responsible for the Columbine High School massacre would have killed the students even without being exposed to violent video games. The games were not the cause, but their own mental instability...
Man is given free will. And when a person chooses to do wrong, it is from numerous temptations; but no temptation in itself, can cause us to lose our free will, which God gave us.
1 Cor 10:13: There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
Deut 30: MKJV
19 I call Heaven and earth to record today against you. I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Therefore, choose life, so that both you and your seed may live,
20 so that you may love the LORD your God, and that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him. For He is your life and the length of your days, so that you may dwell in the land...
The secret is balance. Just as high levels of video game violence is wrong, so is total abstinence:
Phil:4:5: Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
One of the words for abstain in the New Testament is this:
apechomai: to hold one's self off, refrain, abstain
It's Greek origin is:
middle voice (reflexively) of apecho:
a) to hold back, keep off, prevent
b) to have wholly or in full, to have received
Now if the New Testament abstain is the middle voice of "apecho" which is the extremes of prevention or to have wholly, it means God wants us to have a balance. To neither refuse nor to be completely engulfed in something. When one refuses, they become legalistic and act like a monk. Remember Jesus argued against the religious zealots who lived such lifestyles. The doctrines and theologies of abstaining in it's strictest form is from satan:
1 Tim 4:
1: Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
2: Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
3: Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
4: For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
5: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
Now how did God react to such abstaining? In the Old Testament God told the Israelites not to marry foreign women who followed other gods. In one case, Num 25, a Jewish man killed an Israelites wife with a spear because she was a foreigner. Yet Jesus had an ancestor who was a gentile prostitute from the city of Jericho! So if God was so pure and holy, and asked the Jews not to marry foreign women, why did He allow such a woman to be in the actual lineage to the birth of Christ? Because God is not legalistic for laws sake. Don't get me wrong, God loves law and order, but God is also love and mercy. That's why Paul said:
Rom 5:20 ...But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound
We cannot hide ourselves or our children from the evils of this world, Jesus prayed about this:
John 17:15: I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
Everything in this world is tainted with sin or crime. Does that mean we cannot enjoy anything? We cannot live a life without objects that have not been tainted by sin. Jesus enjoyed and celebrated life with sinners. He has given us a way to sanctify those things for us to enjoy. And it is all things.
Math 11:19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners...
4:4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.
6:17: Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy
Now this is not a license to sin. For indeed we must partake only by faith:
23: And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
This does not mean for those who don't have faith, nor for those who don't enjoy the things another does, that they forbid them to others.
Weaker Brothers - another great page discussing the argument: "don't offend the weaker brother"
Rom:14:16: Let not then your good be evil spoken of
And remember for those who eat, they are the stronger than those who do not partake. And those in Christ should be growing stronger, not weaker.
We each have our own faith. For example when I play Role Playing Games, I rarely, if ever, play spell casters as a main character. That's my faith. I have played clerics, warriors, and monks, and so on, but I stay away from spell casters. This is because of my faith. Faith comes from scripture:
Rom:10:17: So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
And Old Testament tells me to not perform magic. But yet when I played the card game Magic: The Gathering, I never played any black cards, and stayed away from certain red cards. Now some may say, that playing Magic: The Gathering was breaching the basis of my faith. For me it was not. Magic, was the plot behind the story of the game, not any actual game mechanics. But I no longer play Magic: The Gathering anyways. But the point here, is that I maintain a balance and not an extreme. I never condemn the use of magic in games, but often avoid it, but never abstain from it.
But whatever I play, I try always to play by faith. That faith while based upon scripture is not scripture alone, but is also spirit. The Holy Spirit. We don't live by the letter of the Law. Thus I don't follow the extreme examples of the Old Testament concerning magic in my entertainment, but I do use it as a guideline. The New Testament says the Old Testament was a shadow God's will and example for us.
Heb 10:1 ¶ For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
2 Cor 3:6: Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
For those who don't understand this, or wish to know more, I suggest this page of mine:
Walking in the Spirit
Since writing this article, visiting it 3 years later or so, I have re-entered the board game hobby.
I liked traditional board games (mass market games) as a kid, my dad would never play any with me except Battleship (there may have been a small handful of Clue games with the entire family). He did play several types of card games. But I did play traditional board games with my sister and others.
A friend in High School told me about D&D. I created a board game based on the premise of a fantasy adventure having actually never seen it. I had watched the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings animation films, and had read the books as well. Shortly after, another friend who had some D&D books sold them to me and I began DMing that day.
In the military, I found a fantasy board game called Talisman (2nd edition) (late 85 or early 86). I was there looking for D&D stuff. I saw it originally in a game store and bought it somewhere between the 2nd - 4th time after checking out the box, never having played it.
Another friend discovered Talisman 4th edition while searching Ebay for 2nd edition, about 20 years later.
Before 4th edition Talisman, a co-worker introduced me to RoboRally, as I was looking for a game my wife would play, with no magic and no blood. I fell in love with the game and it became my favorite for about 15 years.
Then a friend of a friend introduced me to Tomb, a fantasy dungeon crawl boardgame, probably about 7 years later or so. I enjoyed it tremendously.
When I originally found Talisman 2nd edition I became aware of the board game hobby, although it was probably in it's infancy (that is those beyond traditional ones (mostly war games) not an expert here on the history), so I have been aware since then but thought most of the games were junk or uninteresting (I bought, tried, and disliked The Warlock of Firetop Mountain shortly after Talisman). But when Tomb was introduced to me, I now had the sneaky suspicion that there were more games out there I would like, so I hit Google to find the best fantasy board games, and discovered other genres as well. I found the Dice Tower, and rediscovered BGG (I had posted some RoboRally stuff a couple years earlier but never followed through).
While many in the board game hobby play and enjoy mass market games, it is finding and enjoying the smaller produced games, that fit your taste in theme or mechanic that brings so much fun. These games are often more fun, or more strategic, but not all some are just as simple, but have much more fun and entertainemnt. There are also social and party games. In recent years, there is more public awarenes of such games as they are now sold in Target, Barnes & Nobles, and other locations, rather than dark, dank, comic or board game stores.
It was in the 90's when Euro games hit America. Sometimes (originaly) called German Games or Designer Games. But Designer Games could also include American made hobby games.
I was in a Christian Book store when I saw Settlers of Canaan, a Bible based version of one of these 1st Euro games called Settlers of Catan. Although I didn't learn this till afterwards. I found this shortly after finding RoboRally.
I had found another christian board game a few years earlier called Journeys of Paul, and had some success. But getting back to Tomb, I now realized more hobby games existed that I thought, that would be fun and enjoyable.
I had originally found BGG (Board Game Geek) online, to share some of my home made RoboRally content, as I had changed someone's computer software to make board game maps for the game. But I did not maintain a presence on BGG or have strong enough board game interest to spend time there. But this now changed.
I also found the Dice Tower, a board game reviewer network, which posted board game reviews on YouTube, as well as Top 10 lists of board games for different categories. These tools helped me to find new games, and haven't gone back.
Around 2013 I began to increase my board game collection. And slowly made my Top 10 list. But as I bought more and more games it began to change more often.
I also now belong to a local meetup for board games, and my list changed even more, getting to play many more games that others owned, with much bigger collections.
What I would like to do here, is share board games that are fun, but should be less offensive to most christians.
RoboRally: as I already shared, I was interested in this because it has no blood or magic, it is a game where robots can fight each other. But you can also play in a race.
Tikal: This game can only play up to 4. But is my favorite Euro. It is a tile laying game. You play as an archeologist trying to discover and claim ancient structures in South America.
Colt Express: This is a bit like RoboRally with programable turns. The theme may not be the best "christian", as you play a bandit robbing a train in the old west. But while you shoot the other opponents, no one dies, there is no blood. The board is an actual 3D cardboard train. I highly recommend this game. It is a family weight game.
Mission: Red Planet: This is a hybrid game, a mixture of a Euro with Amerithrash (a thematic American style game). This is a "steam punk" setting. Imagine going to Mars with 19th century steam powered technology. There is "death" in the game, but it is very abstract, like losing pieces in chess. A family weight strategy game, agres 14+.
Alien Frontiers: Very similar to Mission Red Planet in theme, and somewhat similar in game play. But more strategic. While it plays at a younger age, 13, I find it may be more difficult to master. It has less "death" as your pieces represent ships, rather than astronauts, but they still can be lost, but mostly volutarily, usually for strategic purposes to build colonies.
Belfort: This is a full Euro here, but with a fantasy theme. Yeah, it has dwarves and elves, but there is no magic or adventures here. These Elves and Dwarves are building a city. The theme is silly, but the game play is strategic.
Sheriff of Nottingham: If you can handle lying in a game, then this game will be fun. You play as a merchant trying to sneak goods into town. True, you can play without lying, and possibly win, but that isn't certain, because you can smuggle illegal goods into town for more points. And these "illegal" goods, are simply goods the king wants for himself and not for the common folk. Nothing immoral about those goods, as they are mostly food items.
The Resistance: A social deduction game. In this game, a group of resistance fighters are rebelling against a corrupt organization. It's simply trying to find the spies among the players.
Balderdash: My favorite party game! I actually 1st played this while going to Bible school. There is indeed a Bible version, but I have never played it. There is even a Beyond Balderdash which has more categories. But newer versions of the game are actually just Beyond Balderdash. In this game you write down fake or the real definition if you know it, to gain points. If people vote for your fake definition, you get points, you also get points by guessing the real one.
Exodus: Proxima Centauri: An epic space exploration and battle game.
Ultimate Werewolf: Deluxe Edition: Or any version of Werewolf. For those unfamiliar, this may seem like a geeky or horror style game, it is not. It is another social deduction style game, maybe the 1st. I probably heard of it in the 90's but wasn't interested, based on wrong judgments on the game. However, when I played it, and later introduced it to those in my life, it became a big hit. Even among non-gaming family members. Each player is given a secret role. In the basic game you are either a villager or a werewolf. The villagers must find the werewolves and eliminate them and the werewolves must eliminate the villagers at night. The game requires a moderator, which I usually do, of which my High School Story Telling competition has given me great ability to do so well. But even my youngest son likes to moderate. Plays up to about 75 people!
Isle of Skye: This is like Carcassonne with more mechanics. Carcassonne which I haven't mentioned yet, is an early Euro style game that hit America like Settlers of Catan, but is a tile laying game. In Isle of the Skye you create a landscape with tiles and score points based on certain kinds of landscape features.
Say Anything: My 2nd favorite party style game. I had heard great things, and decided to buy this for my sister and her husband. It is very fun, simple, and easy to find.
Telestrations: Another party game. As I write this, it is the newest party game I have played, and my 3rd favorite. Right behind Say Anything, even on my top 100 games. I do recommend the 12 pack game of this for a larger group. In this game you are given an object to write. Bad drawing skills makes this game more fun! You draw the object and then hand the drawing to the next player, who then guesses what the drawing is, and then hands that guess to the next player who then draws that. Great fun!
Tsuro of the Seas: As of this writing, I have only played this once, but absolutey loved it. Each player controls a ship, and you place a tile in front of your ship which has lines on it as a path for your ship to follow. Your ship may go off the board if your path is placed such, or run into a sea monster which takes it out. The last ship on the board wins.
Power Grid: An extremely popular game in the hobby. It is a mathy Euro game. But while I hate and am bad in math, I still like this game. You bid on power plants which you place in cities. At the end of the game the player who powers the most cities wins. It may sound boring, but it is a strategic game, and the auction elements are fun.
New York 1901: As of this writing, a very new game. This like Settlers of Catan (recently renamed as Catan), is a gateway game. Gateway games, usually Euro games, are easy or family weight strategy games, easily bringing people into the hobby (as a gate). In New York 1901 you build skyscrapers for points. The skyscrapers are 2D flay pieces, but are shaped a bit like Tetris style pieces.
Jamaica: A family weight pirate racing game. A top 5 game of my wife's.
For Sale: This has had many printings. It is a bit popular, and depending on timing may be hard to find new. This is a card game, where you have 2 distinct parts of the game. In the 1st half you bid on properties. In the 2nd half you sell your properties. This is a family weight strategy card game.
Spyfall: perhaps my oldest son's favorite game and was extremely popular when it came out in 2014 and through 2015 (at many meetups and conventions). This is a very simple social deduction game. Everyone is given a card of a location, except 1 player who is given the spy card. The players are asking questions to find the spy, and the spy is asking questions to find out the location.
Ark of the Covenant: The Bible version of Carcassonne. I did see this in a game store back around the time I discovered the Settlers of Canaan, but never bought it then. It is Out of Print and hard to find. But if you like Carcassonne or Isle of Skye and want a Bible version, you may want to track this down. I did.
Catan Histories: Settlers of America – Trails to Rails: This is my favorite Catan game. As of this writing, I have burned out of Catan, played it too much and found better games. But this is a different game based on the original, and quite liked it. You build trains between cities as you travel west.
Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers: I actually have yet, at the time of this writing, played the original Carcassonne. But have played this stand alone variant, and quite enjoyed it.
Splendor: A fun little game, I hope to play again soon. It is a card game with poker style chips used as gem resources. You buy gems, with gems, which have points on them. The most points wins.
Puerto Rico: This is a mid weight Euro style game. Not for a beginner, unless they are good at strategy games. A 2nd play through dramaticly increased how much I liked this game. In Puerto Rico players assume the roles of colonial governors on the island of Puerto Rico. The aim of the game is to amass victory points by shipping goods to Europe or by constructing buildings.
No Thanks!: This is what they call a "filler" game. A short game to start a board game session, or between games, or even to end a game session. This a card game where you take the card in play or place a small poker style chip, saying "No Thanks" as you don't want it. The cards are placed in "straights" or "runs" in front of each player, and you only score the smallest card in the run. You can have runs of 1 card. The player with the lowest score wins. And the chips are worth negative 1 point each.
Incan Gold: Another top 5 game of my wife's favorites. A very simple game where each turn every player decides simultaneously whether they are going into the ancient structure to find treasure or are leaving with the treasure they found. It is a "push your luck" style game, as some cards have treasure and others have traps. Too many traps and the players in the structure are lost along with any treasure they found in that "trip".
Forbidden Desert: This is reworking of an earlier and simpler game called Forbidden Island. Both of which are co-op games, that is cooperative games, where players work together to beat the game. Forbidden Island was too simple for my taste, and great for kids, but some adults do like it, but Forbidden Desert had a little more meat and game to it, and is still family weight.
I would like to interject about co-op games here. I really like the idea of co-op games but found most are not favorites of mine, as of this writing Forbidden Desert is my 75th favorite game. Yes, there may be 1 or 2 co-ops I like more, not listed here, but unlike many others, many such games are not on my top 100. And yes, I do keep a top 100 games list, as I have played about 300 different games at this time. But other people do like co-ops more. Some I have not played, as I prefer larger player counts.
Mille Bornes: Yes, a mass market game still resides on my top 100 (currently). I am sure many people have heard of it, but am also sure many have not played it. It is a French race car card game. It plays up to 4, but 4 players requires team play, but I much prefer a 2 or 3 player game. I grew up with this game, as my parents had it, but I also played it in French class.
King of Tokyo or King of New York: 2 different games with similar play. Both games are about playing a giant monster like Godzilla or King Kong. In Tokyo you fight each other, in New York you can fight the city as well. Tokyo is much simpler, but New York adds more depth because of the ability to fight the city. Currently since Tokyo has been out longer it has expansions, New York is getting its 1st expansion soon. Base game vs base game, I prefer Tokyo, but I bought New York anticipating expansions believing once they come out, it will be a better game.
Aquire: An older game, and perhaps even considered a mass market game. I certainly heard of it, but never played it until I entered the hobby as an enthusiast. Made in 1964. It is a simple stock market game. I quite liked it and recommend it.
Ticket to Ride: Another early entry gateway game like Carcassone or Catan. I did slightly burn myself out of this one, but interestigly I played more digital versions of this than the actual board game. I played it on the Xbox. In this game you build train tracks between cities for points. A very popular game.
Wits & Wagers: I prefer the family edition, which the link points toward, but there are, I believe, 3 versions, the basic version, family edition, and a party version. This also is a top 5 game of my wife's favorite games. In this version, kids have an equal chance of winning. This is a trivia style game. But you can vote on someone else's answer to get points. It is a party style game.
Settlers of Canaan: A game I have mentioned but not described. This is the Bible version of Catan. In Catan and in this game, you have a map where you build and place Towns. These towns will produce resources, based on the tile/board element they are next to when that element's number is rolled on a dice. The towns are on interesections between tiles and thus can gain different resources. You also build roads between towns and can turn the towns into cities, thus producing double resources. You gain points for building these things. My wife and youngest son still enjoy this game.
The 2 biggest differences between Catan and Canaan, is that in Catan the map changes each game, and in Canaan you can also build in the wall of Jerusalem. It is possible Settlers of Canaan may be hard to find, I am not sure if it is OOP (out-of-print).
Pit: Another old mass market game still on my top 100, but barely, currently at #99, thus more than likely will be pushed off in the near future. It has been noticed by new board game enthusiasts, as many have not played it. I did grow up with this game, and it is a card game, with a strong party feeling. As it is very loud! As for myself, I have made a custom re-themed version with Super Mario.
I also used gaming as a teaching tool for Biblical principles. You can learn more about this old project here:
Interactive 3D Temple
THE CHRISTIAN GAMERS GUILD
Christ Centered Game Reviews - a site with reviews and other Christian Gamer resources
Guide 2 Games - another Christian game review site
Plugged In - Focus on the Family's game review site
Wisdom Tree - Makers and distributors of top selling Christian computer games designed for the Christian Community. (Yeah they're still in business and may still have some Nintendo stuff for sale and other cool stuff as well.)