My College:
Family Life

The Games Your Kids Are Playing

Marlene Kern Fischer

I was curious what the hottest games these days are among teens and college students, so I asked around and compiled this list of the top ones. I’ve included a brief description, so you can be in the know. You may even want to try some of the games yourself!

Card and Board Games

Apples to Apples

A card game where the players use their cards to try to best describe the word on a card played by the judge. A great family game that’s fun (and appropriate) for all ages.

Cards Against Humanity

Another card game where the players provide funny answers to a prompt card. It’s sort of a more risqué and less politically correct version of the game Apples to Apples; the most shocking and offensive answer wins.

Settlers of Catan

A strategic board game where the players try to develop their villages through trading resources and optimizing their building strategy. The object is to become the best civilization on
the mythical island of Catan.


A board game where players on a team give one-word clues which can point to multiple words on the board. It’s a word association game, a sort of updated version of Password. My family played this game a lot over winter break when we were trapped inside during the brutally cold days. I enjoyed it because the rounds are fast (plus I generally like word games).

What Do You Meme

A card game where players pair photo cards with caption cards; the person who plays the funniest combination wins. Although fairly new, this game is catching on fast. My friend’s
daughter told me it’s a big hit with her sorority.


I was surprised to learn that this classic board game is still popular. What’s old is new, I guess, and although the thimble, shoe and wheelbarrow pieces have been retired, the game has basically stayed the same. There are many themed monopoly games such as Star Wars, Pokémon, Game of Thrones, sports editions (we own a Mets version), etc.

Computer/Video Games

College students often bring their game systems to school with them along with their favorite selection of video games which include:

Sports gamesunnamed-2

FIFA 18, Madden NFL 18 and NBA 2K18 are updated versions of sports games my sons have been playing for decades.


A (highly addictive) survival game where up to four players cooperate on various missions to collect resources so that their character can be the last one standing. My son described the Fornite universe as a post-apocalyptic Hunger Games type of world. Fortnite can be played on both a game system or the computer.

Call of Duty and Halo

These are military first-person shooting games which are heavy on blood and violence.

Nintendo Switch

A newer game console where the lovable character Mario lives on in games such as Super Mario Odyssey and Mario Kart.

Games They Are Playing on Their Phone

HQ Trivia

Recently I noticed my sons playing something on their phone; my curiosity got the better of me and I inquired as to what they were up to. They explained they were playing a live game show called HQ in which participants answer trivia questions to win money. They got me hooked and now, when they are around, we play it together because the more people, the greater pool of knowledge. The host tells a few jokes before he fires off a random set of questions. You can play at 3 and 9 p.m. EST weekdays and 9 p.m. on the weekends. It’s fun as well as educational. This game might just become the next best thing.

Heads Up

This is both a board game as well as a game which can be played on a phone. The idea behind this game is that players have to guess the word that’s on a card or smart phone. The player can’t see the word because they hold it up on their forehead—their friends give clues, so they can guess the right word or phrase before time runs out. This game can be played anywhere since everyone usually has their phone with them.

Now that you know what is popular among the college crowd you may want to include one of these games in the next care package you send your son or daughter. And if you happen to see your child playing one of these games the next time they are home, at least you will know what they are doing. They may be so impressed with your knowledge that they invite you to join them. In fact, right now I have to get ready to play HQ with my son!


Marlene Kern Fischer is a wife, mother of three sons and a newly gained daughter, food shopper extraordinaire, blogger and college essay editor. She recently published her first book, “Gained a Daughter But Nearly Lost My Mind: How I Planned a Backyard Wedding During a Pandemic.” A founding contributor at Collegiate Parent, her work has also been featured on Huffington Post, Grown & Flown, The New York Times (Modern Love), Kveller, Her View From Home and The Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop. Find her on Facebook at “Thoughts From Aisle 4.”
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