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Holiday guide: Keep family traditions alive; try gaming online

ADDISON COUNTY — As has been the case for all families, the pandemic has been tough for ours. And the holidays won’t be easy, either, with both of our daughters making their way in the world in Massachusetts and quarantine rules and careers meaning uniting for Thanksgiving and Christmas is out of the question. 
But we’ll make the best of it, as we all are. Our family’s turkey fans will still bake the birds and get creative with leftovers, we’ll still gather online for appetizers on Thanksgiving, and presents can be mailed and opened in each other’s virtual company. 
And we’ve already talked about preserving another family holiday tradition: playing games. We’ve had a few family game nights already over the months, relying largely on research from older daughter Kaitlyn for the games and roping in both her and Kiera’s significant others to join.
So far the games we’ve enjoyed at her suggestion have been Jackbox games, which can be found by searching for them at jackboxgames.com. Two of our favorites are Quiplash and Fibbage, which are available for a fee. 
Quiplash is fun for those of us who like to string silly words together.  
Two players at a time are asked to make up answers to prompts, and then the other players vote on which they like better. At the end of the game whoever has collected the most votes gets bragging rights. 
The game’s website lists these as sample prompts: 
•  “A double rainbow doesn’t have gold at the end of it. Instead, it has ______.”
•  “A better name for France.”
•  “Something you’d be surprised to see a donkey do.”
(Sample answers? “Lucky Charms,” “Land of the Brie” and “Catch the dangling carrot.” OK, I’ve never won.)
Fibbage is another word game with a different twist. Its makers describe it — fairly, I’d say —  as a “lying, bluffing, fib-till-you-win trivia party game … Fool your friends with your lies, avoid theirs, and find the (usually outrageous) truth.”
Basically, players are presented with a prompt that has a ridiculous truthful answer — the sample offered is “The mayor of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky, is a ______.”
Everyone must answer the question, and then everyone’s answer is presented along with the correct answer to the group. Points are awarded to whoever guesses the correct answer, and to players who persuade others to pick their invented answer.
For a bonus, players can also award other players’ answers with extra props if they find them funny or smart.
Or, as they put it: “Players can also play for the coveted “Thumbs Cup,” which awards bonus points to the answers that are especially clever. That’s right. You can finally impress your family with a pointless trophy!”
There are also a couple of free games Kaitlyn recommended. Codewords is a free game her friends have played that may be found at codewords.com, where you can press “Create a game.” Codewords sounds promising. It offers a grid of 25 color-coded words that two teams can see, some of which belong to each team.
The object is to figure out which belong to your team, taking turns, because only one of your team’s players — the spymaster — knows which are yours. Spymasters dole out hints in turn to their teammates, who then have to decode the hints and choose the right words — without picking the “bomb” word, something that automatically gives the victory to the opponents.
First team to ID all its words without getting bombed wins.
A game that might appeal to families with a modicum of artistic ability and/or tolerance for those of us with a lack of such is Skribbl, a free multi-player game that may be found at skribbl.io. Kaitlyn said her work team “has played this a bunch.”
Basically, each player has to pick from one of three randomly chosen words and draw it, and the other players have to guess what the word represents. 
According to the website, “One game consists of a few rounds in which every round someone has to draw their chosen word and others have to guess it to gain points! The person with the most points at the end of game will then be crowned as the winner!
“When it’s your turn to draw, you will have to choose a word from three options and visualize that word in 80 seconds, alternatively when somebody else is drawing you have to type your guess into the chat to gain points, be quick, the earlier you guess a word the more points you get!”
As long as no points are deducted for artwork for someone like me, who only survived middle school art class because it was pass-fail, I’m in. 
Oh, by the way, the Mayor of Rabbit Hash, Ky., likes long walks in the woods, relaxing on the couch, and a well-balanced diet — of dog food. That’s not a bluff. Honest. 

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