Go beyond bingo with these great table games to play in retirement with kids and friends
Outdoor games are good for our bodies, and tabletop games are good for our minds. With these great games for seniors and retirees, you or someone you love can stay sharp, active, and connected to friends and family.
Start off with fun retirement party games
Retirement party game ideas usually revolve around some theme, like the number of years a person worked or the year they started in a position. Few people have ever had a fun retirement party being reminded of how old they are. And reminiscing about memorable moments is one way to make the person retiring feel like they're at their funeral.
Instead, give party-goers something fun to do like:
- Outdoor mini-golf (or just play golf)
- Musical chairs (it sounds silly, but it's fun and not something people often do)
- Talk about bucket list ideas
- Host a card or game tournament, like poker, Texas hold 'em, or Uno
Whatever you do at the retirement party, ensure you invite the retiree's friends and family and let co-workers in the office play.
Fun retirement party games and ideas for retirees
Life's journey is all about having hilarious conversations, eating great food, and staying connected with other people. Bridge is a timeless classic card game and for good reason. It demands four players and encourages people to reach out to other guests to play for a while.
Because you and one other player must work together as a team against the other two, you'll want to keep coming back together once you get a good rhythm. That consistency and routine is helpful and supportive to everyone’s well-being, too.
Mexican Train Dominoes
A favorite of ours, Mexican Train Dominoes uses a double-12 set of dominoes and lets players match ends of tiles like train cars. Each player starts from an "engine" and works outward either along with their private trains or, if another player is stuck, on their trains. An extra public "Mexican Train" is also available, giving players lots of opportunities to unload tiles.
Gameplay works quickly and across multiple rounds. Mexican Train is ideal for a tournament or a great party game among friends for a retirement party.
You can also play Mexican Train Dominoes online
for free right here in your browser or download to your iPhone
, Android device
, or supported Kindle
Hand and Foot
Very similar to Rummy and Canasta, Hand and Foot starts with 13 cards in your "hand" and another 13 in your "foot". You can't play the cards in your foot until you've played all the cards in your "hand". The game works best with four players, but two to six can play, and plenty of variations are available on a standard 52-card deck.
Hand and Foot has a lot of rules to record about each card and requires players to reach into their memory bank for what kind of "book" they're building.
- A clean book must have no wild cards and be precisely 7 cards.
- A dirty book must have 1 wild but no more than 2 (the second being added last). It must also have exactly 7 cards.
- A wild book must be comprised of only wild cards and must contain exactly 7 cards.
This domino game is known as the "national game of Texas", which is saying something considering Texas hold 'em is so popular.
42 is a domino game about bidding. Before starting, you must either bid or pass on each turn. When you bid, tell the table how many people you think your team can win. To keep things interesting, the minimum bid is 30, and the max is 42 (hence the name).
You play with a partner across the table or next to you, but you can't talk (about the tiles, anyway). Pass when you have a crummy hand, but you must raise the previous bid. If everyone passes, the dominoes are shuffled and bidding starts over again.
The highest bidder gets to decide which suit of dominoes will be trumps for the game and kicks off the first move by playing a tile of their choice.
Each player then follows the higher number on the domino’s face, unless it’s a trump. If you can’t follow, you can play any tile. But the highest domino of a suit wins the trick (a double is always highest in its suit), unless a trump is played—in which case the highest trump wins. The winner leads the next turn.
After all seven rounds are played, the hand is over and the two teams tally their points.
Normally thought of as a solo activity, jigsaw puzzles can be a great project to do with guests. Each puzzle guarantees hours of thinking, focus, concentration, hand-eye coordination, and mobility. It's also easy to do over lunch or with drinks and conversation.
Akin to the card game "War", Slapjack involves slapping Jacks as they're dealt. As cards are dealt, players only slack the jacks and each winner collects the card with the aim of collecting the most cards.
In the Irish Snap variation of Slapjack, you slap cards when they match a called card. The slowest slapper collects the cards with the intent to get rid of cards.
To start, the dealer places their top card up, revealing the face of the card at the same time (as you do in snap). As the card is being put down the dealer shouts 'Ace'.
Play then moves clockwise and the next player puts their card down on top of the first card and shouts 'Two'. The next player puts theirs down and shouts 'Three' and so on up through Jack, Queen, and King.
Both versions are played with a standard 52-card deck and can be played by 2 or more people, but is probably best for about 4-10 people.
The goal in Gin Rummy is getting all your cards into a ranked or group sequence before your opponent. Gin Rummy is best played with two players, but up to four or six players can participate in the class "Rummy" variation.
Your goal is to collect or combine cards as they're drawn on each turn into sets and runs so the point value of the remaining unmatched cards is low.
- A "run" is three or more cards of the same suit in consecutive order, like 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, all of hearts.
- A "set" is three or four cards of the same value in different suits, like a 7 of hearts, 7 of diamonds, and 7 of spades.
A card can belong to only one combination at a time -and you can't use the same card in two different sets or runs.
Gin Rummy is a fun way to keep the person playing on their toes while also allowing lots of room for conversation and a good laugh.