Here are a few games that you may want to try. Some are more rigid than others, but all of them are games that I have found to be fun. Some really great game information can be found listening to the Pulp Gamer podcast (check out their Game Kennel episode about Settlers of Catan). If you dig around on their website you can find stuff too. Be sure to check out the family game night stuff.
Apples to Apples
Players 4-8 (better with at least 5 people)
Time to learn: 3 minutes
Time to play: 30 minutes (1 game)
Where to buy: Wal-Mart, Target
Notes: This games is great for starting discussion as the real fun of it is arguing for your choices. When the game starts you may need to set the example by trying to persuade the judge, but students will quickly catch on. For more than 4 students we always use the speed variant that says that the last card laid down doesn’t count. This stops people from spending forever looking at their cards.
Wits and Wagers
Players: 4-20 (I think that whatever fills all the spots on the board is best. That is 7 players I think)
Time to learn: 5 minutes
Time to play: 30 minutes
Where to buy: Target
Notes: This is a trivia game where you can bet on your own answers or someone else’s answer. You don’t have to know everything just know who does know everything.
Players: 2-5 (4 is best)
Time to learn: 10 minutes (but you really need to play a demo game to fully understand)
Time to Play: 30-45 minutes (depending on how much time people take for their piece)
Where to buy: Hobby Game Store; Amazon.com
Notes: This is a great gateway game to more complicated board games. It takes some skill, but mostly it is just random chance. It does encourage critical thinking and your strategy game students will be in to this game.
Settlers of Catan
Players: 3-4 (I would say it is way better with 4)
Time to learn: 30 minutes (this is with one person who is teaching the game. If no one has played before it may take longer)
Time to play: 90 minutes
Where to buy: Hobby Game Store: Some Barnes and Nobles: Amazon.com
Notes: I love this game because it teaches so many different skills an it requires players to interact every turn. It is a little hard to understand at first, but one you know how to play the game is elegant and has multiple strategies to winning. This is not the game for a student who gets easily frustrated if they don’t understand things. It will take at least a full play-through to really understand.
You could have a theme night where you play tournaments little kid game. Some that are fun: Sorry; Chutes and Ladders; Memory; Hungry, Hungry Hippoes; pick up sticks.