Follow TV Tropes


Series / Family Game Night

Go To

Family Game Show aired by The Hub which was supposed to be the network's flagship programnote . In this show, families compete in adaptations of Hasbro board games (which makes sense, given who owned 40% stake in the channel) to try and earn a chance at cash and prizes.

Games featured on the show include:

  • Barrel of Monkeys: The playing family selects barrels from the ten onstage, marked "A" through "J", and is tasked with placing the contained monkey chains on each of five colorful trees, in successive order from shortest to longest. Finding the "Top Banana" barrel gives the players an insurance card against an incorrect placement.
  • Battleship: Players stand behind a podium and call out coordinates within a 5x5 grid, with six battleships hidden underneath. A three-second countdown is given after each call, following which the player pushes a button to launch a virtual peg from the video screen at the back of the stage. The first team to sink three ships wins.
  • Bounce 'n' Boogie Boggle: Played on a grid styled much like a Big Boggle board, the teams must spell words by jumping from square to square. As with its source, words must be at least three letters long and all letters must connect in some direction.
  • Bop-It Boptagon: Played in an octagon with giant props, additionally having to cycle through the stations when prompted, eliminating people who make a misstep. Last person standing wins it for their family. Season 3 changed this to be a single-player game, where each correct command execution earns a point for the player's team; two head-to-head rounds are played with members of two two-player teams, and the higher-scoring team wins a prize package.
  • Connect Four Basketball: ...With the "pieces" replaced by balls that are thrown into the chutes on top. The first produced episode featured a slightly different variant where players from both teams shot their balls at the same time; three rounds were played and the team winning two rounds won the game.
  • Cranium: On-the-buzzer puzzles themed around content from the game. Retired after Season 2.
    • Cranium Brain Break: The new opening game from Season 2 onward replacing Guess Who?. Teams perform stunts similar to those featured on Double Dare (1986). The team with the most points wins.
    • Cranium Guesstimator: Basically the educated guess questions from Card Sharks, with the kids and adults playing four questions each.
    • Cranium Who's Older: Players are shown a pair of people/objects and try to guess which is older. Once again, kids and adults play four questions each, the adult questions worth double points.
  • Green Scream: Kids roll around in green sacks on a green screen floor, revealing pictures (associated with a category) onscreen for the parents to guess in 90 seconds.
  • Guesstures Free Fall: Essentially charades, but with the clue givers suspended over a "pit" and "dropped" if the guessing family member passes. The format plays somewhat like Pyramid in that the object is to get as many as possible in two minutes.
  • Guess Who?: The toss-up game, played much like the "Fame Game" questions from Sale of the Century. Todd gives clues as to the identity of a celebrity or fictional character, and the first team to buzz in with the correct answer wins the first Crazy Cash Card choice and the right to go first or second in the first game. If the buzzing team answers wrong, their opponents win. Was demoted in Season 2.
  • Jenga: Each team is given two minutes to remove and restack a certain number of Jenga tiles as selected from a numbered disk (in season 5, a tile from a smaller tower) by one of their teammates. Teams must alternate players following every move, including stopping the clock once all the tiles have been stacked. The first team to either topple the Jenga tower or run out of time loses.
  • Monopoly Remix: In an accelerated version of the game, teams start with $1,000 of Monopoly money and attempt to navigate a virtual board to place hotels on either Boardwalk or Park Place. Successful placement keeps the money, while landing on a penalty space incurs a fine which increases-as does the number of penalty spaces-with every round. A team that has any money remaining at game's end keeps the money and wins a bonus prize.
  • Operation Relay: Much like its source, the teams use tweezers to get as many pieces from Cavity Sam as possible within two minutes. Getting buzzed sends you to the back of the line, while getting a piece means you have to navigate a short obstacle course for the points.
    • Operation Sam Dunk: A skee-ball game with Sam's cavities as the holes, and a bell target for double points. Season 3 onwards: The family gets one roll at the beginning and can earn up to three more by removing pieces from the parent's body. Replaced "Relay" after Season 1.
  • Ratuki Go-Round: A relay race to be the first team to discard a 20-card deck in it's entirety by placing cards on a center spinner. Nineteen cards have values of 1 to 4 with a single card with a value of 5, whereas the spinner initially holds five cards having values of 1 to 5. Each successive card must be exactly one number higher or lower then the preceding card, or the team is frozen for 10 seconds. The "5" card must be played last. The rules changed midway through the season: regular 5 cards, which when placed freezes the other team for 10 seconds, were added to teams' decks; but placing a wrong card eliminates the offending team immediately.
  • Scrabble Flash: It's the crossword game you've played all your life... but never quite like that. Teams make words (3-5 letters) using five huge electronic letter tiles, with points awarded based on the length of each word. The first team to 25 points or more wins.
  • Simon Flash: Players wear color-coded cubes and race to match a color sequence displayed on the screen, with the cubes switching colors after every sequence. The first team to score five points wins.
  • Sorry! Sliders: Each team pushes its two giant-sized pawns into one of four rings for points (from outside to inside, Sorry!-1-3-5). Like shuffleboard, teams can hit their opponents' pawns to change the score. In Season 2, each team puts a "prize dot" anywhere on the board before playing; landing on one's own dot wins a prize, landing on the other dot counts as a Sorry! move.
    • Sorry!: Replaced "Sliders" after Season 2. One team member dresses in a pawn costume, while another pulls cards with numbers on them to advance around a board, earning whatever money they land on and a special prize for reaching the end. If they draw a Sorry! card, the pawn must go back to start, all money is lost, and pulling another Sorry! card ends the game.
  • Spelling Bee: The mother wears a "stinger" (a black marker) on her back to write letters on white tiles behind her for the other family members to guess words. The mother may not talk but is encouraged to make "buzzing" noises. If a family can't guess the word after the third letter, Todd gives a clue to the word. The family has 90 seconds to correctly guess as many words as possible.
  • Trouble Pop Quiz: The kids are asked general knowledge question with the answers being a numerical value between one and six. Players attempt to answer by hitting a giant Pop-O-Matic; with a right answer moving the parents forward the die value. If a parent lands on the same space as an opponents', the opponent must move back to the nearest vacant space. The first team to reach the end of the board (which is also the other team's starting line) wins.
  • Twister Lights Out: ...With the dots on a video board on the floor. Dots begin to disappear as play goes on, and the last member standing wins the round for their family. Combination of Twister and Lights Out, the latter an electronic game by Hasbro subsidiary Tiger Electronics.
  • Yahtzee Bowling: ...Because the "dice" are six-sided bowling pins. Each team has three chances to knock down the pins with a bowling ball and make the best hand possible (Pair, Two Pair, Three-of-a-Kind, Small Straight, Full House, Large Straight, Four-of-a-Kind and the titular Yahtzee). In season 3, it is now played solo, and the different hands now have prizes attached to them.
    • Yahtzee: From Season 4, a new Yahtzee game is introduced where one family plays two rounds with the goal of stopping a set of computer-animated dice in order to reach Yahtzee (five-of-a-kind) in three rolls or less — a prize being awarded to any family which succeeds in doing so. The game preceded by a trivia question with three correct answers, each right answer given earns one "WILD" space per die (i.e. 15 total "WILD" spaces for giving all three correct answers).

For Seasons 1-2, two families competed per episode, and "Crazy Cash Cards" as well as bonus prizes were earned for each victory. At the end of the show, they were inserted into a Crazy Cash Machine to reveal their values and spit out a bunch of Monopoly money. While most were worth from $100 to $995 (in $5 increments), at least one was worth between $1,000 and $5,000. But one card out of those 21 was the Top Cash Card, which if inserted would break the Ba—er, award an amount from $7,500 to $25,000. Both teams kept all cash and prizes, but the team with more money got a bonus vacation.

Season 3 changed up the format: families (one or two, depending on the game) are now called from the audience Price Is Right-style to play one of four games per episode for prizes. Each of the participating families then chooses a card containing a combination, hopefully containing the one that opens the Community Chest and allow them to advance to a revised Crazy Cash game for a chance to win a brand new car. The same setup carried into season 4—now with five games per episode—with a few new games added into the rotation (including the first mini-game based on Monopoly).

Season 5 debuted in August 2014, looking the same as before, but now celebrities joined in the fun for a few games. Two months after it debuted, The Hub became Discovery Family, with Family Game Night being the only Hub game show to carry over to Discovery Family's lineup. A sixth season never materialized, however, likely owing to Discovery Family's slow death (outside of MLP, of course).

This show provides examples of:

  • Action Commands: Bop-It Boptagon and Twister Lights Out.
  • The Announcer: Burton Richardson for Seasons 1-2. Stacey J. Aswad replaced him at the beginning of Season 3, Andrew Kishino (who had previously worked for The Hub as a voice actor for G.I. Joe: Renegades) took over for the final two seasons.
  • Audience Participation: How contestants were chosen from Season 3 onwards.
  • Bonus Round: Seasons 1 and 2 had the above-described Crazy Cash Machine round, but Season 3 added a proper bonus round, the Monopoly Community Chest, making the Cash Machine into a Bonus-Bonus Round. For the Community Chest, each team that played recieved a card for their event with a color combination on it. If the como was right, the Chest would open, cash would be won and the team would have a chance to go onto the Crazy Cash Machine, which now has shades of a game from the current Let's Make a Deal. There are 16 Crazy Cash cards arranged in a 4×4 grid. The winning family picks a single card from each row to reveal cash, and hopefully avoid the increasing number of Go to Jail cards also hidden among them (they end the game, but allow the family to keep their cash and prizes). If the family manages to pick the one "WIN" card in the final row (a 1 in 4 chance), they also win a new car.
  • Celebrity Edition: The fifth season featured celebrities like Jon Heder playing alongside the families.
  • Colour Coded Multiplayer: The first two seasons had one red team and one yellow team, their shirts colored accordingly. From Season 3, the families in the audience wore matching colored shirts; they wear either red, blue, orange, green, or yellow.
    • In Season 5, celebrity team members wore purple shirts bearing a big FGN logo and a gold star on the front.
  • Composite Character: The version of Operation played in Seasons 3-5 combines mechanics of its source (also in Relay) and the skee-ball game (Sam Dunk).
  • Consolation Prize: In Seasons 4 and 5, losing families receive $100.
    • If they lose Yahtzee Bowling in Season 3, they get $100 per member.
    • A rolling miss in Operation is still worth $100.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle / Epic Fail: Season 1, Episode 9 saw Rose's family beating Illiana's family on all five main games of the night and claiming the $17,500 Top Cash Card, for a grand total of $25,875 (along with all bonus prizes, including a trip to Jamaica), the largest win ever in the show's history. Illiana's family, having just a single Cash Card, went home with $265, the lowest win ever in the show's history.
  • Double the Dollars:
    • Most mini-games in Cranium are divided into two rounds, first for the children and second for the adults. Point values are doubled for the adults' rounds.
    • The first variant of Cranium Star Performer is divided into four rounds, with point values of 10-20-30-40 apiece respectively.
    • One former variant of Guesstures Free Fall alloted 30 seconds for each performing team member. The youngest child's words were worth 10 points each, the older child's 20 and the adult's 30.
  • Game Show Host: Todd Newton, best known as the host of Whammy! and Hollywood Showdown on GSN. It gave him his first "Best Game Show Host" Emmy following Season 2.
  • Golden Snitch:
    • Due to how the old bonus round was played, a team who loses all five main games can still have the Top Cash Card from that 1/21 shotnote  at the beginning of the game. As both families kept their cash and prizes, and "winning" only added an ultimate prize like a vacation, this point may have been moot.
    • In the new Community Chest round, it doesn't matter if you win or lose the game you get to participate in. Picking the right code earns your family the right to play for a new car.
  • Home Game:
    • The rounds are based off games you've played all your life, but never quite like this!note  Scrabble Flash and Sorry! Sliders were released some time before the show's debut, although they're quite normal-sized.
    • The show gets its name from a promotional campaign Hasbro uses to market its board games, which also spawned a series of compilation video games of the same name.
    • The Family Game Night 4 game is actually based off the show itself.
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • While the original format gave the advantage of having more Crazy Cash Cards at the end of the show for each game you won, each card had a different, unknown amount of money attached to it. Moreover, each team got a card at the start of the game, meaning that a team could have fewer cards but still win if the values were large enough.
    • Many of the games, including Yahtzee Bowling, Sorry! and the re-designed Crazy Cash round for Season 3.
  • Minigame Game: Similar to The Price Is Right, each episode of this show includes numerous distinctive games, which mostly are adaptations of Hasbro board games.
  • No Indoor Voice: Todd is like this sometimes (as he was on Whammy!), though compared to many of the over-dramatic game show hosts that permeated the 2000s, he actually shows genuine enthusiasm and likability.
  • Product Placement: It's essentially a 60-minute commercial for Hasbro board games.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: Music scores of some older games (and from Scrabble Showdown) are repurposed for some newer games. For instance, the music for Ratuki Go-Round is later used for Barrel of Monkeys.
  • Scenery Porn: The set looked pretty cool, as did many of the props used in the games.
  • "Simon Says" Mini-Game:
    • Simon Flash, naturally.
    • The second variant of Cranium Star Performer, also known as Cranium Piano. Teams take turns stepping on colorful piano keys on the floor screen to build a sequence, adding more notes for each new turn. The kids' rounds require one new note each turn, the adults' rounds two.
  • Spin-Off: Scrabble Flash was removed from the game rotation for Season 2, mainly because it got moved to Scrabble Showdown.
  • Stage Money: All the colorful Monopoly Money bills spat out of the Crazy Cash Machine. The bills would usually be given out to the studio audience at the end of each show.
  • Transatlantic Equivalent: A version named Juegos en familia (Family Games) was produced in Spain and broadcasted on the Boing network. It aired for 4 seasons from 2011 to 2013.
  • Uniformity Exception: On a show about Hasbro board games, some games from Season 2 do stand out.
    • Cranium Brain Break games, such as throwing rings onto a Sorry! slider in the dark or sticking a Cranium logo on Todd's head while blindfolded, have virtually nothing to do with the mechanics of the featured board games.
    • Green Scream and Spelling Bee aren't even based on any board game.