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Stuck indoors this fall or winter with nothing for the family to do? If you feel like you’re going a little stir crazy or suffering from some cabin fever, then you may want to check out some of the best board games for the whole family, most of which are available on Amazon. 

Go beyond the card game that you always pull out at Thanksgiving, or the classic game that always makes everyone fight (cough-cough, Monopoly and Scrabble), and try out one of these lesser-known, newer and/or overall awesome board games, perfect for a family game night. 

Best Board Games for Families with Older Kids

Keeping your older child’s attention can be difficult, especially when it becomes no longer cool to hang out with mom or dad. Get them off their cell phones and to the dining room table, with one of these teen-approved board games. 

1. Betrayal at House on the Hill

Betrayal at House on the Hill

If your older kid has a thing for true crime podcasts (or maybe you both do), then you might want to try this game that’s a bit horror-esque, but still light-hearted enough to be suitable for a playful game night (in other words, it’s not gory or disturbing in any way). 

The detailed, immersive and beautifully designed game is suited to teens and up and is only $30 on Amazon. It takes about an hour to play, and each time you do play the game, it changes up a bit, with 50 different gameplay scenarios possible. 

2. Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride

If you think you have a preteen who’d be interested in some of the modern strategy games that adults like, but you’re not sure if they’re ready for the more challenging aspects of those games, you can start them out with Ticket to Ride

A very basic strategy game (at least as far as strategy games are concerned), Ticket to Ride’s premise is simple. You have to build a railroad across the country. 

The competition isn't terribly fierce between players until the end, so it also gives kids a chance to adjust to the vibe of the game before they need to start knocking other players off. 

3. Settlers of Catan 

Settlers of Catan 

If you think your preteen or teen is ready to jump right into the world of adult-friendly strategy games, you can go with the popular Settlers of Catan immediately.

This world-famous game can seem intimidating at first, but you'll fall in love once you get the hang of it. Die-hard Catan fans have praised this board and strategy game for decades.

Suitable for up to five players, Settlers of Catan is a bit of a time commitment, taking up to two hours of play during normal gameplay. 

4. The Shining

The Shining

A board game based on, yes, that The Shining, this game is another good pick for horror-loving teens and their parents.

Play against each other or together. Regardless of which you pick, the object of the game is to survive for four whole months while dodging traps and tricks. 

The rules can be kind of complicated, which is why the game is recommended for older teens. You’ll likely want to take a few minutes to familiarize yourself and your fellow players with the rules before starting. 

Related: The Battle Of The Best Disney Villains

Best Board Games for Families with Smaller Kids

Sure, small children are easy to entertain. But if you’ve been a parent for a few years now, you likely already know how painful it can be to play Candyland over and over and over… and over. Break out one of these toddler-approved games to shake things up. 

5. Busytown: Eye Found It

Busytown: Eye Found It

Suitable for children ages three and up, this game incorporates the childhood favorite characters from Richard Scarry’s Busytown into an easy game for up to four players. 

The board itself is more than six feet long, making for an interesting change to your typical board game. The instructions are easy enough for anyone to understand, and the game encourages teamwork and learning. 

The game is different each time, so there’s no worry of boredom for any parents concerned that this game will become the new favorite (as it very well might).

6. HiHo! Cherry-O 

HiHo! Cherry-O 

If you want to introduce your toddler to the concept of board games for the first time, HiHo! Cherry-O is a toddler classic that’s sure to please. Suitable for ages two to six, the game isn’t only fun, it’s also educational, teaching basic math skills like counting, adding and subtracting. 

Children take turns picking pretend fruit from the game board and add or subtract fruit pieces from their baskets as required. The first one to fill up their basket wins. 

7. Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus: The Game

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus: The Game

If you’ve yet to read “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus” to your kids yet, you’ll want to read the book before playing the game. The delightful little picture book describes the antics of one very mischievous and adorable pigeon.

The game follows said pigeon in its quest to drive the city bus, and it’s up to players to prevent such mischief. The game is suitable for children as young as three and up to four players. 

8. My Very First Games: First Orchards

My Very First Games: First Orchards

This classic German board game was designed to fit children ages two and up and can even be played solo. It’s a quick game, too, taking only about 10 minutes per game.

Players collaborate to pick all the “fruit” off the “trees” before the nasty raven makes it across the board. If players succeed, everyone wins. If they don’t, everyone loses. 

The unique game is a nice twist on the one-winner-only format and one that teaches teamwork and a communal mindset. 

Related: The 13 Best Board Games and Card Games for Adults

Best Overlooked Board Games for Families 

So we probably already know your favorite classic game from when you were a kid. Beyond Monopoly, there’s a handful of favorites that families are still playing today, from Operation to Candyland to Chutes and Ladders

But what about these overlooked classics that everyone knows, but fewer have played?

9. Clue

Clue

Inexpensive at less than $20, this Hasbro classic is available on Amazon and remains a fantastic family game that, surprisingly, not that many people have played (maybe they feel their sleuthing skills aren’t up to snuff?). 

Regardless, get Clue for your next game night and enjoy playing with up to six family members, ages eight and up. This is one the grown-ups will remember from childhood and a great problem-solving game for younger kids. 

Jamie Kim, Founder of My Itchy Child, also adds, "I think Clue is an excellent board game that parents can play with their children. It helps children develop deductive reasoning based on information gathered." 

"While the game itself is entertaining, it's also endearing as a parent to watch my kids using their cognitive abilities to solve problems," Kim adds. 

10. Mouse Trap

Mouse Trap

If asked to make a list of your favorite classic games from childhood, you’d likely overlook this popular option — but once someone brings it up, you’re as equally likely to fondly recall this fun and exciting game that requires a fair amount of smarts and skills in order to capture the cheese and build a better mousetrap. 

At $25, Mouse Trap is relatively affordable and available on Amazon. It’s suitable for two to four players, ages six years old and up. 

11. Sorry!

Sorry!

Yes, Sorry! is kind of frustrating, but it’s a quick game (half an hour to play, typically) and a classic that everyone can enjoy. It’s suitable for up to four players, ages five and up. 

You move your pieces around the board and try to sabotage your family members as you go. When you get the chance to send a particularly whiny family member back to their starting point, you’ll definitely relish the opportunity to sweetly turn to them and simply say… Sorry!

Best Board Games for Holidays and Family Gatherings

Board games are a good entertainment option when you have the extended family over. Everyone unplugs and interacts in a fun, safe environment that doesn’t include you listening to your crazy uncle’s political rants. 

But picking a great game for situations like these can be tricky. How do you find something that everyone will enjoy? You can't exactly play Cards Against Humanity with Grandma and Grandpa. 

Well, try one of these options on for size. 

12. Spontuneous: The Song Game

Spontuneous: The Song Game

You don’t need any talent for this fun game — just a love of music. 

Here’s how it works. Each player (up to 10, so it’s good for groups) writes down some “trigger words” on a card. When it’s your turn, you say one of your words aloud and flip a timer. If someone else sings at least five words from a song, with lyrics including your trigger word, then they get to advance on the board. 

13. Sequence

Sequence

This classic game is good for up to 12 players, ages seven and up. How does it work?

Simply draw a card, place a chip on the card’s matching space on the board and the goal is to form a sequence of five chips in a row. Everyone’s trying to get to five total sequences first. 

The game is simple to understand but requires strategy to master. It’s fun enough for the adults to play, but can also teach the kids critical thinking skills. 

14. The Phantom Society

The Phantom Society

This short (less than an hour for gameplay) game is suitable for kids eight years older and up, and splits players onto two teams, making it a good pick for those family game nights during which some players are more interested in participation than others. 

The game takes place in a Scottish mansion, with one team trying to hunt down the mansion’s ghosts, and the other team trying to protect the ghosts

Related: 25 of the Best Two-Player Board Games

 

Best Strategy Board Games for Families 

Are you a family of strategists? Then try out one of these strategy-based games the entire family can enjoy.

15. Blokus

Blokus

Simple and aesthetically pleasing, Blokus is easy to learn. 

Just place your 21 colored, square pieces on the grey board. Each block must touch another block of the same color, but only at the corners. The goal is to take up as much of the board as you can with your color while thwarting your fellow players simultaneously. 

The player with the most connected squares on the board at the end of the game wins. 

Shelly Peel, one of the Founders at Social Mums,  shares, "Blokus is a game that requires strategy, that requires strategy. There's no chance or luck involved, as your strategy dictates whether or not you win or lose."

Peel also adds, "The beauty of this game is that the rules are quite simple for young children to follow. The game also helps children develop their problem-solving skills, as they tend to get better with every time you play." 

16. Calliope Tsuro 

Calliope Tsuro 

Another similar strategy-based game, Calliope Tsuro is suitable for ages eight and up, and as many as eight players. Using path tiles, create a path for your dragon pawn to follow. Each time you play, the path changes, depending on the moves of your opponents. 

Create your own path, block others’ ways and be the last player on the board to win. 

17. Labyrinth

Labyrinth

Labyrinth is another strategy-based game that’s suitable for younger kids. A quick game (20 minutes or so is all that’s required) for two to four people; players work their way around a constantly-changing maze. 

The good thing about Labyrinth is that it’s easy enough for a small child to enjoy (think eight or nine years old), but still challenging enough that the adults won’t mind playing along. 

 

Planning a Family Game Night

Whether you’re planning a family game night just for your family of three or four or you’re having several family members over for a fun event, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind when planning your family game night and picking the best board games for your family. 

Firstly, you’ll want to look at the number of players a game allows, but then also look at game reviews to see how flexible that number is. Some games may say they only allow for four players, but reviews may show that it’s possible to play the game on teams, allowing for more participants.

Second, look at the level of difficulty, and consider not only the age appropriateness of a game, but also your child’s, as well as everyone else in your family’s overall skills. 

Do you have a family that’s particularly adept at strategy? Or does your family do better with artistic-style games that require acting, singing or drawing? Or, does your family prefer games of chance, where anything can happen? Try to pick a game that will leave everyone having fun, and not frustrated or feeling like they’re not “good enough” to participate. 

Lastly, consider how much time you have to play a game. Some games (like Monopoly) can take hours, leaving everyone bored and frustrated. Others take as little as half an hour, which might not be long enough to keep everyone engaged. 

Go with something that fits your individual circumstances and needs that is family-friendly, and you are bound to have a great time!  There is a perfect game out there for the whole family from classic board games to cooperative games to trivia games.  

You might also be interested in: The 9 Best Ravensburger Jigsaw Puzzles

The 17 Best Family Board Games:

  1. Betrayal at House on the Hill
  2. Ticket to Ride
  3. Settlers of Catan
  4. The Shining
  5. Busytown: Eye Found It
  6. HiHo! Cherry-O 
  7. Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus: The Game
  8. My Very First Games: First Orchards
  9. Clue
  10. Mouse Trap
  11. Sorry!
  12. Spontuneous: The Song Game
  13. Sequence
  14. The Phantom Society
  15. Blokus
  16. Calliope Tsuro
  17. Labyrinth
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Posted 
Sep 23, 2020
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Parenting
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