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25 Board Games That The Whole Family Will Love

There’s a wonderful, rich, and varied world of family-friendly board games beyond the classics.

Jack Shepherd · 5 months ago

  • toy

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There’s a wonderful, rich, and varied world of family-friendly board games beyond the classics like Monopoly, Risk, and Battleship, but it can be hard to find the sweet spot of a game that’s going to be fun and engaging without requiring a degree to learn the rules (or 15 hours to play). These 25 games range from reliable classics to innovative modern masterpieces to short, sweet, and silly party games for all ages, and you’ll be sure to find one or two games in here that are just the right fit for your whole family.

1. Codenames

codenames

Credit: Czech Games Edition

Age: 14+ Players: 2-8 Playing time: 15 min.

Two rival spymasters use clever word-association clues to tip off their teammates as to which cards conceal their agents and keep them away from the assassin card. Easy to learn, quick to play, and tons of fun involving deduction, teamwork, and wordplay.

2. Kingdomino

kingdomino

Credit: Blue Orange Games

Age: 8+ Players: 2-4 Playing time: 15 min.

Expand your kingdom using domino-like tiles containing different types of terrain to add to your growing lands. Fast and fun city-building strategy that the family will want to play over and over.

3. Exploding Kittens

explodingkittens

Credit: The Oatmeal

Age: 7+ Players: 2-5 Playing time: 15 min.

Think Russian Roulette with absurd kitten-themed cards, and you’ll get a pretty good sense of this funny, silly, and fast-paced card-based game that builds in intensity as everyone waits to see who will end up with an exploding kitten.

4. Spot It!

spotit

Credit: Blue Orange Games

Age: 7+ Players: 2-8 Playing time: 15 min.

Also known as “Dobble,” this pattern-recognition game rewards keen observers and quick minds as you rush through a 55-card deck looking for common symbols.

5. Betrayal at House on the Hill

betrayal

Credit: Avalon Hill

Age: 12+ Players: 3-6 Playing time: 60 min.

In this tile-based game, players build a haunted house to explore as different characters. But there’s a traitor in their midst! Will the innocent characters root out the traitor from among their number before it’s too late? This game is suspenseful, strategic, and kind of spooky!

6. Spontuneous

spontuneous

Credit: Spontuneous

Age: 13+ Players: 4-10 Playing time: 30 min.

The Tunesmith says a word from a list and players compete to see who will be the first to sing a song containing that word. Loud and raucous fun for any family that loves to sing, and a great way to bring music from different generations into the conversation.

7. Telestrations

telestrations

Credit: USAopoly

Age: 12+ Players: 4-8 Playing time: 30 min.

An utterly captivating game of drawing telephone in which players sketch concepts from a card and pass their drawings around the group for more rounds of drawing and guessing until everyone can enjoy the hilariously garbled results. No drawing talent required for this one — just a sense of humor and imagination.

8. Disney Villainous

villainous

Credit: Ravensburger

Age: 10+ Players: 2-6 Playing time: 50 min.

It’s always more fun playing the villains and in this game, everyone gets to be one. Each player chooses a Disney villain to move around the board as they manage the cards in their hand to foil the wicked plots of their foes and enact their own evil objective.

9. Heist

heist

Credit: Megableu USA

Age: 7+ Players: 2-4 Playing time: 10 min.

Work together with your team of safe crackers, lookouts, and other thieves to pull off the ultimate heist in this cooperative game for the whole family.

10. Unstable Unicorns

unstableunicorns

Credit: Unstable Games

Age: 14+ Players: 2-8 Playing time: 40 min.

Use cards to build an unstoppable unicorn army and crush anyone who gets in your way in this hilarious, silly, and gloriously absurd card-based strategy game.

11. Suspend

suspend

Credit: Melissa and Doug

Age: 8+ Players: 1-4 Playing time: 5 min.

A hand-eye-coordination game that involves stacking and balancing rods to build a structure and keep it from tumbling down. Challenging, exciting, and different every time!

12. 5 Second Rule

5secondrule

Credit: Play Monster

Age: 10+ Players: 3-6 Playing time: 30 min.

Can you name five famous Michaels in five seconds? You’d be surprised how flustered you get and how funny your answers can be under time pressure. This simple but engrossing game will keep the whole family laughing and blurting out nonsense until a winner is finally declared.

13. Qwirkle

qwirkle

Credit: MindWare

Age: 6+ Players: 2-4 Playing time: 45 min.

Match blocks together to create lines and patterns in this tile-based strategy game that’s best described as a combination of Dominos and Scrabble.

14. Cauldron Quest

cauldronquest

Credit: Peaceable Kingdom

Age: 6+ Players: 2-4 Playing time: 30 min.

A cooperative game that involves getting all the right ingredients into your cauldron before the evil wizard can stop you! Work as a team in this fun, lively game that kids will love and parents won’t get bored of.

15. Sequence

sequence

Credit: Jax Games

Age: 7+ Players: 2-12 Playing time: 20 min.

Compete to create rows of tokens on the cards you’ve laid down. A classic, strategy-based pattern-creation game with tons of replay value.

16. Labyrinth

labyrinth

Credit: Ravensburger

Age: 8+ Players: 2-4 Playing time: 20 min.

Race around a constantly changing labyrinth to collect treasures before your opponents. This classic game is fun for all ages and can be played at varying levels of strategy.

17. Camel Up

camelup

Credit: Eggertspiele

Age: 8+ Players: 2-8 Playing time: 30 min.

Bet and bluff your way through an exciting camel race across the desert as five racing camels make their way (sometimes predictably, sometimes not) around the board. Fast-paced fun with strategic betting elements.

18. Carcassonne

carcassonne

Credit: Z-Man Games

Age: 7+ Players: 2-5 Playing time: 45 min.

Build your tile-based medieval city while blocking your opponents in this beloved territory-building strategy game.

19. Colt Express

coltexpress

Credit: Asmodee

Age: 10+ Players: 2-6 Playing time: 30 min.

You’re not the only bandit robbing this train, so you’ll need to scheme and steal your way from one car to the next while the other players try to get the better of you and the train’s passengers. Each player has a different special skill so there are plenty of different ways to play.

20. Ticket to Ride

tickettoride

Credit: Days of Wonder

Age: 8+ Players: 2-5 Playing time: 45 min.

Incredibly easy to learn but somehow still full of tension, action, and excitement, “Ticket To Ride” is a beautiful board game based around building railroads throughout North America.

21. Wits & Wagers

witsandwagers

Credit: North Star Games

Age: 10+ Players: 3-7 Playing time: 25 min.

The fun of this trivia game is that you probably won’t know any of the answers! Instead, players make an educated guess while other players bet on whose guess is best. Lots of opportunities for silliness and shouting, as well as strategic betting and bluffing.

22. Karuba

karuba

Credit: HABA

Age: 8+ Players: 2-4 Playing time: 30 min.

Explore the jungle on a daring search for hidden temples in this tile-laying race game that will test your wits and strategic thinking.

23. Azul

azul

Credit: Plan B Games

Age: 8+ Players: 2-4 Playing time: 40 min.

Decorate your palace with beautiful tiles and score points based on the patterns you create in this absorbing and attractive tile-placement strategy game.

24. Santorini

santorini

Credit: Spin Master

Age: 8+ Players: 2-4 Playing time: 20 min.

In this board game with a theme from Greek mythology, you build towers and move your pawns up them as your opponents try to block you. Very simple rules with an astonishing amount of depth and strategy as you improve.

25. Celestia

celestia

Credit: Quick Simple Fun Games

Age: 8+ Players: 2-6 Playing time: 30 min.

Take it in turns to captain an airship and use your cards to face challenges like pirates and lightning bolts as your crew (the other players) decide whether or not they want to stay along for the ride or abandon ship.