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Shopping Guide for Best Family Games

Are you having trouble getting the kids to put down their screens and engage with the family? Is Dad more interested in watching the ballgame than he is in interacting? Is Mom too busy to sit down and relax? If so, you may be in desperate need of a family game night.

Gathering to play a board game as a family offers a great opportunity to have fun and reconnect. But with so many options available, choosing the right game can be a challenge. Factors to consider include the age of the people who will be playing, the size of the family, and the difficulty level of the game. And, of course, you must take into consideration which games on today’s market would be fun for your crew.

BestReviews is your premier destination for accurate and unbiased buying recommendations. We don’t allow companies to buy a good review; we research products on our own by consulting with experts and gathering feedback from product owners. To create this shopping guide, we spent hours poring over the market’s top family games to figure out which ones are the very best.

So if you want to add a little something new to your family game night, have a look at the five recommendations in the matrix above. Below, you can read more about choosing the right board games for families of all sizes, ages, and skill levels.

Milton Bradley invented the first board game, The Game of Life, over 150 years ago.

Questions to Ask Before Purchasing a Family Game

Considerations

How old are the players?

Most game makers provide a suggest age range on the outside of the box, but this is not chiseled in stone. For example, a game intended for grade schoolers could also be lots of fun for teenagers or even adults.

The youngest set of game players, early elementary schoolers and preschool-age kids, might prefer games that incorporate the element of luck into them. Older elementary kids, tweens, and teens would likely appreciate something that keeps both their minds and their hands occupied. Older kids also tend to appreciate games with more complex rules and a little humor built in.

DID YOU KNOW?

There have been over 25 different versions of the game Clue.

Considerations

How many people are playing?

One area in which board games differ widely is the number of players needed. Some games, like checkers and chess, are built for just two. Others (think Scrabble) work well for small families but can leave some in larger groups left out.

For families of five or more, it’s advisable to pick up party-style games like Pictionary that require lots of players.

DID YOU KNOW?

The longest game of Monopoly lasted 70 days.

Considerations

What kinds of challenges do you want in your game?

There are two basic types of board games: luck games and strategy games. Of course, some games involve both, but the pendulum usually swings one way or the other.

  • Luck-based games are usually quick, easy, and competitive for players of all ages.

  • Strategy-based games call on higher-level thinking skills. They can be very intense and fun to play.
     

Obviously, the difficulty of the game you play should depend on the ages of the players. You wouldn’t want to play Candy Land with teenagers, and chess would probably be a little taxing for a kindergartener. If you’re looking for a happy medium, you may want to consider an intermediate-level game that combines both luck and strategy. Scrabble and other word games are great for making that leap, as they typically rely on both chance and skill.

DID YOU KNOW?

All the Scrabble tiles ever produced would reach around the earth eight times.

FAQ

Q. What are some common board game “genres”?
A.
Most board games fit under a rough genre. For example, there are word games, trivia games, card games, fantasy games, and party games.

Q. What are some benefits of playing board games with family?
A.
Like sports, board games can promote teamwork and bonding between players. If played in the right spirit, a regular game night can help to bring families closer together. Also, players need to understand the rules, weigh options, and formulate strategies – skills that are easily applicable in everyday life.

Q. How do I keep board games in good condition?
A.
To prevent warping, rest cardboard game boards on a firm, flat surface. Avoid storing board games in humid environments, and don’t stack heavy boxes on top of them. If the game contains small pieces, use plastic bags to keep them organized and together.  

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