Top eight family games to play at home

Last Updated July 2020
By Peter McPherson

With everyone spending more time at home than ever, there’s never been a better time for families to play games together — whether they’re in the same room or hundreds of miles apart. 

We’ve put together a list of the best games you can play at home, online, and over video chat. Whether you’re looking for something simple and goofy or a competitive game of strategy and skill, there’s something here for everyone. 

 

Liar’s Dice: 3+ players, 30 minutes

A Peruvian game dating back centuries, Liar’s Dice (or Dudo) is a simple dice game of chance and bluffing. All you need to play are five dice per player and plastic cups, but you can buy custom sets or play online at Board Game Arena.

Gameplay is simple. Everyone rolls their dice and keeps them secret. Players take turns placing increasingly higher bids, guessing how many of a certain dice are shared between players. When the bid gets too high for someone’s liking, they can challenge the bid. All players reveal their dice to find out who is right, and the loser must give up a dice. 

Not only is it easy and quick to play, but it can also be used to teach kids about basic probability — and about bluffing.

 

Queendomino: 2 to 4 players, 25 minutes

This domino-style board game gives players a chance to build their own kingdoms to impress the queen. Players take turns placing tiles containing fields, forests, lakes, and towns to create their kingdom. You can also use your knights to tax your lands and construct buildings with special abilities in your towns.

All of this is packed into a quick-playing game that works for kids as well as adults, as its gameplay is a blend of quick turns and long-term strategy.

 

Cribbage: 2 to 6 players, 30 minutes 

This classic card game has simple rules but endless layers of strategy. It can be enjoyed by two players head-to-head or played in teams of two or three. The high luck factor and team gameplay make it a great game for parents to enjoy with their kids. It’s best known for the wooden pegboard at the center of gameplay, used to track points.

Players are given a hand of five cards (or six in a two-player game) and must discard a card to the “crib,” creating a bonus hand for the dealer. Then, everyone takes turns playing cards, scoring points for playing runs and pairs off of other players’ cards, trying to reach the totals of 15 and 31. Finally, all players pick up their hands and score their cards again, this time making combinations within their own hands. 

The exciting gameplay is full of twists and turns as players set up their partners for high-scoring plays or reveal a hand that sends their pegs racing down the board.

 

Qwirkle: 2 to 4 players, 45 minutes

In Qwirkle, players create patterns of matching shapes and patterns in this simple abstract game that feels a bit like Scrabble without letters. The tiles are made of chunky wood with brightly painted shapes, making it a great choice for younger kids with pattern recognition skills. 

Players take turns laying down tiles in rows or columns, creating a line of tiles that matches in shape or color (but not both). The tricky part is finding a part of the growing board where you can legally add your tiles. Points are tallied as the game goes on, and when the tile bag is empty, the player with the highest score is the winner. 

 

Mafia: 8+ players, 30 minutes

This social deduction game of murder and intrigue works perfectly over video chat and can make for quite the dramatic evening. 

All you need to play Mafia is a large group of people (who are comfortable with lying), a moderator to run the game, and a video chat that all players can access. The moderator assigns roles to the group. Players will either be innocent townspeople or murderous mafia members. The mafia is trying to kill all of the townspeople over the course of the game, and the townspeople win if they identify all of the mafia members. 

The game is played in day and night cycles. At night, the mafia decide amongst themselves (possibly in a private text chat) who they wish to kill while the townspeople keep their eyes closed. In the daytime, the moderator reveals who has been murdered, and all players are invited to make accusations and cast a vote to execute a player.

When all mafia members have been executed or there are no remaining townspeople, the game is over.

 

Jackbox: 3+ players, 20 minutes

Jackbox games can be played on a variety of platforms, including Amazon’s Fire TV, Apple TV, Mac, and PC. The best part is that only one person needs to purchase their games to host, and the other players can join in on their smartphones. This makes it a great collection of games for families to play in the same room or over video chat. 

Their games test skills ranging from drawing to improv to trivia — but all of them are extremely simple and quick to play. In Drawful 2, players receive bizarre prompts and draw their creations on their smartphone screens. Then, everyone writes their guesses for each drawing and votes for what they think is the correct answer. In Fibbage, players submit answers to trivia questions and vote on which answer is the real one. These are just two of Jackbox’s countless party games, which are available individually or in bundles. 

 

Jenga Giant Edition: 2 to 6 players, 20 minutes

Everyone loves the classic block-stacking game of Jenga, but the Giant Edition takes it to the next level, reaching three feet tall or higher. This oversized edition is a great choice for an evening in the backyard or patio, and the larger size is fun for kids or adults.

 

Eat Poop You Cat: 5+ players, 20 minutes

This hilarious game of misunderstandings and terrible drawings has no winners or losers — and you can play it with just a few sheets of paper and pencils (check out the full instructions at Board Game Geek).

All players start by writing a sentence (preferably nonsensical) at the top of their paper. Next, they pass their paper to the player on their left. Players then alternate between drawing pictures and writing captions for whatever their neighbor has passed them. Once everyone’s original sheet has made it all the way around, the group can enjoy their disastrous masterpieces.

It’s a game that works well with almost any crowd, and you may find yourself keeping some of your creations for years.

 

Peter McPherson is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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