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October 28, 2022

Best family board games

By Angela Garretson

Game night is a tradition among many families for a few reasons: board games are fairly inexpensive, they’re a good way to spend time together, and they help everyone unplug and get away from screens. 

 

The modern board game renaissance has led to a wider variety of themes and styles than ever. From beloved classics to modern strategy and party games, there are hundreds of choices, but no two families are the same. You should pick a game that will keep everyone engaged and entertained. However, not all games play well at low or high player counts, and they vary in complexity. One of the biggest challenges is finding a game that is fun for both the youngest and oldest members of your family. Here are some of the best options available to get you started. 

 

In this article: Wavelength, Telestrations, and Balderdash.

Funny board games

Cards Against Humanity: Family Edition 

Four to 20 players, ages 8+ 

This family edition of the hit party game lets everyone play (if you’re OK with bathroom humor). With 600 cards, there are endless combinations, and only a bit of creativity is needed to get a good laugh out of the other players.

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Wavelength 

Two to 12 players, ages 14+ 

On the spectrum from hot to cold, where exactly would a freshly baked pizza fall? Players will adjust the dial to the point on the spectrum they think matches their teammate’s clue — and hilarious arguments often ensue when the dial is way off.

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Telestrations 

Four to eight players, ages 12+

Imagine playing telephone, but with alternating drawings and words — that’s all there is to Telestrations, but it’s a formula that is always amusing and works well for all ages. It also accommodates up to eight players.

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Balderdash 

Two to six players, ages 12+

This classic has players writing down fake (but hopefully convincing) answers to trivia questions to throw off their opponents when it’s time to guess the real answer. 

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Dixit

Three to eight players, ages 8+

In this beautifully illustrated game, everyone will take turns describing dreamlike images to the other players, who then guess which card is correct. The clue giver wants some — but not all — players to guess correctly to earn points. It’s a clever balancing act that is harder than it sounds.

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Poetry for Neanderthals

Two or more players, ages 7+

Can you get your team to guess your card with just one-syllable words? If not, you’ll get hit on the head with the blow-up “NO!” stick in this droll word game.

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Exploding Kittens

Two to five players, ages 7+

The idea is simple: don’t draw an Exploding Kitten card. But avoiding this sad fate is the tricky part as players lay down cards with wacky effects and charming, off-kilter illustrations by Mathew Inman of the popular webcomic “The Oatmeal.”

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Cockroach Poker

Three to six players, ages 6+

The aim is straightforward: collect as few gross critter cards as possible. To do this, you’ll have to bluff about what a card is as you pass it to an opponent and hope they don’t call you on it. It’s simple, but hard to do.

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A Fake Artist Goes to New York

Five to 10 players, ages 8+

Several world-renowned artists have gathered to create a collaborative art piece, except someone is a fake artist who doesn’t know what they’re drawing. No artistic skill is required in this quick and simple game — just some clever guesswork and misdirection.

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Cash ‘N Guns

Four to eight players, ages 10+

Ever wonder what happens when the team has to split the loot after a heist? Every round, you point a foam gun at another player and hope that the guns pointed at you aren’t loaded. The last players standing split the loot!

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Deluxe Pit

Three to eight players, ages 7+

This loud and frantic game simulates the chaos of the stock market with players trading cards to get nine matching cards before the other player. The included bell is a fun touch.

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Unstable Unicorns

Two to eight players, ages 14+

This take-that game lets you build an army of unicorns with unique abilities and charming artwork. As long as your family can handle a little bit of friendly competition, this game can be an enjoyable way to spend an evening.

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Say Anything

Three to eight players, ages 13+

There are no wrong answers in this lighthearted game filled with 400 different questions. Since you write your own answers, it takes a bit of creativity, but it’s a fun way to get to know your family members better.

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Quelf

Three to six players, ages 12+

Every card in this unabashedly silly game tells you to do a variety of stunts and performances or follow bizarre rules. It’s not a game to take too seriously, but that’s part of its appeal.

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When I Dream

Four to 10 players, ages 8+

This guessing game has one player close their eyes while other players give clues to help them guess keywords, but not all of the players are actually trying to help. It’s a strange experience that puts a fun twist on traditional guessing games.

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Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza

Three to eight players, ages 8+

In a slapjack fashion, players try to slap the card in the middle of the table when it matches the word in the endlessly repeated mantra: “Taco, cat, goat, cheese, pizza.” 

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One Night Ultimate Werewolf

Three to 10 players, ages 14+

It takes only a few minutes to play this condensed version of the classic social deduction game, Werewolf. The bluffing isn’t for everyone, but if you have older children of a large family, it can make for a quick, fun game to bring anywhere.

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Other top funny board game deals 

  • Described as a “dodgeball card game,” Throw Throw Burrito brings the action to game night. 
  • Ideal for parties, Apples to Apples can be played with four to eight people. 
  • Perfect to take on the go, Spot It! is fun for ages 6 and up. 
  • Try a lively game of “What Am I?” with Hedbanz
  • Bears vs. Babies is a family-friendly monster-building game that comes in a furry box. 

Popular board games

Go on an adventure

Settlers of Catan

Three to four players, ages 10+

Players will love this award-winning adventure game. They work to establish territory and civilization on the island while building the hex board with pieces that fit like a puzzle. 

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Ticket to Ride

Two to five players, ages 8+

In this adventure game, players travel the country and try to see the most sites by building train routes. It takes up to an hour to play with 2 to 5 players. There are also expansion packs that add to the original game for new adventures.

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Trekking the World

Two to five players, ages 8+

Travelers will love this game in which players move around the world map and learn about different parts of the world. Players will have fun visiting places they have been to in person or discovering new destinations they would like to travel to one day.

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Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of Ashardalon

One to five players, ages 12+

Dungeons & Dragons has die-hard fans from teens into adulthood. In this board game associated with the original, players travel the board through mystical lands and dangerous creatures. It can be played individually or with up to 5 people.

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Solve a mystery or disaster

Clue

Two to six players, ages 8+

Was it Colonel Mustard with the rope in the study? Play against friends and family to be the first to solve a crime. The winner discovers who is the killer, which item is the murder weapon, and in which room the murder took place.

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Pandemic

Two to four players, ages 8+

Especially after the outbreak of COVID-19, families and friends will enjoy this award-winning game with the goal of destroying diseases before they become widespread. Rather than compete against each other, players work together to save the world.

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Learn and test knowledge and skills

Pictionary

Two teams, ages 8+

Players put their drawing skills to the test with this fun family-friendly game that is enjoyed by kids and adults. The updated game includes dry-erase boards and markers, or players can even use their own larger drawing space.

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Cranium

Four or more players, ages 16+

This game for players over age 16 has four categories of challenge cards for players to complete. Challenges involve hands-on activities and spoken answers that make players work to use various skills.

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Trivial Pursuit 

Two to six players, ages 16+

Up to 6 players will enjoy answering 2,400 questions on 400 cards that come with this trivia game. The wide variety of topics includes entertainment, geography, science and nature, art and literature, history, and sports and leisure. Not only will the competition over knowledge be exciting, but players will also learn new facts.

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Scrabble Deluxe Edition Game 

Two to four players, ages 8+

This Scrabble game requires focus and has a difficulty based on the players’ level of vocabulary and literacy. There are a few different versions with different costs, but this Deluxe Edition comes with a board that spins for easy viewing for each player.

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Use strategy and luck to win

Monopoly

Two to six players, ages 8+

This classic game has been adored by gamers since 1935, and the original game continues to be updated along with the release of new themed versions. Players become property owners and compete to have the most revenue and real estate.

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Sequence

Two to 12 players, ages 7+

Adults and older kids can play this game with straightforward instructions and a tricky process. Up to 12 players strategize which cards to use to work on achieving chips in 5 consecutive spots on the board.

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Sorry!

Two to four players, ages 6+

This game is fun and simple, but it can get cutthroat as players send each other back to the starting position. Players take turns drawing cards and moving spaces to send all of their game pieces home.

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Chess

Two players, ages 8+

It takes some time to learn the moves associated with each piece, but this quiet game of focus and strategy has been enjoyed by gamers for centuries. There are many chess sets out there, but this one is made of solid wood that folds for storage. The surface and pieces are magnetic so they stay upright.

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Checkers

Two players, ages 6+ 

Checkers is another game that has been around for a long time. It has simpler gameplay compared to chess but has a similar board and goal of capturing the opponent’s pieces.

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Backgammon

Two players, ages 5+

This is a beautiful board game with a briefcase design and faux leather material. Players must be the first to have all of their pieces circulate the board. The set includes dice and a shaker, and it comes in four sizes.

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Blokus XL

Two to four players, ages 7+

Four players can play this game that is easy to learn and takes some strategy to play. Each person has the goal of fitting as many pieces as possible onto the board. The winner has the fewest pieces remaining after the board has been filled.

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Go to war

Battleship with Planes

Two players, ages 7+

Players control their own Navy in this well-known game that is great for couples and friends. This version is a spin-off of the original game with the addition of planes. Two players sit on opposite sides of the board and work to defeat each other by destroying ships and planes.

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Risk

Two to five players, ages 10+

Players go to war in this game of defeating enemies and taking over and protecting land. The game comes with dice, a game board, cards, and soldier pieces. There is even a dragon that threatens soldiers and must be terminated.

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Diplomacy

Two to seven players, ages 12+

Set in the early 1900s, this game requires strategy. Up to seven players grow their control over territory and build their global influence. The game has a long playing time of about six hours, so it is a captivating challenge to work on.

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Other top popular board game deals 

Board games for kids

Days of Wonder Ticket To Ride

Two to five players, ages 8+

Encourage kids to learn about geography and have a blast while playing this cross-country train adventure game. It’s suitable for ages eight and up and requires between two to five players who strategically build and connect tracks across iconic North American cities.

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Monopoly Junior

Two to four players, ages 5+

The beloved game of Monopoly gets a makeover that invites kids ages 5 and up to experience the fun of buying properties. Monopoly junior features kid-friendly properties, including a zoo or movie theater, and is simplified so young minds can learn about strategy and managing money.

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Educational Insights The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game

Two to four players, ages 3+

Toddlers and preschoolers love to play board games too, and this sneaky squirrel game is perfect for younger minds and hands. While kids are having fun, they won’t realize they’re also building critical early learning skills, including color matching, hand-eye coordination, and fine motor skills.

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Hasbro Gaming Clue Junior

Two to six players, ages 5+

Can you figure out who broke your favorite toy? Clue Junior reimagines the classic mystery game into a kid's board game with situations and clues relevant to preschoolers and elementary-aged kids. It also helps kids develop strategic thinking skills and the process of elimination in a fun way.

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Days Of Wonder Ticket To Ride First Journey

Two to four players, ages 6+

If younger kids want to get in on the excitement of cross-country train building, opt for this version, which is the perfect introduction to the game series. It includes all the strategy, charm, and fun of the original Ticket to Ride with simplified rules.

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Hasbro Gaming Candy Land

Two to four players, ages 3+

Candy Land is a nostalgic board game that is still exciting to kids of all ages, especially toddlers who want to join in on the fun. It’s a great way to have fun while introducing emotional skills, including the idea of winning, losing, and being a great teammate. 

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Alderac Entertainment Group Cascadia

One to four players, ages 10+

This board game is ideal for older elementary-aged kids who are ready for a slightly more complex board game involving tile-laying and token-drafting set in the Pacific Northwest. Kids can study the Cascadian habitats and wildlife in this board game while becoming biologists.

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Gamewright Outfoxed!

Two to four players, ages 5+

This board game requires two to four players ages five and up and only takes 20 minutes to complete. Players try to work together to determine which suspect took Mrs. Plumpert’s Prized Pot Pie, making it ideal for families or siblings during a family game night.

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Ravensburger Disney Villainous

Two to six players, ages 10+

Instead of playing a favorite superhero, this game allows kids to take on the role of well-known villains, including Maleficent, Jafar, Captain Hook, and more, each with their own sinister objectives and goals. It can be played as a stand-alone or combined with other Villainous games.

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Hasbro Gaming Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Begins

Two to four players, ages 10+

Dungeons and Dragons is a popular game among teens and young adults, and this board game is an excellent introduction for kids ten and over. It’s new and exciting every time, allowing players to customize their heroes and monsters.

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Pokemon Battle Academy

Two players, ages 6+

Prepare for a Pokemon battle while playing this trading card game for kids ages 6 and up. The game comes with three complete Pokemon TCG decks, each with 60 cards and a powerful special Pokemon. It’s a two-player game that comes with an instruction sheet, a rule book, and tutorial guides.

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ThinkFun Zingo Bingo

Two to seven players, ages 4+

This game takes the traditional Bingo game and repurposes it into an exciting and educational activity for kids. While playing, kids will learn valuable matching skills and expand their language. Up to seven people can play at once, and it’s straightforward to learn, making it ideal for all ages.

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PlayMonster Yeti in My Spaghetti

Two or more players, ages 4+

Younger kids will get a kick out of saying the name of this game and trying to keep Yeti from falling in the bowl. It’s a perfect family game since it doesn’t involve complicated rules and is fun for a variety of ages.

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Catan Family Edition

Three to four players, ages 10+

The entire family will enjoy playing this addictively fun strategy game that involves trading goods and building settlements to control your own civilization. Plus, each game is new and exciting, so you never have to play the same game twice. Be sure to leave at least an hour to play. 

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Hasbro Gaming Guess Who?

Two players, ages 6+

This original guessing game is an exciting guessing family activity for all ages. It also teaches a ton of valuable skills, including descriptive vocabulary, similarities, comparisons, and taking turns. Included in this game are two tabletop boards, 24 mystery cards, and 48 face cards.

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Ravensburger Minecraft: Builders & Biomes

Two to four players, ages 10+

Those who are trying to limit screen time but still want to enjoy popular activities will appreciate this Minecraft board game. Players will explore the Minecraft world while facing dangerous mobs and mining resources to create one-of-a-kind structures. It requires between two to four players.

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Skillmatics Guess in 10 Animal Planet

Two to six players, ages 6+

This game is perfect for animal lovers and turns a casual family game night into an educational evening of laughter. Players can create teams or play one-on-one to ask questions to guess the animal, including if it’s a carnivore, if it lives in groups, or if it’s nocturnal. 

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Hasbro Hi Ho! Cherry-O

Two to four players, ages 3+

Younger kids will appreciate having a game geared toward their age while filling their buckets with pretend fruit. While having a blast, kids will also learn fine motor skills, addition, subtraction, and taking turns. Plus, you can play against each other or together as a team.

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Other top board games for kids

Contributing authors: Peter McPherson, Margot Malverty, and Bre Richey. 

 

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