The 40 Best Family Board Games for Some Good Old Fashioned Fun
Whether it’s your go-to move when the weather is bad or a standing date for some much-needed quality time with your brood, there’s always space in your home for another family-friendly game. That said, parents know how challenging it can be to please a crowd of different ages and interests. Good news: We’ve done a little digging and the fruits of our labor—a roundup of the best family board games—will likely lighten your load. Take your pick, stock up on snacks and let the fun begin.
For those who hate reading and explaining endless directions (attention span? what attention span?), this one has no complicated list of rules to break your…uh…cranium. Instead, players simply team up, roll the colored dice and pick a related card. They are then challenged to complete a funny task—from spelling a word backward to drawing with their eyes closed—before the timer runs out.
2. Pie Face Game
Want to make a toddler think you are funnier than Tina Fey, Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong combined? Allow yourself to get whapped in the face with a tablespoon full of whipped cream or pudding. Giggles for days.
Ok, so this one may not technically be a board game per se, but since there’s a spinner involved and it comes in a cardboard box, we’ll let it slide. Invented in 1966, it simply never gets old. Ask anyone who’s watched her grown husband—wearing the required socks—languish with his booty in the air as her kindergartener crab-crawls beneath him, hellbent on reaching a colored circle.
Deductive reasoning skills in a box. Each player receives a new mystery identity via a card to stick in their headband. As the timer ticks, they ask “yes” or “no” questions to determine who or what they are. If they guess correctly before the clock runs out, they’re on their way to a win.
5. Race to the Treasure
After weeks of sibling smackdowns, we’ll take the road with less rage, please. Enter this magical adventure from cooperative game maker Peaceable Kingdom. Players age five and up work *together* to construct a path and collect keys to a gilded treasure box. Their only opponent? A gruesome ogre angling to get there first.
Players young and old will have their on-the-spot analytical thinking skills put to the test with this fast-paced dice game, which unfolds like tic-tac-toe on steroids. With just the right combination of strategy, luck and suspense, this four player game is plenty engaging and the rules of play are easy enough for older grade school kids (think, ages nine and up) to grasp. Bonus: This game night feature also includes the possibility of revenge, an aspect that’s sure to satisfy the fiercely competitive members of your fam.
7. Throw Throw Burrito
Ask the child(ren) in your life how they feel about a game that involves pelting soft, doe-eyed burritos at their elders: the gleeful response you receive is precisely what you can expect from this action-packed event. Truth be told, there’s no board involved here—just cards, tokens and, of course, burritos—but “the world’s first dodgeball card game” goes down easy. Best of all, this game can be played with just one opponent or with a group of up to six.
Depending on how seriously you take yourself, this one has the potential to blow karaoke night out of the water or send you running for the hills. That’s right, friends, the singing here is all a capella. To get the game going, players write down five words and toss them out to other players one at a time. The first to belt out a song using the keyword gets to advance their playing piece. But beware, your winning repertoire might get you into more trouble; certain spaces on the board bring additional challenges drawn from the deck.
9. Herd Mentality
Find out how well you know your family and friends (and vice versa) with this entertaining board game that poses questions and rewards players for thinking (and responding) like the rest of the group. The rules of play couldn’t be easier to learn and the content is squeaky clean, so tweens can get in on the action, too. Best of all, this one is quick to play with as few as four and as many as 20 people, making it a solid choice for pretty much any occasion.
10. Spy Alley
Fans of Clue will love this award-winning board game in which players (from two to six) contend for the title of “Top Spy” by uncovering the hidden identities of the competition. The rules are straightforward enough that kids as young as five can participate, but don’t let the kid-friendly factor fool you: The fast-paced play—which takes only 30 to 45 minutes from start to finish—is full of intrigue and sure to put your strategic thinking skills to the test. Note: the path to victory is paved with deductive reasoning and duplicity.
Outrageous is a hilarious battle of the wits—much like Cards for Humanity, but with more room for creativity since players are required to respond to prompts by filling in the blank. (Note: For this reason, the game can be clean or risqué, depending on the crowd.) Players win points whenever the judge deems their reply the cleverest of the bunch, but there really are no losers here since it’s basically a guarantee that you’ll laugh until your sides hurt. Try this one out with a group of four to eight people for 30 minutes of rapid-fire fun—just keep in mind that the prompts require some general knowledge, so this one works best for ages 13 and up.
An old-school favorite that has stood the test of time, Parcheesi is a classic two to four player game of “chase, race and capture” that will take your strategic thinking skills on a spin around the track. Best of all, this board game is as engaging for 8-year-old newcomers as it is for those who remember playing it back in the day.
13. P for Pizza
This brand new board game just hit stores and that’s excellent news for anyone in search of a two-player game you can play with a kid that isn’t a total snoozefest for adults. (Sorry, Chutes and Ladders.) The game comes with a deck of double-sided cards that players must use to match letters to categories as quickly as possible. (i.e., P + Italian food = P for Pizza). Whoever shouts out an answer first wins the card and gets one step closer to completing a pizza slice; be the first to build your pizza and you win the game. Frantic, exciting and quick—this word game will make you work up a sweat and maybe an appetite, too. Hint: this game is extra satisfying when paired with a homemade pie.
14. Disney’s Villainous
Disney lovers will rejoice in this classic strategy game that features all the beloved movie characters...and an opportunity to rewrite their classic happy endings. Pick a villain and prepare to take down your protagonist with the help of action cards, allies and diabolical scheming. This beautifully designed board game boasts plenty of visual appeal, thanks to the Disney theme, but this two to six player game has plenty of substance, too. In other words, this one is complex and moderately time-consuming (roughly an hour) so it’s best for ages ten and up.
There are no complicated rules or big time commitments with this one: Labyrinth is especially easy to learn, so kids ages six and up can get in on the fun, and it takes only 20 minutes to complete (although there’s a good chance your fam will want to play multiple rounds). The goal is—you guessed it—to get to the center of the maze, while avoiding a host of obstacles that pop up along the way. As for the gameplay, this gem is challenging and rewarding for kids and adults alike.
16. Double Ditto
Play this matching game with a group of four or more for fast-paced entertainment that will appeal to anyone over the age of eight. Similar to Herd Mentality, Double Ditto players respond to prompts with the goal being to read the minds and mirror the replies of the other participants. Bottom line: Bust this one out for a lively, quick-thinking game that boasts broad appeal.
Compete to score as many points as you can by dunking coconuts into cups with a spring-loaded mechanical monkey in this energetic, dexterity game. Some skill is involved, but the rules are simple and even little kids (think, ages five and up) can play...and you definitely don’t have to be a kid to get a kick out of the frenzied competition.
If you’re looking for a game night option that preschoolers and adults can enjoy then Operation is the answer. This classic, which can be played by one or many, promises light-hearted fun and a fine motor skill boost to boot (because the challenge of conducting surgery with a steady hand isn’t just child’s play).
19. Trekking the World
Gorgeous graphics combine with rich strategic gameplay in this unique and enriching board game. The focus is on the joys of travel and, of course, the careful planning that goes into mapping out a rewarding trek...so it’s an ideal way to satisfy your wanderlust without the airfare. The rules are fairly complex but with some guidance from a grown-up, kids as young as eight can join the game and puzzle their way around the world (and you only need two travelers to play). Note: This game can take up to 90 minutes to play, but considering the visual and mental stimulation it provides, it’s safe to say that’s time well-spent.
A classic family game night staple that never loses its charm. In the off-chance that you’re a stranger to this oldie-but-goodie, it goes something like this: A small group (four or more players) splits into teams and take turns trying to render a prompt with a rough sketch while the other team guesses. Happily, Pictionary is funnier and more entertaining when the artwork is bad, so it’s a great choice for participants of any age and skill level.
21. The Family Treasure Hunt Game
This scavenger hunt, which includes a stack of clue cards and a treasure map, will serve up plenty of active engagement for the under ten set. The energetic hunt plays out with the help of brain-teasers that sharpen critical thinking skills while sending players running in every direction (and even outside, if you wish). Adults and older kids can go along for the ride, but this family-friendly event doubles as a clever way to sneak in some grown-up conversation while the kids take control of game night (no judgement).
Another classic hit that can be played with two or more people, Yahtzee is like a game of Poker except you play with a handful of dice instead of a deck of cards. Since the game consists solely of throwing six dice on the table and recording a score, you might think that luck is all that goes into a Yahtzee victory...but you’d be wrong. Strategy, particularly in how you work your scorecard, is the key to success—and once you and your opponents start calculating for the win, some fierce competition will follow. This highly addictive game is suitable for ages eight and up—but we suggest you take that with a grain of salt since the strategic component is what makes Yahtzee interesting and, in this case, that’s much more readily mastered by a slightly older kid.
23. Election Night!
This kid-friendly (ages eight and up) board game scores major points for educational value: The gameplay promises to sharpen critical thinking skills while simultaneously providing a lesson in math, geography, and the electoral college (which is also good news for grown-ups who could benefit from a refresher course). Best of all, the competition is a spirited one—as you might expect of a game that involves winning and tallying votes—so this learning opportunity comes with a side of excitement and glee.
24. Back to the Future - Back in Time Board Game
Go back in time with a two to four player board game that will entertain and excite players of all ages (and fill the older ones with 80s nostalgia). This guy covers all the favorite moments from the original flick, including the thrill of the race-against-time. Plus, the cooperative play involved in this game makes it a family-friendly option for players ages ten and up (and a refreshing change from the dog-eat-dog competition of the standard fare).
An upgrade to a time-honored favorite, this two player game includes aircraft in addition to the typical naval vessels used in the original Battleship. Aside from that, not much has changed: You can expect family-friendly warfare and all the strategic thinking that requires from this rousing pegboard game. The end result? A rip-roaring good time for anyone ages seven and up.
Engaging and smart when it came out ten years ago, this game of strategy is really on point right now. Unlike most board games, Pandemic doesn’t pit players against one another, but rather focuses on how such a public health crisis can actually unite communities: Players work together to find necessary resources, while following challenging rules and assuming complex characters. The takeaway? A two to four player treat that teens and adults can enjoy together.
27. Jax Sequence Board Game
This popular board game only takes about half an hour from start to finish, so you don’t have to settle in for a serious time commitment. And the gameplay—a combination of classic card games, checkers and bingo—is a fast-paced competition that demands teamwork and careful thought. Play your hand right (and foil your opponent’s plans as often as possible) and you can be the first to line up five chips and claim victory...but even if you lose, this one is far from boring.
28. Super Big Boggle
Sure, Scrabble is a sweet way to spend a rainy day—but sometimes a wordsmith craves a faster-paced form of entertainment. (You know, the kind where you don’t have to wait 20 minutes for a pensive player to make a move.) Enter Boggle, a classic game for two or more players that picks up the pace with a mad dash to jot down as many words as possible from a randomized six-by-six letter board. Shake things up (and make some noise) after every round to rearrange the alphabet dice into a new formation...so you can quickly cream the (eight years old and up) competition again.
29. Ravensburger JAWS Game
You can pick your favorite human character from this cult classic film, or opt to play the part of a blood-thirsty Great White Shark. Either way, you can delight in both phases of the Jaws plot with this gripping game of strategy. Fortunately, this fight for your life is actually fun; the tension is palpable, the entertainment endless and, yes, the theme song will be stuck in your head...forever.
30. 5 Second Rule Jr.
A game board, colorful pawns and a five-second timer are all in play with this popular game of Q&A. Needless to say, unexpected queries and instant responses combine to make this one a comedic goldmine—but this family version ensures that gameplay doesn’t take an inappropriate turn. Approved for ages six and up, but fun for all: This one is a family game night shoo-in.
31. What Do You Meme? Family Edition
Good news for fans of family game night: The innovative best-seller What Do You Meme just got a squeaky clean makeover, and the result is every bit as funny as the original. Gather three or more players (ages eight or older) and you’re ready to play a fast-moving card game that will get everyone’s creative juices flowing. May the best wit win!
32. Jungle Cruise
This Disney-themed board game will appeal to adventurers ages eight and up and is action-packed and full of peril (lost passengers, jungle beasts). This one involves more luck than anything—but what it lacks in strategic challenges, it makes up for with excitement and wit (think, plot-based puns). You’ll need to set aside 45 minutes to an hour for this cruise—but in terms of straightforward and family-friendly entertainment, this game is hard to beat.
33. Goat Lords
The objective of this two to six player game is to amass as much wealth as possible...and goats are the currency. Collect as many goats as you can by dueling with other players—just remember that with every win you become a more appealing target for the competition. Whimsical and over-the-top, this one-of-a-kind game of strategy and luck serves up drama, action, comedic relief and fast-paced play for competitors ages eight and up.
Calling all skilled artisans and strategists: The objective of Sagrada is to construct a stained-glass window by using drafting dice to determine which piece of glass you can use to complete your showpiece. The finished work of art isn’t all left to chance, though, because the decision of where to place each piece is up to you and your smarts. Color and shade requirements add to the difficulty of the task, as do the whims of your master from the Familia Sagrada. Suffice it to say, this creative one to four player board game will put your wheels in motion for at least 30 minutes (and tween or teenagers will love it, too).
35. The Game of Life Jr.
It’s hard to find a board game you can play with a kindergartener that doesn’t make your eyes glaze over within minutes. Enter, the Game of Life Jr.—an extra kid-friendly take on the oh-so-American classic that’s easy to learn and boasts an exciting vacation theme. Play this whenever you need a two to six player game that doesn’t leave the young ones out.
36. The Floor is Lava!
If you have kids, it’s likely that ‘the floor is lava’ is a familiar phrase—a precursor to a high-energy, adrenaline-filled burst of play. The under ten set can easily accomplish a freestyle version of this game, but the game spinner, foam stepping stones and challenge cards in this two to six player packaged deal make for a more organized affair (i.e., entire drawers of folded clothing will not be spilled on the floor in the service of protecting tiny feet from imaginary lava).
37. It’s in the Bag!
Step up your Charades game big time with a three-round guessing game that combines verbal clues and miming for an uproariously funny round of play that’s great for small or large groups and easy enough for little kids to participate in. (Note: Some of the prompts will include pop-cultural references that young players won’t understand, but there’s an easy workaround—just have your kid pick another card.)
KingDomino is an award-winning territory-building board game for two to four players, complete with 3D tiles and castles, that hones abstract thinking and visual reasoning through strategic play. The rules are straightforward, so kids as young as seven can play, and the game itself goes quickly enough to keep the young and restless engaged as well. The mechanics of the gameplay, however, present a problem-solving challenge that will pique the interest of players of all ages.
39. Ticket to Ride
Designed for two to five players (ages eight and up) this board game requires strategic thinking and complex planning, but it’s not so hard to learn that it will make your head hurt. Ticket to Ride serves up adventure and surprise—the kind that puts problem solving skills to the test for players of any age. Puzzle your way through this one once and all parties will be eager to replay (though maybe another day, since this one does demand a full-hour of engagement).
Azul is an award-winning game, designed for kids ages eight and up with a love of aesthetics. Inspired by Moorish art, this board game uses beautiful, vibrant tiles so players can achieve the goal of creating their own Alhambra-esque mosaic. It’s not all artsy-fartsy though: This challenging game of strategy moves fast...just not so fast that you can’t feast your eyes on your own abstract designs. (If your visual reasoning skills cut the muster, that is.)