Board games provide a little bit of fun structure to family time. Use this list of the best family board games to start this tradition in your home!
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Why Play Board Games?
There are many benefits of board games, but in the context of family time I love them best for offering up a little bit of structure and a lot of laughs!
How to Choose a Great Game for Family Night
I consider several things when choosing a great game for family night:
- How long does it take to play the game? Sometimes we only have a short period of time, while other times we can settle in for long games like Risk and Monopoly.
- Is the game age appropriate for my family, or can it be adjusted to be age appropriate? Sometimes it’s worth buying a kid version, but you can also simply adapt the game for younger kids. Here’s a fun Monopoly adaptation for little kids, and a unique way to play scrabble with young children.
- Does the game suit my family’s personality? Some families love competitive board games, while others prefer cooperative board games. Some prefer fast moving luck games while others enjoy epic strategy games.
Our Favorite Family Board Games to Play as a Family
Our family favors quick moving and cooperative games, although we do play some that move more slowly and several that are competitive. Here are our favorites.
Quixo feels a lot like Connect 4 and Tic Tac Toe, but there’s a twist beyond connecting five Xs or Os instead of four or three. Instead of dropping a piece in from the top (Connect 4) or turning a block over where it is (Tic Tac Toe), you take any currently blank block from anywhere on the board.
Mancala is the world’s oldest fun and educational board game! The board and pieces offer a great sensory experience, and there is a real strategy to winning.
Boggle is another classic game that kids love. Even early readers can come up with enough short words to win sometimes. You can even the playing field by requiring more advanced players to only use larger words, or awarding extra points to novice readers and writers. Try finding words in a foreign language for an added challenge.
5 Minute Dungeon
5 Minute Dungeon is a cooperative board game that still feels edgy. Players work together to defeat monsters, obstacles, and dungeon bosses. You can download an app for a custom timer, if you want to.
Really? A math game?
Yes! Prime Climb uses color coding to make it easy for even young children to master multiplication, division, factorization, and prime nubmers. And, because it’s so visual, it’s also fun!
Blokus is a great game if you enjoy visual strategy games. The goal is to place all of your pieces on the board. Each piece has to touch another piece of the same color, but only at the corners. There is also a six sided trigon version of this game.
If you feel nostalgia about Monopoly but hate how long it takes to play, Monopoly Deal could be your game! The game goes faster with fewer people, but even with five people it should be over within 45 minutes. A couple players can finish the game in as little as 5 minutes.
Qwirkle is a great mixed age game. You score points by building lines with matching tiles. The pieces have a great look and feel, too, for sensory sensitive players.
Ticket to Ride
Ticket to Ride is a strategy game with strong visual appeal. You can also intentionally play this game cooperatively, if you prefer. There are several different versions of the game, so choose your favorite destination.
Apples to Apples
Apples to Apples is a very subjective game, making it fun for all ages and mixed ability ranges. We recommend the junior edition if kids are playing, just because that way you get more child-friendly options.
If you love fast paced, visual games, you’ll love Set! You need to move quickly to grab your matching sets before someone else spots them!
Wizardry to the Power of Three
Wizardry to the Power of Three is a fun cooperative game that elementary school aged children love. Wizard students snuck out after bedtime, and the school’s warden ghost is on their tail. Players work together to make sure all of the wizard students make it back in time without being caught. This game includes a memory element.
If you enjoy storytelling, Dixit is a great game to try. All of the players receive gorgeously illustrated cards. The first player sets out a card with a verbal clue about the card. Then all of the other players pick a card from their hand that matches that word. There’s plenty of randomness and humor.
The Enchanted Forest is an adorable memory based fairytale game that young children love. The story aspect of this makes it an especially fun grandparent grandchild game.
Q-bitz is a fast paced visual game. The goal is to build the same picture as on the card as quickly as possible. This is a fun mixed ages game to play.
Hoot Owl Hoot
An adorable cooperative game for young children, players work together in Hoot Owl Hoot to get the howls back to their nest before the sun comes up. This is a preschool friendly board game.
The Game of Life
I don’t love The Game of Life, but my kids sure do. And so do their friends. Probably for the same reason I enjoyed it when I was younger.
What are your favorite family board games? Do you have any other favorite family night activities that we should try?