In spite of all the goings on all around the world (and the busy schedules of parents, of course), it is always still necessary to try and make out enough time for families to bond and reflect. And really, what better way is there to bond than over a good-natured round of board game?
It is time to get the games onto tabletops and floors. We will be going through a list of the best board games to play during family time available to you. Come along!
Best Family Board Games –Comparison Table
|Name||Publisher||Number of players||Duration||Rating|
|Sequence||Jax Ltd.||2 to 12 people||10 to 30 minutes||Best Overall Game|
|Sorry!||Hasbro||2 to 4 players||30 to 45 minutes||Best Competitive Game|
|Pandemic||Z-Man Games||2 to 4 players||45 to 60 minutes||Best Cooperative Game|
|Codenames||Czech Games||4 to 8 players||15 minutes||Best Fast-Paced Game|
|Trivial Pursuit Family Edition||Hasbro||2 to 6 players||60 to 90 minutes||Best Trivia Game|
|The Game Of Life||Milton Bradley||2 to 6 players||60 minutes||Best Reality-based Game|
|Spontuneous||WOW! What a World of Entertainment AB||4 to 10 players||30 to 45 minutes||Best Song Game|
|Betrayal At House On The Hill||Avalon Hill||3 to 6 players||30 to 120 minutes||Best Mystery Game|
|Catan||Catan Studios||3 to 4 players||60 to 120 minutes||Best Complex Game|
|Dixit||Libellud||3 to 6 players||30 minutes||Best Guess Game|
|Jenga||Hasbro||2 players or more||5 to 15 minutes||Best Building Game|
The Best Family Board Games
1. Sequence – Best Overall Family Game
Although created in the late 1970s, Sequence has managed to stay relevant and hold its place as one of the best board games in the world. The board game is a family favorite, especially as kids find it easy enough to learn, and adults find it tricky enough to keep them alert for as long as a game round lasts.
Sequence is a team-based board game, so, if more than three people intend to play, they should be split into two or three teams.
It is a game of both strategy and luck that should be played by people from seven years and upward. This game features a playing board, 135 poker chips, and two standard decks of cards.
The objective of the board game is to create rows of 5 chips on the game board so they correspond to cards which have been played by the player. Jokers have to be removed from the decks as they are not used in the game.
As players compete to form rows, if a player does not announce a Sequence after creating one, it will not be considered a sequence until the player realizes it and announces it.
The game accommodates between two to twelve players. This family board game will suit both large families and small families.
Each round typically takes between ten to thirty minutes. This is good as the game is neither too short nor too lengthy. It is really easy to learn and as it progresses; it gets more competitive.
2. Sorry! – Best Competitive Game
Sorry! was initially published by W. H. Storey & Co. in the 1930s, then Parker Brothers, and now Hasbro.
This is a highly competitive board game that has two to four players racing to be the first to get all their pawns Home. If any of your pawns are too far from Home, you will need to do everything to keep another player from getting their pawn Home. This can call for a lot of bumping into someone else, and the apologetic “Sorry” that follows.
This is a game that might get you all riled up. Just remember that it is good-natured fun because you get to apologize for sending opponents back to the starting line. This is just so you can get your pawns to their respective Safety Zones where they cannot be bumped.
With the perfect mix of strategy and luck, Sorry! is a fun and unpredictable family board game for participants ages six and above.
The game can last between 30 and 45 minutes. It features a game board, a modern deck of 45 cards, 12 color-coded pawns, 2 power token named Fire and Ice, and instructions to guide you.
3. Pandemic – Best Cooperative Game
Pandemic was first published in 2008 by Z-Man Games. The board game is all about saving humanity from a pandemic. Instead of competing against one another, players cooperate as they work towards the common goal of saving the human race.
In a world where four diseases threaten, two to four players will each take one of seven specialist roles to find cures that will stop the outbreaks. The roles are dispatcher, medic, researcher, scientist, quarantine specialist, or contingency planner.
As you progress in the game, the danger levels are increased and the spread of the diseases widens, making players move around frantically to do so much with limited time.
You and the other player(s) will take turns to draw a card and use four actions to overwhelm the diseases. You will need to do this by knowledge sharing, cure discovery, and building research stations for disease treatments.
If any player, however, picks an epidemic card, everyone suffers because the disease spread will increase in scope and with speed. It is either everyone wins or everyone loses. You are all in it together.
This family board game will teach every member that, as a team, the family stays together through beautiful times and hard times.
When the four cures have been discovered, you win the game. But when more outbreaks occur and there are no more cards in the player deck, you lose. You also lose when you all run out of disease cubes to place on the board.
The game set includes a game board, two decks of playing cards, a pawn for each player, six Research stations, and four colored cubes.
This is a great board game if you have a family of teenagers and adults. Younger kids ages ages 12 and below cannot participate.
This game will challenge your thinking and will require everyone to be proactive. Each round of game can last between 45 and 60 minutes.
4. Codenames: Deep Undercover – Best Fast-Paced Game
If you want a fast-paced board game that is fun and will tempt you into another round, Codenames is the game for you.
The game was published in 2015 by Czech Games and is a secret agent-themed word-guessing board game.
The game needs between four to eight players divided equally into two teams, and lasts for about fifteen minutes.
Each team has a spymaster who knows the real identities of the 25 secret agents who are represented with the 25 cards on the table. The task of the spymasters is to give their teammates (operatives) one-word clues that will help them uncover the identities of the secret agents.
The game encourages collaboration as well as competition since the players work in teams against each other.
Codenames is 15 minutes of laughs, heated discussions, and slight frustration, as operatives try to give a right guess and also avoid the assassin, the innocent bystanders, and opposition’s words on the table.
A team wins when they have all their code names covered with their agents, or when the opponent chooses the team’s last word, or even when the opponent chooses a word related to an Assassin. Of course, the team that chooses the assassin loses.
Codenames is the right mix of challenges and entertainment. Plus, it develops the language skills of players and their ability to identify concepts.
Since it is so fast-paced, the session of fun can easily be repeated with you either switching teams or engaging in a rematch to challenge the previous winner.
It is easy to learn and set up. The game set consists of a full rule book, 200 double-sided codename cards, 40 keycards, 16 agent cards, 1 double agent card, 7 innocent bystander cards, 1 assassin card, and 1 sand timer.
5. Trivial Pursuit Family Edition – Best Trivia Game
Trivial Pursuit was published in 1981 by John Haney and Ed Werner, but now belongs to Hasbro. It centers around players being able to answer questions on basic knowledge and popular culture.
From questions like “Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?” to another like “What North African stew is also the name of the dish it is cooked in?” you are sure to have tons of fun and challenges with everyone actively participating.
Trivial Pursuit Family Edition comes with separate cards for adults and cards for kids, making it super fun and mildly competitive as everyone tries to become Trivia Lord. It may seem too easy, but you will be pleasantly surprised.
Trivial Pursuit Family Edition accommodates two to six players of all ages. The duration of the game varies between 60 and 90 minutes.
The game includes a board, playing pieces, question cards, a dice, small plastic wedges to fit into the playing pieces, and a box.
6. The Game Of Life – Best Reality-based Game
The Game of Life is also known as Life and was created as The Checkered Game of Life by Milton Bradley in 1860.
The modern version came into existence in 1960 by the collaboration of Reuben Klamer and Bill Markham. It mirrors a person’s travels through life as he moves through jobs, marriage, and children, from college to retirement.
The objective of the game is to be the player who at the end of the game has the most assets. The assets are acquired by working and earning tokens with dollar amounts on them.
This is a great game to teach kids the dignity of work and the importance of weighing their options before making some decisions.
In the game, for instance, players can choose to expand their career options by pursuing a college education or ditching college to start up a business. The players also have to make decisions regarding things such as investments and insurance.
The Game of Life comes with a game board, cards, spinner, cars, spin-to-win tokens, money packs, pegs, and a guide.
The game is designed to accommodate two to six players. And it is one that will actually involve the entire family, because even younger kids ages six and above can participate.
It is pretty easy to set up, and anticipation builds from that time till the end of the one-hour game.
7. Spontuneous – Best Song Game
Spontuneous was created in 2009 by Rob and is published by WOW! What a World of Entertainment. The game is basically about players blurting out a song spontaneously based on a trigger word.
This game is perfect for family game night as it can accommodate up to ten players and it is a song game where singing talent is not required. If you cannot sing it, just blurt it out or scream it. This game is all shades of fun and activity.
In Spontuneous, everyone creates a Hitlist of words contained in the lyrics of different songs. Once that has been done, the first active player is chosen.
The first active player who is the Tunesmith mentions a trigger word from their Hitlist, and everybody else tries to come up with a song containing that word in its lyrics to advance on the board. The first person to sing a lyric with the word rolls the dice and advances on the board.
If no one can come up with a song, the Tunesmith must sing a song containing that word or be penalized.
If the Tunesmith can sing a real song containing the trigger word, he or she gets to roll the dice and move forward by the total number on the dice.
However, if the Tunesmith is not able to prove that they know a lyric with that word in it, they will also roll the dice but this time, move backward on the board.
This is getting interesting, right? So, as much as you want to stump the others with your trigger words, be sure you can back those words up with songs.
For a game that is so easy and yet competitive, Spontuneous provides so much fun and entertainment.
It can accommodate between four to ten players at a time, and they should be at least eight years of age.
The game comes with a game board, 10 player pawns, 50 cards, 2 dice, a hitlist tablet, and the game rules and instructions.
This game will set you on your toes. When you think about it, everyone has a song for everything. This board game will prove it, and time will pass in a blur.
8. Betrayal At House On The Hill – Best Mystery Game
Published in 2004 by Avalon Hill, Betrayal at House on the Hill has our Best Mystery Game rating.
If your family is tired of board games with straight storylines and you guys have a heart for horror movies, then this game will be a favorite. The game is set in a haunted house filled with omens, traps, items and other dangers.
In the game, everything appears good with everyone working together as a team to explore the haunted house. Or so it appears.
You do not expect everything to always go well in a horror movie, right? It turns out that a member of your team has teamed up with the ghost and monsters, so, you have to work as a team to defeat your former teammate and his or her cohorts.
The game is in two phases: Exploration and Haunt phases. It also features 50 possible haunts, and this makes the game a little different every time it is played. So, no one will get too used to the game.
The game includes 291 tokens, 22 item cards, 13 omen cards, 1 Damage truck, 30 plastic clips, 8 dice, 6 double-sided character cards, 6 plastic character figures, 1 Entrance Hall tile, 44 room tiles, 2 haunt books, and 1 rule book.
This is just perfect for Halloween family game night. Just be sure that the three to six players are ages 12 and up, as the rules are somewhat tricky. However, once learned, the excitement will make the learning well worth it.
9. Catan – Best Complex Game
Catan, which was formerly as Settlers of Catan, was first published in 1995 by Kosmos in Germany but is now being published in the United States by Catan Studio.
The board game is a high strategy game that involves a lot of negotiation. Players try to build and develop holdings, and at the same time, acquire and trade resources. As their settlements grow, they gain more points, and the first player to reach a set number of points emerges as the winner.
Catan features 19 terrain hexes, 6 sea frame pieces, 18 circular number tokens, 1 black or grey rubber pawn, 4 sets of wooden player pieces, 25 development cards, 4 building costs cards, 2 dice, 2 award cards, Resource cards for each terrain hex, apart from the desert, and extra harbor pieces. The game is quite complex and requires that you get used to it.
This strategy board game accommodates three to four players, although some expansion packs can accommodate up to five or six players.
This game can last between 60 and 120 minutes. And guess what? You will not be bored. This game takes a lot of critical thinking and negotiating to produce the best winning strategy.
10. Dixit – Best Guess Game
Dixit was designed by Jean-Louis Roubira and published in 2008. It is a card-style guessing game.
Players start by picking 6 random cards and take turns to be the Storyteller. The Storyteller creates a sentence or phrase that describes what is on one of his or her cards and says it aloud without showing the card to the others.
The other players pick and submit to the Storyteller a card from the ones in their hands that best matches the sentence or phrase. These cards are shuffled together by the Storyteller together with his or her chosen card and then dealt face up.
All the players apart from the Storyteller secretly guess using numbered voting chips which picture was on the Storyteller’s chosen card.
There is some trick to the allocation of points here. If all the players find the Storyteller’s card, they each get 2 points, while the Storyteller gets nothing.
If no player finds the Storyteller’s card, they all get 2 points plus 1 bonus point per vote for his or her card. And if at least one player, but not all the players, find the Storyteller’s card, the player(s) who found the card get(s) 3 points plus 1 bonus point per vote for his or her card. The other players get 0 points plus 1 bonus point per vote for his or her card, while the Storyteller gets 3 points.
When the last card is drawn, the player with the most points emerges as the winner.
If you have a house full of teens with so much uncontainable energy, this is the best game to get the whole place quiet. It works like magic and can be enjoyed by the entire family.
Dixit comes with one game board, 84 cards, 36 voting tokens in six different colors, and 6 wooden rabbits. You need between three to six players to execute this game, and its 30 minutes playtime makes it easier for others to join in after a quality game round.
11. Jenga – Best Building Game
Jenga was created way back in the early 1970s by Leslie Scott. The origin of the name tells clearly what the board game is about.
Jenga was derived from a Swahili word ‘kujenga,’ which, when loosely translated to English, means ‘to build’.
Jenga is a classic board game. It is a great family game that can accommodate virtually every member of the family, as long as they are at least six years old. The family members who are too young to play make the best cheerleaders.
The first player is usually the one who erects the tower for the game setup. The tower is erected with 54 signature rectangular wooden blocks. The players take turns to remove one block at a time from any level of the tower using just one hand and then place that block on top of the tower.
The goal is to do this without causing the tower to fall. As the game progresses, the structure becomes more unstable, and it will take so much skill to remove one block without causing a collapse.
Whoever moves a piece that causes a collapse loses, and so, the last person to remove a block and place it on top successfully before another player causes a collapse becomes the winner. Also, if any block falls from the tower other than the one moved, the game will end.
This is an amazing game for helping players, especially children, develop excellent motor skills, spatial thinking, and practical familiarity with geometry. The engineers, architects, and construction workers of the future need to play this exciting board game.
What We Considered When Making The List
To come up with the list of the board games we consider as the best for families, we looked at a few factors.
We are sharing them with you because you will also have to make certain considerations when you have to pick a board game for others to be a part of.
i. Easy to learn
Since families comprise of people of different ages and different learning abilities, it is important to factor that into what board game you place on the table for a fun family game night.
And regardless of the complexity of a game, the presence of a guide book or rule book will make it easier to grasp what the game is about. As you notice an improvement in the skills of your family members and yourself, you can move on to more challenging levels and games.
ii. Number Of Players
The number of people available will determine what game you pick so that nobody feels left out. Whether you have a large family or a small family, the games on our list will serve you well.
iii. Rate Of Interaction
The major reason for playing games with others is for interaction. There are a lot of solo games, but the ones listed here are the ones fit for more than one player.
What makes them fit is that they engage every player through things like building, trading, cooperation, and even competition. Everyone gets involved in these games.
Besides, the best games for families do not eliminate players so early in a game round that they have to wait “forever” to participate in the next round. This can ultimately eliminate the initial excitement.
iv. Duration Of Game
While some board games require critical thinking and strategizing that can last for a long period, other games require quick thinking.
Sometimes you may not have all the time to spend so much on games. That should not be an excuse for not spending time with family. The games on our list have varying duration, and so you can pick what works best for you.
v. High Replay Value
We were sure to pick board games that will keep the excitement level stable and have people wanting more. At the end of the game sessions, everyone should be looking forward to the next family game night or day.