Parents should be more than eager to trade some of their kid’s screen time for a few hours of family bonding, but watching a movie with your kids isn’t always the best way to actually spend time together. Playing a board game is a much better way to go. It’s the perfect way to blow off some steam, have a few laughs, and hang out with your children. A well-conceived game teaches kids how to think creatively, share, communicate effectively, and, in some cases, hone their motor skills.
To ensure that your next game night is a hit, we searched high and low for some of the best family board games out there. We found the best board games for adults and the best board games for kids. Some are creative updates of old classics. Others are fun enough to make you howl with laughter. And still others are, well, designed for the oddball living inside all of us. Play on.
A wizarding version of Ravensburger's popular board game, complete with themed cards and playing pieces. Ages 7+
Pros: Avoid watching Goblet of Fire for the umpteenth time with this maze of a game, a great way to help kids learn strategies that can help them when they play more complicated games in the future.
Cons: With a play time or 20 to 30 minutes, one round is not nearly long enough to last all evening.
The movie about a female pilot turned avenger is a smash. And now, you can get in on the Skrull action with this game based on the film, featuring all the key characters. Ages 8+
Pros: Kids will enjoy getting to pretend to be one of their favorite Marvel characters and sussing out which of the other players are friends and which are enemies.
Cons: The deceiving and misdirection engendered by this game aren’t great for young kids who might not have the social skills to figure those things out.
It’s often hard to improve upon an original, but it’s safe to say that Hasbro has done it here. Ages 5+
Pros: When the original Pie Face board games came out, the internet was flooded with videos of parents, grandparents, and children getting a face full of whipped cream. Makes sense they were hilarious. This update adds in a canon that one player turns to launch the pie while the other player tries to use a blocking hand to save their mug from getting whacked with whipped cream.
Cons: Isn’t it obvious? If you don’t want to be covered in whipped cream you have to buy separately, this isn’t the best choice.
This deceptively simple game requires teams to cooperate without communicating in order to build enough sequences of five playing cards on the board to win the game. Ages 7+
Pros: This game combines patterns, teamwork, and the luck of the draw into a package that’s remarkably playable. Jacks, which are wild, have a way of hitting the board right as one team or another is about to win.
Cons: The graphic design of this game is nothing to write home about, and there’s no narrative which younger kids might need to be entertained.
As one of the biggest-backed games to ever come out of Kickstarter, this card game has kids build their own army of unicorns. Ages 10+
Pros: There are numerous twists and turns awaiting players as they race to be the first to get seven horned ones on their team to win.
Cons: A decent number of folks had issues figuring out the instructions, so if your family prefers simpler games look elsewhere.
Kids love Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty. So now, here it comes in game form. Ages 8+
Pros: With this game, you connect the same-colored dots by creating same-colored paths of Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty without crossing different-colored Thinking Putty paths.
Cons: Plenty of kids will be distracted by the putty, a great toy in and of itself, which might cause issues if others become invested in the the logic of the game itself.
Building a version of Operation around the irreverent hit cartoon only makes sense. Ages 17+
Pros: Rick is one of the smartest people in the universe, so who better to operate on his sick friend Ruben? Just like the original, this game rewards a steady hand.
Cons: This is a much ruder version of the classic game, so it’s not appropriate for younger kids despite the fact that the gameplay itself remains pretty much the same.
One of the most popular games of all times gets a crooked update. Ages 8+
Pros: Everyone is still trying to get the most property and money, but this time the game encourages you to see if you can game the system—just like real capitalism!
Cons: Will your kids learn to think cheating is OK based on their experience with a board game? Maybe! It’s up to you to weigh the risks.
Perfect for the book-loving family, this game puts players in charge of creating the best library in a fantasy land filled with witches and other mystical beings. Ages 10+
Pros: Players race each other to book-swaps, estate sales, and auctions in a competition to find hidden gems. One of the keys to winning is to make sure that your bookshelves can fit all of the tomes that you have collected, so organization and puzzle-solving is key to this game.
Cons: This is a pretty complicated game, with tons of different components, and as such it’s really a better choice for patient kids and families who regularly play games together.
Roll the dice when it's your turn, move the block matching the color on the dice, and place it on the top of the blocks, without letting the tower collapse. Ages 3+
Pros: In this family game, the player who knocks down the tower first loses. It’s a deceptively simple game that promotes coordination, teamwork and communication. Plus, it’s just cute.
Cons: We’re not sure Jenga needed another complication, thought we imagine kids will prefer the bright colors of these blocks to the drab original.
Get ready for a flock of fun. This game features chicken–pig hybrids who try to reach their goals while dodging opponents and hay bales. Ages 8+
Pros: As silly as it is, this game is actually kind of similar to chess, in a package that’s much more interesting than the somewhat staid classic.
Cons: When you move the cow, it poops and if you go over a poop you take a poop card, which is always a stinker. If you’re not a huge fan of poop humor, this isn’t the game for you.
This strategy games pits different tribes of woodland creatures (cats, birds, mice, hedgehogs, and a solo raccoon) against each other in a battle to control as much of the forest as possible. Ages 10+
Pros: This game encourages players to think outside the box and come up with creative strategies to get ahead. There’s no repetition, because the game is dependent on the players and their decisions.
Cons: This is another more complex game, so make sure you set some time aside to learn the rules before actually playing.
Sometimes the simplest of ideas are the most fun. That’s the case with this update. Ages 4+
Pros: In this version of the family game, blindfolded players try not to step into a pile of sparkling unicorn poop (clay piles) while they tentatively venture forward on the large floor mat that also doubles as a playing board. They spin the spinner and walk forward while their friends giggle madly on the sidelines.
Cons: This game doesn’t exactly require any cognitive firepower. It’s actually so simple that it’s tempting to just make it yourself instead of shelling out for the actual game.
It seems that everyone is playing Fortnite these days, especially your teenager. So bring them back to family game night with this version of Monopoly based on the hit game. Ages 13+
Pros: Much like the online game, in the board game, players take locations, battle their opponents, and claim loot in victories. Best of all, it offers 27 different outfits (skins) based on ones that are popular in the game.
Cons: Wait, I thought the point of game night was to get them away from Fortnite?
Trying to update a classic game like Connect 4 is not easy, but this adaptaion nails it. Ages 8+
Pros: Instead of placing checkers into slots to get four of the same color in a row, players now bounce balls, simultaneously, towards slots hoping to land them in the right spot. The first one to get four connected wins. It’s frantic and fast-paced and an all-around good time.
Cons: Your kids might wonder why you’re so good, so have a non-beer pong-related excuse ready.
This game is sure to get the whole family howling with glee. Players draw hysterically illustrated cards until they get an Exploding Kitten, at which time they are out of the game. Ages 5+
Pros: Wait, but that’s not all. They’re out of the game unless, that is, they happen to have one of the many defuse cards available. Some of the items to stop the kitten from disintegrating are laser pointers, catnip snacks, and belly rubs.
Cons: The cards themselves aren’t too durable, and they’ll start to break down after a few rounds with particularly robust competition.
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