25 BEST FAMILY BOARD GAMES


25 BEST FAMILY BOARD GAMES

There was a newfound love for board games during the COVID-19 pandemic. And no wonder – as a creative, dynamic, and often funny way for families and friends to unite and have fun, they can be a great help in a difficult situation. I made a list of my favorite board games of all time that I love to play during my family game nights. Let’s go over these games so you can add them to your repertoire.

This post contains partner links for various products. Don’t worry; this doesn’t affect our recommendations; it just helps keep the lights on!

1. TICKET TO RIDE

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Ticket to Ride Board Game - A Cross-Country Train...
  • FAST-PACED STRATEGY: Race to build your train routes across iconic American...
  • COMPETITIVE FUN: Challenge friends and family in a 2-5 player game, where every...
  • COLLECT TRAIN CARDS: Strategically gather train cards to claim routes and earn...

Ticket to Ride is on the list for one reason: One round of the game takes less than an hour, but it’s so dynamic and exciting that your family will start another immediately.

HOW TO PLAY

Created by Days of Wonder, Ticket to Ride is an adventure game where players build railroad routes across a map. The map usually represents the US or Europe, but it could be anywhere you want. During the game, you collect points by completing routes and connecting different cities. The longer your train track is, the more points you get, and the player with the biggest number of points wins the game.

2. CARCASSONNE

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Carcassonne Board Game (BASE GAME) | Board Game...
  • INTRODUCTION TO STRATEGY: Experience the timeless allure of "Carcassonne," a...
  • SIMPLE YET ENGAGING: With intuitive rules—place tiles, deploy meeples, score...
  • BEAUTIFUL ILLUSTRATIONS: Immerse yourself in the game's enchanting world through...

Inspired by the French medieval city and fortress of the same name, Carcassonne was one of the most popular board games in 2021. As someone who has a French partner, this is a game I had to learn. However, after I did, it quickly became a new favorite.

HOW TO PLAY

Each player gets tiny tiles that contain pieces of roads, paths, monasteries, or cities. Each tile is used to create an ever-expanding topography by connecting the tiles together. Once you place a tile, you can place a little person on it to earn points (e.g., a monk on a monastery tile, a farmer on grassland, etc.). The winner is the player who establishes the most strategically beneficial set of tiles and, therefore, wins the most points.

Carcassonne is really easy for beginners to understand and lasts approximately 45-50 minutes, during which you will all be very engaged!

3. TABOO

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Hasbro Gaming Taboo Classic Game, Party Word...
  • FAN-FAVORITE TABOO BOARD GAME: It's the classic Taboo game of unspeakable fun...
  • AVOID TABOO WORDS: In the Taboo card game for adults, family and teens, race...
  • MODERN AND EXCITING CARD CONTENT: The Taboo word game features fresh cards...

If your family likes simple verbal games, Taboo is the perfect pick. I’ve played this game in so many different hostels around the world since it’s so easy to learn.

HOW TO PLAY

There are no long guides and complicated rules in this game: The aim is to guess a word from a card without your partner using that word or additional “taboo” words to explain it to you.

Taboo is a dynamic game. Your opponent will watch your moves and react if you don’t play by the rules, and it’s great for house parties.

4. CATAN

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CATAN Board Game (Base Game) | Family Board Game |...
  • EXPLORE CATAN: Set sail to the uncharted island of Catan and compete with other...
  • RESOURCE MANAGEMENT: Strategically gather and trade resources like ore, brick,...
  • BUILD AND UPGRADE: Use your resources to build roads, settlements, and cities to...

The first release of this game was in 1996, and it has since taken off to become one of the most popular board games for all audiences. This is one of the first tile-laying games I learned to play, and since then, I’ve loved these games. If you and your friends and family love strategic entertainment games, Catan is a must-try. 

HOW TO PLAY

In Catan you will essentially build your own civilization by creating settlements, villages, and cities. The goal is to expand your civilization across the board. You’ll have different resources (wood, wheat, sheep, ore, etc.) that you can use for building and trading for other resources. You’ll also need to be careful what your opponents do – they can destroy your houses or steal your resources. But you can also form alliances with one of the players to crush another’s expansion, only to turn on them afterward. Endless fun awaits!

5. MONOPOLY

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Monopoly Game, Family Board Games for 2 to 6...
  • FAST-DEALING PROPERTY TRADING GAME: It’s a Family Game Night staple! Players...
  • BUY, SELL, AND TRADE TO WIN: Players compete to buy out neighborhoods, sell...
  • BUILD HOUSES AND HOTELS: Love that feeling when an opponent lands on an owned...

Now, of course, you know I can’t leave out the classics. Monopoly is one of those games that everyone knows and loves to play. However, it can make and break friendships if the players are very competitive! This is one of the best sleepover games as well.

HOW TO PLAY

Monopoly is quite simple at its core. You take turns rolling dice and moving around the game board. When you land on a certain square, you can buy the property on it if you have enough money. Then, throughout the game, you buy, sell, and trade more properties. When an opponent lands on your property, you collect rent from them. It’s a fun mix of strategy, negotiation, and risk management. The winner is the person who bankrupts all the other players or until everyone is tired of playing. 

6. RISK

Risk Board Game, Strategy Games for 2-5 Players,...
  • Brand New in box. The product ships with all relevant accessories
  • Includes gameboard, armies with 4 Infantry, 12 Cavalry, and 8 Artillery each,...
  • PLAY USING ALEXA SKILL: Players have the option of playing this Risk game using...

If you’ve ever dreamed of taking over the world, and you don’t want to grow up to become a supervillain, then Risk is the perfect game for you. This game is extremely fun and strategic. My favorite part is the challenge you get from starting in different territories and working to conquer the rest.

HOW TO PLAY

Risk is a game where the goal is to literally conquer the world. You start with a small army in your starting territory. Then everyone takes deploying armies, attacking opponent’s territories and strengthening their own territories. You roll the dice to determine the outcome of your strategies. The fun of the game comes in the risks you take trying to dominate the other players. Once you have control of the entire map, you win. Or once you make everyone so angry, they decide the game is over.

7. CANDYLAND

Hasbro Gaming Candy Land Kingdom Of Sweet...
  • CLASSIC BEGINNER GAME: Do you remember playing Candy Land when you were a kid?...
  • RACE TO THE CASTLE: Players encounter all kinds of "delicious" surprises as they...
  • NO READING REQUIRED TO PLAY: For kids ages 3 and up, Candy Land can be a great...

Ok, I had to add Candyland to the list since it was my favorite board game as a child. The game is pretty simple and doesn’t require any reading, so it’s perfect for the younger kids in the family. Even though this game is geared toward children, adults will definitely have a blast playing, too!

HOW TO PLAY

In Candyland, the goal is to make it to the Candy Castle. Players simply draw cards that have pictures on them and then move their pieces to the corresponding square on the board. There are shortcuts, cards that make you move back, and even cards that make you skip your turn. The gameplay is very easy, and it can be a nice game to play to relax after playing one of the more strategic games on the list.

8. EXPLODING KITTENS

Exploding Kittens Original Edition - Hilarious...
  • THE LEGENDARY ORIGINAL MADE FOR TWO-FIVE PLAYERS: The card game that gave...
  • HOURS OF HILARITY: There’ll be lots of chuckling. Rib-cracking outbursts. More...
  • EXPAND THE SMILES: This Original version is a recipe for hours of fun. But those...

Now, any list of games wouldn’t be complete without Exploding Kittens. After the first time I played it, I went out and bought myself the game. It’s become so popular that it now has several expansions and variations, but the classic will always hold a special place in my heart. 

HOW TO PLAY

Exploding Kittens is a card game where each player gets seven cards, including one diffuse card. In the center deck, there are exploding kitten cards, one less than the number of players. Players take turns drawing a card from the center pile, all of which have hilarious drawings and different actions. This means you can skip players, steal cards, or, if you’re unlucky, explode. You get one chance to diffuse, but if you draw it again, you lose. The winner is the last player standing who hasn’t exploded. 

9. NEMESIS

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Nemesis Board Game | Sci-Fi Horror | Miniatures |...
  • SURVIVAL BOARD GAME: The crew wakes up from hibernation to find a critical...
  • STRATEGY GAME: Choose your character wisely because each one comes with a unique...
  • DETAILED MINIATURES: Game includes 26 high quality miniature figures and over...

What if your family is more into Sci-Fi and isn’t interested in games like Candyland? Well, I’ve got a great game for you. It’s called Nemesis, and it is an extremely fun game that will add a bit of scary drama to your next game night! As a Sci-Fi lover, I definitely had to include this one on the list.

HOW TO PLAY

Nemesis is a game where you and your crew are in space and must work together to survive. However, my favorite part of the game is that you also each have personal agendas that you must complete. You have to choose if you want to cooperate or betray others and complete your own goals. The game is filled with so many exciting and sometimes terrifying scenarios. 

10. CLUE

Hasbro Gaming Retro Series Clue 1986 Edition Board...
  • Ditch the TV, and re-ignite family night with the get-together amusement of a...
  • Party it up, and surprise guests at your next event with laugh-out-loud game...
  • Nostalgic tabletop gameplay meets interactive digital content for an immersive...

Clue is a game that I played for the first time quite recently. I love murder mysteries, and a friend brought this game to our game night. I absolutely loved the game and decided to buy a couple of the themed versions to add to my collection. This will be a blast for anyone who likes solving mysteries and wants to play detective.

HOW TO PLAY

Clue is quite simple to play. You draw a random person, weapon, and location cards and put them away in an envelope. For the rest of the game, you roll the dice and move around the board to the various rooms. Then, you get to make accusations and take notes to see if you can figure out who the murderer is, what weapon they used, and which room they committed the murder. If you guess correctly, you win!

11. THROW THROW BURRITO

Throw Throw Burrito by Exploding Kittens - A...
  • THE ULTIMATE COMBINATION: What do you get when you combine a card matching game,...
  • A RECIPE FOR GLEE: A game where your quick-thinking skills are tested and you...
  • BURRITO WAAARRR!: Get those antiques out of the way and prepare yourself for...

Throw Throw Burrito is a game that comes from the brilliant minds that brought us Exploding Kittens. It’s a fun game that gets the whole family involved and gives you all the fun of a food fight but without the mess. If you play this at home, be sure to have enough space to run around in because it can get quite active.

HOW TO PLAY

Throw Throw Burrito is a card game where the objective is to take turns drawing cards and trying to get three matching cards. The cards you match up will have different actions on them. This can vary from the two players on your left and right throwing burritos at each other to a war, where all the players have to go to war with the burritos, and much more. Oh, right, don’t worry. The burritos come with the game, and they’re soft, plushy toys, so hopefully, there won’t be any big messes to clean up.

12. SCRABBLE

Hasbro Gaming Scrabble Deluxe Edition (Amazon...
  • Classic work game features sleek folding carrying case with handle and two...
  • Colorful gameboard features recessed game spaces
  • For 2 to 4 players

Scrabble is always a game night classic. My favorite part about this game is that it really makes you use your brain. Also, each time you play, you learn new words you never knew existed. Then, the next time you play, you can play those words and add them to your score!

HOW TO PLAY

In Scrabble, each player gets a set of tiles with letters on them. Then, you take turns playing words on the gameboard, which has different squares. You then have to connect words or letters to existing words in order to keep the game going. Each letter has a point value, but some squares on the board will double or triple the score. This really makes you strategize where you play certain words and letters. 

13. UNO

Mattel Games UNO Card Game for Family Night,...
  • UNO is the classic family card game that's easy to learn and so much fun to...
  • In a race to deplete your hand, match one of your cards with the current card...
  • Strategize to defeat your competition with special action cards like Skips,...

This is another classic that had to make the list. Uno has been so popular that there are now many variations, including my favorite, Uno All Wilds. However, the classic is still one of the most beloved family board games out there.

HOW TO PLAY

In Uno, each player starts with seven cards. Then, the dealer flips the top card of the center deck, which starts the game. Now, players take turns playing cards of either the same color or number. If they can’t play, then they draw a card. 

The best part of the game, however, is the action cards. These force the next player to perform an action, such as skipping their turn or drawing four cards. The player with one card left must declare, “Uno!” The player who gets rid of their final card is the winner.

14. CODENAMES

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CGE Czech Games Edition Codenames Boardgame
  • Work together to contact all of your agents before the other team
  • A perfect party game experience for game nights
  • 2-8+ player (in two teams)

Codenames is another one of my favorite games to pull out on my game nights. It’s a game you play in teams, and the better you know how your teammate’s mind works, the better you can do. It can get frustrating if you are not good at word association, but it will sure give your brain a workout!

HOW TO PLAY

In Codenames, you must first set up a 5×5 grid of random words in the center of the table. There is a red and blue team. Each team chooses a spymaster, and their teammates sit across from them. The spymasters have a key card that tells them which words count for their team. Now, they take turns giving their team a single word as a clue and a number for how many words the clue refers to. Now, your team gets to debate and guess the words on the grid.

As a spymaster, you can not give any extra clues or signals as to whether your team is guessing right or wrong. There are other cards, such as civilians and even an assassin card, that can cost you the game!

15. CARDS AGAINST HUMANITY

Cards Against Humanity
  • A party game for horrible people.
  • Comes with 500 white cards and 100 black cards for eternal replayability.
  • Includes a booklet of sensible game rules and preposterous alternate rules.

Would a family game night be complete without Cards Against Humanity? I don’t think so. That said, this is a game that should only be played if everyone in your family is older than 17, as it is an adults-only board game. It’s similar to the game Apples to Apples, but it’s geared toward an adult audience. I’ve never played this game with out laughing out loud the entire game!

HOW TO PLAY

Cards Against Humanity is pretty simple to play, but it’s not easy to win. Each player has a set of white cards with random words and phrases. The cards range from silly words to downright disgusting ones. 

One person known as the card czar draws a white card that is either a question or fill-in-the-blank. Each player then chooses the card they think will complete the statement or answer the question. The point is to have the funniest or most outrageous response. Then, the card czar takes all the responses, shuffles them, and reads each one aloud. They must then choose which one they think is the funniest. That person takes the white card and scores a point. The person with the most cards at the end is the winner. 

16. JENGA

Hasbro Gaming Jenga Wooden Blocks Stacking...
  • GREAT PARTY GAME: Liven up a party by bringing out the Jenga game; This classic...
  • GREAT PARTY GAME: Liven up a party by bringing out the Jenga game! This classic...
  • THE ORIGINAL WOOD BLOCK GAME: The Jenga game is the original wood block game...

The thing I like about Jenga is that it is super simple. It doesn’t require much skill or explanation to play. Simply set it up and get started. Of course, there are different rules and variations you can add, but the basic game is always a fun icebreaker. Your family will love this game from the start.

HOW TO PLAY

First, you set up the Jenga tower by crisscrossing sets of three blocks. Then, each player takes a turn, taking one block from somewhere in the tower and placing it back on the top. The point is not to drop the tower. This game is so simple but so entertaining. It’s really fun to see just how many pieces you can remove and keep the tower standing.

17. RUMMIKUB

Pressman Rummikub Large Numbers Edition - The...
  • Form runs and sets as you try to play all of your tiles
  • Easy to learn, fast-paced game kids and adults can enjoy together
  • Develops STEM and STEAM skills like sequencing, pattern recognition, and...

Rummikub is one of the first board games I ever bought myself. It’s been one of my favorite games for as long as I can remember. It’s a rummy-style game, but I love the fact that you play with tiles instead of cards. 

HOW TO PLAY

Rummykub has tiles from one to 13, as well as two wild tiles. Each tile comes in four colors. Each player starts out with 14 tiles, and each player takes turns creating melds of either sets or runs. A set is three or more tiles of the same rank and different colors. A run is a set of 3 tiles in ascending order of the same color. 

The goal is to get rid of all your tiles. My favorite part is the fact that you can rearrange the tiles on the table to help create your own melds.

18. BATTLESHIP

Hasbro Gaming Battleship With Planes Strategy...
  • A twist on the classic battleship game: This battleship game features airplanes...
  • Sink Ships and crash Planes: with this edition, fans of the battleship game can...
  • Portable Game: the battleship game includes 2 portable battle cases so players...

Battleship is yet another childhood classic that I absolutely could not leave off the list. This was my favorite game to play against my cousins as a child. This game makes you feel like you’re in the Pentagon planning a real battle.

HOW TO PLAY

In battleship, you and your opponent get five ships each to place anywhere on your grid. Then, you each take turns calling out coordinates, hoping to hit the other player’s battleship. You have little pegs to mark your hits and misses so you can strategize your moves on your next turn. Although this is a two-player game, you can turn it into a tournament to get the entire family involved.

19. OPERATION

Operation Electronic Board Game, Family Games for...
  • CLASSIC OPERATION GAMEPLAY: A favorite kids game for generations! With the...
  • SKILL AND COORDINATION: In this fun board game for kids, players use skill and...
  • UNPREDICTABLE AND FUNNY GAME FOR KIDS: When a player hits the sides with the...

Operation is a game we all played as children to prove who was going to grow up to be a doctor. It’s a game of dexterity, and it’s so much fun. However, the buzzing can start to get annoying after a while.

HOW TO PLAY

In Operation, each player draws a card that will have a certain operation to perform. Then, you attempt to operate on the patient by pulling out certain body parts without touching the sides of the body and making the buzzer sound. If you fail, then another player gets to attempt it for a larger sum of money. It’s a super fun game to play, and the sound of the buzzer will definitely stay in your head forever.

20. YAHTZEE

Hasbro Gaming Yahtzee
  • Dice-rollin' battle game
  • Includes 5 dice and shaker
  • Yahtzee comes with 100 score cards

Yahtzee is a board game I played for the first time quite recently as well. If your family didn’t have a red Yahtzee cup rolling around your house, did you even have a childhood? It’s quite an easy game to pick up, and once you do, you will not want to stop playing.

HOW TO PLAY

In Yahtzee, you are trying to get the highest score by rolling combinations of five dice. You get three chances to roll, but you can choose how many dice to keep and re-roll the rest. There is a scorecard, and you have to try and get certain combinations of the dice. There are points and penalties, so you have to choose when you think you should play it safe or take the risk and earn higher points.

21. PANDEMIC

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Pandemic Board Game (Base Game) | Cooperative...
  • STRATEGY GAME: Players must work together playing to their characters' strengths...
  • COOPERATIVE BOARD GAME: Only through teamwork will you keep the world safe from...
  • WORK TOGETHER AND SAVE HUMANITY: Four diseases threaten the world, and your...

Pandemic might be a bit controversial, but it was out way before COVID-19 happened. It’s one of my favorite board games because it’s quite complex and strategic, but it’s also easy enough for an eight-year-old to play so anyone in the family will love it.

HOW TO PLAY

Pandemic is a cooperative game where you and your teammates work together to stop deadly viruses from spreading around the world. Each turn, you can take actions such as moving around cities, testing infections, or building research stations to help your teammates. 

I think the fun part is how new infections randomly start and new outbreaks happen, so you have to prioritize actions in order to communicate with your teammates and strategize effectively. This game definitely keeps you on your toes.

22. SORRY!

Sale
Hasbro Gaming Sorry! Family Board Games for Kids...
  • CLASSIC SORRY GAMEPLAY: Get ready for classic Sorry. gameplay with an...
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  • GREAT GAME FOR FAMILIES: Do you remember playing the Sorry game when you were...

Sorry! has been around for quite some time, and it has consistently stayed the same. Some classics just don’t need anything extra. I love the simplicity of this family board game and how quickly you can go from winning the game to last place with just one card.

HOW TO PLAY

The goal of Sorry is to get all four of your color pawns to the Home space on the game board. In order to do this, you have to navigate the entire board. Other players will be doing the same thing, and if you get in their way, they can bump your way all the way back to the very beginning. There are some shortcuts you can use if you’re lucky, such as slides or sorry cards. Luck plays a small role in the game, but ultimately, it’s up to you to come up with the best strategy to win.

23. TIME’S UP

R and R Games Time's Up
  • The hottest party game just got hotter!
  • Minutes to learn, Easy to Play in Groups. For 3+
  • Winner of over 20 awards including Mensa select and game of the year

Time’s Up is one of my “top five favorite board games of all time” list. I’ve played it in several countries and in several languages. It is so much fun, and it basically guarantees everyone will be rolling on the floor and laughing.

HOW TO PLAY

Time’s Up is a charades-style game that is sure to become one of your family favorites. To play, split up into teams of two or three. Then, one person from a team stands up and starts drawing cards. They have 30 seconds to get their teammates to guess the personality or phrase that is on the card using any words except the ones on the card. Once the time ends, the next team goes. After all the cards are guessed, tally the points for the first round.

In the second round, shuffle the same cards and play again. You do the same thing, but you can only give your teammates one word to guess the card. Once the round is over, tally points and get ready for round three. 

In the last round, you get the same cards, but now you can’t speak and can only act out the cards for your team. This is the best part of the game, and you get to see everyone’s acting skills.

24. HEDBANZ

Hedbanz 2023 Edition Cards Picture Guessing Board...
  • ALL NEW GAME: It’s the 2nd edition of the quick question “What am I?”...
  • SIMPLE TO PLAY: Pick a headband, place a card in it and play to figure out...
  • FAMILY GAME NIGHT: Hedbanz is a must-have in your collection of family games for...

Hedbanz is another guessing game, but with props, it makes the game much more fun. I’ve played this game many times at summer camps because it’s so simple to play. 

HOW TO PLAY

In this game, each player gets a headband and places a card on it without looking at it. Then, each player goes up and gets to ask yes or no questions for a limited amount of time. If you are able to guess what your card is, you clip a badge on your headband and pick another card. If you don’t guess and time runs out, then the next person goes. You’ll have to ask more questions on your next turn. If you get three badges, you win the game. 

25. WEREWOLF

Bézier Games Ultimate Werewolf Revised Edition
  • Players Are Assigned Secret Roles On Either The Werewolf (Stay Alive) Or...
  • 14 Unique Roles On 34 Role Cards Keeps Games Fresh And Engaging
  • Free Integrated Ios/Android Moderator App

Werewolf is a game that has inspired so many others, including the ever-popular mobile game Among Us. I’ve played many variations of this game, and every single one always puts a smile on my face. Well, if my team wins, that is. 

HOW TO PLAY

Werewolf is a sort of guessing game, and there is a moderator to narrate and make sure the game runs smoothly. In the beginning, each player is assigned a role, either a villager, werewolf or another special ability card.

The game starts with everyone closing their eyes. Then, the moderator tells the werewolves to open their eyes so they know who is on their team. They then choose someone to “kill.” Then The special ability players go as well. Once all the positions have been played, everyone opens their eyes. 

The moderator announces who has been killed if anyone, and then everyone in the village has to guess who is a werewolf. If they guess correctly, then they kill a werewolf. If not, they have killed another player who might be important. Round continues like this until all the werewolves are killed or all the villagers are killed. It’s a great guessing game that is made even more fun by the narration of the moderator. 

Looking for other fun games to play with more adult friends? Check out our 31 best movie drinking games.

Alan Lemus
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