I have to admit, since I was little one of my absolute favorite things to do is play games. Think about it, what kid doesn’t like a good game? I have fond memories of family game nights as a kid and now I have begun the same tradition with my own kids. Some of the best board games I played as a kid still remain my favorites, along with a few that are new to the scene.
So I have put together my favorites, some new and some old, to play with the family. Although Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, and other such board games are great, let’s be real and admit most adults play them for their children’s sake. These games are ones that adults and kids alike will love. Games that engage you in strategic play to keep mom and dad entertained but simple enough the kids can enjoy it.
With that, here are 15 of the best board games for family night…
Splendor is one of my absolute favorite games! This is one of the best board games for families because there is an element of strategy involved but there is also a large amount of chance. You can plot and plan your moves, but if the cards don’t turn up right, your strategy won’t work out. This keeps it fairer for kids playing as they may just be learning the art of strategizing so it evens the playing field a bit. If you want to know my thoughts and a little more detail on the game play please read my post about Splendor. And if you are interested in Splendor check it out here.
2. Monopoly Gamer
Monopoly Gamer is next on my list of the best board games for family night. My kids learned how to play it about a year ago when their cousins got it for Christmas. Fast forward a year and my 7 year old was asking for it. His grandmother got it for him so we began playing it the week following Christmas. It quickly became a new favorite of mine and the whole family.
The game play is very different than classic monopoly but still has the same feel of Monopoly, if that makes any sense. Lol! But the twist on the game using the Mario characters and the Mario video game ideas of collecting coins and fighting bosses makes it unique and very fun. The only downfalls I have found are sometimes you lose so bad you wish you could declare bankruptcy and I wish it supported more than 4 players. Other than that, this is a must have for a family game collection. If you would like to add it to your game library take a look here.
Pictionary has long been one of my favorite games to play. When I mentioned the family game nights I had as a kid, well, this was one of the games we often played. My dad and I would team up against my mom and brother. Although, looking back, it probably wasn’t the most fair set up as my dad and I were the more artistically inclined (at least in a drawing sense) and we had a keen sense of knowing what the other was drawing. Boy was it a good time, though. Pictionary remains one of the best board games out there.
So now as an adult I still have a love of the game. On New Year’s Eve we were getting over a virus going around our family so we kept a low profile and just had my mom over for the evening. My 10 year old voted to play Pictionary. So we did. She and I were a team against my husband, my mom and my son. It was like deja vu as my daughter and I connected just as my dad and I did all those years ago.
This is a very fun fast paced game. You don’t have to be a master artist to have a good time at this one. It is a bit difficult for younger children to play but there are ways around that. Once when we played just as a family I became the all time drawer while my husband, daughter and son played against each other. This evened the playing field a little since my youngest isn’t quite capable of drawing well enough to make it fair. Pictionary is a great family game.
If you want to get your hands on the vintage 1990s version my family was playing check here. However, if you want the most updated version check out this version of Pictionary. Just a disclaimer, I have never played the most recent version of this game. Only the vintage 1990s version. If you get the new version feel free to share what you think of it!
4. King of Tokyo
King of Tokyo is another awesome board game. It is on my list of best board games because once again it can offer some strategic play but there is a huge element of chance. I mean, who can predict the roll of dice. I know I can’t unless I cheat which I don’t condone. Imagine King of the Hill meets Yahtzee and you have King of Tokyo. If you would like to know a little more about King of Tokyo take a look here. If you would like to get your hands on King of Tokyo go here.
This may go without saying but Yahtzee is another of our favorite family games. For another game that has been around for quite awhile it never loses its appeal. By rolling 5 dice and figuring out the best way to score the points, all while taking the chance of rolling 5 of the same number, you have a winning game. Kids of almost any age can begin learning how to play Yahtzee and with adult help decide the best way they want to score points. And what adult doesn’t like a game of chance and exhilaration if you get to yell: “Yahtzee!” If you would like to get Yahtzee go here.
One of the best board games ever made: Scattergories. This game is great for so many different reasons. The game play can be as short or as long as you want. It comes with several different lists so you could play one list or all of them. The answers may be funny or serious, sky’s the limit with this one!
For those that don’t know, this is a word game. You are given a list of categories, a lettered dice is rolled, and you have a limited time to write something down for each category starting with the letter that was rolled. This was my other favorite board game from my childhood.
I remember playing this around the kitchen table a few times, and having a few arguments over the legitimacy of a word. Oh the fond memories… That being said, this one is a really fun family game but for really young kids would be difficult. So this one is a great game for parents and older kids who can read well and reason.
If you would like to have your own Scattergories game take a look here. Or if you really want to feel nostalgic you can get one of these vintage versions of Scattergories as well. This was the version from my childhood.
7. Monopoly and Monopoly Jr.
Monopoly and Monopoly Jr are next on the list. Yes, I combined these because really they could be interchanged. I love Monopoly Jr because it enabled my kids to play Monopoly at a pretty young age. They began playing Monopoly Jr below the age of 5 and really enjoyed it. To this day they still like to play the Jr version of Monopoly.
But in recent years, now that they are a bit older, we broke out the full version of Monopoly and began teaching it to them. Some of the strategic moves such as making trades, auctioning properties, and gaining monopolies is still a bit difficult for my kids, especially my youngest. That being said, we haven’t played the full version a ton of times. Once we play it a few more times they will catch onto the finer points of the game. So whether you have young kids or older ones, Monopoly and Monopoly Jr are must have family games.
Risk is another game from my childhood. It has a nostalgic quality to it and I hadn’t played it for years until just recently. It was at that moment I remembered that I truly liked it and missed playing it. Risk was one of those games I grew up watching my dad and brother play, being told I wasn’t quite old enough for it. Once I was a bit older, old enough to strategize a bit, I began playing with them. Now that I’m grown with my own family, Risk remains one that I enjoy. It has a definite quality of strategy and luck of the dice, making it one worth playing. With the element of chance that is involved and a little help from adults this is one kids and adults could both enjoy.
If you want to give risk a go you can check out the vintage 1950s version here. Something about the little blocks brings back a flood of memories for me! On the other hand the new version has army figures and a few variations. You can take a look at it here.
Sorry is another game that packs a lot of memories. Sitting around the table with my grandma and brother playing Sorry. One of those games that just puts a smile on my face thinking about all the times I played it with family. Moving around the board, knocking others off, trying to get “home”. This is another classic that everyone should have.
Sequence is another on my best board games list because it combines card games and a board game. I have yet to introduce my own family to it but it was a favorite growing up. Another my grandma loved that we spent many a night playing when we would go visit. Sequence is played by playing a card and putting a chip on the corresponding place on the game board. The goal is to get 5 in a row in 2 different spots. It is simple enough for kids to learn but does possess a strategic element that makes it fun for all ages. If you want to have your own Sequence game to try take a look here.
11. Codenames Disney
Codenames Disney is one I don’t personally own. There, I said it. But, I was introduced to it through my brother and absolutely loved it. We had spent the evening with my brother and sister in law and following dinner went back to their place and played Codenames Disney. It was a blast. I would love to play this with my family. I think it would make a great addition to any family’s game night collection. You don’t have to know or have seen all the movies, just come up with a creative way to describe the pictures. This one is definitely one of the best board games around due to the gameplay and nostalgic feel it brings with the movies on the cards. You can get it here.
12. Mexican Train Dominoes
Mexican Train Dominoes is another great family game. We began playing this one last Christmas after it was given to us and really enjoy it. It is very easy to understand how it works and anyone can play and enjoy it despite their age. Just beware, sore losers may not enjoy this one when you get stuck with 100+ points in one round. Lol! Spoken from getting stuck bad and the game not going as you’d like. But it doesn’t make it any less fun. Just one that is left to chance. You can get a set of Mexican Train Dominoes here.
Who doesn’t love a good Whodunit or mystery? I know I do. If you do then Clue is a must have and among the best board games of all time. I loved moving from room to room to figure out who killed Mr. Boddy. Now my daughter has taken up the magnifying glass and gets a kick out of trying to solve the mystery. It is a great family game as there is plenty of room for multiple players and adults and kids alike can get into the action of trying to figure out the solution.
14. Ticket to Ride
The first time I played Ticket to Ride I didn’t realize how much fun I would have. It is a very unique game where you gather different colored train cards to connect a route across the United States. You are attempting to connect routes that are in your hand. The person who scores the most points through connecting their trains and routes at the end of the game wins. It’s simple enough for even younger children such as 5-7 years olds to start grasping, but challenging enough for adults to enjoy. So this is one that I would highly recommend trying if you haven’t. You can get it here.
15. Life (The vintage version)
The game of Life. It’s a classic. This is one though that I will admit you want the vintage version. Or at least a remake of it. The new one that was made in the last 5-10 years just isn’t the same. But if you can find the version made in the late 1980s I highly recommend it. It is a game of moving through different things that can happen in life including getting a job, having kids, and encountering good and bad things in life. The person with the most money wins. Again, kids can grasp the gameplay and it shows them decision making in a game setting. At the same time it isn’t so “kiddish” that adults can’t enjoy it.
So there you have it…The best board games for family night. Happy gaming!
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