by Mike Jones
When you're trying to find ways to spend more time together as a family, consider one of the dozens of board games that are available.
From games that young children can enjoy and that sometimes help with learning colors, letters, and numbers to games that sometimes spark a bit of competition between family members while you're playing, there is a variety for all ages and interests.
The following are only a few of the best family board games that you can add to your current stack.
Players: 2-8 | Game Time: 90 minutes | Complexity: Medium Light | Age: 8+ | Year: 2006
Of course, Monopoly is at the top of our list of best family board games. This is a classic game that involves buying properties and trying to make the most money. It's for two to eight players to enjoy. There are a few different versions of the game including one that is electronic, making it easier for you to handle bank transactions with debit cards. Each player is given a certain amount of money and a token. After rolling the dice, each person moves around the board. When players land on properties, they can buy them and begin building houses and hotels on them to get more money from players who then land on those spaces. A child's version of the game features a smaller board and fun spaces to buy including a cotton candy stand and a Ferris wheel.
Players: 2-4 | Game Time: 20 minutes | Complexity: Light | Age: 5+ | Year: 1967
If you enjoy strategy games, then this is one that you might want to consider. Long colorful sticks are positioned through the middle of a tall tower. A set of marbles is then added on top of the sticks. The goal of the game is for each player to remove one stick at a time without making all of the marbles fall to the bottom of the tower. There aren't any restrictions as to how many people can play as there aren't any tokens to use, but it works well if there are between two and eight players.
Players: 2-6 | Game Time: 60 minutes | Complexity: Light | Age: 8+ | Year: 1960
Take a few chances to see where life might take you when you play this fun board game with up to eight people. Each player chooses a car and places a peg that is the color of the player's gender in the driver's seat. You'll then decide whether you want to start a career or go to college before choosing a career. If you start with a career, there are more jobs available that have a higher income. As you spin the wheel in the center of the game, you'll move that number of spaces, landing on a variety of tasks and life surprises. You might get married, buy a house, change jobs, or have children. The person with the most money at the end of the game wins. There is a junior version of the game that is child-friendly and features fun careers and tasks that children might already want to be when they get older. Tiles are earned during the game that are added to your final monetary total, which can sometimes mean winning or losing depending on how many tiles you have.
Players: 2-4 | Game Time: 60 minutes | Complexity: Medium Light | Age: 8+ | Year: 1948
This is a game for two to four players as there are four wooden trays and tiles that feature all of the letters of the alphabet. Each letter has a number value with the letters that aren't commonly used when making words worth more than others. One person begins the game by making a word with the tiles given at the beginning of the round. Each player then uses their own tiles to make more words that use at least one letter of the previous word made. When all of the tiles have been used, the person with the most points from the letters used wins.
Players: 1-99 | Game Time: 30 minutes | Complexity: Light | Age: 4+ | Year: 2017
If you've ever had to dodge dog droppings, then you'll understand how to play this game with your family right away. This is one of the best family board games for young children as they get to move around while blindfolded. However, it can also be fun to see adults try to watch where they step when they are blindfolded as well. Small piles of dog droppings are made with Play-Doh and then positioned on a long green surface to resemble a yard. After each player is blindfolded and spun around, the person has to try to make it across the yard without stepping on the piles. Any number of players can play this exciting game. A fun version that is a bit more colorful features a unicorn and purple and pink magic piles.
Players: 2-99 | Game Time: 15 minutes | Complexity: Light | Age: 4+ | Year: 2015
This is a game that is fun for all ages, especially children who like to use fun characters when playing. You'll place pieces of spaghetti in a large bowl before putting a small Yeti on top of the noodles. Players remove one piece of spaghetti at a time until one person finally pulls the one that makes the Yeti fall into the bowl. The game is ideal for any number of people but should be limited to seven or eight.
Players: 2-99 | Game Time: Not Provided | Complexity: Light | Age: 5+ | Year: 2016
A toilet is the center of this game for at least two people. A roll of toilet paper is pulled by each player. The number on the paper lets the person know how many times to flush the toilet. Watch out for a spray when you flush. If you get sprayed, then you lose the game. Sometimes, you might pull a piece of toilet paper that lets you skip a turn, which could mean that the next player will get sprayed.
Players: 2-4 | Game Time: 20-60 minutes | Complexity: Light | Age: 6+ | Year: 2013
This is another classic family game for two to four people and one of the best family board games. Each person chooses a color and places their tokens in the coordinating starting point. A deck of cards in the center of the game indicates the number of moves each player makes. Sometimes, you might be able to send a family member back home, which means that the person has to start over. The first person who reaches the safe zone wins. A Disney version of the game features beloved characters including Winnie the Pooh and Tinkerbell.
Players: 2-4 | Game Time: 30 minutes | Complexity: Light | Age: 3+ | Year: 1949
While this is a game that is geared to young children because it uses cards with colors and bright colors, it's also a game that often brings memories flooding back to the minds of adults. There are four gingerbread men as the tokens that players will use to navigate around the board. When a card is drawn from the stack, it indicates the color of the space where the player is supposed to move, sometimes two colored spaces ahead.
Players: 2 | Game Time: 5-15 minutes | Complexity: Light | Age: 5+ | Year: 2010
This strategy game is for two people. It's similar to tic-tac-toe. Each player chooses a color and drops one piece at a time in one of the rows. The goal of the game is to get four of the same color in a line. However, the other player can block your line if you don't pay attention. Even though this is a simple game to play, it can spark a few competitions as players want to try to finish a line of the same color in as few moves as possible or within a certain amount of time.
Players: 2-4 | Game Time: 10 minutes | Complexity: Light | Age: 6+ | Year: 1966
Get down on the floor and move around with your family when you play Twister! The game is designed for up to four people because of the colors, but you could play with as many people as you want. One person spins to see which body part will be placed on a specified color, such as a right arm on red. Everyone tries to stay off the floor, but with all of the moving around, it's a game that brings a lot of laughs.
Players: 2-6 | Game Time: 60 minutes | Complexity: Light | Age: 16+ | Year: 2010
Trivial Pursuit ranks as the top trivia game on our list of best family board games. Ask a few questions while playing this game with one family member or in teams. There are different categories to choose from ranging from entertainment to sports. Points are awarded for each right answer until you reach the end of each round. There are a few different versions of the game including those that are designed for children and a few that feature movie characters, such as Disney.
Players: 2-6 | Game Time: 40 minutes | Complexity: Medium Light | Age: 8+ | Year: 2012
Try to solve the mystery of who committed murder by paying attention to the details that other players reveal. The game is for two to six players. Each person chooses a token that is connected to a person in the game, such as Ms. White or Mr. Green. The goal is to roll the dice and try to make it to a room so that you can make a guess as to the person who committed the crime, where the murder occurred, and the weapon used. Each player has cards that are dealt at the beginning of the game and will reveal to the person making a guess if they have that card. The game ends when someone makes a correct final accusation. If the person who makes a final guess is wrong after seeing the cards inside the envelope with the answer, then that player is out of the game.
Players: 2 | Game Time: 20 minutes | Complexity: Light | Age: 6+ | Year: 1979
If you enjoy trying to solve puzzles, then this is a game that you might enjoy as a family. It's a two-player game, but you can work in teams of two or more to make the game fun. Each person chooses a card with a character on it, such as an older woman or a man with glasses. The other player will ask questions about the appearance of the person on the card, folding down characters who don't match the description in order to make the best guess as to who the person could be on the card.
Players: 3-16 | Game Time: 90 minutes | Complexity: Light | Age: 12+ | Year: 2000
This is one of the best family board games that doesn't have a set number of players, so everyone in the family can compete to see if they can guess what each person is drawing. One person is given a category, theme, or image to draw. Most designs are simple so that it only takes a few minutes to finish the drawing and for players to make a guess. The player drawing the picture isn't able to say anything, even when a portion of the design is guessed. However, clues can be drawn on the board to make guessing a bit easier.
Players: 2 | Game Time: Not Provided | Complexity: Light | Age: 5+ | Year: 2016
Gather around the kitchen table to see who will get a pie in the face. This is another game that doesn't really have a limit on the number of players. It delivers a lot of laughs, especially if you use a pie that has fruit or chocolate in the middle. Everyone turns the handle, not knowing when the timer will go off, resulting in a pie in the face. Instead of using a whole pie, you can also use whipped cream.
Players: 2-4 | Game Time: 45 minutes | Complexity: Light | Age: 5+ | Year: 1965
It's the popping game for up to four players. Each player starts out in the home row after choosing a color. There are only certain numbers that allow you to move from the starting point to the board where you can then begin moving around until you reach your home row. Press the popper in the center of the board to see how many spaces you'll move. If you land on a space where someone else is at, then you can send that person back to the starting point. This is a game that is a good option for younger children as it involves numbers and basic colors.
Players: 1-6 | Game Time: 10 minutes | Complexity: Light | Age: 6+ | Year: 1965
Try to operate on your patient without making the buzzer sound. The game is designed for two to six or eight players depending on how many turns you want each person to take. The board is designed to look like a person who is getting ready for surgery. A bright red nose with a light is the center of attention. You'll draw a card to see which body part you're supposed to try to remove. Carefully try to use a pair of tweezers to get the part out of the compartment without touching the sides of the area and making the patient's nose light up and make a loud sound. Each operation results in money if you're successful.
Players: 2-4 | Game Time: Not Provided | Complexity: Light | Age: 6+ | Year: 1994
Everyone can put their creative skills to the test while playing Mousetrap. The game is designed for up to four players with each piece being a colored mouse. Each person moves a certain number of spaces on the board while also adding another component to the overall trap. Once players reach the end of the game, it's a surprise to see if the trap will work to hold all of the mice. Although there is a certain design for the trap, you can sometimes change a few details to see how the trap would work. These details could include positioning a slide in a different direction.
Players: 2-10 | Game Time: 30 minutes | Complexity: Light | Age: 6+ | Year: 1956
From rolling dice to counting, this is a game that is designed for older children and adults. However, it can be a fun game to see who can earn the most points. It does take a bit of strategy as you have to determine how you're going to use the numbers given when you roll the dice. There is a version of the game for young children that isn't as detailed and that features colorful dice instead of the traditional design.
Players: 2-6 | Game Time: 30 minutes | Complexity: Light | Age: 3+ | Year: 2015
A fun game for younger children, Chutes and Ladders features a board that has 100 spaces to navigate through to reach the end of the game. Each player spins to see how many spaces you move. Sometimes, there are chutes that take you back a few spaces while ladders take you ahead in the game. This is a game designed for two to four players.
Players: 4-10 | Game Time: 30 minutes | Complexity: Light | Age: 12+ | Year: 1999
This is a fun game that can have everyone laughing for hours. It's also a game with a variety of themes depending on how is playing. The original version is better suited for teenagers and adults as some of the questions might be a bit detailed for young children. A card with an adjective is turned over along with a set of pronouns and nouns. Players try to decide which words pair best together. With hundreds of combinations to make, the fun can last for hours as you enjoy time with your family. The best part of the game is that it can go on for hours as long as you want to keep putting phrases together.
Players: 2-4 | Game Time: 60 minutes | Complexity: Medium | Age: 14+ | Year: 2017
The top game on our list of best two player games and rounding out our list of best family board games is Pandemic! Your goal is to try to find a cure for those who are infected. There are cards that you'll choose from the center of the board that describe the epidemic. You'll have to work together to figure out the components of the treatment so that that infection is cleared. This is a game to consider if you enjoy working together as a family and want to share responsibilities instead of one person doing all of the work. Some of the cards feature resources that can be used to create unique treatments that you've never heard of while others might make the infection worse than it was before.
About Mike Jones
As a child of the 80's, my fondest gaming memories are playing Pitfall, Frogger, Kaboom! and Chopper Command on our old Atari 8600. These days I've been rocking the Nintendo Classic and learning some new card and board games with the family."