There are times when most of you are stuck at home for one reason or another (like the current pandemic), it might be sometimes difficult to escape boredom and keep yourself engaged. Well, there can be nothing better than playing Board Games with your family, to turn your idle time into fun time.
Myself, being the mom of two kids, often gathers everyone around to play board games and spend some family time with them. It may sound a bit old-school to you, but it’s worth trying. Believe me, it’s so much fun and thrill, not to mention, that it will also keep your home environment gadget-free.
Playing board games with your kids will help keep them entertained and engaged, thereby reducing their screen time on digital devices. Not only that, but it may also help boost your kids’ spatial reasoning and cognitive abilities.
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Best Family Board Games
Here I have shortlisted 16 best family board games for you, based on my experience, its features, and the reviews by the people who have already purchased these games.
“Scrabble” is my all-time favorite and is one of the best family board games. This family-oriented, fun-filled game lets you play with letters and words. It’s a game for 2-4 players and consists of a board with squares and many tiles with letters on it. Each player is given a set of tiles (7 tiles) and each letter on the tile is assigned a point value. With those letter tiles, you have to start analyzing all possible word combinations you can create to score the maximum points and place them on the board.
Similarly, all other players are also supposed to place a word on the board using their tiles. However, their words must join the words that are already placed on the board. The game continues until all the tiles are used up by the players or left with tiles with which no word can be formed. The scores are tallied, and whoever ends up with maximum points is the winner.
- Pros: Improves your vocabulary
- Cons: Can be a bit lengthy.
Players: 2-4 | Difficulty: Medium | Time to play: More than an hour | Age: 10+
2. Cluedo – The Classic Mystery Game
“Cluedo” is a classic mystery game that turns everyone into a detective. The game calls for 3 to 6 players to investigate a murder by gathering pieces of evidence. There has been a murder in the Mansion, and you are supposed to find the culprit.
There are six suspects (players) in all, and you are one of them. Each player rolls the dice and moves their game token through the rooms and secret passages of the mansion depicted on the game board to search for clues. The more clues you find, the more you narrow down the possibilities of finding the murderer. The aim is to figure out the three cards hidden within the secret envelop that discloses, who is the culprit. The one who finds it first is the winner.
- Pros: Thrilling and suspenseful.
- Cons: Not suitable for toddlers.
Players: 2-6 | Difficulty: Medium | Time to play: 10-60 minutes | Age: 8+
3. Catan - The 5th Edition
“Catan”, previously known as The Settlers of Catan, is one of the most popular board games played worldwide, and has won many accolades, like “Game of the Year”, “Hall of fame” and many more.
Catan is an adventure-filled game where the players represent the settlers of the island of Catan. Players establish settlements, build cities and roads to connect them as they settle the island. The game board represents the island and the hexagonal tiles on the board, depicting different land types. This game aims to trade resources that can be obtained across different terrains, and then build settlements and cities by spending those resources. The players score points for each settlement they own. The one who scores 10 victory points wins the game.
- Pros: This adventure game will keep you engaged for a long time.
- Cons: It may take a while to finish the game.
Players: 3-4 | Difficulty: Medium | Time to play: 1-2 hours | Age: 8+
“Codenames” is one of the best family board games to play with your family and friends. It is a game recommended for 4-8 players, where two teams each with a “spymaster” who gives one-word clues that can point to multiple words on the board. The other players on the team try to guess their teams’ words. It’s a game of secrets and clues. Between the spymasters and the teammates, players are racing to unveil the true identity behind the ‘Codenames’ with the help of clues.
Some reviewers say that Codenames is one of the finest party games and suitable for all age groups above age 8.
- Pros: It helps improving creative thinking
- Cons: Some may find it difficult to play.
Players: 2-8 | Difficulty: Medium | Time to play: 15-30 minutes | Age: 8+
“Monopoly” is one of the classic family board games played since ages. It is a game for 2-8 players, where the players move around the spaces of the board, buying and trading land and buildings to become the richest player. To play the game, you are required to roll the dice to move your token forward. This game requires risk-taking and luck, as you may be lucky to get ‘Free Parking’ or end up being thrown in the ‘JAIL’. You are allowed to buy available properties and can even earn income by charging rent to other players if they land upon the property you own.
The goal of the game is to bankrupt your opponent and, buy as many properties as you can, to create a monopoly. Eventually, the other players will be unable to afford to pay the rent if they land up on your property. And, this is how you win the game.
- Pros: (a) Fun-filled, thrilling, and strategic to keep you engrossed. (b) You can play it with family and friends, as it allows 8 players at a time.
- Cons: It may take a while to finish the game.
Players: 2-8 | Difficulty: Medium | Time to play: More than 1 hr | Age: 8+
6. The Game of Life
“The Game of Life” is a board game full of surprises and is one of the best games for families to play together. The game allows you to live out your entire life on the board. The players in the game make life choices, and choose a path to attain success. As you play, you will pass through different stages of life, from college to starting a career, getting married, starting a family, and then retirement. Throughout the game, you will earn money, make investments for a successful life, and face ups and downs in your life until your retirement. The wealthiest player at the end wins the game.
Isn’t it fun living your whole life on the board straight in front of you?
- Pros: Helps your kids learn money management and decision-making skills
- Cons: May turn out to be a bit prolonged.
Players: 2-6 | Difficulty: Medium | Time to play: above 1 hour | Age: 8+
“Risk” is a multiplayer strategy board game themed on war. It is a game for 2 to 6 players, form armies, and attempt to capture territories from the other players to conquer the world. One of the best board games for families is played by rolling the dice, and the turn rotates among the players who control the armies of playing pieces with which they conquer the other players’ territories. The goal of the game is to capture every territory on the board and eliminate the other players.
- Pros: Players love this game because it is challenging and requires forming strategies at different stages.
- Cons: Not recommended for children below 10 years.
You may require several hours to many days to finish the game.
Players: 2-5| Difficulty:: Medium | Time to play: More than 2hrs | Age: 10+
“Battleship” is a war-themed naval combat game. It is a game for 2 players in which they try to guess the location of their opponent’s warships, sink or destroy them.
To play the game, each player receives a game board that has two grids and five ships of different lengths. They hide their ships on the grids containing horizontal and vertical space coordinates. The players take turns firing shots, i.e. by calling out a grid coordinate, to attempt to hit the opponent’s ship. The one who sinks all 5 of their opponent’s ships, wins the game.
- Pros: Challenging and requires forming strategies at different stages.
- Cons: Only 2 players can play this game at a time.
Players: 2| Difficulty: Medium | Time to play: 30-60 minutes | Age: 8+
“Othello” is a 2-player strategy game, played on an 8×8, 64-squared board. It consists of 64-disc pieces, in total, of white and black color as opponents. Black plays first and you place a checker on the board, such that you sandwich the other player’s checkers between the checkers you have just placed and the other checker you had placed earlier.
The objective of the game is to outflank your opponent by having your discs on both sides of your opponent’s discs. Doing this will convert your opponent’s discs into yours. The one who has the maximum of their discs on the board till all the discs are placed wins the game.
- Pros: (a) Stimulating and exciting. (b) Enhances your strategic abilities
- Cons: Only 2 players can play.
Players: 2-4 | Difficulty: Medium | Time to play: 30-60 minutes | Age: 10+
If you like cracking codes, then I’m sure you will love this game. “Mastermind” is a game for 2, where one player creates a code, and the other one tries to crack it. It’s a game that consists of a combination of pegs of six different colors, from which you will create a code using only four pegs. Your opponent will then try to guess and figure out the code by placing the series of 4 pegs of any color, on the board. Then, you, (the Codemasters) will disclose if the pegs placed by the other player are correctly placed. The other player then places the second row of pegs, to guess the code again. The process continues until he or she cracks the code, runs out of guesses and accepts defeat.
Pros: Cracking codes is fun.
Players: 2 | Difficulty: Medium | Time to play: 10-30 minutes | Age: 8+
11. Chinese Checkers
“Chinese Checkers” is a multiplayer strategy game, which you can play with your whole family. It is a game played using marbles/pegs on a board which is in the shape of a six-pointed star. Each point of the star is a triangle and consists of 10 holes on which pegs are placed. The marbles/pegs are of six different colors, where each player chooses a color and places them in the appropriately colored triangle. Players take turns moving one of their pieces at a time. You can only move one space at a time. However, you can hop over your opponent’s pegs and advance multiple spaces in a single turn.
The aim is to move all the 10 marbles/pegs across the board into the triangle opposite to yours. Whoever is the first to occupy all the 10 destination holes is the winner of the game. Are you not excited to play this fabulous board game?
Pros: 6 players can play at a time. Your whole family together can be a part of this game.
Players: 2-6 | Difficulty: Medium | Time to play: 15-60 minutes | Age: 7+
12. Guess who?
“Guess Who?”, another two-player game which is easy to play, and one of the best board games for kids. It’s a game consisting of 24 tiles of different characters, a fantastic play of guess-and-check. To play the game, all you need to do is to ask questions and guess about the opponent’s mystery character placed on the board before they guess yours. The first one who guesses it correctly wins the game.
It will be great fun to watch your kids playing and enjoying games like these.
Pros: Guessing makes it fun and entertaining to play. Not only that, it enhances your kids’ logic building skills as well.
Players: 2 | Difficulty: Medium | Time to play: 5-10 minutes | Age: 6+
13. Scotland Yard
Scotland Yard is a detective board game named after the headquarters of London’s Metropolitan Service – Scotland Yard. The game allows the players to play as detectives to track down a criminal as they move around, on the board. The game is played with the help of tokens, where one player controls the criminal whose location is only revealed periodically, and the other players control the detectives, who are always present on the board.
The detectives win the game if any of the detectives land upon the criminal’s location, or if they block all the possible moves of the criminal. Similarly, the criminal wins if he or she can avoid getting captured until all the token supplies of the detectives are exhausted.
- Pros: A terrific mystery game, which keeps you engrossed.
- Cons: Can take more than an hour, depending on the players’ moves.
Players: 3-6 | Difficulty: Medium | Time to play: up to 1 hour | Age 10+
14. Connect 4
“Connect 4” is one of the simplest and easiest pastimes you can think of. You don’t have to memorize rules or strategize to play this game. It is a game for two players, where you have to play this game using two sets of tokens of different colors, each set for each player.
All you have to do is take turns with another player and drop tokens into the open slots given on the frame. The one who connects four of the tokens first, be it vertically, horizontally, or diagonally, is the winner of the game. You will have to watch out for the other player’s activities too. If they have three tokens in a row, when its your turn, they will have to strategically drop your token to prevent them from connecting their own four. I’m sure you can’t stop yourself before playing a few more rounds!
- Pros: Even a 5 to 6-year-old can play this game easily.
- Cons: Only 2 players can play.
Players: 2 | Difficulty: Easy | Time to play: 2-10 minutes | Age: 6+
15. Forest Run
“Forest Run”, an awesome Jungle adventure game for 2 to 4 players. The board is laid out as a forest, and the players start for an adventurous journey of crossing the forest. Throughout the journey, the players overcome obstacles, collect resources, and search out for help. The players need to watch out for evil monsters and landmines. In the game, you need to race your opponents through the Forest Run. The first player to finish wins the game.
Pros: Thrilling, exciting and keeps you engaged.
Players: 2-4 | Difficulty: Medium | Time to play: 30-40 minutes | Age: 7+
“Kaadoo” is a Parent’s Choice-Recommended, adventure-based board game, where the players go to a safari through the dense forest of Central India, introducing you to some rare facts about the wildlife of India. Kaadoo is a point-based game played by rolling dice, pawns, and animal sighting cards. Rare sightings and faster exit will fetch you more points!
Pros: (a) Fun and exciting, one of the best games to play with your kids. (b) You can also ask questions about the wildlife to the other players, which will help boost their memory, concentration, and cognitive abilities.
Players: 2-4 | Difficulty: Easy | Time to play: 30-60 minutes | Age: 6+
Wrapping It Up
Kids are often content with their family around. Spend some wonderful time with your family playing these exciting family board games. It will not only help in increasing the cohesiveness with your kids, but also limit their screen time by keeping them away from gadgets.
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Krishna is a Management graduate in Human Resource. She is an avid reader, knowledge seeker, and an adoring mother of two lovely kids.