18 Best Family Board Games of All Time

No longer are Monopoly and Risk the only family board games available; there are many more to choose from now.

So, we’ve made this list of family board games to help you choose. We think they should be in every collection.

They’re not just for when you’re bored after Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. No matter what time of year it is, it is always a good idea to buy family board games.

Not only are these some of the best board games in general, but most of them can be used for anything from parties to a quiet Sunday afternoon.

We’ve added different levels of challenge for the same reason, so that anyone can join in.

Want to know how we picked these board games for families?

Not hard.

Our team has a lot of first-hand knowledge with all of the suggestions below. In fact, we only include ideas that the team really thinks are good.

18. King of Tokyo

family board games

King of Tokyo has been a favorite family board game in our house for a long time because it’s easy to learn, even for younger players, quick to play, and still fun to think about from a strategic point of view.

Each player controls a monster, like Godzilla or King Kong, and tries to take over Tokyo on the main game board.

What follows is a fun and often hilarious game of rolling dice (like Yahtzee, but with dice that have claws, energy bolts, and points on them), aggressive play, and wild attempts to take control of Tokyo from your opponents.

When only one monster is left living or when someone gets to 20 points, the game is over. It’s easy, but it’s always fun, even with different people.

17. Heroes of Barcadia

Heroes of Barcadia is not a typical family game—it’s a game for adults to play with their kids. The game is a mix of a board-building dungeon-crawling game and a drinking game.

You build your cave as you play and fight against your family, but since it’s a drinking game, you use your glass to track your hit points and drink when you take damage.

There doesn’t have to be booze, but when there is, it’s a lot of fun!

But the best thing about the game is that it can be played in any weather. Everything, from the cards to the instructions, is made of a thin, flexible plastic that feels like paper but won’t get ruined if you spill your “health potion” on it while you’re drunk.

16. Blokus – Spacial recognition and planning

Blokus is a complex strategy game where players try to place colored pieces shaped like Tetris on the board.

When you place a piece, the only rule is that it can’t be next to one of your other pieces. Instead, it must touch at least one corner of a piece you already have on the board.

Blokus is a great way to improve your sense of space and your ability to plan ahead. As the game gets close to its end, it gets really hard and fun.

15. Catan the Board Game

Greg May, owner of The Uncommons and Hex & Company, says that Catan is “perhaps the most important game of the past few decades.” Catan is a tried-and-true favorite for a reason.

Players win points as they gather resources to build a civilization from the ground up. You get resources by rolling dice or trading with other players, so the game takes “a lot of strategy and a little luck.”

Because it can take a long time to play and has more complicated rules, this game is best for families who already like board games. “It’s not a coincidence that this game is so famous.

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“Catan is a game that can be changed in so many ways and gives you so many chances to show off your strategy skills,” says illustrator Stephen Walsh. Plus, you can add more to the game to keep it interesting.

14. Carcassonne – Create your own world

Carcassonne is another good game that has a good mix of strategy and luck and is a very popular family board game for a good reason.

In Carcassonne, you build cities, farms, and roads on a map of a land. You pick a tile at random and put it down.

As the game goes on, the board and the area around it grow. You put your Meeples on the tiles based on how you want to score points.

And this is where the plan comes into play. Your success or failure will depend on how well you place your meeples.

13. Pictomania

If you and your family are tired of Pictionary, Editor of the game review site Shut Up & Sit Down Quintin Smith suggests Pictomania, which he says is “more deep, exciting, and competitive” than the old game-night standard.

He says it’s a “side-splittingly funny” game where people have to draw and guess at the same time, which leads to “remarkably bad drawings and guesses.”

12. Ticket to Ride

No matter if you’re trying to keep the kids busy on a lazy Sunday or you’re full and tired after Christmas dinner, the last thing you want is a hard-to-understand game.

This is what makes Ticket to Ride such a great game. Even though there are strategies involved, it’s a much more relaxed game than the others on this list.

The main way to get points is to make train lines.

Should be easy, right?

Sort of, but it’s not that easy to win. Because some roads are worth more than others, everyone is trying to get to them first. This adds a hint of strategy to what’s going on.

Do you take a chance on a longer line to get the most money?

Or should you do a lot of shorter trips to get your points quickly?

It’s a fun puzzle, especially since you lose points if you don’t finish certain lines by the end of the game.

Yes, this makes Ticket to Ride a competitive game. But not so much that its players start fighting.

Aside from the times when everyone wants the same way, it’s a calm puzzle that you work on by yourself. We can’t give it enough praise.

11. Herd Mentality

Herd Mentality is the best board game for families that don’t even like board games. It’s easy to understand, low-stress, and doesn’t require any special knowledge.

It won’t go out of style, either, because it’s based on what you think, not on how well you remember odd facts.

That’s because each card has a simple question with no ‘right’ answer.

Here’s an example: which sauce is the best?

Then, the players have to write down what they think the majority of people in the room will say.

Those who agree with the most people get a point, and the first person to get eight points wins. It’s very easy to understand and can be described in a few seconds.

It’s also a lot of fun to play again and again. No two groups will answer the same way, so Herd Mentality is a board game for the whole family that will last for a long time.

It’s a fun way to break the ice, and the funny tokens, like a squishy pink cow, will get everyone laughing.

10. Sushi Go!

This strange but cute game has the holy trinity of selling points: it’s easy to learn, quick to play, and very hard to stop playing.

Since a game of Sushi Go! can be finished in 15 minutes or less, it’s also the kind of thing you’ll want to play “just one more round” of.

What I mean is?

It’s a great card game for the whole family.

A lot of that has to do with clear rules. In Sushi Go!, you try to make the most appetizing “meal” out of a deck of cards, and you get points for certain combos.

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Some give less but are easy to get, while others only pay out if you get the most of an item.

So, strategies come into play. Everyone has to give the cards in their hand to the next person.

This means that someone else might get there before you, but it also works the other way around: if you watch carefully, you can start to figure out what your competitors are planning based on what they do.

This lets you steal the cards they need to finish a dish with a high score. It’s very sneaky and clever.

The result is a family board game that is easy to play but requires some strategy. If you haven’t tried it yet, you should.

9. Articulate

Articulate is a great place to start if you want to find a good trivia board game for the whole family. Since 1992, players all over the world have enjoyed it. One reason for its success is that anyone can join in.

In other words, you don’t have to know a lot about obscure things to win. All you have to do is explain as many words from a given category as you can in 30 seconds.

Not that this isn’t hard, but you can’t talk about how that subject sounds or what words rhyme with it.

You have to think quickly and come up with a good example before the timer goes off. This puts everyone on the edge of their seats and ups the tension.

Unlike many board games for families, Articluate can be played with 20 or more people. As long as there are at least two people on each team, you’re good to go.

So, it’s a great choice if a lot of family is coming to visit at once.

8. Wingspan

Articulate is a great place to start if you want to find a good trivia board game for the whole family. Since 1992, players all over the world have enjoyed it. One reason for its success is that anyone can join in.

In other words, you don’t have to know a lot about obscure things to win. All you have to do is explain as many words from a given category as you can in 30 seconds.

Not that this isn’t hard, but you can’t talk about how that subject sounds or what words rhyme with it.

You have to think quickly and come up with a good example before the timer goes off. This puts everyone on the edge of their seats and ups the tension.

Unlike many board games for families, Articluate can be played with 20 or more people. As long as there are at least two people on each team, you’re good to go.

So, it’s a great choice if a lot of family is coming to visit at once.

7. Photosynthesis

Sometimes life is hard, so family board games that let you (figuratively) put your feet up are very welcome. One of them is photosynthesis.

Despite all of this, it still manages to keep a well-thought-out plan boiling away under the surface.

Considering the theme of this game, that may be surprising. You don’t have to take over land or kill your enemies to earn points.

Instead, you just grow trees, which is a very good thing to do. Nature isn’t fair, and that’s the problem. Some soils are more fertile than others and will give you a better score.

Each turn, the sun moves to a different side of the board. This could cause your trees to be covered by someone else’s, which would stop them from letting in light you could use to grow more trees.

So, thinking ahead and putting your opponents in a tight spot pays off.

The way Photosynthesis works is just as amazing. It’s amazing to watch in action and looks beautiful when laid out on the table.

This is because the big cardboard trees come in a variety of shapes that are good for people who are colorblind.

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6. Takenoko

Walsh told us about a “really sweet” game that his kids like to play where they take care of pandas in a race. It asks players to take care of pieces of land and grow three kinds of bamboo for bears.

Walsh says it’s the “perfect Christmas Day game” for when you want to do something fun and family-friendly with your friends and family.

The game can be played by anyone over the age of 8 and takes about 45 minutes.

5. Telestrations

Three of our experts said Telestrations was a good choice. “This is my favorite game to play at a party with both kids and adults,” says Scott Cooper, who runs Blue Highway Games in Seattle. Each player tries to draw the word they have been told.

The game is a mix of Pictionary and Telephone. When the time is up, each player gives their picture to the person next to them, who tries to guess what was drawn on the dry-erase board.

Then, each person passes on their guess, which should match the previous player’s word, to the next person, who has to draw it.

Once all of the boards have been given back to their original owner, the game is over.

Dr. Michael James Heron of Meeple Like Us, a site that reviews board games with an emphasis on accessibility, says, “It plays really quickly, everyone laughs all the time, and it probably won’t start a single fight.” Meeple Mountain’s Kurt Refling agrees: “The results are gut-bustingly funny.”

4. Mouse Trap Board Game

Most kids of the 1990s will remember this old favorite. Rob Sparks, who makes board games, says that nothing beats being a kid and taking this game out of the box to build a crazy Rube Goldberg machine.

The game is good for kids over 4 years old and can be played by two to four people.

3. Dixit

Walsh says that Dixit is a great game for breaking the ice and getting everyone talking.

One person is chosen to be the storyteller, and that person makes up a sentence based on a picture on one of the cards they are holding.

Then, each person gives the storyteller the card in their hand that goes best with the sentence. The presenter shuffles the cards and shows them to the other players.

They bet on which card is the original, and the winners get points if they were right. Walsh says that as a plus, the art on the cards is beautiful, creative, and sometimes even strange.

2. Charterstone

“Charterstone is a campaign-style game in which you and your opponents build and grow a village together over the course of 12 games by putting up buildings and unlocking new features,” says Demers.

“Think of it as the board game equivalent of a Netflix binge,” she says, because once you start playing it, you won’t be able to stop.

It’s a good choice for families with more experienced players who want to try a harder game, but it’s not too hard to learn.

The branching storyline gets more difficult over time, and when you finish your 12-game campaign, “you will have a board game that is unique to you that you can play again and again.”

1. Kingdomino

Released in 2017, Kingdomino is the most recent game on this list. It also won the coveted Spiel des Jahres, the German board game of the year, cementing its place as a go-to family game for years to come.

Players take turns claiming tiles to add to their kingdom, but it’s not as simple as picking a tile and moving on.

The tile you choose directly affects the turn order for the next turn, so you must be careful when making your decision lest you leave a valuable tile on the table for your opponents.

Your tableau is limited to a five-by-five grid, which adds a spatial awareness element to the game as well.

Because of its short play time and how easy it is to learn the rules, Kingdomino is an ideal choice for your next family game night.