10 Great Board Games to Play with Your Family
Put down the TV remote, turn off the Playstation, and flip on some lights. It’s game time for you and your family, because who doesn’t love a little competition around the kitchen table? But what should you play? If you’re like me, you don’t exactly have a closet bursting at the hinges with games. But that’s okay. We’ve got ten great board and card game suggestions to play with your family.7
1. Sorry/Trouble (Ages 6+)
There are two schools of thought when it comes to this type of game. You’re either a Trouble fan or a Sorry person, and never the twain shall meet. Both of them have their own unique quirks. Sorry has the benefit of slides, which create a little bit of a strategy aspect to the game. But Trouble has the Pop-o-matic dice, which is fun for the kids. Which will you choose? Doesn’t matter. You’ll have a blast either way.
2. Ticket to Ride (Ages 8+)
Ticket to Ride is a bustling, complex game of train routes and strategy, which means it’s a great game to play with the bigger kids in your house. Perhaps the most fun thing about it is the startling number of editions and expansions the game has engendered since its release in 2004. With such a huge assortment of extras, the game experience is sure to be a different one each time you play.
3. Scrabble (Ages 8+)
“Are you sure that’s a word?”
“Oh, it’s totally a word.”
If you’re a word nerd, chances are you’re a massive Scrabble fan. There’s a reason the game has stuck around as long as it has, and it’s because anyone can play. All you need is a passing knowledge of the alphabet and the ability to do some simple addition. Oh, and the massive board and collection of letter tiles. I usually end up losing one letter per game, so eventually my set will feature the ability to spell maybe one or two words.
4. Cranium (Ages 8+)
You know why I like Cranium? Because there’s something in the game that someone in your family will be good at. Cranium challenges you to do multiple things, like sing, act, draw, dance, and answer questions. There’s some foul-smelling molding clay to build things. You’ll group into teams and try your best to outsmart the other people in your family. It’s a good time.
5. Apples to Apples/Cards Against Humanity (Apples to Apples–12+, Cards Against Humanity–18+)
Okay, let’s get it out of the way: if your family includes small children or people who are easily offended, perhaps the first option would be better. Both games deal in word association, and typically nonsensical cards played together win. Apples to Apples is the kid-friendly game, where as Cards Against Humanity might be best described as “Rotten” Apples to Apples. Both are fun games for people with awkward senses of humor.
But if you’ve played Cards Against Humanity, you know Apples to Apples has been forever ruined.
6. Monopoly (Ages 10+)
No one likes Monopoly. Not at first. But after an hour of play, everyone settles into the groove, passes the dice, and starts collecting rent on their owned properties. It’s all laughter. “Ha ha, you bought the purple properties. Lame!”
And then someone finally buys Boardwalk or Park Place and it hits the fan. Your mom buys up all the houses and refuses to pick up hotels so she can create scarcity in the market. Feelings get hurt, people end up in jail–in the game, duh!–and someone ends up collecting all the money at the end.
So, yeah. A great family game that’s an American tradition.
7. Scattergories (Ages 12+)
Maybe Scattergories isn’t in vogue anymore, but I’m still a fan. We’d play it as a family on Christmas Eve, and as a kid I’d drop into the games without actually having my score tallied. This is another game of word associations, except with less nonsense and more, well, categories. The best thing about it is that it could be played indefinitely or with a set score limit.
8. Scene It (Ages 6+)
Like Ticket to Ride, Scene It comes in a massive and astounding number of editions, but the one I prefer is still the basic game. It’s primarily a game of movie trivia, but within those confines there are multiple question types, options for shorter or longer games, and endless possibilities ranging the whole history of cinema. If you’re a family that loves movies and saying “I know that guy!” or finishing lines from films, this one’s worth your time.
9. Uno (Ages 7+)
I’ve never met a person who hates Uno. That should tell you something. It’s an easy game for almost anyone to pick up, but it’s terribly addicting. It’s great fun for all ages, too, because it involves matching through colors and numbers–skills kids pick up pretty quick. You can play it with a big or small group as well.
10. Candy Land
Candy Land requires virtually no skill beyond being able to follow directions and occasionally count. In fact, the winner of the game is determined by the shuffle of the deck before the first card is even drawn. And yet people still find themselves playing it for hours on end, mostly to appease their children, but often out of boredom.
The best part of Candy Land is how quickly the game passes. Unlike Monopoly, Life, or Ticket to Ride, the games are short. It takes maybe twenty minutes to play a round, and then you can move onto something else. But just the same, try and play it without smiling. It probably won’t happen.