The 22 Best Board Games for Families
Get your hands one of these super fun family games just in time for the holidays.
We love family game night. There’s nothing quite like it. That’s why we came up with this list of 22 board games perfect for families. These games are equally as fun for kids as they are for adults and are sure to kick the fun up a notch on your next night in. Whether your family prefers quiet, strategy-based games or loud, outrageous games, there’s something in here for you. Engage in some friendly competition by playing mom and dad versus the kids or maybe the boys versus the girls in games like Codenames and Cranium. Howl with laughter at the wild answers in a game of Say Anything or Apples to Apples. Above all, enjoy spending quality time with the people you love the most.
1. Apples to Apples
A lively multiplayer game that is sure to get everyone laughing, Apples to Apples is tons of fun for families with older kids. The game comes with more than 500 “apple” cards. Red apple cards have nouns on them, and green apple cards have adjectives on them. Each round, a new player gets to be the judge and pulls a green apple card for the group to work with. The rest of the players select one of red apple card from their hands that they think works best with the green card. The judge reviews the answers anonymously and chooses a favorite. If you submitted the favorite answer, you receive the green card from that round. After a number of rounds, the player with the most green apples cards is considered the winner, but you can always decide not to keep score and play just for laughs.
Buy It: Apples to Apples, $14
2. Say Anything: Family Edition
“What would make long car rides more fun?” In Say Anything, ask your family playful questions like this and get a charge out of their answers. There are more than 360 open-ended questions in this family-friendly version of the game, which comes with small dry-erase cards and markers for writing down answers. Each round, one player asks a question to the family, and everyone else writes down their answers. The answers are all placed faceup on the table for the judge who secretly chooses his or her favorite. It’s then up to the rest of the players to try and guess which response was the favorite. Say Anything is sure to garner a few laughs. After all, kids say the darndest things!
Buy It: Say Anything, $16
3. Family Feud
Survey says you can have a raucous game of Family Feud going with as little as three players. Based off the popular game show, the board game version is quite similar. It features 150 face-off cards based on existing survey answers that you and your family will battle to answer correctly. Have your family break up into two teams and then go head to head in a face-off with topics like “What is the top talent people wish they had?” Points are awarded for correctly guessing answers that appeared in the survey results. After three face-off rounds, the game concludes with one fast-money round. In this round, two players from each team attempt to give the highest survey answer to a question. At the end of the game, points are tallied and the team with the highest score wins.
Buy It: Family Feud, $13
A hilarious illustrated version of the schoolyard game telephone, Telestrations is sure to have your whole family in stitches and is a great game to play if you have a lot of people. We promise there’s no artistic skill required. In fact, a good sense of humor is all that’s needed for this game. Each round begins with players drawing the word or phrase from a game card in a dry-erase notebook. The notebook gets passed around eight times and the other players alternate writing down what they think was drawn or drawing the word another player wrote. After the eighth round the last player reads the final word or phrase from the notebook, which has likely changed quite a bit from the original. There are no winners or losers here, just a ton of fun.
Buy It: Telestrations, $16
Think you know what word is being sketched? Take a wild guess. In pictionary, teams are timed as one person draws a word and the rest of the team tries to correctly guess what is being depicted. If the team gets it right, they can roll the die and advance along the game board. Different colored spaces on the board correlate with different colors on the game cards—each reflecting a varying degree of difficulty. So while you might have gotten off easy with “eyeball” in the first round, it might not be so easy drawing “Miracle on Ice” in the next round. Whether you play to race to the finish or just for fun, the wild and silly guesses your family shouts out will have everyone cracking up.
Buy It: Pictionary, $11
Your family will be twisted up in knots in this hilarious physical game. A large vinyl mat with four rows of different colored dots gets placed on the floor. This is the “game board,” and you and your family are the game pieces. A cardboard spinner broken up into quadrants dictates which body part (hand or foot) goes on what color dot. Your balance and flexibility will likely get tested as you try to keep your left hand on a red dot and your right hand on green. Your nimble kiddos might have an advantage as they wiggle into crazy positions on the mat. Players are eliminated if knees or elbows touch the mat, or if they fall. The player who can hang on the longest is the winner.
Buy It: Twister, $12
For Families with Younger Children
7. Chutes and Ladders
Chutes and Ladders is a board game the whole family will enjoy. There is no reading required, which makes it especially suitable for families with young children. The board is numbered with 100 squares, and teaches lessons of morality through a series of ladders and slides. The ladders depict good deeds and their rewards while the slides depict naughty actions and their consequences. All the players start on square 1 and are in a race to reach square 100. Use the game spinner to see how many spaces your pawn can advance. If you land on a square showing the base of a ladder, then you get to climb the ladder and advance additional spaces. But watch out! If you lands on a square depicting the top of a slide, you’ll be set back additional spaces as you slide down.
Buy It: Chutes and Ladders, $15
8. Catan Jr.
Arrrrgh! Kiddos are pirates building ships and lairs in this approachable version of the popular game Catan. With just six hexagonal islands, Catan Junior has a smaller game board and players work to build ships and pirate lairs instead of armies and settlements. Similar to the original, players grow and trade the resources that are grown on the islands in order to expand their property. But beware of the Ghost Captain—he’ll block resources from growing on whatever island he is on. With a little luck, your trusty parrot Coco will come the rescue when you’re in need. Be the first pirate to build seven pirate lairs and you win. This game is directed at a younger audience, but we have to say, it’s a lot of fun for adults, too.
Buy It: Catan Jr., $24
KerPlunk is as fun to play as it is to say. In this game, slow, steady, and strategic is the way to go. A series of colorful straws is inserted randomly into a tall plastic tube so they crisscross over one another. The straws should form a web that’s strong enough to hold a few dozen marbles. Once the straws and the marbles are set up, take turns carefully removing one straw from the tube at a time, and cross your fingers the marbles don’t fall during your turn. If any marbles fall in between turns, they will get added to the pile of the person who most recently pulled a straw. Once all the marbles have fallen, the player with the least in their pile wins.
Buy It: KerPlunk, $23
10. Hi Ho Cherry-O
Hi Ho Cherry-O is a simple and enjoyable board game that brings childhood memories rushing back. There are four cherry trees on the game board each with 10 plastic cherries on them. (The cherries are small, so be careful with wee ones and nosy pets around the board.) The object of the game is to be the first player to fill your bucket with all 10 cherries from your tree. Takes turns flicking the spinner to see how many cherries you can pick in each turn. With any luck you’ll land on the option to pick three cherries at once, but try not to land on a spilled bucket of cherries or you’ll have to start all over again.
Buy It: Hi Ho Cherry-O, $14
11. Yeti in my Spaghetti
There’s a reason Yeti in My Spaghetti is one of our top family games. It is totally silly and totally fun, and it even won a 2017 Toy of the Year award. The premise of Yeti in My Spaghetti is simple and kid-friendly—don’t let the cute little Yeti fall into the bowl. To play, arrange the plastic spaghetti noodles in all directions over the bowl so that the Yeti can sit on top. Take turns slowly, carefully removing one noodle from the bowl at a time. There’s no feeling around for loose noodles allowed. If you touch a noodle you have to remove it. The last player to successfully remove a noodle before the Yeti falls is considered the winner.
Buy It: Yeti in my Spaghetti, $10
If your family likes puzzles, then they’ll love Qwirkle, the game where you match tiles by color and shape. The game consists of 108 wooden tiles with different colored shapes on them. To start, each player draws six random tiles from a bag. Then, take turns placing tiles on the table to create a line of up to six tiles that match in either color or shape and earn points for every tile you play. If you create a line of six, you get a Qwirkle! As the game grows, you can build upon existing lines (kind of like Scrabble). Continue to replenish your stash of tiles by drawing new ones from the bag until all the tiles have been used. The game ends with the first player to use all of his or her tiles, but ultimately it’s the player with the highest score who wins.
Buy It: Qwirkle, $24
13. Guess Who
Try and solve the identity of your opponent’s secret character before they guess yours in this two-person guessing game. Guess Who comes with two trays and a deck of cards that all contain the same 24 colorful characters. To begin, players set up their trays and each draw a card at random from the pile of character cards. Then the inquiry begins. Take turns asking each other yes and no questions about the character and answer truthfully. “Does your character have glasses?” If the answer to a question is no, fold down the characters on your tray that don’t fit the criteria. Continue asking questions until you have narrowed down your opponent’s identity. The first player to correctly guess who is the winner.
Buy It: Guess Who, $10
For Families with Older Children
Get the whole family thinking with a game of Cranium. Cranium is an exercise for the whole mind that will have everyone humming, sketching, thinking, and solving. The goal of this game is to be the fastest team to make your way around the board and into Cranium Central by completing the designated activities. There are four kinds of activities, each represented by a different color on the game path. Each turn begins with an activity that correlates with the color of the space you’ve landed on. If you successfully complete the given activity, you get to roll the die and advance. Once a team has made their way around the board they enter Cranium Central where they must complete one final challenge to win. Great news if you’re short on time: a versatile game board can be folded three different ways for different rates of play.
Buy It: Cranium, $40
Rack up rental income and try not to get thrown in jail in this classic family game. Monopoly requires risk and luck as players buy available properties and trade lucrative ones. Move along the boardwalk by rolling a die, and if you land on an available property you can buy it. Charge your opponents rent when they land on a square you own, but you better be prepared to pay up if you land on one of theirs. The goal of this game is to bankrupt your opponents. If you buy enough property on the same part of the board, eventually the other players won’t be able to afford to pay your rent anymore. Monopoly is a great way to spend a rainy afternoon, but if time is of the essence, beware, one game can last for quite a while.
Buy It: Monopoly, $15
Prepare to go undercover in the guessing game Codenames. You’ll want at least four people to play, but you can have even more. Who wants to be the all-knowing spymaster? Who wants to identify the team operatives? To play, a series of 25 one-word code names are laid out on the table. Each team has a spymaster who knows which cards their operatives must guess in order to win. Without saying the code name, the spymasters give one word clues to their team who then have a chance to guess the code names of their field operatives. You better guess carefully or you risk accidentally naming one of the opposing team’s operatives, or worse the assassin! The first team to successfully identify all of their codenames wins.
Buy It: Codenames, $15
Parents, get ready to relive your childhood with a suspenseful game of Clue. In this whodunit game, there’s been a murder in Boddy Mansion and everyone is a suspect. Players must race to solve the crime. Roll a die to make your way through the Boddy mansion depicted on the game board. Move through the rooms, hallways, and secret passageways to pick up clues. Keep track of clues you find on the provided case file notepads and slowly eliminate answers that don’t match the clues. The real truth lies in a sealed file kept in the middle of the board. Think you know who did it? Correctly identify the suspect, the murder weapon, and the location of the crime to win.
Buy It: Clue, $9
18. Tile Lock Scrabble
Tile Lock Scrabble is a necessity if there are there wild wagging tails in your house or lots of busy little hands. This game is identical to the original Scrabble, but instead of wooden tiles, plastic pieces bearing letters nestle into each square on the special board where small bumpers hold the tiles in place. Race to use all your tiles while building the most point-rich words. You’ll want pen and paper nearby to keep track of your scores, and you’ll also probably want a dictionary—it will come in handy when the validity of a word undoubtedly gets challenged. The game ends when a player has used all of his or her tiles, but it’s the player with the most points who wins. A smart upgrade to the classic game of Scrabble, the tile lock edition is also great on the go.
Buy It: Tile Lock Scrabble, $14
Cross your fingers and hold your breath as you carefully remove and replace blocks on the Jenga tower. One of the few games that is as easily played by one person as it is many, Jenga is fun for kids and adults alike. We love this game for its ease of play, simple rules, and quick setup. To begin, use the small wooden blocks provided to construct a tower that is 3 blocks wide by 18 blocks high. Then take turns removing one block from within the tower and placing it back on the top. With every round the tower becomes taller and more unstable. How tall can you get your tower? See how many blocks you can move until it eventually comes crashing down.
Buy It: Jenga, $17
You and your family are tasked with finding magical treasures within a twisting labyrinth in this suspenseful game where the board is made up of a series of cards that are constantly shifting. Players take turns drawing from a stack of special cards that identify treasures, like a princess or a dragon. Find the shortest route through the labyrinth to reach your treasure, but stay sharp! With both fixed and moving pieces, the layout of the labyrinth can change with every player. The game ends when a player collects of his or her treasures, but if the other players notice that all the treasure cards are gone, they just might shift the path in the labyrinth to prevent you from reaching your final destination.
Buy It: Labyrinth, $21
Travel back to medieval times with Carcassonne, a game named for the eponymous medieval town in the south of France. (Tuck that in your back pocket for your next round of Trivial Pursuit!) In this game, watch fields, roads, and cities rapidly expand as players take turns placing game tiles one at a time. After placing a tile, you can lay claim to that land by putting a “follower” piece there. A follower has different point values depending on what kind of land it is on. For instance, a follower placed on a monastery tile is a monk who earns different points than a follower placed on a road tile as a thief. Each player receives a limited number of followers, so keep their point values in mind and place them strategically. Once every tile has been played, the player with the most points wins.
Buy It: Carcassonne, $18
22. Mexican Train/Dominoes
While there a number of games you can play with dominoes, Mexican Train is one of our favorites and one the whole family will enjoy. Start by placing the largest double domino, the “engine,” in the middle of the table. From here, each player is responsible for one line of dominoes, their “train,” as it leaves the station. Build you train by placing domino tiles from your pile so that they match end to end. New dominoes are pulled from the “boneyard” to refresh each player’s hand until all of the tiles are gone. The first player to play of all of his or her dominoes is the winner. If you don’t already own a set of dominoes, we like this one from Amazon because it is perfect for multiplayer games.
Buy It: Mexican Train Dominoes, $13