The 50 Best Board Games of All Time
From treasured classics like Chess and Monopoly to new favorites like Speak Out and Cards Against Humanity, we’ve rounded up our 50 favorite board games of all time. Click through our picks for the 50 best board games of all time.
As the holidays draw near and we start to spend more time with friends and family, we challenge you to put away the electronics and gather ’round for a good old-fashioned board game. No matter which game you love to play, you’ll enjoy the break from the busyness. We’ve rounded up 50 of our favorite board games of all time that span every popular category. As you click through this list, you’ll find games that are great for kids and families and games that are fitting for parties and adults. Some of these games are perfect for one player while others are meant for two, while more still are best played with a large group of friends. Whether it’s critical thinking and competition you seek or simple fun and loads of laughter, there’s something on this list for everyone.
There's a reason these classic board games have been around for ages: they're fun to play and sure to liven up any setting.
1. The Game of Life
How could we not include Life in this roundup? We remember playing this game as kids and dreaming about all the possibilities (and responsibilities) that came with being a grown-up—college, marriage, kids, insurance! In this classic game, players each receive a plastic car to maneuver around the game board that represents the move through multiple stages of life, from picking college to enjoying sweet retirement. The premise of this game is to go through life making smart decisions and eventually be the player who retires first and with the most money. It’s a great game for kids to learn about life lessons in an approachable way, and it’s sure to spark some good conversations when you play together as a family.
Buy It: The Game of Life, $13
Clue is a suspenseful murder mystery game that turns everyone into a detective. There’s been a murder in the Boddy Mansion and it’s up to you to find the culprit. There are only six suspects and you are one of them. Move your game pieces through the rooms and secret passageways of the mansion depicted on the game board to look for clues. Who murdered poor Mr. Boddy? What weapon was used? And where did the incident take place? The more clues you find, the more you will be able to narrow down the many possible answers to those questions. It’s a race against your fellow players to be the first to put all the pieces of this mystery together. No matter your age, it’s always a thrill when you finally solve the crime.
Buy It: Clue, $9
3. Candy Land
The sweet game of Candy Land conjures up fond childhood memories for us. The whimsical board game features landmarks like a candy cane forest and gumdrop mountains and colorful characters like Mr. Mint and Princess Frostine. The premise of Candy Land is simple, making this a game that even the youngest family members can enjoy. King Kandy is lost and the players are in a race to find him. Players take turns drawing from a stack of cards that tell them where to go on the board. Cards indicate the next move by either a color for the next square to move to or a picture of a landmark. The first player to reach the end of the board and find King Kandy wins.
Buy It: Candy Land, $13
The first official Monopoly game hit the market in 1935, and this game of buying property has been creating real estate titans ever since. The board game requires risk and luck, as players buy and trade properties and try to not get thrown in jail. If you have the funds, players are allowed to buy available properties. You can then make income during the game by charging the other players rent if they land on any of the spaces that you own. In order to win the game you have to bankrupt your opponents, which can take a while. The ideas is to buy enough property on the same part of the board that you create a monopoly and eventually the other players won’t be able to afford to pay your rent anymore.
Buy It: Monopoly, $15
Scrabble is a beloved word game. It’s like a giant word jumble with endless possibilities. Players are given a set number of wooden letter tiles to begin, and each letter is assigned a different point value. You will immediately start analyzing your letter tiles to see what possible word combinations you might be able to create to play 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. Once one player has used all his or her tiles the game ends and points are tallied, but whoever ends up with the most points is the real winner.
Buy It: Scrabble, $17
These games demand skill and patience as you plot out trails, claim resources, and chart new territories.
In this two-person game of strategy, players secretly arrange their ships on a lettered and numbered 10x10 grid and then try to locate and destroy their opponent’s fleet. There are two grids for each player. One grid is used for placing your own vessels and tracking hits made against you, while the second grid is for marking the hits targeted at your opponent. Take turns firing shots by calling out one of the grid’s plot points. If a hit doesn’t strike a ship, it’s considered a miss and pegged with white pieces. If a hit makes contact with a ship, then that strike gets pegged with red. The number of hits each kind of vessel can sustain before it sinks is varied. After some initial exploratory firing, you will likely start to figure out the location of your opponent’s ships and begin to deal the fatal blows. It’s a battle on the high seas!
Buy It: Battleship, $15
Feel what it’s like to rule the world in a game of Risk. In this game, a map of the world is spread out on the game board, and all of the continents are broken up into territories. The end goal is for one player to conquer all 42 territories and eliminate the other players along the way. But first, a little diplomacy is required to get there. Make alliances (and then break alliances) as you slowly start to conquer more territory, but be cautious—if you’re willing to break an alliance, then you know your opponents will be, too. We should add a time warning on this one, as a complete game of Risk can last upward of a few hours. Nobody ever said total world domination would happen quickly.
Buy It: Risk, $32
Stratego is like a Napoleonic version of capture the flag. In this two-person game of military moves, players arrange all 40 of their game pieces in whatever order they choose. There are 12 different kinds of pieces, and each plays a different role that needs to be considered during setup. There are many layers of strategy involved in a successful setup, making this game as enjoyable for adults as it is for kiddos. Once all of the pieces have been arranged, game play commences as you make your way into enemy territory in an effort to locate your opponent’s flag. Tread carefully—there are bombs planted to throw you off track and spies doing recon for the enemy. The player to successfully capture the opposing army’s flag wins.
Buy It: Stratego, $23
9. Axis & Allies
Axis & Allies is another exciting military-strategy board game. It’s great fun for history buffs as it’s based on World War II, but throughout game play the course of history can be altered. Players represent the Axis powers and the Allied powers, and in every turn get to make both combat and non-combat moves across the globe as well as decide what military units to build and whether or not to fund research. If you haven’t played before, definitely read through the rules first—there are a lot of moving parts to keep track of. Depending on the agreed-upon end goal, the aim is for your powers to have control of 13-18 of the victory cities. It’s worth noting here that a game of Axis & Allies can last a while—as in multiple hours. Will the Allied or Axis powers prevail? (And if you’re interested, check out The Man in The High Castle to see how the latter might have turned out.)
Buy It: Axis & Allies, $76
When a game has endured as long as Chess has (we’re talking nearly 1,500 years!) you know it’s worth playing. In this classic two-player game, you and your opponent have the same 16 pieces to maneuver across a 64-square game board, with the ultimate goal being to checkmate your opponent’s king piece. Game pieces consist of pawns, rooks, bishops, knights, a queen, and a king, and there are different rules about how each piece can move. We think it’s helpful to keep a cheat sheet handy. The best piece of advice we can give for this game is to take a step back and assess the whole situation before making a big move. Turns out, Chess is also a pretty good metaphor for life.
Buy It: Chess, $11
Backgammon is another board game that has been around for centuries. The game has an iconic look that you’re sure to recognize, whether or not you’ve ever actually played before. The playing area consists of 24 triangles of alternating colors and a bar down the middle of the board. The game is often incorporated into a folding case, which makes for easy cleanup and storage. To play, you are responsible for moving a set of 15 checkers around the board, with moves dictated by the rolling of two dice. The first player to successfully “cast off,” or remove, all of his or her checkers from the game wins. Backgammon is two-person game that definitely requires strategy, but there’s a little bit of luck involved, too.
Buy It: Backgammon, $26
Don’t let the simple looks of this game fool you, there can be a lot of excitement in a game of checkers. You and your opponent are each responsible for 12 uniform game pieces, which you are allowed to move diagonally across the 8x8 checkerboard. Maneuver a piece all the way across the board and you get to crown a king; jump an opponent’s piece and you get to capture it and remove it from play. To win, capture all of your opponent’s checkers, or position your pieces in such a way that there are no available moves for the other player. Checkers is relatively easy to learn, making it a great way to introduce younger players to games of strategy.
Buy It: Checkers, $9
13. Chinese Checkers
Chinese Checkers is an approachable multiplayer strategy game that you can play with your whole family. The wooden game board features a series of holes in the shape of six-pointed star. Each point on the star is home to 10 colored pegs or marbles. Whether you play with two people or six, the object of the game is the same: Be the first player to move all 10 of your pegs/marbles into the star point directly across from you. Players take turns moving one of their pieces at a time. You can only move one space at a time. However, if you have arranged your pieces in such a way that you can jump over them, you can advance multiple spaces in a single play much to the chagrin of your fellow players.
Buy It: Chinese Checkers, $14
For a quick game of strategy, we recommend Blokus—it’s like Tetris with a twist. Each player is given a set of 21 tiles in a specific playing color, and every tile in that set is a different geometric figure. To start the game, each player places the tile of his or her choosing in one of the corners of the 400-square game board. As play continues, it grows increasingly tricky to place your tiles on the board. Tiles of the same color are only allowed to touch at one corner, while tiles of different colors may share sides. With every move, you’ll want to size up the tiles remaining in your set to determine which of those shapes will best fit into the available spaces. Try to play all 21 of your tiles to win Blokus.
Buy It: Blokus, $15
In Agricola, if you work hard and play smart, your farm will flourish. The game is based on the premise that you are a farmer in 17th century Europe, and as such, you must perform the necessary duties to take care of your animals and land and provide for your family. Work the fields and build up your homestead. Then grow your family to have more helping hands, but make sure you have enough resources to feed them come harvest. There are six harvests in a 14-round game of Agricola. Players accrue points during that time for things like owning animals, having fenced-in stables, and building bigger houses. After the final round has been played, the farmer with the most points (and likely the most prosperous farm) wins.
Buy It: Agricola, $48
These games are fun for kids to play and help them develop skills like critical thinking, creativity, and team building.
16. Connect Four
What kid doesn’t love a quick game of Connect Four? All you need to do is take turns with another player dropping tokens into the open slots on the game. To win, connect four of your colored tokens as quickly as possible, whether horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. You’ll want to be sure to keep an eye on the other player, too. If they have three in a row, you just might need to use your next turn to drop a strategically placed token to prevent them from connecting four of their own. You’d think that with 42 slots for tokens, it would be easy to connect four but, with a worthy adversary, there’s a chance it will come to a draw. No matter the outcome, we bet you can’t just play one round!
Buy It: Connect Four, $9
Twister will, as the box promises, have you twisted up in knots and probably doubled over laughing, too. To play, place the game’s large vinyl mat on the floor. The mat has four rows of different colored dots and a cardboard spinner broken up into quadrants that dictates what body part goes on what color dot. You might find yourself in a downward dog or you might find yourself with someone’s rump in your face, but try to hold your position no matter how strange it might seem. You will definitely be eliminated if you fall, but you also risk elimination if someone catches you resting a knee or elbow on the mat. See who can hold out the longest and become the Twister champion.
Buy It: Twister, $12
The poor patient in Operation sure has a lot of ailments: writer’s cramp, water on the knee, and brain freeze are just the start. In this game you get to be the doctor, and it’s your job to relieve the patient by removing all 13 of his ailments. The retrieval process can be tricky though. You have to use a pair of tweezers to remove the small plastic ailment, and if you miss and hit the sides of the patient, the game buzzes and another player, “the specialist,” gets to try. If you can successfully remove the item indicated by the game cards, you’ll get paid for your good work. After all of the operations have been completed, the doctor with the most money wins.
Buy It: Operation, $20
19. Don’t Break the Ice
A good game for younger children, Don’t Break the Ice is simple and straightforward. A plastic “ice tray” holds small plastic ice cubes in place. One larger ice cube, which can be placed anywhere within the tray, is where the game’s little plastic penguin stands. You don’t want to be the player who causes the penguin to fall. Players take turns tapping out ice cubes with one of the small plastic mallets provided. A player has to keep tapping the same ice cube until it becomes dislodged and falls from the ice tray, even if additional ice cubes also become dislodged in the process. The more ice cubes that fall, the more precarious things become for the little penguin. Play continues until the penguin eventually falls through the ice.
Buy It: Don’t Break the Ice, $15
20. Hungry Hungry Hippos
Hungry Hungry Hippos is a fast-paced marble-chomping game suitable for young players. Four colorful (and hungry) hippos on the game board are trying to chow down on 20 marbles that are launched into the middle of the board. Players rapidly press a lever, which controls the hippo, in an effort to gobble up the most marbles. Pressing the lever causes the hippo’s neck to stick out toward the marbles and the jaw to open. When the lever is released, the hippo’s jaw closes—hopefully on a marble or two!—and the neck retracts, pulling the marbles into that player’s possession. After all of the marbles have been consumed, count how many your hippo caught. The player whose hippo chomped down on the most marbles wins.
Buy It: Hungry Hungry Hippos, $15
It’s a race to find as many unique word combinations as possible in this fun game. Boggle consists of 16 six-sided letter dice in a 16-square tray. First you have to scramble the letters, which means putting the cover on the tray and giving it a good shake. Once the dice have been scrambled you’re ready to play. Start the sand timer and write down all the possible words you can find. Words can be made from letters that are horizontal, vertical, or diagonal to one another, but they must be at least three letters long. Once time is up, compare your lists of words with the other players. Any words that appear on more than one list are crossed out. Score points for any words that aren’t duplicated by another player. Play as many rounds as you’d like and tally up total points at the end to determine the winner.
Buy It: Boggle, $10
22. Mouse Trap
Hurry, scurry, little mouse! Try not to get trapped as you circle the board and collect cheese tokens. At the onset of this game, players work together to build a Rube Goldberg-like mouse trap, but once the trap has been assembled, it’s every mouse for themselves. Roll the die to advance spaces, but be sure to keep an eye on the other sneaky mice as you move around the board. If you’re on the cheese wheel and another mouse is at one of the mousetrap cranks, they will turn the crank in an attempt to trap you. Some mice might evade the trap, but in the end, all but one will have been captured. The last mouse still in play wins.
Buy It: Mouse Trap, $24
We love Jenga for its ease of play. The rules are simple and straightforward, and whether you’re playing solo or with a whole group of folks, this game is always full of suspenseful fun. Setup is quick. Build a tower from the 54 small wooden blocks provided—three blocks wide by 18 blocks high. Players then take turns removing one block from within the tower and placing it back on the top. Cross your fingers and hold your breath as the tower grows taller and more unstable with every move. See how many rounds you can go before the tower comes crashing down. The last person to successfully place a block before the tower tumbles is considered the winner.
Buy It: Jenga, $17
If you or your kiddos like cracking codes, then you’ll love the game of Mastermind. In each round of this two-person game, one player gets to create the code and the other player tries to crack it. Using any combination of the six colors provided, the codemaster secretly creates a code that is comprised of just four pegs. The second player then begins a guess-and-check process to figure out the code by placing a series of any four pegs onto the board. After the first guess, the codemaster provides feedback for any pegs that are accurately placed or any pegs that are the right color but in the wrong spot. The second player then guesses again by placing a second row of pegs, and the process continues until either the code is cracked or the second player runs out of guesses.
Buy It: Mastermind, $10
Qwirkle is a game of colors and patterns. The game contains 108 wooden tiles with different colored shapes on them. Players start with six tiles drawn at random from a bag. Use your tiles to create lines on the playing area that have the same color or pattern, and earn a point for each tile you play. Lines can be built vertically or horizontally and or played through an existing line (kind of like Scrabble). A line of six tiles is called a Qwirkle, and it’s the longest line you can play. 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. Ready to get your Qwirkle on?
Buy It: Qwirkle, $24
Gather your loved ones for an evening of friendly competition. These board games include fun options for families with young children, school-age children, and grown children.
All you need to play this fun family game is the Uno card deck. There are no other marbles, spinners, or game pieces required, which makes this quick to clean up and great to take on the go. An Uno deck contains 108 cards—25 cards each in one of four colors, plus 8 special action cards (like Skip and Reverse). Players take turns matching a card from their hand by number or color to the card in the middle of the game. Players replenish their hands by pulling from the “draw” deck until there are no cards remaining. When a player has just one card left they get to call out “Uno!” as a warning to the other players, which, in our opinion, is one of the best parts of the game. That, and the obligatory victory dance after you win.
Buy It: Uno, $5
We love this game because it gets the whole family humming, sketching, solving, and thinking. There’s no way out of it—to win a game of Cranium, you and your team must go all the way around the board and complete the designated activities. Each color along the game path indicates which of the four card categories you have to pull from to proceed. If you successfully complete the challenge presented on the card you get to roll a die and continue that number of spaces. If you don’t complete the challenge, you’re stuck until your next turn when you have to try that category again. As an added bonus for time-crunched families, the game board offers three different rates of play.
Buy It: Cranium, $40
Dominoes is great fun for players of all ages, so grab Grandma and a set of dominoes and start play! We like this particular set from Amazon because it contains 91 domino tiles, which is perfect for multiplayer games. While there are a variety of games you can play with dominoes, one of our favorites is Mexican Train. In this game, the largest double number tile is placed in the “station” in the middle of the table. From here, each player is responsible for his or her own domino “train,” where the end of each domino played must match the end of the domino preceding it. Extra tiles are placed in the “boneyard” and replenish each player’s stash until they are all gone. The first player to complete his or her train wins.
Buy It: Dominoes, $12
29. Chutes and Ladders
It’s a race to the finish in this classic childhood game where good deeds take you far, and naughty behaviors will set you back. The Chutes and Ladders game board contains 100 squares and depicts a series of ladders and slides. Each ladder represents a good deed and its reward, but every slide represents the consequences of a bad behavior. Every player starts in the first square and a spinner dictates how many spaces a player can advance from there. If you’re lucky, you’ll land at the base of a good-deed ladder, which you can climb, advancing extra spaces. But if you’re not so lucky, you’ll land at the top of a slide and have to go down, which will set you back quite a bit. The first player to the 100 square wins.
Buy It: Chutes and Ladders, $15
Watch fields, roads, and cities rapidly expand in the Medieval-themed game Carcassonne. Players take turns placing one of the game tiles in an attempt to build up their land. After placing a tile, you can score points by putting a “follower” piece on the items you built. The role and subsequent point value of a follower varies depending on what piece of property you put them 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. With every turn, you’ll have to decide if it’s worth it to place a tile that adds to your property, or if you’d rather strategically place a tile that messes up your opponent’s plans. Calculate your moves carefully, because once all the tiles have been played, the player with the most points wins.
Buy It: Carcassonne, $18
31. Traffic Jam
There’s gridlock during rush hour and it’s up to you to help. In this single-player game, try to free the red escape car by maneuvering the cars and trucks out of the way. This will likely take lots of little moves, as the blocking vehicles can only move forward or backward in the direction they are facing. Traffic Jam comes with 40 different challenges with varying levels of difficulty. Depending on the puzzle, up to 15 cars and tracks can be in the way but, slowly and carefully, you can shift them to free the red car. This game is meant for one player, but we think it’s helpful to talk through strategies and work together if you have more than one who wants to play.
Buy It: Traffic Jam, $20
In Trouble, the goal is to be the first player to get all four of your pieces around the board and back home again. The premise is simple, but there are challenges along the way. Game play is controlled by a die, but it’s not just rolled by hand—no, no—to roll the die in Trouble, you get to press the plastic dome on the game’s cool pop-o-matic dice roller. For a piece to leave home base, you first have to roll a six. After that, pieces can advance normally based on the die roll. With 28 spots on the game board, it can start get crowded when all 16 pieces are in play, and that’s where the trouble can begin. If another player lands on a spot occupied by one of your pieces, your piece is sent back to home base and has to start the process again.
Buy It: Trouble, $9
33. Ticket to Ride
All aboard! The stakes are high in this game to see who can visit the most cities in North America in just seven days. In Ticket to Ride, players lay claim to railroads across the United States and Canada and compete to connect the most cities with their trains. Draw cards to see what kind of train car you can play or what your next destination might be. Earn points for placing trains and for successfully connecting two destination cities. The game ends when a player has less than two trains remaining, and bonus points are then awarded to the player who created the longest continuous route. The player with the most points wins. You have a ticket to ride, so where will your journey take you?
Buy It: Ticket to Ride, $45
Move your four pawns around the board and safely navigate them home again in the game of Sorry. All pawns begin in their respective start spaces, and players take turns drawing from a deck of 44 cards to see what the pawn’s next move might be. Sorry is a competition, and there are two ways to set back your opponents. Similar to the game Trouble, if you land on a space that is already occupied by another player’s pawn, that pawn is sent back to the start. The second way to create a setback is by drawing one of the deck’s four “Sorry” cards. If this happens, you can select any one of your opponents’ pawns to return to start, except a pawn in a safety zone. Win by being the first to get all four of your pawns home. Psst! A scoring system exists if you wish to play multiple rounds of this game.
Buy It: Sorry!, $9
We love that there’s no limit to how many people can play the fun game of Yahtzee, the dice game where it’s all up to the luck of the roll. Each round, players receive three opportunities to roll up to five dice. After each roll, you can evaluate the dice and choose which, if any, you want to roll again. You are looking for a pattern that will work for one of the 13 possible Yahtzee categories. At the end of your turn, choose which category you will use for that round and tally the score accordingly. You can only use a category once per game, so choose carefully. If you land all five dice on the same number, it’s called a yahtzee (feel free to shout it out). At 50 points, a Yahtzee is the highest possible score you can roll. Play up to 13 rounds and then tally your scores; the player with the highest score wins.
Buy It: Yahtzee, $8
Nothing gets the party going like an invigorating game that prompts players to shout, act, and strategize on the fly.
Pictionary is a party game suitable for players of all ages. Teams take turns drawing and guessing as many words or phrases as possible in a timed round. You might think a game of drawing sounds easy, but this game can be more difficult than it seems. The path on the Pictionary game board is comprised of different colored squares, each denoting a different level of difficulty for a word on the corresponding game card. Players take turns drawing things like “buck teeth” and “sand trap” for their teammates to guess. Play using the board and be the first team to make it all the way to the finish line, or ditch the board altogether and play just for the laughs.
Buy It: Pictionary, $11
37. Apples to Apples
We dare you to try and keep a straight face during a game of Apples to Apples. This clever party game will have everyone laughing out loud. Each box contains a set of green apple cards, which have adjectives on them, and a set of red apple cards, which have nouns on them. Each round, a new player gets to be the judge and presents a green apple card to the group. The rest of the players select one of the red apple cards from their hands to play. Sometimes the nouns match the adjectives perfectly, sometimes they make no sense at all, and sometimes they are downright hysterical. Once everyone has contributed a red card, the judge chooses a favorite. Depending on your group you could play just for fun, or designate a set number of rounds and see who can play the most winning cards in that time.
Buy It: Apples to Apples: $14
Scattergories is a fun list-making game that requires thinking fast. The idea of the game is to come up with creative answers to 12 different categories—things like TV shows, U.S. presidents, vegetables, or types of sandwiches—in a short period of time. At the start of each round, you roll a 20-sided letter die which decides the letter that every answer must begin with. Then you set the sand timer and get going! When the time is up, players compare their answers with one another. If the same answer appears on more than one list it gets crossed off, but a player receives one point for each unique word. The winner is the player who has the most points after three rounds. (Or more, if you’re having too much fun.)
Buy It: Scattergories, $17
In this fast-paced game, players try to get their teammates to say the word on an electronic disc without actually saying that word or any variations of it. The disc has some 10,000 words stored in it. Play the “everything” category which will pull one of those words at random, or select one of the 10 different categories for a smaller pool of words with a central theme. Get your teammates to say a word and then quickly pass the disc to the opposite team. This process continues, passing the disc from team to team until the round ends. A timer embedded in the disc gradually beeps faster and faster until it abruptly sounds a loud buzz, signaling the end of a round. Move fast! You don’t want the disc to buzz in your hands.
Buy It: Catchphrase, $24
Taboo is the game of forbidden words. In Taboo, your goal is to get your teammate to say the word written on one of the game cards without saying that word or any of the “taboo” words also listed with it. Try and get through as many cards as possible in the given time. Your team will get one point for each card correctly guessed, but you will lose one point every time you say one of the taboo words. A one-minute hourglass and a buzzer button will be in the possession of the opposing team during your round. Your opponents, no doubt, will delight in shouting “time’s up!” the second the last grain of sand falls through the dial and pressing the buzzer any time you slip up and utter one of the taboo words.
Buy It: Taboo, $15
41. Speak Out
This game is a riot to play at parties. Ellen DeGeneres plays it with guests on her TV show, so you know it’s good. In Speak Out, players read a phrase from one of the game cards while wearing a special mouthpiece that makes it hard to enunciate. Have your group form teams and take turns trying to guess the phrase on a game card. You can read the phrase as many times as you want or try and provide clues, but it will only help if your teammates can understand what you’re saying. Try to get through as many cards as possible in the given time. Each game comes with 10 dishwasher-safe mouthpieces, but you can buy additional packs of mouthpieces if you have a big crowd. A friendly suggestion: Keep some napkins or paper towels handy to wipe up your drool.
Buy It: Speak Out, $15
This game, which is perfect for four players, is based off of the popular ’60s game show of the same name. In Password, one player on each team knows the secret word and gives a one-word clue to his or her teammate. If the first team doesn’t get the answer after one clue, then the second team is allowed to give a clue and try to solve the password. This continues until the secret word is finally guessed or until 10 clues have been given, whichever comes first. Every password starts with a point value of 10, but decreases by one point with each clue given. Play 10 secret words for a total of five rounds, and at the end, the team with the highest score wins. Think you can you guess the password?
Buy It: Password, $16
43. Mad Gab
Have you ever repeated a word over and over again until it sounds like it’s not even a word? The goofy game of Mad Gab is like the reverse of that. If you repeat a strange series of words enough times, they actually sound like a common word or phrase. The game contains cards with 800 words and phrases on them in “Mad Gab” language that will have you scratching your head as you try and figure out just what the heck a card is trying to say. Teams are given two minutes to sound out three cards, and if they can’t solve one of the puzzles, a designated “stealer” on the opposing team may steal that point. Enjoy playing this game where everyone sounds silly.
Buy It: Mad Gab, $15
These multi-player games combine strategy, wit, and humor. Play them at a party or bring them to a brewery to enjoy in a lively setting.
44. Trivial Pursuit
Baby zebras are born without stripes. True or false? Put your knowledge to the test with the classic game of Trivial Pursuit. There are more than 2,000 questions covering sports & leisure, science & nature, art & culture, geography, entertainment, and history in this ultimate game of trivia. Players travel around the wheel-shaped game board and answer questions from the different categories. Colored squares along the game path denote which category to pull from. If you answer a question right, you get to go again. Collect one pie-shape game piece when you land on each category hub, then be the first player to make it to the center of the board where you must answer one final question to win. If you don’t feel like getting out the board, you can always just answer the questions for fun.
Buy It: Trivial Pursuit: $21
Four new diseases have broken out across the globe and are threatening life on earth. It’s up to you to save humanity in Pandemic. No pressure. In this game, each player assumes the role of a different member of a top-notch disease control team. Players jet across a map of the world depicted on the game board treating the diseases, building research centers, and working to find a cure before another outbreak occurs. You can also share knowledge with another member of the team, but only if you are in same city. The concept of Pandemic requires all players to work together rather than compete, which makes this a unique game. If you and your fellow disease control teammates can save the world, then everybody wins.
Buy It: Pandemic, $36
The premise of this chip and card game is simple: Play a card from your hand and place a chip on the corresponding square. But there’s some strategy involved, too. In sequence, each card from two 52-card decks is represented on the game board. Players take turns playing a card from their hands and then placing a chip on one of the spaces that matches that card. Get five of your team’s chips in a row, whether horizontal, vertical, or diagonal, and you have a sequence. The first team to create two sequences wins. Pay close attention to the moves of the opposing team. If you see an opportunity to place a chip and block them from getting a sequence, you might want to take it. Sequence is like a grown-up version of Connect Four.
Buy It: Sequence, $17
Welcome to the beautiful, resource-rich island of Catan. In this award-winning game, you and your fellow players are settlers on the island working to build up your settlements and cities. Different parts of the island provide different resources and you will have to barter and trade with your opponents to get what you need. The game board is made up of 19 different hexagonal tiles that allow for a different layout each time, so no two games are the same. Accrue victory points for various cultural achievements—for example, 1 point for a settlement, 2 points for having the largest army. Players keep their victory cards concealed during play to throw off opponents as the first one to reach 10 victory points wins. Catan is a game of strategy that is suitable for both adults and older kids.
Buy It: Catan, $44
Dominion is a Medieval-themed deck-building game where players compete to acquire the most valuable cards. Each game contains 500 cards. There are no other game pieces involved besides the cards, and most of the cards indicate how they can be used, making this a relatively quick game to learn. Each player starts with the same 10 cards and then works to build up his or her own deck. There are cards that dictate which actions can be made during your turn, there are treasure cards that are used as currency, and there are victory cards, which score you points at the end of the game. Game play ends once the last victory card has been purchased or three or more stacks run out of cards. The player with the highest number of victory points wins. Dominion is approachable for older kids but equally fun for adults.
Buy It: Dominion, $29
Cribbage is a math-based game of strategy that has been around for centuries. To play, you just need a deck of cards and a cribbage board. There are a number of rules to play and scoring, so the game might move slow when you are first starting. If you can, pick up the rules from a (very patient) experienced player, or learn to play with a fellow newbie. Cribbage is great for two players but can accommodate up to four. The game consists of a series of rounds where players strategically play cards in their hand to score certain points. The cribbage board keeps track of the score, as players move their pegs along the path. To win, be the first player to score 121 points.
Buy It: Cribbage, $11
50. Cards Against Humanity
Don’t try to be prim and proper while playing Cards Against Humanity. The game consists of black cards that have open-ended statements and questions on them and white cards that have a variety of funny, inappropriate, and weird words and phrases on them. Each round, a new player gets to act as the judge and plays one of the open-ended black cards. Everyone else then selects one of the white phrase cards from their hands and submits them to the judge. The judge shuffles the white cards and reads them aloud to the group before selecting a favorite. This laugh-out-loud game is adults-only for a reason. Play simply for the laughter that is sure to ensue, or award points for each winning white card to see who is the best at being bad.
Buy It: Cards Against Humanity, $25