The 8 Best Family Board Games to Buy in 2017

Bring everyone together for a night of fun and laughs

Young family playing game and eating popcorn in living room
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When you think of board games, classics like Monopoly, the Game of Life and Scrabble probably come to mind. However, there are hundreds of amazing family board games beyond these big-name titles, and you’re missing out if you haven’t tried them.

Today’s most popular board games are incredibly diverse. There are games designed for just a few people and others that can be played by large groups. Some games are all about strategy and critical thinking, while others come down to pure luck. Gameplay...MORE can range anywhere from a few minutes to a few days, but there’s one thing all these games have in common: They’re incredibly fun! Here are some of the best family board games to buy right now.

  • 01 of 08

    You may not have heard of the Sequence Game before, but this card-based strategy game is sure to become a family favorite. This board game is easy enough for kids to learn and tricky enough to keep adults on their toes, and people love it so much that it has more than 1,400 5-star reviews on Amazon!

    You can play the Sequence Game individually or in teams — the game is recommended for kids ages seven and up, but many reviewers say younger children enjoy playing when paired with an adult. Here’s...MORE how it works: Each player or team gets a hand of standard playing cards, and during each turn, they put down one card and cover the corresponding spot on the game board with a chip. The objective is to get five chips in a row, and each round usually takes 10 to 30 minutes.

    The Sequence Game is a great family board game, as it’s easy to learn, inclusive for all ages, and endlessly fun. This board game requires a combination of strategy and luck, and your family is sure to get increasingly competitive the more you play!

  • 02 of 08

    If you regularly have family game nights, you should definitely add Catan into your arsenal of board games. This adventure-based game is perfect for three or four players over the age of eight, who will all battle to collect resources and build settlements on the island of Catan.

    The Catan board game comes with 19 hexagon tiles that make up the playing board. These tiles are arranged randomly at the beginning of each game, so no two games are ever the same! At the start, each player gets...MORE color-coded settlement, road and city pieces, and the overall goal is to collect resource cards to build structures around the island. Players earn “victory points” as they build various structures, and the first player to 10 points wins!

    The premise of the game is relatively straightforward, but there are a lot of rules and obstacles that make the game fun — players can trade resource cards, sabotage each other with the robber game piece and more as they race to become the conqueror of Catan.

  • 03 of 08

    For a fast-paced team game, check out Codenames. The premise of this board game is to guess the identity of “secret agents” with help from your team’s spymaster, and the word play will keep both kids and adults challenged and entertained through multiple rounds.

    You can play Codenames with four or more people broken up into two teams. There are 25 cards on the table, each representing the two team’s secret agents; however, only each team’s spymaster knows which cards are which. During gameplay,...MORE the spymaster gives one-word clues to their team, helping them pick the right “agents” and avoid the other team’s cards. For instance, if the secret agent’s card reads “dog,” the spymaster might give the clue “pets.”

    Gameplay typically moves quickly, finishing in around 15 minutes. This fast pace lets you switch up teams or demand a rematch — which might be necessary if things get competitive.

  • 04 of 08

    If you’re in the mood for a highly competitive, cult-classic board game, the obvious choice is Monopoly. This Classic Edition of the famous board game has all the original pieces, including money, houses, hotels, silver game pieces and more, and it’s sure to be a hit with both new and experienced players.

    A refresher on the rules: In Monopoly, two to eight players start at GO, rolling the dice and moving around the board. You can purchase empty properties that you land on, but if someone else...MORE owns the space, you have to pay them rent. Build houses and hotels to charge higher rents, and don’t forget to collect $200 as you pass by GO! The game is over when you own enough properties to bankrupt all your opponents.

    A game of Monopoly usually lasts a few hours, and it can definitely bring out people’s competitive spirit. This all-time favorite family board game deserves a home in every game lover’s collection.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Want a game that’s just for the kids? Richard Scarry's Busytown, Eye Found It is a highly rated kids board game, designed for children ages three and up. Using the six-foot game board, kids will work their way to Picnic Island, searching for hidden objects in an I-Spy style challenge.

    You can have up to four players in each round of Eye Found It, which is designed to encourage collaboration between players. On each turn, kids will spin the spinner, which tells them to move a certain number of...MORE spaces or solve a “Goldbug Mystery.” When it’s time to tackle a mystery, all the players work together to search for certain objects on the game board — balloons, fire hydrants, etc. If they find five objects before time runs out, they can move five spaces. The goal is to make it all the way to Picnic Island, where a pair of hungry pigs are eating all the food.

    Richard Scarry's Busytown, Eye Found It is a blast for younger children, and it’s a great way to foster a collaborative spirit during playtime!

  • 06 of 08

    This Tetris-like board game will put your family’s spatial reasoning and critical thinking skills to the test. The Blokus Board Game just has one rule — your game pieces have to touch at the corners — but there are endless possibilities as you claim territory and block your opponents on the board.

    Blokus can be played with two to four people, and everyone starts out with 21 color-coded game pieces that are shaped like Tetris bricks. Players take turns putting pieces on the board, and the only...MORE rule is that your pieces can only touch at the corners. The object of the game is to put as many of your shapes down as possible while blocking other players from putting down their pieces. One game usually takes around 30 minutes, and the winner is whoever managed to put down the most pieces. It sounds simple, but Blokus is surprisingly challenging and addicting!

    In addition to providing hours of fun, Blokus will exercise and strengthen your critical thinking skills — which is why it won a Mensa award for promoting brain activity.

  • 07 of 08

    This popular train adventure board game is based on the movie Around the World in 80 Days, but even those who aren’t familiar with the story will love racing across the country with their trains. Two to five people ages eight and up can play Ticket to Ride, which includes 225 colored train pieces and a board that outlines the major train routes in North America.

    The idea of this family board game is to visit the most cities with your trains. Players collect and play train cards to claim various...MORE routes, trying to block other players as you make your way across the country. You can earn extra points by connecting distant cities or building the longest continuous railway, and the game ends when someone runs out of trains. It usually takes an hour or so to complete a game of Ticket to Ride.

    If you’re looking for a fun family board game with a story behind it, Ticket to Ride will keep your family occupied for hours and maybe even teach them a little about geography!

  • 08 of 08

    One of the latest crazes in board games is cooperative play, where participants work together toward a goal instead of competing against one another. If you’re looking for a cooperative activity for your family, your best bet is Pandemic, an apocalyptic board game where players must stop the spread of diseases to save the world.

    In a cooperative board game, you all win or you all lose. In Pandemic, several life-threatening diseases are spreading across the world, and you must work as a team to...MORE find the cure. Each player is assigned a character, such as a scientist or operation specialist, and has unique strengths that they contribute to the group. During each turn, players can move around the world, share information, treat infections and work towards a cure, but the epidemics spread just as quickly so you need to work efficiently. If you want an extra challenge, you can make the game harder by starting out with a greater number of diseases on the board.

    Because the rules are a little complicated and there’s a lot of strategy involved, Pandemic is recommended for teenagers and adults. However, once your family gets the hang of it, they’ll be addicted to the intense cooperative gameplay.       

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