The 11 Best Family Board Games of 2021

Clear off the table and gather everyone around for some lively, screen-free fun

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Our Top Picks
Test your strategic thinking skills with this fun adventure game. It's easy to learn, fast-paced, and highly interactive.
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Made for up to four players, this makes a great game option for an intimate or smaller group.
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Best for Large Families:
Inspiration Play Double Ditto at Amazon
Up to ten players can partake in this fast-paced, hilarious game. Since it tests critical thinking skills, it's best suited for older kids.
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Little kids will love racing all over Busytown with this board game. It's supposed to help develop critical skills like teamwork.
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Made for explorers at heart, this game tests your problem solving and strategic thinking skills. It's perfect for older kids 10 and up.
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A magical maze game made for fantasy lovers: The brand says it's curated to help sharpen your memory skills.
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Players will have to engage heavy critical thinking and planning to succeed in Catan.
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Because players are on the same team, it's a great option for siblings and cousins of various ages and learning levels.
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Packed with trivia questions for all ages and generations, this is a game all members of the family can enjoy.
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Get your brain pumping with this creative, dinosaur-themed take on the classic Clue game.
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A good family board game is more than just for hosting a game night—it can also strengthen the family bond, create lasting memories and encourage cognitive skills along the way.

"Choosing one best family board game is a tough challenge," says ​​Erik Arneson, a game expert and the author of How to Host a Game Night. But as he explains, the best options are usually suitable for a range of ages, meaning younger players can easily pick up the rules, and also entertaining enough for adults.

Cardner Clark, store manager of Guardian Games in Portland, Oregon, weighs in. "When I'm looking for a family game, I want something that's both easy to learn and can be played again and again," he says. In addition to the recommended age range, you'll want to consider the type of game (cooperative, strategy, mystery, guessing, drawing, trivia, etc.), along with the required number of players and time commitment. With pointers from these experts in mind, we rounded up standout picks in every category.

Here, the best family board games to play with your loved ones.

Best Overall: Days of Wonder Ticket To Ride

ticket-to-ride

Type: Strategy | Age Range: 8 and up | Number of Players: 2-5 players | Playing Time: 30-60 minutes

What We Like
  • Easy to learn

  • Competitive

  • Award-winning

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

Clark is a big fan of Ticket to Ride, and we can see why. This adventurous family board game involves collecting cards with the goal of claiming cross-country railroad routes and connecting cities throughout North America. Since there are multiple ways to score and win, players can use creativity and careful planning skills to gain the most points.

"What starts as a fun puzzle of matching colors to build train routes can get cutthroat when you block someone's path," says Clark. The fast-paced, award-winning game can be picked up by players 8 and up in just a few minutes and encourages strategic thinking.

Best for Small Families: Hasbro Gaming Sorry! Board Game

Hasbro Gaming Sorry!

Type: Strategy | Age Range: 6 and up | Number of Players: 2-4 players | Playing Time: 15 minutes

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Easy to learn

  • Nostalgic

What We Don't Like
  • Only three pawns per color

If your family is on the smaller side, you can't go wrong with Hasbro's classic game of Sorry! It's a great way to bring back memories for some players, while creating new ones for the youngest ones. In this unpredictable game, players take turns sending other players back at the starting point. It comes with a board, 12 pawns, and 44 cards. Since the game calls for two to four players, it is ideal for intimate groups—plus kids as young as 6 can pick it up.

Best for Large Families: Inspiration Play Double Ditto

Inspiration Play Double Ditto

Type: Card | Age Range: 10 and up | Number of Players: 4-10 players | Playing Time: 20-30 minutes

What We Like
  • Up to 20 players

  • Easy to learn

  • Award-winning

What We Don't Like
  • Somewhat repetitive

The next time you head to a bigger outing like a family reunion, you should definitely consider bringing Double Ditto. It can be played with as many as 20 people and is easy to learn for anyone about 9 and older. Players race against the clock to think of answers to various category questions while hoping to match their responses to other players.' We like that this board game encourages quick thinking, clever wit, and creativity.

Best for Younger Kids: Wonder Forge Richard Scarry's Busytown, Eye Found It

Wonder Forge Richard Scarry's Busytown, Eye Found It

Type: Cooperative | Age Range: 4 and up | Number of Players: 2-4 players | Playing Time: 20 minutes

What We Like
  • Ages 3 and up

  • Easy to learn

  • Cooperative

What We Don't Like
  • Requires lots of space

  • Four-player maximum

Super easy to learn with almost no teaching required, Busytown is ideal for younger children. It comes with a jumbo game board, plus a variety of movers, bases, tokens, and tiles. Note that because it's on the larger side, you're going to need a bigger play space to lay the game on. This cooperative game is recommended for ages 3 and up, but you can expect adults to enjoy themselves too.

Best for Older Kids: Gamewright Forbidden Island

Forbidden Island

Type: Strategy | Age Range: 10 and up | Number of Players: 2-4 players | Playing Time: Not listed

What We Like
  • Cooperative

  • Award-winning

  • Encourages problem-solving

What We Don't Like
  • Four-player maximum

Forbidden Island comes highly recommended by both Arneson and Clark. "It's a cooperative game where everyone works together to rescue artifacts from a sinking island—and then gets to the helicopter before it's too late," says Arneson.

Suggested for ages 10 and up, this adventurous board game encourages older kids to use their problem-solving and strategic skills. "It comes with different challenge levels," adds Clark. "Once you master the easy mode, that's just the beginning!"

Best Fantasy: Dirk Baumann The Magic Labyrinth

Dirk Baumann The Magic Labyrinth

Type: Fantasy | Age Range: 6 and up | Number of Players: 2-4 players | Playing Time: 15 minutes

What We Like
  • Easy to learn

  • Quick playing time

  • Fun for all ages

What We Don't Like
  • Not very sturdy

  • Four-player maximum

When it comes to family board games, Arneson appreciates The Magic Labyrinth because it's easy to understand without being boring for adults. This whimsical game can be picked up by kiddos as young as 6 and is super engaging for players of all ages. It's an invisible maze and you have to watch out—if you hit a wall, you have to return to the starting point. Each game takes about 15 minutes of play time.

Best Strategy: Catan Strategy Board Game: 5th Edition

Settlers of Catan 5th Edition Board Game

Type: Strategy | Age Range: 10 and up | Number of Players: 3-6 players | Playing Time: 60-90 minutes

What We Like
  • Creative concept

  • Strategic

  • High-quality pieces

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Not ideal for younger kids

If you appreciate a good strategy game, we think you'll love Catan. Encouraging problem-solving skills and explorative tactics, there's a reason this compelling and addictive game is a cult classic.

While it's not recommended for younger children and takes a little while for beginners to pick up, Greg May, founder and CEO of The Uncommons board game cafe, likes the educational aspect of Catan.

"Catan doesn’t feel like school, but it definitely teaches about the importance and consequences of access to resources, odds, the snowballing effect of luck (or lack thereof) on human success, migration, bartering, and other economic issues. The game also hones decision-making and tactical thinking." — Sarah Vanbuskirk, Product Tester

Best Cooperative: Peaceable Kingdom Cauldron Quest

Peaceable Kingdom Cauldron Quest

Type: Cooperative | Age Range: 6 and up | Number of Players: 2-4 players | Playing Time: Not listed

What We Like
  • Cooperative

  • Fun for all ages

  • Quick playing time

What We Don't Like
  • Four-player maximum

Created for magic-lovers aged 6 and up, Cauldron Quest is all about breaking a wizard's spell while searching for ingredients for a mysterious potion. Kids and adults alike will have fun honing their problem-solving skills while cooperating with one another to save the kingdom. What's more, each game only takes about 20 minutes to complete.

Best Trivia: What Do You Meme? All of Us Family Trivia Game

What Do You Meme? All of Us Family Trivia Game

Type: Trivia | Age Range: 12 and up | Number of Players: 4+ players | Playing Time: Not listed

What We Like
  • Transcends generations

  • Good for bigger groups

  • Travel-friendly

What We Don't Like
  • Not ideal for younger kids

Depending on when the cards were printed, trivia can sometimes feel unfair—but that's not the case with All of Us. Boasting nearly 600 cards with questions aimed at Baby Boomers, Gen Zers, and generations in between, anyone 12 or older can expect to know a good portion of the answers. We also appreciate that you can play with larger groups.

Best Guessing: Restoration Games Dinosaur Tea Party

Restoration Games Dinosaur Tea Party

Type: Guessing | Age Range: 7 and up | Number of Players: 3-5 players | Playing Time: 30 minutes

What We Like
  • Silly

  • Quick playing time

  • Encourages deductive reasoning

What We Don't Like
  • Five-player maximum

Arneson is a big fan of the guessing game Dinosaur Tea Party. Recommended for ages 7 and up, players take turns questioning one another to figure out everyone's hidden prehistoric identity. We like that this silly game is fun for all ages, is educational, and encourages deductive reasoning. It's definitely an ideal choice for players who puzzles, problem solving, and mystery.

Best Drawing: USAOPOLY Telestrations

Telestrations Telephone Game

Type: Drawing | Age Range: 12 and up | Number of Players: 8 players | Playing Time: 30-60 minutes

What We Like
  • Engaging

  • Funny

  • Award-winning

What We Don't Like
  • Poor-quality drawing materials

Players will laugh for hours when participating in a game of Telestrations. This drawing game comes in a few different versions, though the 6-Player Family Pack is perfect for relatives of all ages.

A goofy take on the classic games of Pictionary and Telephone, it comes with over 800 words, along with drawing materials. And as Arneson points out, "No artistic skill is needed!"

Final Verdict

The best family board game is Ticket to Ride (view at Amazon), a fast-paced and competitive game that's easy to learn but also engaging for all ages. We like that it encourages strategic thinking and fosters a sense of adventure. However, if you're looking for something that allows for several players, your best bet is Double Ditto (view at Amazon), an award-winning board game that can be played with up to 20 people.

What to Look for in a Family Board Game

Type

When shopping around for family board games, you'll notice there are various types to choose from. This includes strategy, cooperative, trivia, drawing, and guessing games, along with different themes, such as mystery, fantasy, and adventure.

Age Range

Before buying a family board game, make sure to check the recommended age range. "The best family games work well with a variety of ages, meaning that younger players can understand the rules and take part, while older players are not bored out of their minds," says Arneson.

Number of Players

The other thing to consider about board games is the minimum and maximum number of players. Most games call for at least two players, though some require three or more. Additionally, some board games cap out at five players, while others can be played with anywhere from eight to 20 or more people.

Playing Time

We also recommend looking at the playing time for each board game. Some games, strategy in particular, can take upwards of 60 minutes to play. On the other hand, lots of options are much less time-consuming, taking as little as 15 minutes to complete.

Why Trust The Spruce?

Theresa Holland is a freelance content creator specializing in consumer goods, parenting, and lifestyle. Before writing this story, she interviewed three game experts who provided specific recommendations and insight into the most important qualities of a family board game. She pored over reviews and considered the playing time, recommended age range, and number of players before making her selections, all of which are easy to learn and fun for adults and kids alike. Theresa loves board games and has played several hands of Telestrations, Sorry!, and Double Ditto over the years. She has been contributing to The Spruce since 2019, where she covers recreation, travel, family products.

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Stephenson, P., 2019. Benefits of Playing Board Games - Bucks County Free Library. [online] Bucks County Free Library. Available at: <https://buckslib.org/benefits-of-playing-board-games/> [Accessed 27 September 2021].

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