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Best Overall: Sequence Game at Amazon
"Easy to learn, inclusive for all ages, and endlessly fun."
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Catan 5th Edition at Amazon
"Collect resources and build settlements across an island."
Best Team Game: Codenames at Amazon
"Guess the identity of secret agents with help from your teammates."
Best for Kids: Richard Scarry's Busytown, Eye Found It at Amazon
"A blast for younger children, and a great way to foster a collaborative spirit."
Best Cooperative Game: Pandemic Board Game at Amazon
"You must work as a team to cure widespread diseases."
Best Word Game: Scrabble at Amazon
"Fun for children who are learning to spell and working on their vocabulary."
Best Classic: Monopoly Board Game The Classic Edition at Amazon
"This classic board game has all the original pieces."
Best Mystery: Clue Game at Amazon
"If you’re looking for a dark guessing game this is a great purchase!"
Best Funny: Googly Eyes Showdown at Walmart
"This Googly Eyes game is so much fun, you won’t be able to see straight."
Best Competitive: Sorry! at Amazon
"It requires a mixture of luck and strategy to win."
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 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.
Best Overall: Sequence Game
You may not have heard of the Sequence Game before, but this card-based strategy game is sure to become a family favorite. The best of both worlds, this board game is easy enough for kids to learn and tricky enough to keep adults on their toes.
You can play the Sequence Game individually or in teams, and is recommended for kids ages seven and up. Here’s 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 easily one of the best family board games, 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!
"This game offers an alluring combination of luck, variables, stealth, and strategy that had my kids and me hooked."—Sarah Vanbuskirk, Product Tester
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Catan 5th Edition
If you regularly have family game nights, you should definitely add Catan into your arsenal of party 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 hexagonal 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 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.
"Finding [game] options that please (and are appropriate for) each of my five kids is a major consideration for me. Catan is designed for ages 10 and up. I sometimes include my littler players (my 7 and 9 year olds) by teaming up with them. The strategic thinking needed to decide when and what to buy is somewhat sophisticated, giving more mature players a leg up on younger ones."—Sarah Vanbuskirk, Product Tester
Best Team Game: Codenames
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, 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.
"While it’s nice to have the option to play as a duo (especially for younger players who require a slower pace), we found that this version eliminates the competitive component, giving no urgency to the guessing part and no suspense to the outcome."—Sarah Vanbuskirk, Product Tester
Best for Kids: Richard Scarry's Busytown, Eye Found It
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 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!
Still can't decide on what you want? Our round-up of the best board games for kids can help you find what you're looking for.
"The game goes by in a flash (I’d say from less than five to about 15 minutes at the longest), but it’s conducive to repeated sessions. Each time my kids and I have taken the game out, we have played four or five times in a row."—Sarah Vanbuskirk, Product Tester
Best Cooperative Game: Pandemic Board Game
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, the best family board game 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 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.
Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best cooperative games.
"It sounds confusing—and it is. In fact, the steep learning curve is the major drawback of this game. However, this is where the co-operative nature of this game really shines. If just one or two of the players know how to play, they can help the other players get up to speed as the game moves along."—Sarah Vanbuskirk, Product Tester
Best Word Game: Scrabble
Scrabble reigns as one of the best word-based board games. This highly-rated classic can get pretty competitive with seasoned players, but it’s also a lot of fun with children who are learning to spell and working on their vocabulary.
This family game is designed for players eight and up, and there can be two to four players per round. However, don’t be afraid to team up, especially if you’re playing with younger kids! Scrabble comes with a game board, 100 wooden letter tiles, 4 tile racks, 1 drawstring letter bag, and game guide. To start the game, each player draws a certain number of tiles, and then players take turns creating words on the board, building off existing words and earning points for each letter. You can increase your points by landing on designated spaces for double or triple word or letter scores.
Scrabble has been around for many years, and it’s sure to be popular for many more, thanks to its simple, yet addicting gameplay. This board game is exciting for players of all ages, making it a must-have for your family’s game collection.
Still can't decide on what you want? Our round-up of the best word games can help you find what you're looking for.
Best Classic: Monopoly Board Game The Classic Edition
If you’re in the mood for a highly competitive, 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 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.
Best Mystery: Clue Game
In the mood for a brainbuster? The Clue Game is another family favorite, letting you solve the murder in the mansion in a suspense-filled gameplay. Was it Colonel Mustard in the kitchen with the candlestick? Or Miss Scarlet with the revolver in the lounge? The only way to find out is to play!
This highly-rated board game is for kids eight and up, and you can play with two to six players. The Clue Game comes with several props, including the gameboard, six tokens, six miniature weapons, 30 cards, a case file envelope, a pad of detective notebook sheets, dice and, of course, a game guide. During each turn, you can explore the mansion, coming up with theories on who the murderer is and what weapon they used. Other players can then disprove your theories until someone finally figures out the crime.
The Clue Game is a hit among reviewers, who say solving murder mysteries never gets old. If you’re looking for a dark guessing game that your family can really get into, this is a great purchase!
Best Funny: Googly Eyes Showdown
This Googly Eyes game is so much fun, you won’t be able to see straight… literally. Do your eyes deceive you? Why yes they will as you don vision-altering glasses then try to draw something the other players can recognize. It sounds easier than it is, and the resulting artwork and guesses are hilarious.
Players roll dice to see which level of lens they must wear (they range from mildly altering to those that majorly mess with your eyes) and draw a card to determine what they must draw. Then the timer starts ticking. If your team guesses correctly, you get to go again. If not, the next team is up. First one to the finish line wins.
Recommended for ages 7 and up, 4 to 16 players can play at a time, so it’s great for big groups and parties. Customers who have purchased the game say it serves up scads of silly fun.
Best Competitive: Sorry!
Take family game night to a whole new level with this super-competitive board game. Sorry! is known to get players riled up, as you can bump competitors back to the starting line as you race to get your all pawns into the safety zone.
Sorry! is perfect for players ages six and up, and there’s room for up to four people in each game. It comes with a gameboard, 12 pawns, 45 cards, two power-up tokens, and instructions. During each turn, you’ll draw cards and navigate around the board with your color-coded pawns. The object is to get all your pawns to safety, but beware —other players can bump you back to start, forcing you to begin all over! Sorry! requires a mixture of luck and strategy, making it a fun, unpredictable game for the whole family.
Reviewers love this classic board game, which comes with several new add-ons. However, you can always play it the “old way” if you like those rules better!
Best for All Ages: Candy Land Nostalgia Tin
Candy Land is a classic for a reason: It’s fun for everyone. Even the littlest kids who can’t count or read yet can play this sugarlicious game of chance. The race to the castle is on, but there are some sweet (and not-so-sweet) surprises along the way.
While there have been plenty of updated twists on Candy Land (My Little Pony Candy Land, anyone?), this set keeps things classic. Modeled after the original 1962 version, it’s a step back in time, but it still has all the same basics (four gingerbread men and colorful cards) that we’ve all played with in recent years. This version also comes with a nostalgic tin box that holds the board and all the pieces and looks great displayed on a shelf until it’s game time.
Best “Real Life”: The Game of Life
Ever dream of becoming a secret agent or having a huge family? Well, in The Game of Life, you can reinvent your life for an hour—creating a new, exciting story for yourself as you navigate around the board. This family board game is a classic, and it’s sure keep to your whole crew entertained no matter how many times you play it.
The Game of Life is best for players ages eight and up, and you’ll need two to four people for each game. During every turn, you’ll spin the colorful wheel, then navigate around the board, making choices for your pretend life. For instance, you can choose to go to college to expand your career options or forego higher education and jump right into a job. As play continues, you’ll be able to buy and sell houses, get married and start a family, and achieve lots of other interesting accomplishments.
This family game comes with a gameboard, spinner, cards, Spin to Win tokens, cars, pegs, money pack, and game guide. It’s a tried-and-true family favorite, as you’ll be able to create an alternative life for yourself every time you play!
Number of players How many people do you expect will be playing your game at once? This is important to consider since some games are better suited for two players while others can accommodate eight or more. If you have a big family or like to entertain a crowd, pick a game that supports a larger number of players.
Difficulty Some games require more critical thinking than others, which could be a challenge for younger players. Plenty of options can be engaging for people of all ages, though — just pay attention to a game’s age rating to determine if its difficulty level will suit your situation.
Time Playing time is another factor to consider. Our list contains both shorter games that require your quick-thinking abilities and others that test your problem-solving skills over a number of hours — just think about which is the best fit for you!