Board games are one of my favorite ways to spend time with family. There are a few reasons for this aside from the fact that board games are just loads of fun! A fun story, playing, a winner? And a great way to bond and spend time with people you care about. Plus, you always learn something about a person when you spend this much time with them. What else could a gal want? More and more board games are released every day, and it’s soon becoming one of America’s favorite past times. So join the group! Check out our Family Board Games List.
1 – Dixit
Dixit is the ULTIMATE family game. Fun and lighthearted, Dixit also requires skill, logic, creativity, and intuition. Between 3-6 people can play at a time and to start, each player receives 6 cards with artwork on them. These cards can be specific or abstract and player’s take turns giving hints about their cards. Players wants to give a good clue describing their card, however, don’t want to make it so obvious, as all of the other players will also throw in a card that they believe best resembles your hint. The catch? No one knows whose card is whose. Players guess which card is yours (you don’t guess this turn) and those who guess your card correctly and whose own cards are guessed by others, receive points. Incredibly creative and savvy. This is our #1 Recommendation for a Family Board Game. Check the price – Dixit.
“The best light-hearted and fun game the whole family can enjoy”
2 – When I Dream
When I Dream gives Dixit a pretty good run for its money. This intriguing game is slightly more complex, requiring more skill. While the themes are similar, when playing, When I Dream, players must put on a sleep eye mask, as to simulate a person going to sleep, but also to hide the cards in front of them. The group gives hints about the cards; fairies will help you, but the boogeyman will try to throw you off track. Collect points at the end of the game for guessing correctly and for remembering your guesses. As it plays 4-10, it’s our #1 recommendation for Best Big Family Board Game. Check Price – When I Dream.
Time to Learn: 20-25 minutes Level: Beginner to Intermediate
“You won’t regret playing this, great for big groups.”
3 – Reef
A new game for 2018, Reef is a great family game because it’s easy to learn, dynamic enough to be interesting, and has a fun theme in addition to tactile pieces and a spatial element. Players must build their reef using 4 different colored tokens, that may stack on top of each other. Using cards to select which tokens to take, and which shapes to form (both vertically and horizontally) for points, players have to maneuver and strategize in many ways to ultimately come out ahead. Immersive and good for a range of players, Reef plays 2-4 players. Check the price – Reef.
“This game will win over your hearts with a fun theme and tons of engagement”
4 – Codenames
Codenames is a great family game. Like Dixit, Codenames also requires logic, creativity, and intuition however that’s where the similarity between the games end as Codenames is a an intricate word and picture game involving hints and an ‘assassin’ card. To play, 25 cards with a wide range of graphics are laid out face up. Each team must guess all of their cards correctly to win. Each team selects a Spymaster to gives hints about the cards, and hints must be one word and one number. The word describes the cards and the number refers to how many cards are related to the word hint. Between 4-8 players can be on opposing teams, and you can also find the 2 player version Codenames Duet on our best 2 player board games list.
“A must have — Winner of the 2016 Spiel des Jahres for best board game of the year”
5 – Camel Up
Camel Up is a classic and utterly fun, entertaining, and exciting family game with ups and downs and twists and turns! This game is especially fun for those that like excitement with a little probability and friendly wagering. To play, 5 camels go around a short race track, however, camels can go on top of each other which changes the camel order with each roll of the die. There are several rounds and the camels move when their color dice is randomly released from the Pyramid. Players have several options in terms of actions to choose from on their turn, from betting to blocking to going to the Pyramid to roll, all which factor into this wild and unpredictable race. Remember, camels stack on top of each other, so one right or wrong roll can change everything! Check the price, Camel Up.
“After making the investment to learn how to play, this game offers endless excitement and mischief for the whole family”
6 – Carson City
The name does provide a hint as there is an element of scheming involved – it’s also an incredibly excitable and provoking game as elements can change quickly in this developing western town where the name of the game is money and points.
Each round (4 total) goes through the same mechanics of choosing a character out of seven with each having its own specific advantages, and then choosing actions in turn order. Cowboys are put on the action track locations on the board enabling you to construct houses, claim ground, money, victory points, or more. A duel can also occur whenever more than one player are on the same location! Construct, plot, and duel – everything that you constructed and claimed contributes to your points and the player with most points wins the game. Check the Price – Carson City.
“Only for the fiery, excitable, and potentially western players and schemers out there”
7 – Pandemic
This is probably the best-selling and overall one of the best cooperative board games of all time. An extremely popular cooperative game, everyone on the team works together to cure countries around the world of “diseases” in this far reaching Pandemic! Each player has a role card with a unique skills that help facilitate this journey to rid countries of the viruses and epidemics while terror reigns. This is a fun logistic game where determining the right next move could be the critical to the health of the world, especially because at any time, a pandemic can be triggered accelerating the spread of disease! Not only are persuasion and diplomacy key here, but making the accurate assessment given the state of the epidemics could win or lose the game for all. Check Price.
“Pandemic is so popular, Pandemic Legacy, a game played over 12-24 sessions was created and has overtaken the nation”
Time to Learn: 1 hour Level: Intermediate to Difficult
8 – Hanabi
Hanabi is a phenomenal game for families to play, and one of the best cooperative games in terms of design. Easy to learn, players are dealt 4 or 5 cards each, depending on the number of players. The players cannot see their own cards which is quite unique. Cards are held face out, so every player can see everyone else’s cards except their own. Cards may be red, green, blue, yellow, or white and are numbered 1-5. The point of the game is to place all of the cards in number order based on their color, by giving your teammate hints about their cards. For a longer version on how to play Hanabi, read my full review here. The game seem simple enough but there are many ins and outs and nuances in these layers of communication and teamwork. Check the price – Hanabi.
Time to Learn: 20 minutes Level: Intermediate
“A great cooperative game and communicate better than ever”
9 – Avalon
The only social deception game on our best board games for families list, this is a spinoff from the classic social deception game, Resistance. Are you a good servant of Arthur or an evil servant of Mordred? Will you vote against the mission with hidden knowledge as Merlin, or does your gut tell you otherwise? Battle until the end as good and evil fight with no one knowing the other player’s roles or teams and use social deduction to persuade the other players to your hidden agenda. Check Price – Avalon
“Can you influence others with your social deduction skills and use logic? If so, this game is for you”
10 – Sushi Go
A light-hearted strategic game where cards and decks are whizzing by you and it’s your job to keep an eye on the sushi, sashimi, and tempura coming round, not to mention dessert, and what your opponents are selecting, as different types of food sets gain you points. A perennial favorite, easy to learn, and play, Sushi Go requires quick thinking, quick choices, and of course, a love of sushi! Check Price – Sushi Go.
“A set of 2 tempura cards scores you 5 points, and a set of 3 sashimi cards scores you 10 points”
11 – DeCrypto
An incredible and insatiable team game for lovers of words, and detective work, this game is an absolute must have and must play. In a nutshell – players will rotate giving hints about words and have to guess which hint applies to which word, however, the other team will also be writing down your hints and be trying to guess which of your hints go with your words – and can beat you by getting the order right! Check Price of DeCrypto.
Time to Learn: 20 Minutes Level: Intermediate
“Loads of fun, entertainment, a challenge, one of the best family games of 2018”
12 – Blueprint
This is a fun and challenging spatial building dice game for families and would be architects with various levers to gain points. Players have cards with dice patterns they must build with certain specifics of materials and other builder criteria they must meet. There are also bonus points for in demand materials and builder prizes like the Structural Integrity Prize and Geometer’s Prize. Check Price – BluePrint.
“For the love of dice building, and a great spatial game!”
13 – Exploding Kittens
A massive and explosive success on Kickstarter, raising over 8MM in less than a month in 2015, Exploding Kittens took over the world for kitten lovers everywhere. With a deck of cards, and a few ‘exploding kitten’ cards – kittens with a ticking bomb on them, this game can drive a player mad with all the twists in turns. There are a limited number of “Defuse” cards to help with an exploding kitten, as well as “Nope,” “Attack,” “See The Future” and other fun and drive you crazy mechanics. The creativity in terms of artwork and phrases on the cards is on another level, and will raise the hair on kittens and human alike! A fun game that is not to be missed! Check Price – Exploding Kittens.
Note: there is a family version and a NSFW version – buyer be warned!
“Shuffle Card: A Plague of Bat Farts Descends from the Sky“
There are a few ways to teach survival to your kids, and though I by no means am qualified to offer parenting advice, I may suggest a fun game where you teach your kids to not get eaten by sharks in this fun tile driven, tactile, shark/sea urchin/whale/boat game! A big success for Stronghold Games, the board is really fun, and the goal is to get your people to shore before any of the many increasing threats attack you or your boat. A fun game that includes placing and moving pieces, flipping tiles, and making tough choices all along the way. Check Price – Survive: Escape from Atlantis.
Time to Learn: 25 minutes Level: Intermediate
“Want to swim with the Whales? Please don’t capsize my boat – I beg of you!“
Runner up: Machi Koro
Machi Koro is Japan’s answer to Settlers of Catan. For 2-4 players, with a deck building and dice component, there are similarities, however, the group play mechanics is more involved than Catan. In Machi Koro, your play involves every player from the very beginning to the later stages as you build your village. More complex than most of the games on our best family board games list, this is the closest to a Euro style game on the list. This game takes 60 to 90 minutes to learn and set up, and is Intermediate to Difficult. Check Price – Machi Koro.
Time to Learn: 45 minutes Level: Intermediate
“Beautifully designed cards -build a Bakery, Wheat field, Theme Park, and Radio tower in your City”