Now that we can sort of see our friends again, (albeit at a distance) why not plan a board game night? What a better way to connect and relax than sitting on opposite sides of a table (or six feet apart) and challenge each other to a challenging and hilarious game of Cards Against Humanity or a relic from childhood to kick up the nostalgia?
Growing up, you likely spent many hours playing board games. Monopoly, the Game of Life and Scrabble lined your basement or bedroom shelves, waiting for a cold winter evening when the cartoons were boring or the local football team wasn’t playing. Whether with your family or your friends, these games provided entertainment and education.
As the years passed, board games fell by the wayside. It’s true that in the early 2000s, board games lost popularity. But, thanks to the invention of board game cafes and the introduction of modern board games, these beloved games have come roaring back into our lives and for good reason.
Board games provide adults a number of benefits, including time away from our screens, a challenge for our brains and a way to make new friends. For families, board games are a great way to boost together time and provide building blocks for your child’s vocabulary and math skills. All in all, these board games are an ideal addition to any household. Here are some of the best board games out there whether you’ve got a brood of children to entertain or just want to get closer to your partner during this strange time at home.
THE BEST BOARD GAME OVERALL
It just doesn’t get better than Scrabble. If you love Words with Friends, you absolutely need to invest in a Scrabble board. This classic board game can open your eyes to new word possibilities. It’s also ideal for families ages eight and up as it can teach new vocabulary and reading skills in a fun way. This set includes four tile racks, 100 wooden letter tiles, one game board, a drawstring letter bag and a game guide.
2. Settlers of Catan
Settlers of Catan, also known simply as Catan, has recently been named the “Game of the Century.” If you haven’t tried it already, you should gather up your friends for a game night ASAP. In the game, players act as adventurous settlers taming the Isle of Catan. Through rolls of the dice, trades and cards, you work to develop the land and gain resources, but you’ll need to watch out for monopolies, robbers or other players blocking your roads. Thanks to the ability to change the board, the game is different virtually every time you play. This strategy game encourages players to cooperate, strategize and compete to build the strongest civilization, and it provides hours of fun.
Sequence is one of the most popular games on Amazon, but it’s entirely likely that you’ve never heard of it prior to this article. The complicated-looking board may have put you off trying it until now, however, the game is actually quite simple. It’s a cross between tic-tac-toe and cards. The point of the game is to draw cards and match them to markers on the board while trying to get five in a row. This is a great board game for ages seven and above, and can even be used as a STEM learning tool.
Reignite family time with the childhood classic Sorry!. Get all three of your color pawns from start to home and bump your opponents’ pawns en route. In this updated version, some of the rules have changed, allowing a younger generation to fall in love with the game. In addition, Hasbro has also included interactive digital content for a fully immersive gaming experience.
5. Hasbro Clue Game
Like Monopoly, Risk and Scrabble, this Hasbro Clue Game is highly thought of by many board game fans. The game of Clue creates a new mystery for you to solve during every game. In addition, this is one game that has become part of modern culture, inspiring nicknames and phrases. If you don’t have Clue already, you really need to add this one to your game cabinet.
6. Battleship With Planes Strategy Board Game
BEST NEW TAKE ON A CLASSIC
Battleship is one of the most popular two-person board games around. It’s a game of strategy, which involves finding your opponent’s ships through process of elimination. This updated version includes both boats and ships for twice the fun. During adult parties, you can also turn Battleship into a drinking game. Every time your opponent “hits” one of your boats or aircraft, you have to take a drink.
BEST TEAM GAME
One of the best newer games on the block is the multi-award-winning Codenames. In this word game, two teams race to reveal the identities of 25 secret agents. One teammate knows the agents only by their code names. The other person on the team has to get the first player to guess the agents’ identities using one-word clues. This is a fun, themed game that can provide hours of entertainment.
8. Monopoly Classic
BEST CLASSIC BOARD GAME
Love it or hate it, Monopoly is a game that should be found in every household. The game that takes forever allows you to “buy, sell, dream and scheme your way to riches.” Although this is technically the classic version of the game, it does include the new line up of tokens. The rubber ducky, a tyrannosaurus rex and a penguin join the family. Of course, if classic Monopoly isn’t for you, you could always buy Avengers Monopoly, the Star Wars Monopoly or even Metallica Monopoly.
9. Hasbro Risk Game
BEST STRATEGY GAME
Risk is probably one of those board games that your parents always had around but you never wanted to play with. That’s because the outside of this game hasn’t been updated in decades. However, that doesn’t mean the game is boring. After all, the board game Risk is still being produced after years and years on the market. The aim of the game is to conquer your opponent’s territory with your army. Take over the world, and you win.
10. The Game of Life: Quarter Life Crisis
BEST FOR MILLENNIALS
The Game of Life entertained them for ages as children, now Millennials can enjoy an updated version made with special twists and turns just for them. In the Game of Life: Quarter Life Crisis, you win the game when you pay off all your crippling debt. You will probably need to work two jobs, rent an over-priced house and stay with a partner you don’t love, but, hey, that’s life in the 21st century. This is an amazing party game and will produce tons of laughs with every go around.
11. Game Development Group Wit’s End Board Game
BEST BRAIN WORKOUT
Take trivia to a whole new level with the Wit’s End Board Game. Instead of a simple question and answer scenario, the cards pose brain teasers and riddles to really get you thinking. There’s a range of diverse categories to work through, including ODD-1-OUT where your job is to pick the wrong answer from the four available on the card. Other options include TEASERS, which means you have to solve mind riddles, and SEQUENCE, which requires you to figure out what comes next.
12. Trivial Pursuit Master Edition
BEST FOR TRIVIA FANS
If you love nothing more than heading out to the bar every week for trivia night or watching endless hours of game shows, you need to buy Trivial Pursuit. This is the ultimate trivia game. You won’t know all the answers, so it’s great for learning new trivia. But, it’s also great for showing off all the little facts you do know. We should also note that instead of relying on a hand-me-down version of Trivial Pursuit, it’s worth investing in a new game so that it includes all the up-to-date trivia questions.
13. Disney Villainous Strategy Board Game
BEST FOR DISNEY FANS
Who says Disney princes and princesses get to have all the fun? This Ravensburger Disney Villainous Strategy Board Game features all your favorite villains from all the most popular Disney films, including the Queen of Hearts, Jafar, Prince John and more. The aim of the game is to play out each villain’s devious plans before your fellow competitors reach their goals.
14. Azul Board Game Board Games
BEST PATTERN BUILDING GAME
Plan B Games Azul Board Game calls for you to pit your mosaic building skills against your fellow competitors as you race to finish decorating the king’s royal palace. Each game takes around 40 minutes to complete and involves collecting tiles, creating patterns and placing them on the board to score points, depending on the complexity and style of the pattern. The game comes with high-quality components and can be played by two to four artisans who are over the age of eight.
BEST YOU VS GAME PLAY
Instead of a game in which you are trying to beat the other players, Pandemic is a game of teamwork in which you work with the other players to beat the game and save the world. In Pandemic, each character is a member of an elite disease control team trying to keep four deadly diseases at bay. Together, you must move around the world and play to your characters strengths in order to cure the diseases and save the planet from a pandemic. This thought-evoking game flips the competition of normal board games on its head and provides endless evenings of entertainment. Plus, it hits kind of close to home these days, huh?
16. Blue Orange Games Photosynthesis Board Game
Brush up on your second grade knowledge with this green strategy board game all about cultivating seeds. Two to four players over the age of eight can compete against each other to see who can grow their seeds and create newer, younger trees in the fastest manner. Choosing the right land, sun exposure and rainfall are all important steps in your journey to reshape the ever-changing forest.
17. Days of Wonder Ticket to Ride
With more than 8,500 reviews on Amazon with a 4.5-star rating, there can be little doubt that people enjoy playing Day of Wonder Ticket to Ride. This cross-country train adventure game is for two to five players and takes around 60 minutes to complete. The fast pace of play ensures everyone remains awake and involved as you work to connect some of the iconic cities from across North America. You’ll earn additional points for connecting two far away cities as you construct new train routes to travel on.
18. Secret Hitler
BEST FOR COLLEGE KIDS
Funded by a recent Kickstarter, Secret Hitler is like a cross between a board game and a murder mystery. At the beginning of the game, players are secretly assigned to either the fascist group or the liberal group. One player becomes Hitler. Through a series of government-like decisions, players must decide who is who and kill the “Secret Hitler” before it’s too late. Older children and college kids can glean an important understanding of politics from this particular board game.
Remember this game? A fast and simple strategy game with over 2,000 possible game combinations, the players must crack the codes from each other while the moving pieces force you to think fast. It’s a fun, nostalgic thrill from the past or a great teaching tool to have lying around — a STEM recommended learning device. Either way, its multi-generational use will bring some fun to the summer.
20. Catan Family Edition
BEST FOR EVERYONE
It’s another day being at home with everyone so why not break out an old classic and teach your friends and family how to play again? The Catan Family Edition has a six-piece reversible board for more replay options. As you enjoy even more ways to play this old favorite, your worries will vanish for the rest of the night. Settle old sibling rivalries and enjoy the best family game night ever with the expanded version of Catan.
21. Bezier Games One Night Ultimate Werewolf
BEST FOR QUICK GAME PLAY
This is a classic role playing game with a night time section that involves the switching of roles, and a day time where everyone is trying to find a werewolf. It syncs up with an app on your phone that narrates the story from beginning to end, Avalon-style, and leads you through the game until it’s up to you to sniff out who the wolf is and kill them before the timer runs out. This game never lasts more than 10 minutes but you’re definitely going to want to play extra rounds.
BEST FOR HORROR FANS
In this ever-shifting world, the game almost never ends — and that’s the point. Best played over several sessions, Gloomhaven is a scenario-based game where players must make decisions that will alter the course of play. Who has the most skill in every scenario and who will survive in the ghostly edge of the world?
23. Exploding Kittens Card Game
BEST FOR PLAYING ANYWHERE
Exploding Kittens is the number one backed project on Kickstarter of all time, and we can see why. This fast-paced card games is all about not getting blown up by a kitten, and using all of the other creatures at your disposal to do so. It’s the perfect card game for all ages and the best part? It’s easy to play, and only requires a small deck of cards so you can take it anywhere. Play it in the park, outside a café or in the car on a COVID-friendly vacation road trip. We promise you won’t regret it, even if a kitten gets detonated all over you.
BEST FOR WORDSMITHS
This traditional party game is still unbeatable when it comes to fun. Coming up with answers to the category on the card may sound easy, but the trick is to match the first letter with the letter rolled on the die! To win, the team must have the best word not used by the other teams.
25. Betrayal at House on the Hill
BEST FOR HAUNTING
If you want to leave the game feeling scared to be alone, this might be the right midnight game for you — “Take a deep breath before you enter. It might be your last.” Betrayal at House on the Hill is a chilling game of strategy and horror. A character-driven game, you will find something new in every room that you must overcome or it will overcome you. A game of skill, this haunted house will leave you feeling breathless.
26. Articulate Family Board Game
BEST GUESSING GAME
This game is like Taboo, but better. It’s a guessing game with a variety of categories including World, People, Objects, and a Random category that could be anything. You want to get as many right as possible on your turn so you can progress around the dial and hopefully beat the other team to the finish. It’s a great version of the immensely popular guessing game format that’ll push you to your description and guessing limits, in the most fun way possible.
27. Horrified: Universal Monsters Strategy Board Game
BEST MONSTER GAME
This game is essentially Pandemic but instead of trying to defeat a global pandemic, you’re trying to kill off monsters in a small village town that’s become haunted. There are villagers you need to save, antidotes to poison you must collect and of course the Creature From the Black Lagoon can move through water so nowhere is safe. It’s perfect for a maximum of five players to tackle and will take a while to get through but the reward of beating all of the monsters is priceless.
This is a beautiful board game that’s a bit more expensive due to the intricacy of the parts, and for that reason it’ll make a great gift for the board game enthusiasts in your life. This particular includes a Swift Start package with 10 promo bird cards and four first-round walkthrough guides. It’s a great game for bird lovers or those who appreciate a beautiful aviary, once they’ve passed through all of the levels and built it of course.