11 Best Family Board Games To Play With Your Folks in 2024

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If you are looking to spice up your family nights with board games, look no further! We’ve compiled a list of the 11 best family board games that are guaranteed to keep you and your loved ones entertained. This includes your kids, partner, extended family – hell, even your mother-in-law.

There is something for everyone, from classic favorites like Codenames and Sushi Go to fresh and engaging games like Cascadia and Railroad Ink. Whether you have younger siblings or children, these games are perfect for families of all ages.

Top 11 Best Family Board Games

  1. Ticket to Ride
  2. Catan
  3. Mysterium
  4. Azul
  5. Magic Maze
  6. Sushi Go!
  7. The Crew: Mission Deep Sea
  8. Cascadia
  9. Kingdomino
  10. Carcassonne
  11. Exploding Kittens

Reasons Why We Chose These Board Games for a Family Game Night

When it comes to family board games, you can’t just take anything from your shelf and bring it to your next family game night. Family board games have to appeal to a broader range of people, be simple to explain and play, and have to be suitable for all ages. These are the parameters we used when choosing the best board games for a family game night. 

What you won’t find on our list are classic games like Risk, Clue, and Monopoly because they can feel a bit outdated in terms of mechanics and gameplay. Instead, we’ve focused on more modern games that offer a range of experiences, from cooperative play to strategic competition and are sure to appeal to a wide range of ages and interests.

Disclaimer for Parents:

Board games come with an age range, which can serve as helpful guidelines when selecting games for your family. While these ranges are not always strict, it’s important to consider them when introducing a new game to your children. As a parent, you are ultimately responsible for the well-being of your children and should exercise discretion when selecting games. What may be acceptable to the government and others, including us, may not be acceptable by your standards. Try out the game before allowing your children to play it. 

1. Ticket to Ride

ticket to ride
Number of players:2 to 5
Play time:30 – 60 minutes
Age:8+

In Ticket to Ride, players assume the roles of aspiring railroad tycoons, competing to build the best railroad network across the map. The objective is to connect cities and fulfill destination tickets by strategically collecting and playing train cards to claim routes on the board. By linking cities and completing routes, players earn points and work towards achieving their ticket objectives.

The board game maps in Ticket to Ride offer an exciting array of choices, depending on which expansion (or base game map) you’re playing. For instance, you might find yourself embarking on an epic journey through the vast landscape of North America, or immersing yourself in the intricacies of a specific region like the Great Lakes. Each map presents its own unique set of challenges and opportunities to explore. 

To succeed in this strategic game, players must plan their routes meticulously, manage their train cards tactfully, and adapt swiftly to the ever-changing landscape. The players will experience a thrilling rush of anticipation and excitement as they race against the clock to connect cities, strategically block their opponents’ paths, and fulfill their destination tickets to score victory points.

Ticket to Ride is an excellent choice for a family board game night because it strikes a balance between simplicity and engagement. It is accessible enough for younger children to learn and enjoy, while still providing enough strategic depth to keep older players entertained. 

The game combines elements of strategy, luck, and a hint of risk-taking, making it enjoyable for the whole family. Additionally, the availability of multiple expansions introduces new maps, rules, and challenges, ensuring the game offers endless replayability and keeps the excitement alive with each playthrough.

Pros

  • Simple to play and easy to learn
  • Provides a good mix of strategy and luck
  • High replayability with different maps and expansions

Cons

  • Limited player interaction

2. Catan

catan
Number of players:3 to 4
Play time:60 – 120 minutes
Age:10+

Catan, also known as The Settlers of Catan, is a true board game classic and the main reason why Eurogames became popular outside of Europe. Its enduring popularity spans decades, making it a staple on the shelves of board game enthusiasts everywhere. 

In the game, players assume the roles of settlers on the fictional island of Catan, where their main objective is to expand and develop their holdings. However, the path to progress and expansion requires resources. Through careful resource management, players must strategically expand their territories, establish trade routes, and negotiate with other players to gain the resources they need. 

The game combines elements of luck, strategy, and negotiation, creating a dynamic and interactive experience. The modular board setup ensures that each game is different, providing replayability and excitement. This is further helped by the expansion packs that make the map larger and bring new ways to play the game. 

Catan’s gameplay is designed to foster both competition and cooperation among players. While each player aims to build their own thriving settlements, cities, and roads, they must also engage in resource trading and negotiation with other players. This interaction adds a social element to the game, encouraging players to form alliances, negotiate deals, and strategize together. The balance between competition and cooperation creates a unique and immersive gameplay experience that keeps players of all ages invested and coming back for more.

Pros

  • Engaging and strategic gameplay that keeps players involved
  • Multiple expansion packs
  • Encourages negotiation and player interaction

Cons

  • Long playtime

3. Mysterium

Mysterium
Number of players:2 to 7
Play time:45 – 60 minutes
Age:10+

Mysterium is a thematic, asymmetric cooperative deduction game that presents itself as a mystery board game. Most of the players take on the role of psychic investigators trying to solve an old murder mystery, while one gets to be the unlucky ghost still haunting the residence in which the murder took place. Don’t worry, though—the game doesn’t contain any scenes of violence, and the only mention of the murder can be found in the short introduction in the game manual.

While it may look complex, Mysterium is actually quite simple to play. The whole game revolves around the ghost sending beautiful, but intentionally confusing dream cards, and the spirit detectives trying to guess what the message is supposed to convey.

The game’s simplicity and beautiful design make it easily accessible and appealing to a broad audience, which makes it an excellent family game and a great cooperative board game for players of all skill levels.

 Pros

  • A unique and immersive experience that keeps the players engaged
  • High-quality artwork and components
  • Great for players who enjoy deduction games

Cons

  • Long setup time

4. Azul

azul
Number of players:2 to 4
Play time:30 – 45 minutes
Age:8+

Azul is a gorgeously made tile-drafting board game that is great for board game beginners and family members alike. In the game, you play as a tile-laying artist at the court of the Portuguese king Manuel I, charged with decorating the Royal Palace of Evora.

The game has a very basic concept: lay tiles in appropriate patterns to score points. Simple, right? Well, the trick to this great game is that everyone has the same general task and needs the same tiles, so you’ll be competing with other players a lot, as the supplies are limited. 

Azul is an excellent title for those who enjoy competition and strategy, with straightforward gameplay that makes it easy to learn and quick to set up. While the game is competitive, it doesn’t have direct backstabbing. The only thing you can do to interfere with your opponent’s plans is to take the tile they need but trust us, even that will sometimes be enough to really mess up their game plan.

So, who will emerge as the most skilled artist and impress the Portuguese king with their beautiful designs? Only one way to find out.  

Pros

  • Beautiful and tactile components 
  • Easy to learn, hard to master
  • Great for players who enjoy tile-laying games

Cons

  • The game’s scoring system can be confusing at first

5. Magic Maze

Magic Maze
Number of players:1 to 8
Play time:10 – 15 minutes
Age:8+

Magic Maze is a real-time cooperative game with straightforward rules that anyone can understand. But before we get to the twists, what is this game about?

In Magic Maze, the players control a group of adventurers who have somehow lost all of their precious gear. So naturally, they decide to visit the local Magic Maze mall to “acquire” new equipment. The goal is to navigate the mall maze, find what each hero needs, and sprint to the exit before the security stops them. Sounds simple enough, right? This is where the twist comes in to make the whole experience interesting. 

In most games, each player controls one playing piece. In Magic Maze, players control all the playing pieces, but each player can only move them in a certain direction. This unique mechanic creates a challenging experience as players must work together without the ability to communicate for most of the game. On top of that, a timer adds pressure to complete the objective before time runs out.

Magic Maze is not only a fun and challenging game, but also an excellent choice for families who enjoy playing games together. By navigating the maze and completing objectives together, family members can learn to communicate effectively and make decisions as a team, fostering a sense of collaboration and mutual support.

Pros

  • Unique and cooperative gameplay that requires players to work together
  • High replayability with different scenarios and difficulty levels
  • Time-limited gameplay adds excitement and tension

Cons

  • Can be confusing and frustrating for some players

6. Sushi Go!

Sushi Go
Number of players:2 to 5
Play time:15 – 20 minutes
Age:8+

Sushi Go is a light-hearted card game that most “serious” board gamers use as a board game night opener before moving on to more complex titles. This doesn’t mean that this is a bad game. On the contrary, it is one of the best board games for beginners, and that automatically makes it an excellent choice for younger players.

The game is as simple as it gets. The objective is to collect the best combination of sushi dishes as they move around the table. Each dish has a different point value, and players try to create the highest-scoring set of dishes by selecting one card from their hand each turn and passing the rest of their cards to the next player. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins.

There is no strategy or plan one can implement to gain an advantage in this purely luck-based game, which makes it suitable even for younger kids as long as they know how to count. And yes, have enough snacks on standby because the game will make you hungry. 

Pros

  • Cute and colorful artwork and components
  • Quick and easy to learn
  • Great for players who enjoy set-collection games

Cons

  • Some players may find the game too simplistic

7. The Crew: Mission Deep Sea

the crew mission deep sea
Number of players:2 to 5
Play time:15 – 20 minutes
Age:10+

The Crew: Mission Deep Sea is one of the best cooperative board games for families. The players assume the roles of deep-sea divers working together to overcome various missions and challenges as they try to find the lost continent of Mu.

To find it, the players will have to work together to overcome treacherous waters and achieve their objectives. Teamwork is the keyword here. Without cooperation, the mission will be dead in the water. Each mission the players take presents unique tasks and obstacles that must be overcome using their collective abilities and coordination. 

This cooperative aspect of the game encourages players to support and rely on each other, enhancing the sense of togetherness and creating a positive social experience.

The immersive theme of the game adds an extra layer of excitement. The beautifully illustrated components and engaging narrative elements transport players, especially imaginative kids, into an underwater world, enhancing the overall gaming experience and immersing them in a captivating adventure. The vivid imagery and immersive storytelling spark curiosity and ignite the imagination, creating a truly memorable and immersive gaming experience.

Pros

  • Fantastic co-op experience
  • High replayability with different missions and objectives
  • Great for players who enjoy trick-taking games

Cons

  • A limited number of available strategies 

8. Cascadia

Cascadia
Number of players:1 to 4
Play time:45 minutes
Age:10+

Cascadia is an abstract tile-laying game for up to four players. In the game, you compete to build the most harmonious ecosystem in the Cascadia region, which is based on a real-life area spanning several US states and Canadian British Columbia. The expansive nature of this region, with its diverse biomes and unique wildlife, provides an engaging backdrop for the game. 

Cascadia is one of the best family games for multiple reasons. Firstly, the game is easy to learn and understand, making it accessible to players of all ages. Secondly, it promotes strategic thinking and decision-making, allowing players to plan and optimize their tile placements to create the most harmonious ecosystem. 

Additionally, Cascadia’s theme of building ecosystems and exploring the natural world can spark curiosity and discussions about environmental conservation and the importance of biodiversity. It offers a fun and interactive way for families to learn and engage in meaningful conversations about nature and our planet.

Cascadia combines accessibility, strategic gameplay, and educational value, making it an ideal choice for family gatherings and an easy recommendation for your next family board gaming session.

Pros

  • Beautiful artwork and components that evoke the Pacific Northwest
  • Relaxed and fun gameplay
  • Random tile selection keeps gameplay fresh…

Cons

  • ..but also influences the game perhaps a bit too much

9. Kingdomino

Kingdomino
Number of players:2 to 4
Play time:20 – 25 minutes
Age:8+

Kingdomino is a tile-laying strategy game like Cascadia, but it offers a simpler and faster gameplay experience compared to it. Unlike in Cascadia, where the focus is on building natural habitats for animals, Kingdomino offers a unique twist as you step into the shoes of a ruler eager to expand his realm and establish new dominions. The game presents a captivating challenge that requires strategic thinking and tile-matching skills to create a cohesive and flourishing kingdom.

Drawing inspiration from traditional dominoes, as the name suggests, Kingdomino replaces the number tiles with various terrain-type tiles. In the game, you’ll aim to connect similar terrains, such as forests to forests or wheat fields to wheat fields, as you expand your kingdom on a limited 5×5 grid. Careful planning and tile selection are crucial to maximizing your points and creating a visually appealing realm. Kingdomino provides a healthy balance of strategy and luck, creating an engaging and enjoyable experience even for players of different skill levels.

Additionally, because games of Kingdomino typically last between 20 and 25 minutes, you can play a few rounds before moving on to another board game. This is especially beneficial for families with younger kids, who may have shorter attention spans.

Pros

  • Fun and speedy gameplay
  • Quick set-up time
  • Great board game appetizer 

Cons

  • Some players may find it too simplistic

10. Carcassonne

carcassonne
Number of players:2 to 5
Play time:30 – 45 minutes
Age:7+

Carcassonne is a popular board game that takes its name from the fortified city in southern France. In the game, players take turns placing tiles to build a medieval landscape of cities, roads, fields, and monasteries. The objective is to strategically place your tiles and deploy your meeples to score points.

It offers a blend of strategic decision-making and tactical choices. Players must carefully consider where to place their tiles to maximize their scoring opportunities and block their opponents from completing features. The game also involves a bit of player interaction, as players can strategically place their meeples to claim features or disrupt their opponents’ plans.

Overall, Carcassonne’s accessible rules, engaging gameplay, and opportunities for interaction make it a wonderful choice for family game nights. It brings people together, encourages strategic thinking, and provides a fun and rewarding experience for players of all ages.

Pros

  • Strategic gameplay that offers a good mix of luck and skill
  • Great for all ages
  • Easy to learn

Cons

  • Some players may find the game too luck-based.

11. Exploding Kittens

Exploding Kittens
Number of players:2 to 5
Play time:10 – 15 minutes
Age:7+

Exploding Kittens is a fast-paced card game with an interesting theme, humor, and engaging gameplay. It is neatly packed in a visually appealing design created by Matthew Inman, the creator of Oatmeal comics. If you are familiar with his work, you already have an idea of what to expect. However, if you have never heard of Oatmeal or Exploding Kittens, get ready for a treat.

In the game, players take turns drawing cards from the deck, hoping to avoid the dreaded Exploding Kitten card. If they do, they’re out of the game—unless they have a defuse card to disarm the explosive feline. The gameplay is filled with strategic decisions, as players can use various action cards to thwart opponents, steal cards, or even skip turns entirely. With a combination of luck and skill, the last player standing wins the game.

Exploding Kittens is a fantastic choice for a game night because it offers a blend of laughter, suspense, and interactive gameplay. The humorous theme and witty illustrations add to the overall enjoyment, making it engaging for kids of all ages, from young children to teenagers. 

Whether you’re looking for a quick and entertaining game or want to introduce your family to a lighthearted card game, Exploding Kittens is a purrfect choice for your next family game night.

Pros

  • Travel-friendly
  • Lots of expansion packs
  • Cute cat theme

Cons

  • The humor and art of the game may not appeal to everyone’s taste.
  • Player elimination 

How To Pick the Best Board Game for Family Game Night?

Nobody knows your family as well as you do, and you are the only one who will know if they prefer strategy games, puzzle-based titles, or card games. Even so,  there are a couple of things you should consider when choosing what to bring to the table. 

  • Kids’ Ages – If your family includes children or siblings, it’s important to take their ages into account. Not only should you ensure that the game is age-appropriate, but you should also consider their attention spans and whether they can actively participate and enjoy the game throughout its duration.
  • Educational Value – Board games provide an engaging platform to foster learning in children, especially the younger ones. They offer opportunities to develop critical thinking, communication skills, problem-solving, teamwork, and strategic planning skills. While board games may not directly lead to excellent math skills, they can certainly lay the foundation for important cognitive abilities that will benefit children later in life. By incorporating educational elements into gameplay, board games can make learning enjoyable and help children develop valuable skills in a fun and interactive way.
  • Interests and Preferences – Consider the interests and preferences of your family. Do they enjoy competitive games, cooperative games, or a mix of both? Are they more inclined toward fantasy themes, historical settings, or other specific genres? Choosing a game that aligns with their interests will increase the chances of everyone having a great time.
  • Complexity Level – Assess the complexity level of the game. It’s important to strike a balance between a game that is too simple and lacks depth, and one that is overly complex and difficult to grasp. Look for games with clear rules and mechanics that can be easily understood and enjoyed by everyone.
  • Replayability – Consider the replayability factor of the game. Games with high replay value, such as those with variable setups, multiple paths to victory, or expansions available, provide more longevity and keep the excitement alive for future game nights. By considering these factors, you can select a board game that suits your family’s interests, ages, and gaming preferences, which will help you create memorable and enjoyable moments during those board game nights. Now all that is left to do is organize the game night, explain the rules to everyone, and then relax and have some fun together.

FAQ

  1. What is the most fun board game for a family?

    Any board game without player elimination can and will be enjoyed by the whole family, as it ensures that everyone remains engaged until the end of the game when the scores are tallied up and the winner is determined. Examples of such games are Ticket to Ride, Catan, Mysterium, Magic Maze, and Carcassonne.

  2. What is the best board game for 10-year-olds?

    The following games are suitable for ages 10 and up Ticket to Ride, Catan, Azul, Magic Maze, Mysterium, Sushi Go!, Cascadia, Kingdomino, The Crew, and Exploding Kittens. There are many more to mention, but that should get you started.

  3. What’s the oldest family board game?

    The oldest family board game on our list is Catan from 1995, and it’s also considered one of the modern classics in the board game industry. However, if we’re talking about the oldest board game in general, Senet is believed to be one of the oldest known board games, dating back to ancient Egypt around 3100 BCE. It is believed that it was played by friends and families alike and was a popular pastime for many people at the time.