From playing complex games for couples date night to playing simple games with young children, games can add value to family time. They can help build family connectedness and create fun memories as you play together as a family (see the FamilyNinjas article on How To Make Family Playtime Real). They can teach team-spirit and cooperation. Playing games can teach sportsmanship and how to regulate feelings of frustration. They can teach strategy and thinking ahead. And, they can simply be a fun way to pass an evening. Some families enjoy playing board games. These are just a few board games that we have found to be fun for different stages of the family with the manufacturer’s recommended beginning age.
Candy Land is a children’s classic. Players move by drawing colored cards and moving to the corresponding color. It’s not only fun and easy for children, but you can also add conversation into it. For example, when you land on the color purple it means you say something about what’s going on at school. When you land on the color orange you tell one of your favorite family memories (I’ve used this a lot in therapy sessions with young children). This game works well for young children – even those in pre-school.
Use our affiliate link to find it on Amazon: Candy Land
This is like the classic Monopoly game, but simplified for children. My brothers and cousins and I loved playing it growing up. We had even more fun changing the rules and earning so much money there wasn’t any left in the bank. This game is intended for children ages 5 and up.
Use our affiliate link to find it on Amazon: Monopoly Junior
Pit is another fun game that young children can play (technically it says 7 and up). You frantically trade cards with one another until you have 9 matching cards. The only warning on this game is it can get pretty loud. Recommended for ages 7 and over.
Use our affiliate link to find it on Amazon: Pit Card Game
Dixit is picture game that is different from other board games. You want other players to pick the picture you describe, but not be too obvious about it. It’s fun for all ages to try to choose the right word to describe their pictures. It’s intended for children 8 and up.
Use our affiliate link to find it on Amazon: Dixit
Taboo Junior is a fun family game that is intended for children to play. Players have to quickly describe a word without using any of the 3 taboo words. You play on teams and children learn to encourage their team members. It’s fun to watch how kids describe different words. Recommended for ages 8-12 years.
Use our affiliate link to find it on Amazon: Taboo Junior
Hive is a great 2 player only game if you are searching for a game for 2. After you learn the mechanics, it’s a lot more fun and less intense to play with bug pieces instead of Chess pieces (says someone who isn’t a Chess fan). The goal is to surround your opponent’s queen piece with bugs on all side. The strategy can be simple or complex. It’s fun to play with a spouse or your kids to get their take on the strategy. Ages 9 and up.
Use our affiliate link to find it on Amazon: Hive
Settlers of Catan
Settlers of Catan is a great resource and trading game for the whole family (up to 4 players, but more with expansions). You trade amongst yourselves to gain resources and build cities and the first one to 10 victory points win. It’s a wide family favorite here in Utah. I played it every Sunday with my family growing up. It was a favorite because we interacted with each other, negotiated deals, and came up with our own strategies. It’s meant for age 10-14, but younger children can play with some help.
Use our affiliate link to find it on Amazon: Settlers of Catan
Skull King is mix between the card games Hearts and Rook. It’s the perfect balance between luck and strategy. Players bet on how many tricks they will take and then score points accordingly. Of course, the skull king trumps all. It’s quickly becoming a favorite amongst all our acquaintances as we introduce it to each other.
Use our affiliate link to find it on Amazon: Skull King
Wits and Wagers
If you like trivia games, Wits and Wagers is great for trivia nuts and the trivia ignorant alike. Every question has a numerical answer and players each guess. Then, you bet on who you think is the closest to being correct without going over. So, anyone can win with this game if you choose your bets wisely. Recommended for ages 10 and over. (Don’t get the party version! The regular version is more fun.)
Use our affiliate link to find it on Amazon: Wits and Wagers
Splendor is another great game for 2 players but it works for up to 4 players. It can be hard to find a really good 2 player game, so this one is a winner if you are looking for a game to play with your date. You balance getting jewels and buying cards to be the first one to the allotted points. Ages 10 and up.
Use our affiliate link to find it on Amazon: Splendor
Ticket to Ride
In this fun strategy game, players build tracks across the country or continent and try to win the most points. It gets tricky when there are a lot of players and someone else grabs your destination first! Both the American and European version are fun, and they have only minor differences, one being that you can share stations on the European version if someone grabs your destination first. The European version has country-of-origin names so it can be a bit tricky find the destination. Recommended for ages 8 and up.
Use our affiliate link to find it on Amazon: Ticket to Ride
Dominion is a unique game in that you build your deck of cards to play from in your hand, and the cards on the “board” or table also change each game. This makes it fun as no game is ever the same. It’s a complex game, but fun once you get the hang of it. My husband and I played it all the time in college after friends introduced it to us. Recommended for ages 13 and up.
Use our affiliate link to find it on Amazon: Dominion