Nothing kills time and brings people together as well as board games. They’re infinitely versatile, so you can find one that ticks every box and helps cut down on screen time. Here’s a curated list of our top picks, from classics to the best new board games for 2020.
There are different types of “board” games to consider, as well. Don’t limit yourself to a pre-made playing field. Our board games here will also include:
- Card-only games
- Tabletop games that don’t necessarily involve a board, or which have taken some liberties with the concept of a board
- Specialty games that might get you drawing or singing
So roll or spin to determine your first move, and let’s jump into it.
Board Games for Young Kids
Board games for 5-year-olds can be tricky. Each child may be at a different stage at that age and have their own whims and preferences. But we’re confident there is at least one game here your 5-year-old will love.
- Ages 3 and up
- These chance-based games are simple: be the first to get your playing piece from the starting point to the ending point, with a few twists, setbacks, and lucky bonuses along the way.
- They’re straightforward and colorfully illustrated, a great introduction to the idea of sitting down for a friendly competition.
The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game, and others by Educational Insights
- Ages 3 to 6
- This adorable little game combines playing with learning for your little one. They’ll practice motor skills and their colors as they spin to collect different acorns using a cute squirrel picker-upper.
- If they aren’t the kind to settle in for a “traditional” board game, this might better hold their attention.
- Ages 4 to 8
- Think a quick round of bingo — but for children who are learning to spell, read, or count their numbers up to 12, depending on the version you get!
- It also helps build motor skills as children use the “zinger” tile dispenser and place tiles on their card.
- Ages 4 to 8
- This is a simplified version of Carcassonne — a game people of all ages enjoy. This is meant to introduce younger players and move them up to the original and its expansions when they outgrow this one!
- Build out the city of Carcassonne by putting down road tiles on your turn. Players put down their pieces when a road with their color on it gets completed, and the first to place all their pieces wins.
- One of the best board games for 5 – 6-year-olds being introduced to strategy over chance, as you must plan and observe in order to score and win.
- Ages 4 to 8, and up
- This cooperative board game is simple and straightforward, but can also be played with some problem-solving strategy. It isn’t a race to the finish because every player must succeed in order to win the game!
- Kids try to help all their owls get home by drawing color cards and moving along the board before all the sun cards are drawn.
- Definitely one of the best games for 5-year-olds who hate to lose, get a little ruthless in order to win, or just don’t find great joy in competition.
- Ages 5 and up
- A simple matching game that’s over in a few minutes but can be played again and again. It incorporates speedy reflexes and the added fun of stacking up magnets with a satisfying clack! Just roll two dice for shape and color, and then scramble to find tiles with a match on them.
- Although kids will have fun playing together or with an adult, honestly, small groups of any age can have fun playing amongst themselves.
Board Games for Older Kids and Teens
According to reviews, you can take some of these age ratings with a grain of salt. Use your best judgment to decide what’ll work for your family.
- Ages 7 and up
- Sort of like freeform Scrabble. You’re in a race to arrange all your letter tiles first. This quick, competitive game is a classic family favorite.
- Since speed wins and not a high score, this game shouldn’t be intimidating for anyone who’s otherwise not big on word games.
- Ages 13 and up
- Like some of the best, this card game is based on personal strategy and tons of sabotage. The goal is to be the first to collect seven unicorn cards while everyone attempts to hinder one another and destroy other people’s unicorns.
- The cards are plentiful with multiple expansions. If you like funny board games, you should enjoy the illustrations and card abilities, a mix of cute, hilarious, and formidable.
Monopoly: Fortnite Edition, Monopoly: Frozen 2 Edition, or whatever version floats your boat
- Fortnite, ages 13 and up. Frozen 2, ages 8 and up.
- Monopoly is a cutthroat game of money management with long playtimes, which can be too frustrating for some. But special editions may change up gameplay or at least add new interest for kids and teens (and adults) alike.
- If these two choices aren’t the right fit, there is inevitably something perfect out there. Its gigantic lineup is part of what keeps Monopoly relevant and one of the top board games even in 2020.
Board Games for the Whole Family
We realize the previous section may leave something to be desired. Big kids and teens are old enough to have fun with everyone, so these greatest hits should work well. From the little ones to great-aunt Caroline, everyone can indulge in one of these family game night ideas.
- Ages 5 and up
- Classic board games are classics for a reason. Learn once and play for a lifetime.
- Ages 8 and up
- The youngest kids may not have the musical vocabulary to participate, but they’ll probably try and will definitely get a kick out of watching everyone else.
- In this game, you come up with a list of specific words in order to stump the other players. They need to quickly think of a song containing that word and start singing it first in order to advance on the board.
- Also, complete surprise challenges if you land on them or be forced to move back! The first to reach the finish wins.
- Ages 10 and up
- This is a board game built on creativity and willingness. The object is simply to circle the board to win, but along the way, you’ll be tasked with trivia, charades, drawing and sculpting challenges, and solving brain teasers.
- The Cadoo variant is a simpler version aimed at including kids, but they can certainly join in a regular 3-in-1 game as well, and they should find few problems. Though it is marketed as being for ages 16 and up, it’s family-oriented and definitely one of the best family games available.
- Ages 7 and up
- Still one of the best family games in 2020, Uno is a classic card game of matching colors and numbers. Be the first one to call out with one card left in their hand, using special action cards to help you save yourself and sabotage other players. Simple fun, but surprisingly intense.
- Although there are plenty of (somewhat mediocre) novelty versions, reviews attest that Uno Flip is worth playing for a little change of pace.
- Ages 6 and up.
- A tile-based tabletop game where you can proceed by matching color or shape. The highest score wins after all the tiles have been played.
- Straightforward and simple enough that new players and kids can easily catch on, while still being engaging and enjoyable for everyone.
Board Games for Adults to Pass the Time
Families come in all shapes and sizes — perhaps yours currently includes only adults. You can still have a healthy appetite for new board game ideas!
You might find one of those family fun board games a perfect fit, or you may be looking for something slightly different. These are just a few examples of adult player favorites.
- Ages 12 and up
- Everyone selects characters and begins building out your own haunted mansion with playing tiles, exploring and facing dangers, and finding items. As things progress, one of your own players becomes the big bad — figure out how to defeat them and escape with your lives.
- This expansive, cooperative horror storyboard game may be a hit or a miss. Everyone has to be on the same page to make this one work. It has a long playtime, a complex set-up, and involves referring to the playbook as the “haunt” scenario progresses.
- But it also has high replayability, with multiple scenarios and conclusions—a great way for enthusiastic and dedicated players to kill a few hours.
- Ages 8 and up
- A quick, simple, and satisfying tile placement board game. It was an award winner in 2018 and still one of the must-have board games of 2020.
- Compete for the high score by selecting and arranging tiles on your playing board. Patterns earn extra points, and unusable pieces will detract from your total. Use strategy to get good tiles for yourself without letting your opponent do the same.
- Ages 8 and up
- Build routes across the board by completing and claiming railways, connecting cities, and earning points. Get bonus points for different challenges like longest route, or completing a specified route between two cities — but be careful. You’ll lose points for leaving a challenge undone.
- Continue to add to the experience with different expansion packs that add new places and the occasional new gameplay mechanic.
Ultimately, the best family games to play are ones you’ll all enjoy. That specific game may not be here, but we hope you’ll use some of these suggestions to guide your search and narrow down your choices.
A board game is just a chance to have fun, create fond memories, and give yourselves new opportunities to spend time together. It’s also perfectly suitable to give as a present to your boyfriend, family members or friends. Hopefully, you found something new to try out and love, but the tried and true favorites will work just as well in the end.