Quality Time With The Best Family Board Games
When the family gets together, you are accomodating for a lot of different demographics. The children want to play Connect Four, but you’ve run out of ways to tell them that only includes two players and that there are more people here than that. The teenager wants to play nothing because he’s too busy texting his friends. And grandma wants to play something called “bridge.” Sounds boring.
This is why finding the best family board game for everybody can be so difficult. You have to walk a fine line between interestingly nuanced and too confusing for grandma. There are a million games that are family friendly, but finding one that is genuinely going to entertain everyone involved isn’t easy.
So, because we know you want to avoid another awkward post-dinner conversation with Uncle Gene, we’ve put together a couple of suggestions (below our list) for people looking to game out with the entire family. As with our other lists, our list of the best family board games (below) is separated into categories which can be adjusted to help you in your search.
Best Family Board Games List
|Top Family Games||Age yrs||Players||Best With||Playtime||Rating 1-5 (stars)|
|Ticket To Ride||8+||2~5||4plyrs||45 min||5|
|7 Wonders||10+||2~7||4plyrs||30 min||5|
|Apples to Apples Party Box - The Game of Hilarious Comparisons (Family Edition)||12+||4~10||4~6plyrs||30 min||4.5|
|Smart Ass||12+||2~8||4+ plyrs||30 min||4.5|
|Qwirkle Board Game||6+||2~4||2~4plyrs||45min||5|
|The Settlers of Catan||10+||3~4||4plyrs||90 min||4.5|
|King of Tokyo||8+||2~6||4plyrs||30 min||5|
|Blokus Classics Game||5+||2~4||2~4plyrs||20 min||5|
|Pandemic 2nd Edition Board Game||13+||2~4||4plyrs||60 min||4.5|
|Telestrations the Telephone Game Sketched Out!||8+||4~12||8plyrs||30 min||5|
|Small World||8+||2~5||4plyrs||90 min||4.5|
Our Favorite Family Board Games!!
Best Family Board Game for a small group (immediate family) – Ticket to Ride
Ticket to Ride is a terrific game that is easy to pick up but still finds a way of surprising you over the course of several play sessions. For comparison sake, I would call this Settlers of Catan in a train setting, but that may not be doing the game justice. The resource gathering is somewhat similar and there is a “longest track” card, but Ticket to Ride doesn’t really feel that derivative.
Every turn is an opportunity to build track pieces leading to destinations that are decided by what destination cards you draw. You play as a contestant in a competition to see who can see the most North American cities, the winner receives a prize of $1 million. The further you travel, the more victory points you earn, the winner is the first player to get to 40 total victory points.
Each game takes between a half hour and one hour, but the turns go by decently fast. The pacing of the game plays out very nicely, keeping everyone involved and making it worth it to pay attention to other people’s turns while figuring out your own strategy.
If there’s one complaint I have about the game is that there are times that a player can attain a lead that seems insurmountable. Unexpected comebacks have occurred on a handful of occasions from my experience, but getting an early lead can be a big advantage. It helps that most games are done in less than an hour, so even if someone builds that kind of lead, the next game isn’t far away.
The physical build of the game feels good. Once you’ve handled a large variety of game pieces (or “bits” for people in the business) you gain an appreciation for quality. And these bits, as well as the game board are very solid.
Ticket to Ride is recommended for people above the age of eight, and hosts as few as two and as many as five players in one game. There are also a few expansions that are worth looking into once you’ve played more than a few rounds of the core set. Boardgamegeek.com has Ticket to ride and it’s expansions on the their top 10 best family board games list .
Best Family Board Game for a Large Group – Smart Ass
Okay, so I realize the name of the game does not sound very family friendly, but if you can beyond that, there is a wildly fun trivia game in the box. As long as you can deal with the possibility of having to explain to your kids that “ass” is another name for a donkey. But, that may spur a whole other list of questions, so I wouldn’t blame you for wanting to avoid it.
Smart Ass is a great game for large groups because it encourages people to blurt out. The game is simple. One player reads a list of clues from on a card that is in one of three piles. Each pile represents whether the answer will be a person, place, or a thing. So, the player reading the clues speaks in the third person. For example, if the answer was the Eiffel Tower, the first clue would be something like “I am a world famous national monument,” then “I was built during the first World War,” then “I was built in Paris, France,” with several other clues in between.
The clues get progressively more obvious, and players are allowed one guess for each line of clues. This is where the game can get interesting, you want to beat everyone else to the punch, but you need to have some restraint to gather enough clues to validate your answer. By the last clue, the answer is usually a giveaway. Once someone answers correctly, the round is over and that player gets to roll the dice to advance along the game’s rather simple board.
The luck of the dice can be a major factor in the game just because you can get stuck on a single spot of the board for long periods of time even if you are answering questions correctly. If you keep landing on that “go back two” space, you’ll never get ahead. Games usually go by quickly, with most rounds getting done in no more than 40 minutes.
The game creates a lot of really fun moments with everyone silently competing and then bursting out with answers as if they would lose if they didn’t shout them. In the case of a tie breaker, that can sometimes be the case.
The core game set comes with a healthy stack of cards for each category, so don’t feel the need to rush out and buy an expansion. It’s also fun to leave the board out of the game entirely and just do a trivia night based on the cards alone. If you can get past the name on the box, Smart Ass is a terrific trivia game that will create some memorable laugh-out-loud moments.