Catan Board Game
Poetry for Neanderthals Board Game
Betrayal at House on the Hill Board Game

8 Best Board Games for Family Game Nights

Bump up the family fun quotient and create new memories with these highly-rated board games.
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Nor’adila Hepburn

There is nothing like a good board game to bring the best (and worst!) out of family and friends. The best board games allow you to flex your skills and foster camaraderie and healthy competition. And, though most of us are familiar with tried and true classics like chess and Monopoly, there are newer games that bring flair and fun to game night.

We compiled a list of top board games and compared prices, features, and user reviews to determine the best. Our overall pick was Catan, but we’ve selected several other board games that your family might like as well.

5 Things to Consider When Buying a Board Game

  1. Players: Choose your games based on how many people will play. Some games are best with a few people only, while others are good for playing in teams or groups.
  2. Age: Most games have recommended age groups. This matters particularly for children, as you want them to play games that they can comprehend.
  3. Length: Games should run from 20 minutes to an hour to be safe. You risk losing people to boredom after that. 
  4. Expansions: Some board games give you the option of expansions or additions. These are bought separately and feature different adventures, often while still using the original board to play on.
  5. Rules: Some of the best board games have extremely simple rules. However, if you desire a game with more depth, expect the complexity to be bumped up.

Check out our recommendations for more family fun:

Our Top Picks

See All Top Picks See All
Top Pick
Top Pick
Catan Board Game
Best Overall Board Game

CATAN

Manufacturer :

  Catan Studio

Where to Buy

Pros

  • Great for strategy
  • Has various expansions
  • Junior edition available for children

Cons

  • Expensive

Product Snapshot

With 35 million copies sold, in more than 40 languages, CATAN is a cult classic that has plenty of fans and even online tournaments for you to play. The basic premise of CATAN is that you and other explorers discover the island of Catan and compete with each other to see who builds the most roads and settlements. 

This game is best played in small groups. “What I really like about Catan is that I can pursue my own strategy,” says Baja Al, an avid Catan fan and teacher who often plays with friends and colleagues.

You can also play with expansions like Explorer and Pirates and Seafarers if you need a brand- new adventure. Plus, there is a junior edition for kids ages six and up.

Specs

Players
3 – 4 Players
Age Range
10 and Up
Duration
60 Minutes
Expansion
Yes

Where to Buy

Best Value
A Good Deal
Poetry for Neanderthals Board Game
Best Impromptu Board Game

Poetry for Neanderthals

Manufacturer :

  Exploding Kittens LLC

Where to Buy

Pros

  • Fun for all ages
  • No setup involved

Cons

  • Finding the right clue may be frustrating
  • The inflatable club may be too intense for some

Product Snapshot

Poetry for Neanderthals puts a tongue-in-cheek twist on the perennial favorite Taboo. It’s best played in groups and requires your team to guess your secret word. The catch is that you can only use single syllables as clues for your team. If you fail, you risk getting bonked on the head with an inflatable club by your opponent.

As long as you don’t mind looking silly, it’s sure to be a hit with friends and family. 

Specs

Players
2+ Players
Age Range
7 and Up
Duration
15 Minutes
Expansion
No

Where to Buy

Splurge
Worth A Look
Betrayal at House on the Hill Board Game
Best Scary Board Game

Betrayal at House on the Hill

Manufacturer :

  Avalon Hill

Where to Buy

Pros

  • 50 different scenarios
  • Perfect for horror fans

Cons

  • Complicated rules

Product Snapshot

If you have a penchant for ghosts, ghouls, and vampires, Betrayal at House on the Hill is a game you should try. The goal is for you and your friends to explore a haunted mansion filled with horrors that you may or may not survive. 

There is a dark twist: one of the players is a traitor. Because there are so many potential scenarios, playing involves reading the rule book thoroughly. This can make Betrayal at House on the Hill a bit tedious to play. However, if you enjoy mysteries and are ready for a long game, it makes a good spooky option. 

Specs

Players
3 – 6 Players
Age Range
12+
Duration
60 Minutes
Expansion
No

Where to Buy

Best Value
Best Value
Peaceable Kingdom Race to the Treasure Board Game
Best Collaborative Board Game

Race to the Treasure!

Manufacturer :

  Peaceable Kingdom

Where to Buy

Pros

  • Encourages cooperation
  • Suitable for young children

Cons

  • May be boring for older children

Product Snapshot

Race to the Treasure! is a noncompetitive board game that children ages five and up should enjoy. The game emphasizes teamwork. Players must forge a path together and collect the keys needed to open the treasure chest at the end. Your challenge is to reach the treasure before the ogre beats you to it.

Specs

Players
2 to 4 Players
Age Range
5 and Up
Duration
20 – 30 Minutes
Expansion
No

Where to Buy

Splurge
Worth A Look
Outfoxed Board Game
Best Board Game for Children

Outfoxed! A Cooperative Whodunit Game

Manufacturer :

  Gamewright

Where to Buy

Pros

  • Good introductory board game for kids
  • Young children who don’t know how to read can play

Cons

  • Cannot accommodate more than four players

Product Snapshot

With its colorful cards and custom dice, Outfoxed! is a good choice for a first board game. Styled as a whodunit mystery, the game involves everyone working together to find the fox who took Mrs. Plumpert’s prized pot pie. By using a clue decoder to eliminate potential suspects, you’ll be able to nab the guilty fox. This game is beloved by parents and is suitable even for children who have yet to learn to read. 

Specs

Players
2 to 4 Players
Age Range
5 and Up
Duration
20 – 30 Minutes
Expansion
No

Where to Buy

Best Value
Best Value
The Chameleon Board Game
Best Value Board Game

The Chameleon

Manufacturer :

  Big Potato

Where to Buy

Pros

  • Fun for adults
  • Good for large groups
  • 40 different topic cards

Cons

  • Some find it hard to give appropriate clues without giving the answer away

Product Snapshot

Master your poker face with The Chameleon, an award-winning game for where you must be deductive and deceptive to win. Everyone knows the secret word except the person who is the undercover chameleon. Your job is to smoke out the chameleon before he or she guesses the word. There are 40 different topic cards to choose from, and the game features short rounds so no one has time to be bored. Coming up with the right clues without being obvious may prove hard. Otherwise, this game is certain to elicit the laughter needed to make your party a hit.

Specs

Players
3 – 8 Players
Age Range
14+
Duration
15 – 20 Minutes Per Round
Expansion
No

Where to Buy

Splurge
Splurge
Ticket to Ride Board Game
Best Splurge Board Game

Ticket to Ride

Manufacturer :

  Days of Wonder

Where to Buy

Pros

  • Easy to learn
  • Features Junior Edition for children and international edition sets
  • Teaches children the geography of different cities in North America

Cons

  • Cards are small

Product Snapshot

Ticket to Ride should be on the radar of train enthusiasts and history buffs everywhere. Set in 1910, players must compete to see who can connect the most cities by railroad across the United States and southern Canada. 

Once you have a board, you’re able to buy expansions if you want to go on different adventures. Or you can buy other editions of the game, such as Ticket to Ride Europe and Ticket to Ride First Journey, the latter of which is aimed at kids. 

Some users have issues with the card size; they are small and can be hard to manage if you have a lot to hold.

Specs

Players
2 – 5 Players
Age Range
8 and Up
Duration
30 – 60 Minutes
Expansion
Yes

Where to Buy

Best Value
Best Value
Codenames Board Game
Best Budget Board Game

Codenames

Manufacturer :

  CGE Czech Games Edition

Where to Buy

Pros

  • Good for deduction
  • Easy to understand game rules
  • Can be played with large groups

Cons

  • Can be boring
  • Not challenging

Product Snapshot

Cue the intrigue and get ready to play the spy game Codenames. In this game, you and other players are spies in competing networks who must correctly interpret clues given by your team’s spymaster to identify other operatives on your team. The first team to contact all their agents wins. Avoid the assassin at all costs, or it will be at your team’s peril.

Despite Codenames receiving excellent ratings from users, a few found the game boring and not challenging enough.

Specs

Players
2 – 8+
Age Range
10 and Up
Duration
15 Minutes
Expansion
No

Where to Buy

Compare

Best Overall Board Game
Best Impromptu Board Game
Best Scary Board Game
Best Collaborative Board Game
Best Board Game for Children
Best Value Board Game
Best Splurge Board Game
Best Budget Board Game
Pros
Pros
Pros
Pros
Pros
Pros
Pros
Pros
Pros
  • Great for strategy
  • Has various expansions
  • Junior edition available for children
  • Fun for all ages
  • No setup involved
  • 50 different scenarios
  • Perfect for horror fans
  • Encourages cooperation
  • Suitable for young children
  • Good introductory board game for kids
  • Young children who don’t know how to read can play
  • Fun for adults
  • Good for large groups
  • 40 different topic cards
  • Easy to learn
  • Features Junior Edition for children and international edition sets
  • Teaches children the geography of different cities in North America
  • Good for deduction
  • Easy to understand game rules
  • Can be played with large groups
Cons
Cons
Cons
Cons
Cons
Cons
Cons
Cons
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Finding the right clue may be frustrating
  • The inflatable club may be too intense for some
  • Complicated rules
  • May be boring for older children
  • Cannot accommodate more than four players
  • Some find it hard to give appropriate clues without giving the answer away
  • Cards are small
  • Can be boring
  • Not challenging
Players
Players
Players
Players
Players
Players
Players
Players
Players
3 – 4 Players
2+ Players
3 – 6 Players
2 to 4 Players
2 to 4 Players
3 – 8 Players
2 – 5 Players
2 – 8+
Age Range
Age Range
Age Range
Age Range
Age Range
Age Range
Age Range
Age Range
Age Range
10 and Up
7 and Up
12+
5 and Up
5 and Up
14+
8 and Up
10 and Up
Duration
Duration
Duration
Duration
Duration
Duration
Duration
Duration
Duration
60 Minutes
15 Minutes
60 Minutes
20 – 30 Minutes
20 – 30 Minutes
15 – 20 Minutes Per Round
30 – 60 Minutes
15 Minutes
Expansion
Expansion
Expansion
Expansion
Expansion
Expansion
Expansion
Expansion
Expansion
Yes
No
No
No
No
No
Yes
No

FAQ

How can board games benefit child development?

Firstly, board games allow children to unplug from screens and devices. They can teach life lessons on winning and losing and help children acquire social skills and boost vocabulary. 

How much does the average board game cost?

You can get games starting as low as $15. However, prices range depending on game complexity. 

What age group enjoys board games the most?

Board games are most popular among people aged 35 to 44.