5 of the Best Board Games for Families

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For quality family time together, nothing beats a good board game. Many fond memories of home are built during afternoons spent around the dining room table, the board placed in the middle of the whole clan.


What Makes a Good Family Board Game

For a board game to be truly enjoyable for everyone, it has to meet certain criteria. It must be suitable for a varying number of players in a range of ages, and it must be easy to learn while generating excitement no matter how many times it’s played.

Number of Players

While there are many excellent board games that only invite two players at a time, such as chess, for a board game to include the whole family it must allow at least three or more people to play. Most board games have an upper limit on the number of players, but this can often be overcome by playing in teams so that no one is left out.

Ages of Players

A good family game needs to be easy enough for young players to participate but not so simple that older players quickly get tired of it. Generally, a challenging board game can be enjoyed by children 8 years of age and older. Partnering younger with older players is an excellent strategy when children are just learning the game. They can team with an older family member, lessening frustration if the game’s concepts are a bit more complex than they’re used to.

Difficult vs. Challenging

If a game has too many rules, or the rules are not clear, even the adults will find it difficult to play. However, if the game is too simple, players will tire of it quickly. The best board games walk this fine line to provide hours of repeat play.


Best Board Games for Families

Monopoly and Scrabble make the list for best family board games because they have stood the test of time and are still enjoyed by millions.

Over the years, many new games have challenged these classics for a place in family game cupboards, and three more recent ones seem to have what it takes to stick around: Ticket to Ride, Settlers of Catan, and Carcassonne.


Monopoly Ages 8+, 2-8 players

Monopoly was introduced by Parker Brothers in 1933 and is still the best-selling board game in the world. It combines skill and luck in the buying and selling of property, and a game can last up to 3 hours. It teaches planning, negotiating skills, money management, and how to be a graceful loser, as everybody except the winner goes bankrupt.


Scrabble Ages 8+, 2-4 players

Scrabble has been improving vocabulary and spelling since 1948. In this word-forming game, it takes luck and planning to play on the high-scoring spots while keeping your opponents from doing the same. When playing with younger players, bending the rules a little and letting them use a dictionary makes the game more fun for them.

Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride Ages 8+, 2-5 players

Ticket to Ride was introduced in 2004 and has been gaining popularity ever since. It's very easy to learn but involves a lot of strategy to win. Each game is less than an hour long, so it's great for shorter attention spans. The goal is to build the longest continuous train route, and the original, North American board has been joined by a series of others, including Europe, the Nordic countries, and the U.S.

Settlers of Catan

Settlers of Catan Ages 10+, 3-4 players

Settlers of Catan, which originated in Germany in 1995, has won many awards. It has a multivariate board that can be arranged in many patterns, meaning that each new game is slightly different than the last. To win, players must build roads, villages, and cities on the island of Catan. To include even more variety and game play, families can add from the many expansion packs and spin-off games that have been released.


Carcassonne Ages 8+, 2-5 players

Published in 2000, this short (45 minute) game set in Medieval France is simple to learn but requires strategy to win. Very young players can enjoy the tile-matching aspects of the game and not worry about scoring points. It's another game in which the board is different each time it's played. Couple that with the many expansion packs for Carcassonne, and this award-winning game stays continually interesting.


Luckily for families who enjoy playing games together, the world is full of fun and challenging <a data-cke-saved-href="http://www.ebay.com.au/sch/board games board games, which can be found through online retailers as well as in stores. With such variety, it's easy to find one board game, or several, that will become family favourites.

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