When the winds and rain are raging or the frost has settled in outside, there’s nothing better than snuggling down for a cosy afternoon of board games, hot chocolate and fireplaces.
In celebration of the world’s most humble entertainment, we’ve put together a list of top 15 ultimate family board games, from family classics to the newest wackiest games. If you’re a family of Scrabble sensations or go mad for Monopoly then have a read, and let us know your family’s favourite too.
Let the hilarity ensue with the ultimate fast-talking description game, Articulate!. Players describe words from six different categories to their team as quickly as possible without saying any part of the word, trying to get as many as they can to move around the board. Expect laughter, shouting and an increasingly incoherent team with this challenging family game (there’s also an easier Junior version which there’s no shame in sticking with - my family played this one into our 20s!).
For all the budding detectives out there, Cluedo is the perfect murder mystery board game. Move around the eerie old house in this process of elimination game as you gather clues to figure out which of the suspicious party is the murderer (it could be you!), which lethal weapon they used and in which of the many rooms the crime was committed. Cluedo is all about secrecy, tactics and keeping a watchful eye on everyone’s moves. Trust no one and try not to get too competitive (easier said than done!).
Whether you have an actual board or just play on paper, Pictionary is the ultimate drawing game for little artists! Pick a card and attempt to draw the item for your team for them to try and guess as quick as possible. Watch all doodling skills you thought you had fly out the window as the pressure of the timer gets to you!
An oldie but a goodie, you can’t go wrong with a classic game of Scrabble. Use your letter tiles to make the most point-worthy word you can and build up a board of interlinked phrases, trying and testing your grammar as you go.
The ultimate test of a steady hand, Jenga is a worldwide classic fit for any occasion. Perfect your technique as you try and extract wooden blocks from the stack without the whole thing toppling down before you. If you fancy upgrading the game, why not write forfeits on each block so the demolition culprit has to do the one on their fatal block as a punishment!
Monopoly is surely a staple in every family’s board game cupboard, and there’s a reason this infamous game has stood the test of time. Whatever version you play (there’s now a good few!) the concept of the original game mostly remains the same - move around the ‘streets’ of London deciding whether to buy or sell properties, upgrading to houses and hotels and ultimately trying to run your opponents into bankruptcy. It’s as cut-throat as real life real estate and can end up lasting your entire family holiday (trust me!), but this classic game with it’s fun rainbow money still has a place in everyone’s heart.
World domination anyone? On the world-map board game of Risk, players dominate certain countries using their little army and attempt to capture territories from their opponents, eventually conquering every continent! Be warned, this is another one that can last days or even weeks on end.
8. Guess Who
In this sweetly simple game, try and guess which quirky character on the board your opponent has by identifying their features in a process of elimination. Whether you get big-cheeked Bill or crazy-hat Claire, this is one you can play over and over with the kids..
Whether you’re on a train, in an airport or waiting for dinner to be served, there’s always a good time for Uno. Match your numbers and colours in this quick-fire card game with plenty of twists to watch for along the way.
Another classic board game but one that takes some knowing, move your Kings, Queens, knights and pawns along the black and white checkered board and try and take each other’s pieces one by one. Chess supposedly dates all the way back to the Middle Ages, and whilst there are plenty of rules to master the ultimate aim is to ‘checkmate’ your opponent’s King - trapping him resolutely!
11. Battle Ships
Settle your ships wherever you please on this back-to-back board and try and guess the position of your opponent’s, firing blindly along the X-Y grid and hoping for a ‘hit’ to take down each battle ship one by one.
With a new wave of popularity, Catan is another strategy game with plenty of different versions and a quirky, visual board. In the game’s basic form players become ‘settlers’ and the board represents their island of Catan, each one trying to build settlements and gain and trade resources.
13. Play That Tune
Think you can hold a tune? You might have to think again with this hilarious guessing game. Pick a card, choose an ‘easy’, ‘medium’ or ‘hard’ tune and attempt to play it for your partner on nothing other than a tiny kazoo! You’ll be instantly in stitches as you try and play through the giggles and test your music knowledge to gain as many points as possible.
In this new aesthetically-pleasing game popular with those who love all things visual, players collect colour-sequenced tiles and earn points by slotting them into the beautifully patterned board.
We’re not sure if this technically counts as a board game, but we just love Charades too much to leave it out of our list. A favourite at any family event, act out your chosen book, film, song or any other category you’ve created and try and help your team guess as best you can using only your hands and body. Plus, the board-less beauty of charades means it can be played almost anywhere.
Let us know your family favourites, share your games with @kidadl and discover more for the list by dropping by So Board’s ultimate board game days.
At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents.
We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it’s important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.
Kidadl provides inspiration to entertain and educate your children. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.
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