Qwirkle is a strategic but simple dominoes-like matching game for two to four players, ages six and up. It’s premise? Players build rows of tiles in the same color or shape. Get six tiles in a row and you’ve made a Qwirkle. There’s something for everyone in this game. Little kids can develop shape and color recognition skills playing Qwirkle, while older players can get deep into logic and strategy. It’s easy to learn and a round lasts about 45 minutes, so the game is short enough to hold a little kid’s attention but long enough to get in some quality family time.
The Best Family Board Games for Entertainment at Home
Gather around a table, unplug, and enjoy some screen-free fun.
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- Best OverallMindWare Qwirkle Board GameCheck Latest Price
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When you’re spending more time at home, you might be interested in playing a board game to keep your family entertained. The best family board games do more than just entertain. They also strengthen family relationships. Playing board games is especially beneficial to children, teaching them about teamwork, patience, and how to win and lose gracefully. Board games can also strengthen kids’ brains and help with language development. And there’s value in trading screen time for face time.
The best family board games appeal to players of all ages. Some are made for one-on-one play with a parent and child, while others are best for larger groups. Some are quiet and thoughtful, while others are more raucous. Read on for a selection of some of the best family board games.
Our Top Picks
Ahead, the variety in these family board game recommendations may lead you to a crowd-pleaser for the next game night.
Connect 4 is like tic-tac-toe crossed with checkers, a classic, simple game that has been around for nearly 50 years. It’s a simple, two-player game that consists of a rack and checker-like pieces. There aren’t a ton of cards, gadgets, or pieces, one of the reasons it’s affordable. The goal? Be the first player to form a line of your colored discs. A round takes around 10 minutes, so it’s a good game to play over and over again in a family tournament. It’s also great for one-on-one parent and child time. Young children quickly pick up the concept, and gradually learn the nuances of strategy, spatial awareness, and planning.
As the name suggests, 5 Second Rule is for people who like to think, talk, and play fast. The 5 Second Rule’s premise? Come up with three answers to a question like “Name 3 Famous Bald People” in five seconds. Players take turns in the “hot seat,” getting a point each time they come up with answers before a timer goes off. Whoever has the most points when the game ends is the winner. The game is good for three or more players, ages 10 and up. The rules are loose, so players can decide which answers are correct and which are not. Players also decide how long the game lasts. It comes with a deck of cards with 576 questions, so while the game moves fast, you could play all evening.
Hedbanz is an I-spy-like guessing game for two to six players aged seven years and up. Players flex their deductive reasoning skills with the game’s simple question-and-answer premise: What am I? Each player is dealt an identity card to place in their headband, without peeking at it. The object of the game: players guess what they are by asking yes and no questions of their fellow players. They can be things like a chicken, a box of popcorn, or a car (an animal, food, or man-made item.) Players give up a chip for each correct guess, and the first player to run out of chips is the winner.
We like that kids practice critical thinking and deductive reasoning skills, while kids and adults have fun playing a silly game. A round lasts 20 to 30 minutes, and it’s good for repetitive play.
Team up and play Codenames, an espionage-themed guessing game. The premise? Teams compete to see who can connect with all 25 of their secret agents first. Rival Spymasters know who the agents are and give their teammates clues, who guess identities while trying to avoid an assassin. There’s a nice cooperation component that develops within each team, along with lively discussion, and the game requires creative thinking. Codenames is a good party game because it can be taught in just a few minutes, and games last between 15 and 30 minutes. Recommended for two teams of two to four players each, ages 10 years and up. Younger children can play, too if paired with more experienced players.
Telestrations is like a sketching and word-guessing game crossed with the old game of Telephone. Players each get a sketchbook, draw a card and pick a word, write it in their sketchbook, then turn the page and sketch the word. Players then pass their sketchbook to the next player who guesses what the sketch is, then turns the page and writes the guess. The book is passed again, and the next player reads the guess, turns the page, and sketches the guess. The game continues until the sketchbooks come back to their original owners. Then, it is time for the big reveal. For example, what started as a sketch of a doggy bag might now be a sketch of a lunar rover. We like the game because it employs artistic interpretation and creative thinking, and lots of humor. It can be played competitively with a point system, or just for fun and laughs. This game is for four to eight players, ages 12 years and up.
Who doesn’t love dragons, treasure, and wizards? Labyrinth wraps all those figures into a creative storyline and strategic game that makes it fun for players of all ages. The goal is to go into the maze and find the treasure, then be the first player to escape the Labyrinth with all of your treasure. Players can use cards to block opponents from exiting from the maze, or to expedite their own exit. We like Labyrinth because it teaches players to develop short- and long-term strategies for navigating the maze, and it builds confidence in younger kids who may be playing their first real board game with the big kids. Experienced players will appreciate that no two games are the same because of the ever-changing game board. Labyrinth is for two to four players, ages seven and up. A round takes about 30 minutes, so young children won’t lose interest.
Kids aged 3 years and up will love Busytown, Eye Found It, which is full of classic children’s book illustrator Richard Scarry’s adorable animals and bustling cityscapes. The goal of Busytown: Get to Picnic Island before the pigs eat all the food. Two to four players race around Busytown solving mysteries and finding hidden objects with characters like Huckle Cat and Lowly Worm. The game can be played by teams, so it encourages collaboration. Kids learn to win or lose, together. It’s a fast game, too, good for the short attention spans of small children, with a round taking less than 15 minutes to complete. We like the big, colorful board, Scarry characters, and the concept which feels fast and competitive but encourages players to work together. The game gives little kids lots of opportunities for conversation and counting practice and develops observation skills. It’s a fun first board game for little ones.
If you like Minecraft, you’ll like Catan, a board game where you build a civilization with cities, roads, armies, and settlements all while keeping an eye out for the robber. To play, contestants roll the dice to get resources that let them build a new settlement or upgrade an existing one. Each house counts as a point, cities as two points, and the first person to reach 10 points wins.
Players must strategize on the best place to build their city and how to get points by doing things like buying development cards and raising an army. There’s enough headwork in this game to make it interesting for both beginners and experienced players. We like that Catan lends itself to story building. Players immerse themselves in this fantasy world for around an hour. Catan is recommended for three to four players over the age of 10. You can buy an extension (sold separately) to expand Cartan for up to six players.
The most classic board game of all, Monopoly, is a great pick if you’ve got hours of time to fill and a family to keep entertained. The 85-year-old game lets you buy, trade, and sell property with fake money until you become a real estate king and drive your fellow players into bankruptcy. The classic version of Monopoly is suitable for older kids (8 and up) and adults, but there is a simplified version for kids as young as five (Monopoly Jr.). Monopoly can be played by two to eight players, so the whole family can play. A typical game lasts between one and four hours, so it’s a good way to spend a day indoors. Pass go and collect $200! What else are you going to do when it’s 4 degrees and the plow trucks haven’t made it around yet?