Popular Family Board Games

Stacy Zeiger
A board game can get everyone involved.

Playing a board game is a great way to get family members together and involved in something they enjoy. The challenge of competing against family members of all ages sets the scene for family bonding and creating fond memories. You don't even have to plan a board game marathon, as the games themselves have everything you need for spontaneous fun. Many family dinners, rainy days, and boring vacations have been saved with a board game.

Selecting Board Games for Your Family

The best games tend to be the ones that capture and hold the attention of all members of the family, regardless of their ages or interests. While many families have favorite games that are played over and over again, it can be exciting to add a new game with a different style of play into the mix. A combination of cherished games and new titles will keep your playing time interesting and upbeat.

Traditional Board Games

Sorry

To play Sorry, choose cards containing the amount spaces to move your pawns and be the first to get all of your pawns home. Sounds simple enough, but you must avoid getting sent back to start and cards that you require you to move back a few spaces. Just when you think you have the game won, a player may switch places with you or you will draw a card that keeps you from making it home. Sorry is a good family game because it appeals to multiple ages, and family members can form alliances to keep other players from winning the game.

Life

In the Game of Life, navigate through life's major milestones and attempt to be the player who retires with the most money. Children will learn that growing up isn't as easy as it seems and adults will enjoy trying to live the ultimate life as they play the game. Life involves getting married and having kids as well as interacting with your family. It also makes a good resource for parents to begin introducing life responsibilities to their children.

Clue

Clue, the classic mystery game, helps build problem-solving skills and logical reasoning skills. Travel around the board and uncover clues to see who committed the crime. Was is Mrs. Peacock in the ballroom with the revolver? Only the secret case file knows. Clue can be played by family members of all ages and helps build children's logic and reasoning skills.

Chutes and Ladders

The goal of Chutes and Ladders is to move from square 1 on the bottom of the board, to square 100 at the top of the board. As your move about the game board, you will face rewards for doing good deeds and consequences for not so good deeds. These rewards and consequences will allow you to climb ladders to reach the end faster or fall back by sliding down chutes. Playing the game will help your children learn about rewards and consequences, and teach them the importance of taking turns.

Word Games

Boggle

This classic game of Boggle challenges players to find as many three or more letter words as possible in the random square of letter cubes. You only have three minutes to play and only receive points for words that other players didn't get. A junior version of the game is available for younger players. While Boggle is a terrific game to enforce spelling and vocabulary in younger children, older kids will also enjoy facing off against their parents.

Catchphrase

Try and guess the word on the screen without using that word. While you want to guess as many words as possible, the goal is to not be the team acting out a word when the timer goes off. Designed to be a team game, Catchphrase is ideal for larger families. It builds vocabulary skills and gives families a chance to laugh together.

Scattegories

In Scattegories, you have a letter cube and topic cards. Choose a topic card, then roll the dice. The goal is to provide a word that begins with the letter on the cube for every topic on the topic card. Scattegories may be a little challenging for younger children, but older children, teens and adults will love to play.

Money and Math Games

Wits and Wagers

Wits and Wagers combines trivia with taking risks. A trivia question is read and players write down their guesses. Those answers are placed in the middle of the table and players bet on which answer is closest to the actual answer. A family version of the game is available to make it more appealing to younger children. This game has been recommended by debt-free guru Dave Ramsey because it begins to build money management skills.

Pay Day

Teach your kids about personal finance as they navigate the Pay Day game board. The game teaches children about the challenges and rewards that come with managing money. Hit the jackpot or watch your bills pile up in this fun and educational game. Even your youngest children will begin to learn how to manage their money effectively.

Monopoly

Monopoly has been a classic family game for years. Play the original version of this buying and selling real-estate game or choose a special version based on your favorite sports team, TV show or other area of interest. Build negotiating and bargaining skills and learn who in the family is the most coniving when it comes to buying and selling properties.

Trivia Games

Trivial Pursuit

Trivial Pursuit is probably the best known trivia game and is regularly enjoyed by families. Play as individuals or as teams. Purchase Trivial Pursuit Jr. if you have younger family members or find a version of the game based on your favorite genre or children's characters. This game is perfect for competitive families who like to challenge one another, and you'll all learn random bits of trivia while playing.

Cranium

Cranium combines creativity with trivia. Be the first to make it to the end of the board as you create sculptures, draw, sing, act out scenes and answer math and trivia questions. This game allows you to include family members with multiple talents. You may learn that your sister has a talent for humming showtunes or that your brother is a master clay sculpter in this hilarious game!

Beat the Parents

Your kids will enjoy trying to prove they know more than you in a game of Beat the Parents. In this game, parents answer trivia questions based on information the children should know and vice versa. Parents and kids may be surprised by how little they know about each other's worlds.

Other Games

Apples to Apples

Apples to Apples is a hilarious game of connections. In your hand you have cards containing people, places, things and events. An adjective card is laid down on the table and you must determine which of your cards fits that adjective the most. Don't have anything that fits? You still have to lay something down. Players earn points as their cards are chosen by the judge. Some of the adjectives and cards in the regular version of Apples to Apples may be too risqué or complicated for children, so try Apples to Apples Junior if you have younger kids. It's a chance to learn how the minds of your family members work and help younger children learn to categorize and make associations.

Pictionary

Pictionary is a game of pictures. To play Pictionary, choose a topic card and then draw an image of what the topic card suggests. As you draw the picture, your team tries to guess what you have drawn. The more correct answers, the more points you get. Try Pictionary Jr. for topics your younger children will know. It's a nice change from traditional board games and offers a lot of laughs as the guesses progress.

Get the Family Involved

Not all board games will appeal to everyone in the family, but each member is sure to have a favorite. Get the whole family involved in choosing new board games to try, and then take turns selecting the ones you'll play together. Family game time is most fun when everybody has a favorite game to look forward to.

Popular Family Board Games