What’s a perfect night look like? We think it’s the whole family (minus any electronics) gathered around a table playing board games! It teaches sportsmanship (super important), how to follow rules (also super important), and makes that bond between all of you that much stronger (the most important of all.) So the kids are learning a lot while they’re having fun, and they don’t even know it! Wondering what you should play? We found the top 10 best and worst board games for family night – and you might be surprised to see which ones made each list.
Top 10 Best Board Games for Family Night (In No Particular Order)
A stellar classic – this matching game has 48 cardboard cards that you place face down after you mix them all up. A player picks up one card and tries to find the match. At first, it’s totally random, but then kids start to memorize past cards they picked up. This game never gets old because it’s different every time you play it! Simple, but surprisingly entertaining.
This game is kind of hard to describe, but very easy to play. There are 4 colors of various shaped plastic pieces. The object is to have your color fill up more squares than anyone else when the board is full. Trust us, it’s fun, and your kids will like it too!
This game combines sculpting, drawing, acting, and humming to get your partner to guess the right answer. It’s one of those super entertaining games that you never know what will happen next. It’s not for the littlest ones in the family, but they’ll be entertained watching you play since you’ll be doing such weird, silly stuff.
Hi Ho Cherry-O
A perfect game for preschoolers. There are ten cherries on a tree and you spin an arrow to see how many cherries you get to pluck off the tree. Sometimes you have to put some back which is frustrating because the first player who gets all 10 off of the tree wins. Good game for counting, learning rules, and hand-eye coordination.
Each player is trying to get their 4 pawns into a safe zone by traveling around the whole board. The other players can bump you off or even send you back to the start with a Sorry card. It’s a highly entertaining game that can be played by kids as young as 6, but is still fun for adults.
This drawing game has you attempt to get your partner to guess a word, person, or action before the time runs out. Believe it or not, it doesn’t actually take an artist to play it! Sometimes the simplest drawings are the most effective. The drawings can really make you laugh too, like when you realize that your partner was trying to get you to say cow, and you kept guessing different countries!
This isn’t technically a board game, but this is a game that fits perfectly on the list because it’s really fun for the whole family. There are 4 colors of cards with numbers on them and a few wild cards. Each player must follow the color that was laid by the last player. If they can’t, they either change the color with a wild card or have to pick more cards. The object is to go out first. This can take a while, and the game can really take some twists and turns. The littlest kids can sit on a parent’s lap and help them find the right color of card.
Chutes and Ladders
A classic preschoolers game of trying to go all way up the board by climbing ladders, but sometimes going all the way back down on a chute. Even though the chutes send you backwards in the game, there’s still something fun about sliding down the slide. Not so fun for older kids but little ones love it.
You have 5 dice that you roll. If you get all 5 dice one number, you get Yahtzee! A great game for adding, strategy, and family fun. Have the preschooler be the parent’s partner and do the rolling. The whole family will erupt with excitement when someone rolls a Yahtzee!
Apples to Apples
This game is all about word associations. You need to pick the word from the cards in your hand that best matches a word that is on the table. If you don’t have anything that resembles that word at all the outcomes can be very funny. Like you play the card peanut butter to match with the word slow. This game doesn’t really ever have a right or wrong answer which makes it one of the funniest family board games we’ve ever seen!
Top 10 Worst Board Games for Family Night (Again In No Order)
This game can take a really long time. Like days long. It’s also not very well suited for the family because of its general theme of world conquest and war.
This makes the list because it’s really just a pretty boring, random guessing game. Plus, only 2 people can play at a time. And, again, the warfare angle isn’t terribly appealing for building family bonds.
The New Version of Operation
This game used to be pretty tricky and it had such a cool looking board with the guy with the light up nose. It actually made you nervous to pull out the pieces. Now, the slots where the pieces are are so large that there’s no challenge to pulling them out. Unless you’re over-caffeinated, but you certainly don’t want to over-caffeinate the kids. The point of the game has been lost.
We have some good memories of playing this game as kids, but now it just seems wrong. A murder game where you need to figure out who did the murdering and with what macabre object? Doesn’t sound like family night to us.
Game Based On Toys or Shows
Your kids might love My Little Pony, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Bratz, and every other popular show character that fills the toy shelves, but these games rarely end up being anything anyone over 8 would want to play. These games are usually a not-as-fun version of some other classic kids game. Read reviews of new kids games that are good and skip these.
It’s all in the name: in pursuit of the trivial – the most obscure, minute, mundane facts about pretty much everything. And each version gets more and more trivial. Does ANYONE know how long Charlie’s Angels was on the air and what years it was? Or what Socrates favorite drink was? Or the name of the dog from My Three Sons?
We actually love this classic spelling game, but not for family game night. If you play this with 4 people, it can be a very long time till it’s your turn again. As in bring a book to the game. As in its almost the kid’s bedtime and the game’s half done or the kids even just decided to go to bed early because the house is the quietest it’s ever been.
This game is supposed to mimic real life because of all the decisions you make while playing it. Like are you going to college, how many kids did you have, and what was your job – but these things happen entirely at random in the game. You land on a square, and you had another baby! You pull a card, and you have a very bad house and a horrible job! Oh – and then you lost your job! The ups and downs of adulthood will come soon enough for your kids. There’s no fun in spoilers.
Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots
This isn’t a real family board game, but even for two kids how long could this be fun? Your robots try to punch each other. They have a very limited amount of movements. When one robot hits the other hard enough, the head pops up. The game is over now start again. A game concept that sold pretty well but was never any fun.
This is the big surprise of the list because EVERYONE has it! What we saw in our research is that this is the single most disliked popular game ever. It’s too long, the mortgages get too complicated, and again it is just soooooo long. How many times have you seen anyone actually finish monopoly? Usually, it just gets put away because everyone loses interest. How did this end up one of the most popular games of all time?
We know that lists like these are merely humble opinions, so we’re sure that we missed some of the greatest and forgot some of the worst of all time. What are your favorite family board games? Does your family still enjoy them? Let us know what games you love AND the ones that won’t sell for a quarter when you have a garage sale. We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!