Top 10 games for family game night
Over the past decade, a growing trend of independent gaming companies started up, bringing more variety to family board games. Family game night can now move past the traditional game of Monopoly into versatile games known as tabletop games.
Listed below are the ten most family-friendly tabletop games to help change up family game night. All the games listed are easy to find titles that multiple generations can learn in a short amount of time.
Codenames — Two to eight players, ages 14 and above.
The teams compete to see who can make contact with all of their agents first. The board is set up in a 5×5 grid. Each team has a Spymaster that gives one-word clues that could lead to multiple words on the board. There will be a color code card the Spymaster uses to direct their teammates, so they pick the correct team-colored card while avoiding the assassin and opposing team’s colored cards. If you enjoy this game, you can purchase different versions, including Marvel and Disney.
Splendor — Two to four players, ages 10 and above.
Splendor is a game of chip-collecting and card development. Players are merchants using gem tokens so they can buy development cards to acquire the most prestige points. Each round you choose 1 of 3 actions to gain gems and prestige points. Based on your scores, you become “wealthier” which can help you attract a visit from a noble that helps to increase your prestige points!
Ticket to Ride — Two to five players, ages eight and above.
Ticket to Ride is a cross-country train adventure in which players collect and play matching train cards to gain railway routes that connect cities throughout North America. You win by having the most points. Players receive points for train placement, destination card completion, and if they have the longest continuous train. They have multiple expansion games you can buy with themes from all over the world that can form an even bigger board.
Settlers of Catan — Three to four players, ages 10 and above.
If you enjoy Monopoly, you’ll enjoy this game. The women and men of your expedition build the first two settlements. Players build roads and new settlements that eventually become cities. Players barter to gain supplies (brick, ore, wool, lumber and grain) to create the things you need to succeed. Some resources are scarce, and others are readily available. Earn points based on the development cards you collect. The first player to 10 or more points wins the game.
DixIt — Three to six players, ages eight and above.
Dixit is the classic lighthearted game of storytelling and guesswork where players imagination unlocks the tale. The first player to 30 points wins the game. Each player takes a turn as the “active” player selecting a card from their “hand” and describes as vague or as clear as they want it to be. The other players then pick cards from their hands they think fit the description the best to lay in a group pile that includes the “active” player’s original card. Each player besides the “active” player uses a numbered token to put down next to the card they think was the original “active” player’s card. To get the most points possible, the “active” player is trying to get the other players not to pick their original card.
It is part psychology and part art form. Dixit has similar style play as Apples to Apples but with art on the card instead of just words.
Cranium — Four or more players, ages 16 and above.
Players form teams to go around the board completing activities in 4 color-coded categories: Creative Cat, Data Head, Star Performer, and Word Worm. One side picks a card from the group that matches their space on the board and must complete the activity before time runs out. Spelling a word backward, drawing with their eyes closed, and solving a puzzle are some of the activities players may do. The first team to reach the central space and complete one last challenge wins.
Catchphrase — Four or more players, ages 12 and above.
Using a handheld unit teams race against the clock trying to get teammates to guess the word or phrase that appears on the screen by describing it any way possible. Similar to the game Hot Potato don’t get caught holding the unit when the buzzer goes off because the other team will score a point. The first team to reach seven points wins. A tabletop version and a travel handheld version are available.
Forbidden Island — Two to four players, ages 10 and above.
Forbidden Island is a collaborative game where players collect four sacred treasures from the ruins of this perilous paradise. Your team will have to work together and make some pulse-pounding maneuvers, as the island will sink beneath every step! Players race to collect all the treasures before the island gets swallowed up.
If you like this game, they have several sequels with slight modification in play and different themes.
Tsuro — Two to eight players, ages eight and above.
Players place a tile and slide their stones along the path created. Other players’ paths can lead you in the wrong direction — or off the board entirely! Paths will cross and connect, and the choices you make affect all the journeys across the board. The last player left on the board to win.
If you like Tsuro but want a slightly more challenging game try Tsuro of the Seas and Tsuro Phoenix Rising (sequels to Tsuro).
Pandemic — Two to four players, ages eight and above.
Players are the only thing standing in the way of deadly diseases that threaten the world. As members of a disease-fighting team, players work together to keep the world safe from outbreaks and epidemics.
Pandemic is a cooperative board game in which players work as a team to treat infections around the world while gathering resources for cures. It has a similar style of board play as Ticket to Ride. The Pandemic game line now includes multiple expansions and stand-alone titles.