The best family board games

This post contains affiliate links. However: all thoughts and opinions about the games are absolutely my own. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Every other weekend my family gets together with our friends and play board games.

Here is my family favorite board games:

Shadows over Camelot

is a great board game. It is based upon Arthurian legends and it is a cooperative game by Serge Laget and Bruno Cathala, published by Days of Wonder. I have always been a fan of knights, dragons, swords, and everything else related to stories involving King Arthur, Lancelot, the Round Table, and anything else medieval and some of them involve magic.

Players: 3-7

Estimated Game Time: 60-120 minutes

Geek Level: Intermediate

Fun Factor: This game is a ton of fun

Difficulty: Once you’ve played a few rounds of this game, it will make complete sense 

Board game

Love this game. Great theme, tense game play, the mystery of the potential traitor, and the “ticking clock” of siege catapults makes for great game play. Probably one of the best board game purchases I have ever made.

Next game is

Exploding Kittens

A Card Game for People Who Are Into Kittens and Explosions and Sometimes Goats

Exploding Kittens is quite easily one of the most hilarious games I have played. The game is fun, and at first reading sounds complicated, but it is in fact simple and quick. And a lot of laughs. Don’t be afraid of the cards or illustrations… They are quirky and strange but not offensive. Okay, the TEENSIEST bit rude, yes. But funny. Wildly creative.

This game allows 2-5 people to play. If you may have a larger group, do buy a second set of cards. It is money well invested.

Exploding Kittens Board game

The game is like Russian Roulette. Each person draws a card. At any time you may draw an exploding kitten, and if you do, you die for the remainder of the hand. But, of course, there is more involved than that!!! For the first round, keep the directions handy. You’ll need them. For subsequent rounds you will probably not need them much at all.

To begin play, everyone is dealt a hand of four cards (look at them but show no one) and one defuse card. The defuse card is your lifeline. Hide it within your hand. (Once you draw an exploding kitten card, you are dead for the hand. UNLESS you can play a defuse card.) You can play any card you have available… Some cards allow you to draw a card from another player’s hand, some allow you to peek at what’s coming in the draw pile, or to skip your turn, or make the next player draw twice… You CAN play anything, but don’t NEED to play anything. Once you are finished playing, or if you’ve decided not to play anything, draw a card (and hope it isn’t an exploding kitten. If it is, play your defuse).

If you run out of cards, that’s okay. Draw when it’s your turn. If you accumulate so many cards they are difficult to hold, that’s okay, too. (And better for saving your life!) Keep drawing at your turn. You are not penalized for cards you hold or play. The only goal is to survive drawing the exploding kittens within the deck, or to cause others to draw them. (there is an exploding kitten card in the deck for all but one player. One player survives the hand).

Making any sense?? Order the cards, play a hand… It will all be made clear. It is a fast and silly game, very fun. Particularly with people who will enjoy the strange quirky weirdness of the illustrations. Choose your friends well.

Exploding Kittens board game

If you are still on the fence, just do it! What are a few exploded kittens between friends?

Disclaimer: No actual kittens were exploded during the making of this game.

Catan

5th Edition

Picture yourself in the era of discoveries: After a long voyage of great deprivation, your ships have finally reached the coast of an uncharted island. Its name shall be Catan! But you are not the only discoverer. Other fearless seafarers have also landed on the shores of Catan: The race to settle the island has begin!

best board games - family board games

LEARNING CURVE: This game is extraordinarily simple and straightforward to learn. Played once through, it makes plenty of sense and opens doors to more complex rules and gameplay.

GAME SPEED: 1-2 hours for 4 players. Game moves briskly but with obvious early-, mid-, and end-game stages that each have their own strategies and approaches. Game easily resumed from a paused state if you take a break.

GAMEPLAY OVERALL: Catan is satisfying to play, even more satisfying to win. As a game best played with a poker face and a good set of bluffing skills, Catan rewards long-term foresight and strategies more than rushed or brute-forced gameplay techniques. Catan can become repetitive IF and ONLY IF you refuse to play randomly. I highly recommend players who have a few games under their belt learn to completely randomize the map, starting positions, and resource entitlement for more satisfying experiences.

best board games - family board games

APPROPRIATE FOR KIDS? Depends on your child. Children with a knack for puzzles and strategy games will find playing Catan with adults to be very rewarding. Probably a bit too complex for children to play with each other, however; too many “honor system” concepts in play, too easy to cheat each other.

APPROPRIATE FOR SPECIAL NEEDS? Gameplay can easily be catered for adults or children with special needs. Game rules are insanely simple and easily modified for those wanting additional assistance. Communities online for adapting Catan gameplay are prevalent and easily found.

CONCLUSION: Catan is a fantastically easy game to pick up and learn, but complex and difficult to master. Catan is a game best suited to be expanded and enhanced, as the base game is truly just the first step into the world of Catan.

7 Wonders

Lead an ancient city as it rises to become a world power in 7 Wonders, a competitive civilization building game set in the ancient Mediterranean and designed by Antoine Bauza. You might fortify your city and assault your neighbors in search of military victory, create a haven for artisans, scientists, and philosophers, or focus your economy and profit from trade. You might even complete a magnificent architectural wonder that will fascinate mankind for eons to come and grant your city lasting renown. Every turn, you’ll have a chance to add a building to your city, acquire coins, or construct another stage of your Wonder. Then you’ll pass the cards to the next player, who may profit from your choices. With seven double-sided boards and over a hundred cards, 7 Wonders offers plentiful replayability and numberless paths to victory.

  • Age Range: 14 years and up
  • Simple and addictive
  • Raise a complete civilization in 30 minutes


board game - best board games

This is a dynamic, quick game for lovers of strategy board games!

Codenames

Components

16 agent cards in two colors

1 double agent card

7 innocent bystander cards

1 assassin card

40 key cards

1 rulebook

board games for adults - family board games

Codenames is a deep game with simple rules, it’s tense and silly at the same time, and it’s fun when you’re winning and even better when you’re losing.

Party board game - board games for adults - family board games

Everybody loves it. It’s intense, requires some thought, and always fun for a big group. Great for party!

board game - best board games

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