Best Board Games Your Children Didn’t Know They Wanted

In my opinion, no family has too many board games.  Whatever number of board games you have in your home right now, you can double or triple the number and your children and the whole family will be the better for it.

It is our misfortune that many families have stopped playing board games. This family activity promotes bonding, and face to face interaction. It also facilitates conversation which young people are losing out on these days as most of their communication is via texting.

Some games promote fun and laughter, others promote strategic thinking, while others promote tactical thinking. Some games bring out the competitive spirit in players and are all about winning. Some games are about cooperating with others, being a team player, and winning as a group.  These are all qualities we want our very young to develop if we want them to grow up to be balanced, well rounded young adults.

Board Games and Puzzles provide value year after year. Money spent on them is money well spent. The same cannot be said for electronic games.  I will leave the debate about the pros and cons of electronic games for another blog post as today I want to share with you the games we regularly play in our household. I have added certain other games recommended by some friends and family.  

  1. Sleeping Queens

Appropriate for age 3 and above. Takes about 15 minutes to play. Don’t let this fool you into thinking it will be boring for the grownups. This is a game that will become a favorite of the entire family, grownups included. Often on weekdays, our whole family will play a quick round of this game before it is time to send my younger one off to bed. This game is a must have for all families.

2. Jenga

Appropriate for age 4 and above. This is another favorite in our home. This can be played with any number of players. You build a tower out of wooden blocks, and players take turns to remove blocks out of the tower. If the tower falls apart on your turn, you lose the game. This game requires skill, strategy and luck to win.

3. Carcassone

For age 6 and above. Takes about 45 minutes to complete a game. This is a strategy game where players try to outsmart their opponents. Players fill in the countryside around the medieval fortified city, choosing from tiles that depict cities, roads, monasteries, and fields; each new tile creates an ever-expanding board on which players can then add their followers. Followers can take many different roles like knights, monks, farmers, or thieves. Each role scores points differently, so you’ll need careful planning to make the best use of your followers. The player who makes the most strategic placements of tiles and followers will score the most points and win the game.

4. Goat Lords

For age 6 and up. Can be played by 2 – 6 players. Takes about 20-30 minutes to finish one game. This is another must have game. We have played with our children, and also with another couple and it was a blast. It is a competitive game but also involves luck, and drama and strategy and tons of laughter. Goat Lords has just the right speed, humor, and game play that makes it fun to play over and over again! It can be played quick so you don’t have to set aside an hour to play, but if you want, you could easily play it again and again to last that long. I highly recommend this game.

5. Ghost Blitz

This game has instructions in English and several other languages. Another must have game! Appropriate for age 4 and up. My favorite dexterity game. Very clever in that the game is designed as a race but the higher level pattern recognition skills you need to win the race often get short circuited by the more visceral reactions and emotions. Game requires skill and players can improve with incremental plays. Can be very fun, and also very intense.

Takes less than a minute to teach, but still difficult to master. Two people can play the game or as many as 8 or more if you can fit everyone in to grab. You can also play in teams or have a free for all. This game is fun for all age groups. We’ve played with 4 year olds as well as with grandparents. This game is a great teaching tool for young kids.

6. Outfoxed!

Recommend for ages 3 – 9. A great deduction game to play with kids that teaches basic logic and tests memory. The play length is ideal for playing a quick game with Dad before dinner.

This game has a really unique premise – a child-sized mystery. On each turn you must decide whether you’re going to attempt to reveal a clue or reveal 2 suspects. You work together throughout the game to try to catch the thief by using the clues to eliminate suspects. There is an element of chance, and a lot of problem solving & logic. A cooperative whodunit board game!

7. Forbidden Island

For ages 7 and up. Takes about 30 minutes to play a game. It is a cooperative strategy survival game. It is completely cooperative, meaning either everyone wins or everyone loses. At first, the game might seem a little complex, but once you get rolling, you’ll have no troubles with the rules or order of play. In my opinion, this is a can’t-miss game. It’s rapidly become our favorite, and if your family loves quick-paced adventure games, it may become yours, as well.

8. Fluxx

For ages 8 and up and for 2-5 players. My family has been enjoying Fluxx for years now. I think version 5.0 very well could be the best version so far. Fluxx is a quirky, fun, chaotic, smart, card game. Having to pay attention to the ever-changing rules and constantly adapt to new strategies as you draw new cards gives your brain a workout without ever being too challenging. 

9. Spot It! Classic

For ages 6 and up and 2-8 players. Spot It! helps develop focus, visual perception skills, speech-language skills, and fine motor skills. Players of all ages will enjoy the engaging, tactile gameplay. It hones players’ observational skills and lightning-fast reflexes that test who’s the fastest to spot matching symbols and call them out! This is one of several games we always take on trips with us. Spot It! Jr Animals and Spot It! Camping are also available.

10. Rat-a-Tat Cat

For ages 4 and up. This is one game that has appealed to kids in my family. It teaches strategy and addition. We love the game because it is fast paced and fun, and the little one can practice his addition. We often take it to doctor’s offices, restaurants, and any place we know will have some wait times that we do not want to fill with electronics. Another winner in our family!

I can confirm the power of board games by the benefits our family has received from their use. Hope that after reading this post many of you will try my recommendations. Long live board games!