After a year and a half spent indoors, we know a thing or two about board games. We’ve written guides to the best family board games, the best adult board games, the best board games for kids, the best two-player board games, the best four-player board games, and even the best board games for parties. So when we noticed this morning that lots of our favorite Hasbro games are up to 36 percent off at Amazon, we thought we’d make it easy for you and pick out our favorites for all ages (all of which, might we add, would make excellent holiday gifts). From classics like Clue, Monopoly, and Scrabble, to strategy-based games like Connect 4, to hands-on options like Operation and Jenga, there’s truly something for everyone.
Scrabble Deluxe comes with a range of improved features that the original sorely lacks. A wheeled game board turns to each player (so no one has to play upside down again), and a nonslip grid keeps tiles in place — a necessity for those with curious pets.
As we write in our guide to the best board games, “The whole concept of Jenga is pretty straightforward: Build up a tower and then each player takes a turn of removing a block until the whole thing topples.” Its simplicity is what makes it ideal for all ages — though playing with children developing their fine motor skills may be a touch more frustrating than playing with adults.
Speaking of fine motor skills, the classic Operation board game is also on sale. Players must use a pair of tweezers to carefully remove plastic body parts embedded within the board — without setting off the buzzer. While it may be one of the more difficult board games on this list, it’s still plenty of fun for kids, reviewers assure. “My boys shrieked in laughter and excitement trying to perform each operation,” one parent says.
“Sorry! makes for an entertaining game because of the combination of luck and strategy,” we write in our guide to the best family board games. Because your luck can change at any time, “fun and intrigue are maintained until the last minute,” a reviewer writes, “while with other games, it is clear who wins early in the game, and fun is lost.” It’s best for kids ages 6 and up, though some reviewers say their 4-year-olds could play along too.
In Mouse Trap, kids (or adults) must get their mouse around the board without getting caught by the mouse trap, which you’ll take turns building. One child therapist says it’s especially great for kids who like something more hands-on and interactive. “If your child is a builder, I would get them this game,” they write.
The one where they pass GO and lose Monica’s rent-controlled two-bedroom apartment. In all seriousness, this game works like the classic Monopoly, except the board spaces are inspired by some of the show’s most iconic scenes (think Ross’s Teeth and the Holiday Armadillo).
While the regular Clue board game is also on sale, we’re particularly charmed by the retro 1986 edition. (There’s something more authentic about trying to solve a murder in a mansion in 1986 — pre-iPhone — than in 2021.) You can play with up to six players, and it’s ideal for ages 8 and up.
If you happen to have little ones who aren’t yet able to read, Chutes and Ladders only requires simple counting skills. (We actually deemed it the best counting board game in our guide to the best board games for kids.) According to reviewers, it’s best for ages 3 to 5, like one whose 4-year-old granddaughter “must have played the game with family members 15 times” immediately after opening the box.
If you’re looking for a fast-moving board game, Connect 4 games take around five minutes to complete. And unlike other versions, this one includes blue “blocker discs” that allow for new strategies.
And, finally, here’s the “ultimate” version of the original Twister game, which comes with a larger floor mat for double the players. (Players flick a spinner that tells them which hand or foot to place on which color.) Apparently, you can also ask Amazon’s Alexa to “spin” for you. What a world.
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