Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy, but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed products and single out the most convincing ones. (You can learn more about our rating system and how we pick each item here.)
And while we’ve written about lots of games before — including the best adult board games, the best two-player board games, and the best four-player board games — here, we’ve rounded up the best family board games, as praised by the most enthusiastic reviewers on Amazon.
Best-rated family board game
“It’s safe to say you’ve never played a game like this before,” writes one of the over 9,500 five-star reviewers of Exploding Kittens. One customer describes it “like Russian roulette,” while another reviewer writes, “The cards are hilarious and the pictures are completely inappropriately awesome.” And lots of reviewers appreciate that the cards are as “random” as Cards Against Humanity, but less crude and more family-friendly. A mother who regularly brings this game on family camping and hiking trips says, “Kids can play on the same level as adults, and they love that.” She also says that it’s the perfect antidote to holiday small talk with extended family: “Instead of listening to Uncle Fred’s latest MAGA rant, or worse, I can bring on the Exploding Kittens.” And another parent who bought it for their teenage daughter calls it “a quirky, funny, and flexible game that provides actual interaction in a light and funny way.”
Best-rated (less expensive) family board game
The consensus among over 4,000 reviewers is that Spot it! is “great for all ages,” and many appreciate its portability and price as well. In fact, many adult reviewers describe this game as “fun” and “surprisingly challenging,” sharing that they keep the little tin of cards in their purse or carry-on bag to entertain impatient children on flights or in restaurants. “My son loves this game! The price was right and the tin comes in handy,” one mom writes. Another reviewer says, “It’s a very inexpensive game that’s really easy to learn. The cries of ‘Again! Again!’ will keep you playing for hours.” And a parent of 4-year-old twins calls this matching-picture game “simple, cheap, versatile, and durable — definitely worth checking out.”
And, now, for some micropicks of every type of family board game you might be looking for.
Best board game for fine motor skills
When you mention fine motor skills, small children come to mind. But nearly 400 positive reviewers confirm that this game is “seriously great fun for all ages.” Several reviewers also describe it as a “learning tool,” with one explaining, “It takes a steady hand and a careful eye for balance.” A parent of three boys says “my 14-year-old can enjoy with his friends, my 7-year-old is doing very well with it, and even my 5-year-old is happily focusing on his fine motor skills.” She continues, “The quality and durability of it make it last in a house full of boys.” And a teacher writes, “It encourages players to think about weight and balance, because they have to carefully place the pieces to make sure they don’t knock anything over.”
Best thriller board game
“This is a good spooky board game to play with a small group of friends on a stormy night,” says one five-star reviewer who describes the game as “incredibly immersive and detailed.” Over 200 five-star reviewers use the words “spooky,” “scary,” or “horror” to describe the game’s vibe. And lots of reviewers say they like that each time they play Betrayal at House on the Hill, it’s always a little bit different. One reviewer, who leads a group game night, says that it’s the most fun he has ever had and that the artwork and design elements are “nice and spooky, while keeping a fun, playful atmosphere.” He says it would be “great for a Halloween game night, obviously.” And another gamer writes, “If you like horror movies or general spooky stuff, this is definitely the game to get.”
Best nostalgic board game
The classic board game Clue remains a family favorite, according to reviewers. “Great family game. I don’t know how I never played this as a kid, but I play it now,” says one shopper. “Nice way to spend time together.” And lots of shoppers who did play as a kid described the fun of sharing the familiar game with their own children. “Bought this for our family game nights,” writes one. “I loved this game as a child and wanted to share it with my kids.” Another says, “This game takes me back to my youth, and I’m so glad I get to share it with my daughter. It is an awesome family game, and we really love it.”
Best musical board game
Of the more than 1,800 reviewers, over 200 used either the phrase “love music” or “music lovers” in their reviews. One such reviewer, who rated the game a five out of five, says, “I was a bit skeptical when my wife (the family music lover) brought this game up. But we found it can be played by anyone. The rules are simple, and it provides lots of laughs and opportunity for interaction across generational lines.” Another couple, who call themselves “big music lovers,” as well as “folks who love to sing,” say they enjoyed both naming and “belting out songs” and “can’t wait to play again.” And a family whose youngest child is 12 years old writes, “It was a blast seeing what kind of music everyone likes to listen to and racing to the punch when everyone knew the same song!”
Best board games for toddlers
“It is so gripping that after playing it FIVE times, my toddler cried when we finally said we would have to pack it up,” says a five-star mom reviewer. Other parents and grandparents report loving this six-foot-long puzzle game because “it doesn’t tax a toddler’s attention span or patience levels,” and “the quality and design is excellent.” Reviewers like that it’s engaging for kids and not annoying for adults. And this mom says, “So far, it has been the most enjoyable board game to play with my toddler.” Another appreciative reviewer, who works as a speech pathologist, writes, “The game presents many opportunities for conversation, counting practice, and event sequencing.”
“I simply cannot think of a better beginning board game for your toddler,” says one reviewer. “They will love the bright colors, as well as the speed and simplicity of play. This familiar game sets up simply and teaches basic concepts of rules, turn-taking, and paying attention.” And dozens of other reviewers say Candy Land is perfect for their toddlers and preschool-age kids. One gave her kids the game and says they “were thrilled,” adding, “it’s simple enough for toddlers and still fun for adults. Great tool for learning colors because the pictures are bright and colorful!” Another warns that “as an adult, this game is tedious and can be REALLY LONG. Basically, it sucks. It totally sucks.” But she keeps playing it with her kids because “it’s a classic” and a valuable, fun learning tool for her kids. Plus, one more mom not only thinks that it’s “easy to learn and easy to play,” but the board itself is “quite sturdy and will hold up to some toddler/preschooler abuse.”
Best board game for parties
More than 400 Codenames positive reviewers say they love breaking it out at parties. That group includes this guy who calls it “the best game to have in your arsenal,” saying, “it’s fun for all ages and all group sizes. It is small and portable. I’ve been buying copies for everyone’s birthday this year!” A reviewer with a family of nine that ranges in age from 8 to 60 writes, “We really like it! It’s a great game that can be played with a large variety of people.” But you don’t have to be family to play. In fact, this reviewer who runs a board-game club calls it “easily the best party game out there,” and compares it to another wildly popular party game, saying, “What’s great about Codenames is that it can be quite difficult and requires creative thinking, in contrast to common ‘party games’ like Cards Against Humanity.”
Best collaborative board game
Scattergories reviewers call the game a “crowd-pleaser” and “always good for a laugh.” And over 700 of the positive reviews we scrolled through include the word “fun.” One reviewer who recommends playing on teams of kids mixed with adults says, “There was no fighting because some nights one team would win, and the next night, because of the change in subjects, another team might win. It was just an all-out fun time playing together.” The same reviewer also appreciated the reprieve Scattergories affords from social media and other “digital interruptions.” A mother who gave the game five stars calls it “great fun for bonding with my kids!” She adds, “My teenage son was my teammate, and he came up with some answers that I totally would have missed.” And a woman who discovered the game while on vacation writes, “No one even missed the television! The kids looked forward to playing this game every night and switching up teams.”
Best drawing board game
Though drawing is a large part of this game’s appeal, lots of positive reviewers noted that you don’t have to be particularly good at drawing to enjoy playing it. One reviewer says, “The best part of the game is making fun of your friends and family for their poor guessing and drawing skills.” Another five-star reviewer writes, “What makes this game extra special to me is you get to actively participate the whole time. Also awful drawers aren’t really a drawback because their attempts add a whole new level of hilarity.” And this father who wasn’t sure he would enjoy a drawing game says, “I could describe this as ‘Telephone’ with a drawing twist. But that is a serious undersell. By the time I was done with my first game, I was crying from laughing so hard.”
Best strategy board games
Over 450 positive reviewers reported loving this simple but competitive game because of the element of “strategy.” And a ton of them called it “challenging” and “addictive.” A parent of two says, “Often, the games that they want to play don’t have enough strategy and mental work to be interesting to an adult. But Blokus is simple and intuitive to learn, and also very much a strategy game that relies on skill, so it’s great for kids and adults.” A reviewer who played Blokus with a 5-year-old, and lost, writes, “It can be a really fun strategy game for just about everyone.” And another satisfied parent says, “My son is always excited to play anyone in a quick game of Blokus, and the amazing part is that he definitely beats us more than we beat him. It gets all of us super competitive and thinking about game strategy.”
Best tile-laying board game
Shoppers looking for a family-friendly tile-laying game praised Tsuro highly. “I’ve played this game with my 5-year-old and my 10-year-old, and they both love it. It’s not a hard game to pick up, so if you’re looking for a game that the whole family can play, I highly suggest this one,” one reviewer writers. Players loved that you used tiles to build paths, and that you could try new paths in each game. One shopper, who says this is a great game to “break the ice in a gaming-night event,” explains, “The game is a tile-placement game. Simple as that. Each tile has a set of paths on it. When you place a tile in front of your dragon marker, you follow the path you create.” And plenty of reviewers enjoyed the game so much they’ve played again and again. “This has become a family favorite. It is also a game we know we can break out at any time, with any crowd anywhere, and have fun with,” says one satisfied shopper.
Best beginner board game
Shoppers with young children said HiHo! Cherry-O made a great entry point into the world of board games. One parent of a child who particularly loves the game writes, “If I have to play this game one more time, I’m going to commit myself to a mental ward. That’s how I know it’s a good game. My kids want to play it over and over and over. It’s a great first board game for kiddos, and my 2-year-old can play.” Lots of reviewers noted that the game helped teach their kids how to count. “My two-year-old loves it and plays it everyday,” writes one reviewer. “It’s great to teach counting and sorting colors. She also loves putting the small puzzle together which is small enough for a two-year-old to do on their own.” And one shopper notes that the game appeals even to slightly older kids: “It’s taught my two-year-old to count, yet my eight-year-old enjoys playing it…not too baby-ish. Makes for fun on a rainy day or for family game night.”
Best replayable board game
This game goes quickly, so reviewers say it can easily be replayed — and each turn is a little bit different. “I recommend this game mainly for families, as it is quick but challenging and fun. It is certain to build family rivalries, especially if one person seems to understand the strategy of the game more quickly than others,” says one reviewer. “It’s probably the most fun kids’ game that we’ve found so far,” says one who bought it to play with her 4-year-old. “It has tons of replay value and is pretty unique as a game. One of the great things about it is that the board/maze is always unique and changing, so everyone is always engaged in finding new routes to their destinations as the play goes on.” She concludes that this game is “a fun way to work those little brain cells” for her kids.
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