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13 Best Board Games for a Family Game Night in 2021 - Happier Human

13 Best Board Games for a Family Game Night in 2021

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Do you and your family enjoy playing board games during family game nights?

Are you looking for the best board games to play with the whole clan?

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by busy schedules and responsibilities, but there’s no reason to sacrifice quality time with your family. Family game nights are a simple, fun, engaging way to enjoy quality time with the people you love the most.

In this post, we share 13 of the best board games that you can try on family game night. These classic board games are sure to bring fun, joy, and excitement to the whole family.

Let’s check them out!

13 Best Board Games to Enjoy on Family Game Night

1. Codenames

Codenames is a word game with a simple goal: be the first to collect all your agents and win. But don’t be deceived—although the rules are simple, the game can still be very challenging. You are only given one-word clues on each turn to pinpoint and identify who the agents are.

In this game, there are two rival spymasters who know the identities of the 25 agents. These spymasters take turns giving clues that can point to several different words on the table. The teams then guess the words and try to figure out who their agents are.

The spymasters are the only ones who know who the agents are, and the other players only know the agents only by their codenames. The players have to be careful to avoid the assassin and the words that belong to the opposing team. Any wrong move could lead to misfortune.

Designed by Vlaada Chvatil and published by Czech Games Edition, Codenames has been given the 2016 Spiel des Jahres award for the best board game of the year. It has a lot of themed sequels, including Harry Potter, Marvel, and Codenames Duet.

Pros

  • Rules and mechanics are easy to learn and understand.
  • The gameplay scales well and doesn’t change that much whether there are only a few players or many/
  • The game is fast-paced and has high replay value.

Cons

  • The board’s artwork is reportedly not particularly exciting.
  • The rules are easy, but they differ depending on the game group.

2. Exploding Kittens Card Game

Exploding Kittens is like a kitty-themed version of Russian roulette. The goal is to avoid drawing an exploding kitten. If you don’t explode once all of the cards are exhausted, then you win; but if you draw an exploding kitten while playing, then you lose.

According to CNN, playing this game is like playing UNO, but with goats, magical enchiladas, and kittens that can kill you. There is one way to protect yourself from an exploding kitten, and that’s with a defuse card. The defuse cards calm down the exploding kittens with laser pointers, belly rubs, and other relaxing things.

The party pack version of Exploding Kittens is the same as the original, except that it can accommodate up to 10 players. This means double the strategy and double the fun! With over 9 million copies sold and various “Game of the Year” awards, this board game will surely bring excitement to your family game night!

Pros

  • Game mechanics are simple and easy to learn.
  • The board game is lightweight and perfect for traveling, camping, etc.
  • Provides a one-of-a-kind experience with a clever mix of luck and strategy.

Cons

  • Not recommended for small groups (two players) because it’s more fun when there are more people playing.

3. Hasbro Clue Game

Hasbro’s Clue Game is a classic mystery board game that has a long history, yet it remains one of the best ever made. It is a game of logic and deductive reasoning, and whoever has the best memory has the best chance of winning.

In this game, your primary goal is to solve the murder of Mr. Boddy, the owner of Tudor Mansion. Find all the hints and evidence you need to identify three things: who did the crime, what weapon was used, and where was it committed. Whoever is the first to find all the answers is the winner.

The key to winning this game is deduction and elimination. You must have sharp eyes and a keen mind to pinpoint the culprit and gather the other information. There are six suspects, and you only have until the end of the game (or until when someone gets ahead of you) to investigate.

We recommend this game for those who are fond of solving mysteries, particularly those related to murder. It’s fun, stimulating, and exhilarating—a perfect choice for families looking for some thrill on game night.

Pros

  • Customers commend the game board’s exceptional artwork and design.
  • Really stimulating, especially when everyone’s taking it seriously.
  • Improves strategic skills among older children. 

Cons

  • Not suitable for very young children because of the “murder” theme.
  • Too much playing can decrease the excitement and thrill.

4. Spontuneous

Spontuneous is a game for families who love songs and lyrics. It brings out the musical genius in everyone, and shows who in the family has a knack for memorizing lyrics. Anyone who knows a few songs by heart can surely nail this game.

This easy yet entertaining game has an average of 30 minutes of playtime. Before the singing begins, each player is tasked with writing down “trigger words” on their “hit list.” Whenever it’s your turn, you announce one word from your list, and then start the timer. The first person to sing at least five words from any song that has the trigger word gets points and advances on the board game.

The other players then have a chance to sing songs that contain the trigger word. When the timer stops, everyone who was able to remember a song advances on the game board. And not to worry—talent in singing is not required. All you need to know is a few basic songs and tunes—even nursery rhymes are allowed!

Pros

  • Great party game for large families.
  • Suitable for children eight years old and above.
  • Fun and challenging, and has high replay value.

Cons

  • The generational gap may be an issue among players (e.g., kids do not know old songs).
  • Some customers report that the instructions are quite intensive.

5. Qwirkle

Qwirkle is a board game that combines elements of dominoes and Scrabble. It is composed of 108 wooden blocks that come in six different shapes and colors. You use these blocks to build complex combinations and designs.

In this game, each player has to build lines by filing their tiles based either on color or shape. You get points for each combination you create. You score higher whenever you place a tile that touches multiple pieces that share the same attributes. If you create a line that has all six colors or shapes in a row, then you score a “Qwirkle.”

Each round typically lasts about 45 minutes. The rules are easy to follow, and even younger players can understand them. The manufacturer describes the game as being suitable for ages six years old and above.

If your family is looking for a game that has been proven to provide a fun and entertaining night, we recommend this board game. It won the 2011 Spiel des Jahres Award for Best Board Game of the Year, and many customers have expressed their satisfaction with it.

Pros

  • The game rules and mechanics are easy to follow and understand.
  • Reported to be a family favorite by tons of satisfied customers.
  • Develops and hones spatial recognition and problem-solving skills.

Cons

  • Paper and pen or mobile phone is needed to write down scores.
  • Requires a stable space on which to play.

6. Trivial Pursuit Family Edition Game

Trivial Pursuit comes in different versions, but we recommend the family edition if your search is for a family game night. In addition to being fun and entertaining, this board game is also educational and informative. With 1,200 questions (600 for kids and 600 for adults), you are sure to end the game with a lot of new knowledge.

In order to win this game, you have to answer the questions from each category correctly and collect all the cheese pieces. But it doesn’t end there. You also have to work your way back to the center of the board game and knock out the final question. The category of this final question is chosen by other players.

This board game can be played individually or in teams—team play for huge families and individual play for small families. It is perfect for children ages six years old and up, and parents can take this opportunity to teach their children general knowledge.

Pros

  • Easy to set up because it only involves question and answers.
  • Game components are made of high-quality, safe materials.
  • Great gameplay, whether played individually or in teams.

Cons

  • Some customers complain that the questions revolve too much around pop culture, TV shows, and movies.

7. Catan

Catan is one of the most popular civilization-building board games ever. In this game, the players’ goal is to build a community and compete for properties and resources.

The game is designed for three to four players, with around 60 minutes of gameplay. For big families, team play is recommended, although there is a five- to six-player expansion pack for larger groups.

There is also a version available for kids called Catan Junior. It’s a great game as well for family bonding nights because it works the same way as the original Catan version, only modified for kids. Playing this game provides an excellent opportunity to teach your children how to strategize and plan.

Pros

  • A classic board game with proven popularity.
  • Develops strategic thinking and finance managing skills.
  • Has a kiddie version that kids can enjoy.

Cons

  • Careful with your seller, as some deliver the game in poor condition.

8. Sequence

Sequence is yet again another classic family favorite for game night. In addition to the fact that it is fun and entertaining, it is also a great mind stimulator. It was designed to develop skills such as strategic planning and critical thinking.

In this game, your goal is to create a “sequence” by placing chips on the board. You do this while also playing a card from your hand. Each player tries to score by creating five-card sequences before his opponents do. Note, however, that you have to choose your space and place your chips wisely because the cards are only illustrated twice on the board game.

Also remember that there are wild jacks. Jacks that have two eyes are wild and can be used to place a chip anywhere on the board. Jacks that have only one eye can be used to remove an opponent’s chip. However, if a sequence has been completed, you can no longer remove a chip from it.

We recommend the original version of Sequence for a fun family game night if you have older kids (ages 12 and up). But if your kids are still very young, you might want to play Sequence for Kids instead. In this kiddie version, the same rules apply, except that the first person to create a four-row sequence wins.

Pros

  • Easy enough for children and teens, but still challenging enough for adults.
  • Provides a good mixture of card and board play with lots of strategic thinking.
  • Game instructions are easy to learn and understand.

Cons

  • Choose your seller wisely, as some deliver poor quality games.
  • Lots of pirated copies from unauthorized sellers.

9. Monopoly Classic Game

The classic game of Monopoly brings fun and excitement to family game night. In this game, you start from scratch (but with a few dollars to spend) and buy, sell, and trade properties like houses, hotels, and parks. You also look for ways to bankrupt your opponents and take all their money.

As you can tell from the name “Monopoly,” your goal is to eventually own everything. There is ultimately one winner who takes over all of the properties on the board. 

This fast-dealing, property-trading game comes with a board, tokens, title deed cards, chance cards, community chest cards, houses, hotels, money packs, and dice. It’s good for two to eight players, with around 60 minutes of gameplay. If you want to develop your financial and problem-solving skills, this is a good choice!

Pros

  • A classic board game favorite.
  • Good for developing business and entrepreneurial skills.
  • Develops critical thinking and analytical skills in both children and adults.

Cons

  • Some elements of the game (like jail and bankruptcy) might be too much for very young children.

10. Ravensburger Labyrinth Family Board Game

Ravensburger has been strengthening family bonds and connecting generations since 1883. It is a family-owned company that provides the best quality and age-appropriate games, puzzles, and crafts for individuals, children, and families as a whole.

Labyrinth is one of Ravensburger’s most popular board games. The goal is to find the shortest route through the labyrinth. While you are at it, you also have to grab all the treasures and targets. You win once you find your way out.

This game is reported to have a high replay value, and it only takes around 20 to 30 minutes to finish. People also commend it for its ability to develop skills like planning and creating strategies. It also helps children learn the concepts of cause and effect, recognition, and taking turns.

If you want to encourage your children to engage in playful development, choose Labyrinth for your next family game night. It’s suitable for young children ages seven years old and up, and it can accommodate up to four players. For larger groups, creating teams is recommended.

Pros

  • Engaging and challenging for both children and adults.
  • Children have a high chance of winning because the game is not very complex.
  • Has high replay value and can be played numerous times in one night.

Cons

  • Choose your seller wisely, as some deliver poor quality games.

11. Mouse Trap Board Game

Mouse Trap is another brainchild of Hasbro. Like the other games that were produced during its time, this two- to four-player game is an excellent choice for families with very young children. In fact, it was specifically designed to cater to them.

The goal of the game is to be the last mouse standing. In addition to surviving, you have to build mousetraps to trap your opponents, and also collect cheese wedges. The other players are doing the same, so you have to be careful not to fall into their traps. Otherwise, you lose.

According to consumers, this game is great for helping children develop their counting and recognition abilities. It also helps develops children’s strategic and critical thinking skills. If you are a parent who’s looking for a game that helps your kids learn to think critically, then we recommend trying Mouse Trap for your next game night.

Pros

  • Enhances healthy competition among kids and adults.
  • The board is easy to set up and the rules are easy to understand.
  • Develops motor skills for children.

Cons

  • Game pieces are small, so this game is not recommended for those who have very young children (three years old and below).

12. Spot It!

Spot It! is not your typical board and card game—it requires great recognition and visual perception skills, as well as outstanding reflexes and keen observation skills. 

The rules of the game are simple: You need to spot identical symbols on cards and, once you do, shout the name of the symbol. The first person to shout the name out loud wins a point for that round. Whoever collects the most cards (points) at the end of the game is the winner.

What’s rather unique about this game is that many of the symbols on the cards are of the same color and shape, but different in size. If you accidentally shout the name of the symbol, but the sizes are different, you don’t get a point. Likewise, if you say a different name that is not included as one of the symbols, you don’t get a point and you lose the chance to win that round.

This card game leads to a fun and exciting game night. It provides interactive gameplay among members of the family that both adults and children will enjoy.

Pros

  • Provides a unique and interesting way to spend game night together.
  • The rules of the game are simple and easy to understand.
  • Challenging enough for both children and adults.

Cons

  • People with poor vision are at a disadvantage because they might find it hard to see the symbols clearly.

13. Blokus Strategy Game

Blokus is the perfect family board game for those who want to develop their strategic thinking skills. It keeps the mind sharp and conscious, and maintains the fun and excitement throughout the game. And although it may be kind of exhausting, the amusement and thrill it brings makes up for the effort.

It takes less than a minute to master the mechanics of the game. Players only need to take turns when placing their pieces on the board. Each piece should touch one another, but only at the corners. Basically, you have to protect your territory by placing as many pieces on the board as possible while blocking your rivals.

Once there are no more pieces to place on the board, the game ends and the player with the lowest remaining number of pieces wins. If you were able to strategically place all your pieces on the board, then you are definitely a Blokus master.

Pros

  • Gameplay takes only around 30 minutes, so it’s highly replayable.
  • Game instructions are easy to learn and digest, even for small children.
  • Develops focus and strategic thinking among players, regardless of age.

Cons

  • Can be a bit mentally exhausting if you’re already tired when you play it.

Conclusion

Family game nights are always fun and exciting. They’re something to look forward to after a long day of work.

We hope that one of the board games listed above will be perfect for your family game night. Choose to be happy together with your family by allowing yourself to relax, unwind, and simply enjoy an evening full of fun and excitement.

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