19 Best Board Games for Teens in 2023

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Are you looking for the best board games for your teenagers this year?

If so, then you’ve landed on the right page. Today we are sharing with you a list of the best board games for teens. We have carefully selected these products based on the positive ratings and feedback they received from satisfied customers.

But before we proceed to our list, let us share with you some of the reasons why your teens should play board games.

What You Will Learn

Why Let Teens Play Board Games?

We all know that the Internet age plays a big part in our lives, especially for teens. Wherever you go and whatever you do, everything is just a few clicks away. Even grocery shopping and cab-hunting can be done instantly.

But with this advance in technology there are also some downsides. For instance, studies have shown that too much screen time can make it hard for people (especially kids and teens) to sleep during the night. It is also related to mental and emotional problems such as stress, anxiety, and depression.

Wouldn’t it be nice for your children to experience less screen time every once in a while?

One way to do this, without removing all the fun and excitement, is by letting them know the wonders of playing board and card games. Even if these games are “old-school,” they are (and will always remain) a classic favorite—and they surely won’t fail to amaze your teens and kiddos.

Moreover, board games are quite beneficial, as they play a vital role in the development of our cognitive system. Many board games are designed to prevent the early onset of age-related illnesses like dementia and Alzheimer’s. They are also designed to help people with attention problems enhance their focus and concentration.

On an emotional level, board games also help strengthen the relationships you have with other people. Through playing, you become more sociable and start communicating your thoughts with others. They also increase your confidence.

As you can see, playing board games has tons of benefits. So why not let your teen kids explore these benefits by introducing them to the world of board gaming?

Let’s check out our list!

1. Apples to Apples

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Apples to Apples is a game of “crazy combinations” and “hilarious comparisons.” It won the 2003 Japan Boardgame Best Japanese Game and the 1999 Mensa Select Winner. It has around 30 minutes of playing time and is appropriate for 4 to 10 players, ages 12 and above.

There are two decks of cards, namely “things” and “descriptions.” For each round, there has to be a judge who provides the description on his card. All the other players have seven cards from which they can select the “thing” that the judge just described. The one with the best or funniest pick wins for that round, depending on the standards of the judge.

Every time the judge picks your apples to apples comparison, you get the “description” card. The goal is to collect the most “description” cards to win. This is a game of wit and humor, but it also tests your ability to come up with hilarious yet valid comparisons.

Pros

  • The rules of the game are easy to learn and understand.
  • More conservative and family-friendly than most party games of its type.
  • Highly replayable because the are tons of card options.

Cons

  • No strategy involved; purely based on luck.

2. Cards Against Humanity

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Cards against Humanity is the “party game for horrible people.” It is considered by many to be a wilder version of Apples to Apples—not recommended for those below 17—because most of the cards include taboo subjects like sexual conduct, racial issues, and humanitarian predicaments.

The gameplay is similar to that of Apples to Apples, except that it is less conservative. For each round, you (or any other player) get to draw a question from the black cards, and everyone else has to answer using the white cards. The board consists of 500 white cards and 100 black ones, so there are enough choices for everyone.

This also means that the game has high replayability, sufficient for even a whole week (or more) of game nights and fun. If you think you’ll need more cards in the future, you can always buy the expansion packs or other versions and enjoy up to 600 more cards.

We recommend this card game to those who are 17 and older. It’s a fun and entertaining way to raise their awareness about the things they will be learning as they enter young adulthood.

Pros

  • A great method to introduce adult topics to teens (as long as done in a good way).
  • An excellent way to initiate mature conversations with adults and teens.
  • Reveals how people think about certain issues like sex, politics, racism, etc.

Cons

  • Sensitive topics may come across as too strong or offensive for conventional people.
  • There are ongoing complaints about it from conservative groups and associations.

3. Exploding Kittens

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If you are looking for a game that works like Russian roulette, then Exploding Kittens is a great choice. As its name indicates, the goal is to avoid encountering the exploding kitten. If you come across the exploding kitten, you lose.

The rules of the game are simple, and young teens can enjoy it as much as adults do since it is not complicated. It is even recommended for children who are seven years old and above. There are tons of versions available on the web, but we recommend the party expansion pack since it can be played by up to 10 players.

Exploding Kittens is a fun and entertaining game that has already sold over nine million copies worldwide and won several rewards, including game of the year. With its splendid artwork and design, plus easy rules and mechanics, anyone of any age will surely have fun playing it.

Pros

  • Game is perfect for camping trips, travel escapades, and out-of-town adventures.
  • Requires both luck and strategy to win the game.
  • Game instructions and rulebook are easy to learn and understand.

Cons

  • Small groups may not enjoy this game as much as large groups.

4. Unstable Unicorns

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Unstable Unicorns is another card game that is recommended for teens and young adults. It is often called the game that “destroys friendships…but in a good way.” Careful strategy and planning are needed to win, as is the ability to deceive your friends without being caught.

In this game, your main goal is to be the first person to collect all the seven unicorns in your stable (play area). You can use different cards, including the “magic,” “instant,” “upgrade,” and “downgrade” cards, to make your moves. However, you have to be careful of the “neigh!” cards because these can spoil all your plans in just one single draw.

The game has around 30 to 45 minutes of play time, is good for two to eight players, and is recommended for ages 14 and above. As a game that became part of the 2017 Top 100 Most Backed Kickstarter Project of all time and the winner of the 2019 People’s Choice Award for Toy of the Year, we are certain that you won’t regret trying it out.

Pros

  • Game artwork and design is wonderfully made.
  • The whole game is easy to set up and swift to play.
  • Requires strategic planning and not just luck to win.

Cons

  • The game can take longer than expected, depending on how the cards are shuffled.

5. Relative Insanity

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As you can see from the name of the game itself, Relative Insanity is a card game designed for relatives and family members who want to add some thrill and excitement to their reunions and gatherings. It can accommodate up to 12 players, ages 14 years old and above, so it’s sure to satisfy everyone’s thirst for entertainment.

There are two kinds of cards in this game: setup cards and punch line cards. All you have to do is read aloud a setup card (e.g., “While walking past my sister's bedroom, I heard her say…”) and the rest of the fam has to choose a punch line card to finish the statement. Some of the punch line cards include statements like: “Give him a break, he just got out of jail” and “Take a picture of that and send it to me.”

The winner for each round is the one with the best and funniest punch line card. That player is given a point by the reader. To win the game, you have to accumulate the most points from the reader.

The game was created and designed by comedian Jeff Foxworthy, who was said to be so amused by the “insanity” of his “own relatives and family” that he wanted to share his amusement with the world through this game. The game has been featured on several shows, such as Tonight with Jimmy Fallon and the Rachael Ray Show.

Pros

  • The perfect game for a family night or gathering.
  • Really fun and entertaining.
  • Cards are sturdy and made out of quality materials.

Cons

  • Not recommended for people who do not have a good sense of “family humor.”

6. Codenames

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Codenames is the brainchild of game master and creator Vlaada Chvatil, and is published and manufactured by Czech Games Edition. In 2016, it won the Spiel des Jahres award for the best board game of the year.

When playing the game, two people are assigned as spymasters, and they are the only people who know who the agents are. All the other players race to identify who their agents are by analyzing the one-word clues given to them. Note that there is also an “assassin” who must be avoided.

If you are looking for an exciting game that can train your teens’ analytical and investigative skills, we recommend Codenames. The rules are simple and easy to understand, yet the game itself can be very challenging.

Pros

  • Classic favorite.
  • Great game for many players or only a few.
  • Has high replayability because of the various endings.

Cons

  • Rules can be quite tricky depending on the number of players.

7. Catan

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Catan is a great game for children, teens, and young adults who want to learn how to trade and do business, but in a fun and entertaining way.

The goal is easy—you just need to build the most powerful community and have the greatest number of properties and resources. It is the actual gameplay that makes it both complicated and thrilling. To reach your goal, you have to engage in careful planning and decision-making. One wrong strategy could cause you to lose everything.

The game is designed for three to four players, ages 10 and above. We recommend Catan for those who are new to board games. In addition to its easy-to-understand rules and mechanics, it has wonderful artwork that adds to the game’s entire aesthetic.

Pros

  • Another classic favorite that is fun and thrilling.
  • Recommended for those who want to teach their teenage kids how to build and trade.
  • Has lots of expansion sets that you can explore for maximum enjoyment.

Cons

  • Lots of imitations from unauthorized sellers.

8. Pandemic

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If you are fond of apocalyptic movies, then you might want to consider playing Pandemic. This is a “survival of the fittest” game. Many lives are at stake (including yours!), and your goal is to find a cure before diseases overpower humanity and destroy everything in the world.

Pandemic is a cooperative game, which means you have to work with your team in order to fulfill your mission. You have to plan and strategize to defeat the enemies, which are the diseases and viruses. If all players die before the cure is found, then the game is over and you have to start again.

That being said, this board game does not just test your gaming skills, but also examines your ability to cooperate and listen to others. We recommend it for teenagers, as this is the perfect time in life to be developing skills such as cooperation and teamwork.

Pros

  • A great choice for teens that have dreams of entering the medical field.
  • High replayability because of the various endings you and your team can come up with.
  • Reported to be really mentally and emotionally challenging.

Cons

  • Not recommended for people who are into less serious gaming.

9. What Do You Meme?

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What Do You Meme is a card game for all the meme-lovers out there. Each set consists of 435 cards—360 caption cards and 75 photo cards.

Playing this game is simple and easy. You only need to win over your friends by creating the funniest memes. As with Cards against Humanity, we only suggest this card game to teens that are 17 years old and above. According to the manufacturer, there are some concepts that are not suitable for young audiences.

The manufacturer also recommends buying the core game first, as you cannot proceed with the expansion packs if you do not have the original.

Pros

  • Perfect for today’s generation, who will surely enjoy creating and matching memes.
  • Has a high rating on almost all online selling platforms (especially Amazon).
  • Tons of expansion packs that you can purchase for additional fun.

Cons

  • Older players may not be able to relate to the memes.
  • The original version needs an update because some of the memes are already “old.”

10. Forbidden Island

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Forbidden Island is part of the Forbidden Games series. Some of its counterparts include Forbidden Sky and Forbidden Desert, but Forbidden Island is the best known of the series.

This board game is all about adventures. The goal is to find the treasure before the island completely disappears.

There are certain missions you need to accomplish, and there are some pitfalls you need to watch out for. There is also a time limit, and second tries are not allowed. A careful strategy with your teammates (since it is a cooperative game) is necessary in order to win.

Note that only one person is required to finish the game. As the game proceeds, some sacrifices will have to be made. But as long as one of you makes it to the end, the entire team is victorious!

Pros

  • A cooperative game that teaches teens the value of unity, teamwork, and cooperation.
  • Can develop teens’ ability to plan and strategize.
  • Perfect for children and teens who like adventure and treasure-hunting games.

Cons

  • The rules of the game may be a bit complex for younger teens.

11. Throw Throw Burrito

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If you enjoyed Exploding Kittens, then you will probably like Throw Throw Burrito, too. The games are made by the same company and have a similar vibe.

Throw Throw Burrito is the world’s first dodgeball card game. The idea is to collect matching sets of cards while dodging, ducking, and throwing burritos. This is a race game, so you need to be faster than your opponents in order to win.

Pros

  • Has the same manufacturer as the popular Exploding Kittens.
  • The burritos are light and squishy, so you won’t get hurt.
  • Involves physical activity that is good for the whole body.

Cons

  • Not a strategic game. Matching the cards is based on your speed and memorization skills.

12. Chess

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Chess is often thought of as a game for adults, but young people love it as well. Chess is considered one of the most exhilarating and stimulating board games, regardless of age or level.

The goal of the game is to defeat your opponent by eliminating all of his pieces until you and corner his king, putting him into checkmate.

This may be an old game, but it is a classic and comes highly recommended. If you want your teens to develop their strategic and critical thinking skills, chess is a great way to do so.

Pros

  • Research has demonstrated the game’s ability to develop and improve mental abilities.
  • A classic game that has been around for centuries.
  • The game has unique variations that you can try (e.g., Masonic Chess, Rhombic Chess).

Cons

  • Not the best game for those who don’t like complex rules and mechanics.
  • Make sure to buy an original set so you don’t end up with a cheap imitation.

13. UNO BTS

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UNO BTS is basically just UNO, except that you see the beautiful faces of the BTS boys on your cards. The cards are also oversized, so you get a close-up look at them.

As with the Classic UNO game, the goal is to be the first person to play all of their cards. You match them by colors and numbers, and the first player to get rid of all of their cards wins. There are also special cards like Skip, Reverse, and Draw Four to add some extra excitement to the game.

If your teens are part of the BTS ARMY, this UNO set is perfect for them.

Pros

  • Teens will love these cards because they feature the most famous K-Pop band of this generation.
  • The game is easy to play and is considered to be a classic.

Cons

  • Some resellers are not authorized, and they sell imitations. Be careful of scammers.

14. 7 Wonders

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7 Wonders is considered one of the best strategy board games of all time. It was created by Antoine Bauza in 2010 and is manufactured by Asmodee, one of the biggest names in the board game industry.

This is a civilization and empire-building game, which means you will have to draft a winning strategy in order to conquer and prosper. You play as one of the leaders of the seven great cities, and your goal is to take over the others and rule the world.

Pros

  • Has high replayability because of the possibility of various endings.
  • Not too difficult, but also not so easy as to get boring.
  • The game is fast-paced and provides quick results if played correctly.

Cons

  • There are a lot of imitations online, so make sure to buy only from the manufacturer or authorized resellers.

15. Spontuneous

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Spontuneous is a board game for music lovers. If your teens are fond of guessing tunes and lyrics, then this is a great choice.

The game involves around 30 minutes of playtime, with players writing down “trigger words” on their “hit list.” When the game begins, they have to guess the songs or lyrics that contain these words. Of course, they will have to sing them, too!

Pros

  • A great game for parties and big groups.
  • No complex rules or mechanics to memorize.
  • Has high replay value since there are a lot of words/songs you can write down.

Cons

  • There may be a generational gap between some players.

16. Cranium

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Cranium is on our list of the best board games for the elderly, but it is also fun and exciting for kids and teens.

This game requires you to display your talents. There are four categories to choose from: “Creative Cat,” “Star Performer,” “Data Head,” and “Word Worm.” As you may have guessed, each category focuses on a single area of expertise.

Your job is to pick a card from these categories and perform the task on that card. You take a step toward the “central space” with every task you complete. In the end, whoever gets to the central space first is declared the winner.

If your teens want to hone their talents while having fun, then this game is an excellent choice for them.

Pros

  • Involves physical activity that is good for children’s health.
  • A fast-paced game that is perfect for those who don’t like waiting.
  • Provides hilarious and memorable moments.

Cons

  • Not for competitive gamers, because the main goal is fun and entertainment.

17. Never Have I Ever

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Never Have I Ever is usually a game for adults, because adults have had a lot of life experiences. However, we also recommend it for teens. This game is a conversation starter, and it may help your kids develop their interpersonal relationships. It can be a fun way for them to speak up and share their stories. After all, the objective of the game is to get people closer together through their shared experiences.

It is important to note that some of the topics may be sensitive for some people. If you are a worried parent and you wish to keep the game PG, you can do so by taking sensitive cards out of the deck.

Pros

  • The rules of the game are simple—you only need to answer and share your story.
  • Perfect gift idea for teenagers, adults, and young adults.
  • Provides an excellent way to get to know people better.

Cons

  • There are topics that are quite sensitive for some individuals.
  • Not recommended for those who are easily embarrassed.

18. Sequence

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Sequence is a combination of a board game and a card game. While you are placing chips on the board, you are also playing cards from your hand. Sounds complicated, right? It’s actually quite simple, as long as you understand the rules of the game. Your chips are related to your playing cards, and the goal is to create a five-card sequence before your opponent does. There is also a lot of sabotaging in this game, so watch your back!

This game is said to be beneficial for hand-eye coordination. It also develops critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Pros

  • The rules and mechanics of the game are easy to understand.
  • The combination of cards and a board game makes the gameplay more exciting.
  • Veteran gamers enjoy the challenge that this game provides, despite it being relatively simple.

Cons

  • Not recommended for those who want a quick and easy game.

19. Scrabble

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Scrabble is a classic board game and considered by many to be the ultimate word game. Players place their tiles on the board to spell words, utilizing special spaces (like double word scores and triple letter scores) to gain extra points. If you believe that the word your opponent spells is incorrect, you can always challenge them—although you lose your turn if you end up being wrong!

If you are looking for a game that helps improve your child’s spelling, vocabulary, and critical thinking skills, Scrabble is a great fit.

Pros

  • One of the most popular word board games of all time.
  • Recommended for teens to enhance their vocabulary and strategic thinking skills.
  • No complicated rules to memorize.

Cons

  • A pen and paper are needed to keep track of scores.
  • The game can take a while to finish, especially when players are serious.

Conclusion

We hope that our list was able to help you determine which best board games for teens you would like your kids to try. These games provide lots of fun and entertainment during group sleepovers and camping trips.

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