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The 20 Best Board Games for families Ⅰ

Jolly Sunshine Limited | Updated: Nov 13, 2017

The 20 Best Board Games for families Ⅰ


1) Acquire

Play this instead of: Monopoly
Recommended ages: 12+
Number of players: 3-6
Time to play: 90 minutes
BoardGameGeek rating: 7.4

Take the grid mechanics of Battleship, the economic savvy of Monopoly, and the turbulence of the stock market, and you have Acquire, the game of building, growing, and investing in hotel chains. Gameplay is pretty simple: Players just take turns placing tiles on a grid, starting and merging hotel chains according to some simple rules. It might sound a little dull to the younger crowd, but it’s a good way to teach tweens about investment, and there’s plenty of math involved to keep those skills sharp too.


2) Carcassonne

Play this instead of: Battleship
Recommended ages: 8+
Number of players: 2-5
Time to play: 30-45 minutes
BoardGameGeek rating: 7.4

This peaceful tile-based game from Z-Man requires no reading and very little math, making it ideal for young minds. Simply go around the table placing tiles that have fields, land, and roads on them to build a kingdom of cities and farms. Like in dominos, like types have to line up with like, which is a good way to help hone spatial reasoning. Some of us (ahem) still struggle to dial in the strategy needed for really dominating the scoreboards with farmers, so it’s a good thing it’s a different game every time you sit down to play.


3) Unexploded Cow

Play this instead of: Operation
Recommended ages: 12+
Number of players: 2-6
Time to play: 25 minutes
BoardGameGeek rating: 6.1

That’s the hilarious backstory of Unexploded Cow, a dice and card game in which you collect cows in a herd and roll the die to see which cows explode, giving you profits from the grateful towns in France. Just watch out for the sneaky spy cows, and whoever has the most money at the end wins.

Best of all, Cheapass Games designed the game to be played with cards and tiles you can print for free (but the deluxe edition released after a Kickstarter in 2012 has some pretty fantastic art).


4) Takenoko

Play this instead of: Life
Recommended ages: 8+
Number of players: 2-4
Time to play: 45 minutes
BoardGameGeek rating: 7.4

The fact that the Game of Life is a tedious and dull “adventure” motivated solely by a job and children and that sees players at the mercy of uncontrollable spins might be accurate, but it’s far from fun. So ditch the reality and go feed pandas instead.

In Takenoko, each player tries to achieve certain objective cards by growing different types of bamboo or feeding a roaming panda different varieties. You expand the territory, irrigate for farming, fertilize soil, and so forth, so there’s still a true-to-life feeling to it. Heck, there’s even a different outcome for each roll of the weather die. Younger players will love the adorable panda, and grownups will appreciate the escape from the anxiety of having to negotiate another salary.


5) King of Tokyo

Play this instead of: Yahtzee
Recommended ages: 8+
Number of players: 2-6
Time to play: 30 minutes
BoardGameGeek rating: 7.3

Admit it: The only fun part of Yahtzee is the loud crack of a half dozen dice raining down on your dining room table. But wouldn’t it be better if you threw some goofy monsters into the mix too? Enter King of Tokyo.

This one’s a king-of-the-hill–style game that pits players against one another as they roll dice to dole out attacks, slowly heal, or rack up victory points. First player to 20 victory points—or the last monster standing—wins. To keep things interesting, there’s a full deck of special ability cards that you can buy with energy tokens, and the board opens up another spot in Tokyo for groups of five or more.


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