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The 20 Best Board Games For Families Ⅱ

Jolly Sunshine Limited | Updated: Nov 29, 2017

The 20 Best Board Games For Families Ⅱ

6) Codenames

Play this instead of: Charades
Recommended ages: 14+
Number of players: 2-8
Time to play: 15 minutes
BoardGameGeek rating: 8.0

Lay out 25 cards in a five-by-five grid, then divide the group into two teams. Each team will designate a “spymaster,” who will look at the legend to determine which words in a 25-word array they’re trying to get their teammates to guess, then give one-word clues to help them try to get there. It’s like Password, sort of, but with the added stress of an “assassin” word hiding among the rest that you have to avoid at all costs. First team to guess all of their words—without hitting the assassin—wins.

Three things keep this game fresh and fun for families: 1) With hundreds of double-sided cards and four different sides to each key card, there are practically endless iterations of this game. 2) English, being the tricky language that it is, complicates matters somewhat with homophones and words that double-agent as different parts of speech. So while your spymaster might think that “verbs” is a perfectly cromulent clue for “sprint,” “cook,” and “perk,” you might be thinking of the cell service provider, a chef, and a bonus instead. 3) Some people’s trains of thought just don’t run on the same tracks as others’. You’ll have to figure out if your teammates are prone to overanalysis or hyperliteral translations before you accidentally lead them astray.

Psychology, etymology, and a spy thriller all in one? Who can resist?

7) Quiddler

Play this instead of: Scrabble
Recommended ages: 8+
Number of players: 1-8
Time to play: 30 minutes
BoardGameGeek rating: 6.0

People who make a living as editors enjoy the old board game standby, but we understand how its appeal might start and stop with that particular demographic. Quiddler, played with cards instead of tiles, takes some of the struggle out of the equation by asking players to come up with words using the letters in their hand. First player who can use all of his or her letters goes out, triggering a last round for everybody else. Repeat with additional hand limits, from three all the way up to 12. (Golf rules, so you’re stuck with the points in your hand, and lowest score wins.)

Because you can divide nine cards up into three three-letter words, it’s a fine way to build kids’ vocabularies. Set a higher minimum word length for the adults to level the playing field, or just use a handful of cards to teach kids about anagrams (rats, tars, star, arts) and a different way of looking at things.

8) Telestrations

Play this instead of: Pictionary
Recommended ages: 12+
Number of players: 4-8
Time to play: 30 minutes
BoardGameGeek rating: 7.1

We are universally terrible at drawing, and that humor makes games like Pictionary somewhat hilarious regardless of the company. But in Telestrations, you complicate matters by introducing a Telephone-esque level of confusion to the equation, which amplifies the hilarity tenfold.

Each player starts with a prompt and a dry-erase notepad. Doodle your word, then pass the pad to the player to your left. They have to guess what you drew and write down that word, which in turn becomes the doodle prompt for the person on their left. Once the notepad gets all the way back around, marvel at exactly how far from the original prompt players got. (To adapt this family-friendly fun for a night in with the college buddies, use Cards Against Humanity cards as prompts instead.)

If you stick with simpler words, there’s no reason younger kids might get in on the fun too, but either way, you’re in for an evening of fun, laughter, and occasional jabs at your plans to go to art school.

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