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The 20 Best Board Games For Families Ⅲ

Jolly Sunshine Limited | Updated: Nov 30, 2017

The 20 Best Board Games For Families Ⅲ

9) Kodama: The Tree Spirits

Play this instead of: Uno
Recommended ages: 13+
Number of players: 2-5
Time to play: 20-40 minutes
BoardGameGeek rating: 7.1

Do you like My Neighbor Totoro? Then you’ll love this gorgeous card game about growing trees and making forest sprites happy. The mechanics are as simple as matching like items, but the age recommendation here is based on the relative difficulty added by the delicate nature of placing cards without overlapping with others and the strategy of fulfilling certain objective cards.

It’s all the zen of gardening with none of the mess.

10) Superfight

Play this instead of: Cards Against Humanity
Recommended ages: 5+
Number of players: 3-10
Time to play: 30 minutes
BoardGameGeek rating: 6.1

As hilarious as it is to play the NSFW party standby with your friends over a few beers, that one’s probably best left on the shelf when little kids or grandparents are involved. Its SFW predecessor, Apples to Apples, is moderately good fun of exactly the same format, but both games can ultimately be cracked by understanding the sense of humor of your fellow players better than anyone else.

For a different sort of competitive spirit, try Superfight, which pits fictional characters against each other in battles that their human players must defend and promote with compelling rhetoric. Sure, it promotes a certain upping of the bullshit quotient, but think of it as a study in embracing creativity instead.

11) Machi Koro

Play this instead of: Monopoly, Sim City for the billionth time
Recommended ages: 10+
Number of players: 2-4
Time to play: 30 minutes
BoardGameGeek rating: 6.8

Don’t be fooled by all the different types of cards you have to lay out as you’re setting up this game: The mechanics are really quite simple. Roll the die, determine which cards are “activated,” settle up debts, and wash, rinse, repeat. But don’t be tricked into thinking it’s a simple game about a cute little city wanting a cheese factory, either. This game can get pretty cutthroat quickly, and a runaway leader can take things over just as fast. Still, it’s great for the reinforcement of principles about city building strategy and basic economic principles.

12) Ticket to Ride

Play this instead of: Candyland
Recommended ages: 8+
Number of players: 2-5
Time to play: 30-60 minutes
BoardGameGeek rating: 7.5

If a train leaves Grand Central Station traveling west at 40 miles per hour, and another train leaves Philadelphia traveling east at 55 miles per hour, how quickly do your eyes glaze over? Reclaim the glory days of the railroad with Ticket to Ride, a game in which players race to complete routes between cities and earn points for connecting the nation (or nations, in the European variant). It’s a great primer in geography and a fun way to teach your kids about a world before self-driving cars because ugh you’re so old. As a bonus, you can take this one on the road with zero concern about losing a billion pieces in the car: The iPad app is a pretty seamless translation of the original.

13) Pandemic

Play this instead of: Screaming at each other
Recommended ages: 8+
Number of players: 2-4
Time to play: 45 minutes
BoardGameGeek rating: 7.7

If you’ve destroyed all good will with your family with crushing victories in Machi Koro or Ticket to Ride, it might be time to try something cooperative on for size. In Pandemic, players work together using individual specialties to try to rid the world of four contagious diseases. It’s a fun change of pace to teach kids about working together toward a common goal—and a timely reminder during flu season that you really gotta wash your hands more than you think is necessary.

Pandemic: Legacy is another well-respected option for more advanced players: It boasts a higher BoardGameGeek rating, at 8.6, but it takes longer to play and is recommended for ages 13 and up on account of a mechanic that requires you to permanently alter game pieces by tearing them up or writing on them, for example. Tread carefully!

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