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The 20 Best Board Games For Families Ⅳ

Jolly Sunshine Limited | Updated: Dec 04, 2017

The 20 Best Board Games For Families Ⅳ


14) Concept

Play this instead of: Apples to Apples
Recommended ages: 10+
Number of players: 4-12
Time to play: 40 minutes
BoardGameGeek rating: 7.0

In this roundtable favorite, players try to earn points by deciphering a word or phrase based on associated categories and—duh—concepts. Teamwork is essential, but like with Codenames, you’ll learn an awful lot about how people’s trains of thought move as you work together to figure out exactly how many animals fall into the subcategory of Africa. It’s all about how your brain sorts information, and it’s a great way to get kids thinking in new and different ways. (But not the super young ones: The whooshing sound of too many clues going over their heads would be deafening.)

15) Kingdom Builder

Play this instead of: Connect Four
Recommended ages: 8+
Number of players: 2-4
Time to play: 45 minutes
BoardGameGeek rating: 7.0

This strategy game encourages players to pursue multiple objectives at once: Can you find a way to satisfy the three cards in play while also building up your contiguous settlements, diversifying that growth, and avoiding conflict with other players? If so, you’re in line for the most gold at the end of the game—and bragging rights. There are a lot of moving parts here, but that also lends itself to one of Kingdom Builder’s biggest perks: replayability. With different terrain, special actions, and objective cards in play for each round, gameplay is always just a little bit different each time.

16) Hanabi

Play this instead of: Blind Man’s Bluff
Recommended ages: 8+
Number of players: 2-5
Time to play: 25 minutes
BoardGameGeek rating: 7.2

In order to put on a professional fireworks show, players work together as a team to put five color-coded sets of cards, numbered 1-5, in five stacks, organized by color and in ascending order. When you put it that way, this sounds like it should take 25 seconds, not 25 minutes, but (of course) there’s a catch: Each player holds their hand of cards facing outward, so the other players can see the cards but the player can’t. The resulting gameplay is one part cooperation, one part patience, two parts memory (which ones did they say were green again?!), and three parts trust.

17) Fluxx: The Board Game

Recommended ages: 8+
Number of players: 2-4
Time to play: 30 minutes

BoardGameGeek rating: 5.7

The only rule for this board-game variant of the popular card game is that the rules change! Ultimately each player is trying to move their tokens to stand on different combinations of icons, thereby claiming a given “goal” card. But the gameplay restrictions can change with the flip of a card—how many cards to draw, a hand limit, how many goals constitutes a win—and even the board itself is subject to shuffling. It’s a lot to keep track of, but a little pegboard helps players keep up with the latest set of rules.


18) Chrononauts

Play this instead of: Watching Back to the Future for the 88th time
Recommended ages: 11+
Number of players: 1-6
Time to play: 30 minutes

BoardGameGeek rating6.2

Ever wonder how history might have changed had Hitler never come to power or JFK never been assassinated? Chrononauts takes the “butterfly effect” theory to its logical conclusion, as players watch history being written and rewritten before their eyes. Each player’s time-traveling character has a unique objective in this game, and action cards allow them to tweak reality as they try to achieve their mission. As a bonus for families, parents can use the opportunity to teach (or confuse) kids about some historical events, and maybe even learn a thing or two themselves.


19) Portal: The Uncooperative Cake Acquisition Game

Play this instead of: Playing video games
Recommended ages: 15+
Number of players: 2-4
Time to play: 30-45 minutes

BoardGameGeek rating6.4

As board game translations of video games go, I’m making a note here: huge success. It’s hard to overstate the satisfaction you’ll feel as you accumulate pieces of cake in your journey as a test subject at Aperture Labs. But be careful: While you and your fellow test subjects can find new ways to move around the ever-changing board, you’re being pushed inexorably toward a fiery death at one end, and your cake, while not a lie, is constantly at risk of complete incineration. 

Warning: Much like this review, this game will make very little sense to someone who hasn’t played Portal, so keep that in mind and aim this one at your teen who’s been glued to a screen for months.


20) Tokaido

Play this instead of: Life
Recommended ages: 8+
Number of players: 2-5
Time to play: 45 minutes

BoardGameGeek rating7.1

Much like a family vacation, Tokaido is intended to be a relaxing journey through and new and exciting land. Also much like a family vacation, this game can easily become an anxiety-filled stress nightmare if you’re in the wrong frame of mind. You can take a journey from one end of the board to the other in whatever way you please, stopping to meet fellow travelers, eat delicious food, and do some sightseeing along the way. You have to balance your urge to race to the next incentive space with the need to slow down and take as many turns as possible. But there’s no stalling too much: Game mechanics dictate that whoever’s furthest behind goes first in the next round, thus ensuring no traveler gets left behind.

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