A round-up of the best board games for families, large groups, and two-players that are favorites for ice-breakers and relationship-building.
In the months when the days are shorter and the sun sets earlier, we love carving out more time for family game nights.
Once school started back, Robert and I vowed not to slip into hours of after-school time with nonstop screen time for ourselves and the kids. On the nights when we have no evening activities, we’ve started devoting 30-45 minutes to a family board game.
That one small difference in our evening routine has been so good for our marriage and for our relationship with our kids! We’ve even noticed fewer temper tantrums because of the switch from screen time to family games.
If you want to be more intentional with family time too and need some board game night ideas, I rounded up some of our favorite game night board games.
Some are for large groups when entertaining friends and family members, some are for small group household game nights, and some are great for two players if you want parent/child quality time or a screen-less activity with your spouse.
14 Favorite Game Night Board Games
I’ll break down a description of each of our favorite family-friendly board games further down in this post, but these are the top contenders.
(Affiliate links are provided below. Full disclosure here.)
Board Games for Large Group Games
1. Blank Slate
Players: 3-8 | Ages: 8+ | Time: 30 Minutes
Blank Slate is an engaging and innovative party game that thrives on creativity and wordplay. The game revolves around a stack of word cues, each with a blank space waiting to be filled. The catch? Players must predict what word or phrase their fellow participants will insert into the blank, resulting in hilarious and unexpected combinations. It’s simple and the perfect ice breaker for large groups.
Players: 4-20 | Ages: 10+
In Herd Mentality, players are presented with a question or prompt, and their objective is to guess how the majority of their fellow players will respond. The twist lies in the unpredictability of the herd’s mindset, as you attempt to align your thinking with the group’s consensus.
Players: 3-8 | Ages: 14+ | Time: 15 minutes
In The Chameleon, participants are given a secret word or topic, and they take turns providing one-word clues related to it. However, one player among them is the Chameleon (an imposter), who has no knowledge of the secret word and must blend in by offering vague clues that don’t reveal their ignorance. The rest of the group’s mission is to figure out who the Chameleon is without giving away the secret word.
Players: 3-20 | Ages: 8+ | Time: 30-90 minutes
What Do You Meme? Family Edition is one of our 11 year-old daughter’s favorite games because we laugh so much while playing it. This is a hilarious and family-friendly twist on the popular meme-based party game. Players are presented with an array of humorous image cards, each featuring a popular internet meme. The goal is to select the funniest caption card from your hand to pair with the image card. While the original game can sometimes veer into edgier territory, the Family Edition offers content suitable for all ages.
Players: 2-12 | Ages: 14+ | Time: 30-45 minutes
In Wavelength, players take turns as the “Psychic,” who provides a clue that falls along a spectrum between two opposing concepts. For example, the Psychic might choose a point between “hot” and “cold” or “fast” and “slow.” The catch is that the rest of the team must decipher where the Psychic placed the clue on this spectrum, sparking discussions, debates, and sometimes hilarious misinterpretations. It blends elements of intuition, deduction, and teamwork, making it an ideal choice for group gatherings and social events.
Small Group Games
Players: 2+ | Ages: 7+ | Time: 15 minutes
Poetry for Neanderthals is one of our family’s latest favorites that our 11 year-old requests almost every game night. The game requires participants to communicate with a limited vocabulary resembling that of Neanderthals —using only one-syllable words. Players take turns as “poets” and must describe complex phrases, sentences, or even entire poems using these rudimentary words to score points, all while avoiding modern vocabulary. The catch is that if you use a multi-syllable word or get stuck, your opponent gets to wield a hilarious inflatable club to “bonk” you on the head.
Players: 2-5 | Ages: 8+ | Time: 30-60 minutes
Ticket To Ride has been around for quite a while, but it’s always our top favorite family strategy board game. Players embark on a cross-country railroad journey, collecting train cards and strategically laying down tracks to connect cities and complete destination tickets. It combines strategy, geography, and a touch of luck where players compete to claim routes, block opponents, and fulfill their secret railway ambitions.
Players: 4-6 | Ages: 12+
Telestrations brings drawing and miscommunication to the forefront combining Pictionary with the classic game of Telephone. It starts with a simple word or phrase that each player secretly sketches, and then passes their drawing to the next player, who must guess what it represents. The next player, in turn, sketches the guessed word or phrase, and so on, until the original word is revealed at the end of the round. The catch is that as these drawings and guesses circulate through the group, they often undergo a comedic transformation, leading to funny revelations when comparing the final sketch with the initial word.
Players: 3-4| Ages: 10+ | Time: 60 minutes
Catan, also known as The Settlers of Catan, is a totally timeless strategy board game that takes players to the fictional island of Catan, where they become pioneers seeking to build and expand their settlements. players collect and trade resources such as wood, brick, ore, wheat, and sheep to construct roads, settlements, and cities while also aiming to achieve specific development goals. It emphasizes player interaction, where trading and diplomacy play a pivotal role.
Two Player Board Games
Players: 2-4 | Ages: 8+ | Time: 30-45 minutes
Azul is all about the vibrant world of Portuguese tile artistry. Players take on the roles of skilled artisans tasked with embellishing the walls of the Royal Palace with ornate, colored tiles. The gameplay revolves around drafting these tiles from a central factory display and strategically placing them on individual player boards to create intricate patterns and maximize points.
Players: 2-6 | Ages: 7+ | Time: 15 minutes
Throw Throw Burrito is a wacky blend of a card game combined with dodgeball. Players collect sets of matching cards in a bid to earn points, but the inclusion of foam burritos is the hilarious element. When a matching set of cards is collected, the burrito battle begins, and players must physically throw the soft burritos at one another while dodging incoming attacks. It’s a great game to play if you want something quick.
Players: 2-4 | Ages: 8+ | Time: 45 minutes
Pandemic definitely seems cheeky considering our recent current events. Designed for teamwork and strategic thinking, the strategy game casts players as members of a highly skilled disease-fighting team tasked with preventing global outbreaks. Each player assumes a unique role, such as a scientist or medic, each with specialized abilities to combat the diseases spreading across the world. The game’s objective is to work together to find cures for four virulent diseases while racing against the clock and managing outbreaks that threaten to overwhelm humanity.
Players: 2-5 | Ages: 7+ | Time: 15 minutes
In Exploding Kittens, players take turns drawing cards from a deck, with the goal of avoiding the dreaded “Exploding Kitten” card that could eliminate them from the game. To survive, players employ various action cards that allow them to skip turns, defuse the kittens with items like laser pointers or catnip sandwiches, or even steal cards from their opponents. It’s easy to learn, quick to play, and packed with moments of tension and hilarity. It’s perfect for two-player or for a small group. If you get through the classic stack, you can get expansion packs next.
Players: 2-5 | Ages: 8+ | Time: 15 minutes
In Sushi Go!, players draft sushi dishes from a rotating hand of cards, aiming to create the most delectable and high-scoring meal. Each sushi type has its unique scoring rules, encouraging players to balance their selections carefully. It’s cute, fast-paced, and so much fun.
Would you add any other board game ideas to the list? There are definitely more classic board games we love, but these are the go-to ones in our family.
More Ideas for Entertaining at Home
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