Best Board Games For Kids, Family, and Friends 

Best Board Games For Kids, Family, and Friends

Board games are always part of happy childhood memories. Aren’t they?

How can one forget all that fun playing with cards, forming partnerships, fighting against enemies, taking challenges, playing the role of a favorite character, decoding hints, the last moment adrenaline rush, and the release of feel-good hormones after winning and so much more?

Our daunting busy schedule and poor work-life balance don’t allow us to spend quality time with loved ones. Scrolling through social media feeds, we are losing that playfulness and real human connections.

Playing board games is a perfect backlash against digital. A beautiful excuse to bring people together. 

I still play board games with my family and friends. Not just for entertainment!

“The score never interested me, only the game.”- Mae West

Do you know there are plenty of benefits of playing these board games?

  • Have fun and laughter
  • Release endorphins
  • Feeling of happiness
  • Harmonious family gathering
  • Boost brainpower
  • Build collaborative skills
  • Relieve stress and anxiety
  • Kill boredom
  • Reduce negative thoughts
  • Beat holiday stress
  • Improve critical thinking and concentration

Related: How Games Can Improve Your Mental Health

Why miss on so many benefits? Why not keep your playfulness alive?

We all love to play! No matter how grown-up we are, we hold that desire to immerse in a playful experience. 

Aiming to add more playfulness into your life? Then board games will never disappoint you!

Here are best board games that are fun and challenging:

Best Space-Themed Board Games

#1 Cosmic Encounter

An amazing space-themed board game that gives you an epic galactic feel. Players can choose from 50 different alien races each with its own unique powers and abilities to build a galactic empire. Picking up expansions can spike the number of races, which means a lot of replayability packed into one box.

While you’re in progress, the alien races of the cosmos vie with each other for control of the universe. Alliances may shift any moment and cataclysmic battles send starships screaming into the warp. It may be hard to win without cunning and diplomacy. Play to know if you can.

  • Players 3-5
  • Playing time 60-120 min
  • Age 12+

Related: Cosmic Marriage: Your True Partner Has Already Been Decided

#2 Galaxy Trucker

One of the household favorites, this science fiction-themed game is all about spaceship construction and flying to the destination. The flight phase is immersive because cards contain effects like meteor showers, battlezones, planets with goods, pirates that can bring money or remove pieces of the ship or even force a player to return home. Hourglasses keep players under time pressure and give you a good adrenaline rush!

Can you build a space ship strong enough to weather storms and defend against pirates? Big enough to carry a large crew and fast enough to get there first?

  • Players 2-4
  • Playing time 60 min
  • Age 10+

#3 Firefly: The Game

Incredibly thematic, this is a fantastic board game for teenagers and adults well-designed to have a lot of fun. Players captain their own Firefly-class transport ship, traveling the ‘Verse with a handpicked crew of fighters, mechanics and other travelers. The high-quality components of the game is an add on. People rarely, if ever, finish a game in less than two hours. It’s a perfect getaway when there are no studies or work to do. If you are a fan of Firefly or Serenity, then it’s worth a buy.

  • Players 1-4
  • Playing time 120-240 min
  • Age 13+

Best Movie-Themed Board Games

#1 Star Wars: Rebellion Board Game

If you are a lover of Star Wars and the imaginative universe, then this is the best board game with over 150  miniatures. Gather your armies and rule the entire Galactic Empire or control the Rebel Alliance. Each side has different win conditions. Whether you choose to be a Rebel or Imperial player, you’ll need to adjust your playstyle accordingly. Of all the star wars games, this one is popular for it offers a classic star wars experience. Enjoy the epic conflict!

  • Players 2-4
  • Playing time 180-240 min
  • Age 14+

Here’s an overview of the Star Wars Rebellion game:

#2 Harry Potter: Clue  Board Game

People who love Harry Potter and traditional clue games will definitely enjoy this fun version of Clue. You can play your favorite characters from the movie to discover the culprit behind the mysterious disappearance of a fellow student from the famous School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

But do you know this is a moving board game? Yes, it has got wheels that move the rooms and reveal secret passages and moving staircases. You can also use spells to repel the Dark Mark. But at the end, you’ve to go to Dumbledore’s office to make your final accusation to win the game

  • Players 3-5
  • Playing time 30 min
  • Age 9+

Related: Which ‘Harry Potter’ Villain Are You? – Fun Quiz

#3 Game of Thrones: Westeros Intrigue

Created by Reiner Knizia, the prolific designer, this is the real oddball of the bunch. There couldn’t be any less GOT content in here, and you could play the same game with a deck of cards in five different colors. You need a clever card play to advance the position of your Great House. Build a web of support so that you are not eliminated easily.

If you win a round of Westeros Intrigue, you reap the rewards by drawing an Iron Throne card, which cancels a number of your penalty points

  • Players 2-6
  • Playing time  20 min
  • Age 8+

Best Horror-Themed Board Games

#1 Betrayal at House on the Hill

The game is good for people looking for fun, challenging, role-playing horror games. Players need to explore rooms, traverse through finding secrets and encounter spirits and frightening omens. When the haunt phase begins you will fight with a traitor who has powerful monsters and minions to fight with him. Full of suspense and excitement,  this board game is the best fit for family gatherings, parties and to have fun with friends.

What’s more? Players can build their own haunted house with a spooky atmosphere with detailed cards, pre-painted plastic figures, and special tokens. For every round, you can come up with a new thrilling game board.

  • Players 3-6
  • Playing time 60 min
  • Age 12+

Related: 100 Scariest and Most Shocking Two Sentence Horror Stories

#2 Mascarade

In Mascarade, each player will get one character having different powers. The goal is to be the first to collect 13 coins. However, all the character cards are face down, and other players can swap face-down cards with whomever they want. You can play the whole game without ever knowing which character you really are! The Mascarade Expansion with 13 new characters adds to fun and thrill.

Are you smart enough to manipulate the influential characters?  Hide yourself to swindle your opponents?

  • Players 2-13
  • Playing time 45 min
  • Age 10+

#3 Mysterium

Immersive and interactive gameplay because one of the players gets the chance to act as a ghost, who cannot use words to communicate. Players must detect the culprit to set the ghost-free. If you want to get yourself in the Halloween spirit, then Mysterium is worth playing. Evocative theme, overloaded with suspense, gorgeous artwork, and stellar components, adds to the thrill.

  • Players 2-7
  • Playing time 30 min
  • Age 10+

Best Board Games for Big Groups

#1 Cards Against Humanity

Popular as “the party game for horrible people”, you will love to play it if you have sense of humor that is next level. In each round, one player asks a question from a black card, and everyone else answers with their funniest white card. The one with cleverest or raunchiest answer wins the round.

The twist is – questions may pertain to embarrassing or awkward or taboo subjects like drugs, sex, child abuse, poverty, and anything. The goal is to poke fun and laugh out loud. One can keep on playing this game unless you have no more energy left to play.

  • Players 4-30
  • Playing time 30 min
  • Age 17+

#2 Spoons

A classic game of card grabbing and spoon snagging. You have to think and act fast, because in each round the slowest player will be left empty-handed and is out of the game! Remember you have to grab four cards of a kind to snag a spoon.

  • Players 4-13
  • Playing time 30 min
  • Age 8+

#3 Cranium

If creative challenge gives you kick, then this board game is a perfect choice. Light-hearted game but guarantees mind-blowing time with sketching, sculpting, acting, humming, and puzzle-solving. With 600+cards, there is a possibility of overloaded entertainment.

  • Players 4-16
  • Playing time 60 min
  • Age 13+

Best Mystery-Themed Board Games 

#1 Clue

This retro series, classic mystery game is all about players moving from room to room in a mansion to solve the mystery of who did the murder. Eliminate the suspects and discover whodunit, with what, and where. This is an excellent game for people who enjoy critical thinking and reasoning.

Wood tokens, detective notes, retro weapons, solution envelope offers a vintage feel. Not just fun, but playing this game is sure to create awesome memories. If you want to win you must correctly guess the murder. You will love the release of feel-good hormones in your body once you make a stellar record.

  • Players 3-6
  • Playing time 45 min
  • Age 8+

#2 Mystery of the Abbey

Inspired by Clue but a new type of “whodunit” game with beautifully rendered boards and pieces. It’s a collaborative game and needs constant interaction, deduction, and intuition.

Hence, it’s the best fit for playing with family. Players can take a vow of silence and refuse to answer. That adds to the difficulty, so you have to brainstorm a lot to find the murderer of the monk in the Abbey. Unique events cards add randomness to each play. With no dice to roll in order to move, there’s no luck involved here.

  • Players 3-6
  • Playing time 60-90 min
  • Age 8+

#3 221B Baker Street

Another Master Detective Game based on the most intriguing cases faced by Sherlock Holmes, and his dedicated companion, Dr. Watson. Hit the streets of London to gather information piece by piece. Even if pieced together, you need to rack your brain to figure out the hidden meaning. This game is best to kill the boredom when you feel stuck at home. Play on to see who turns out to be the most prudent detective.

  • Players 2-6
  • Playing time 90 min
  • Age 10+

Best Learning Board Games 

#1 Predictably Irrational

In this fun, thought-provoking and engaging game, players have to guess human nature. Can you predict what decisions people will make? why we act and the way we do? The well-researched answers on cards will spark a conversation about human decisions and several random facts. Besides fascinating answers, you will love the smart blend of social sciences and human behavior into a strategic game.

  • Players 1-8
  • Playing time  20-60 min
  • Age 15+

#2 Pandemic

Another unique game to keep your brain going. The family-friendly, cooperative game is all about specialists fighting against the outbreak of 4 deadly virulent diseases. Players have to rush and figure out cures before things go out of hand. You can take on the role of the Med, Scientist, operation expert, and others.

An incredible game to boost your problem-solving skills.  Are you ready to challenge your intellect?

  • Players 2-4
  • Playing time  60 min
  • Age 8+

Related: 15 Pandemic Outbreak & Survival Movies

#3 Smart Ass

A fun-trivia game perfect for parties and family gets together. In this new addition game, you are free to yell out the answers even when it’s not your turn. If you can think first and fast, you’re highly likely to be the Smart Ass. If you are into an outrageous, fast-paced party game, then this one is worth it.

Play to find who’s the smart ass among your family or friends?

  • Players 2-6
  • Playing time  30 min
  • Age 12+

Best Board Games for Pairs

#1 Settlers of Catan

This fast-paced strategy game keeps advanced players on toes. This game is fun to play whether you are with your partner or a new friend. Find out who can build the most successful settlements on the island of Catan, using the resources you’re given. The opportunity to trade between players leads to an interactive experience.

  • Players 2
  • Playing time  30 min
  • Age 12+

#2 Hive

The bug-themed board game without board is not only strategic but highly addictive. You can play on any flat surface, you’ll use your pieces to build as you try to capture the other player’s queen bee while protecting your own.

  • Players 2
  • Playing time  20 min
  • Age 9+

#3 The Castles Of Burgundy

Another detailed strategy game with wit and patience. There are five phases to game each with five rounds involving scientific research, livestock farming, trading and city building with high-quality components given. Most people love this game for its high replay value. It is a top-notch board game option when people feel stuck at home or want to kill boredom.

  • Players 2
  • Playing time 30-90 min
  • Age 12+

Related: 16 Fun Things To Do To Fight Boredom During Lockdown and Self Isolation

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Best Board Games For Kids, Family, and Friends
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Louisa Davis

Hi there! I'm just a normal person enjoying the process of life. Practicing Buddhism, I believe in the law of cause and effect. Reading and writing is always a pleasure. I enjoy researching on a range of subjects – science, psychology, and technology. Nothing can satiate my soul than good music, horror movies, psycho-thriller, and crime stuff. I enjoy photography, music and watching comedy videos. Talking to people, learning new experiences, sharing my knowledge through blogs, motivating others are things that I always look forward to.View Author posts