Toy Corner

Best Family Board Games

May 21, 2024

best family board games 2024

We've taken the time to test and review a plethora of games, aiming to draw everyone into a world of strategy, laughter, and family bonding. From games that change every time you play, to those that'll have you chuckling all night, we've explored a wide variety to suit all players.

Tips for Choosing the Right Family Board Game

The first thing to keep in mind when selecting a board game is the size of your family. Games like "Ghost Castle" or "Ticket to Ride" might be suitable for larger families as they accommodate more players. A game like "Long Shot: The Dice Game" offers competitive fun that remains manageable even with more participants.

If you have a smaller family, consider games that work well with fewer players. Games like "Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King" require strategic negotiation and decision-making which could be even more fun in an intimate setting.

Another important aspect when choosing the right board game is the difficulty level. Everyone wants a challenge, but it's essential to strike a balance where everyone can enjoy and participate.

Look for games offering adjustable difficulty levels, ensuring that they're fun for both younger and older family members. You might start off easy, but as your family gets the hang of it, you can start to introduce more complex gameplay to keep everyone engaged.

And now let's get into it, here are our top family board game picks which we believe you will all love.

1. Exploding Kittens

Fancy a quick, exciting and easy-to-grasp game for family game night? Look no further than Exploding Kittens. It's a game that's got our testers' approval due to its engaging simplicity.

What we appreciate most about Exploding Kittens is its elegant simplicity. You'll spend more time in delightful gameplay than wrestling with complex rules. Instructions are aptly included on each card, making the gameplay swift and enjoyable.

The fact it calls for 3-4 players makes Exploding Kittens a conversation-starter without overwhelming the table. It achieves a casual balance, ensuring every team member remains an engaged contributor throughout.

Moreover, the game's party pack edition operates perfectly well with up to ten players, offering an entertaining way to include larger families or parties.

And finally, let's not forget the thrill – the unceasing chase to avoid the Exploding Kitten card. It cranks up the excitement with every draw, and all watch on as the final two players tussle for their place in the game– creating a remarkable spectator sport for those cheering from the sidelines.

exploding kittens card game

2. Herd Mentality

Spicing up our list of top family board games, we add a pinch of twist with 'Herd Mentality.' This amusing party game leans towards the fun of guessing rather than strategic decision-making. A versatile choice, it's perfect for family nights and larger gatherings, effectively breaking the ice and sparking conversations.

In the quirky universe of Herd Mentality, it's all about flipping over question cards and tapping into the minds of your fellow players. The answers need not be factual or logical; instead, they must resonate with the majority. That's the hook—align your thoughts with the crowd, win cows, and size up your herd. Be prepared for a laughter riot if your answer wanders off and earns you a pink cow of doom!

Interestingly enough, the objective isn't exactly about winning. Yes, you aim to collect eight cows (points), but the essence lies in its non-competitive nature. Players get engaged in the simplistic magic of answering questions like 'what's the best sauce?' scoring when their choices match the majority. As such, this odd-one-out party game amplifies fun and ensures everyone, aged 10 and up, enjoys it!

herd mentality board game and components

3. Catan

Moving on to our next choice for the best family board games, we've got "Catan". A perfect contender for those who enjoy a hint of strategy and complexity in their gameplay. It's a delightful mix of decision-making, luck and interaction, making it a sure-fire hit for those evenings in with the family.

Catan capitalises on skills such as critical thinking and lets us roll the dice to see the resources we receive each turn. These resources, acquired from various terrains on the hexagonal board, can be used to build up our settlements, roads, or cities. The notable twist here is you can also negotiate trades with your competitors, turning potential rivals into allies.

Catan strikes a fine balance between complexity and fun. Sure, it's slightly more advanced than the typical family board games, but isn't that more exciting? It might take a first few rounds to get the hang of it, but once all gears are turning, you'll find the strategy and variation quite thrilling.

And, worry not, it doesn't keep you on edge for hours. An average game can wrap up within a cosy 60-minute slot. Think of it as a strategic adventure tucked between your dinner and bedtime story.

To keep things interesting, Catan has a host of expansions waiting to be explored, if the base game is too vanilla for you. So challenge yourself, delve into unknown terrains, and you might just triumph, all while expanding your strategic prowess!

catan board game

4. Carcassonne

Are you ready for the next game on our list? Hold onto your meeples, because we're delving into the fascinating world of Carcassonne. A tile-placement strategy game that sparks both competitive and cooperative spirits, Carcassonne provides an exciting, brain-teasing experience wrapped in a medieval landscape.

Carcassonne is a strategy tile-placement game that keeps players of all ages engaged. It's popular among both adults and children, perfect for families looking for a fun and intellectually stimulating pastime.

Ideal for two to five players aged 7 and upwards, a typical game of Carcassonne lasts approximately 45 minutes. We'd recommend making some time for it, as once the tiles start laying down, it's hard to stop.

So, why do we stake our reputation on Carcassonne? The game is an ideal introduction for those new to the board game scene. It's uncomplicated, yet keeps you on your toes. As our board game experts note, every turn presents an exciting decision either to lengthen a road and increase your points or to block your opponent's carcassonne expansion. It's an engaging puzzle, and it's no wonder Carcassonne tops our list of best board games for adults.

carcassonne board game

5. Wingspan

Next on our list of best family board games is "Wingspan." This beautifully designed game captivates players with its appealing bird-themed premise and engrossing dynamic. The ding of acquiring more feathered friends for your avian reserve is irresistible and adds a hearty thrill to this delightful pastime.

The concept is simple yet intriguing! As players, we collect food which enables us to play bird cards. Once we lay down a bird card, we secure more food— a clever little cycle that keeps us on our toes. This loop, strange but engaging, makes Wingspan unique and compelling. Wingspan's mechanics are a joy to navigate, not overly complicated but enough to get your gears grinding. Take a few turns, and you've got the hang of it.

One of the appealing aspects of Wingspan is its light touch on direct competition, ensuring that everyone's hard work remains appreciated, and the fun is not lost in fierce strategies. So, whether you win or lose, it's the game experience that leaves a lasting impression.

wingspan board game

6. Kingdomino

Designed by Bruno Cathala and published by Blue Orange Games, this award-winning board game has captured hearts with its innovative twist to the traditional domino game style.

Kingdomino is far from just another simple family game. Commanding the role of a lord seeking new lands, players must expand their kingdom by fitting tiles of different landscapes together. Aim to create the most prestigious empire by strategically selecting tiles that match your kingdom's terrains, but remember, the tile with the highest value may not always be the best option.

A session of Kingdomino typically takes only 15 to 20 minutes, making it perfect for those bite-sized gaming moments. With its quick game time and easy-to-understand rules, it's a board game ideal for the family to play over a quick breakfast or after-dinner banter.

It's not just us who like it as Kingdomino received the coveted Spiel Des Jahres award in 2017, a testament to its emphasis on strategy while maintaining a lightweight and enjoyable gaming atmosphere.

kingdomino board game

7. Dixit

Dixit is a magical experience that stands out among traditional board games. It caters to three to eight players and offers 30 minutes of engrossing gameplay. Cracking the Dixit rules isn't a herculean task and can be mastered quickly.

The game starts with six illustrated cards being dealt to each player. The fun begins when the active player gives a verbal cue relating to one of their cards. The other players then choose from their hand a card that best matches the clue. When all the cards are pooled and shuffled, the non-active players vote, trying to identify the active player's card. Scoring in Dixit is based on successful guesses and your ability to convince others to choose your card, making strategic bluffing a big part of the game.

Our expert game testers rave about Dixit for a couple of reasons. First, the game encourages interpretation and creative thinking. Even though it's a simple card-based game, it leaves a lot of room for imagination. Your interpretation of the illustrated image depends on the clue-setter's thought process, making it a deeply engaging experience.

Secondly, Dixit creates an opportunity for players to understand each other at a subconscious level. You'll start to pick up on how your friends and family think once you've played a few rounds, which can be immensely satisfying.

dixit board game

8. Cascadia

Adding a fresh colour to our family board game collection, we find none other than 'Cascadia'. This delightful game, rich with elegantly simple yet deeply engaging strategies, seamlessly connects with all ages.

Cascadia transports us into the lush wilderness of the Pacific Northwest where players construct their own ecosystem. We're talking not just building, but cleverly arranging terrain tiles and wildlife tokens to create the most harmonious landscape.

In each round, we choose a terrain-and-wildlife set, adding them to our expanding tableau. Matching habitats across tiles and keeping wildlife in their ideal spaces is where the tact lies. Seeing the bustling ecosystem we've fostered come to life is a beauty in itself.

Cascadia comes with ample replayability. Given the randomness of tile and token draws, each game unfolds in a unique way, refusing to let the fun stagnate. This coupled with the pleasing quick-play nature (playtime under an hour), it's all set to become a regular at our family game nights.

cascadia board game

9. Ticket to Ride

Bringing another crowd-pleaser to the table, we're rolling in with 'Ticket to Ride'. As one of the best family board games, not only does it captivate the attention of children and adults alike, but it's also soaked in strategy and competition, perfect for a frosty family fun night.

The aim of 'Ticket to Ride' is to build train routes across the USA, or other parts of the world, depending on the edition you buy. You’ll do this by collecting ticket cards of the same colour as the route you wish to construct. Every route you build yields points, and completing destination cards by connecting cities with your train routes racks up even more points. At the end of the journey, the player with the most points is hailed the champion!

For those desiring a bit more challenge, 'Ticket to Ride Europe' introduces features such as building ferry and tunnel routes, adding extra elements that make them trickier to construct. If you're in the market for a brisker pace, 'Ticket to Ride London' turns to building bus routes, slicing the playtime significantly. Whatever your game night vision might be, 'Ticket to Ride' offers an engaging, flexible, and memorable train ride.

ticket to ride board game