Best board games for families to play this Father's Day
- The List
- 16 June 2020
Roll the dice on this selection of modern and classic tabletop games, designed to entertain and thrill families everywhere
There's a whole world of board games out there, suitable for families of all age ranges and sizes. Between the classic family board games and the best new board games for families, players have tonnes of fun games to choose from. Board games allow you to travel the world, flex some drawing skills, learn new trivia or have some solid, silly, family fun, all from the comfort of your own home. What's better than that? If you're looking for a fun tabletop adventure this Father's Day, here's a list of the best board games as played and recommended by The List staff to get you started.
Don't be put off by the title of this hugely popular card game; not only is it masses of fun, but it's also family-friendly and suitable for 2-5 players. Exploding Kittens was designed by Shane Small, alongside Elan Lee and Matthew Inman from the comics site The Oatmeal, exceeding its Kickstarter goal of $10,000 in just eight minutes in 2015. Described as a 'kitty-powered version of Russian Roulette', the game involves players taking turns drawing cards until someone draws an exploding kitten, losing the game. The more cards you draw, the greater your chances of drawing an exploding kitten and this process continues until there's only one player left, who wins the game. As you can imagine, it gets very intense as the game gradually progresses towards kitty inferno. (Arusa Qureshi)
Timing is key when it comes to a good family board game. The great thing about this chasing game is that it's easy to follow, instantly fun and doesn't drag on. The goal is to get all of your four pieces around the board and safely home without being sent back to the starting rack by another opponent landing on your spot. Turns are determined by the roll of a dice and anything goes up until the last few rounds, however; it is called Frustration for a reason.
Frustration's greatness lies in the perfectly frustrating yet hopeful mix of emotions that hang in the balance right until the very end. It's perfect for four players, recommended for ages 6 + but could be easily played by those younger. It's also a fun board game for two players. The original is still out there but it's had a makeover in recent years and many editions including Paw Patrol, Disney's Cars, Despicable Me, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and more have been replicated. (Becki Crossley)
Why leave the house when you can conquer the whole world via a game of Risk? As one of the best known and most popular map-based board games, Risk involves everything from strategy and battle to diplomacy and betrayal. The ultimate goal is to take over the world by building an army and conquering enemy territories, engaging in battle and defending your own borders in the process with the roll of a dice and bonus cards. Originally released in 1957 as La Conquête du Monde (The Conquest of the World) in France, the game was bought by Parker Brothers and released in 1959 as Risk with a few modifications. Since then, there have been various iterations, including Skyrim, Game of Thrones Risk, Star Wars Risk and The Walking Dead Risk. Some may be put off by its long playing time but if you're up for a challenge and an afternoon of fictional war and conquest, Risk is the game for you. (Arusa Qureshi)
Before Dixit came along, there wasn't really a board game for families and friends that incorporated creativity, fun, imagination, poetry and art in the way this colourful, magical and abstract association game does. The rules are simple: everyone gets a number of cards with beautiful drawings on them; one person selects a card and comes up with a word, a sentence, a line from a poem or a film title that is inspired by their picture; then everyone chooses one picture from their own that could fit the 'description'. Once all pictures are on the table, people vote which one could be the original. If players are too specific then everyone will easily guess (no points!) and on the flip side, if players are too abstract, no one will choose your card (no points too!)
Although it's officially a 3–6 player game for ages 8+, it could be played by more people and it's fun for younger kids too who have an artistic flair and a vivid imagination. Dixit is replayable, how long it lasts and luckily there are numerous expansions to buy once you feel like refreshing your card collection. It is on so many best board games lists for a good reason. (Julia Kajdi)
Ticket to Ride
Looking for a fun but short strategy board game? Jump aboard Ticket to Ride and you'll be met with a visually appealing board, colourful cards and cute mini trains; no dice means there is no luck involved too. The objective is to build roads between cities on the map based on the action cards you draw. The longer the road, the more points it's worth. You can conquer Japan, New York, Europe, the UK or France, depending on which game you choose to buy.
Simple rules, right? Well, it's not as easy as that. Two cities can only be connected via two roads and roads occupied by others are a no-go, making up the fun and competitive part of the game. Players make things difficult for their opponents by 'blocking' their routes so they'll need to build roads more strategically. Aimed for 3–5 players ages 8+, this all-time favourite guarantees the perfect game night. (Julia Kajdi)
Settlers of Catan
One of the first modern board games to be rightfully deemed a cultural phenomenon, Klaus Teuber's Settlers of Catan has taken the world by storm since its 1995 release in Germany. In its most basic iteration, Catan features up to four players vying against one another to develop settlements across a tiled hexagonal board, with each tile boasting one of four different resources: sheep, wheat, ore, brick and wood.
Players reap resources based on the location of settlements and the roll of the dice, or they can attempt to finagle a good trade from their fellow settlers. Resources are then spent to build and develop settlements, construct roads or purchase development cards — all of which are means to earn Victory Points. The first player to achieve 10 Victory Points is crowned the winner of Catan. Despite the essential simplicity of the game's elements, Catan is renowned for its strategic depth and complexity, which it has carried over into various different editions and expansions, including Family Edition, Seafarers, Cities and Knights and Star Trek. There's also apparently a film adaptation in the works, but it remains to be seen how Catan's high drama of sensible resource management will translate to the screen. (Deborah Chu)
This classic trivia board game has been long-loved by families around the world. Players move their pieces around a board and the squares they land on to determine the subject of a trivia question they are asked from a card from six categories: geography, science and nature, entertainment, history, arts and literature and sports and leisure. Each correct answer earns a plastic wedge (sometimes called a cheese) which is slotted into the answering player's round piece that is divided into six sections.
The winner correctly answers a question from each category and earns all six plastic wedges to complete their round piece. Trivial Pursuit has been popular since its release in 1981 and remains a best-selling board game. Dozens of editions have been released including the family edition (with cards for adults and kids), decade-themed editions, and film and TV themed editions such as Harry Potter and Friends. (Megan Forsyth)
Lead your ancient civilization to the pinnacle of its powers in this deck card game, which sees 2 to 7 players go head-to-head through three different Ages of civilization, each of which are represented through its own deck of cards. Each player in 7 Wonders is given a 'Wonder board', which depicts one of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, such as the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the Temple of Artemis or the Statue of Zeus.
Players must draw cards and build structures to advance their civilization in various different ways, whether it be scientific, military, commercial or civic. The winning civilisation is the one who accrues the most victory points, whether through their structures, successful military conflicts or the number of coins they've got tucked away in the bank at the end of Age III. There's quite a bit of complicated maths involved, but the level of detail and complex stratagems makes the intricate gameplay of 7 Wonders truly a wonder indeed. (Deborah Chu)
Articulate is a sort of inverse Charades. Rather than miming, you can use as much verbal description as you like to convey the words, names and phrases on each card, while avoiding varying forms, 'rhymes with' or 'sounds like'. Each person has just 30 seconds to perform as many words as possible to their team and that half-minute really flies by. It's a great ice-breaker, although it's the sort of game that really benefits from careful teammate selection — shared points of reference will help you go far. Refreshingly, it's presented free of the gimmicks that plague many similar games so it's easy enough for everyone to get involved. There are several editions available including one for kids and a mini version among others. (Murray Robertson)
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