Puzzles are a disaster at my house. Too many little people, not enough surface options, millions of potentially lost pieces. Card games are ok, but I’ve never been particularly adept at remembering all the different rules between Hearts, Spades and BlackJack (I know, it’s embarrassing). But board games? Playing board games is a real winner with my family. Especially if they’re funny, fast and mostly based on luck.
So since kids outnumber adults around here, and we can’t invite friends over to balance out (or cancel out) the littles, these games need to be kid and family-friendly – which is too bad because Cards Against Humanity is hysterical but totally inappropriate.
We offer these are the best board games to play right now, made even better with popcorn, wine and lots of juice boxes.
Jenga. So right. Not a board game at all. But great for kids and families and friends, rules are self-explanatory: don’t be the guy who makes the tower fall. That’s all. We play on teams around here, so that One Kid Who Cries doesn’t lose alone and ruin the evening for everyone.
Scattergories. Yep, not really a board game, either. We played this for hours growing up. As a fair warning, it can be the genesis for arguments and splitting of very VERY tiny hairs. Establish rules early, have a Rule Master and do your best. It’s fun, you laugh a lot, and the “junior edition” is easier to maneuver.
Qwirkle. This one looks kind of funny, like some version of a weird, colored Wingdings. But it’s easy to explain, quick to learn and is a fan favorite among younger kids. Think 9 years and smaller. I feel like everyone I know has Qwirkle, so we might be the only ones new to its fun? I love the fact that the tiles are wooden rather than plastic, and there aren’t 673 pieces, which is a huge bonus for me.
Sequence. Sequence is a great STEM game, and it’s one of our favorites because we like it just as much as our kids. Many of the games seem to favor either the little or the big people. It’s hard (understandably) to make an experience equally attractive to 7 year olds and 50 year olds. But in our family, this one works. There’s a bit of strategy, some luck and since we play on teams, everyone gets a chance to win.
Ticket To Ride. This is probably the most involved game of our favorites. It takes longer to play, has more pieces and several more “steps.” The rule are easy to understand, though, and my son Tommy, who LOVES trains, plays with Steve on “his” team and thinks it’s the best. If you want a game for a whole afternoon, this is your, pun intended, ticket.
Yahtzee. No list of “best games” would be complete without Yahtzee. I learned to play it over my childhood summers spent at the river. During rainy afternoons, my friends and I would set up a card table and perfect the fine art of chance. We thought we were just “really good at Yahtzee,” until we realized it was very little about strategy and more about magical, destined rolls of cranky dice. My kids have loved this game for a long time, and it’s an easy time-filler when you need distraction without real commitment.
These are our favorites, our best board games (though some have no board whatsoever) to play right now. What are yours? Which ones are we missing?