- Games, Toys, and Hobbies
Great Board Games To Play With Your Family!
Board Games For Family Night: My Top 10 Picks With Reviews
Our family plays a lot of games. In fact, we own (and play) over 120 board games! To us, playing games beats watching a movie, as when you're playing games, you're actively interacting together. Besides, purchasing a new game usually costs about the same as 3 or 4 movie tickets, but can be played over and over again! Unlike purchased movies, the best board games are different each time you play them!
Many games help kids learn strategy, interesting facts, and new vocabulary, as well as allowing them a fun way to practice their reading and math skills. But most importantly, they're fun to play!
Below you'll find my reviews of some of our favorite family board games. I've also provided links to where you can purchase most of the games. I hope you find the best game or games for your family or friends!
What You'll Find On This Page
Ten Board Game Reviews
Quoridor For Kids
Cranium- The Family Fun Game
Labyrinth by Ravensburger
Kids Battle the Grown-Ups
Are you here shopping for a game for your family or for someone else?
Quoridor-Kids Board Game - An awesomely fun stragety game for both kids AND adults!
Quoridor For Kids: My Review:
This is one of my family's newest games. In fact, we just got it for Christmas this year. It LOOKS like such a simple game. But each time we play it, we develop more and more strategy and have more and more fun!
Each person is given a mouse, Their task is to be the first one to get their mouse across the board to their own colored cheese. The catch is that the other players can place short walls blocking your intended path across the board. And if they place several walls side by side, you might find it necessary to retreat and search for another route across the board. Of course, your opponents have to also keep their own mouse in mind, being careful not to block its route across the board even as they block yours!
When trying to decide what new games to purchase for our family this year, I found Bernard Dekoven's review of this game (on Amazon) to be exceptionally helpful.
The original version: for teens and adults (If you have younger kids, see Cranium: The Family Fun Game.)
Cranium: My Review:
This game is lots of fun for older teens and adults! Teams move clockwise around the board, engaging in various activities as they go. Each turn, the opposing team draws one of four types of cards and reads it to the team who's turn it is. The card will be either a: Data Head, Creative Cat, Word Worm, or Star Performer card, depending upon where the team is on the board. Activities may include drawing, sculpting (with clay), humming, acting, spelling words backwards, answering questions, or completing puzzles.
Cranium is a bit like Pictionary, a trivia game, and charades, all rolled into one! As the box says, cranium is a super fun "game for your whole brain!"
Cranium- The Family Fun Game
Cranium- The Family Fun Game: My Review:
- This family version of the popular Cranium game is "Outrageous Fun for the Whole Family!"
The original version of cranium is often difficult for younger children, but Cranium's new family version allows everyone to play together! It still includes Creative Cat, Data Head, Star Performer, and Word Worm, and there is still clay for sculpting things, but this version also includes plastic frogs that players are sometimes asked to flip, as well as stacking cubes, for completing some very unusual challenges!
All players divide onto one of two teams, encouraging cooperation and team work throughout the game. In fact, more so than in many other team games, many of the challenges in Cranium Family Fun really require working together with your teammate(s). While playing this game, you may find yourself holding someone else's hand while guiding them to draw the object on the card (the person actually holding the pencil doesn't know what they are drawing!), drawing with your eyes closed while your teammate(s) guesses what you're drawing, working together to get two frogs to meet in mid-air, passing cubes back and forth from one player to another without using your mouth or hands, flipping frogs into a clay bowl across the table, and many more unique and fun-filled challenges!
This game takes less time to play than the original version of Cranium. (In fact, we often go through the board twice, turning around and heading back for start once we reach the finish line.). It's recommended for ages 8 and above. Although some reading is necessarily, a non-reader or beginning reading can get by fine by having someone else read the cards for him.
Cro Magnon Game - Grunt and mime, model with clay, draw with charcoal, and use primitive language to communicate in this exciting caveman game!
Cro Magnon - My Review:
Cro Magnum is so much fun to play! There are four basic sections of the board, each one with a different task. All four sections involving trying to get the other players (called "tribes") to guess your words (as many words in one turn as possible), While you are in the first section of the board you can only mime and grunt your clues. In section two, you can only use clay to get your words across. With the third section you must try to get the other players to guess your target words by pointing to various other words on a primitive language card (it's harder than you think! There are only a few words on the language card to choose from!), and in the last section of the game, you use a charcoal stick to draw a picture of your words.
Each tribe (which can be an individual or a team) also must pick from a list of silly things to do at the beginning and ending of their turn. For example, if you (or your team) are the Broozers, you have to "stand up and pound the table with both fists while letting out a primal scream." Another tribe may be crawling around on all fours while searching for mushrooms, or scratching under their arms and laughing. This sounds pretty goofy, but adds a lot of laughter to the game!
Children need to be able to read fairly well to play this game. Because time is of essence, there's not much time for sounding out words. If you'd like to use this game as an educational reading game, just do away with the sand timer and allow the child to take as much time as he or she needs. This would work best one-on-one with a child.
Cro Magnon Game
A great game for parties or groups
Scattergories - My Review:
Quick! Name a vegetable, state, thing you throw away, occupation, appliance, cartoon character, and musical group, all of which start with the letter c. You get points for each category in which you write down an answer no one else has.That's what playing Scattergories is like. My family loves it!
Let's see: carrot, California, cardboard box, cashier, coffee maker....
Scattergories is a great game for parties or groups because everyone plays at once! (Hint: Photograph more of the paper sheets if you have more people than 6 playing or work together in teams of two.)
Both reading and writing are required to play Scattergories.
Cranium Bumparena Game - Arrange the bumpers so the balls fall into your hole!
Bumparena - My Review:
Bumperena is a little bit like pinball, except the people playing the game set up the pinball bumpers as the game progresses. Each person tries, on their turn, to add or rotate a bumper in a way that more balls will drop into their (or their team's) own personal goal.
The board is always changing! Sometimes just a single carefully placed or rotated bumper can make a huge difference in the course of the balls as they travel down the board and into the goals at the bottom. Even when you have what you think is the perfect plan for getting more of the balls in your goal, someone else will rotate one of your bumpers and suddenly more balls are set to fall in his or her goal instead!
The game is best with two or three players, but our family of four often plays it by dividing into two teams. Bumperena is a lot of fun to play!
We have quite a few of the Cranium games and enjoy all of them. Bumperena, though, has a unique style all it's own!
No reading is necessary, other than for the initial directions.
Labyrinth Game by Ravensburger - Parenting Magazine's Toy Hall of Fame Winner of a "Parents Choice Gold Seal Award"
Labyrinth - My Review:
My son and I love playing this game! You start off with a specific number of treasure cards. Each one corresponds to a location on the labyrinth board. Reaching each one of those locations is your goal. The catch is, the locations shifts around as each player moves! Maybe you have the perfect plan laid out as to how you will reach the dragon or the bat...but suddenly someone places a new piece on one of the rows between your pawn and your goal, shifting all the pieces over one and forcing you to come up with a new plan!
The game board varies with each time you play, as the labyrinth pieces are put onto the game board completely at random at the start of each game.
No reading is necessary (except for reading the rules initially). Strategy definitely comes into play in this game, but like most good strategy games, so does flexibility! Although the game says it's for ages 8 to 99, I think some 6 year olds could play this game too, especially if allowed to play by the version especially designed for younger kids. By the way, not everyone playing the game has to play by the same version. It works fine for some to follow the more difficult rules, while others play the easier version.
Kids Battle The Grown-Ups Game - My Review:
In so many games, younger players are at a disadvantage. Not so with this game! The kids call out questions to the adults that are easy for the kids to answer, but, well, uhm, a bit harder for the adults. Ah, but then the tables are turned and the adults call out questions to the kids that are more from the adults generation! In other words, the kids might be answering questions about things grown-ups know more about and the grown-ups might be answering things that kids know more about! It makes for some hilarious responses and lots of fun!
Reading is required from at least one person on each team.
Blurt Board Game
Blurt - My Review:
This game is another one of our favorites! In this game, one player reads a brief description/definition of a word from a card and the other players try to be the first one to guess the word. The player who guesses the word first gets to move a specified number of spaces along the board. This is a very fast paced game, and encourages players to stay focused throughout.
Reading is involved in this game.
Sequence Board Game
Sequence - My Review:
In this game, you try to get sequences of five spaces in a row on the board. You claim spaces on the board by playing down matching cards. For example, if you have a 9 of spades in your hand, you can cover up one of the two 9 of spades on the board. Strategy is involved, as you try to not only gain five in a row yourself, but also block your opponents from getting their own sequences! Sequence is lots of fun to play with your family, or with others!
No reading involved (other than in the initial directions).
What's your favorite?
More of my Reviews!
12 Favorite Family Card Games
Frog Juice, Racko, Uno Spin, Uno Attack, Skip Bo, Cranium Ziggity, Apples to Apples, In a Pickle, Loot, Bandits, and Mille Bornes!
If you liked this site on family board games, you may also like these family, children, and education related sites!
- 12 Of My Favorite Family Card Games
On this page you'll find my reviews of twelve of my family's favorite card games.
These marble maze brain teasers develop spatial and cognitive reasoning skills. Super fun and challenging!
You'll find everything from microscopes to robotic kits (including Lego Mindstorms), nature journals, bird feeders and bird houses, science kits, nature books, and much more on this site! Shown above is a working tin can robot that my son made from a kit from this site!
© 2009 JanieceTobey