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Great Board Games To Play With Your Family!

Updated on October 1, 2014
Some of our Board Games
Some of our Board Games | Source

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
Cranium- The Family Fun Game
Cro Magnon
Scattergories
Cranium Bumparena
Labyrinth by Ravensburger
Kids Battle the Grown-Ups
Blurt
Sequence

Guestbook


Are you here shopping for a game for your family or for someone else?

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Quoridor-Kids Board Game - An awesomely fun stragety game for both kids AND adults!

Quoridor For Kids
Quoridor For Kids | Source

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.

Quoridor For Kids
Quoridor For Kids | Source

The original version: for teens and adults (If you have younger kids, see Cranium: The Family Fun Game.)

Cranium 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
Cranium | Source

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.

Cranium Family Edition
Cranium Family Edition | Source

Cro Magnon Game - Grunt and mime, model with clay, draw with charcoal, and use primitive language to communicate in this exciting caveman game!

Photo of part of the box for the Cro Magnon Game
Photo of part of the box for the Cro Magnon Game | Source

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

Cro Magnon Game
Cro Magnon Game | Source

A great game for parties or groups

Scattergories Game

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 Game
Bumparena Game | Source

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 Game
Labyrinth Game | Source

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?

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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!


Perplexus Marble Maze Brain Teaser Puzzles!

These marble maze brain teasers develop spatial and cognitive reasoning skills. Super fun and challenging!


Source


Nature and Science Gifts For Kids and Teens

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!


Source


Raising Tadpoles And Frogs

My son and I raised a small group of frogs from eggs to tadpoles to frogs. On this site, you'll find our personal experiences with raising frogs, photos of our frogs in different stages of development, and several tips on taking care of tadpoles and frogs.


Source


How To Make Shadow Puppets

Would you like to put on a shadow puppet play? This site shows you how to make shadow puppets out of posterboard!


© 2009 JanieceTobey

Comments? Questions?What's your favorite family board game? Do you participate in a regular game night with family or friends?

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    • EzLoanLookUp LM profile image

      EzLoanLookUp LM 4 years ago

      Great lens, but I'd want to add Balderdash to that list.

    • GypsyOwl2 profile image

      GypsyOwl2 4 years ago

      our family loves games! One of our favorite games with the adult children is Battle of the Sexes. Tons of laughter as the guys try to answer questions about women's fashion and cooking and the ladies try to answer questions about cars and sports!

    • Bill Armstrong profile image

      Bill Armstrong 4 years ago from Valencia, California

      I love a good board game, the neighbors and myself can be seen on the balcony during the warmer nights playing away, thanks for sharing

    • CrossCreations profile image

      Carolan Ross 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Wonderful collection of board games! I saw that Perplexus toy recently at a toy store among a 'top toys of 2012' display and it was the one I wanted - for ME!

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 4 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Dropping back by to check out what's new in this great list of board games and to wish you a Merry Christmas!

    • Board-Game-Brooke profile image

      C A Chancellor 5 years ago from US/TN

      I loved playing Monopoly as a kid. :-)

    • sammyaddams lm profile image

      sammyaddams lm 5 years ago

      We love to play Monopoly and scrabble in our house.

    • ngio64 profile image

      ngio64 5 years ago

      We love playing games. We have several versions of monopoly. We really enjoy SET and the kids used to play Rat a Tat Cat. I added them to your list. Blessed by a squidangel.

    • noner profile image

      noner 5 years ago

      The only one of those we have played is Scattergories. Some of our favorite games are Life, Scrabble, Word Theif and Uno.

    • profile image

      miaponzo 5 years ago

      These games really sound like fun! Blessed!

    • yano jl profile image

      yano jl 6 years ago

      I played 'Chutes and Ladders' with my niece - they should have called that game 'endless boredom'.

      Thanks for the Lens. 1 SquidLike for you, my friend!

    • Senora M profile image

      Senora M 6 years ago

      Cool lens. Looks like a lot of great games on here! Blessed! :)

    • profile image

      stephanieelizabeth 6 years ago

      I love Scattergories! Thank you for this guide, I hadn't heard of most of these games before. I hate stuff like twister. Have you played ''Scene It'' or ''The Game of Life?'- those games are pretty great as well.

    • JackNimble profile image

      JackNimble 6 years ago

      Very cool lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      My kids are just at that age where we are starting family game night and I love it! All of these games look fantastic, I am going to have to add some to my list!

    • profile image

      ideadesigns 6 years ago

      Very excellent board game reviews. I can't believe you have so many nice boxes of games! We have less than 10 and I've have to duck tape the boxes back together. Nice lens layout, I love the pics!

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 6 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      I love board games. I have to wait to play these with my daughter or a holiday get together. Great selection.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      We often had family game night as I was growing up and those are some of my sweetest memories. Your family eats well, learns about interesting things and has plenty fun!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Thank you

    • profile image

      Jendi 7 years ago

      We've played Scattergories and Blurt, but there's a lot here that I've never heard of. Our children are getting old enough to play games that aren't just for children and I look forward to lots of good times.

    • profile image

      whatsreal12 7 years ago

      Such good stuff! I love everything cranium :-) I need lots of ideas, because I am so fickle, I tire of games too quickly so thanks for the new inspirations!

    • HorseAndPony LM profile image

      HorseAndPony LM 7 years ago

      My family loves board games. I don't think we have a single favorite. After reading your reviews I am going to add a few new games to our collection. Thanks for sharing.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 7 years ago from New Zealand

      Looks like we like a lot of the same games, but there are a few new ones her for us to try. Great list. I have lensrolled it to my games list, and it is Blessed by a Squidoo Angel (if you want, you can add your link at Angel Blessings from Pukeko)

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 7 years ago from Royalton

      We also love playing board games. One of our favorites is The Amazing Labyrinth. I have been wondering about Cranium and didn't know enough about it before to decide whether or not to buy it. Your review has convinced me that it will be a fun, hands-on educational game that the whole family will enjoy.

    • profile image

      Joan4 7 years ago

      We love family games,too! I think Kids Battle the Grownups will be next on our list ! We have great fun with our adult kids playing Battle of the Sexes - same principle -- men answering questions about women's stuff, women answer questions about men's stuff. It hilarious!! Super lens, great products and family ideas! Blessed!

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 8 years ago

      When the boys were younger we spent a lot of evening playing board games.

      5* and lensroll to Board Games for Teenagers

      Lizzy

    • pkmcruk profile image

      pkmcr 8 years ago from Cheshire UK

      Really well put together and crafted lens - Blessed by a Squid Angel :-)

    • HorseAndPony LM profile image

      HorseAndPony LM 8 years ago

      My family loves Cranium. What a great lens.

    • poptastic profile image

      Cynthia Arre 8 years ago from Quezon City

      Really great selection of games! I love Cranium and have you heard of Apples to Apples? It's another of my favorites too. Nice work! (:

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Great job on the review of these games. I haven't played most of these games, but when I was younger, we used to love to play board games. Like you said they are very educational and interactive - a great time to get together as a family!

    • SueM11 profile image

      Sue Mah 8 years ago from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

      I love board games too. Haven't played some of those in your list. Thanks for the great reviews.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 8 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      I love games - board games, card games, you name it. We've had a lot of family & friends fun over many years playing games. Lensrolled to my Games and Puzzles lens.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 8 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Welcome to the South Carolina Group

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 8 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Wow, this is a super list of Family Games to Play and I loved your personal reviews. Blessed by a Squid Angel.