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Family Board Games - Playing the Best Strategy Board Games

Updated on May 13, 2008

So, you are looking for something to do this weekend. Wow, a movie would be great this weekend, but dang is it expensive. It'll cost you about $100 to go to dinner and a movie - more if you have kids.

You could go to the park, but it is supposed to rain this weekend. You really don't want to sit around and watch television.

I know the idea of trying a board game is juvenile. Again, the kid thing rears its head. If you have a younger child, the idea of playing Disney Trivial Pursuit or Candyland one more time is probably causing you to scream from the inside out. Or, you may have horror visions from college of a bunch of guys with greasy hair and glasses in a corner rolling odd shaped dice shouting "FIREBALL! FIREBALL!" Have no fear! I got your back on this one. You can play some board games with your family, and it can be cool, everyone can play, and you don't have to scream about the fireball.


Take a look at adult board games. They are also dubbed modern board games or designer board games. This is a really interesting new genre of board game that is becoming popular in the Unite States. These games have been killing it over in Europe for some time now. Because of this, you may even hear them called eurogames. Essentially, all these terms describe the same type of game. I will use them interchangeably throughout this article.


My bet is that if you are reading this, you probably are not familiar with these types of games. Trust me! Over the next few years, you will see these games more and more. They are already showing up on XBOX LIVE. There are three games you should at least try - Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne, and Ticket To Ride. These are termed "Gateway Games". They are great games to introduce you to this genre of gaming.

If you had to place them on the game scale, with Monopoly being at one end and Chess being at the other, they land just past Monopoly. There are a lot of other games I will introduce later that land further up the scale - much closer to Risk. But, don't worry about them right now. Gateway games are not that complex.

Two of the key elements of these games that make them great family games are that there is no player elimination and the decisions you make are workable enough for a 9-10 year old child.


What's really nice about these games, from a family standpoint, is that nobody gets kicked out of the game early and has to watch everyone else duke it out for an hour and a half. Oh, that's great fun...especially for the 10 year old! These board games are geared around scarce resources and the strategic use of them. Some of them involve trading and bartering with your fellow players. You are in competition with them, but not a violent competition.


If you are playing with children, these games encourage critical thinking and decision making. Sometimes, they need to think several moves ahead and consider that something bad can happen. They learn how to maneuver around these issues. They also learn from watching the adults - they see what works and what doesn't. This encourages productive discussions that don't happen when you watch that movie or television.


When you look at traditional board games, you think of a couple of things - probably cheap cards or money, a square board you go around on, very little theme (unless it is based on a cartoon, movie, or television show), and you waiting for your turn.

Not so with eurogames! Yes, the board is probably square - but that one is hard to get away from. But, I can guarantee you that you are not looking at a square (or circular) image on that square board. It might be a map or smaller boards that designate where events happen - but no Monopoly/Sorry/Life-style boards where you start at GO and end at END and get $200. The cards, boxes, pieces, instruction guides are usually superior quality and last a long time. The artwork on the games is very enjoyable to look at and the game pieces tend to be made of painted wood - not cheap plastic.

Theme is important in these games - and it may seem odd at first. For example, with Settlers of Catan, you are building colonies on an island and harvesting the resources of the island to build you r cities, roads, and villages. With Carcassonne, you are building the area surrounding the French city of Carcassonne. Your goal is to get the most points by using your little men, called meeples, to create knights, monks, farmers, and thieves. And last, with Ticket to Ride, you get to build railroads. Everyone loves railroads and trains - just tell the little ones its Thomas the Tank Engine. You need to build connections between cities in the US to gain points. These connections build routes - which generate more points.

Trust me on this...they sound fairly simple on the surface, but they have some very deep strategy and a lot of player interaction occurs. These games can also be played in about an hour - which means you can play multiple games if you like.


One of the best things about these games is their price. Carcassonne usually runs about $25-$30, Settlers of Catan and Ticket To Ride usually cost about $35-$40 each. Before you cringe at the price for a board game, go back to your night at the movies and think about what you get for the $100 you were going to spend there. Also, think about the last PC or Playstation game you purchased. Those games are easily $29.99-$60. Like these games, replayability is key. I would bet you will play these modern board games at least 3-5 times. So, they cover their costs with multiple plays and after the first time you play them, there is no further cost for that game.

Just to be fair, here is a comparison - Monopoly is about $15, Life is about $17. and Risk runs about $25. So yes, they do cost a little more - but your value is much higher.


So, I have successfully made my case that you should give these great games a try - Good for you! You get in your car, go down the way to WalMart or Toys 'R Us, and guess come up empty handed. Why? They don't carry them there. You can only get these games from two types of locations - hobby shops and the internet.

Depending on where you live, the closest hobby shop may be an hour or more away. I know that from where I am now - north of Orlando, FL, I have to drive at least 45 minutes or more before I can get to the nearest hobby shop. Your best option to get these games is on the internet. Your prices may be slightly better and you can get a ton of information about them before you commit.

Ticket to Ride by Mayfair Games
Ticket to Ride by Mayfair Games
Settlers of Catan by Mayfair Games
Settlers of Catan by Mayfair Games


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    • profile image


      2 years ago

      IÕve a presentation subsequent week, and IÕm on the look for such information.

    • Unplugtivity profile image

      Jesse Parkhurst 

      4 years ago

      In my opinion Board Games are the best way to spend quality time with friends and family. Especially with the kids, they love it. Ticket to Ride is probably my favorite strategy game.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Unknown message

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Тональный крем придает коже бархатистый, ровный цвет и выполняет еще очень много полезных функций. Но для того чтобы тональный крем служил главным помощником, нужно для начала его правильно выбрать, а потом нанести на кожу.

    • Lwelch profile image

      Lena Welch 

      6 years ago from USA

      In my city there is a board game club that meets almost weekly with around 150 per meeting. Board games are a wonderful way to use your brain, be entertained, and meet other brainy people. Awesome hub!

    • profile image

      Stan Hai 

      7 years ago

      We love "Spontuneous." It's a great way to share music you like and try to stump each other. After a few drinks, it gets even funner.

    • glassvisage profile image


      10 years ago from Northern California

      There is no shame in going for board games instead of going out to spend money (although some games have gotten more expensive!). I love playing cards with my partner, even if it's a beautiful day outside :)


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