7 Best Family Board Games for Game Night
A solid collection of family board games can offer a diverting alternative to video games, for those moments when you want your family time to be a little less digital and a bit more analog. Selecting the right board games for game night can be tricky when you have a wide range of ages and personalities to consider. Below are some suggestions with enough variety and entertainment value for almost any family.
First, some honorable mentions:
PERIODIC: A Game of the Elements
If your family includes a budding Marie Curie, then Periodic: A Game of the Elements is a great option that combines science and family fun, with some brainy competition as a bonus! The game board is the good old Periodic Table of the Elements that you remember from school, and making progress around the table is the primary method of earning points. Ending a move on an element that is available for discovery wins points and helps you advance along an Academic Achievement Track. Being the first to discover a whole group of elements sets you up to win awards that come with valuable benefits that can be used to further your discoveries. Race down the path to academic achievement faster than your competitors, and learn as you go!
Summer Camp is one of those great rainy-day family board games. It invites you to pursue the wide variety of activities common to camp life, but without the heat, bugs and homesickness of real-life summer camp! Players earn points by pursuing activities in typically campy categories like crafts, games and outdoors. Successfully completing activities allows you to progress along merit paths and earn badges, but you can also “buy” cards that you need to boost your experience points. This funny family competition pits you against other players to see who can collect the most points to become the top camper!
TINY EPIC DUNGEONS
Exploring mysterious and dangerous settings while preparing to fight a “big baddie” is a staple of board games for game night, and dungeon-themed games are a favorite example. If your family fancies an exciting quest for glory, Tiny Epic Dungeons could be your ticket to game night fun. If you have some family members who are a bit hyper-competitive, this game is a good opportunity to remind them of the fun of cooperation. Players must work together to defeat enemies and avoid potential traps. One nice complicating factor is the torchlight element, as your torch gets a bit weaker with each turn. Trying to collect loot and find your way safely through the levels while losing precious light definitely adds to the urgency! If you make it to the end, will you have the right collection of objects and spells to overcome the big, bad Dungeon Boss?
Do you ever get tired of fighting off the bad guys to ensure the good guys ultimately win a game? If so, here’s a game with a twist. In the Disney-branded Villainous, you are the bad guy trying to win by being even worse than all the other villains! Each Disney villain has his or her own powers to be deployed in the battle to be the worst. In the edition labeled “The Worst Takes It All,” villains include Maleficent, Prince John, the Queen of Hearts, Jafar, Ursula and Captain Hook. Relying on fate, reference and villain cards, you pursue your character’s unique strategy for maximum badness. An entertaining—and potentially infuriating—element is that other players can spoil your plans when certain actions allow them to play on your board! Villainous is a lot of fun for a Disney-loving family, or anyone who has always secretly thought the villains are the best characters!
A game ahead of its time, Pandemic makes you part of a team racing around the world trying to get ahead of outbreaks while working on cures for epidemic diseases. Pandemic is a cooperative game where each player has a vital role to play in ultimately vanquishing the contagion. The main board is a map of the world; infection, event and city cards alert you to the status of outbreaks in various locations. Each character has specific skills that must be combined with the know-how and abilities of others for your team’s disease control strategy to succeed. While it’s probably better suited for parents and older kids, Pandemic is an engrossing game that can keep your family entertained and challenged for hours!
The monster-themed Horrified is another chance for you and your family to win through cooperation, this time battling creatures of the dark instead of contagious disease! Players move around a town overrun with monsters, fighting to protect the villagers and defeat the creatures before the Terror level rises too high. Your heroic team must devise different strategies to overcome each monster as you draw, roll and move around the village battling beasts. You can start with just one or two monsters to get practice at an easier level, or increase the difficulty by infesting the town with all seven creatures at once—if you dare! Complete all the actions required to stop the monsters and win, but keep an eye on the level of the Monster cards; once they’re depleted, the town is overrun and Terror reigns!
If battling monsters has stoked your family’s appetite for all things creepy, you may decide to end family game night with something even spookier! Mysterium combines ghostly encounters with a murder mystery, casting you and your fellow players as psychics trying to help a restless spirit unmask a killer. One player acts as the ghost, providing visions to the “psychic” players to help them solve the mystery. As in similar murder mystery guessing games, your aim is to identify the correct suspect, weapon and crime scene. While players can cooperate in trying to interpret the visions, in the end you vote individually for your preferred solution. Only if the majority of “psychic” players guess the right answer can the unhappy spirit rest in peace!
Board games remain a reliable way to inject fun into family time, and more families have established Family Game Night as both a pastime and memory-building tradition. Once you’ve chosen your favorite family board games, shop Sleeve Kings to keep your games’ cards protected and game-ready!