Face it, there are thousands of board games out there, but there are a few that could easily be classified as the best board games for family.
If you’re looking for some inspiration for a gift or present then you might like to know what the hottest board games are right now.
These are our favourite games that will entertain both kids and adults alike and provide endless fun for all the family.
While some are old school classics, others are kick-starter success stories, and some are recent additions to this overcrowded marketplace.
A good board game can be an inexpensive way to keep your family entertained for hours, perfect for weekend getaways to the batch or travelling on the plane, train or boat.
Best Board Games For Family
You can buy all these board games from many different retailers and toy stores. We found that Amazon.com.au stocks all these games and offers fast delivery nationwide.
They also offered some of the best prices we could find so be sure to check each one for the best price before checkout.
1. Codenames Game
A word-association game for 2-8 (or more) players in two teams, Codenames is a fun way to spend some family time with kids aged 14 and upwards.
The basic premise of the game is pretty straightforward: there are two people (one on each team) who each know the secret names of 25 spies.
They are the Spymasters. The goal for the rest of their teammates is to make contact with their team’s spies before the other team does.
They do this by guessing what words of their team colour are associated with a one-word clue given to them by the respective Spymasters.
And there is an Assassin who they need to avoid. Of course, there is more to it but that pretty well sums it up.
Codenames is simple, fun and interactive. It can be quite challenging because of the need to find specific words from the Spymasters’ hints, and the need to avoid certain associations.
Some reviews have said that kids as young as eight are perfectly capable of playing this game if the words are chosen with due care given to their vocabularies.
Others have said that playing with large groups is a lot of fun as well because of the lively discussions and the hilarious word associations players come up with!
It is a game that can be quite happily played by adults alone because it is a word game. Quite easy to learn but deceptively challenging, and different time!
Suits a mix of simple, complex and creative thinkers.
Although the box states that the play time is 15 minutes, in fact, the game can last quite a bit longer than that, especially if you have a few people playing and/or the clues being given are quite creative or complex!
The game comes with zip-lock bags to keep the cards in as new condition.
Great family or games night fun for all!
2. Pandemic Game
A game for two to four players, Pandemic is a board game with the premise is that the players band together to stop four deadly and infectious diseases from wiping out the world as we know it!
As a team, the players travel the world treating the outbreaks and collecting cards to help discover a cure for each disease before they turn into epidemics and then a pandemic.
Each player has a specialisation and can perform tasks according to that strength. And each disease has a colour, with each player holding a hand of coloured cards matching those diseases.
By moving around the world, and by collecting cards of the same colour as well as using their specialisation, players can treat outbreaks and discover cures for the diseases.
And players need to work together for the common good, so the arguments that sometimes come with competitive games don’t happen with Pandemic.
This is a truly cooperative game, with the outcome of winning or losing truly an unknown until the very end! That also means that you can play it over and over and enjoy it just as much each time.
Playing time is around an hour. Recommended age is mid-teens to adult. And the game itself is of excellent quality – made to last.
3. The Settlers of Catan
An international favourite, The Settlers of Catan is a fun board game for 3-4 players aged eight to one hundred!
This is a game of exploration and trade: a race to settle a remote uncharted island. Who will gain supremacy on Catan?
With each player having some resources in abundance but others in short supply, bartering and trade is the only way to advance your settlement projects faster than your competitors.
You’ll have to fight off barbarian attacks as well. The name of the game is strategy, with a dash of good luck!
The game is a quality-built board and many different wooden pieces representing roads, towns, and cities, with Robbers, Traders and Barbarians thrown in.
Each game is different because of the new and random mix of pieces that comes out of the box each time you play.
And the assortment of resources (iron, wood, ore, brick and lumber) you have at your disposal to build your settlements.
There are also dice to throw to introduce some luck into the game. And the robber might unexpectedly turn up and take some of your assets!
Catan has a number of extension sets you can buy to expand the game and keep it interesting by finding new ways to play the game.
This is an addictive game of strategy that the whole family will love to play. Able to be played over and over again, it represents value for money even though it is at the higher end of the game price range.
The graphics are great, and the wooden pieces made to last. Even though it sounds complicated and time-consuming, a game only takes about an hour to play.
4. Pie Face – Chain Reaction
Pie Face is very simply a screamingly silly game of whipped cream in the face fun for the younger members of the family! It’s up to the older ones (Mum and Dad) whether the whipped cream (not included in the box by the way) actually gets loaded!
Recommended for ages 5+ and described as a ‘family social game’, the strategy is pretty simple: the mechanical hand is filled with whipped cream and players then take turns at putting their faces through the open mask and spinning the spinner.
Whether or not they get a face full of whipped cream before the spinning stops is pure (bad) luck! Players score points each time they survive their turn in the mask with a clean face.
But the longer the spinner turns without going off the more likely it is that the next player will get ‘pie-faced’. The first player to reach 25 points is the winner.
An alternative way to play (sold separately as a ‘Pie Face Chain Reaction’ connector) is to all put your faces into the masks and turn the spinners at the same time. The last one to be ‘pie-faced’ is the winner.
The kit includes pie thrower, throwing arm, 2 handles, chin rest, splash mask, spinner, (connector – with Chain Reaction), and instructions.
Sound like fun? Well, it will to your 5-year old! Certainly, it’s suspenseful. Perhaps this would be a fun addition to your next children’s birthday party, hot weather with the sprinkler on, Christmas Day and so on. A fun game to have in the cupboard, and very affordable for an occasional treat.
5. Connect 4
An old time favourite for many of us, Connect 4 is a classically simple but very fun game of strategy for the very young to the older kids.
There’s probably no need to even describe it, but in case you haven’t come across it it’s a game for two players, each of whom has a set of 21 few gold or red discs to alternately drop into an upright grid.
The idea is to get four of your discs in a row, either across, down or vertically. The first to achieve this is the winner.
It sounds so easy. Well, it’s far from it. Blocking your opponent is the name of the game and as often as not there is no winner.
So to open the game up when things are getting a bit stuck there is always the option of releasing a disc or two from the bottom of the grid. (The new version of the game has a slightly different grid base which allows for single discs to be dropped from the bottom).
And then there’s the Connect 4 Frenzy game when both players use one hand to drop their discs into the grid as fast as they can and see who the winner is at the end.
Connect 4 is a great game to teach younger kids how to predict outcomes and learn to strategise. It’s simple and fun, colourful and quick.
A tip from Tim, an anonymous reviewer who must be applauded for his sense of humour: “for a quick game, just get both players to play yellow”.
Connect 4 is a must have game for any family with young children. It is a classic for good reason. And it’s extremely well-priced.
6. Speak Out – Kids vs Parents
Speak Out – Kids vs Parents is a fun game for the whole family from age eight to 100 years. It’s all about saying silly phrases whilst wearing a mouthpiece designed to stop you from being able to speak properly. Sounds silly? Exactly right!
The game set has 10 mouthpieces (6 for kids and 4 for adults) and two decks of cards (one for adults and one for the kids).
The cards have phrases written on them: the phrases on the adult cards are typical parent-speak (like “your bedroom is a pigsty”) and the kids’ cards have things they might say (like “what a bummer bro”). There is also a timer.
The aim of the game is for each player, when it is their turn, to say the phrase they have turned up with the mouthpiece in and before the time runs out.
At the same time, their team-mates (yes, kids and adults team up against each other) have to work out the phrase that’s being said and keep the card.
The team with the most cards at the end of the game is the winner.
All in all, this is a game for some good time family fun and heaps of laughs, with up to 10 players. It may not be sophisticated or strategic, but it is silly, fun, and at times hilarious!
A great game for wet afternoons, games nights, camping, Christmas, birthday presents etc. Perhaps more suited to the younger children rather than true teens but always worth a try.
7. Jenga – Strategy Wood Block Game
Jenga is one of those classic simple games which are just as much fun every time you play it at whatever age, even though the recommended age range is 6-9. It is a game of such perfect simplicity yet filled with suspense and skill and a touch of luck.
Jenga (learn more) is 54 identical rectangular wooden blocks, all the same size and shape. Firstly the blocks are stacked into a tower.
Players do this alternately, trying not to knock the tower over in the process but also trying to make it harder for the next player to place their block on top.
Once the tower is built, players then remove blocks strategically from the tower. By pulling just the right block without letting the tower fall over you remain in the game.
The tower will teeter but as long as it balances all is well. Towards the end, it takes a very steady hand and a good eye to pick just the right block to pull ever so gently out of the tower.
The strategy is to force your opponent to pull out the block that will bring the tower crashing down.
Jenga is addictive and so suspenseful. Every time you play is different. And that is why it has stood the test of time.
You can even play it solo. Or with a crowd. You can even make up variations. For example, pull out a block and stack it on top…..just for something different.
This is a high-quality game that will stay in your games cupboard forever. And very reasonably priced too.
There are literally thousands of family board games out there so choosing the best seven was a very difficult task. These are the best ones we love, but of course you might have other ideas. From strategy games to ultimate laughs with Pie Face, there is a game for everyone in the family to enjoy.
Duncan is a world traveller who loves to explore new cultures. Currently he’s a freelance writer for Best Five who has studied at a prestigious university in the USA.