Some of the best times I have had playing board games was sitting down as a kid with my family and a game of Monopoly but as time has moved on board games have evolved so we have put together our list of absolute classics for any family board game night.
1) Magic Maze
Easily the loudest game with no talking allowed, Magic Maze is a chaotic flurry of team coordination with no communication.
In Magic Maze players must guide 4 adventurers in a mystical maze seeking specific treasure and the exit before time runs out. Since players are able to see the entire map as they traverse the multitude of randomly placed rooms there should be no issue, right?
The challenge in Magic Maze is in the movement of characters and team coordination. Each player at the beginning of the game is given a movement card, displaying a direction (N, S, E, or W), and/or an interaction ability which allows for movement through special obstacles. These cards allow players to move any of the 4 adventurers in the specific direction that is shown on their card.
The only way to communicate in Magic Maze is through a special wooden token that can only be used to (gently) knock against the table.
Thus combining these mechanics with no verbal communication makes the game a hot mess of silent irritation as players strive to gain the attention of others and direct their focus to specific characters.
There’s not too much to say about Telestrations, it is a game of just reckless hilarity. The core concept of the game is adequately summarised in its tag line: “The telephone game sketched out”.
In Telestrations, players will first gain a word to draw. Once drawn out on their sketchbooks, the players will pass their sketches to their neighbouring player who will then guess the word based on the previous players drawing.
They will write the word and pass it to the next player, who will in turn draw the word and the cycle will continue until each sketch has made it around the table.
The fun in Telestrations isn’t made by the amazing drawings people can create but the awful ones, with awful guesses.
The joy when you find out your humble pigeon drawing has been misinterpreted as a duck and then further misinterpreted as a car and eventually ending in a final guess of “Boulder” is funner than it should be.
A beautiful game with cards depicting abstract and artful images, Dixit allows players to weave their own narratives into this humble and simple card game.
In Dixit, players sequentially gain the role of the ‘Story Teller,” and must describe a short tale in the form of a sentence, (this tale may be as abstract as they like) to describe one card in their hand.
After hearing the tale, all players secretly place a card in the centre that is somehow related to the Story, the Story Teller shuffles these cards before revealing them to hide the owners’ identity.
The players must then try and guess which of the revealed cards belong to the Story Teller. Players collect points if there cards are incorrectly chosen by other players or if they correctly guess the Story Tellers card.
If all or no players guess the Story Teller’s card, all players receive 2 points and the Story Teller is awarded none.
Otherwise, 3 is scored for both the Story Teller and correct players. This strange scoring method is the hook in Dixit.
Story Tellers must craft an intricate narrative that is imaginative, abstract and obscure enough to deter most players but still be undemanding enough to lure one or two crafty individuals.
Queendomino puts players in place of Royals looking to expand their kingdom in this game of tile drafting.
Queendomino utilises the same concept as its predecessor: Kingdomino, in that players draft tiles to connect to their castle and kingdom by matching a drafted tile’s side to one previously placed.
The placement of tiles to matching ones provide points that grow exponentially with every connecting tile.
Unlike Kingdomino, Queendomino introduces new mechanics and levels of complexity, through its addition of knights to tax your lands, buildings to promote prosperity and dragons to torment your enemies.
By having the most knights on the board, players may also win the Queen’s favour and by doing so acquire buildings at a discount but watch out because players may also bribe the dragon that lives nearby with their taxes to scorch opposing players lands and take away buildings.
Queendomino is a fierce game where players must keep track of their actions, turn order, and most importantly tiles to stay ahead of other kingdoms and the dragon.
Get ready for some door kicking, dragon slaying, feeble help-asking renegade fun in Munchkin.
In Munchkin, players assume the roles of adventurers parading from room to room seeking loot and fighting monsters to gain levels.
First player to slay enough monsters to upgrade themselves to level 10 wins the game.
Munchkin is played in a series of rounds until a player wins. In these rounds, players kick open doors to reveal monsters, curses or special abilities, then rummage around the empty room for loot.
Players may also look for more monsters to fight during this phase but make sure you don’t bite off more than you can chew, if players encounter a monster with a high enough level they may just take all that gear you’ve been hoarding.
When encountering powerful monsters, players may choose to ask for help from other players, in exchange for a share in the acquired treasures after the battle. Asking for assistance will occur many times in this game, the trick is to not give your opponents too many opportunities to save you or else you may make them too powerful.
Ever wanna shoot your family? Same, so saddle up, pick a role, and join in for some wild western fun.
In Bang, players take the roles of wild western sheriff and their deputies, the bandits they pursue, or ignore all the rules and be the solo renegade.
The goal? Try to eliminate each other before your team is wiped out. At the beginning of the game, players will be given secret roles, these roles will remain secret even from their fellow allies, so half the fun is trying to discern who is on your team and who is the snake trying to blend in.
Throughout the games, players will gain new upgrades to increase their guns’ range, increase their health, and much more.
As well as these upgrades, players will garner bullets, these are more precious in gold but be careful not to shoot your friends.
There are 4 different roles in Bang, all with completely different objectives.
Sheriffs, must eliminate the renegade and bandits, the deputies share this goal and must protect the Sheriff at all costs.
The bandits must eliminate the Sheriff regardless of who is in the way (bandits still get rewards for eliminating other bandits).
Finally, the renegade wants to be the new Sheriff, and so seeks to be the last man standing.
These roles and how players must employ teamwork and social deception is the key to winning.
7) Word Slam
A very simple word association game, there is not much to say, actually you cant say anything in this team, communication game.
In Word Slam players are split into teams, a player on that team is designated the Storyteller who has a secret word, and must use a series of the provided 105 explanatory cards to weave a narrative that will lead your teammates to that secret word.
Each of the explanatory cards has a random verb, adjective, noun or preposition.
The game is played simultaneously for each team and thus teams must race by placing as many cards down as they can until their team can guess the secret word wins.
Word Slam is as simple as it is fun, a great game for families who love to compete and yell simultaneously.
8) Players Choice
Thanks to Kayne for this epic review of not 1 but 3 games - You are a champion!
‘Takenoko’, I simple and beautiful game about growing a Bamboo garden for the emporer to visit, the most impressive gardener is the winner! Which sounds easy, until a particularly hungry Panda comes in to eat all your hard work! With hidden objectives, easy rules and amazing components, Takenoko is a must have and my pick for #1 family boardgame. 2-4 players, about 45-60 minutes to play.
‘Machi Koro’, Build your town, throw some dice and steal other players money, all for the sake of being the first to build your 4 amazing landmarks. Machi Koro Is perfect for any family gane night, incredible simple, fast and fun for young and old alike! Machi Koro is alot of fun packed into a wonderfully colourful box. 2-4 players, roughly 30 minutes per game.
’Ticket to ride, there is a reason this game is so popular, one of the highest selling games, ticket to ride will have you building train routes across countries all while trying to hinder the other players from doing the same. Ticket to ride is accesable to most ages and has excellent, easy rules with great replay value. Definetly a must have for all Family orientated boardgame collections. 2-5 players anywhere from 45-90 minutes realistically.
Board Games, now more than ever, are an amazing way to spend quality time with your partners or family, so grab a game or 2 and get rolling!