Best Board Games for Adults and Kids
Published on April 7, 2021

Best Board Games for Adults and Kids [Gift Guide]

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Turn an otherwise bored game night into board game night! Sometimes there is nothing better than getting a group of friends together and playing ridiculously funny board games and laughing until your stomach hurts. If you're looking for some new games to try with your family or some fun and nerdy spins on classic old board games, you have come to the right place. There are a variety of board games to play, from board games for young children to board games for teens and young adults. (There are even some more difficult strategy games perfect for nerdy, board game adults!) We are currently in the period of a glorious board game renaissance so there are oodles of good games to play.


Best 2 Player Board Games

Best Two Player Board Games

Arkham Horror: The Card Game

Sometimes it's tough to get an entire family board game night going, so you feel like your 4-6 player board games sit around getting dusty. Well, there's a solution for you in the form of board games for two! Anyone looking for a quick couples' game night or something to do with your roommate will love these great 2-player games. Whether you want to indulge in your Jurassic Park dreams or practice your Harry Potter spells, you're sure to stay on the edge of your seat! Many of these two-player board games are for adults, but the age ratings on some will allow for younger players as well. Who's to say you can't have a little father-son or mother-daughter game night?


Best Board Games for Adults

Adult Board Games

Pandemic Strategy GameEldritch Horror Core GameUntil Daylight Survival Game

Adult board games don't always mean that you're playing a raunchy game of cards against humanity. (Although, sometimes you do want to play some r-rated board games!) At other times, you might want to whip out a cooperative strategy game such as Pandemic or Until Daylight. Some cooperative games with scary elements such as zombies may frighten children, even if they can grasp the game's mechanics. Escape room board games are also great for adult audiences as they employ critical thinking skills and sometimes intense puzzle-solving elements. Of course, there are always trivia games for adults that like to test their knowledge. (Or perhaps even a fun drinking game!) No matter how you like to play, we're sure you can find the perfect board game for game nights with friends!


Best Family Board Games

Family Board Games

Sushi Go Party! GameCarcassonne Board GameFunko Signature Games: Last Defense!Ticket to Ride Board Game

Anyone looking to start up a family board game night is, of course, going to need some good board games to play with the fam. Family favorites like Carcassonne and Ticket to Ride are obvious choices, but there are other great games for families as well! Many games are for ages 7 or 8 and up, and they play fairly quickly so kids with short attention spans don't get bored before game time ends. Some family board games fall into the party game category because they're high-energy, quick-play games. However, there are also junior versions of adult favorites like Settlers of Catan, so one day you can work your kids up to the big leagues!


Best Cooperative Board Games

Cooperative Games

Unlock! Squeak and Sausage Game AdventuresMysterium Board GameAdventure Games: The Dungeon

We already touched on some cooperative board games such as escape rooms in a box and Pandemic, but there are other enjoyable games in this genre too! Many cooperative games contain an element of mystery so that wannabe gumshoes can test out their sleuthing skills. The Unlock! series of games and the Forbidden series have several fun options that follow similar mechanics to their core game with each additional themed game. You can adventure with pirates, navigate a desert or even travel through time. Other cooperative board games are all about survival, whether you're trying to last for a number of turns against a horde of zombies or fighting for survival in the wilderness.


Best Strategy Board Games

Strategy Board Games

Evolution: Climate Board GameIsle of Skye Board Game7 Wonders Board GameThe Ancient World Board Game

Most board games will employ some strategy, but strategy board games often depend on the skill of the players themselves, largely discarding the luck aspect of some other games. (Such as rolling dice or drawing cards from a pile.) Chess has always been seen as the greatest strategy game of all time, as it boils down to raw skill and the ability to think moves ahead. Another classic strategy game is Risk, which now has some fun spinoffs such as Game of Thrones Risk. There are also other newer strategy games that may mean you'll have to read through the directions and watch a few let's play videos to grasp the game fully. But, when you have the mechanics down for a new board game, sometimes that's just the breath of fresh air that your game night needed!


Best RPG Board Games

RPG Board Games

D&D Castle Ravenloft GameD&D Lords of WaterdeepTalisman: Harry Potter

Some people enjoy RPG board games because they give you the opportunity to temporarily step into another role and stop being yourself for a while. Maybe you wish you could be a warrior saving a kingdom from an invasion of vampires, or you want to wield magic like Harry Potter and McGonagall. Well, now you can be someone else in all kinds of RPG board games. Dungeons and Dragons is probably the most famous RPG tabletop game of all time, but you can find adventure-in-a-box board games if you're not ready to tackle a full campaign. The Lord of the Rings also has a tabletop game, with Journeys in Middle Earth as another bite-sized adventure. Be ready for these hefty games to take more time than a typical board game or party game, but once you get the hang of it, there's no limit to the fun you'll have!


Best Board Games for Kids

Kids' Board Games

My First Carcassonne Board GameTMNT Spot It!Ticket to Ride: First Journey

As we mentioned earlier, some board games have versions made specifically for kids, such as My First Carcassonne and Ticket to Ride: First Journey. Still, others such as Trouble, Monopoly, Operation, Clue and other classic games are well-known and easy for children to grasp. However, if you have a kid that's really into board games, there are lots of other board games for children that are worth a try! You can always look to resources like Board Game Geek to get an idea of what to expect before going all-in on a new board game for your kids. (Or yourself!)


Best Party Board Games

Party Board Games

Pictionary AirCodenamesCup Noodles Ramen YahtzeeSpongebob Trivial Pursuit

There will always be a time and a place for party games, whether you're looking for something quick to play at a company party or you need to pass the time with your family after Thanksgiving dinner. These casual games are generally easy to play with a glance or two at the directions, and may allow for larger numbers of players than other typical board games. Sometimes they even have licensed themes to add a level of interest, such as Disney Codenames or a horror movie-themed Trivial Pursuit game. It never hurts to have a few party games on hand and ready to play!


Best Licensed Board Games

Licensed Board Games

Star Wars X-Wing Core Set 2nd EditionThe Haunted Mansion: Call of the Spirits GameBob Ross Art of Chill Game

While some people may balk at the idea of a licensed board game, they can go well beyond a simple themed Monopoly or other thinly-veiled variation on a typical board game. Whether you're a collector, a super-fan of a movie or TV series or you just want to try something different, there are some surprisingly good licensed board games to tackle! Invite friendly ghosts into your home, or feel the rush of painting the best happy little trees. These Licensed board games are surprisingly satisfying!


What Board Games Should I Buy?

The type of board games you want to buy will usually tie into the types of board games you want to play. Are you more of a strategist? Do you prefer cooperative games as opposed to competitive play? Perhaps you're more of a party game person than a hardcore board game enthusiast. Board games also usually have certain play-style attributes, so if you have a game that you like and are looking for something similar, you can use that criterion to find another game! For example, deck builder games are built around a cardplaying and collecting mechanic, whereas worker-placement games involve collecting and moving resources. You may also wish to factor in the age of the people that you may be playing with for family board game nights if the game has a mature rating and how long a game may take to play.


What Are Good Board Games for Adults?

So you've found a list of games that you're interested in, but you have no idea how to tell which ones are actually "good". We're going to help break it down for you here. Though we do want to preface the following by saying these are just simple guidelines for what the typical player thinks makes a good game. Some games specialize or excel in certain areas, and of course it all depends on personal preference.

Engagement Level
It's never fun playing a game where players can take as short as a ten-second turn, while others can take a couple of minutes. Look for games that can keep everyone's attention by leveling out turns and have gameplay equally distributed to all players.

Games like Tic Tac Toe get boring quickly because there are only so many ways you can play to win. You want to make sure that winning the game can be achieved in a multitude of ways, giving players more of a challenge and keeping them interested in coming back for more.

Player Size Adaptability
Though board games tend to be more fun as a group, you might be one of those couples who enjoy game night with just the two of you. Games that allow a range of players tend to be more attractive for buyers.


What Are the Top Board Games for Adults?

We've put together a list featuring 12 of the best board games for beginners and seasoned players. Since there's such a wide variety of games available and you might have different taste in games, we made sure the list had a mixture of different genres. Big thanks to Board Game Geek and Games Radar for the suggestions.

  1. Gloomhaven (2017)
  2. Pandemic Legacy: Season One (2015)
  3. Terraforming Mars (2016)
  4. Codenames (2015)
  5. Star Wars: Rebellion (2016)
  6. Scythe (2016)
  7. King of Tokyo (2011)
  8. Betrayal at House on the Hill (2004)
  9. Splendor (2014)
  10. Carcassonne (2004)
  11. Lords of Waterdeep (2012)
  12. Cosmic Encounter (2008)


Where to Buy Board Games for Adults?

With the recent Toys R Us closings and board game stores slowly exiting malls, you might find yourself wondering where board games are still available for purchase. There, of course, are still some toy and gaming stores dedicated to keeping the trend alive. You can also find board games at garage sales, thrift stores, and online stores like


We hope you're ready to get your family board game nights running, whether you have little kids or adult kids. (Hey, even friends of the family can come too if they're looking for board game friends!) Are you looking at getting started in the realm of board games? Are you already an avid board gamer? In any case, we hope that you found some fun new games to try! Feel free to share some of your board game favorites or any fun family game night stories with us in the comments. (Everyone has a now-funny Monopoly horror story, right?) Grab your popcorn and game on!

Carmen Torr
Carmen Torr

Carmen Torr is a Content Writer at, where she Naruto runs everywhere. (At least she'd like to!) Carmen loves wearing costumes to the office, usually based on whatever anime/cartoon/Disney series she's watching or video game she's playing.