We love to play board games in our family, and the longer the length of the game, the better. The best part is that board games are a way for me to spend quality time with my family whether I need to rest or not. We have lots of games ranging from quick and easy play to longer and complex to play. Either way, they are lots of fun for the entire family. So, here’s our list of fun and unique family board games to play.
Why board games are important
Our collection has simple games to complex games as well as just-for-fun games to learning games (though the kids don’t realize they are learning). The kids’ friends have gotten hooked on a few of our more complicated board games. So much, in fact, that we now have regular monthly game nights with their friends. We order pizza, start a game, and then play until midnight. It’s a lot of fun!
We have regular family game nights for various reasons. Some of these reasons are:
- It lets us come together to have fun in a common interest.
- The games redirect their attention to a more tangible object versus electronics.
- It opens doors for discussions that would otherwise be awkward.
- My husband and I get to know their friends without being too controlling or interfering.
Unique Family Board Games
Ticket to Ride
Ticket to Ride is my favorite game of all the board games we own. It’s a quick game, and turns are short. My six-year-old can play an easy objective, but it’s complex enough to hold older players’ attention. There’s really no strategizing required but could make the game more competitive. The best part is that it has expansion packs to include different countries and time periods.
Created by Days of Wonder, Ticket to Ride is a multiplayer game set in the 1920s. Players collect train cards in four different colors to play and play the matching colors to connect trains between cities across North America. Players earn points by the number of trains they place on the board and score bonus points for connecting cities. The longest chain gets the title of the longest continuous railway to earn additional points.
Betrayal at House on the Hill
Betrayal at House on the Hill is my son’s favorite board game and was my first extensive board game. If you are an amateur for the more complex board games, this is a great place to start. It teaches you the intricacy of true board gaming and eases you into the complexity of a more elaborate board game. This game happens to be the most popular game among my middle school son and his friends. We are excited to get the game’s expansion, Widow’s Walk (shown below).
Betrayal at House on the Hill was created by Avalon Hill. It is a strategic tile game that can play three to six players with a playing time of 60 minutes on average. It is recommended for ages 12 and up, but my six-year-old son loves to play this game (and understands it). A tile game means that the game board is built tile by tile as the game proceeds. Players start off on the same team, but a haunting can quickly switch the game into one with a betrayer. The players then strategize to successfully combat the betrayer and save their lives.
Dead of Winter
Dead of Winter is the most favored game of all our board games. We each have our favorite games, but this is the game that is everyone’s favorite! We usually start out with a shorter game like Betrayal at House on the Hill but end the night with this game. Gameplay lasts about two hours for us, but we take our time with it. Each of us thoroughly enjoys playing it, and we try to make it last as long as possible. Even with all the players on the same team, it’s a roller coaster of emotions when searching for weapons, medicine, food, and other junk.
Based on surviving a zombie invasion, Dead of Winter can be played by two to five players and lasts from 60 to 90 minutes on average. It is a cooperative game meaning everyone plays together to survive. Each player leads a group of survivors around the town to find medicine, weapons, food, and junk to survive. There are dozens of characters to choose from, and even more, zombies to invade. Complete the main objective as a team, and you win. Dead of Winter is the winner of six awards including the 2014 Best Game of the Year. The game’s first expansion, Dead of Winter: The Long Night, and second – Warring Colonies -are now available for purchase (shown below).
**Update: There is an organizer available for this game.
Arkham Horror is an intense game especially when my son’s friends join us for game night. It takes us about three hours to play and usually ends with all the boys standing while playing. The game does more than keep them on the edge of their seats – it keeps them on their toes.
A cooperative adventure game of mystery and thrills, Arkham Horror is a race against time. Set in the 1920s in the city of Arkham, investigators must close gates to other worlds before the Ancient One awakens and the city is doomed. This game is for one to eight players and is targeted at ages 12 and up, however, my son started playing when he was ten. Shorter games take two hours of play while the more challenging ones take up to four hours of play. It also has expansion packs to include different cities.
Pandemic is another quick and easy-to-play game. It took about fifteen minutes to learn the play. I enjoyed playing a few rounds of it and is perfect for those looking to start playing more extensive board games such as Dead of Winter and Arkham Horror.
Designed for two to four players, Pandemic sends specialists across the globe to treat, and eventually cure, four infectious diseases. It is a cooperative strategy game that teaches players how to work together to use their strengths to find a cure before the earth is consumed by diseases. The gameplay is 30-90 minutes and is geared for ages eight and older. Pandemic has been nominated for more than a dozen awards and has won nearly as many. It has numerous expansion packs.
I couldn’t find a board game trailer for Pandemic, but this is the game trailer for it as an app. It’s nearly the same as the board game.
How we organize our games
We have an inexpensive table we bought from a neighbor for a few dollars, and we keep it next to the dining room table where we play our board games. The bottom shelf is used to store the games while the top of it is where we place the game pieces organizer.
We use a bead organizer to hold all the game pieces. It was a few dollars from Wal-Mart and works great to hold a majority of the smaller pieces from these five games.