5 Fun Options for Family Game Night

The board game industry has evolved over the years. Newer board games are more than just moving a little figure around a board to collect money or points. Modern board games foster critical thinking, require players to be resourceful, need creativity and tap into players’ imaginations — making them great for family bonding time.

With strategy board games, or European-style games, don’t get too bogged down in the rules right off the bat, especially with younger players. Sometimes it takes a few tries to really understand a game. Keep everything light; having fun is key.

Stock up on these fun games for your next family game night!

Ticket to Ride

This is the gateway game. It is probably the easiest to learn out of most strategy games, and it never gets boring. The game board is a map and the players are trying to plot a train route based on cards they selected at the beginning of the game. To achieve their routes, players need to trade in colored train cards to be able to put their pieces on the board. There are several versions of this game, but the U.S. edition is the best.

For Ages: 8 and older

Players: 2 to 5 players

Price: $40

Pro tip: Buy the expansion pack for your game if you don’t want to play with tiny cards.


In this map-building game, players are trying to complete castles, cloisters, roads and fields. You have little figures, called meeples, that become characters and points in the game. So they can be robbers on the road, farmers in the fields and so on. Once all the tiles are placed, you score the game.

For Ages: 8 and older

Players: 2 to 5 players

Price: $23 and up

Pro tip: There are tons of expansions for this game, but unless you play it a lot, they are unnecessary.

Apples to Apples

This is a word-association game. One person picks an adjective or description card. Everyone else puts down the word or name that best fits that word. The judge then selects the card he or she believes is the best fit. The game ends when one person collects enough description cards.

For Ages: 12 and older for the original version, junior version is for 9 years and older

Players: At least 3 players

Price: $16 and up

Pro tip: This is a good game for larger parties.

Tsuro of the Seas

You are a ship’s captain, trying to avoid the edge of the world (aka, the board) and a bunch of dragons that would like to eat you. You have a small ship game piece and you place tiles on the board to chart your course. It’s a game of chance that can end pretty quickly or players lose quickly. Be the last captain to keep your ship safe.

For Ages: 8 and older

Players: 2 to 8 players

Price: $27


This is an absolutely beautiful and imaginative game. Everyone is dealt artistically illustrated cards. The person whose turn it is picks one of their cards and says a phrase or word that describes the card. Everyone else picks a card from his or her hand that could possibly fit that description. Each card is laid face down and is then flipped. Everyone then has to guess which card belongs to the first player.

For Ages: 8 and older

Players: 3 to 6 players

Price: $22 and up

Find more family-friendly game ideas by checking out YouTube show Tabletop. The show is hosted by Wil Wheaton and features celebrities and gamers playing various games. It’s a great way to find other games that will interest you.

BONUS – Adults-Only Game:

Cards Against Humanity

This game, created by a group of teens from Highland Park, is for adults only. It’s highly offensive, vulgar and very politically incorrect, but it is also hilarious and a great party game. There are two decks, one with questions and one with answers. One person asks the question, and everyone else gives his or her most hilarious answer. While the content can be a bit naughty, CAH gives back, donating proceeds from special decks to various causes.

For Ages: Mature

Players: At least 3 players

Price: Free for a print-your-own version or the original deck costs $25. The expansion packs are separate.