Board games might be an old school way to stay entertained, but there's a lot to be said for gathering around the dining room table, dealing the cards or rolling the dice and starting a board game adventure. We're presenting a selection of games that we think represent the best of both old classics and modern options, including our overall best choice, Sequence which combines the fun of playing cards with the board game format.
- Best Overall: Sequence
- Best Cooperative: Pandemic
- Best Trading Game: Catan
- Best Mystery Game: Betrayal At House On The Hill
- Best Strategic: Risk
- Best for Kids: Candy Land
- Best Quiz Game: Trivial Pursuit Family Edition
- Best with Friends: Cards Against Humanity
Best Overall: Sequence
Sequence is a great game that combines the fun, luck, and excitement of playing cards with strategic board game gameplay. We love this as although the original version is said to be suited to ages seven years old and up, younger children can play along with old siblings or parents.
No game of Sequence is ever the same as although your aim remains to get five chips in a row on the board, the cards you have will be everchanging. This set includes 104 playing cards and 50 crowning chips in each red, blue, and green.
- Great mix of strategy and luck
- Can be played by larger groups
- Works for team and individual play
- Have to use Sequence cards
Sequence is a great game for groups, mixing chance and skill.
Best Cooperative: Pandemic
A modern option suitable for eight years old and up, as members of an elite disease control team, you must keep four deadly diseases at bay. You work together with your co-players as you travel around the globe to treat infections while collecting the cards you need to discover a cure for each disease.
It's a great cooperative gameplay experience, especially suited for groups that might otherwise not handle the competitive nature of board games very well!
- Approx 45 minute gameplay
- Suitable for two to four players
- Exciting contemporary theme
- Only for eight years old and up
With an exciting premise, Pandemic is an addictive game you can play for hours.
Best Trading Game: Catan
Named as the game of the century, Settlers of Catan is another classic. It's a civilization-building board game of harvesting and trading resources suitable for three to four older players, although expansion packs are available. There are also loads of variations of the "Settlers" premise, with everything from sea, space, Game of Thrones and Star Trek covered.
As you start by building the isle of Catan, made up of pastures, fields, mountains, hills, forests, and deserts, the random mix of regions makes a different board game every time. As you build your civilization, the trade of five different commodities is a very strategic process, with a little bit of luck mixed in.
- Simple rules
- A game lasts an hour
- Random set-up makes for changing gameplay
- Not suitable for under 10s
Best Trading Game
This absolute classic changes every time you play it, making for exciting gameplay.
Best Mystery Game Betrayal At House On The Hill
If you're looking for some spooky grown-up board game action Betrayal At House On The Hill provides a mix of strategy and horror. Suitable for teenagers and up, designed for three to four players (although expansion packs are available) you have to build a haunted mansion and then try and escape it alive.
Initially, players work together, but then one player becomes the traitor. Thanks to the tile-based gameplay there are 50 potential scenarios to work through, so even though a game lasts around an hour, you'll be tempted to instantly start over again.
- Great horror theme
- High replayability
- Games last around an hour
- Suitable for 12 years old and up
Best Mystery Game
A great game for grown-ups, this is like a horror-themed version of Clue.
Best Strategic: Risk
Hasbro's Risk is an absolute classic, dating back to the 1950s. Suitable for between two to five players (or teams) it's a great game choice for older children and adults. As a game of strategy conquest and with the overall aim of world domination, you basically try and take over the world by battling your opponents. It's a fabulous mix of skill and chance, with you determining your strategy but the dice ultimately deciding your fate.
There have been many variations and special editions over the years, but this version includes a gameboard, armies with 40 infantry, 12 cavalry, and eight artillery figures, a deck of 56 Risk cards in a box, five dice, five cardboard war crates, and game guide.
- Mission cards to speed up the game
- Good quality pieces and cards
- Engrossing gameplay
- Not suitable for under 10s
Call the cavalry
This classic game has simple rules but can be played incredibly strategically.
Best for Kids: Candy Land
A great option suitable for younger children, Candy Land can be played by between two and four players. While you can buy the retro version of Candy Land, this updated version is recommmended to appeal to today's tech-savvy kids. The elements remain similar, you get gingerbread men as movers, colored cards, and fun illustrations, with different destinations like Cookie Commons and the Chocolate Mountain.
The great thing about Candy Land is that there is no reading involved, so it's suitable from ages three and up, and sneakily helps kids learn their colors, shape matching and even involves drawing skills.
- Suitable for ages 3 and up
- Educational elements
- Simple gameplay
- Not appealing to older children
Best for Kids
This updated version of the classic board game still has appeal for today's digital-savvy kids.
Best Quiz Game: Trivial Pursuit Family Edition
This is a specially designed version of the classic quiz game with special fast play gameplay to not let sessions drag on forever. You can get both kids of ages eight and up and adults to test their knowledge across six fascinating categories that include Geography, Entertainment, History, Sports and Leisure, Arts and Literature, and Science and Nature.
There are over 1,400 trivia questions to work through, so it should take a while for everyone to learn the answers. This set includes six wedge holders, but as you can play in teams, this is suitable for larger groups to enjoy together.
- Can play individually or in teams
- Cards for kids and adults
- Only for ages 8 and up
Best Quiz Game
Get a wedgie
This special edition of Trivial Pursuit has challenging questions for both kids and grown-ups.
Best with Friends: Cards Against Humanity
Described as "despicable and awkward as you and your friends," this is not your grandma's card game. But when any game is started by the person who most recently had a bowel movement, you know you're not dealing with vanilla-flavored entertainment. With this original version you get 500 white cards and 100 black cards to create your fill-in-the-blank or end the sentence rounds of the game.
The possible outcomes are awkward, controversial, risque, incredibly politically incorrect, even potentially offensive. It's absolutely hysterically funny to play on an evening with fellow grown-ups friends — but maybe not your folks.
- Hilarious, contemporary, hip
- Very simple to play
- Make up your own rules
- Serious potential for offense
- Definitely not suitable for children
Best with Friends
For horrible people
This highly amusing party game is an X-rated option for grown-ups.
Board, not boring
Our board game round-up offers hours and hours of affordable boredom-busting fun. No matter what you're trying to escape, holing up and playing games together is a great activity for both family and friends.
Our overall best choice, the classic Sequence, has been given the top slot thanks to the fact that it can be played by as little as two people, or by as many as you can fit round the table.
Sequence is also great for all ages. While younger children would struggle with the strategy required if playing solo, they can team up with others to enjoy the gameplay. The nature of Sequence also means that no game is ever the same, a Godsend if you're going to be settling in for long periods of board gaming.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Amy-Mae Turner As someone who has definitely never flipped the Monopoly board in temper, Amy-Mae was an obvious choice to compile this guide.
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