Best Board Games For Family Game Night

Get the kids off the TV and computer and have a family game night with these fun board games.

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Matt Anderson's Take
Remember family game nights every week when you were a kid? Yea, neither do I but I do remember playing board games with my family from time to time and it was always a good time.

Kids today often have their faces glue to some sort of screen from a smartphone, television, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer. Screens are everywhere and while playing outside during the day is a great way to avoid the screens, what can you safely do at night? Play board games of course!

We should all make an effort to spend more time together as a family and playing board games is a fun, entertaining, and even educational way to do that. You'll have the added bonus of spending more time with your kids, which is listed in our Discipline Tricks That Works article. Let's move on to the list of games we like.

Monopoly


It's a classic if there ever was one. Gobble up properties, develope them with houses and hotels, and charge out the wazoo every time somebody stops on your land. Monopoly is a great for kids learning money and math skills since there is a lot of adding and subtracting. It can also be a long game, though they include rules for shorter versions as well. We like to put $500 in the Free Parking spot along with all "bank fees" each player would otherwise pay to the bank. Anyone who lands on Free Parking gets the cash. This is a great way to speed the game up as well.

Sorry


One of my all time favorites. I have fond memories of the voice my dad would make when he'd say "Oooooohhhhh, Sorry Charlie" and bump my piece off the board, sending me back to the start zone. It's a simple game that can be played with 2 to 4 players. Although the new version has some odd additions to it, skip those and play the old school way. Get your pieces safely around the board and into the safety zone without being knocked off by another player. This one can also teach teamwork if you have two kids who learn that ganging up on dad is the smart way to play.

Clue


You need at least 3 players to play Clue but this is a surprisingly fun game to play. It feels far more complex than it is at first so give it a quick play through and by the second game everyone will better understand the rules. The new version comes with two games in one, so basically two locations (mansion and boardwalk) which mixes it up a bit. This one gets kids thinking since the entire concept is about eliminating the who/what/where of the murder you're trying to solve, leaving you with the info on who/what/where it happened. Oh, and as for it being based on a murder, kudos to the manufacturers for not trying to cutesy that up!

Life


Life is a pretty fun game and I have great memories of driving the little colored cars the board and over the plastic hills that gave the otherwise flat board a third dimension. Sadly, the "new" version of Life feels a little dumbed down from what I remember but it's still fun. There is only one plastic hill to drive over as I assume they were able to save 2-3 cents by eliminating the others, thumbs down on that! It does have a fair amount of rules but after a couple of playthroughs it will all be second nature, even for the kids. It has paper money so good for improving math skills while they play.

Pop The Pig


It's not really a board game as it has no board, this is more a game of dumb luck than anything else. But each round is over in a few minutes so it's a good game when time is limited. There is an actual pig character that eats burgers. Roll the die, pick a burger based on the color it shows. The burger has a number on the bottom. Push the pig's head in that number of times and then feed him the burger (he really eats the burger).

Each push on the pig makes his belly expand. At some point, his belly grows too large and his arms and coat pop open. If that happens on your turn you lose. It's totally random and good, dumb fun, at least for younger kids.

Chutes And Ladders


This game is a really simple concept where you try to get your character from the start, all the way to the top spot. You do this by whacking the spinner and moving that number of spots. Land on a ladder and you get to move up faster, skipping many spots. Land on a chute and you fall back down many spots. Easy to play for most ages, infuriating for all...but still fun!

Candyland


It's another classic board game. Start here, go there. Depending on the version you get, you either pick cards or spin a spinner. Whatever color you get decides how far you move in each turn. Hit a shortcut along and you'll be ahead of the game. Get one of the special candy icons and you could be lucky enough to land near the end of the game or unlucky enough to go all the way back to the start.

Connect 4


Pretty sure we all know how this one works, right? Two players take turns popping their chips into the rack in hopes of getting 4 of their colored pieces in a row (up, down, or diagonally). Each game only lasts a minute or two so another good options when time is limited. Pretty sneaky sis!

Operation


While I'm not sure that this teaches any real world medical skills, it certainly helps with hand eye coordination. It's also great for helping kids learn patience and that slow-and-steady wins the race. Besides, who doesn't love watching their kids get scared by the BUZZZZZ sound as they touch the tweezers to the side by accident.

Get Going!

So there you have it, some board games that are both classic and new. These are perfect choices for most families to play together and will help kids learn. On top of that, it's a great way to learn about winning and losing and understand that one isn't any better than the other. Kids will start to see that not being the winner is perfectly fine because everyone had a good time. In this world of giving awards, rewards, and trophies for everything under the sun maybe that's a good thing.
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