Lisa and I really started to get into board games last January and luckily we have gaming friends that live close and between them and the internet we’ve tried dozens of games. Below are our five favorite family games. To qualify for the list, the games had to be age appropriate (so no blood or mature themes) and easy for someone five and up to learn.
5) Shake ‘n Take
The game is super simple. One player rolls the dice trying to get an alien to appear while the other player feverishly tries to circles objects on a marker board. Once an alien appears they switch.
It’s an absolutely awesome party game and works well from 2-8 players. It’s also really easy to pick-up so anyone over the age of five should be able to enjoy it.
4) Hey That’s My Fish
You set the board up with everyone controlling a set number of penguins. You then move your penguins across the board, stopping on certain spots to collect fish. Once you collect fish from a spot, a hole appears in the ice. It’s super easy to learn but it’s one of those games where there is a lot of strategy.
3) Love Letter
Love Letter is a new genre of games called a “micro game.” There are few components and it moves fast. The mechanics are simple. You draw a card and then play a card. The goal is to be the last person standing and it really all comes down to bluffing. Like Hey That’s My Fish, its a game that is simple for anyone of any age to learn but underneath that simplicity is a lot of strategy.
2) Forbidden Island
Forbidden Island is a co-op game, meaning that all the players work together as a team. It’s from the same designer who created Pandemic, so we are fans of it. I think Forbidden Island deserves to be on this list more than any other co-op because it’s very non-agressive. You either survive as a team or don’t and it’s not as dark as Pandemic or even Flashpoint.
The premise is that the players are explorers with different abilities trying to make their way across the island to collect treasures. The conflict arises because the island doesn’t want to give up treasures so it sinks regions trying to prevent the players from getting it’s prizes. Not only is it fun but there is something special about working together as a team instead of trying to take each other out.
Note: Although they have an iOS version of the game, the real thing only costs $10-$15 so I highly suggest getting the physical boardgame over the digital version.
1) Ticket To Ride
Forgot Monopoly, Life, or any other board game you grew up playing. Ticket To Ride is the number one best family game there is.
The goal of the game is to complete routes by placing trains on the map. The strategy that rises is that you don’t know what routes the other players have so you are constantly blocking other people while they are blocking you.
Not only is the main game fun but there are tons and tons of expansions and each introduces a new gameplay element. Also the iOS version of Ticket To Ride is simply fantastic. If you are even slightly hesitant about buying the game then download the digital version. We own both and play both all the time.