Favorite Family Game Night Games
Family Game Night is a favorite evening in our home for all four of us. And while we aren’t quite regular enough that game night happens on the same night every week – or even every week religiously – it also sometimes happens that family game night occurs three nights in a week.
We love games because they are fun – but they also teach many things which is a great bonus! From observation skills to strategy to math … board games and card games can contain many great skill teaching moments. But really, we play them because they’re fun and give us many moments to laugh together.
We’ve been playing games with the boys since they were little and family game night has definitely gotten a whole lot more fun as they’ve matured and grown in their game playing skills. We also really enjoy having a friend or two over to join in the games – it’s something we already do and (most) people enjoy joining in on family game night. Add some popcorn or cookies and hot tea and it is an easy and fun evening for all.
A lot of the family game night games we play are a little different, but I would say they could be broken into two categories: board games that take a bit of time to learn and to play and then card games that are quicker to learn and relatively quick to play so I have divided them accordingly below. This is a very rough breakdown of the games for organizations sake.
I have recommended what we feel is the perfect amount of players to play the games taking into consideration the length of the game and the amount of fun had – this is NOT necessarily the recommended number of players from the box, just our opinion. Be sure to check the games out yourself if you’re looking for a game for more players than I have listed as they may still be great for a larger family!
Favorite Family Game Night Board Games
I think our very favorite Family Game Night game is The Settlers of Catan. There is most definitely a learning curve and if you’re considering buying it to play I would highly recommend finding someone who has played it to explain it to you. And then settle in for the first game or two to be a bit tedious as you figure out the ropes! But once you have the hang of this strategy game it is so much fun. Game length ranges from 30-60 minutes, but can be shortened by changing the amount of points required to play the game. It is perfect with 4-5 players. We love learning new games, but this is our go-to game that we come back to over and over again. Note: there are a variety of expansion packs available for this game.
Another fun strategy game is Ticket to Ride. It is relatively easier to learn and takes about 60 minutes to play. It is perfect with 3-4 players, but Paul and I sometimes play this one on our own. We have the USA version and I really love that the names of US capitals are becoming parts of the boys vocabulary through a game, and yet they just see it as tons of fun.
Carcassone is another unique strategy game. This one requires a bit more strategic thinking than the other two as the points really come in to play at the very end of the game and you need to be thinking big picture the whole game. We also have the Princess and Dragon expansion, but haven’t yet taught the expansion to the boys. This game takes roughly 45 minutes and is great with 4 players.
Wooly Bully was the very first “different” type of game Paul and I bought FOREVER ago – we would take it to coffee shops pre kids and play together. Other games tend to trump it on the fun scale, but we enjoy it when we play. It has a 4 person limit and is fun for 2-4 players.
Chess is obviously only a two person game, but the boys insisted it be included in this list. I don’t personally play so much anymore, but all four of us do play and the three guys are quite competitive with it.
Blokus is a really fun game that is like a meandering game of Tetris, with other players competing for the same space. It is a fun puzzle game and is good for 2-4 players.
Triominos is a fun twist on Dominoes and is one the boys and I really enjoy playing together. It’s pretty quick to play a round, but you can play many rounds to get up to a certain point value or just see who has the most points after a designated amount of rounds or time.
Pandemic is a really unique strategy game that we have enjoyed with friends (but don’t personally own, and are on the fence about whether we’d want to…) In this game everyone works together against the board – which means the stronger thinkers can dominate and think for everyone since you aren’t competing against each other. We all enjoy a good competition against one another, so while this game is fun and we’ve enjoyed playing, it’s not really on our “must own” list. But for the family that loves strategy games but struggles with the strong competition, this would be SO perfect!
Favorite Family Game Night Card Games
Bohnanza is the next game we have on our list to introduce the boys to. We really enjoy playing it with friends and they can handle it, we’ve just not gotten around to teaching it to them. It’s a fun and mildly strategic game where you collect different bean cards and harvest them for points. It is best for 4-7 players.
Guillotine is such a unique card game that involves characters from the French Revolution and, as the game tagline says; “you win by getting ahead.” haha! You try to collect the most points and can rearrange the order of the cards to your benefit and the others detriment. It’s pretty quick to learn how to play it and we’ve only ever played with 3-4 players, but it may be great with more!
We Didn’t Play Test This At All (and its sequel We Didn’t Play Test This Either) is the most hilarious and bizarre game. The point of the game is to not lose … and whether you do or not is pretty much left up to what the card you or your team mates play. It’s made us cry from laughing so hard at the oddness of it. If you buy this it will be slightly confusing at first, but you’ll pick up on it really quickly. It’s a quirky game and that’s what makes it so great!
Anomia is a fun game that is somewhat like Scattergories if you grew up playing that, only much faster in its card game style. We haven’t actually played this game with our kids because there’s really no competition – we’d beat them. They play with their friends and we play with ours and we all love it!
Exploding Kittens is a funny card game that was first funded on Kickstarter. It is another luck of the draw style game where drawing an exploding kitten will kill you unless you have a detonate card … in which case you get to choose where you will place the exploding kitten back in the deck. It’s been described as being like Russian Roulette but with exploding kittens on cards … while that’s obviously an exaggeration, it definitely gets tense drawing those cards and anticipating a kitten.
Spot It we have had this game for years and still enjoy it. It is a really easy game to throw in my bag and pull out places and super easy to teach to other people. Sometimes we combine multiple versions of this game, give everyone one card from each deck, shuffle the rest of the decks together, and play that way. We love it with anywhere from 2-10 players. It’s really a super fun game that transcends all ages.
Dutch Blitz is a classic game that gets wildly crazy. I actually struggle with this game and keeping on top of how fast it moves (and the one just below!) but everyone else adores it and it is fun, I just never win. We have a couple decks combined and marked to play with up to 8 players … any amount is too much for me, haha. But really, the more the merrier!
Pit is another really wild and fast paced game where you are constantly trading and trying to collect cards with NO semblance of order. It is really fun with 5-8 players.
Skip Bo is another classic game – I use to play it every evening with my grandparents when I lived with them for a year when I was 17. It is a slow version of Dutch Blitz and totally my style of card game – everyone takes a turn. Ha!
I’m sure I will think of other games to add to this list over time – in fact, I didn’t even go look in our game cupboard to make up this list – just ran through a list of games we have played in the last 6 months. I am quite certain I will think of games I forgot to include so will be adding to this over time! Make sure you bookmark or Pin this to come back to see the updates or for shopping inspiration for Christmas and birthdays! I have used Amazon referral links – it costs you nothing more to purchase via the link, and I get a tiny percentage of the sale. Currently all money is going towards our trip to Nigeria and materials we want to take along – you can read all about that here.