Board Games
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19 Fun Family Games to Keep You Entertained at Home

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Board Games
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Stuck at home amid a coronavirus outbreak? How about a board game to quash that boredom and bring the family together? Many board games, after all, were invented to get folks through rough times. Clue was conceived to counter the tedium and fear of air raids in World War II England, for example, and Candy Land was created as a way for children to pass the time in polio wards. We turned to the people who know board games best — the players themselves — for an assortment of the best new and classic board games to get you through. Game on!

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Prices and availability are subject to change.

Scrabble
Amazon

Scrabble

Price: $20 from Amazon
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Let's start with a classic: the enduring game that tests your vocabulary, requires strategic thinking, and can be played with older kids and adults. If you've got younger kiddos at home, this Scrabble Junior game will be fun for them.

Ticket to Ride
Amazon

Ticket to Ride

Price: $45 from Amazon
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This strategy game challenges players to claim train routes connecting North American cities; the longer the route, the more points earned. There's much more complexity to it, but as with any board game, it's more fun to play than to have it explained to you. We'll leave you with this: One BoardGameGeek reviewer predicts "this game will be a new 'classic' ... in the sense that in 30 years from now, copies of it will reside in the game closet of almost every home found resting next to Monopoly, Life, Risk, and Candy Land."

Photosynthesis
Amazon

Photosynthesis

Price: $40 from Amazon
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This graphically beautiful game centers around the concept of growing trees. We get it — it sounds boring — but don't be fooled. One Amazon reviewer calls it a "vicious abstract strategy game" with "deceptively deep gameplay," while another notes, "I was skeptical about the premise, but in the end I absolutely adore this game."

Yahtzee
Amazon

Yahtzee

Price: $25 from Amazon
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Sometimes you just want to play a game that doesn't have complicated rules, doesn't take forever and a day to play, and gives you the opportunity to yell out a nonsense word. Yahtzee, the classic dice game, is just that. Plus, it comes in a delightfully nostalgic packaging.

Shadows in the Forest
Amazon

Shadows in the Forest

Price: $18 from Amazon
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Here's a game that embraces that early-setting sun of winter. Turn off the lights, arrange your trees just so (you can change the setup every time), and hide your forest creatures. The "seeker" and his or her mini-lantern will come in search of them, but as long as they stay in the shadows, you win. The game involves only minor strategy, so it's suitable even for young players, but the real appeal is the novelty of playing in the dark.

Splendor
Amazon

Splendor

Price: $31 from Amazon
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Any game that gets 4.9 stars on Amazon from more than 3,000 buyers is going to be a winner. Splendor is a strategic fantasy game that employs a deck of 90 cards and gem tokens as players compete for control of gem mines, trade routes, and storefronts. One Amazon reviewer notes, "I'd say our board gaming preferences are somewhat refined ... we've played a LOT of games, and Splendor has been one of our favorites."

Telestrations
Amazon

Telestrations

Price: $29 from Amazon
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Got a big family that loves to laugh? Telestrations is a drawing and guessing game that can be played with up to eight players. One buyer says this is "a great family and party game! Everyone had tears running down their faces from laughing."

Balderdash
Amazon

Balderdash

Price: $15 from Walmart
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If you can shoot the bull as well as you can sift through it, Mattel's Balderdash is the game for you. Players make up phony definitions in categories of people, words, initials, and movies, and then try to keep a straight face as those bogus answers are read. One ringing endorsement from a Walmart buyer reads, "Once the teenagers saw how much the adults were laughing and having fun, they wanted to play."

Blokus
Amazon

Blokus

Price: $30 from Amazon
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Here's a strategy game that won't have anyone laughing out loud (more like cursing out loud) but is addictive all the same. It's also the rare game that appeals equally to all ages. One reviewer writes, "It is simple and intuitive to learn, and colorful, too — great for kids. And it is also very much a strategy game and also a game that relies on skill (visual and tactical) — great for adults."

Jenga
Amazon

Jenga

Price: $10 from Amazon
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We can't imagine there's a person alive who's not familiar with this suspenseful game that involves the need for a steady hand, some strategy, and a smidge of luck. It's surprisingly fun given its simplicity. Ready for a twist on the classic? Check out the giant version that can be played outside (when it warms up, of course) and can grow to more than 5 feet tall during play.

Catch Phrase
Amazon

Catch Phrase

Price: $20 from Amazon
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The digital version of this fast-paced Hasbro classic has players finding inventive ways to describe a word that pops up on a screen, and a timed buzzer adds more excitement to the competition. Does the digital display take away from the fun? No way, says one buyer, who adds that once you play it this way, "you never want to go back to the paper version of the game."

Carcassonne
Amazon

Carcassonne

Price: $31 from Amazon 
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Carcassonne is another game that hits all the points for people who love an element of both strategy and fantasy in their game play, and it keeps on giving with multiple expansion packs. There's a board, tiles, cards, and meeples (which are used to keep score), and although it looks somewhat complex, players say it's actually pretty easy to learn.

Spaceteam
Amazon

Spaceteam

Price: $27 from Amazon
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This game might not be for everyone. It does, after all, require some shouting, according to its creators, and is also described as "chaotic." But reviewers note that it is fast — each round takes about five minutes — fun, and involves lots of laughs. There are also expansion packs available for added "replay value" and to include more players.

Exploding Kittens
Amazon

Exploding Kittens

Price: $20 from Amazon
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Any game that claims to be "for people who are into kittens and explosions and laser beams and sometimes goats" is not going to be your standard board game. This one, from the creator of The Oatmeal cartoons, is a "highly strategic, kitty-powered version of Russian roulette," and many reviews (more than 17,000 on Amazon alone) say it's a great option for family game nights.

Clue
Amazon

Clue

Price: $20 from Amazon
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This enduring Hasbro classic is one of the few board games whose price tag won't induce sticker shock. And the fact that it still gets wildly positive Amazon reviews after turning 70 years old should clue you in (see what we did there?) to the fact that this strategy game is still worth every penny.

Taboo
Amazon

Taboo

Price: $15 from Amazon
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If word games are your family's thing, here's another contender. In Taboo, players must get their teammates to guess the words on the card without using "forbidden" words. Want your peeps to guess "cloud?" Don't you dare say "sky!" You get the idea. It's fast-paced — there's a timer — and reviewers say it's simple to learn and can be surprisingly hilarious to play.

Catan
Amazon

Catan

Price: $44 from Amazon
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German strategy game Catan (originally titled Settlers of Catan) debuted in 1995 and has since won numerous awards and been called "the board game of our time" by The Washington Post. In addition to the civilization-building base game linked above, there are multiple expansion sets as well as extensions that increase the number of players who can be involved.

7 Wonders
Amazon

7 Wonders

Price: $45 from Target 
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While reviewers say the number of elements in this strategy game can make it seem challenging, they note that it's actually quite simple to learn. There are YouTube tutorials to help, and owners say it's fast-paced, entertaining, and addictive, and has excellent replay value.

Wit's End
Amazon

Wit's End

Price: $37 from Amazon
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This game will get you thinking and thinking hard. Some questions are mere trivia, while others involve wordplay that could easily stump some players. Sample question: "A conspiracy, with no room for chickens, a piece of land, or phrase with 'thickens.'" Answer? "Plot." Clearly not for youngsters, this one is recommended for ages 16 and up.