The 7 Best Board Games You Haven't Played Yet
Photo-Illustration: Ellen Digital Ventures; Photos: Retailers
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by FRANCESCA NUNEZ HOBSON
We love family game night! Board games are a fantastic way for kids to improve skills like cooperation, extrapolation, and strategic thinking without even realizing they’re learning! Classics like Monopoly and Scrabble are a must to keep on hand, so we’ll assume you’ve covered the basics. Here’s a list of our favorite board games that didn‘t exist when you were a kid, but you’ll wish they did! Now’s the perfect time to dive in and have a blast with these fresh and fun games.
Throw Throw Burrito
Throw Throw Burrito is the world’s first dodgeball card game. Parts of this game will feel familiar – the goal is for players to make matching sets of cards faster than their opponents. It’s the squishy burrito element that will throw you for a loop. How many evenings will you spend ducking, dodging, and hurling adorable airborne burritos? Once your kids get hooked, it might be burrito night, every night!
Catan: Family Edition
We love this family-friendly version of the hit board game Catan. Rules and set up are simplified, perfect for getting your little settlers up to speed before they graduate to full-scale Catan in a few years. Collecting resources, negotiating trades, and building toward a bigger goal are all helpful lessons for youngsters to work on. Trade. Build. Settle. Repeat! (P.S. If your kids are on the younger side, try Catan Junior instead!)
Carcassonne pairs the peacefulness of a puzzle with the resource management of Catan. Players take turns drawing tiles to assemble a medieval city complete with towns, roads, and monasteries. The magic of this game is in the illustrations. It’s amazing how the drawing on each square manages to fit perfectly with so many other squares, and the trick is putting your tile in the smartest spot. With so many different options, each round of Carcassonne looks completely unique. The strategy is easy to learn quickly, and players as young as six years old can get the hang of it fast.
Ticket to Ride
In Ticket to Ride, each player is working to build a railroad of their own, connecting iconic North American cities from coast to coast. Collect matching train cards to claim new routes, and do your best to keep your ultimate destination a secret. The longer the routes, the more points you earn! This is a great way to teach kids about geography and long-term strategy. (P.S. Ticket to Ride: First Journey is a different version tailored to kids as young as six years old if you have littles in the house!)
Rummikub: The Classic Edition
There are so many reasons to love Rummikub! It's easy to learn, moves quickly, and combines luck and strategy. Better still, games like Rummikub have been proven to reinforce STEM skills like sequencing, pattern recognition, and planning. We love a game where we’re having fun and learning too!
This action-packed, fast-tempo card game is so easy to learn, and so fun to play! The rules of Exploding Kittens are simple: if you draw an Exploding Kitten card, you lose. If you don’t explode, you win! All the other cards in the deck help players lessen the risk of drawing an Exploding Kitten. You and your family will get a kick out of the hilariously deranged illustrations and delight in setting traps for each other.
If you prefer a family game night that’s a bit more relaxed, may we suggest Azul? In this game, players are artisans, strategically placing mosaic-inspired tiles and earning points as they create patterns on their individual display boards. Strategic yet simple to learn, this game will help build critical thinking skills. We also love the sounds the little tiles make and the way they feel. So soothing!