9 Must-have family board games

9 Must-have family board games

Recently we created a new tradition for our family, to make sure we connect, without devices, and have fun together! We created FAMILY GAMES NIGHT so no matter what's going on around us, we join together 5-7pm on Sundays, and play games! This Sunday, we play the new Cards Against Humanity Family Edition which was just BRILLIANT! Lots of laughter for all of us! Cards Against Humanity: Family Edition, is a new party game that’s just like Cards Against Humanity (the grown up version, also very fun!), except it’s written for kids and adults to play together. Each round, one player asks a question from a black card, and everyone else answers with their funniest white card.

Cards Against Humanity maker said, "We didn’t just take the adult stuff out of the original game: we wrote a whole new game from scratch and tested it with thousands of families. If you like to laugh at stuff like “filling my butt with spaghetti,” this is the game for you. If you don’t, go fill your butt with spaghetti!" ... and it's appropriate for all humans age 8 and up. We had fun with it! 

If you're looking for fun board games to play with your family and friends, we have a huge collection (that we're constantly adding to!) to recommend to you. We have compiled a list of 9 classics that will give you all lots of fun and laughter at your next family date night ... because, spending time with your family is one of the most valuable things you can do. Creating memories doesn't just happen on holidays. We're making memories with our kids when we share time with them, laugh with them, have magic moments with them .. When we spend time together, we're showing our kids that they matter, that we enjoy hanging out with them.

As soon as you visit our website and the GAMES section, it could be easy to feel a bit overwhelmed trying to choose something. Afterall, we have 64 pages of games and puzzles on our website! BUT the good news is you can use our filters (see screenshot below) which makes it really easy to search by age, brand etc.

family games night making memories filter games on website to search

With such a wide range of choices, looking at our list, you will find older staples that we think are worth keeping on your radar, but you'll also find recent additions that have blown us away. This guide should offer something new if like us, you love investing in board games, to help make memories with your family as they grow! 
Enjoy challenging gameplay and educational content, whatever is right for your family, at each stage as your children develop.
When searching or collecting board games, be sure to consider what feels suitable for your family and what genres are most appealing to you, your family, or friends.

Here are nine must-have family-friendly board-games;


Wingspan - as its name suggests, is all about BIRDS. You are bird enthusiasts—researchers, bird watchers, ornithologists, and collectors seeking to discover and attract the best birds to your aviary.
Each bird extends a chain of powerful combinations in one of your habitats (actions). These habitats focus on several key aspects of growth: • Gain food tokens via custom dice in a birdfeeder dice tower • Lay eggs using egg miniatures in a variety of colours • Draw from hundreds of unique bird cards and play them.

The winner is the player with the most points accumulated from birds, bonus cards, end-of-round goals, eggs, cached food, and tucked birds.
Everyone focuses on their own board, but you can benefit others if you use a special ability. This way, Wingspan becomes a relaxing, zen-like experience you'll enjoy regardless of whether you win or lose. For 1-5 players, for ages 10+.

Azul - As we think of Azul, three things come to mind: simplicity, elegance, and beauty. If you like design and creating beauty, this is the perfect game for you! In the game Azul, players take turns drafting coloured tiles from suppliers to their player board. Later in the round, players score points based on how they've placed their tiles to decorate the palace. Extra points are scored for specific patterns and completing sets; wasted supplies harm the player's score. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins.
For 2 – 4 artisans, ages 8+ ... if you're looking for a quick game, this is a great option - game plays in 30-40 minutes!


Ticket to Ride The gameplay is very simple, but once you're going, it's a lot of fun. It's a cross-country train game in which players collect and play matching train cards to claim railway routes connecting cities. You earn more points for longer routes.  The player who can connect two distant cities and build the longest continuous railway earns additional points. 
There's a great story involved with this game ... It's October 2, 1900 - it's 28 years to the day that noted London eccentric, Phileas Fogg accepted and then won a bet that he could travel "Around the World in 80 Days." Now, at the dawn of the century, some old friends have gathered to celebrate Fogg's impetuous and lucrative gamble - and to propose a new wager of their own. The stakes: $1 million in a winner-takes-all competition. The objective: to see the most cities in North America - in just 7 days. HAVE FUN WITH THIS ONE!!

Pandemic is fantastic family fun! It's a cooperative board game that has everyone trying to beat the game – you either all win or all lose. And believe us, there are many ways to lose. Players take on different roles and work together to rid the world of diseases.
As skilled members of a disease-fighting team, you must keep four deadly diseases at bay while discovering their cures. You and your teammates will travel across the globe, treating infections while finding resources for cures. You must work as a team to succeed. Pandemic is a cooperative game, all players win or lose together. The clock is ticking as outbreaks and epidemics fuel the spreading plagues. 
Ideal for 8 years + and 2-4 players. Pandemic is one of the best cooperative board games out there and it's the game that inspired a lot of other designers to start making co-ops. The theme seems to work for everyone, it has a good amount of tension, and it's easy to adjust the difficulty to suit your group.

Chess is a game everyone should know how to play, and we think everyone should own a chess set! Knowing the rules of chess is a great way to develop your thinking skills. Every piece (from Pawn to King) moves uniquely, and you must to plan your attack and anticipate your opponent's moves. For younger players, it can be challenging to learn. However, if they start early, those thinking capabilities will pay off in the future. Chess.com state, "It's true that chess can reflect things about your personality and character. Not only revealing parts of yourself to others, but also making you more aware of yourself."

A game that's played in teams and allows for a large number of players, is Sequence, a must-have family board game combined with a card game, (but most board games also require cards!) It's a fun-to-play classic that has been a best-seller for over 35 years! Play a card from your hand, and place a chip on the corresponding spot on the board. For 2-12 players, ages 7+.


Carcassonne lets you create cities, farms, and roads in the Southern French countryside. You randomly select a tile and place it, so the board and countryside grow throughout the game. Depending on how you want to score points, you put your mini-people (Meeples) on the tiles. That's where strategy comes into play. Good placement of your meeples determines whether you succeed or fail. During a game of Carcassonne, players are faced with decisions like: "Is it really worth putting my last meeple there?" or "Should I use this tile to expand my city, or should I place it near my opponent instead, giving him a hard time to complete their project and score points?" Since players place only one tile and have the option to place one meeple on it, turns proceed quickly even if it is a game full of options and possibilities.
For Ages 7+ and 2-5 players. 

Catan - Your adventurous settlers try to tame the remote but rich island of Catan. Discover Catan's many harbours and regions: pastures, fields, mountains, hills, forests, and deserts. Nearly every game has a different board. There is never a repeat! Set sail on a quest to settle the isle of Catan! CATAN has won multiple awards and is one of the most popular games in recent history due to its amazing ability to appeal to experienced gamers as well as those new to the hobby.
Ages 10+, and 2-4 players. 

 And finally, everybody's favourite - MONOPOLY!! Right now on our website, we have 17 variations of Monopoly, from Game Of Thrones to Disney Villians, and Monopoly for Millenials! (and everything in between!) Click here to see our Monopoly collection. 

There is no doubt that Monopoly has grown way beyond those humble beginnings, and these board games for adults (and children) are bound to get you hooked. These games have a wide range of sophisticated gameplay options and mature themes, making them the perfect choice for a games night ages. 

The history of Monopoly: Monopoly was patented in 1935 by Charles Darrow and released by Parker Brothers. The game was actually one of a number of variants in existence at the time, all of which date back to an earlier, 1904 game by Elizabeth J. Magie called The Landlord's Game. The game was designed to show the evils of earning money from renting land (as it leads to the destitution of all but one player) and the virtues of the proposed Single Tax - players could choose to play under regular rules or alternate "Single Tax" rules.

The game didn't really go anywhere and Magie lost interest in it. Variations of the game evolved, however, and homemade versions traveled up and down the Atlantic coast and even as far west as Michigan and Texas, being developed all along the way. Eventually the game was noticed by Charles Darrow, who introduced it to the world in its current form.

Today, there are so many variations of it, you can literally keep adding to your Monopoly collection anything from popular culture to kids versions and beyond. Which version(s) of Monopoly do you have? How often do you play? If you're looking for a game that takes a bit longer, Monopolies playing time is 60-180 minutes (and beyond!) and is idea for 2-8 players, aged 8+. 

Board games are such a wonderful way to connect with your children and friends, without involving screens - and you'll love how much you ALL enjoy the time you invest playing games together. 

We'd love to know what your favourite family board games are. Do you have a regular family game night? Which games do you pack on family holidays?

 Check out this video of our range of games in our Ballina store - Play Forever Toys! 

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