Board games have been keeping us entertained for thousands of years, and are a staple entertainment option in most American households. Some of the most popular games we play today have already been around for decades and are just as well-loved during the digital age as they were when they first hit the market.
These types of games can bring families together. They demand our full attention and bring out our competitive side. They can be challenging, frustrating, and even educational, but the one thing they always are is incredible amounts of fun.
If you are looking to entertain the family on quiet nights in or vacations away, here are 20 of the best classic board games ever made.
Best Classic Board Games List
Monopoly is most definitely the ultimate classic family board game and one that dates back as far as the turn of the 20th century. This multi-player game sees players navigate around the city buying up property, collecting and paying rent, building houses and hotels, and trying to keep themselves out of jail. As one of the most recognizable board games in the world, there are dozens of different Monopoly versions and limited edition games for you to choose from.
Battleships is a fun two-player game that requires the players to arrange their own “battleships” on a grid, before ascertaining where their opponent has placed their own ships. Using coordinates, skill, and a little bit of luck, players ask each other if they have a ship in a certain position, to which they must reply only will “hit” or “ miss.” This beautifully simple, but incredibly engaging game is won when a player successfully hit all the right coordinates, therefore sink all of their opponent’s beloved battleships.
If you fancy yourself as a bit of a super sleuth, then this detective-based board game is the one for you. Travel around the board with your own evidence cards, and ask the other players to show theirs. Using the process of elimination and some tactical questioning, the winning will be the first to deduce who was the murderer, where the murder took place, and how they did it. Intrigue and excitement for all the family.
This is a classic and quick-to-play two-player game where you each take turns to insert a disc into the grid with the aim of getting four discs in a row in any direction. On a similar tactical basis as naughts and crosses, Connect 4 requires you to focus on your own moves as well as keep a close eye on your opponents to ensure that they can’t beat you to 4 in a row in their next move.
Game of Life
As a direct descendant of America’s first-ever popular parlor game that was created in 1860, the modern-day Game of Life is a multi-player game for all the family. Travel around the board in your counter car as you aim to complete your education, choose a career, meet a partner, and have children or pets to fill the extra seats. Players make their own choices about the direction in which they wish to take their life, and the tactics involved to reach the end of the board before other players.
This popular general knowledge quiz game was first targeted at adults who needed to travel around the board, answering quiz style questions to collect the iconic ‘wedges’ to complete their counter. These days, it is a multi-player game that offers a vast number of editions, some of which are even designed to suit younger children and players of all ages. From Disney to Harry Potter and everything in between, there will be a Game of Life to suit you and your family.
This simple, fun, multi-player game is suitable for players of all ages and abilities. The aim of the game is to remove the neatly stacked blocks one by one, without causing the tower to topple. Using concentration, the skill of basic arithmetic, and a lot more luck than judgment, the winner is the last player not to let the blocks fall.
This iconic board game is suitable for both children and adults to play and is one of the most famous board games ever made. Educational, enduring, and ever so slightly addicting, Scrabble is sold in 121 countries and comes in 31 different languages. The aim of the game is to lay your letter tiles to spell the most complex words to gain higher points than your opponents. The winner is the player with the highest score at the end, and a good game of Scrabble could literally last for hours.
These games will get you and your friends and family up and moving. Find madcap positions and try to keep you balance as you sprawl, lean, and eventually collapse across the other players. Position your hands and feet with the corresponding colors on the play mat, and enjoy lots of laughter as you all get yourselves in a real twist.
Hungry Hippos is a game for up to 4 players, that offers fast-paced fun for all the family. This action-packed classic board game requires you to quickly operate a lever to get your Hippo to gobble up as many of the balls as possible. The winning player is the one whose Hippo has eaten the most. While this game is often considered to be just for younger players, it is still thoroughly enjoyable for adults of all ages!
Risk is an old-school game based on a Global Warfare defense strategy that uses a variety of game pieces – from foot soldiers to army horses and tanks. You will need to defend your territory against other players whilst also trying to conquer other areas while working towards entire continents. The winner is the player whose armies are the most effective in the end.
Yahtzee is a complex dice-based game where you shake and roll a range of dice combinations to score the highest points against your opponent. At the start of the game, you can choose your scoring category and then use mathematical probabilities to roll the five dice and achieve your scores. Due to the difficulty of this game, it is suitable for older children and adults.
This puzzle-based strategy game has won the Mensa Select Award and Teacher’s Choice Award, as a result of its exciting premises of using tactical skills to beat your opponents. It’s a game for 2-4 players, and each player will need to place shapes into a grid, ensuring that they touch another shape of the same color at the corner only. In order to be victorious, you will need geometrical visualization and abstract strategy reasoning to win.
Qwirkle is a twist on traditional tile-laying games. Each tile has a colored shape, and the aim is to place them in the play area against tiles with matching attributes. At first, this game is complex as you must retain six tiles at all times, work towards the final stash being, and master the point tabulations – but practice makes perfect, and this is a super fun game once you are familiar with the rules.
Pictureka is a fantastic picture spotting game that is suitable for all the family. With over 100 pictures all jumbled together on the playing board, you will be required to work against the sand timer to be the first to find the pictures. The boards are reversible and can work in all four directions, which means this game is always re-playable because you can make the playing board area totally different every time.
This classic board game requires a steady hand, plenty of patience, and a precise set of skills. The aim is to remove the organs from the patient, using the tweezers, without touching any of the surrounding areas and setting off the alarm. Operation offers good, old-fashioned full and thrills and is a great multi-player game to test your hand-eye coordination and fine motor control.
Ker Plunk is a simple family board game that is quick and exciting to play. Arrange the straws to hold the marbles before each player carefully removes one straw at a time, while avoiding any marbles from falling. A great game to develop a steady hand, tactical turn-taking, and fine motor skills.
Mousetrap is an exciting multiplayer game where you’ll be on the edge of your seat, listening to the crank and trying to navigate your way around the board to avoid your mouse getting trapped. You will be able to use cheese to negotiate your best routes, and with careful building and a bit of luck from the dice, you’ll be gripped to your seat as you watch to see the trap being flipped at the end to find out who wins.
This board-based twist on charades requires the two teams to battle against each other to guess the object or action that is being drawn. Using only a whiteboard and marker to communicate clues, players require a steady hand a lot of lateral thinking to win. Laugh-a-minute funny, and a great game for building team spirit, Pictionary is a great game for players of all ages.
Finally, this recently released two-player game offers slap-stick fun that is a real hit at parties. Each of the players places their head in the set frames, and then the wheel is spun, and the lever pulled, and the unlucky loser gets the pie in their face! You can adjust this game to suit your family using whipped cream, shaving foam, or an even wet sponge as the pie, depending on your own personal preference.
Classic board games are fantastic fun and suitable for family time as well as adult game nights in. There’s an impressive amount of board games out there, so there’s bound to be one to suit you and your favorite players, and in time you will probably end up with your own collection too!
What are some popular board games?
Board games have been around for many years and are below are a few of the most popular ones:
What is the oldest board game?
The oldest known board game is called Senet and dates from around 3100 BC and played in Ancient Egypt.
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