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The best board games for kids and families: fun at home for everyone

board games for kids
(Image credit: Gamewright)

There are loads of board games for kids out there, but the hard part can be knowing where to start. Tabletop games for a younger audience need to be fun, straightforward, short, and replayable enough that you won't want to tear your eyeballs out after a few tries. 

That's where GamesRadar+ comes in. No matter whether you want a game for a lazy evening at home or something to take with you out and about, we've rounded up what we feel are the very best board games for kids and their grown-ups (you'll more than likely be getting involved too, after all). Some even include their favorite franchises, ranging from the ever-reliable Fortnite to Harry Potter. 

These games aren't all competitive, either. We've been sure to include a few of the best cooperative board games here as well in case you're looking for a more collaborative atmosphere. Basically, we've tried to make sure there's something for everyone in this guide. We've also thrown in as many deals as possible - the only thing better than a good board game is a cheap one.

For more suggestions that'll suit an older audience, don't forget to check out our list of the best board games overall or the top board games for 2 players. They'll keep everyone entertained for weeks to come.

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(Image credit: Gamewright)
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1. Sushi Go!

The best overall board game for kids

Players: 2 - 5 | Difficulty: Easy | Time to set-up: 1 minute | Time to play: 15 minutes | Age: 8+

Fast-paced fun
Easy to grasp
...but difficult to master
Takes a game or two to get into

There's something special about this bizarre but loveable game; it's got the secret sauce of being easy to understand, fast-paced, and utterly moreish. Because Sushi Go! can be finished in under 15 minutes, you'll also find yourself playing round after round.

That's thanks to blissfully straightforward rules. It tasks players with creating the best 'meal' from a deck of cards in front of them, and certain combinations are worth more points than others. Meanwhile, some will only pay out if you have the most of a particular item. That's harder to achieve than you'd think. Why? Everyone must pass their hand of cards to the next player every single turn. Which means you never really know what dishes you’ll be able to choose from next. 

The result is a simple yet strategic game the whole family can get involved in. And even though it never feels unfair, the real fun comes from stealing the last card your opponent needs to complete a high-scoring meal.

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2. Dobble

The best cheap board game for kids

Players: 2 - 8 | Difficulty: Easy | Time to set-up: 1 minute | Time to play: 10 - 15 minutes | Age: 6+

Suitable for all ages
Fast-paced
Short
Can become repetitive

It says a lot about a game when loads of different versions are available; that means it's a hit. Dobble is a great example. As well as the classic edition, there are also alternatives featuring everything from Star Wars to Cars.

A faster, more involved take on Snap, Dobble is a frenetic race to see who can match pictures first. However, you shouldn't assume it'll be a cakewalk. Each card in a player’s hand shows a variety of symbols - like a turtle, snowflake, or carrot - of varying sizes and in random places. This makes it tricky to find matching pairs. You'll suddenly feel like Harry Potter searching for the Golden Snitch. 

It's worth the effort, though. Slamming a card down and shouting the matching symbol just before an opponent does is ridiculously satisfying. 

And if you get tired of the base game? Well, the rules include plenty of variants to keep you busy.

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3. Rhino Hero

The best board game for kids who hate reading

Players: 2 - 5 | Difficulty: Easy | Time to set-up: 1 minute | Time to play: 10 - 15 minutes | Age: 5+

Simple
Can be tactical
No reading
Might be frustrating for younger kids

What happens if you mix Jenga with superheroes? You get Rhino Hero and its beefed-up sequel, Rhino Hero: Super Battle. A fun exercise in balance and steady hands, it's perfect for all ages and isn't weighed down with lots of rules or reading.

The aim of the game is to use up all your cards. That's not quite as easy as it sounds, though. These cards are used to build a tower, and they show where you should place walls for the next layer. Because everyone's contributing to the same tower, things will get precarious fast - especially when you have to take the Rhino Hero token from one layer and move him to another (he's trying to get a good vantage point to look out for criminals, you see). Anyone who makes the tower fall down loses instantly. Bummer.

To make things more interesting, those cards also have special abilities like reversing the order of play, forcing your neighbour to lose their turn, or making them pick up another card. Meanwhile, Rhino Hero: Super Battle throws a similar curveball with extra tokens and troublesome hanging monkeys. This injects dose of tactics into the mix, which is ideal for older children.

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4. King of Tokyo

The best dice-based game for kids

Players: 2 - 6 | Difficulty: Easy | Time to set up: 5 minutes | Time to play: 30 minutes | Age: 8+

Exciting dice battles
Social elements
Fun theme
Little strategy

King of Tokyo is the perfect choice for big and little monsters alike; it puts you in control of tongue-in-cheek super beasts rampaging through the city. A dice-based game of pushing your luck, the aim is to build up victory points without being defeated by your rivals. It's approachable, quick, and full of character (it's possible to play as a 'Space Penguin', for example).

Here's the long and short of it: players compete with each other to see who'll be smashing Tokyo every turn. Staying in the city earns you points, and the longer you stand your ground, the higher your score. However, those in Tokyo can't heal from their wounds. That means you're playing chicken with your monster's life. It's a captivating balance.

The mechanics aren't demanding, either. You'll roll the game's dice three times and choose which results you want to keep, be it extra health, power, attacks, or bonus points. This makes King of Tokyo a good choice for those who don't want anything overly strategic.

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5. Hey, that's my Fish!

The best kids game for 2 players

Players: 2 - 4 | Difficulty: Easy | Time to set up: 5 minutes | Time to play: 5 - 10 minutes | Age: 8+

Fast-paced
Tactical
Penguins, obviously
A faff to set up

Hey, that’s my Fish! is quirky, lightning-fast, and simple. That makes it the perfect board game for kids, particularly if there are only a couple of you. 

Players control penguins who want to collect as many fish as possible, and this earns them points. As you'd expect, whoever has the highest score at the end wins. Unfortunately, there's a catch - the penguins' iceberg is falling to bits. Every time a penguin leaves a spot, that part of the board disappears. 

This means you've got to be careful with where you go, not to mention when; you can end up cutting off whole chunks of iceberg, wasting the juicy seafood there. Naturally, clever players can trap each other using this tactic. Doing so leaves all the best fish - and points - for themselves. It's delightfully wicked.

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6. Labyrinth

The best strategy board game for kids

Players: 2 - 4 | Difficulty: Easy | Time to set-up: 5 minutes | Time to play: 40 - 60 minutes | Age: 8+

Fast-paced games
Very easy to understand
Replayable
A bit simplistic

If your kids like to get their teeth into a deeper kind of board game, Labyrinth is a good shout. Each player has to collect treasure from this eponymous maze, but the path ahead is ever-changing. 

That's because you need to move certain pieces of the board to reach your goal. Tiles are constantly being swapped out as a result, altering the maze's layout from round to round. The tricky bit is creating a route that benefits you while blocking your opponent. It's all about planning ahead and visualising connections.

Despite this constantly evolving board, Labyrinth is easy to understand. It's a game everyone can get their head around. Each match's layout is different as well, making it pretty replayable.

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7. Fortnite Monopoly

The best Monopoly game for kids

Players: 2 - 7 | Difficulty: Moderate | Time to set-up: 5 minutes | Time to play: 60 - 90 minutes | Age: 13+

Cleverly recreates Fortnite’s urgency
Fast-paced
27 player tokens - everyone gets to play as a favourite
Players who are out early may have to wait a while

There are more than a few versions of Monopoly out there, but the Fortnite edition is one our favorites. It's inventive, original, and oh-so-faithful to its video game inspiration.

Instead of tasking you with gathering wealth and building property, players battle it out for health that helps them outlast their opponents. Much like the battle royale, they've also got to avoid the oncoming storm. It's a clever twist on a timeless formula, seamlessly blending the strengths of both games.

What's more, the board is modelled after locations from Fortnite itself. The same goes for its tokens - there are 27 in total, and each one is based on in-game costumes and skins.

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8. Clue: Harry Potter

The best Clue for kids

Players: 3 - 5 | Difficulty: Moderate | Time to set-up: 5 minutes | Time to play: 45 minutes | Age: 9+

Great use of the license
Adds some clever wrinkles to the base game
Easy to understand
Trial-and-error gameplay can infuriate as well as entertain

Sound the alarm - a student has vanished at Hogwarts. What spell caused them to disappear, and who did it? It's your job to find out.

A clever twist on the original game, this new version makes excellent use of the Harry Potter license to shake things up. For example, the layout of the board can change to stop your rivals from getting ahead. The theming is also spot on - the tokens and cards are drawn straight from the movie series, for example.

Sure, Clue/Cluedo's trial-and-error mechanics still leave something to be desired. But this alternative smooths those issues over with a Potter upgrade fans are sure to love.