Some of the best board games can unfortunately be tricky for children to get their head around, and that’s an issue if they see you playing and want to get involved. The following board games for kids should solve the problem very nicely indeed. Better still, they’re good fun for everyone else as well.
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Labyrinth | $17.99 on Amazon (save 44%)
The perfect game for those without much time on their hands.
Our experts have tried to strike a balance between bite-size excitement and thoughtful strategy with the following board games for kids; we’ve got you covered no matter whether you’re after something that can be finished in ten minutes or a game that’ll stretch over a lazy Sunday afternoon. Keen to get your kid into tabletop gaming? Sure thing. We’ve included some themed games that draw on their favorite franchises. Want something portable? No worries, that’s here too. There are even suggestions that’ll make grown ups feel like children again, because why should the little ones get all the fun?
An all-round great game for all ages of kids
Players: 4-16 | Time to set-up: 5 mins | Time to play: 40-60 mins | Complexity: Medium | Age: 7+
Some games are best played in teams - if only so you have someone to blame for losing. In Cranium, up to four teams compete to reach the finish line first by completing tasks related to word play, puzzle solving, sculpting or acting, depending on which space you land on. Some variants of the game add special spaces that allow you to move at twice your normal speed and random dice rolls that add some unpredictability to the game, but the real fun is in correctly guessing that a teammate is acting out being a gorilla, or in watching a rival team completely fail to name a country beginning with B before the time runs out.
Best for… Families looking to be competitively creative.
The best card-based game for kids
Players: 2-5 | Time to set-up: 5 mins | Time to play: 30 mins | Complexity: Easy | Age: 6+
In Sushi Go players complete to make the best meal of sushi from the cards in front of them, with certain card combinations worth more than others. The trick is that players must pass their hands to the next player every single turn, so you never really know which dishes you’ll be able to choose from next. Special rules around puddings and chopsticks mean you have to be slightly more strategic - but as always the real fun of the game is in stealing the last card your opponent needs to complete a high-scoring meal (and then rubbing it in their face).
Best for… Small groups of competitive kids.
If you don't play the actual game enough...
Players: 2-7 | Time to set-up: 10 mins | Time to play: 60-90 mins | Complexity: Medium | Age: 13+
Each new version of Monopoly has its own quirks - but Fortnite Monopoly is among the most radical. Rather than focusing on acquiring wealth to build properties, this version of Monopoly instead has players compete for health points in a desperate attempt to outlast other players and avoid the ongoing storm - just like the game it’s based on. The board and tokens are modelled after the locations and avatars from the battle royale smash hit, while also being somewhat streamlined to cut down on the length of each game. While purchasing locations adds some of the strategy of the classic version, this is a fun blend of both Monopoly and Fortnite that has strengths of both.
Best for... Anyone who loves Fortnite.
A great game of strategy for kids
Players: 2-4 | Time to set-up: 5 mins | Time to play: 40-60 mins | Complexity: Easy | Age: 8+
Labyrinth is a game of highs and lows, of celebration and frustration. Each player is tasked with collecting treasures from each corner of the board by travelling along paths set by moveable tiles. The challenge is in moving each tile to provide a continuous path to your goal, while preventing your opponents from doing the same. It’s all too easy to get trapped with no obvious way forward, while the other players zip around the board unimpeded - but the tables can turn extremely quickly. It’s a quick and easy game to grasp, with simple objectives - and a lot of emotion.
Best for... quick board game sessions.
A great way to experience the Potter-verse
Players: 3-5 | Time to set-up: 10 mins | Time to play: 45 mins | Complexity: Medium | Age: 9+
This version of the mystery solving board game makes good use of the Harry Potter license to explain away its differences from the original. An addition dice roll can alter the layout of the board, preventing a rival player from using a vital shortcut or allowing the player to gain help from a deck of useful cards. The guesswork and trial-and-error nature of original Clue/Cluedo can still be frustrating, but the additions to the formula do a lot to streamline the process and make players feel part of the Harry Potter universe as a result.
Best for... younger Potter fans looking for a new experience.
The easiest game for kids
Players: 2-8 | Time to set-up: 2 mins | Time to play: 15 mins | Complexity: Easy | Age: 4+
A faster-paced, more involved version of Snap, Dobble is a frenetic and competitive race to see who can match pictures first. Each card in a player’s hand shows a selection of symbols - a bomb, a snowflake, a carrot etc. - which means it’s not as simple as watching for a single thing to match. Slamming a card down and shouting the matching symbol just before an opponent does the same is ridiculously satisfying, and about as easy to understand as an objective as possible. The standard game also comes with variants on the core game, so there’s more to do with the deck than just play multiple-choice Snap.
Best for... Quick gaming sessions with kids of all ages.
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