Board games are important to our family as a way of spending quality time with each other, and friends. One thing I particularly like is that there are so many different games, so many different mechanisms that everyone can find one they enjoy. And everyone gets a chance to win because they are better at some types; trust me there is no need to allow the kids to win in our house. Just a few days ago, my 8 year old son beat us all at Splendor and my 11 year old daughter regularly beats me at Hero Realms and Villagers.
Our favourite board games
We have six favourite board games, each with votes from two different family members. It is an interesting list as Hero Realms is an old favourite and four of them were new to us last year. It is also interesting that we didn’t play them that many times e.g. I only played Tiny Towers three times and Wingspan twice.
This is a fantasy deck building game for 2-4 players where you buy and discard cards to build a deck that you hope is stronger than your opponents. My son started playing Hero Realms* when he was 6 but it is really in the last year that he really got into it. It is interesting to play because the balance of power can quickly change; all you need is one good hand to turn the balance your way.
Read my full Hero Realms review
I was given a copy of Scrawl* at a conference and I absolutely love playing it. However, be aware, out of the box, it is not child friendly. Our children are really keen to play it as they hear us laughing so much, so we find the “clean” clue cards for them to use.
Everyone starts with a saying which they draw, the next person writes a description of the drawing, which the next person draws and so on until it gets back to the original person. Think Chinese Whispers / Telephone but using drawing and writing instead of whispering. If you want a child friendly version try Telestrations*.
We were given Splendor* last year and it was a huge success with all of us. It is a card drafting and set collection which involves engine building (buying cards that help you buy more cards in future rounds). It is based on gems and jewellery, although our son was disappointed it didn’t include real rubies and diamonds!
Read my full Splendor review
We were introduced to Tiny Towns* by friends, and our daughter requested we got a copy for our own collection. You are building a town on a 4 x 4 grid using coloured blocks in specific patterns. The game play is simple, but can be frustrating as you try and work out where to place each coloured block to help you later in the game.
We supported Villagers* on Kickstarter, it is another card drafting and set collection card game. You want to develop a thriving village which produces food and uses its skills to develop a profit. You do this by enticing people with different skills to join your village. I’ve played this as a 1, 2, 3 and 4 player game with adults and children and it works will in all options.
My husband wanted Wingspan* after playing it at a gaming weekend in Bristol, and I was happy to get it because it looks so pretty. But it is also a great game to play. It is another engine building game involving card drafting and set collection. The components are beautiful and include a bird house dice tower, scientifically accurate bird cards and even eggs.
Selected games by each person
My favourite games (female adult)*
Ed’s favourite games (male adult)*
B’s favourite games (female 11 year old)*
M’s favourite games (male 8 year old)*
- Hero Realms*
- Just one*
- Scrawl* – note this is a 17+ game (see description above) if you want a child friendly version try Telestrations*.
Do you play board games as a family? What are your favourites? Which do you recommend? What games do you plan to play in 2020?
*Disclosure – I was given some of these board games free. This post also includes affiliate links which means if you buy something after following a link I will earn a percentage of the sale but it will not cost you more. These games are genuine choices by me and my family.