One of our favorite activities for building family relationships is having a game night. And there are so many games available now! Classics like Monopoly, Life, and Yahtzee. Or a deck of cards or set of dice gives you endless possibilities. But I’m going to share some of our favorite board games for family night with teens. (Ok, and I’m going to throw in a fun dice game too. Sometimes you need something that doesn’t take too long to play! Or much thinking.)
Our Top 5 Favorite Board Games To Play With Our Teens
Bring Your Own Book
I discovered this game at a homeschool convention. I didn’t really need any curriculum that year (my youngest was a senior), but it seems my family can never get enough games.
So technically this isn’t a board game, but you gather around a table to play it with one another, so I’m going to count it 😉 If you are familiar with the game Apples to Apples, you basically already know how to play this. Each person chooses a book from around the house. We’ve used fiction books, non-fiction, The Essential Calvin & Hobbes, and even a cookbook before. A “judge” chooses a card and picks the category—something like “A one-liner from an action movie” or “An alien’s first words to humankind.”
Then each person finds a word, phrase, or sentence(s) that they think fits the category. When time runs out, everyone reads what they have chosen and the judge decides who wins the round and awards them the category card. Then the next player becomes the judge and play continues until a certain number of cards are collected.
(This is also a favorite of our co-op moms. We all laugh so hard when we play this!)
Recommended for ages 12+; 3 or more players; Playing time approximately 20 minutes
Like Bring Your Own Book, the rules of Blokus are simple.
Each person lays a tile down at a corner of another one of their tiles. Only the corners can touch. Easy, right? But there is more strategy to this game than meets the eye. Not only is each person trying to play as many tiles as possible, they are also trying to block the other players from being able to lay theirs down.
Most of the time I lose at this one 🙁 But as the board fills up it reminds me of one of my childhood favorite video games, Tetris. So maybe I’ll keep trying.
Recommended for ages 5+; 2 to 4 players (really best with 4); Playing time approximately 20 minutes
Ticket to Ride
This is actually my favorite board game. Maybe because I actually win this one sometimes. (No, we aren’t competitive in this house at all 😉).
In the game, each player is trying to place their trains along routes they have drawn from a pile. Points are awarded for various things including the routes that are finished and the person who has the longest train. There are several variations of this game (we also really like Ticket to Ride Europe. It is more than just the same game with a different map. There are enough additional rules to make it worth it if you are a Ticket to ride fan!)
I’ve found a great video from Watch it Played explaining the rules in case you are like me, and would rather have someone explain it to you than read all those eloquently written rules.
Recommended for ages 8+; 2 to 5 players; Playing time approximately 30 t0 60 minutes
Cooperative Board Games
Cooperative board games are fairly new to me. In these types of games, everyone is working together to beat the game instead of one another. They help kids, teens, and even some adults learn how to work with others. And for the teen (or adult) who struggles with losing, it’s nice to have a game where you are all the winners or losers together.
In Pandemic, players work together to save the world from…you guessed it, a pandemic. The diseases spread quickly, but by strategizing how to use each players unique roles and abilities, you can wipe out the diseases before they wipe out the world. Hopefully. We’ve actually lost more than once. This one has more detailed rules. And when that happens I don’t really want to read them. So once again if you are like me, you can learn how to play Pandemic at How It’s Played.
Recommended for ages 13+; 2 to 4 players; Playing time approximately 60 minutes
If you like the idea of a cooperative game, but want one that doesn’t take quite as much time, check out Forbidden Island. (Or if you like dry heat more than humidity, there’s Forbidden Desert.) The rules are also a bit more simple, so if you have younger teens, or just don’t want to think as much when playing games, you’ll like this one.
In Forbidden Island your family will work together to collect four treasures and then get off the island before it sinks. And for those of you like me who don’t like reading rules you’ll find a great explanation by The Games Room.
I’m guessing you all have noticed a theme at this point. I LOVE reading usually, but I cannot stand to read game rules.
Recommended for ages 10+; 2 to 4 players; Playing time approximately 30 minutes
Bonus: A Fun Dice Game
Tenzi (With Cards)
Y’all there is no easier game than Tenzi. Everyone roles their 10 dice at the same time, trying to get all 10 of the same number first. The first one to get all 10 dice the same yells Tenzi. Even I don’t need a video for this one 😜
It is surprisingly fun. But the 77 Ways to Play Tenzi is what makes it really fun. And slightly ridiculous at times. One night we all were barking at the end of each role. Our poor dogs didn’t know what was going on.
You can buy a Tenzi “official” set, but we opted for getting the 10 sets of 10 die and the cards. It’s a great game with a group.
It’s Hard to Choose Just 5 Board Games
There were many more I could have mentioned (like Catan!), but these are the ones we have been reaching for the most. But whether you try one of our favorite board games or choose from your personal stash, I want to encourage you to plan a game night for your family soon.
Laughing together and having fun is a great way to build your family relationships. Especially in the teen years.