We’ve been independently researching and testing products for over 120 years. If you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Learn more about our review process.

33 Best Board Games to Play, According to Experts and Testers

These are our favorites for families, kids and adults.

family board games
courtesy

If you just have a few minutes to squeeze in a quick round of competition between dinner and bed, or you're staring down a rainy day full of indoor activities, there's never a bad time to break out a good board game and invite the family to play.

There are actually plenty of benefits to gathering around the table this way. Playing family games can help your kids build social and cognitive skills, like patience and turn-taking. Games also “teach children to work as a team, negotiate, follow rules and use spatial reasoning and logic,” says Ellie Dix, a former school behavior specialist and author of The Board Game Family: Reclaim Your Children From the Screen.

Board games also improve kids’ response to delayed gratification. Many video games or kid apps provide a quick hit of the “happy chemicals” dopamine and oxytocin, which is why they’re so addictive, says Hanna Bogen Novak, M.S., a director at the Center for Connection family therapy practice. Board games are a slower burn, and regular play can re-train brains to get the same buzz from a delayed release of chemicals. That helps kids focus on long-term projects like schoolwork too.

But which games to choose? Good Housekeeping Institute logged hundreds of data points and had nearly 100 testers (kids ages 1 to 14 and their parents) help us rate dozens of games on ease of use, skill development and kids' interest in playing again and again to come find the best board games. We added to their list of favorites, some of which are Good Housekeeping Best Toy Award winners, with editor's picks and bestsellers to come up with this list of the best family games for 2022.

This year, casual party games are extremely popular — owe it to families gathering again after distancing because of the pandemic. Cooperative games are also huge for the little ones, since everyone wins or loses together and there's fewer sore feelings. There are also strategy games, fast games and even a few that can be played solo. There's bound to be one that'll be the star of your next family game night.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
1
Best Party Board Game
Inspiration Play
Double Ditto
Inspiration Play
2
2022 Good Housekeeping Best Game Award Winner
Hog Wild
T.A.P.E.S!
Wild Hog
3
2022 Good Housekeeping Best Game Award Winner
Hasbro Gaming
Wordle The Party Game
Hasbro Gaming
4
Silent Game
Pandasaurus Games
The Mind
Pandasaurus Games
5
For Music Fans
Spontuneous
Spontuneous: The Song Game
Spontuneous
6
For Family Gatherings
ASM Games
Do You Really Know Your Family?
ASM Games
7
Quick Family Board Game
Funko Games
Last Defense
Funko Games
8
Fun Cooperative Game
Peaceable Kingdom
Gnomes at Night
Peaceable Kingdom
9
2022 Good Housekeeping Best Game Award Winner
Skillmatics
Guess in 10 Junior Animal Kingdom
Skillmatics
Now 20% off
10
Active Game
Exploding Kittens
Throw, Throw Burrito
Exploding Kittens
11
Cooperative Family Board Game
Peaceable Kingdom
Stories of the Three Coins
Peaceable Kingdom
12
Take-Along Game
Winning Moves Games
Pass The Pigs
Winning Moves Games
13
Card Game That's Never the Same Twice
Looney Labs
Fluxx
Looney Labs
14
Fun Card Game for Families
Exploding Kittens
Exploding Kittens Card Game
Exploding Kittens
15
For Families of Elementary Schoolers
Dolphin Hat Games
Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza
Dolphin Hat Games
16
Cooking Game
Wilder Games
MasterChef Family Cooking Game
Wilder Games
17
Best Strategy Family Board Game
Ravensburger
Disney Villainous
Ravensburger
18
For a Sustainable Focus
USAopoly
Astro Trash
USAopoly
19
For Tweens
Not Parent Approved
Not Parent Approved
Not Parent Approved
20
Fast-Paced Game
Amigo Games
Clack
Amigo Games
21
For Kindergarteners
Mighty Fun!
Brain Freeze
Mighty Fun
22
For Tweens
Czech Games
Codenames
Czech Games
23
Unique Stacking Game
PlayMonster
Meltdown Game
PlayMonster
24
Good for Laughs
Mattel Games
Apples to Apples Junior
Mattel Games
25
Best Family Board Game for Preschoolers
ThinkFun
Heads Talk Tails Walk
ThinkFun
26
Can Be Played Solo
Think Fun
Dog Crimes
ThinkFun
27
For Learning How to Play Strategy Card Games
The Pokémon Company
Pokemon Trading Card Game Battle Academy
The Pokémon Company
28
Fun Match-Four Game
Big G Creative
Corner Crush
Big G Creative
29
Classic Stacking Game
Hasbro Games
Classic Jenga
Hasbro Games
30
Has Cool Effects
Goliath
Dragon Snacks
Goliath
Now 34% off
31
Best Pre-Reading Game
ThinkFun
Zingo
ThinkFun
32
Easy-to-Travel-With Game
PlayMonster
Butts Up
PlayMonster
33
A New Twist on a Classic
Hasbro Gaming
Monopoly Voice Banking
Hasbro Games
How we choose the best games
linebreak

Before including our favorite picks in an article, the Good Housekeeping Institute does rigorous toy testing to ensure we're recommending only the best. Many of our choices come from our yearly Toy Awards, where we test each item based on the following criteria:

✔️Safety: Our engineers and analysts make sure that each toy reaches all safety standards. They also assess things like pinch points and make sure toys won’t shatter into small pieces to pose a potential choking hazard.

✔️Ease of Use: We look at each toy to evaluate how simple it is to assemble, how well it’s constructed and how durable it is during play.

✔️Kid Approval: Aside from testing each toy for skill-building attributes, like how well it develops social-emotional skills, all our final decisions come from more than 100 children, ages 1 to 15, who assess the fun factor!

Why trust Good Housekeeping?
linebreak

For decades, the Good Housekeeping Institute has provided expert reviews and advice on everything parents and children love, including STEM toys, educational toys, sensory toys and more.

Much of the toy testing for this article was overseen by Rachel Rothman, the Good Housekeeping Institute's chief technologist and director of engineering, with the help of Marisa LaScala, Good Housekeeping's senior parenting and relationships editor. For more than 15 years, Rachel has put her training in mechanical engineering and applied mathematics to work by researching, testing and writing about parenting products. Plus, as a mom to three kids under 5, she has plenty of first-hand experience.

Marisa has covered all aspects of the world of parenting, from the postpartum years through the empty nests, since 2015, and she's pitched in with Good Housekeeping's toy coverage since 2018. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter, who are both avid toy collectors.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
More From Board Games