Tuesday, November 07, 2017

The Best Games for Families

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A list of the absolute best board games and card games for families.

It's no secret that I love games of all kinds: board games, card games, video games...I love them all! Just the other day I bought a bunch of new games which led to a discussion with a friend about what games are included in my game closet.

For the record, I don't have a game closet. My games never seem to leave the dining room table and get put away...that's how much we love to play games around here. Although a game closet should be in the works soon considering how many games we have in our collection at the moment...

So here I present a list of the best board games and card games for families that everyone should add to their game closet...or table or wherever you store your games. Games that you will love to play over and over with the kids as they grow.

The best board games and card games for families from And Next Comes L

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The Best Board Games for Families

Ticket to Ride board game

Ticket to Ride

People always raved about this game and I understood why after the first time I played it. It is such a fun game to play with a variety of ages! This game involves trying to place trains along specific train routes to try and score the most points. I love the strategy involved, even if I seem to lose to my kids and my husband quite often. There are also lots of expansion packs for this game. We've never tried any of the expansions, personally.

Ice Cool board game

Ice Cool

We first played this game at my husband's boss's house about a year ago and my kids still bring this game up all the time. They loved it so much! I'm still on the hunt to find it for a reasonable price and in stock here in Canada so I can grab a copy for us to own. Basically you flick penguins through the school, trying to catch fish.

Lost Cities board game

Lost Cities

I found a copy of this game for 50% at a board game store and it was the only one left in stock. I had heard of it before so figured it was worth taking a gamble on for 50% off. Well, I'm glad I did because it has quickly become a favorite in our house, especially for my husband. The basic gist of the game is to get your explorers as far down the paths as possible to score as many points as possible. However, you can quickly lose lots of points if you don't move far along the paths so it requires a lot of strategy and planning to try and score the most points possible.

Animal Upon Animal game

Animal Upon Animal

This game was an instant hit with my kids when we first tried it. It involves rolling a dice and then stacking wooden animals accordingly. But watch out! If you knock any animals down, then you have to keep those and that's not good because you want to be the first to get rid of all of your animals. My kids still enjoy this game even at ages 6 and 8.


This is a really cool game using dominoes with different landscape artwork on them. You have to try and make the best scoring kingdom. Lots of fun, but requires a lot of strategy and planning ahead.

The Magic Labyrinth game

The Magic Labyrinth

My kids love this game! It combines a maze with a memory game. Honestly, I find this game so hard because, well, my memory isn't what it used to be...haha. My son J, on the other hand, crushes at this game. Not surprising considering his love of mazes and his off-the-charts visual spatial skills.

Hamsterrolle stacking game

Hamsterrolle Stacking Game

This game is so different from everything else on this list. It's a stacking game that takes place inside a giant circle so as you stack higher up the circle, it will roll. It's a really cool concept and definitely a good challenge to play!

Forbidden Island game

Forbidden Island

Forbidden Island is a fun cooperative game that my kids really enjoy. You have to work together to escape from the island before it floods, which is easier said than done. There is another game in this series called Forbidden Desert, but we haven't tried it personally.

Settlers of Catan game

Settlers of Catan

No game list would be complete without Catan. It is an extremely popular game. It isn't my favorite on this list of games, but it still a fun game to play as a family.

Carcassone game


My friend Liska introduced me to this game and I instantly fell in love with it. Basically you place tiles to build a city and try to score as many points as possible by placing your followers strategically on the tiles. Tons of fun! We personally own the Carcassonne Big Box since it contains lots of expansions.

The Best Card Games for Families

Hogwarts Battle game

Hogwarts Battle: A Cooperative Deck Building Game

This game is by far my favorite. I adore all things Harry Potter so when I first got wind of this game, I had to have it. You work through the seven years (which align with the plots of the books) and they get progressively more challenging. I still think year four is the hardest of them all (we failed so many times!). I also love that this game is cooperative and different every single time you play it. So if you have a Harry Potter fan in your house, then you'll definitely want to add this to your game collection.

There is also a Monster Box of Monsters expansion pack, which allows you to play as the character Luna Lovegood. This expansion is on my Christmas wish list this year for myself!

Dragonwood card game


Dragonwood is easily one of my top favorite games, same with my husband. I think we actually enjoy this game more than my kids do, to be honest. I love the creatures, the artwork, the game play, and the strategy involved. Super fun game!

Sleeping Queens card game

Sleeping Queens

My oldest quickly fell in love with this game, as did my niece. The artwork is beautiful and the game play is simple, but incorporates lots of math learning in it. A perfect game for any kid who loves queens, dragons, knights, or fantasy.

There's a Moose in the House card game

There's a Moose in the House

Whenever we play this game, it seems like everyone gangs up on me to put as many moose in my house as possible. The game is simple and silly, but tons of fun!

Sushi Go! card game

Sushi Go!

The artwork is simply adorable on this card game! This game is a pick and pass card game where you pick a card from your hand and then pass the hand to the next player. So your strategy can be quickly disrupted by other players, which makes the game extra exciting!

Slamwich card game


My kids love shouting "Stop thief!" in this fast paced card flipping game. My husband and I have had a few aggressive Slamwich duels in the past and he usually ends up winning. So this game is a hit with the entire family. Who can resist a weird sandwich combo with sardines and gummy candy anyway?!

UNO card game


This game is such a classic. When my boys were about 3 and 5, we played this game multiple times every single day. They just couldn't get enough of it. We still play it regularly even as the kids have gotten older.

Skip-Bo card game


I have fond memories of playing this game as a child. Especially around the time the Spice Girls were popular. I remember my friend Kara would play this game while listening to Spice Girls. I still own that same deck of Skip-Bo cards. When I introduced this game to my husband many years ago, he quickly dominated. I don't think I have ever beat him in a game of Skip-Bo, so it is obviously one of his favorite games to play! My kids love it because of all the numbers.

Exploding Kittens card game

Exploding Kittens

We bought Exploding Kittens around the time it came out and all of us quickly fell in love with it, especially my youngest. I frequently reference the nope cards in this game in my daily life too, which the kids think is hilarious.

There are also some fun expansion packs. Imploding Kittens Expansion Pack is safe for kids and adds some fun new elements, but if you want some inappropriate NSFW cards to play with when the kids are in bed, then you'll want to grab the NSFW (Adults Only!) Expansion Pack too.

Boss Monster card game

Boss Monster: The Dungeon Building Card Game

This game appeals to my love of retro video games, pixelated art, and card games. My husband is a big fan of this game too and frequently wants to play it. Basically, you want to assemble the best dungeon possible to lure and destroy heroes in this game.

The best board games and card games for families from And Next Comes L