3 Classic Board Games to Love

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Now that most of our kids are old enough not to eat the pieces, we’ve entered the world of board games. They love to play, though we don’t do it as often as they would like. I prefer to play it once the girls are in bed, and by that time, I’m beat!

But, when we do play, we have a good time. I must confess, though, we’re kind of old school around here. So old school that I still have the Trivial Pursuit set I bought when I was twelve! It must be a classified antique.

Some of my favorite classic games include:


Now that we learned how to play Monopoly the marathon way, it’s a much more doable option. The boys and I haven’t figured out all the tricks, but they love to play it. Recently I found the travel version on clearance, so I’m hoping that we’ll be able to take it on the road, on vacation, to the grandparents, etc. in the months to come.

Scrabble board game cover.Scrabble

I’ve played Scrabble with families for whom this game is serious, serious business. We’re not that practiced with it. But, it’s a good exercise in spelling and vocabulary. We also have Scrabble Jr. which is a good diversion for the littler people.

Sequence board game cover on white background.Sequence

It’s actually been quite some time since we have played Sequence, but I’ve always liked it. Don’t really have a good reason, I just do.

It seems that new games can be so expensive, it makes me hesitant to bust out and buy a new one. I’ve bought more than a few really boring card games in my time, so I want to avoid wasting money. Any ideas?

Do you have a board game — classic or new — that you love?

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  1. I love Pictionary and Scattegories. I can’t wait until our little one is old enough to get these games. I’m thinking 2 more years and she’ll be golden. =)

  2. I love Othello, Backgammon and Uno. My daughter loves Hi Ho Cherrio, Chutes and Ladders and Trouble.

  3. We really like the Apples to Apples game! It is one that young or old can play (they also have a junior version). I am from a HUGE family (my mom was one of 12 and I am personally one of 16) and this game is one that we always play at get togethers because lots of people can play and we laugh the entire time. Phase 10 is another fun one.

    My husband and I love the classic games and I like to find them at garage sales and thrift stores. Even if they don’t have all of the pieces chances are pretty good that you can find another game that has the pieces you are missing, and you still pay MUCH less than if you had bought it new.

    Black Friday sales are also a great time to get the games you love for big discounts (which is how we got the Apples to Apples game.)

  4. Our kids favorite at the moment is Sorry and Uno Attack! I’m more old school and love games like Monopoly, Life and Trivial Pursuit.

  5. I grew up playing board games and my family loves them as well. While I’m not fond of Monopoly (causes too many arguments), the Indiana Jones Monopoly isn’t bad. We love Apples to Apples, The Train Game (Aussie Version), Yatzee, Phase 10, and Millie Bornes. Great post!

  6. Looove all the games mentioned so far. Makes me want to play right now. My kids all like to laugh at my husband and I trying to hum on Cranium. He can’t carry a tune, I hate humming, it tickles my nose.
    I like Imaginif, and sometimes we’d put one of our pets instead of a person. Especially if you have any pets that you could imagine as a person.

  7. My kids love Blokus. It is fairly easy for everyone to play (even my 4 year old) yet it can be quite competitive if the older kids (re: adults) are playing.

  8. Encouraged by your earlier post on how to play Monopoly with your children of various ages, I set out to find a set at a yard sale inexpensively. I found a complete Monopoly game at our Hospital’s Rummage sale for $1.50! I sat down right there and made sure ALL the pieces were there and was thrilled that they were. It’s been a ton of fun!

  9. I am a big lover of board games, too, and was thrilled to find my husband’s family liked games!

    Our kids are too small to play many games, but we are entering the world of Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders. We’ll build up from here. πŸ™‚

    When I was growing up, my dad actually got rid of our TV for about 2 years. At the time, I was outraged that he would do that, but in a short time, I realized what a good thing it was for our big family. It brought us all closer together and we started playing more board games together – something we had stopped doing! Even as a teen, I would opt to stay home on a Saturday night (when I wasn’t babysitting) and play board games with my family. I have some of the best memories from these times, and have never seen my dad laugh as hard as I did during those nights.

    And I also have fond memories of game nights as a newly married young couple , playing with my in-laws – we would laugh until the wee hours of the morning! I’m thankful for those times with my mother-in-law, as she has since passed away due to cancer.

  10. Last week we played a game called Dr Seuss Super Stretchy ABCs and my 4 year old had a great time! Actually my husband did too πŸ™‚ It’s similar to Twister but only one person goes at a time.
    You spin the wheel and find out which letter (or picture) you put your hands and feet on. For each one you get a coin to go into your “toy box.” When you spin sometimes you get footprints. Once the footprints fill up the footpath, the game is over. Then you turn over the secret letter- whoever has that letter coin in their toy box wins. It’s a great game for little ones, especially ones working on beginning reading skills!!

  11. We love the card game flinch and it’s easy enough that young kids can play with help and it help with learning to count up and down from 1 to 15. Yahtzee and Trouble are 2 other ones we love. Keep an eye out during the holidays, because this is when I’ve gotten a couple of these games really cheap (or yard sales, which is where I finally found the flinch game!)

  12. I love monopoly too! I work at a learning center that has an after school program. I love playing board games with the older kids. They took to monopoly quite well when I brought it for them to play (not to mention some of the younger ones reading and math skills improved dramatically!)
    But it takes soooooooooo long to play. And inevitably some get bored and quit.
    Then we discovered Monopoly Deal. It’s a monopoly card game and it takes around 15 minutes to play a game! The kids love it and I love that it keeps their attention. (It’s a little more fast paced than the board version)

  13. I can’t belive no one has said Jenga – we love that around here -Connect Four is also big in our house

  14. Life was my favorite. I can’t wait until my girls are old enough to play! I’m getting tired of Snails and CandyLand.

  15. My 4yo has been begging for straight-up old-school checkers. Chinese checkers is also a nice throwback. I also think he’s also done very well with dominoes and Sorry. He wanted to try Mancala, but it was a bit over his head – but a great game for the older ones. I’m a little disheartened that no one plays these simple truly classic games anymore. =(

    Furthermore: my husband would vote for Triominoes and Rummikub [he’s a numbers guy] while I love Scattergories and Scrabble [I’m more into words]. But we agree on Ricochet Robot. It is a love it or hate it game though – takes what I call an “engineering” kind of mind to appreciate, but it’s sooo good and you can have as many people play as can fit around the board.

  16. Balderdash, Sorry, Life were a few of my favorites as a kid. Maybe I’ll pull one of those out this weekend. It’s been ages since I’ve played!

  17. I’ll echo what some others have said:

    I love games; my husband does not. sigh. Needless to say, when I get a chance to go to a game night I am thrilled!
    Rummikub, Apples to Apples (there is a junior version as well), Skip Bo. Another one is called Set. Its a card game where you make sets based on similar (visual) attributions…sounds terrible, I know, but its really quite addictive.


    Hope this helps!

  18. My husband and I love board games, so we’ve been building our collection since we got married. There’s nothing like a good game of Risk to bring out your competitive streak, especially when there’s no one else’s territory but your spouse’s to take over!

    We also love classics like Scrabble, Monopoly, and Trivial Pursuit. Our newer favorites are Cranium, Apples to Apples, and Catch Phrase (in the newer, easier to use, digital format–no cards to trade out). Apples to Apples is probably the perfect game to play with large groups. The instructions are easy and everyone loves it.

  19. We love Trouble, Scrabble, Yahtzee, Monopoly, Sorry, Battleship, Uno and Taboo! Taboo and Catchphrase are good for adults to play when you get together with other families.

  20. Our library lends board games. They also host a family game night. It’s a great chance to try out new or different board games.

    We own Uno, Chutes and Ladders, Candy Land, Jr. Scrabble, Don’t Spill the Beans, Cooties, Scrabble, Yahtzee, Trouble, Blokus and Risk.

  21. Pit was always a hilarious multi-generation game in my family, and I improved my spelling skills with tons of Boggle, Anagrams, and later Scrabble with my grandmother.
    Clue and Trouble (no idea if that is around anymore) were other favorites.
    And my own boys have just gotten into Blokus.

  22. We love Hoopla! Everyone works together to beat the clock, and there’s something for everyone – drawing, acting out, and words.

    Also Balderdash, or “The Dictionary Game”. Learning new words was never funnier!

  23. I am very surprised no one said Scategories. That is a staple at Thanksgiving and any other holiday we can’t go outside. I LOVED being part of my grandma’s team (she has since passed) because with her age she would come up with answers that I knew would not be knocked out because someone else came up with it.

    We also like Phase 10. Not that expensive of a card game, I am pretty sure it runs under $10.

  24. awesome topic! Love all the ideas πŸ™‚ For 2 players, my kids love Goblet Jr. as well as Double Shutter….strategy needed in both but easy enough for 1st grade and up.

  25. We own a board game store and have suggestions for games for the whole family- all the way to the little ones- that we’ve really enjoyed with our boys (starting when they’re 2 or 3). Blokus (only up to 4 players, but we play teams too)- great for spacial perception, color matching and has pretty simple rules that the littles can play with a little help. We’ve found that the hubby and I can still have a competitive game against each other and still let the kids play too with this game. Snorta is a fun one- a farm animal sound game that can be made harder for the older kids and easier for the younger kids at the same time. Our boys’ newest favorite game by FAR is Quelf. It just came out a couple years ago, but we have a blast playing it every time! When playing with the younger kids, we modify a couple of the rules to make it easier for everyone.

  26. Carcassonne is a nice game, not at all rules-heavy or hard to learn, but it has a lot of subtleties you only pick up after lots of play. So new players might see it at one level, and can quite happily play it that way, but as you get more familiar with it, you can get…sneakier. πŸ™‚ And when the whole family is at maximal sneakiness, there are expansion sets that are total game-changers, some of which are just a couple of dollars.

    Blokus is very popular (and pretty!), but can be frustrating if the player abilities are at all imbalanced. Once you can’t place any more pieces, you just sit there and watch the other players beat you by more and more points. Trust me–I’ve been there. That being said, when players ARE pretty evenly matched, it’s a nice, well-designed game.

    Ingenious is very different from Blokus, in that it’s almost always possible to swoop in from last place to claim victory. (I admit, that’s very important to me–if I know halfway through that I’ve lost, what fun is there in continuing?) It’s a tile-placement game, where you earn points by matching tiles of the same color, and your final score is the number of points you have in your worst color. That’s a terrible way to say it…when the board is full, if you have 15 green and 18 of every other color, your score is 15. So the player that charges ahead may not ultimately win. I like that.

    Bananagrams is a highly-portable word game that’s great for when you don’t know how much time you have. There are variants that can take under a minute, or you can play the full version of the game, which is usually only a couple of minutes anyway. It doesn’t require a game board and comes in its own handy banana, so it actually lives in my backpack and is brought out for time-killing emergencies. Many’s the airport I’ve played Bananagrams in!

    Set is another great game as far as portability goes, and it’s won many many awards. It’s a matching game, using a big deck of cards. It’s billed as a family game, but it’s funny how it always comes out at parties. It doesn’t matter how many players there are, and players can wander in and out at random, so why not?

    I promise, I’ll stop eventually, but…

    What I want in a game is NOT to know halfway through that I’ve already lost, and NOT to have to spend half an hour setting up or explaining the rules. My key phrase is “simple elegance,” and these–I promise, the last group, then I’ll shut up!–absolutely have that. The one caveat is they’re all two-player games, and all in the same general format (abstract strategy), so as much as I’d like to tell you to rush right out and buy ’em all, it may not make sense for you. But they’re so good!

    Polarity. Oh my goodness, what a beautiful game. It’s like Othello at first glance, except the pieces are magnetized, and once the first five are placed, you can only place a piece by hovering it on one edge, supported by the magnetic field of another.

    Cathedral. Place your pieces inside a walled city, and whoever controls the most space at the end wins. Very simple. But if you find a wooden set instead of a plastic one, you can leave it out as a piece of art.

    Quoridor. Move your guy toward the opponent’s side of the board, OR place a wall to block your opponent’s guy from getting to your side of the board. Another attractive game with simple rules. The kids’ version has a mice/cheese theme, but the exact same format.

    And absolutely the most elegant game out there: Quarto.
    So beautiful. It really can just sit on a side table, begging for visitors to ask what it is. A board with a 4×4 grid, and 16 lovely wood pieces, each with four qualities: short/tall, light/dark, round/square, and with a notch on top or without. I select a piece, give it to you, and you place it on the board. You select a piece, give it to me, and I place it on the board. The goal is to be the player who places a piece such that there are four in a row with the same quality: all tall, or all notched, or all…whatever. It’s so beautifully made, and so simple to play…I think I’m going to get our set out right now.

    Sorry to drone on, but this is a big topic in our house!

  27. We LOVE the game Dominion for playing with the bigger kids (our 10 year old can kick our tushes!) Its made by a German company called Rio Grande Games. http://www.riograndegames.com We also love Carcasonne, and San Juan (by the same company). For the younger set we love Yahtzee (even my 3 yr old get involved, rolling the dice of course!) and Uno. We LOVE playing games at our house, its such an amazing way to interact with your kids, and so much fun for Mom and Dad too!

  28. Left, Right, Center dice game is fast paced and fun. You can play with a lot of people and use money, candy, or any other trinkets for each player. Lots of fun.

  29. We love Qwirkle! And our current favorite card game is Sleeping Queens. My kids think it’s neat that a little girl came up with it, and I like it because it involes math.

  30. It’s not a board game, but we were just turned on to Farkle by some friends last year. It’s really just a dice game, but you have to add and you learn about risk and chance and how you can lose it all if you get greedy – a perfect Dave Ramsey game! πŸ˜‰ They took red nail polish and made one side of each die red (so one – 1, one – 2, one – 3, etc.) and then if it lands on the red side, you double the points for that die. If you get all six red, then the whole score is doubled. Lots of fun!

  31. You must try Payday! Our family loves it! I have an 11 yr old, a 6 yr old and a 3 yr old and we all play it. My 3 yr old of course just rolls the dice and hands out money and cards & stuff for us, however my 6 yr old is learning alot about monthly bills, groceries, and a paycheck! ;o) Payday was my favorite game when I was a kid and I was stoked when I found it last Christmas season (it’s hard to find any other time of the year).
    Monopoly and Scrabble are amongst are favs as well. My 3 yr old really likes the Cranium version for toddlers….it’s actually a fun game that I enjoy doing with him as well!!

    I enjoy your blog btw. I’m a new subscriber, I found it via Organizing Junkie I believe!

  32. Funny, my 7 yo, his 6 yo friend and my 5 yo are all playing Monopoly together right now. I’m working/surfing and they are completely enjoying this big-boy game all by themselves! Besides Monopoly, we love Uno and Rummikub (the tile game… that your grandmother probably played). Nice post!

  33. Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, and Agricola.

    And most definitely the game that my husband created:

    Revolution! (Produced by Steve Jackson Games)

    Lots of board games, card games, etc. in this household. πŸ™‚

  34. We love Clue , Life , Checkers , and a long list of card games.

    There is an old timey game about foxes and chickens/hens.My grandfather passed away long ago and he always triied to get me to play it.He was born in 1910 and as a child I tired of his games and stories..I long for them now.If anyone has a picture of the board and rules I would love to have them to pass to my children.

  35. Favorites at our house are Sorry, Uno and Yahtzee. Yahtzee is great for addition practice. Sometimes we play math games with the Uno cards too (we just take out the word cards). Hmmm. I think there’s post fodder in that one.

  36. Taboo. LOVE taboo. People won’t play with me too often because I get a little too into it…. but it’s hilarious and fun. I wonder if they have a kid’s version, because some of the references are hard for younger ones.
    Also – fluxx – a completely 70s card game. Rules are always in fluxx… Good game to play with kids because it’s a very luck-based game.
    And Balderdash. There are several editions.

    1. @Michelle T,

      We love this game too but my siblings (15 and 17) were bored by it. They don’t play video games so I know it wasn’t that. I am not sure why they didn’t like it since they are at the age where “whatever” seems to be the most they say. I just wanted to extend that warning since it is a game that can run around $50.

  37. My family loves Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit. We’ve always taken the Trivial Pursuit cards in the car with us and just read the questions to each other…no score, just fun. Sure helped me and my sister learn how to enunciate!

  38. We love Rummikub in our house! Its a board game version of the card game Rummy. My grandparents taught it to me years ago and my older children love to play it with me!

    1. We played that when I was a kid and it was our family’s favorite! I rarely find anyone else who knows what I am talking about when I bring it up!

  39. We love love love board games here at our house. We have tons of them that we have been given. Some of the ones that we really like are Boggle, Blokus, Apples to Apples and Sorry. There are many more! πŸ™‚

    1. @Sheryl Slot,

      I second the Blokus vote. We are addicted to this game and play it every weekend with my sister-in-law and her hubby all through the winter months. The most wonderful part of this game is that it is accessible for anyone of any age. There is no reading, no lengthy setup and it is pure reasoning and strategy that wins this game. A pricey investment up-front ($20-$30) but it will pay off.
      The kids like to play it too with grandma while eating lots of junk food that is not usually present in their diets.