Family Board Games
Family games are generally light to medium complexity, ranging from lengthy strategy board games to quick and easy card games. In other words, it is a rather broad genre, but what defines a family game? There are some simple rules that need to apply - the theme has to be child-friendly, and of course, the complexity level should not be out of reach of an average 8 to 10 year old. With that in mind, family games have to still be interesting for the adult audience and engaging for everyone - both people that are new to the hobby and those who play board games on a regular basis.
Whether it be a cosy game night to bring several generations of family together, or just a casual gaming day with your friends and housemates, family games are for everyone.
Let’s have a quick overview of some of the most popular representatives of the genre, be it a good ol’ classic board games or a newly released quirky card game.
Let’s start from the classics, shall we? Cluedo, also known as Clue, was first released in 1949 and quickly became a staple. Truly a game that came to transcend generations, it is still one of the most popular classic board games today. A classic murder mystery and deduction game, Cluedo offers simple and easy to learn rules, comprehensive and relatively fast-paced gameplay, and an engaging theme. In a classic game of Cluedo, you are one of the guests at a soiree, when suddenly a murder occurs. It is your job to figure out who is the killer, the room in which the killing happened, and which tool was used. Explore the mansion, go through the cards turn by turn, keep your facts straight, and you may become the new Sherlock Holmes!
2-6 players, age 8+, scenario playing time 45+min. Complexity 1.5/5.
Here’s a new family classic! Introduced in 2004, this award-winning board game quickly became a family favourite and has sold over 8 million copies worldwide. The rules are simple - players collect cards of various types of train cars, then use them to take control of railway routes. The longer the routes the more points you get! Here’s the catch - once a segment of the railroad is taken by a player, that’s it, it’s no longer available to anyone else, and the railroad itself is finite. "The rules are simple enough to write on a train ticket – each turn you either draw more cards, claim a route, or get additional Destination Tickets," says Ticket to Ride author, Alan R. Moon. "The tension comes from being forced to balance greed – adding more cards to your hand, and fear – losing a critical route to a competitor."
2-5 players, age 8+, scenario playing time 60+min. Complexity 2/5.
A newcomer to the world of family board gaming, The Quacks of Quedlinburg was released in 2018 and quickly gained popularity among casual players and board game aficionados alike. With a good handful of prestigious awards under its belt, the game boasts simple rules and dynamic and engaging gameplay. In The Quacks of Quedlinburg, you are charlatans busy creating snake oils at a medieval town’s market. Each player has an array of ingredients (chips) at their disposal, and each round they draw the chips simultaneously to create a potion. The higher the value of the ingredient, the further it is placed in the swirling pattern. At the end of each round, players earn victory points and coin for new ingredients. Careful with those brews though, a pinch too much will explode the cauldron!
2-4 players, age 10+, scenario playing time 45+min. Complexity 2/5.
This fun card game has the most unambiguous goal - make the kitties happy! The players draft 3 cards each turn, collecting all sorts of cat supplies, and of course the fuzzy critters themselves. Make sure you have enough kibble for your growing cat collection though, for hungry kitties will cost you points. The player that best takes care of the pets - wins!
2-4 players, age 8+, scenario playing time 30+min. Complexity 1.5/5.
Fresh as lettuce, this fast-paced card game was released in 2019 and quickly gained popularity. With easy-to-learn rules and dynamic gameplay, Point Salad offers over 100 ways to score points, providing a high degree of replayability. Simply draft cards with different veggies, each coming with a scoring method. Some cards will reward you for one combination and deduct points for another. Find your own strategy amidst the ever-changing scoring possibilities and amass the most points to win!
2-6 players, age 8+, scenario playing time 30+min. Complexity 1/5.
Elegantly simple yet with a strategic depth to it, Santorini is a revised and improved version of the 2004 abstract game by the game designer, Gordon Hamilton. In Satorini, each turn consists of two steps - move and build. You move your builder pawn to a neighbouring space, up or down a building, then construct a level of a building adjacent to the builder you’ve just moved. The first player to complete the 3rd level of a building wins the game. Sounds simple enough? Well, to spice things up, Santorini offers 40 cards with thematic god and hero powers that affect the way the game is played. Besides, your opponent could always use your moves to their benefit!
2-4 players, age 8+, scenario playing time 20+min. Complexity 1.5/5.
Designed by Australian board game designer Phil Walker-Harding! A card game with a Bingo-like roll and write mechanic, Silver and Gold provides you with a vast array of treasure maps, draft cards to complete the treasure maps, gather gold coins and claim palm trees as you go, combine different value maps together to maximise their score - there are many ways to gain points and win! A bit of luck and a bit of planning, and you just might be the most wealthy pirate across the seven seas!
2-4 players, age 8+, scenario playing time 20+min. Complexity 1/5.
In this card drafting game, players compete to create the most beautiful - and highest-scoring - quilt on their 9x9 grid board. Each player is awarded buttons, which act as in-game currency and points. Use the buttons to purchase different patches, advance your time-track, stitch your quilt together, or maybe even pass your turn to cash in on more buttons. At the end of the game, after numerous stitching shenanigans, the player with the most points (and the prettiest quilt!) wins.
2 players, age 8+, scenario playing time 30+min. Complexity 1.5/5.
- Gumnut Team