The best board games for the whole family

Family board game session

British weather can be somewhat unreliable (understatement of the century) and sometimes you need something to keep the family entertained while you're all cooped up indoors. We can't promise there won't be arguments once the games begin, but these Mumsnetter recommendations should at least make choosing what to play a bit easier

The best classic board games

We're not reinventing the wheel here, but there's got to be a reason they've stayed so popular.

Family Trivial Pursuit, £24.99

Family Trivial Pursuit, £24.99

If Trivial Pursuit brings back nostalgic family memories but your kids are still a little young, this Junior version is a nifty compromise.

“We bought family Trivial Pursuit recently and even I, self-confessed loather of board games, have enjoyed it – high praise indeed. Our last game was with the grandparents and I nearly died laughing! (Our kids are 6 and 10, if that helps, and the grandparents are 66 and 69).” SingingSands

“Family Trivial Pursuit is brilliant! Our 8 year old and 6 year old love it. We adapt the questions if the topics are completely outside their frame of reference but they surprise us with what they do know.” CreamCrackerundertheSettee

Age range: 8+
Number of players: 2 – 6

Buy now from Amazon

Monopoly Deal, £9.45

Monopoly Deal, £9.45

Perfect if you’re not ready for all-out board-flipping Monopoly but are considering introducing the family gently – for starters, this version is over so much faster.

“Monopoly Deal is great – it's a shorter version of Monopoly played with cards, so also handy for taking when travelling.” spababe

Age range: 8+
Number of players: 2 – 5

Buy now from Amazon

The best strategy games

If you're fed up of the luckiest family members always winning, then opt for strategy games that reward the hard-working players – perfect for a lesson in perseverance.

Hey That's My Fish, £9.99

Hey That's My Fish, £9.99

This game is all about planning ahead – you need to collect as many fish as possible and make sure your penguins don't go hungry.

“Hey That's My Fish is awesome. The rules are easy to learn, and strategy and thinking ahead are very important to make sure your penguin isn't stuck on an iceberg with no fish. It's relatively cheap for a proper board game, too. Extra bonus is it actually works well with just two players if someone needs to wrangle a toddler. Also – cute penguin figurines!” AlbusPercival

Age range: 8+
Number of players: 2 – 4

Buy now from Amazon

Pandemic, £28.47

Pandemic, £28.47

Certainly not for the fainthearted, this strategy game is all about working together – there's no one champion, you either all win or all lose.

“Pandemic can be a bit tricky at first but lots of fun and a great way to work together as a family.” woolsocks

“My other half has just got us into playing co-operative board games, where you play together and either all win or all lose. The one he's got is called Pandemic – you work as a team to try and control global outbreaks of disease. It's great fun and it's not easy to win.” wanderingcloud

Age range: 8+
Number of players: 2 – 4

Buy now from Amazon

Codenames, £13.28

Codenames, £13.28

Get ready to crack the code with this game. Two rival spymasters take turns giving one-word clues to their field operatives, who try to guess the right codenames to help their team win.

“We tried Codenames over the weekend, which was good and involved strategy.” TFSRM

“Absolutely excellent word game for four or more players.” GertrudeBelle

Age range: 10+
Number of players: 2 – 8

Buy now on Amazon

The best games for the whole family

Arm yourself with these reliable family favourites to enjoy a bit of peace and quiet.

Ticket to Ride, £30.95 (was £39.99)

Ticket to Ride, £30.95 (was £39.99)

Yes, it's got a mammoth rule book, but if you've already played this game to death you can even add expansion packs and take a trip around a whole different part of the world.

“The novel that is the Ticket to Ride rule book put us off for nearly a whole year after buying it, but it's now one of our favourite family games, as well as being fun for two people. It's worth persisting.” brightandsunnyday

“We've just played Ticket to Ride the Asia expansion. It mostly changed the game because we don't know the map, but also because it changed the strategy of my younger daughter who normally wins. I love it when a familiar game can be changed by an expansion, I might consider getting the USA set next.” frenchfancy

Age range: 8+
Number of players: 2 – 5

Buy now from Amazon

Dixit, £20.79 (was £29.99)

Dixit, £20.79 (was £29.99)

Although more of a card game, Dixit is a great way to get the whole family playing together. The aim of the game is to create stories from the pictures on the cards you are dealt, which can cause much hilarity (especially when playing with the youngest members of the family).

“So far I like Dixit best, it was a great hit with all the family, although my mother-in-law couldn't quite grasp the concept which lead to much hilarity among the younger ones. Just looking at the artwork was entertainment enough for most.” fresta

“Love Dixit, even though my daughter trounces me regularly.” WuTangFlan

Age range: 6+
Number of players: 3 – 6

Buy now from Zatu Games

Animal Upon Animal, £21.50

Animal Upon Animal, £21.50

OK, OK. So it's not technically a board game, but it is a really great way to get children of all ages to play together – and who doesn't enjoy trying to balance tiny animals on top of each other?

“For totally silly fun, we bought Animal Upon Animal a couple of years ago after I saw a recommendation on here. It's been great and is very handy when you have mixed groups in terms of age or competitiveness!” TranquilityofSolitude

Age range: 4+
Number of players: 2 – 4

Buy now from Amazon

The best board games for every age

Find a game which is just right for their age – here are Mumsnetters' top picks for all ages:

Board games for the under 5s:

Shopping List, £6.40

Shopping List, £6.40

Hailed on MN as a surefire boredom-banisher, you'll never be allowed to get rid of this one – no matter how old they get.

“Shopping List was favourite by far here. Even though they’re much older now, that’s the only Orchard Game they won’t let me give to charity! They also liked Bus Stop and Pop To The Shops (brilliant for learning about handling money).” FairyPenguin

“Both mine adored Shopping List, which is where you have to collect all items in your list and place on your trolley shaped board. My nine-year-old son gets it out quietly and plays it by himself sometimes even now.” CremeBrulee

Age range: 3+
Number of players: 2 – 4

Buy now from Amazon

Board games for ages 6 – 10:

Monopoly Junior, £20.98

Monopoly Junior, £20.98

Not ready for mammoth Monopoly sessions yet? This version is specially created with children in mind, so you can ease yourselves in gently.

“Monopoly Junior – the one with the fun fair dodgems on the front. It's virtually the same as the real Monopoly but each game only lasts 20 minutes.” rightwhine

Age range: 5+
Number of players: 2 – 4

Buy now from Amazon

Related: Find the best Lego sets for your child using Mumsnetters' recommendations

Board games for teenagers:

Labyrinth, £16.99 (was £24.94)

Labyrinth, £16.99 (was £24.94)

Take turns to make your way around this ever-changing board in search of treasure.

“My daughter (aged 10) likes Labyrinth. She has a really good memory and enjoys beating everyone else. It's easy to understand and the rules are easy so kids can play by themselves.” fresta

“It's great. A quick set up, only a few rules to learn and they're also easy to learn. For a quick game we just deal four cards each, rather than dividing the whole pack. My sons are nine and 12 and both loved it. I love it a lot as I kick their arses at it!” OvO

Age range: 8+
Number of players: 2 – 4

Buy now from Amazon

The best two player board games

Whether it's date night or you're spending a little one-on-one time with one of the kids, these games are ideal for two players.

221B Baker Street, £19.49 (was £24)

221B Baker Street, £19.49 (was £24)

Although this game is, of course, a popular one for the whole family, it's also great for just two players to tackle.

“We really like 221B Baker Street, as it's a lot like Cluedo. We've only ever played it two-player, and it works well.” Asmadasmax

Age range: 10+
Number of players: 2 – 6

Buy now from Amazon

Bananagrams, £12.60 (was £15.99)

Bananagrams, £12.60 (was £15.99)

Disclaimer: You're likely to enjoy this game so much that you end up playing sans children.

“We like Bananagrams. It's Scrabble-like but much faster pace, and everyone can play to their level.” IAmAPaleontologist

“If you like wordy games, Bananagrams is great. My husband and I play on holiday a lot. It's a bit like Scrabble, but with no board, and it travels well with the tiles in a zip-up case.” gerbo

“Bananagrams! The letters come in a cute banana-shaped bag and the rules are full of terrible banana puns.” tarheelbaby

Age range: 7+
Number of players: 1 – 8

Buy now from Amazon

The best board games for travel

Because it isn't always practical to pack a monopoly board.

Dobble, £10.97 (was £12.99)

Dobble, £10.97 (was £12.99)

If you've not heard of Dobble yet, you're late to the party – this game can accommodate anywhere from two to eight players, and is easily accessible for any age (plus it fits snugly into your handbag for entertainment on the go).

“Dobble is brilliant for any age and is small which is a winner for me.” lalaloopyhead

“Was going to suggest Dobble, but somebody else beat me to it! It's a really simple concept, but great for all ages.” EasilyDistracted77

Age range: 6+
Number of players: 2 – 8

Buy now from Amazon

Sushi Go, £14.99

Sushi Go, £14.99

Another speedy card game, handily packaged for when you're out and about (or for packing up and taking to Grandma's house).

“Sushi Go is fab, between two and five people of all ages can play. My eight-year-old picked it up in a couple of minutes. The rules are simple and scores are written on the cards so there's nothing to remember.” PhilODox

Age range: 8+
Number of players: 2 – 5

Buy now from Amazon

Read next: Our roundup of the best tablets for kids – as chosen by Mumsnetters

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