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The Best Tabletop Games To Play With Your Kids

TheGamer logo TheGamer 8/9/2022 TheGamer Staff
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Kid-orientated board games are like kids' movies: they can be really entertaining for children but can be truly annoying for adults. This is true of many traditional kids games like Candyland, but nowadays there are many games for children that are actually fun and amusing for adults, too.

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Plus, there are a number of adult games that kids can really get into. Here's a selection of tabletop games that will delight gamers in your family of all ages. With these games, you will be able to spend many delightful hours with your kids without ever dusting off an old copy of Chutes and Ladders.

Updated August 8, 2022, by Gabrielle Huston: Looking to spend more time bonding with your children? This article has been updated to help you along that journey as smoothly as possible.

Cat Crimes

Approximate Play Time 5-10 Minutes Per Challenge
Number Of Players 1
Suggested Age Range 8+

Cat Crimes is technically a solo game. It's a series of logic puzzles in which you try to deduce which cat did one of the typically bad cat things like eating a fish, spilling some coffee, or unraveling a ball of yarn. But it works really well as a game for children and adults to play together.

The logic puzzles start simple, but grow in complexity to keep even adults engaged. And the cat standees used for the puzzle are cartoonish enough to maintain a child's attention as you walk through the logic puzzles together.

Batman Fluxx

Approximate Play Time 5-30 Minutes
Number Of Players 2-6
Suggested Age Range 8+

One big problem for children is that it's hard for them to sit through a big explanation of rules for a game. Fluxx games solve this problem by having the simplest possible rules: you draw one card and play one card. But the game doesn't get boring because the rules are constantly changing.

The addition of new rules progresses easily enough for most kids to follow, so they don't get lost. There are many Fluxx games, but Batman Fluxx is a good one for children: the characters are engaging and not too scary. Also consider Wizard of Oz Fluxx or Star Fluxx depending on your kids' interests.

Forbidden Island

Approximate Play Time 30 Minutes
Number Of Players 2-4
Suggested Age Range 8-10+

Forbidden Island is a fantastically fun, wonderfully hectic board game where you and the other players work together to collect ancient artifacts and escape an island that is slowly flooding.

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It's great for kids because the games are short and different each time, thanks to a randomized map. They'll also have to work on their cooperation skills in order to win.

Smash Up

Approximate Play Time 45 Minutes
Number Of Players 2-4 Players
Suggested Age Range 10-12+

Smash Up is one of the more complicated games on this list, and it might be a challenge for some younger kids, both when starting and in following through to the end. However, many kids love the premise of Smash Up, where you control two pop culture factions (like, say, ninjas and dinosaurs) in a battle over bases.

While there are many potential combinations and strategies can get complex, kids love the crazy clash of cartoony powers, and because they focus on just their own powers, they can learn to master it, two factions at a time.

Tsuro

Approximate Play Time 15-20 Minutes
Number Of Players 2-8
Suggested Age Range 6-8+

Tsuro is a great game to use to introduce anyone to games, no matter their age. In this game, you lay down a tile with paths on it. Then you and anybody else adjacent to the new tile follow the paths. There aren't a lot of rules, and the play is very quick.

Games can take as little as ten minutes each, and with up to eight players the entire family can play. You can even use this game as a calm-me-down at a birthday party. If you want, making fun sound effects as you move can make the game even more engaging for young players.

Catan

Approximate Play Time 1 Hour
Number Of Players 3-4 (base game)
Suggested Age Range 8-10+

Catan has become incredibly popular in recent years among even non-nerdy adults. However, you might be surprised to hear that kids can take part too! The game involves players settling on an unoccupied island full of natural resources you'll need to expand your empire.

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While Catan has some more complicated mechanics, older children are perfectly capable of grasping them well enough to play. It doesn't hurt that the game involves a lot of social engagement via trading resources, so there are plenty of opportunities to explain whatever the child is confused about. Some players fall in love with the game so hard that they've developed their own house rules!

Santorini

Approximate Play Time 20 Minutes
Number Of Players 2-4
Suggested Age Range 6-8+

Santorini is a basic strategy game that works best for two players. In the basic game, each player controls two figures who can move one and then build one of the stackable building pieces. The goal is to try to get a figure on the top of a third level.

Kids understand the rules well and love the building aspect. Adults enjoy the deeper levels of strategy. Once you've mastered the basic game, you can up the difficulty by giving each player a Greek god with unique powers.

Codenames

Approximate Play Time 15 Minutes
Number Of Players 2-8
Suggested Age Range 10-14+

Codenames is a tricky game where players take on the roles of spies and spymasters. There are a series of cards (representing secret agents) on the table with words, and the spymasters must tell the spies certain codewords to help the spies find the secret agents.

This one is great for kids to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills! There's an hourglass included to time the turns, but we recommend not using it; it's not worth the added stress.

King of New York

Approximate Play Time 40 Minutes
Number Of Players 2-6
Suggested Age Range 8-10+

Like its predecessor, King of Tokyo, each player in King of New York controls a kaiju--a giant monster. You try to fight each other so only one monster survives. King of New York is a little more complex, but it adds the ability to smash buildings and destroy planes and tanks.

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This helps make the game more fun for younger players, but, really, both games are good choices. Although there is some strategy involved, there's also a lot of luck because everything depends on dice, so this game gives everybody a good chance of victory.

Castle Panic

Approximate Play Time 1 Hour
Number Of Players 1-6
Suggested Age Range 6-10+

Cooperative games make a good choice for playing with kids. Because you're all working together, kids don't have to deal with losing more often than you do. And you can help them figure out their moves. (The challenge is knowing how much to help--give them space so they choose what to do.)

Castle Panic is a great choice for a cooperative game--you all work together to defend the central castle (made of standing walls and towers) against the onslaught of cartoonish goblins, orcs, and trolls. The base rules are easy and game play is relatively quick. If your kids have a short attention span, there's an option for a shorter game.

Carcassonne

Approximate Play Time 30-45 Minutes
Number Of Players 2-5
Suggested Age Range 7+

In Carcassonne, you take turns drawing a tile and adding it to the countryside you are building together. Tiles have to match borders with a tile already in place. Then you can use your figures to claim features on the tile you placed. Placement rules are easy--it's basically like dominoes--and turns go quickly.

The strategy is engaging enough to keep adults interested, but simple enough that kids can make insightful, even surprising plays to win. Once the family has mastered the base game, there are many expansions to keep the game interesting.

Gizmos

Approximate Play Time 40-50 Minutes
Number Of Players 2-4
Suggested Age Range 8-14+

Gizmos is an engine-building game, pure and simple. But while many hardcore strategy games depend on engine-building, this game has been stripped down to its simplest level so that it's engaging to kids. Marbles represent energy, and you can choose different types of energy to buy new Rube Goldberg machines and add them to your engine.

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These give you more energy picks or other abilities. Kids love the marble drawing mechanism and the creative art on the machines. It's harder for kids to win because the strategy is complex, but everybody enjoys the process of building their funny machines. Plus, the games aren't too long, so nobody gets bored.

Marvel Champions: The Card Game

Approximate Play Time 45-90 Minutes
Number Of Players 1-4
Suggested Age Range 12-14+

Marvel Champions is an awesome card game that includes all your favorite superheros! You'll take on their duties to protect the Earth and defeat villains like Ultron and Rhino.

This is a great choice but a little more complicated, so it's better for slightly older kids. Regardless, if they love Marvel, they're bound to pick it up quick!

Stuffed Fables

Approximate Play Time 60-90 Minutes
Number Of Players 2-4
Suggested Age Range 7+

Stuffed Fables is designed for families to play it together. It tells the story of a little girl facing the obstacles of childhood, such as moving out of her crib and sleeping without diapers, but while she sleeps her stuffies come to life and protect her from dark forces that want her to fail. It's basically a dungeon crawler designed with kids in mind. The characters are engaging, the rules are easy, and the scenarios are challenging without being too hard.

Kids really identify with the stories and are excited to turn the page in the storybook scenarios. If it has a downside, some of the creatures can be a little scary, so it's not always the best choice right before bedtime.

Sushi Go!

Approximate Play Time 15 Minutes
Number Of Players 2-5
Suggested Age Range 6-8+

Sushi Go! is an adorable, low-stakes game that asks you to collect combinations of iconic sushi dishes in order to win! Rounds take only a few minutes each, but you can play as many rounds as you want to see who is the ultimate winner!

Kids get addicted to this one easily since it's so simple and exciting to play. Plus, the adults can still have fun with it (maybe as a drinking game?) after the little ones go to sleep. Take our word for it: the official rules are best taken loosely.

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