Getting sick of your screen? Try these 11 family-friendly board games

Because our eyes (and our minds) need a break from screens every once in a while

Getting sick of your screen? Try these 11 family-friendly board games
[Photo: National Cancer Institute/Unsplash]

Sick of staring at screens? Exhausted your pile of books? Have kids that need electronic-free entertaining? Let us we recommend something…well, a little old school: board games. Sure, you may have had some mind-numbing experiences in the past when making it through one game of Monopoly felt like the ultimate drudgery (or maybe that was just a personal experience?). But the world of board games looks different (and super fun) these days. Whether you’ve got enough people under one roof for a proper game night or you’re looking for something you can play with a partner, you can’t go wrong with these 11 board games to find the fun and pass the time.


[Photo: courtesy of Target]
If you can find a game about a deadly virus spreading around the globe relatable and educational instead of anxiety-inducing, then we couldn’t recommend this game more. Pandemic is cooperative—not competitive—and tasks you and your fellow participants to work together. Participants follow the storyline and share knowledge, treat diseases, and fly all over the world to prevent outbreaks and slow down an epidemic that’s threatening humanity. Your group will win or lose together as the pace of the pandemic gains speed during the game’s 45-minute time frame. $35, Buy at Target or Amazon

[Photo: courtesy of Two Lanterns Games]
This two-player game simulates a walk through the forest, searching for morel mushrooms to eat. But there’s way more to it than that. This game hinges upon Rummy rules and strategy—meaning that in order to win, you must collect cards of a certain set (and avoid the poisonous mushrooms). There’s a hefty dose of strategy needed to win, so it’s great for older kids and adults alike. $25, Buy at Amazon

[Photo: courtesy of Mattel Games]
Apples to Apples
Apples to Apples is one of the classic games of the 2000s, which has already inspired plenty of spin-offs (such as the NSFW Cards Against Humanity). This kid-friendly card game revolves around comparisons: Participants use their judgment (and silliness) to win each round by coming up with the best noun-adjective pairing—and the most imaginative explanation for their pick. $23, Buy at Amazon, or Walmart

[Photo: courtesy of Target]
Sequence is a classic game that can be played with anywhere between two and 12 players, and it’s just as good for adults as it is for families with younger kids. In the game of Sequence, you use cards and chips to strategize the fastest way to get five in a row on the board. (There’s also an animal-themed junior version that’s suitable for kids as young as three.) $15, Buy at Amazon, or Walmart

[Photo: courtesy of Days of Wonder]
Ticket to Ride
This award-winning board game can turn an hour of your day into a fast-paced journey across the U.S. The object? To collect and play matching train cards in order to claim railway routes. Participants connect cities through North America in order to build a winning route. It’s perfect for adults and kids that are into strategy and geography. And if don’t have anyone to play with, you can connect the game to Alexa and play against your speaker. $44.25, Buy at Amazon, or Walmart

[Photo: courtesy of Catan]
Some 30 million versions of this game have been sold in the two decades since the original Settlers of Catan was released. Play against your opponents and become the best trader, builder, and settler you can be in a 60-90 minute time frame. It’s a favorite among Silicon Valley’s tech entrepreneurs. But don’t hold that against it: Catan is also great for families. $24, Buy at Walmart, or Amazon


[Photo: courtesy of Stronghold Games]
That’s Pretty Clever
You know a game is good if it makes it to America without the directions even being printed in English. This game is a dice game, much like Yahtzee, but with more math involved. Players mark off dice in the matching colored areas, thus piecing together “tricky chain-scoring opportunities,” as the makers describe it. All we know is that it’s fun—even if you don’t love math. $17.12, Buy at Amazon, or Walmart

[Photo: courtesy of Target]
Made for two to four players, this award-winning game allows you to compete with opponents to collect gems, transport them, hire artisans, and eventually and build your empire. But what looks like strategic depth also holds deeper lessons about the economy. $36, Buy at Target, or Amazon

[Photo: courtesy of Asmodee]
Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective
Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective is a terrific game for anyone who has a soft spot for mysteries (but is way past Clue). And even better, because it is a cooperative—not competitive—game, you can play with as many players as you wish, even if that just means you. In the game, you role-play as Detective Holmes and solving mind-bending cases (such as the mystery of Jack the Ripper’s identity) in London using clues that are scattered throughout the game. $44, Buy at Amazon

[Photo: courtesy of Greater Than Games]
Greater Than Games Spirit Island
While many of the narrative-driven games cast players as conquistadors and settlers, Spirit Island offers a different take on “winning” a game by claiming land. Instead of colonizing a new land, Spirit Island’s story allows you team up with guardian spirits and native populations to stop settlers from invading it. $62.25, Buy at Amazon

[Photo: courtesy of Target]
Looking for something über classic? We can’t help ourselves—please invest in Scrabble. This crossword puzzle inspired game of words is “still the best,” as one Fast Company editor puts it. And if your kids (or you) happen to prefer numbers to letters, Rummikub ($15) is a perfect sub. $16, Buy at Target, or Amazon