5 Awesome Board Games For Kids (And The Whole Family!)

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The March holidays are nearing, and you can bet the kids will be looking for something to do. Consider getting a board game—they have loads of educational value and encourage quality family time. If that sounds like a lot of fun to you (And it should! I mean, why wouldn’t it?), check out Swords & Stationery’s list of 5 awesome board games for kids (and the whole family), along with links to buy them!

Best played with 4 to 6 players

Overview

…it’s kind of like Taboo, in that you’re guessing words. However, it’s also a waaaaay funnier game…

In Codenames, players are split into two teams (Red and Blue). Each team is supposed to guess a set of words from a layout of 5×5 cards, using clues provided by their Spymaster.

What’s fun about it

This is a highly contextual game that requires a lot of thinking out of the box. The competitive nature of the game encourages the spymaster to link one clue to multiple words on the table, so that his/her team can win the other by guessing all of their words in the shortest order.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, yes it’s kind of like Taboo, in that you’re guessing words. However, it’s also a waaaaay funnier game, particularly when your team’s spymaster starts getting desperately creative, or when players make hilarious mistakes.

Want maximum laughter? Get mum and dad to be the Spymasters >:)

Buy @ Paradigm Infinitum (Games@PI)
Get it from Games@PI
Buy @ Sunny Pair O Dice
Get it from Sunny Pair O Dice

2) The Resistance: Avalon

For 5 to 10 players

Overview

This is a game that my students always look forward to whenever we have time for it.

The Resistance: Avalon is a social deduction game, in which players must try to guess who’s who. Players are split into two groups: Loyal Servants of Arthur (good) and Minions of Mordred (evil). The good guys must complete three out of five quests, while the bad guys must sabotage them. The only problem is, (most of) the good guys don’t know who’s good or bad… but the bad guys do.

What’s fun about it

There is a lot of backstabbing fun to be had here. It’s one of those games that foster plenty of communication, as players try to discredit one another while building up credibility of their own. Furthermore, there are different roles that change up the game significantly. Merlin, for example, knows who the Minions of Mordred are; the Assassin must try to guess who Merlin is; Percival knows who Merlin is… and so it goes on. This is a game that my students always look forward to whenever we have time for it.

Buy @ Paradigm Infinitum (Games@PI)
Get it from Games@PI
Buy @ Sunny Pair O Dice
Get it from Sunny Pair O Dice

3) Hanabi

For 2 to 5 players

Overview

…because it is a purely cooperative game, it can foster understanding, patience and playful smacks on the shoulder…

For those who don’t speak the language, Hanabi means “fireworks” in Japanese. Here, it is a card game in which players must try to build up a series of fireworks according to their colours and numbers. Each player can see the others’ cards, but they can never see their own. In fact, it’s each player’s job to tell the other players what types of cards they have, before the timer or fuse goes off.

What’s fun about it

The tension is the best part of this game! You’re relying on the others to be your “eyes” (and vice versa), but because every bit of information you give to another player will make you “lose time”, you need to weigh your options very carefully. Things can also get intense when the fuse is about to blow. Still, because it is a purely cooperative game, it can foster understanding, patience and playful smacks on the shoulder, whether the fireworks end up being stacked beautifully together, or end up falling apart.

Buy @ Paradigm Infinitum (Games@PI)
Get it from Games@PI

4) Carcassonne

For 2 to 5 players

Overview

It’s great for those evenings when you just want to sit back and spend some quality time with the family over some drinks and tidbits.

Carcassonne is a tile-laying game. Players take a tile from a stack and place it down on the table to create a map of the land of Carcassonne, while simultaneously claiming parts of the land for themselves by putting Meeples on them. The final score of each player is tallied by counting the number of roads, churches and cities claimed.

What’s fun about it

Carcassonne is super easy to get into, while still requiring a great deal of strategy. It’s a fairly ‘chill’ game, in that although players are competing with one another, it never feels super aggressive. Maybe it’s because luck can still turn the tide of things, or maybe it’s the calm, pleasant aesthetics. It’s great for those evenings when you just want to sit back and spend some quality time with the family over some drinks and tidbits.

Buy @ Paradigm Infinitum (Games@PI)
Get it from Games@PI
Buy @ Sunny Pair O Dice
Get it from Sunny Pair O Dice

5) Patchwork

For 2 players

Overview

Just like Carcassonne, Patchwork is a very zen game, but it’s also got a competitive streak to it.

Patchwork is a 2-player game in which players must build up an income of buttons while filling up their quilts with patches. Most of these patches provide players with income, and this in turn allows players to buy more expensive ones.

What’s fun about it

If it sounds like a really simple game based on the above, that’s because it is. However, it’s also a strategically complex game. You know those games which are easy to get into, but difficult to master? This is one of them. Just like Carcassonne, Patchwork is a very zen game, but it’s also got a competitive streak to it. You’ll be watching your opponent’s quilt board closely most of the time, trying to deny them certain tiles while taking care to fill up your own board. Still, losing never feels unfair; you’ll always want to bounce back for a rematch. It’s perfect for 1:1 bonding sessions!

And yes T, if you’re reading this, I will win you next time ’round. 😛
(For those wondering, T is the only student to ever beat me in Patchwork.)

Buy @ Paradigm Infinitum (Games@PI)
Get it from Games@PI

Of the titles in this list, I most strongly recommend Codenames. It is one of the best bonding games I’ve ever played. It also has a ton of learning value within.

The Resistance: Avalon was a game I recommended back in 2017. It’s a wonderful game, but it requires 5 or more players. As such, it can be difficult to get a game going. If

Hanabi can be a hilarious game, but it requires a lot of input from players. I’ve had a lot of fun playing it with my students, but it’s an acquired taste.

Carcassonne is a classic, no doubt about it. I thoroughly enjoyed each and every session that I’d played.

Patchwork is my favourite game board game at the moment. The biggest downside is that it’s only for 2 players, but if you’re not looking to play in a big group, it’s a must-buy.

But really, they’re all fantastic games in their own right. You can’t go wrong with any of them.

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Teacher Shaun

Teacher Shaun

...is a self-professed geek and lover of all things old-school. When he's not playing Fallout or Deus Ex for the nth time, he can be found sitting in front of his laptop hacking away at his keyboard, typing blog posts like this one. He also runs a little company called Swords & Stationery.
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