the best board games in canada

The Best Board Games in Canada for 2021

There is a solid chance you have played more board games than you usually would have over the last year. Board games are a fantastic way to spend time with others when you are stuck indoors, and can be a great source of laughs, teamwork and strategy. However, playing the same games repeatedly can lead to boredom and board game fatigue. If your family or game group is getting sick of your usual tabletop game, we have created a list of some of the most popular board games in Canada including some of our favouritefor you to try out.  

Below, you will find our list of the best board games in Canada.  

Our top picks

How to choose a board game

What to look for in a board game:  Since there are so many board games available today, finding the one for your next game night might be overwhelming. Fun is subjective, so you might not know what games will be a hit with your friends or family until you play them. However, there are other elements of board games that can help you decide and guess what everyone will find fun, like the following:  

  • Genre  There are many types of board games out there, but often board games will share similarities with other games in terms of themes, game mechanics and play styles.  Some examples include party games, deck-building games and social deduction are some examples of very different genres of board games.  
  • Concept – Different than genre, the concept of the game can hook players in, and make picking a board game easy with certain groups in mind. If your group likes watching Horror movies, you can reasonably expect that everyone will enjoying playing Betrayal at House on The Hill, for example.  
  • Difficulty – Some groups will get intensely invested in board games and will be more engaged with board games with complexity and a learning curve. Some groups use board games as an excuse to spend time with others, and the game is secondary to the social gathering. In either case, getting a game that is too difficult or easy for the group can interfere with the enjoyment of the game, so consider the skill and intensity your group prefers in a game.  
  • Length – Some games can take 10 minutes, some can take 3 hours per play though. Considering how long a playthrough takes will help you determine what kind of game you want for your group.  
  • Price – This consideration is just for the owner of the board game, as some boardgames get your moneys worth in just a few playthroughs, and some will not be worth their price tag.  

Why trust us

It was our goal in the creation of this list to have at least one board game that would appeal to anyone and several on this list that will appeal to fans of board games. We put over 20 hours of research into the creation of this listresearching how to play the game and what players enjoyed about the game.  

We tried to choose games that had a 4-star average or higher among board game reviews and websites alike.  

Best solo board game

Coffee Roaster

Before the smartphone era, people played single-player games like solitaire to pass the time. If you are looking for a single-player board game that is a little more interesting than solitaire during down time or when you are on a coffee breakCoffee Roaster is a fun, fast game that is easy to learn.  

Coffee Roaster is a solo bag-building game where you build a pool of bean tokens that will help you score points as you develop the best cup of coffee you can. While this game will certainly appeal to coffee enthusiasts, the bag-building mechanics of the game can make it a fun game for anyone.  Each game is quick, so you can pick this up during break time or play several rounds, working your way through many styles of java along the way.  

Some people might be turned off by how luck-based this game is, but rest assured, each hand will come with a plethora of options that make this game continuously engaging. People that do not want to spend the full cost that comes with the physical game can also download the Coffee Roaster App on Google Play Store or App Store.

Pros
  • Cool, café aesthetic.
  • Quality made gameboard and pieces.
  • Each playthrough takes between 10 and 20 minutes.
Cons
  • Like other games in the genre, Coffee Roaster can feel very luck-based.

Best board game for one or more players

Spirit Island

If you enjoy playing solo board games but are looking for something with more complexity or replay value, we recommend Spirit Island. 

Spirit Island is a fantasy game designed for one to four players, which sees the players play as one of many island spirits with elemental powers as they protect their home island from colonial invaders. With solo and cooperative gameplay, complex strategies specific for each Spirit, and further customizable gameplay, Spirit Island is an in-depth game that every playthrough will be different. 

Each turn, your spirit grows in power, influence, or access to cards, but so do the colonial invaders. You win by eliminating the invader pieces off the board and by striking fear into the hearts of the invaders. Spirit Island is complex and strategic, and between different strategies and synergies between the different playable Spirits, and the modular gameboard and the different colonial forces you can battle, Spirit Island will feel fresh game after game.  

This is a complex board game that can cause content overload and analysis paralysis, so this game is suited for more avid gamers who will get the most out of the game’s price tag. As a solo or cooperative board game, overall, Spirit Island is a fantastic fantasy game that will delight hardcore tabletop gamers.  

Pros
  • Unique spirits, colonizers and map layouts keep the game fresh.
  • Diverse game modes allow for optimized play for one to four players.  
Cons
  • The game’s complexity means players can feel overwhelmed, especially new players.  

Best two-person board game

Senet

Senet is a different game from all the others on this list: while most of these board games are new, and some are modern classics, Senet dates to ancient Egypt and is also sometimes referred to as the Game of Passing Through the Netherworld.  

Senet is a two-player game with a difficulty level that feels similar to chess. Senet plays similarly to an ancient snake and ladders, as game pieces try to make it to the end of the gameboard, rolling sticks instead of dice.  But along the way, pieces can attack your opponent’s pieces, switching places on the board. However, different places on the board have different significance, both mechanic wise and symbolically as you take your pieces through life, into the afterlife. 

Pros
  • The cool aesthetic can make this game a talking piece. 
  • Still fun thousands of years later.  
Cons
  • The sticks that are precursor dice feel inferior to dice.  

Best board game for large families

7 Wonders

7 Wonders Duel – (English Version) – A Board Game by Repo from Antoine Bauza

7 Wonders is a historical card drafting board game for 3-7 players. In 7 Wonders, players play as different historical civilizations through 3 different ages, all vying to become the top civilization, though economic gain, war, and construction of structures including their famous wonder of the world. Since actions are simultaneous in 7 Wonders, games do not last too much longer with 7 players than with 3, meaning 7 Wonders is great for families of all sizes.  

7 Wonders is a great game due to its simplicity to pick up, yet depth that rewards multiple playthroughs. However, 7 Wonders is an expansive game, so it may be too complex for younger players. If you tend to play games with one person, there is also 7 Wonders Duel, a two-person version of the base game. 

Pros
  • Games with more players do not take exponentially longer
  • Simplistic yet deep enough mechanics mean the game is easy to pick up and keep playing.  
Cons
  • Game results can be unpredictable.  

Best cooperative board game

Pandemic

Pandemic is also our choice for the best game under $50 

More relevant than ever, Pandemic sees players team up against deadly diseases that are spreading throughout the world. This fun cooperative game challenges the players to take on different rolesmake difficult decisions, and travel throughout the world, curing diseases in the process.  

Pandemic is easy to understand and fun to pick up and can be a nice change of pace to play a more cooperative game on family game nights instead of something that can make players at the table at each other’s throats. 

While Pandemic is a very fun game, some people may not enjoy playing the game these days, as the game may feel too similar to reality. 

Pros
  • Encourages cooperation and every player feels important to the game. 
  • Easy to learn and play.  
Cons
  • It may hit too close to home right now. 

Best board game like Monopoly

Yokohama

Yokohama is a game based on the Meiji restoration period of Japan, where after years of being isolated from the world, Japan opened its doors to foreign trade and technology. In this card game, you play as a business owner trying to come out ahead during this period of technological and economic growth.  

In Yokohama, players employ workers to work in the different regions, build on the different regions, develop technology, and trade with different countries to earn victory points to win the game. As players develop their regions, they will collect more money from said regions, so we feel the Monopoly comparison is accurate, but there is a lot more detail and mechanics in Yokohama. 

With a wide range of ways to earn victory points, every game of Yokohama brings something different. However, while the mechanics of the game are not particularly complex, the openness and scope of the game can lead to first time players may get overwhelmed and analytical paralysis in seasoned players. If you like Japan, history or economy-based board games, Yokohama is a great game to play. 

Pros
  • Since the game was created by a Japanese person, the game feels incredibly authentic
  • Sandbox nature of the game means every game will feel different.
Cons
  • Complexity and openness of the game might turn off some players.
  • There is a sizable learning curve when it comes to this game. 

Best party board game

Telestrations

After Dark Version: USAOPOLY Telestrations After Dark Board Game – PG000-410

Telestrations is like Pictionary meets broken telephone. Starting with a word or phrase, a player will draw a picture that represents the word, then pass the picture on. The next player will have to guess what the word was, then draw another picture that represents the word or phrase that they guessed, passing it along until everybody has had a chance to guess and draw. In the end, the players will flip through the book, unveiling each picture and invariably laughing at how ridiculous everything has gotten.

Telestrations After Dark is a more adult version of the game, but depending on the group, the base version of the game might be more appropriate. 

While Telestrations is a fun party game, the game is easily played without purchase, replacing the whiteboard books with scrap paper or scribblers. However, the whiteboard books and markers provide a distinct challenge when illustrating your word, and the cleanliness and organization of buying Telestrations make it worth the price tag

Pros
  • Hours of hilarity among your friends.
  • Whiteboard and markers add a challenge to drawing. 
Cons
  • You can play this game easily without paying for it by using scrap paper instead.  

Best drinking board game

Tipsy Tower

If you are looking for a drinking game to bring to your next social function (whenever that will be), Tipsy Tower is an adult take on a classic children’s game, that challenges your dexterity when you at your least dextrous. Tipsy Tower is essentially a Jenga set with dares and challenges on each block, so as you play, the game’s challenge increases twofold, as both the structure becomes less table and the players drink more. 

With sleek black blocks that are made from quality wood, playing Tipsy Tower feels better than typically cheaper Jenga blocks. Additionally, Tipsy Tower features 35 different game rules for different variations of the base game, so Tipsy Tower stays fresh.  

Pros
  • Combining drinking and Jenga just makes sense.   
  • Multiple game modes  
Cons
  • Clean-up.

Best funny board game

Quelf

Quelf is a simple board game that can have you and your friends in stitches. The layout is simple: the gameboard has spaces with 5 different colours: after you roll your die and move your piece, you will draw a card from the deck of the same colour as the space you landed on, and then do whatever the card says. As you can imagine, the game gets sillier as each card is drawn. The card categories are Rules, Quizzle, Scatterbrains, Stunts, and Showbiz, so there is a range of silly questions to answer or absurd acts you might need to pull off. 

Quelf is a hilarious time amongst groups of any age range. However, the game opted for silliness over gameplay, and so Quelf might grow old among certain groups. Additionally, while Quelf can be fun for most audiences, the more adult your group’s humour skews, the better off you are playing something like Cards Against Humanity.

Pros
  • Easy gameplay that will not confuse anyone.
  • Hilarious.
Cons
  • Gameplay gets repetitive.
  • Humour skews younger 

Best party card game

Cards Against Humanity

Cards Against Humanity is a party game that needs no introduction: chances are everyone at your next party will have heard of the game and the gut-busting hilarity that ensues playing it. 

Each round, a player will draw from the black cards and read what the card says. The other players are tasked with filling in the blanks with words or phrases from the white cards in their hand and will put their funniest card into the middle. The player that drew the black card reads the sentence again with each white card filling in the blank, and then that player picks their favourite card. Whoever chose that card wins a point, and a new player will draw a new black card.  

What separates Cards Against Humanity from other Madlib games is the content: the cards of the game are often random, absurd, and wildly inappropriate, and finding the strangest card combinations can be as rewarding as finding the most sensible combinations.  

Pros
  • Wildly funny.
  • Easy to play and understand the rules. 
Cons
  • Very inappropriate, so playing with certain groups should be avoided.
  • Since this game is so successful, some players might be sick of it already.  

Another great party card game

Codenames

Codename is also our choice for the best game under $25 

If you are looking for a card game for your next party that won’t get you kicked out of your church group, we recommend Codename. 

Codenames is a team word game of 4 players or more. The concept sees each team as a group of spy operatives, trying to communicate with one another by discovering the codenames of agents in their group.  

Set up is simple: lay down 25 words in a 5×5 grid, establish teams and a spymaster for each team, and the spymasters of each team pick up a single key card between them that determines where each team’s spies are.  The Spymaster then give hints to where the agents are hidden under the grid of words, using only 1 word and 1 number. The other players on the team will use that hint to try to uncover as many of their agents as possible – but if they are not careful, they might score points for the other team by uncovering the codename of an opponent’s agent, or worse – instantly lose the team by uncovering the assassin.  

Codenames is a great game for a wide age range, and Codenames Picture is a solid variant that changes word hints to pictures. 

Pros
  • The gameplay does not last long. 
  • Challenging yet not overly hard.  
Cons
  • Teams should be even.
  • 4 or more people are needed.  

And another great party card game

Exploding Kittens

Exploding Kittens NSFW Version: Exploding Kittens Card Game – NSFW (Explicit ADULT Content)

Exploding Kittens is simple in concept: if you draw an exploding kitten card, you explode, and you lose the game – unless you have a defuse card. Each turn, you play cards from your hand and at the end of each turn, you draw a card. Despite its utter simplicity, Exploding kittens is a hilarious game of backstabbing and combining action cards so you ensure other players draw the exploding kitten before you do.

The base form game is great for families of all ages, and the NSFW version of the game is a raunchier version best suited for older hangouts. Between these two versions, any group can enjoy Exploding Kittens!

Pros
  • Fast gameplay.
  • Easy to learn. 
Cons
  • This game has limited strategy, so you will not get super invested. 

Best Icebreaker

Things They Don’t Teach You In School

Things They Don’t Teach You In school is a trivia game that challenges you on your knowledge of random useless topics. Ranging from bizarre to mundane to slightly inappropriate, this game is extremely entertaining, even among those who do not traditionally enjoy trivia. With over 400 questions and answers, there is a decent amount of Trivia questions in this little box.  

Things They Don’t Teach You in School is a great icebreaker, with each question a potential icebreaker of its own. This game is great for parties, game nights, team-building-exercises, or just to boost your Trivia knowledge for your next Trivia night. 

Pros
  • Humorous and random questions over a span of hundreds of topics.  
Cons
  • Some people just do not like trivia games.  

Best board game for geeks

Gloomhaven

Do you really love DND, but do not have the know-how, or people, to play a campaign? Gloomhaven is a cooperative fantasy RPG board game that recalls the complexity of tabletop RPGsInstead of dice, each player has their own deck of cards, and instead of a game master, an instruction booklet describes the layout of numerous dungeons featuring different terrain and dangerous monsters. 

Gloomhaven has numerous character classes, which feature different playstyles and cards. The card mechanics are great for people who enjoy tactical games and resource management, which makes up most of the gameplay. After assembling the pieces included to create one of the many different dungeon configurations, you and the rest of your party will aim to accomplish the objective of the dungeon, as well as completing personal goals as well.  

Gloomhaven is an expansive game that comes with tons of material, so dedicated playercan get a lot from repeated plays, making it a great game for repeated game nights. However, due to the sheer amount of material and content that comes with Gloomhaven, it is an expensive game. Due to the price, the intensity of the mechanics, and campaign nature of the game, Gloomhaven is best played with a regular group. However, a one-player mode exists as well, if finding others might be an issue (like right now).  

Pros
  • Great RPG alternative for groups without a game master.
  • Great combat mechanics.
  • Exhilarating 1 player mode. 
Cons
  • Expensive.
  • Contains a huge number of pieces and cards. 

Best war board game

Scythe

Scythe is set in an alternate history 1920’s universe, where war has ravaged the land and dieselpunk mechs roam the land. In Scythe, your goal is to battle for control over the land, using whatever economic and military means you have available.  

Scythe is a 4X game, where players explore the land, expand their influence, exploit the resources and people of their land and other lands, and exterminate their opposition. Smart exploitation of the natural resources and swift military defeat of your opponents’ will put you ahead of your opponents, and when the game ends, the player with the most wealth wins. 

While Scythe is a fun game in terms of combat, the major selling point is the scope of strategies you can employ. Harvesting resources, developing buildings, deploying mechs and earning wealth are ways you can pull ahead of your opponent’s, and just like in real life, instigating battles might get you blown out of the game. While we love the setting and strategy elements of Scythe, we realize that the game is super complex and best for seasoned boardgame players.  

Pros
  • Imaginative alternative history setting.
  • Players can follow many paths to victory. 
Cons
  • Very complex, so it can be overwhelming when learning the game.  

Best board game for competitive people

Root

Don’t let the adorable cartoon characters fool you: Root is a complex, strategic multi-player board game that features asymmetrical gameplay as you roleplay as 1 of 4 woodland factions that are at war with one another.  

Play as the domineering feline Marquis de Cat, play from the trees as the winged Eyrie dynasty, revolt against the woodland overlords with the Woodland alliance, or play all sides as the sneaky Vagabond.  

Root’s advantage is its disadvantage: each faction has different rules and playstyles and requires a solid understanding of the game’s mechanics to make the most of it. Its advanced gameplay makes it great for board game aficionados and dice roll tacticians, and not so great for a younger or more casual player base. Root is great for game nights with repeated game nights, as with each playthrough you will learn the ins and outs of your preferred faction, or perhaps try a new faction on for size. 

Pros
  • Each faction has its own identity and feel to them, in addition to playstyle.
  • Intense strategy perfect for competitive groups.  
Cons
  • May prove too complex for some groups.  

Best chill board game

Photosynthesis

Photosynthesis is a game about growing trees. While the premise seems as slowmoving as watching paint dry, photosynthesis is an engaging multiplayer game where players vie for the top real estate of the forest.  

Each player starts with a few young trees, and grows those trees, as well as new trees from seed, throughout the hexagonal forest gameboard. As the sun revolves around the game board, each tree collects sun points that allow you to grow your previous trees or grow new ones. As you grow your trees bigger, you can block your opponent’s trees from earning sun points, so you can take over the forest and win. With gorgeous tree cutouts for game pieces and relatively simple game mechanics, Photosynthesis is a great family game, up to 4 players. 

Pros
  • Simple, chill gameplay that does not take long to learn or play.
  • Gorgeous game pieces are well constructed and look fantastic.  
Cons
  • Lots of game pieces can get lost or damaged.  

Best quick board game

Point Salad

In Point Salad, players score points by picking plants  

This is a surprisingly fun, quick-to-learn game that is great in large or small groups, between 2-6 players. 

In Point Salad, each game card has a vegetable on one side and a point card on the other. The point card earns you points for each vegetable or each set of certain vegetables, and each round, you will need to pick a point card or up to 2 Vegetable cards from the market. After all the cards have been picked, the game ends and each player tallies their score.  

While the gameplay is basic, it is also fun, competitive and engaging: two players may be eying the same carrot to earn points, but only one can pull that carrot on their way to victory. The game also does not take long, so it is perfect as a part of a game night or when you only have little time to play.  

Pros
  • Simple mechanics, so the game is easy to learn. 
  • All you need to play is the deck of cards and free space. 
Cons
  • Expensive for essentially a deck of cards.  

Best cult-favourite board game

Terraforming Mars

Ever wondered what it would be like to live on mars? That is the idea behind this science fiction game from Fryxgames and Stronghold Games, where you play as corporations that have set out to make the red planet hospitable. By terraforming oceans, increasing the average temperature, and increasing the oxygen levels of the planet, each player sets out to win by collecting victory points. However, this game is far from cooperative as the cutthroat nature of capitalism rears its ugly head as players all try to race to the top spot.  

Each player gets certain resources, between ones they start out with as different corporations, or in project cards that they draw. As they play the game and contribute to the terraforming of the planet, they will earn Victory points that get them closer to winning, or work towards milestones or contribute funds for awards. Each element has its own strategies for how it can help you win, so the options in Terraforming Mars are plentiful.  

If you like science, competition or strategy games, Terraforming Mars will be a hit.  

Pros
  • Strategic and competitive.
  • It feels true to science, economics, and human nature.  
Cons
  • Many rules and mechanics at play.

Best mystery game

Betrayal at House on The Hill

Have you ever watched a horror movie, only to find the characters’ actions unreasonable, with you wondering if you could survive better?  

If so, Betrayal at House on the Hill is a game you should try out during your next game night. This roleplaying horror game sees its characters wander through a haunted house only to discover the sinister secrets of the house, and the realization that one of the players plans on betraying the others.  

As each player explores the house, they will uncover new rooms from the deck, uncovering items, revealing secrets, and walking straight into sinister monsters. Once the haunt begins, one of 50 scenarios will play out, based on the omen that triggered the haunt and which room it was triggered in. This will usually where the traitor begins turning on their players. Don’t be intimidated by the traitor and hero book you will get, as you only need to read the applicable section and apply that to the game. 

Overall, for its combination of horror, mystery and shifting suspense, Betrayal at House on the Hill is a thrilling game that will get the blood pumping.  

Pros
  • Combines horror, exploration and betrayal.
  • Each game will play out differently.  
Cons
  • Steep learning curve. 
  • Some users think some rules in certain situations are vague.  

Best trendy board game

Wingspan 

In Wingspan, you play as an avid birdwatcher looking to see the widest variety of birds over the other players. While birdwatching is not for everyone, we feel as if most players will enjoy Wingspan, for its simple engine-building mechanics, chill gameplay and beautiful design. 

In Wingspan, for you to attract a certain bird (from your hand), you will need the right ecosystem and food for that bird. Once in play, that bird can earn you resources, like food or extra cards, or produce eggs, which are worth victory points. Whoever collects the most victory points at the end of play wins. The mechanics of the game are simple, as there are only a handful of options of moves throughout the game, yet with so many different bird species within the base game with different effects, every game will likely play out differently. Wingspan is suitable for 1-5 players to play, with a solo mode available for those times you do not have other people to play against.  

The level of care and attention to detail put into Wingspan is astounding. From the gorgeous art of birds, the 3D birdfeeder where you feed the dice, or the individual game pieces, everything looks and feels well made. If you enjoy nature and board games, we think you will like Wingspan. 

Pros
  • Gorgeous design, art and layout.
  • Simple engine building mechanics.  
  • You learn more about different species of birds.  
Cons
  • No real gameplay interaction with other players.

Best board games for 4-year-olds

Busytown

Busytown is a great way to introduce your young child to the bright, fun world of board games. Recommended for children 4 and up, players of Busytown will join Richard Scarry’s characters of Huckle Cat and Lowly Worm as they search Busytown for hidden objects among the lively cartoon scenes.   

The eye-found-it nature of this board game is great for young players, as it challenges young players to find different objects in the bright world of the game but does not penalize players for not finding enough items. Kids who can’t sit still can enjoy the large scope of this board game, which is over 6 feet long and is designed to go on the floor. Also, since Busytown is cooperative in nature, so your children will learn the merits of teamwork through playing the game.  

Pros
  • Cooperative so no tears with younger players.
  • Easy to understand for young minds. 
Cons
  • Require space for setup. 

Best board games for 6-year-olds

Jumanji 

Like the famous movies, the goal of Jumanji is to reach the centre of the board and call out Jumanji before the other players. Jumanji is a simple board game that is great for children due to its simple mechanics yet competitive nature. While you move your piece along the path to the end goal, you are in constant threat of danger, and the other players will need to help you or cross you – along the way. 

Jumanji is simple, making it great for family gameplay. Kids will love the unique card decipherer in the middle piece that unveils what each card means, as well as the jungle theme. But be careful! Several game states end in a loss for all players, so if you want to beat Jumanji, you will need to balance competition and cooperation. 

Pros
  • Simple mechanics.
  • Competitive yet collaborative at the same time.  
Cons
  • All players lose in certain scenarios.

Best board game for 12-year-olds

Disney Villainous

If you have Disney lovers among your friend and family, Villainous might pique your interest. While some games based on the established intellectual property seem like cash grabs, Villainous is a fully fleshed outboard game with fun mechanics based on iconic Disney Villains.  

In this game, you play as one of six Disney villains trying to accomplish their nefarious deeds. Each villain has their own goals and deck of cards, designed around the arcs of each villain in their respective Disney movie. As you play, you will collect items and Ally’s that will help you reach your goal, or using Fate cards, summon Disney heroes that stop your opponents.  

Villainous is a game that requires some strategy, but with overall simple mechanics, it seems perfect for older children and adults alike. Besides, who doesn’t like to root for the villain once in a while? However, some users noticed that with more players, gameplay slows down considerably.  

Pros
  • Play through the evil plans of 6 famous Disney villains.
  • Gorgeously well-designed art, cards, and pieces.  
Cons
  • More players slow down this game quite a lot.   

Best two-player game

Santorini

Santorini is also our pick for the best kids’ game under $50 

Santorini is a building game where players compete over who can build the tallest building in an ancient Greek island setting. With abilities granted by the different gods within the game, each player tries to get higher to the gods, by getting to the 3rd level of one of your constructed building. However, if a dome is built on top of the 3rd level, you are going to need to build a new tower instead. 

Each god that a player can play gives them special abilities that add an extra level of strategy to the game. However, the game is still simple for young kids and the different board pieces add an extra level of immersion to this game.  

One negative about the game is despite the box saying it is a game for 2-4 players, the game is the most fun as a two-player game, and added players may take away from the experience.  

Pros
  • Simple mechanics and gameplay that most players can pick up.
  • Gorgeously designed pieces.  
Cons
  • On the abstract side of things.
  • Despite what the box says, this plays best as a two-player game.  

Best cooperative board games

Cahoots

Cahoots is also our choice for the best kids’ game under $25. 

Cahoots is a great family-friendly card game that sees each player team up to win! But there is a catch: your hand is a secret and you can only hint at what you have. Players need to collaborate by hinting at how they can meet the game’s different challenges with what they got in hand.  

In Cahoots, players place a card from their hand onto 1 of four piles, matching the top card’s number, which there are 7 different numbers, or colour, of which there are 4 different colours. If in doing so, the cards on top of each pile meet the criteria of one of four-goal cards, the players earn that goal and then flip another goal card. Players win by accomplishing all goals before running out of cards or lose by running out of cards or if a player is unable to play.  

Cahoots is a great family game to play, as everyone is on the same team, trying to beat the game together. The game encourages communication and teamwork but limits you to hints or suggestions about what you have, adding an added challenge to the game. If your family gets too competitive on boardgame night, then we suggest trying Cahoots out for something more chill.  

Pros
  • Encourages cooperation and communication. 
  • Easy to understand rules. 
Cons
  • One mistake can lose everyone the game.  

Best solo board game

Rush Hour Junior Board Game

It’s rush hour and traffic is backed up! Can your little one use their problem-solving skills so everyone can head home? This single-player game challenges young minds to organize a traffic jam, developing their logic and sequential reasoningWith simple to understand rules and 40 challenge cards, Rush Hour provides repeated fun one can play alone.  

Kids will love the bright colours of the vehicle game pieces and trying to figure out the solutions to the problems. The components of the game are well designed, however small enough to get lost or prove a choking hazard for toddlers.  

Pros
  • Colourful cars will appeal to many little ones.  
  • 40 Puzzles to solve varying difficulties. 
  • Build your child’s logic and problem-solving skills. 
Cons
  • Pieces can be a choking hazard for younger kids.  

Best educational board game

Robot Turtles

Robot Turtles may seem like your average young kid’s board game, but there is a little bit more under the hood. Robot Turtles is designed to introduce basic elements of coding to young players. Playing with your youngins, you will set up the game board, placing your child’s turtle of choice and the jewel that corresponds to the turtle’s colour apart. Through the use of the game cards, your child will pick a card and you will move the turtle accordingly. As your children get used to the game, you can give them harder challenges that will help develop your child’s logic and critical thinking skills, including obstacles like walls and crates 

Robot Turtles teaches kids that machines and computers communicate differently than humans and teaches them how to be exact with their communication to get their robot turtle where they want it to end upThis encourages your children to help think like programmers do, in a fun, interactive game that involves turtles with lasers on their back.  

Pros
  • Encourages problem solving and communication.
  • Fun for younger children.

 

Cons
  • Parental involvement is crucial. 

Best quick board game

Hive

Hive – Travel Size Edition

Hive is a fun, relatively simple two-player game that is reminiscent of chess, with a hexagonal layout, no game board and creepy crawlers instead of royalty and pawns. Due to it’s easy to learn ruleset, Hive is a great game for children and adults alike to play.  

With 5 different types of insect game pieces that have different moves they can make, your goal is to protect your queen from being entrapped by insect pieces belonging to either player, while simultaneously trying to trap your opponent’s queen. Hive is a great game to take along with you due to the minimal space and elements you need (you only need the game pieces to play) and is available in a travel-sized version.  

Pros
  • Can be played anywhere with a flat surface. 
  • Simple rules.
Cons
  • Strictly a two-player game  

Best kids party game

Sushi Go Party

Sushi Go Party is a fun party game for two to eight players, where each player picks their perfect platter of sushi to score points. Different types of sushi earn different points with different combinations, and with all the different types of cards introduced with Sushi Go Party, every game is different! 

The rules to Sushi Go are easy, as each round, each player picks 1 card from a hand of cards and passes the rest on to the next round. Whoever scores the most points from the different kinds of sushi they pick up wins! The game features adorable sushi artwork that kids will love, and the gameplay is dynamic and keeps you on your feet, so even tabletop aficionados will get repeated enjoyment from Sushi Go Party.  

Even with 8 players, Sushi Go is a fast-paced game that your friends and family will love.  

Pros
  • A diverse variety of cards mean the gameplay is dynamic.
  • Fast and fun. 
Cons
  • Going through all the cards for set up can take a while.  

Best funny board game

Speak Out

In this funny viral game, players must wear a plastic mouthpiece that makes closing their mouth impossible and then they are tasked with saying tongue twisters. If their teammate guesses what on earth that player said, then they score a point. But be careful! Your sides might hurt after from laughing so hard.  

Many players have commented on how enjoyable they found the game, however, they recommended buying the expansions, as, after a few playthroughs, cards might start popping up again, and if you are playing with bigger groups, ensure you have at least 1 mouthpiece per player.  

Pros
  • Hilarious board game that anyone can enjoy. 
Cons
  • It requires an extensive clean up (please clean the mouthpieces thoroughly between uses). 

How we picked the best board games

For this buying guide, we put in over 20 hours of research on popular board games for both kids and adults alike, within a variety of genres and flavours. We prioritized board games that had Amazon ratings of 4 stars and above. Additionally, we backed up our information with websites that specialize in tabletop games, including GamesRadar and BoardGameHalv to back up our choices.  

Frequently asked board game questions

What is a board game?

Board games are a kind of tabletop game that requires the use of a game board during play. However, at many points in this article, we use board game in a looser sense of the definition, using the term to refer to other types of tabletop games, including card games and party games.   

Where to buy board games in Canada?

You can often buy board games from any store that sells toys, books and/or games, including Toys R Us, Walmart and Indigo. However, you can find many titles you will not find on store shelves on Amazon and other websites.  

What is the best board game of all time?

The best-selling board game, and perhaps the most famous board game, is Chess, which traces back to 1200. However, in terms of the overall best board game experience is subjective. My personal favourite board game is Catan, however many games on this list might be challenging for the top spot. For some of the contenders for the best board game of all time, check the selection below for our choices of the best classic board games.   

The best classic board games

These are some of our favourite board games that in our experience, most people have played. These games are great for playing with family or friends, and chances are you will have a minimal number of new players.  

Catan

Catan has cemented itself as a classic family-friendly game over the past 25 years, and for good reason. Catan is simple to learn, filled with different strategies to build your civilization up, and features a multitude of expansions and variations.  

Starting as a young civilization, in Catan, you acquire resources like wood, wheat, and brick that you can use to expand your civilization, or trade with the other players for their resources. There are many ways to earn victory points to win, so there is lots of strategies afforded to players while never feeling overwhelming.  

With over 32 million games of Catan have been sold worldwide, Catan is without a doubt a classic game. With endless expansions, you can keep the game feeling fresh as well. 

Monopoly for Millennials

If you think adulting is hard, Monopoly for Millennials can be a nice game for you.

Monopoly was a staple in my home growing up, and I am sure that many can say the same. However, for some, Monopoly is synonymous with frustration. No game demonstrates the cutthroat nature of capitalism better than Monopoly. 

Monopoly is the classic game of buying property and roaming around the board, trying to bankrupt other players while staying in the black yourself.

There are infinite versions of monopoly available: you can choose versions of the classic game that tie-in to various franchises like Star Wars and Mario, versions with electronic banking or voice control to make the role of the banker easier, and this Millennial Version, which tries to give Monopoly a humorous modern spin.  

Clue

‘Who committed the murder in the mansion?’ That’s the big question behind Clue. This board is a long classic mystery board game that is popular among generations.

A murder most foul is afoot, and you need to figure out who killed the victim, what happened, and where to win the game.  

Players must use logic and reasoning to figure out who is guilty, making suggestions against other characters of how the crime might have played out, and it is up to the other players to prove that player wrong by showing them a card that disproves the suggestion.

If nobody can, that player can make an accusation, and if they do, if that accusation is right, the player wins the game. However, if they are wrong, that player does not get anymore turns and can no longer win the game.  

Scrabble Deluxe Edition

Scrabble – Original Version

Scrabble is one of the easiest two-person games to learn and is a great tool for children to practise their spelling.

This deluxe edition of the game features a new gameboard that both keeps tiles in place with a non-slip layout, as well as wheels so you can spin the gameboard so everyone can see their options.  

Each turn, the turn player places their letter tiles on the board to spell a word, and scores points based on the scores of the letters used and the placement of the word.

The game is simple to pick up, helps improve spelling skills, and is great for players of all ages.  

Taboo 

Taboo is the classic word guessing game that is great for parties and family game nights alike.

Two teams face off against the clock, trying to guess a word on a card in front of the teammate. That teammate must give hints to the word at the top of the card they have, but the words below that top word are taboo, and cannot be used for hints by that teammate. Additional rules forbid using similar sounding words or parts of compound words on the card so Taboo poses a hilarious challenge for both teams. 

At the end of each team’s time, they score a point for each card that their team successfully guessed. When each player has been the clue giver once, then the scores are tallied and the team with the most points wins.  

Sorry!

Sorry! Is one of those childhood games that most people played growing up at some point.

Move your coloured pawns across the gameboard, and if you land on another player’s pawn, you should probably apologize because that player’s pawn goes back to the start.  

Sorry is basic enough in rules that anybody can play it and enjoy themselves. For a simple, cheap and fun family board game, Sorry is a great place to start, as it combines strategy and luck in an entertaining way.

This is one of those board games that don’t take you more than five minutes to get all set, which is ideal for anyone looking for entertainment without spending too much time.

Although Sorry is popular for being family-friendly, it’s not ideal for children under three years, as its small parts can pose a choking hazard.

What do you think of our list? Did you miss any board games? Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments below!

Read more

About the author

Sam Beetham

Sam Beetham is a writer who has accomplished his childhood dream of rating things professionally. When not gazing deeply into the LCD display, he can be found cooking, designing DND dungeons or working on music with his band.
Other author posts

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *