Top 12 Best Family Board Games – Mom

We get asked a simple question a lot this time of year. “What are the best family board games?” and “What board games should we get for our family?”

In the past we’ve written about the Top 10 “Must Have” Family Board Games and the Top 10 “Must Have Family Card Games. Each year we also put together our Board Game Gift Guide to help people get ideas on what to buy for Christmas gifts.

With thousands of board games released each year we thought it would be a good idea to share the perspective of each member of our family on what games they’d put at the top of such a list.

So rather than just getting dad’s summary and having it go on and on with so many great board games and card games. We’re giving you the perspective of everyone in the family.

We also have our comprehensive board game reviews list that you can sort by each member of the family to see which games they rated the highest, but the drawback there is that times change. For example, something Jaden thought was so cool 3 years ago may not have held up as well against some cool new games. So now we’re taking it from scratch. Given an afternoon or evening to pick some games to play, which would be at the top of your list.

And we’ll start right at the top with Mom.

Top 12 Best Family Board Games – MOM’s choice

(Update Oct 2015: The list below is mom’s list as of Oct 2012. Mom just updated her Favorite Family Board Games list. You can see the updated Oct 2015 list here.)

Dad disclaimer: Take head of this list because it’s a super important one. While I may play and love a ton of games (and still have a ton on my wish list), the real gauge of fun family games often comes from mom. When we’re all together (and not just dad and the kids), what games are we going to play? We’re going to play games that mom enjoys. 

As mom properly stated, “picking the best games are tough because it depends on how much time we have, who’s playing, and what mood we’re in.” But here are the games that mom puts at the top of her list of games she loves playing.


Ticket to Ride

Ticket to RideA great “go-to” family game that’s light, strategic, and colorful. There’s just something engaging about building up your sets of cards to claim routes and complete your tickets. We’ve played other Ticket to Ride games, but the Europe version is mom’s favorite.

Easy to learn, simple to play, and can be enjoyed by the whole family.

See our full review of Ticket to Ride: Europe.

Get a copy of Ticket to Ride: Europe



7 Wonders

7 Wonders card gameA surprise hit with mom. At the end of a game of 7 Wonders it might look like a very complicated game with the table as full as can be with cards spread everywhere. And that can be intimidating for a family board game. So it took a little convincing to pull mom into a game of 7 Wonders.

But once mom sat down and tried 7 Wonders, the bug was caught. With the first hand or two, it was still a little confusing. But by the third and fourth, she was on a roll. Not only is it a game she loves to play, but she comes out on top the majority of the time.

See our full review of 7 Wonders.

Get a copy of 7 Wonders




Sequence card gameSequence is a staple in our family. You may think that a simple game of playing cards and placing chips on the board to match that card would be boring. But the beauty of Sequence is that any number of people can play and conversation can continue.

Whether it’s just two of us, or we’re with 10+ extended family, it’s great to team up and work together to get your rows complete – even when you don’t have a clue what cards your teammates hold. And since a lot comes down to luck of the cards, it’s great for families of all ages.

See our full review of Sequence.

Get a copy of Sequence




Pandemic 5th Anniversary board gameThe first cooperative board game we bought and it’s still a hit in our family. Pandemic is also the game often credited with launching the cooperative board game craze. But that’s not why we love it. Simply put, it’s a great game. With multiple ways to lose and only 1 way to win, it’s great to work together as a team, using everyone’s special abilities to beat the game.

And while the theme may seem a like a ‘downer’, as a team we’re saving the world. We also think the additional elements and player roles in the expansion, Pandemic: On the Brink, help make it even better.

See our full review of Pandemic.

Get a copy of Pandemic



Code 777

Code 777 board gameCode 777 is a brain burner when you’re ready for some thoughtful analysis. Most board games and card games mom likes are light and fun. Code 777 is for when mom’s in the mood for some mental stimulation – and that’s a different kind of fun. But fun nonetheless.

In Code 777 player can see everyone else’s tiles but their own. They must correctly guess their own tiles by listening to the responses of the other players. It’s a challenge and mom loves it.

See our full review of Code 777.

Get a copy of Code 777



ClueIf she’s looking for a thinking game everyone can join in though, mom will pick classic Clue. Trying to whittle down the options of who did it, with what, and where never seems to get old.

And those characters are so ingrained in today’s culture that we can use a derivation of “Colonel Mustard, with the Candlestick, in the Library” around the house and we all get the reference – such as “Caleb, with the Cookie Jar, in the Kitchen”.

See our review of Clue.

Get a copy of Clue



RollickAs far as party games go, Rollick takes the cake for mom. Rollick and Reverse Charades are similar charades games in that instead of 1 person acting out and their teammates trying to guess what they’re doing, it’s 1 person guessing what all the other players are acting out. It’s hilarious fun!

Watching 4 people trying to act something out in different ways not only leaves the guesser scratching their head, but it leaves everyone else howling with laughter.

See our full review of Rollick.

Get a copy of Rollick



Anomia card gameAnother party game that keeps the energy up with laughter is Anomia. It’s a quick thinking game with a lot of brain freeze. When a card is turned over with a matching symbol as someone else, it’s a quick showdown to see who can shout out a correct answer first. A lot of things get shouted, but not always an answer.

And regardless of how it turns out, it also brings a lot of laughter.

See our full review of Anomia.

Get a copy of Anomia



Skip-Bo card gameFor more light, fun family card games Skip-Bo has to be on the list. Skip-Bo is a card game that we played a lot when the kids were younger (and before our game shelf started to sag with the weight of so many other games), but it’s still a great game.

Cards are played onto 4 shared building piles in numerical sequence from 1 to 12. On each turn, a player draws until they have five cards in their hand, and then plays cards from: their hand, a top card of their discard piles, or their stockpile. At the end of their turn, a player must discard onto one of their four personal discard piles.

Get a copy of Skip-Bo



Timeline card gameTimeline is a new card game on the scene for us and mom also loves how simple it is to play. And best of all, it doesn’t take a lot of time. So for moments when we don’t have a lot of time to play a game, this is a quick one to pull out and play. It also takes a bit of reasoning to figure out where to place your cards on the timeline. Good stuff.

See our full review of Timeline.

Get a copy of Timeline



RackoWhile this may be an older game, there’s still something enjoyably satisfying about shouting Rack-O when you get your cards all lined up. No matter how long it’s been since we’ve played Rack-O, it’s not a game we have to refresh our memories about – and that goes a long way when mom’s looking to play a game. Just pull it out and start playing.

Get a copy of Rack-O


Catch Phrase

Catch Phrase party game boxBack to a party game to finish the list – Catch Phrase. Catch Phrase is also a game that was one of the first we reviewed when we started The Board Game Family because we loved it so much. And we still do.

Squaring off as women vs. men or girls vs. boys is still the way to go!

See our full review of Catch Phrase.

Get a copy of Catch Phrase


So there you have it – Mom’s Top 12 list of Best Family Board Games.

To all you mom’s out there, we’d love to hear what your favorite family board games and card games are.

See the what everyone else has as their Top Board Games:
Dad – Top 14 Board Games
Trevor – Top 8 Board Games
Jaden – Top 11 Board Games
Brooke – Top 10 Board Games
Caleb – Top 10 Board Games


Comments: 26

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Cool. Thanks for doing this. We love board games too.




Just wondering if you ever bought Zooloretto. Its that time of year to get some games for my two boys, 6-1/2 and 8.




    Lisa – Yes, we do have Zooloretto though we haven’t posted a review on it. It’s a great game for kids that age. It has a good amount of decisions to make during the game and the theme is fantastic that kids love.




very good post, i definitely really like this excellent website, carry on it




[…] adatti per famiglie (qui), come anche le liste dei giochi preferiti dai vari membri della famiglia (Mom, Dad, Jaden, Caleb, Brooke e […]




What about daughter’s view




    Carly – Our daughter did her Top 10 Best Board Games as well. There is a link to her list at the bottom of this post. Her name is Brooke.




Surely the best board games have to be age related.
I have a 11yr old and a 9 yr old son so need to find games that are not only fun but challenging.
Can someone guide me here.




    Roger – that’s exactly right. And not only are the “best board games” age related, they’re also situational. If we’ve only got 2 players, the “best game” will be different than when 6 want to play.
    For some good direction for a 9 year old, take a look at out board game reviews list and sort it by “Caleb”. He’s our youngest and you can see which games he’s like the most over the last few years.




Thanks so much for this article. We are trying to get our kids off their computers and around table talking and appreciate your suggestions. We recently purchased a game on Amazon called “You Don’t Know Me” and it is our new favorite and I would also recommend. Thanks again




I am looking for a board game for my mom. She doesn’t care for “Risk” but loves “Clue” (just as two examples). I am looking for something different, but that would still be enjoyable for her.

Suggestions? (I have looked at the Mom recommendations – but any others?)




Out of curiosity, you mentioned Rack-O. That game has been completely replaced by the “10 Days in X” series (USA, Europe, Africa, etc…) for us.

Definitely a good way to teach geography without ever having to feel like you’re teaching geography.




    Tim – The 10 Days series are very similar and definitely bring in a great theme to the ordering cards/tiles type game. We like those as well, but still really enjoy the elements of Rack-O that let you mess with the card order of the other players. The 10 Days series just doesn’t have that same interaction.




thank you so very much! My little 6 going on 7yr old is having a birthday celebration. None of these really suit her taste, but she likes games like Monopoly. Any ideas? Thank you! – Kayla




    Kayla – Yes! We have plenty of ideas. But it all depends on what types of games she likes and what is it about those games that she likes. For example, you mention she likes Monopoly. Is that simply because that’s all she’s been exposed to so far? Is it that she likes rolling dice and moving around a board? Or is it that she loves the financial calculations and competitively making siblings or parents pay rent?




      Trent- Hmm, I’ve never thought of that! Thank you so very much. It’s true that her older siblings do play it a lot with her, so maybe you’re correct! Thank you again, – Kayla




        You’ll be able to find most of these games through a board game store rather than at a retailer like Wal-Mart or Target. If you don’t have a board game hobby store in your area, we have links to a number of online board games stores in our footer or Amazon.




I’ve only played one of these. I’m wondering, where are places they have these, but for a low cost?




Some of our favorites not listed here are – Word Thief, Love Letter and Bananagrams.




Anomia and catchphrase are some of our favorite games. We also really like the cranium series. I’ve found that the interactive games work better than the thoughtful strategy games. Maybe when my kids get a little older.




Thanks very much.




These games are all great but you have to try Exploding Kittens. It sounds absolutely insane but trust me its an amazing family game.




Hi Trent, Great list. How often do you update it?

Thanks to the nice review I am very interested in Pandemic now. Keep on gamin’. S




Thank you




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