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Top 10 Board Games for Tweens and Teens

Top 10 Board Games for Tweens and Teens

Playing board games is one of the best ways to connect with tweens and teens. Family game night can also teach reading comprehension, cooperation, strategy, patience and sportsmanship. Our top 10 board games for tweens and teens include skill and strategy board games, cooperative board games, funny board games and social or relationship-building board games.

Updated 7/27/20

I attended a PTA meeting last year and listened to two sixth grade teachers give a proposal for a $500 grant to buy board games for their classrooms. I come from a family that loves and plays lots of games, and I was still amazed at what they shared and how much sense it made. They explained that reading and comprehension are closely tied to how much you WANT and NEED to understand what you're reading - and if you want to play a game, you want and need to understand the directions. They also talked about other skills board games can teach kids: cooperation, strategy, patience, sportsmanship. They got the grant.

We vetted this list of board games with our own tweens and teens, so we know these are winners. We're also constantly updating as we find new family board games to play.

This post contains affiliate links - we earn a small commission if you purchase through our links, and we appreciate your support.

1. Hero Realms/Star Realms

My tween son loves this strategy board game and I avoided playing it at first because it looked confusing. The basics of the game actually aren't that hard, but there are some cool ways to apply different strategies once you have the basics down. Buy one deck to start, and if you like the game, you can add on other Hero Realms and Star Realms decks to expand the game even more.

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2. Stuff Happens

We played this board game at a neighborhood gathering, and it was pretty hilarious. It's a good social game for tweens and teens to play on their own or with adults. You try to guess how the game rates bad scenarios from "hangnail" to "seated behind someone puking on a roller coaster." The only downside is if you play enough, you'll start to learn the scores of your favorite horrible situations.

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3. Fireball Island

Anyone else remember this from their '80s childhood? I totally had this board game - along with Hotels. My parents got rid of it years ago, which is a bummer because the originals are going for $375 on eBay. But a Kickstarter fund to the tune of $2.8 million revived it over the last year or so (they asked what classic game people wanted to see again and it topped the list). The new version keeps the basics of the old game and adds some new quirks. They also sell expansion packs if you want to get really fancy.

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4. Euchre

Can we get a holla from the Midwesterners who grew up playing Euchre? I thought this card game was a staple for all Americans until I went to college and realized every friend who hailed from beyond Ohio and Michigan had never heard of it. This four-person game pits one two-person team against another. It involves enough strategy to be competitive, but it's easy enough to play while chatting or eating snacks. My kids love it when we do tournaments at family gatherings because you keep changing partners and tables. We each throw in $5 at the start, and the person with the most points at the end wins the kitty. Euchrefun.com explains how to run a tournament and provides printable score cards. 

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5. Not Parent Approved

We invited another family over for a game night and they brought this card game along. The adults played something I don't remember in the kitchen, and the kids howled with laughter in the living room playing this one. I'm not sure what happened, but we found the cards under couches and in crevices for weeks afterward.

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6. Ticket to Ride

This is definitely a favorite board game for tweens, teens and adults. If you haven't tried it, put it on a birthday or Christmas list. If you have it, check out the expansion pack or other versions: Europe, Rails and Sails, Nordic Countries, Africa, France, United Kingdom, Germany, New York City 1960, India and Asia. We'll admit, we're a little bummed they don't have Central and South America. Maybe that's coming up next.

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7. Forbidden Desert

This game is a cooperative game, which means all players work together to beat the game itself. The game also changes every time you play because players draw a card that give them a special skill. Different numbers of players and combinations of skill cards create new game dynamics. I included Forbidden Desert, because that's the one we own and my son has played, but the original version of the game is Forbidden Island.

8. Survive

This is a fun board game that combines strategy and luck as you try to get as many of your people to safety as possible. This game has been around a long time, so the newest version is a reboot that includes a few other options.

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9. Codenames

This board game was a big hit with our word nerd family. When we played, everyone playing knew each other fairly well, so the inside jokes used to win the game added an extra layer of fun. But you don't need to know anything about your teammates or competitors to enjoy it.

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10. 1,000-piece puzzle

I suppose puzzles aren't technically games, but they're still a great way to spend time with your tween or teen and relax. We had a Hardy Brothers puzzle going over the holidays and sucked my father-in-law and brother-in-law right in. Doing puzzles spans all ages. Tip: pick a puzzle without large areas with plain colors unless you want a serious challenge. We've had a Harry Potter puzzle going for months because all the solid black areas make it really tricky to sit down and quickly find a few pieces.

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Bonus Picks!

We keep adding to this list as we find more favorites! These suggestions are from Kristie's boys--a tween and a teen.

Telestrations

My tween and teen boys will play with any group--adults and kids alike--if this game is an option. It's a hilarious combination of two classics, Pictionary and Telephone. I recommend the 12-player version because it will be a favorite when friends or family visit!

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Goat Lords

I know a game's a winner when my boys insist that I order it. My brother's family introduced us to Goat Lords, one of their favorites. I know--it's a weird name and it's goofy, but it's easy to learn and so much fun to play that even tweens and teens can't help laughing.

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The Game of Things

Here's another fun family board game that will keep everyone laughing! You have to guess who answered what--no wrong answers but plenty of ridiculous and surprising ones. This one works better with teens (and you may have to remind everyone to keep it clean).

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Monopoly Ultimate Banking

We have a few versions of Monopoly, but the kids' favorites are Monopoly Empire (which is discontinued and crazy expensive now) and Monopoly Ultimate Banking. You use a credit card to purchase properties and pay fees and earn back rewards and the game computes the finances automatically.

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Loaded Questions

This is a great game for family game night or when friends are over because it's 4-6 players. It comes highly recommended from the tweens and teens in our extended family.

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Pictionary Air

This is the classic board game we grew up with reimagined. "Draw" in the air or see it on a screen. 

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Listography

This board game starts great conversations and promises lots of laughs.

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2 comments

Jul 31, 2020

Thanks Mary! Great game ideas and always well written for entertainment!

Stephanie Darner
Jun 26, 2020

Hey, Mary, have I told you lately how proud
I am of you? Well, I am! Thanks for making the world a better place for moms, kids, families! That’s where the future begins, and you are bringing the hope to life where it counts. Love you, girl!

Patricia L Van Gorder

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