13 great board games to play with family and friends

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13 great board games to play with family and friends

Welcome to the 2017 TechCrunch Holiday Gift Guide! We check out a lot of really cool stuff here at TechCrunch, so we figured we ought to put that experience to good use and help you get your holiday shopping done quickly. Need help with some other ideas? Check out the full Gift Guide here!

Board games are a blast. They’re cheap to buy, fun to give, and amazing to play. We’ve chosen thirteen of our favorites that you can add to the stack of games you might already have. While everyone loves Monopoly, Sorry, and Stratego sometimes we want to become witches, warlocks, and mysterious mages. These games help you do just that. Some pit you against each other; others have you working together to save the world. Order in, crack a few beers (or seltzers) and have a blast!

Tap that right arrow to get started, or, if you’re on mobile, just scroll.



We start our roundup with a game that everyone in the family – from the littlest to the biggest – can play. Labyrinth is a clever maze game that involves a series of movie tiles that can put you on the path to treasure or stick your opponents in a dead end. The best part are is the constantly-moving playing board that changes the game every turn.


Super Farmer

Super Farmer is great way to bring younger players into the board-gaming fold. Each player is a farmer with rabbits, sheep, pigs, cows, horses and dogs. Foxes and wolves abound and are out to get your animals and you can trade up or down by cashing in multiples of the same animal. Created by Polish mathematician Karol Borsuk the game is a fun and addictive puzzle.


Town of Salem

This game of witch hunts and murder lets players act as good villagers or evil witches. It’s a bit more complex with plenty of discussion and accusations coming with every turn and in the end one side prevails. Will the villagers do away with the evildoers or will darkness rule the day? The NSFW version makes for a fun drinking game.



If you don’t want to dig into the complexity of card games like Magic: The Gathering, give Dominion a try. This game pits players against each other as kings of distant kingdoms. You buy and accrue land, citizens, and palace rooms and, in certain configuration, you can curse other players with witches and other demonic devices. It’s one of the best deck-building games I’ve played in a while and the imagery is beautiful.


Small World

This game of dominion and conquest pits multiple races – elves, orcs, humans, and the like – against each other in an effort to take over the kingdom. Each race has its own benefits and armies can attack or defend sections of the Small World. It’s not impossibly complex and it’s more whimsical than most war games making fun for the family.



Kingdomino is a tile-based title that pits players against each other as they uncover fields, mountains, and lakes. Players take ownership of tiles with crowns and little wooden people. The goal is to build a 5×5 world of tiles. This game is fun for younger players and is complex enough for older players to have a bit of fun.


Humans Being

This is an interesting game created by a pair of professional improv actors. The game involves acting out cards and having other players guess who you are and what you’re doing. It’s a fun, active party game that’s worth a look but be warned: the design is a little weak and it might not be your cup of tea.


Joking Hazard

Joking Hazard isn’t for kids but it’s is absolutely hilarious. Brought to you by the folks who make Cyanide & Happiness, players build a three panel comic strip that usually involves autofellatio or bleeding eyeballs. Yeah, you read that right.


Cards Against Humanity

The definitive adult party game, Cards Against Humanity is at once awful and wonderful. This card game invites you and your terrible friends to outdo each other by slapping down answers to weird questions. You can even download the game for free if you don’t want to buy the game and its expansions.


Forbidden Island

The Forbidden Island is sinking and you have to get all the treasures to higher ground and into the chopper. Each player acts in a different role and all of them have to move from location to location before they sink under the waves. When all of the treasures make it to the landing pad then the pilot can take off. It’s a fun cooperative game that is very replayable.



This one is WAY too much fun for a game that revolves entirely around a 5×5 grid.

The short version of the rules: you’ve got one word to get your teammates to connect/guess as many of YOUR team’s words (or “agents”) as they can, while avoiding the other team’s agents (and the insta-death double agent!)

This one is infinitely replayable, as it’s a vastly different game depending on who you’re playing with and how well you know them.



Pandemic Legacy Season 1 and 2

This one is a trip: the game’s storyline takes place over a year, with each play through making up one “month” of the game. You’re working together to save the world, with your decisions, successes, and mistakes from each session impacting those that follow.

You’ve got to find a few people who can meet up on the regular (and it has to be the same people each time) and strategize for hours without flipping the table and calling the friendship off — but if you’ve got that, Pandemic Legacy is wonderful.

The games creators have just released Season 2… so if you’ve already been through Season 1, you’ve got a reason to dive back in.

(Tip: Each season has boxes of various colors — red edition, yellow edition, etc. The color doesn’t matter; they’re the same game. The color just helps people who are playing multiple games in parallel keep track of what’s what.)



Shouting at your friends has never been so fun.

You’re part of a spaceship crew, and your ship is going down. You just need someone to hand you a few parts (like a “centrifugal disperser” or a “x-throstle”) and everyone will be okay. And, what do you know, your fellow crew mates have those parts!

The catch: they also need some parts from you… and, well, the timer is going. Meanwhile, people are getting flung out into the vacuum of space, losing fingers, and falling through wormholes that require everyone to get up and switch seats. You’re all on the same ship, so you all win or lose together.

Each session only lasts about 5 minutes… but it’s 5 minutes of pure, fantastic chaos.

(Fun fact: Spaceteam was originally a smartphone game, and it’s way different but equally great.)