Best family board games 2017: Top 12 Family board games to play this Christmas

The Best Family Board Games 2017

With Christmas pointing its (red) nose in few weeks’ time, it is time to get ready for it and to start thinking about the family board games you are going to play on Christmas Day.

Guys, do you want to play Monopoly?

Christmas is one of those rare magical moments where the whole family have fun and spend real quality time together. Christmas is also an ideal time to take out those board games that are gathering dust at the top of the shelf: Monopoly, Scrabble, and Trivial Pursuit to name a few.

But wait: after the excitement you felt at the idea of playing a board game, you soon realize that no one really want to play those board games anymore, everyone prefer watching Indiana Jones or Home alone on TV while digesting the Turkey.

Don’t get me wrong here, I love Indiana Jones and Home alone, but I think playing board games on Christmas Day should remain a tradition.

Maybe it is just time to renew your board game collection and introduce a new type of family board games to your love ones. Here I will try to give you some advice about choosing the best family board games for Christmas. Time to surprise your family!

What is a good Family Board game?

By family board game I mean board game that can be played by the whole family , kids from 7 or 8, teenagers and of course parents and grandparents. A good family board game is a game that can be played by everyone together.

The criteria I choose for this list of Best Family Board games 2017 are the following:

  • The game must be easy to learn or teach
  • The game must be fun to play
  • The game can be play by 4-5 players or more.
  • The game must have a good replay-ability

On this selection of family board games, you will find new games released in 2017 but also older classic board games that I think you should try, and even a traditional game that is almost 150 years old. So let’s find some great christmas family board games.

No more delays, let’s see my list of best family board games.



Kingdomino

I couldn’t start this list of best family board games 2017 without the 2017 Spiel des Jahres Winner (Game of the Year), Kingdomino.

Dominoes with a Kingdom building twist! Each turn, connect a new domino to your existing Kingdom, making sure at least one of its sides connects to a matching terrain Type already in play. The game mechanics for obtaining the tiles is clever: the order who of who picks first depends on which tile was previously chosen. Make sure to secure tiles with crowns- these royal treasures help to multiply the worth of your Kingdom at the end of the game! the game ends when each player has completed a 5 x 5 grid, and then points are counted based on number of connecting tiles and crowns.

Kingdomino is a family strategy  board game for ages 8 and up. It plays 2 to 4 players.Kingdomino is a short game, each turns are quick , they take 15 to 20 minutes to play.Kingdomino is a fun and colorful game to play and have enough strategy in it to please everyone. I like the phase where you count your points at the end of the game, really good for your kids to practice their Maths skills without noticing it. It really ticks all the boxes with regards to best family board game.

Kingdomino is really the perfect family board game to take out on Christmas day to surprise your family.

Players Playing time Recommended for
2-4 15-20 min 8+


Blue Orange Games Kingdomino Award Winning Family Strategy Board Game

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Crokinole

Crokinole is traditional board game that was first made by craftsman Eckhardt Wettlaufer in Canada in 1876. Crokinole is a dexterity type of family board game for 2 players or 4 players playing in teams of two.

The game consists of a 65 to 80 cm in diameter board, depending of the model, 3 concentric rings and a shallow hole in the middle (target hole). On the inner circle, there are 8 small bumpers or pegs which make it difficult to place your discs inside the inner circle. When playing 2 players, the opponents face each other, but when playing with 4 players, teammate are siting opposite to each other.

The principle of Crokinole consists in placing your discs as close as possible to the center (higher-scoring regions of the board), and if possible, in the target hole. To do that, players use their fingers to flick their discs. The player that score the most point win.

It might sound easy, but there is a catch! The funny part is that players must touch the other team disc when shooting. If your disc doesn’t touch in anyway your opponent disc when you shoot, then your disc must be removed from the board and placed in the ditch (outer part of the board).

Crokinole is a great family board game, a great traditional board game that deserve to be known and played by a larger amount of people. I like the fact that you can play in team. It brings a lot of fun and excitation when I play Crokinole with my family.

Also, some luxury Crokinole boards out there are absolutely sublime, they look like real pieces of art. For those who want to combine esthetic and fun!

Players Playing time Recommended for
2-4 30 min 8+


Crokinole 2-in-1 Wooden Game

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Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride is a cross-country train adventure game. Players collect train cards that enable them to claim railway routes connecting cities throughout North America. The longer the routes, the more points they earn. Additional points come to those who can fulfill their Destination Tickets by connecting two distant cities, and to the player who builds the longest continuous railway.

Since its release in 2004, when it won the Spiel des Jahres award (and many other awards), Ticket to Ride has become a real classic family board game.

Ticket to Ride is a 2 to 5 players family board game that has a playing time of 30 to 60 minutes. The game is easy to learn, you can understand the rules in less than 15 minutes and quickly start playing. Each turn you either draw more cards, claim a route, or get additional Destination Tickets. Ticket to Ride is fun, strategic as well as you need to decide which routes to take, therefore required a good bit of planning, will you try to block your opponents building their routes?…

Ticket to Ride is a game that will entertain kids and adults alike, it has really become a classic family game.You can find also the Ticket to Ride 1910 Expansion that provides new cards and new destination tickets.

Players Playing time Recommended for
2-5 30-60 min 8+


Ticket To Ride Strategy Board Game Spiel Des Jahres 2004 Award Winner

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Camel Up

Camel Up is another Spiel des Jahres Winner (game of the year winner), as the game won the award in 2014.

In Camel Up, up to 8 players bet on five racing camels, trying to guess which will place first and second in a quick race around a pyramid.

As members of Egyptian high society, you gather in the desert with one simple goal: to gain the most money by backing the right camel to win a leg or even the entire race. However, in this race, it’s not just the lucky ones who can beat the odds. Reading the dynamics of the race and having a good sense of timing is just as important when it comes to backing the right camels and taking the victory. Camel Up is a simple, quick and outrageously exciting family board game that can be enjoyed by up to 8 players.

Camel Up is a great family game,. There is certainly a great deal of luck and randomness in it but this is what the game is about. Camel Up is about fun and laughter, you will have a great time with your family. Unpretentious and must be taken as is,  Camel Up is made to entertain and totally deserve to be on the list of best Family Board Games 2017.

Players Playing time Recommended for
2-8 20-30 min 8+


Pegasus Spiele PEG54541G Camel Up Board Game

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Jamaica

Jamaica is a game I absolutely love. It was designed by  Malcolm Braff, Bruno Cathala and Sébastien Pauchon and  release in 2007. Jamaica  is a pirate theme racing  game where  2 to 6 players compete to race around the island of Jamaica and collect as much gold as possible before reaching Port royal.Each time the pirates meet, they will have to fight to try and steal the contents of each other’s holds (and maybe pawn off a chest full of cursed gold at the same time).

Jamaica is a really  beautiful game. And when I  say beautiful, I mean it. The components, cards and board, are very well made and the artwork is really splendid. The game won the 2008 Golden Geek Best Board Game Artwork/Presentation award.

Jamaica is a real family board game, with a fun theme and it gets even better when played with with 5 or more players. You should consider adding it to your list of Christmas family board games!

Players Playing time Recommended for
2-6 30-60 min 8+


Jamaica

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Survive Escape From Atlantis

In Survive Escape From Atlantis, you try to lead your people from the sinking central island of Atlantis to the safety of one of four islands nearby. Your people can get there quickly by boat (if they find one) or more slowly by swimming. But it will be a perilous journey as they must avoid Sea Serpents, Whales, and Sharks. When the volcano on Atlantis explodes, the game is over. The player with the most survivor points wins.

Gamers and families have spoken! Survive: Escape From Atlantis! is a great light-strategy game for serious gamers, as well as a fun game to play with the family! Over 1.3 million copies have been sold since it was first published over 30 years ago!

This is a true classic game, brought back by Stronghold Games with completely upgraded components for a modern audience, and now in a 30th Anniversary Edition!

Players Playing time Recommended for
2-4 45-60 min 8+


Survive Escape From Atlantis 30th Anniversary Edition

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Dice forge

Dice forge is a new family board game design by French game designer Régis Bonnessée ,edited by Libellud and release in 2017.

Since its release this year Dice Forge has had a phenomenal success. It is a game for two to four players where each player customize his unique dice to increase his resources throughout the game.Accomplish heroic feats to gain special powers and the glory you need to win.

During the game, your dice provide the resources you need, but throughout the game, you’ll change your dice, snapping new faces on and improving your chances of claiming victory. When the gods call an end to your contest, the player with the most glory wins the game.

The quality of the components is excellent, the game looks almost like an art piece. Everything in the b box has his own place and it is really put together nicely.The game plays quick and  is very entertaining, you won’t see the time go when playing Dice Forge!

Players Playing time Recommended for
2-4 40 min 10+


Dice Forge

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Hanabi

Hanabi which means fireworks in Japanese is a family cooperative  card game for 2 to 5 players. Playing time is about 25 minutes. Hanabi won the 2013 Spiel des Jahres award (German game of the Year).

In the game , players work together to launch the perfect fireworks. The twist in the game is that you need to hold your hand of five cards backwards! Other players can see your cards but you can’t. The cards are numbered from 1 to 5 and have  5 different colors and shapes. Players need  to correctly play their cards in an ascending, numerical sequence and also by color. Player can give clues to each other by using their clock tokens.

Overall this  Hanabi is a very simple  but very enjoyable game, where everyone work together and laugh together. Exactly what you want when the family get together to play.

Hanabi is great family card game that features also in my list of best games for traveling. Because of its size, it is easy to take it with you whenever visiting family or friends.

Players Playing time Recommended for
2-5 25 min 8+


Hanabi Card Game

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King of Tokyo

King of Tokyo is a family board game for 2 to 6 players where you play as mutant monsters, rampaging robots, or even abominable aliens battling in a fun, chaotic atmosphere.

Roll the 6 dice and choose your strategy: Will you attack your enemies? Heal your wounds? Improve your Monster? Stomp your path to victory!

King of Tokyo won the 2013 Nederlandse Spellenprijs Best Family Game Award,  is also the winner of the 2012 Golden Geek Best Party Game, the 2012 Ludoteca Ideale Winner and the 2012 Golden Geek Best Family Board Game Winner.

So, does Kink of Tokyo deserve all these awards?

King of Tokyo is a bit like Yahtzee, you roll the 6 dice  to attack, heal, gain energy or victory points. You keep some and then have to roll again.There are cards that will give you special abilities, extra dice rolls or points….The first player that reach 20 points will win the game.

Players are fighting each other in King of Tokyo and it is such a fun game to play, I guaranty you that it will bring you a lot of laughter. There is a good bit of luck it it but the game but you need also to choose your strategy.

King of Tokyo is definitely of of the best family board games around at the moment. You should definitly add this one to you family board game collection.

Players Playing time Recommended for
2-6 30 min 8+


King of Tokyo: New Edition Board Game

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Clank!


Clank! is essentially a deck building game from the game designer Paul Dennen and release in 2016.

Burgle your way to adventure in Clank!, the new deck-building board game. Sneak into an angry dragon’s mountain lair to steal precious artifacts. Delve deeper to find more valuable loot. Acquire cards for your deck and watch your thievish abilities grow. Be quick and be quiet. One false-step and — CLANK! Each careless sound draws the attention of the dragon, and each artifact stolen increases its rage. You can only enjoy your plunder if you make it out of the depths alive!

Clank! is a great mix of deck builder plus dungeon crawler. It is really fun to play, and if you like deck builder game like I do, then go for it!

Players Playing time Recommended for
1-4 30-60 min 12+


Clank!

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Catan


The Settlers of Catan, sometimes shortened to Catan, is a 3-4  (you can play 5-6 with the Catan 5-6 players expansion)player family board game designed by Klaus Teuber and first published in 1995 in Germany by Franckh-Kosmos Verlag (Kosmos) as Die Siedler von Catan. Catan  is 1995 Spiel des Jahres Winner.

Players assume the roles of settlers, each attempting to build and develop holdings while trading and acquiring resources. Players are awarded points as their settlements grow; the first to reach a set number of points, typically 10, is the winner.

The game and its many expansions are also published by Mayfair Games, Filosofia, Capcom, 999 Games, Κάισσα, and Devir.

The Settlers of Catan was one of the first German-style board games to achieve popularity outside of Europe. As of 2015, more than 22 million copies in 30 languages had been sold.The game involves large amounts of strategy, while still being fairly simple to learn.

Definitely one of those best classic family board games that you must try!

Players Playing time Recommended for
1-4 30-60 min 12+


Catan 5th Edition

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Carcassonne

Yet another Spiel des Jahres Winner on this list. Carcassonne won the Award in 2001.

Carcassonne is a great tile placement board game where players must develop the area around Carcassonne by placing, in turn, a tile that represents a piece of landscape composed of various elements: pieces of cities, meadows, roads, and cloisters . The game board is thus built up little by little as the game progress.

In addition to that, the players can decide to place one of their meeples on an area that is completed: on the city meeples become knights, on the road meeples become robbers, on a cloister monks, and on the grass they become farmers.

When that area is complete, that meeple scores points for its owner. Players have only limited amount of meeples or followers, so you need to be careful when you decide to put one down.

Carcassonne is a an easy game to learn, its simplicity makes it a good choice as a family game or as a game to introduce to non gamers as a gateway board game. The game has a high replay-ability, your cities will always be different.

Carcassonne is another classic family board game that you should really try. There are also a lot of Carcassonne expansions available, and each one of them had some extra flavor to the game.

Players Playing time Recommended for
2-5 30-45 min 8+


Carcassonne Board Game

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Conclusion:best family board games 2017

I hope you enjoyed my list of best family board games 2017. Any of those games on the list will bring you  a lot of fun  and will entertain kids, teenagers and adults alike for hours, for one simple reason: they are just some of the best family board games out there. Simple as that. Now, I know a list made by someone is something quite subjective, so you probably have other games that you feel could or should be on this list.

Don’t hesitate to give some feedback in the comments below, tell me what family board game YOU are playing at the moment and what are your top family games for christmas ?

And don’t forget to have a look at the others selection of board games I have for you, like the best board games for 2 players, or the board games like RISK.

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3 Comments
  1. Reply
    Rob Balian October 14, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    Hey, loved your list. I’m the designer for a new family board game for 2017 called Story Bowl. Would you be interested in trying it or including it in one of your lists?

    • Reply Profile photo of Rom
      Rom October 15, 2017 at 9:05 pm

      Hi Rob,
      Thank for you comments. Would you be happy if I do a review of your game first? I maybe integrate the game after in a list (maybe party game list?)
      Would you be willing to send review copy?

  2. Reply
    Rob Balian October 17, 2017 at 12:20 am

    Hey Rom! Sure, we’d love for you to review the game! Send me your address to balian.rob@gmail.com please and I’ll mail you a copy

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