Everyone loves board games. They’ve stood the test of time and become an essential part of many people’s childhoods. Now, we’re lucky enough to live in their golden age, where they’re more popular than ever. Every year, more and more innovative brands emerge so now we so much diversity in the types of board games that are available to us.

Genres include strategy, role-playing, card and skill games. While certain games are designed for you to move or react quickly, others require deep concentration. This ultimately means that there is a perfect board game for everyone. We’ve designed this article to help you find what that is for your little one, or even for yourself!

First things first:

  • The market offers an incredible variety of board games, with countless categories to choose from. There’s everything you want, from simple dice games, to elaborate role-playing or strategy games.
  • Playing is the best activity for your child to learn. Board games will encourage their cognitive, motor and social development, and they’ll have fun at the same time!
  • Why not choose a game that both you and your children will enjoy? Then you can have an afternoon of family game fun! Teamwork and healthy competition bring everyone closer.

Ranking: The best board games in the UK

There truly is a board game for every taste. We want to help find just the right game for you, whether it’s to entertain your children and their friends or for a family games night.

To help you with your choice, let’s start with our favourite five board games!

No. 1: Dobble by Asmodee – Card Game

Dobble is a multi award-winning game which has quickly become one of the most popular card games on the market. This pocket-sized, simple to learn and quick to play card game is suitable for the whole family and for up to eight people. Say goodbye to boring car journeys and plane rides! This game comes in a handy tin which makes it perfect to travel with.

This game will have you on the edge of your seat as it is a fast-paced game of speed, observation and reflexes. Each card has a selection of symbols on it, and every card is different. Players race to match the identical symbol between cards in a series of quickness-based mini-games. Once you start playing this, you won’t want to put it down – trust us!

No. 2: Connect 4 by Hasbro – Board Game

Hasbro’s classic Connect 4 is a tried and tested board game that truly has stood the test of time. It’s no surprise that it is a best-seller on Amazon as this disc-dropping board game can be played by anyone ages 6 and above and is perfect for adults too.

The rules are as follows: challenge a friend to drop red or yellow discs into the grid and try to get four in a row or block them from getting four in a row! It’s simple, but don’t be fooled – when you play once you won’t be able to stop and no matter if it’s your child or a friend, you’ll be on a quest to be the ultimate winner!

No. 3: Exploding Kittens – Board Game

Do you like kittens? Of course you do! Then you’ll love this board game. The most-funded game in Kickstarter history, with illustrations by famous comic book illustrator The Oatmeal and over one thousand five-star reviews on Amazon, Exploding Kittens will not disappoint. This fun-filled, highly-strategic number one Amazon Best Seller is sure to keep you entertained for hours.

Exploding Kittens is a kitten version of Russian roulette. Players put the cards on the table and take turns drawing from them. If you draw an Exploding Kitten, game over! But there are many twists and turns along the way – Defuse Cards involve kitten yoga and catnip sandwiches. What is kitten yoga, you ask? Well, you’ll have to play the game to find out!

No. 4: Cards Against Humanity UK Edition – Card Game

Self-described as the ‘party game for horrible people’, Cards Against Humanity¬†the game you need at any party. With over 6,500 five-star reviews on Amazon and the potential to play with more than twenty people, there’s no excuse for not having this card game in your cupboard.

This brand spanking new version now includes over 150 more cards than the original, meaning there are 600 cards in total. More cards = more fun! The rules are simple: a player asks a question from a Black Card, and everyone else answers it using a White Card. The person with the Black Card chooses the funniest White Card answer as the winner. Guaranteed to keep everyone laughing for hours, this is truly one of the best card games on the market.

No. 5: Labyrinth: The Moving Maze Game by Ravensburger – Board Game

First released in 1986, Labyrinth has been a classic at family games night for over 30 years. Amazon’s Choice in board games, this magical board game is suitable for children aged seven years and older and up to four players, so it is the perfect board game for when families want to delve into the a mystical maze of magical fun.

A race to catch your treasure and mystical characters sounds easy enough, right? Wrong! The moving maze means that you could be blocked on your path to your dragon, princess, ghost or genie at any point. A game of strategy and recognition, children learn important skills like cause-and-effect, effective planning and how to take turns, while having fun in a magical mystery land!

No. 6: Sequence by Winning Moves – Board Game

Another family board game classic which is still going strong after nearly 40 years, Sequence is still as fun, addicting and as entertaining as ever. A game of strategy and luck, families can play this all day long and you won’t get bored!

Take a card from your hand, place it on a discard pile and then place a chip on the matching card on the board. It’s that simple! A game that can be played individually or in teams, this game is guaranteed to get the adrenaline going as you race to get five in a row, that’s a Sequence! There are eight Jacks in this deck, and these Jacks have special powers, so you never know what is going to happen!

No. 7: Scrabble Original by Mattel Games – Board Game

Who hasn’t heard of Scrabble? This game is celebrating seventy years, and it’s still a must-have board game in any collection. This is the original word-forming game that is perfect for the whole family, and especially children, as is is more than just a board game – you can learn lots of new words too!

This classic board game challenges you to spell out words using letter tiles and try to get as many points as you can by spelling words on the premium squares. There are even two blank tiles that can be played as any letter meaning that this game is guaranteed to bring endless fun to any family or friends gathering.

Buying Guide: Everything you need to know about board games

Board games are the perfect gift for anyone of any age, because each one is unique! However, the endless concepts and genres can be almost overwhelming when it comes to the hunt for the perfect game for your child. In the following section, we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions to give you all the information you need to find that perfect board game!

Board games are the ideal tool to motivate children to learn.
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What types of board games are out there?

So you already know that there are a great variety of board game genres to choose from. These can be defined by their physical elements, their rules or their mechanics. In the table below, we’ve summed up the main board game categories:

Category Way of playing Characteristics
Dice games These games are based on throwing a die and moving a chip on a board. They include some of the most classic and iconic games, such as Snakes and Ladders! Winning mostly relies on chance, and games tend to be short. They are generally easy to understand so great for kids.
Strategy games These games involve players developing a series of strategies to achieve a goal. You can play individually or in teams. They depend on players’ analytical, planning or deduction skills.
Card games Card games are only played with cards. They could be with traditional playing cards, (Kings, Queens, Jacks, etc) or cards that are specifically designed for the game, such as Uno or Dixit. Each game is unique: some are purely random, while others involve strategy, skill or deduction.
Role-playing games These games involve a narrator, and the players must take on the role of a character. They test players’ storytelling skills, communication and imagination. The games tend to be very long and best enjoyed by teenagers and adults.

What are the benefits of board games?

Children learn best by playing. Board games are perfect because they allow children to develop key cognitive and socioaffective skills while they’re having fun. The educational content will naturally depend on the game you choose, but most games offer the following benefits:

  • Cognitive and motor development: Board games, and more specifically those with attractive and colourful designs, contribute to the cognitive development of children. They help them better identify shapes, numbers, letters and colours. Games with different pieces also stimulate motor skills and co-ordination.
  • Stimulation of social skills: Playing a board game with other children helps them to learn about healthy competition and co-operation. Children therefore train their patience, generosity and even their understanding of justice. They may even learn to analyse other players’ strategies and adapt their own.
  • Quality family time: One of the best ways to make the most out of board games is to play them as a family. Game nights are ideal to spend some time with your child, and they can spend some time away from digital screens, too. Teamwork and healthy competition are great for bonding as a family!

Should I play board games with my children?

Of course! Most child-oriented board games are easy to understand and perfect for children to play with their friends or siblings. They’ll even be able to enjoy them without supervision once they understand the rules. That being said, it is important for you to also play games with your kids. Who knows, maybe you can improve your motor skills too!

Easy board games are fantastic educational tools for young children. As they grow, you’ll be able to play games that you enjoy too and that are more challenging for all ages. That way, you can organise family game night and spend quality time together!

Having board games at home is a life saver during bad weather.
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When can my child start playing board games?

As you may know, there are different board games designed for each stage of childhood. Experts recommend children to start playing board games around the age of 4. This is when children are developing the appropriate motor skills for these kinds of games. This is also a good age for them to learn to play in a structured way with their peers.

Children will be attracted to more complex board games as they grow up. There really is no age limit for board games, and teenagers may have a preference for role-playing or strategy games. There are also excellent options that any adult will enjoy if you’re looking for a fun way to spend an evening with your friends.

Shopping Criteria

Board games are more popular than ever, which also means that the market offers an incredible diversity. This is great news because there is so much to offer that you’re sure to find the perfect board game for your family. In the next section, we’ll show you some of the most important criteria to consider when looking for your new board game. Let’s get started:

  • Age of your child
  • Number of players
  • Game genre
  • Difficulty and length
  • Educational content

Age of your child

Your child will be able to start experimenting with board games around the age of 4, so it is crucial that you provide the right games for the stage of life they are in. Opt for short games if you don’t want younger kids to lose interest. Children in this age group tend to have lots of energy, so we recommend a game that involves movement.

Classic games like Uno or Monopoly can be introduced a little later in life. Children can understand just about any board game around the age of 8. This will be the appropriate time for you introduce more complex games, like strategy games. This is also the stage where you too can start enjoying these games with your children.

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Did you know that Monopoly is one of the best-selling games in the world?

Number of players

This is naturally a key element to consider when buying any board game. We encourage you to go for a product tailored for more people if you’re not quite sure how many players you’ll have. Most games can be played when you have guests over or during a family evening.

It’s also useful to think about when you will be playing. Some games can be played in pairs with several children. There are also games more tailored for larger groups which you can use if you’re having a family evening or a child’s birthday party.

Game genre

The personality of your child and their interests will naturally determine which type of game you should go for. Extroverted children, for instance, will particularly enjoy games that involve singing or miming. Narrative games like Dixit are great for creative kids who love to tell stories. If your child likes problem solving and working things out, you might be interested in strategy or deduction games.

Educational games are also a fantastic way to contribute to the children’s development. You can also find products that encourage physical activity if you want your child do a bit of exercise in the process! There are games which are designed to test the flexibility, balance, coordination and even the rhythm of the players.

Monopoly is a great classic and a must-have at home!
(Source: Steven Cukrov: 29099192/ 123rf.com)

Difficulty and length

The complexity of a board game is a big differentiating factor, and one that will strongly influence which you choice. Role-playing games and certain strategy games, for instance, are harder to understand and entail more rules, but they are fascinating to play. These games that are more complex immerse the players in elaborate fictitious worlds and can last several hours!

That being said, please do remember that not every child and teenager enjoys these harder games. As we mentioned earlier, try and stick to simpler and shorter games if your child is still under 8. Complicated games that require a lot of patience will most likely be boring for children of this age group.

Educational content

We’ve already touched on this, but board games are educational in and of themselves so they don’t necessarily need to be explicitly educational to contribute to your child’s cognitive development. Most games actually allow children to work with different skills and learn while playing. Simply think about the skills you want to stimulate in your child and look for games that provide the right playing environment for this.

In our selection of board games, we’ve tried to include games that also contribute to the development of various skills in your children. Dobble, for example, is great for improving reflexes and co-ordination. Scrabble, on the other hand, will help expand their vocabulary they’ll learn lots of new words in a fun way.

Summary

Board games are always an excellent gift idea, for anyone of any age. Their ever-growing popularity means that the market has an almost infinite offer of all genres and types. There is always a board game out there suitable for everyone, regardless of age, personality or interests.

Your child’s development can also greatly benefit from playing board games, as they allow children to learn while having fun. We can’t encourage you enough to choose a board game that you can also play with your children, as they are a great way to spend quality time together.

If you liked our guide to board games, feel free to share this article on your social media, or leave us a comment in the section below!

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