Board/card games for kids + adults?
April 14, 2021 10:32 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for board or card games that are fun for both kids (ages 8 & 12) and adults.

My oldest kid, age 12, regularly whomps my ass at games like Hive, Azul, Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne. I'd like to find some games we could play with her 8-year-old sister, who isn't as into games, and has a tendency to get bored quickly.

I haven't been able to find many that can hold the attention of both and not bore me to death. (I'm looking at you, Uno. Don't even get me started on Life.)

The closest we've been able to come are a few card games like Loot, Sushi Go and Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza. Some strategy, some luck, don't take too long.

Anything else?
posted by gottabefunky to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (31 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Dixit and Pictures could be good. They are somewhat self-balancing among age ranges because each player is working with their own creativity. You can also use the cards from one game in the other game.

Spot It! comes in a few variants and also accommodates a wide range of player skill.
posted by Phssthpok at 10:48 AM on April 14, 2021 [3 favorites]

Looks like Qwirkle is rated 6+ and Iota is rated 8+.

Both are similar, abstract games where you place tiles as a group but score individually. Each one plays 2-4 and likely won't last you more than 30 minutes once you're familiar with the rules.

Bonus for Iota being really easy to store since the cards fit in a small tin.
posted by mr_bovis at 10:51 AM on April 14, 2021 [1 favorite]

Tsuro - light and fast
6 Nimmt! and its variants - fast, semi-randon fun - you can get screwed by luck and/or your opponents so not for someone who's a sore loser
Forbidden Island/Dessert - collaborative games
Guillotine - semi chaotic fun
Lost Cities - elegant 2 player game
Kingdomino - fast and easy but still with a number of strategies
Can't Stop, Incan Gold - both press your lucks games, again, not for sore losers
posted by Candleman at 10:55 AM on April 14, 2021

Best answer: I think you'll find some good answers in this recent ask, including my suggestions of Set and Sequence.
posted by hydra77 at 10:58 AM on April 14, 2021 [4 favorites]

Sleeping Queens is fairly simple but surprisingly playable for grownups. We also play SkipBo with the resident eight year old and also sometimes when she isn't around.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:01 AM on April 14, 2021 [4 favorites]

My wife and I have been enjoying canvas a card drafting game where you make paintings using transparent plastic cards. They are currently running a Kickstarter for an add on but have the original on there too.
posted by Captain_Science at 11:15 AM on April 14, 2021

Munchkin! Bonus is that you can get many, many variations to keep things fresh. Our favourite set is Adventure Time.
posted by DTMFA at 11:18 AM on April 14, 2021 [1 favorite]

Telestrations! It's like Telephone meets Pictionary. At a recent (COVID-safe) gathering, we played with this 4 adults and my 13 and 9 year old nephews. It was a BLAST and gave me the best belly laughs I've had in a long time.
posted by leftover_scrabble_rack at 11:27 AM on April 14, 2021 [2 favorites]

Uno and the Marvel version of Flux are my boys' go to.
posted by bfranklin at 12:08 PM on April 14, 2021

I am an Exploding Kittens advocate because a) games tend to be short, b) you can pick up the rules pretty quick (there may be some counter-intuitive thinking for the grownups at first, since the goal is NOT to get rid of your cards as quick as possible), and c) the "silly" quotient is high.

There is also a RIDICULOUSLY fun app-based game called Out Of The Loop, where only one person needs to have the app on a device. The app really leads you through everything step-by-step - it's a guessing-game and bluffing game.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:17 PM on April 14, 2021 [5 favorites]

Monopoly deal!!! (And I hate regular monopoly)
posted by wowenthusiast at 12:22 PM on April 14, 2021 [2 favorites]

Muchkin and exploding kittens. We also like Smash up and King of Tokyo.
posted by ReluctantViking at 12:28 PM on April 14, 2021

Rat-a-Tat Cat is simple but has been popular in our house longer than I would have expected. There's enough luck involved to level the playing field a bit, and the 8-year-old might sometimes win against the 12-year-old and grownups too. (You didn't say that was a concern, but I find that the ability to hold her own & win definitely helps hold my kid's interest in any game!) Sleeping Queens is like this too. Kingdomino and Sushi Go, which we also love, aren't so much like that--they really favor strategic and attentive play.
posted by miles per flower at 12:55 PM on April 14, 2021 [1 favorite]

We really liked Oh Hell in my family. First you name the number of tricks you are going to take and the score strongly favors bidding accurately rather than taking the most tricks. If the total bid equals the total number of tricks, it becomes a cooperative game - at least two people lose if everyone doesn't make their exact bid. If the total bid is less or greater than the actual number, it increase the competitiveness since you know at least person will lose. The other big advantage is that there is enough randomness that even the intuitive player can still beat the card counter often enough that it stays fun for everyone.
posted by metahawk at 1:08 PM on April 14, 2021

I usually far prefer word games to strategic/spatial games, but a friend got me into Labyrinth, which is just fine for your kids' ages, was also a hit with my late-teenagers, and became a fun gig for my co-workers. (My friend said that he played with his sons and his six-year-old was surprisingly good.)
posted by dlugoczaj at 1:19 PM on April 14, 2021 [1 favorite]

Just a note that I would really not recommend Set in this particular situation. Set is a good game, but because of the timed nature of the game, it can be really frustrating to play with people of uneven skill levels. Playing against a player much better than you quickly devolves into watching them collect sets one after another before you're even able to get your head around the state of the board, which is probably not the sort of experience your 8-year-old will relish.
posted by firechicago at 1:41 PM on April 14, 2021 [5 favorites]

I'll pitch Parade, which is mechanically basically a fun, strategic suit/value card taking game on a custom deck with beautiful Alice in Wonderland style artwork.
posted by mark k at 1:41 PM on April 14, 2021

We (two parents, two adult kids and one ten year old) have really enjoyed Apples To Apples Junior (rated for ages 9+). It works best with four players but it can be played with three players if you pull an extra random card per turn; it gets absurd and silly and we laugh a lot, which makes the ten year old happy even if he loses.
posted by sencha at 1:49 PM on April 14, 2021 [1 favorite]

I wonder if my old Surrealist's Poker would work? You'd have to explain the basic rules of poker, but the card playing isn't the point, it's the silly betting.

I also remember this game, which my cousins referred to as "I Doubt It" when they were kids and which my high school friends and I called "Bullshit" when we played it on a class trip (despite our school nurse attempting to get us to call it "El Toro Poo-poo").
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:53 PM on April 14, 2021 [1 favorite]

Are 2-player games okay? If so, consider the classic of Backgammon. I grew up playing this as a kid with my parents, and I still enjoy playing it as an adult. It's wonderful for all skill levels.
posted by coffeecat at 2:19 PM on April 14, 2021

Sequence is a fun combination card game and board game
posted by Neeuq Nus at 3:05 PM on April 14, 2021

Unstable Unicorns and the follow up Here to Slay are fun card based games. Some luck can definitely give younger players the win, but not pure luck chaos where you feel like there’s no point to planning.
posted by advicepig at 6:21 PM on April 14, 2021

Marvel Munchkin with the expansions, and Here to Slay with the Warriors and Druids pack are in heavy (daily) rotation in the Kreiger Manor.
They’ve got similar random draw to build a party/character mechanics, with cards that let you interfere with other players’ encounters and parties.
Munchkin has you levelling up a character to win, and Here to Slay lets you win by defeating monsters, or by building a party with a certain number of character classes.
posted by Kreiger at 6:31 PM on April 14, 2021 [1 favorite]

I wonder if my old Surrealist's Poker would work?

I'll see your Surrealist Poker and raise you Freestyle Rock, Paper, Scissors, which a friend and I invented very late one night. He then submitted it to Jo Firestone's Dr. Gameshow, and it was featured, to little or no acclaim!
posted by the_blizz at 7:19 PM on April 14, 2021

I highly recommend Muffin Time
posted by lyssabee at 7:52 PM on April 14, 2021

If you try Spot It, I recommend playing two rounds in a row-- the first round you grab cards as you spot them into your pile. The second round, you play cards from your pile into the center. It helps even out so you're playing more against yourself then each other.
posted by Margalo Epps at 8:06 PM on April 14, 2021 [1 favorite]

I recommend Sparkle Kitty and We Didn't Playtest This At All. The latter says ages 10 and up, so probably depends on the 8 year old.
posted by skycrashesdown at 8:30 PM on April 14, 2021

Tsuro is the best for anyone can play, anyone can win. The rules are dead simple but elegant, there's enough strategy to keep your brain awake, but also enough randomness built in so everyone has a chance. It's also really pretty and doesn't look like a little kid game, which is probably important for the older kid to stay engaged. And there's a fantastic app version.
posted by Freyja at 8:31 AM on April 15, 2021 [1 favorite]

Tacos vs Burritos is a hit over here, a good combination of luck and strategy. Labyrinth, Ticket to Ride, and Settlers of Catan Jr are also recommended.
posted by Arctostaphylos at 5:13 PM on April 15, 2021

Captain Carcass plays really quick. Parade, Dragonwood, and King of Tokyo take slightly longer, and Splendor and Qwirkle a bit longer still. All have gone over well with my daughter at ages 8 through 10.

I feel your pain on Uno and Life. She's liked both of those in the past, but I think we've finally made it through the dark times.
posted by polecat at 8:56 PM on April 15, 2021

I always recommend Hanabi, which is a cooperative game about giving/receiving hints about what cards are in your hand (which is visible to others, but not yourself).
posted by dismas at 11:15 AM on April 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

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