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15 Games Your Family Needs in Their Game Closet

You decided to set aside a night for some good old family fun and thought that games were the way to go. But which games do you choose? Here are 15 games that every family game closet needs to have.


Welcome to Candyland, home of Queen Frostine, Lord Licorice, and other magical characters! Race to the end by first drawing cards, then moving their pieces to the space that matches the color or picture. Beware of the sticky gumdrops spaces!


Chutes and Ladders

Will you climb the ladders of success or slide down the board on a slippery chute? Three to six players ages 3+ race toward square 100 by spinning the dial. Players go up ladders and down chutes, depending on where they land. It’s a great game for teaching arithmetic!


Connect Four

Two players (or more, if you want to “team up”) take turns dropping discs in a suspended grid in hopes of lining up four of their colored discs in a row. You can “connect four” (hence the name) either vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. It teaches basic strategy for your little, big thinkers.


The Game of LIFE

You think life goes by quickly? Try graduating from college, getting married, getting a job, having children, buying a house, and maybe even Winning a Nobel Peace Prize in a single evening! Spin the wheel to move forward, collecting money and valuable LIFE Tiles as you go. Whoever has the highest dollar amount by the time they reach “retirement” wins!



Two to four players ages 6+ move their pawns from Start to Home by following the card instructions. No two pawns can be on the same tile, so incoming pawns can “bump” another pawn, forcing it to go back to the start. Sorry!



This classic game comes in a variety of themes from the original board to Monopoly Disney! Buy up property around the board. Rolling dice moves pieces forward. Players must obey the instructions on the Chance and Community Chest cards, for better or for worse. The last player who isn’t bankrupt wins! Careful: this might not be the game for sore losers.


Two players 6+ roll dice to move their pieces across the board before his or her opponent can! Whoever removes all their pieces from the board wins. A relaxing game, great for any age.


Two or more players compete in this game of physical and mental skill. 54 wooden blocks are stacked in rows of three, altering how they are laid out to create a criss-cross pattern. Here’s the catch: one player at a time must then pull out a single wooden block. The game ends when the tower falls. A great challenge for those up to it, and a fun evening for the kids who just love watching blocks fall.


Apples to Apples

This game suits an older crowd, though “Apples to Apples Junior” is available. Each player attempts to match “red apple” cards (noun) from their hand to the “green apple” card (adjective) selected from the pile each round. One player then acts as a judge of the apples and picks which he finds most suiting (this role rotates each round). Whoever had the most green apples by the end of the game wins! A great game to expand one’s vocabulary.



Three to six players ages 8+ take part in a murder mystery by trying to guess who was killed, where they were killed, and with what weapon! Pieces walk around the “mansion”, entering rooms that have weapons in them. They then try to guess the circumstances of the murder by asking for cards from other players. Whoever guesses correctly wins!



The aim of the game here is to acquire as much land as possible from their opponents. Whoever can conquer the entire board wins. Much like monopoly, play with your family at your own risk! This game is for two to six players ages 10+.


The game starts when four players line up on opposite sides of the mat. By spinning a dial, they are then told which body part to place on which color (e.g., “right foot on blue”). As the game progresses, players find themselves in the most hilariously awkward positions. Whoever is left standing by the end wins!



Two to four players ages 8+ try to spell out words on the board for points. They play until the board is filled up or they run out of letter tiles. Whoever has the most points by the end of the game wins. Great for the wordy people in your family.



For the brainiacs. Two players in this strategy board game move their pieces across the board, taking out their opponent’s pieces in the process. The ultimate goal is to take out the other player’s king piece! The winner is declared when a king piece has been cornered. Checkmate!



Two to eight players ages 7+ are given letter tiles to make their own words intersect–much like a crossword puzzle! “Split!” is yelled at the beginning of the game. “Dump!” is yelled when a player wants to get rid of one tile, exchanging it for three more. “Peel!” is yelled when a player has finished up his tiles and there aren’t any more to take. “Bananas!” is called out when a player has placed all his tiles into his word grid. If all the words match up correctly, that player is named the winner. A good travel-size variation on scrabble.

Games are great for a little friendly competition. Depending on the game, they can be instructive and educational as well! These games are fun for both kids and adults alike, and are sure to make your family evenings memorable ones.

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