Breaking Families One Game at a Time

By Mia Hanuska

Ah, the epitome of a family night: arguing over the rules of a classic board game. I mean, if someone doesn’t cry does it really count as a game night? Despite what some people may argue, here is an “objective” ranking and rating of the best board games (that probably won’t destroy your family).

  1. Clue

Clue is a murder-mystery “who-done-it” game where players compete to figure out 3 things: who was killed, the murder weapon, and the killing room. The best part about Clue is that this game is strategy based. While many go into the round with little to no tricks and just guess willy-nilly, the hardcore players know how to rat out the proper cards from each competitor to solve the game first. Then, once you have successfully defeated your opponents, they come crying to you for your slick strategy that absolutely annihilated them just a few seconds after they just doubted your accusation. 

Rating: 5/5

Chance to ruin family: 6/10 

  1. The Game of Life

Fun and stressless, The Game of Life models real-life with jobs, paydays, marriages, and stocks. Traveling around the board in a colorful car of your choosing, players grow their family while earning money from paydays and community tokens, losing money from damages and experiences, and buying insurance and stocks to protect their in-game cash. The end goal: have the most money by retirement. Of course, getting the best house, car, and job adds a solid flex over fellow players, but ending the game with a good million dollars always feels kingly. This game is long yet still fun, and the slow-paced play and easy-to-follow rules make it enjoyable to play at any age.

Rating: 5/5

Chance to ruin family: 3/10 

  1. Uno

Is Uno really a board game? Definitely not, but it is now. Uno is a traditional board game that can easily be played on the go! With easy rules (match colored cards with the same color), Uno is a fun game to pick up and can last anywhere from a few minutes to almost an hour. One gripe about Uno is the lack of universal rules, and everyone plays the game slightly differently which can lead to heated arguments about whose rules are correct. But this can be ignored for the schadenfreude felt after playing a +4 wild card on someone with only one card left. 

Rating: 4.5/5

Chance to ruin family: 7/10

  1. Exploding Kittens

Another card game? “How’d this end up on the list?” you may be asking, and the answer is because I like it. But actually, this game is great to play with family, but also definitely has a learning curve. The fine print on the cards can be difficult for older people to read, but with a younger translator this can easily be avoided. After learning the rules, this game becomes hilariously fun with the descriptions of each cat card and the ability to team up on other players to take their cards. Exploding Kittens has the fun of a board game and the portability of a card game, making it perfect for exciting travel.

Rating: 4/5

Chance to ruin family: 4/10

  1. Guess Who?

Guess Who? is criminally underrated. Proven a strategy game by Youtuber Mark Rober, Guess Who? has fun almost unmatched by any other board game. My favorite way to play is an adaptation of the real instructions where you make assumptions about the people and see how your fellow player interprets it. However, even playing with the original rules this game is just as entertaining as you beat your opponents with scientifically proven strategies. 

Rating: 4.25/5

Chance to ruin family: 2/10

  1. Mouse Trap

Mouse Trap is an…interesting game. I have never met anyone who actually knows how to play this game, and for some reason the instructions for it are in another language? Ignoring the lack of actually knowing the rules, this game is still fun for one reason: the set up. Really the only good part of the game, setting up Mouse Trap is an elementary introduction to engineering, with moving pieces relying on the simple pull of one part. The resulting reaction pushes marbles through an extravagant maze, entrancing child and adult players alike. Undoubtedly, while Mouse Trap is confusing with its instructions, the set up makes it much better and actually fun to “play.”

Rating: 3/5

Chance to ruin family: 1/10

  1. Sorry!

Sorry, but Sorry! is only slightly better than Trouble. Honestly, the only differences between the two games are only that Sorry! uses cards and Trouble does not, but aside from such a small difference the games are basically identical. The only good part of this game is the card “Sorry!” which allows a player to take the place of another player’s piece, forcing the other player back to home. In the end, Sorry! just barely makes it above Trouble with uninteresting gameplay yet a higher chance of angering fellow family members. 

Rating: 3/5

Chance to ruin family: 5/10

  1. Trouble

Slow paced, Trouble leaves much to be desired. Although a classic game to play with children with its simple instructions and basic board design, this game gets less fun as you grow older. Not only is the plastic covering the die hard to press, the flimsy cardboard of the base makes it so whenever the die is successfully rolled the entire game board flips. Additionally, the rules get repetitive and annoying when trying to get pieces out of “home” and getting the perfect number to enter the “finish” section. Ultimately, this game is just too much trouble. 

Rating: 2/5

Chance to ruin family: 3/10

  1. Candy Land

Aimed towards children, Candy Land is unfortunately an outlier in this “family board game” list. Of course, for younger players this game is exciting and the colorful board holds their attention for hours. Simple and sweet, Candy Land really has no faults except the obvious audience difference from my age to the intended age. 

Rating: 2/5 (3/5 for young children)

Chance to ruin family: 2/10

  1. Monopoly

This will definitely be a controversial opinion, but Monopoly as a game is actually terrible. Severely overrated, Monopoly’s excruciatingly slow pace makes playing this game boring and uninteresting, not to add the arguments over how much someone owes when they land on an owned property, especially with a house or hotel. There is a 99% chance someone will cry, and the stress just isn’t worth it for a bland game. The only good part of Monopoly is the fun game pieces, but even those spark fights over who gets what. 

Rating: 0.5/5

Chance to ruin family: 10/10