In a time when most families are struggling to control screen time for their kids and cut down on video games, board games have become a low-tech way to connect with the whole family and enjoy quality time. I’ve always loved playing board games, and luckily there are so many great family board games for teens to enjoy. These games are perfect for family fun at home time, for family gatherings, for your next family game night at home and when traveling to a place where you may be looking for evening activities.
When we travel by car, we sometimes bring along board games for entertainment once we are at our destination. They are especially fun to play when we are on a beach or mountain vacation because we usually have time at night.
While there are travel versions of many popular board games, I usually try to bring along the full games whenever I can – especially during road trips when I have more room to pack. If you are visiting a vacation home rental, check to see if there are games there. Many offer a stack of board games for families to play.
Here are some of our favorite family board games for teens and young adults to help prevent too much screen time. These board game ideas do include some items that aren’t quite traditional board games – but are a lot of fun nonetheless.
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Family Board Games for Teens: For Travel and Home
This extremely popular game is so much fun for family game night. There are so many different versions, including different destinations and a version where you can play with the Amazon Alexa.
Your goal in this game is to gather up enough cards to claim railway routes and win the game. This game is recommended for ages 14 and up, but we’ve found that it’s also a great game for tweens. There’s also an easier version available for younger children.
We recently purchased this game, and I think it’s one of the best games out there. It was produced by the Escape Game escape room company, but it’s not exactly an online escape room. Instead, it’s a strategic board game where you’ll work to escape the iron gate prison by collecting items you’ll need for your escape. I have found that strategy board games are some of our top picks because teens love them.
Items are collected by playing and winning various games including “Act it” (similar to charades), “draw it” (similar to Pictionary), and by solving puzzles. It becomes a very funny game when players choose the act it and draw it games. It’s easy to learn how to play and is definitely one of the best board games for teenagers. While it’s a strategy game, there’s also a good amount of fun and spontaneity.
My kids first learned about this card game during one of our Adventures by Disney trips to Greece. One of the teens on the trip brought it along, and they all loved playing. It’s easy to learn and small enough to carry along in a backpack or purse. It’s not too much bigger than a deck of cards.
This fast-paced game has users taking turns turning over cards. If you get an exploding kitten card, you are out. There are other components to the game too, including cards that change your turns.
In addition to the convenience of the game, Exploding Kittens is unique in that you are able to purchase expansion packs to add to the game. So it never gets to be repetitive because you’ll have different cards to play with. It’s also a quick game so you can fit it in between vacation activities.
My son, who loves Rubik’s cubes, received this game as a Christmas present. It became so popular with us that we brought it with us on multiple vacations. It’s fairly easy to pack up and carry along, but since it has small pieces, you’ll want to put everything in a sealed bag.
Rubik’s Race, although based on the Rubik’s cube, is different. It’s a head-to-head battle where each player needs to slide the pieces. The object of the game is to match the scrambler pattern. It’s a simple game but is lots of fun.
It’s a fast-paced game, and you’ll definitely want to play more than once. However, only two people can play at one time, so keep that in mind. We trade off so that different family members play with each other.
This classic board game is the one that my kids play most on vacation. It’s one of the most popular strategy games around. Some resorts, like Beaches Turks and Caicos, have huge life-sized chess games for families to play.
Others, (also Beaches Turks and Caicos) have game boards and pieces available to borrow. When we visited Beaches earlier this year, there was a game board table in our room, and guests were able to borrow the pieces for use in the hotel room. As a classic game, you’ll find lots of different versions to purchase.
It’s such a good game for enhancing critical thinking skills, and my kids have a great time playing it.
This classic whodunit game is always one of our favorites. In addition to the traditional board game, there are numerous spinoff versions, including Downton Abbey and Star Wars. The aim of the game is to find out who committed the crime, where they committed it, and which weapon they used. Whoever guesses those things first wins, but if you are wrong, you are immediately eliminated.
It’s great for teens and most tweens will also understand it. The mystery theme may be a bit morbid, but it is still plenty of fun for families. It’s no surprise that it’s one of the top board games.
This is another classic and fun board game that is great for rainy or snowy days when you are stuck in the house. Gameplay generally takes hours, but games can be very fun and competitive. Play this classic game when you have plenty of time to play. If you don’t have lots of time, it’s a good idea to set it up in a space where you can leave it overnight.
There are dozens of different versions of this game, including various themes, and simpler options for younger kids. You may also find versions that are themed for specific tourist attractions, sports teams, and towns.
We usually play the original version and don’t play too often. It’s definitely a commitment to play for at least a few hours, but it’s still one of my favorite board games.
If you’d prefer to play a quicker version of Monopoly, consider Monopoly Deal. This simple card game has some of the same features as traditional Monopoly, like hotels and properties. It’s easier and quicker to play, however. It’s also easier to pack.
Because this game can be played by up to 10 players, it’s a great option for a party or larger groups. Choose the card from your hand that you think most matches the one described. It’s a fairly easy game to understand, but the concept can lead to some very funny turns.
There are various versions of this game available, including a junior edition and a Disney-themed edition.
EXIT the Game is a series of escape room boxes that can be purchased individually. Each box has one game that can be played only once, but you are able to play on your own schedule. The boxes are relatively small, so they are easy to pack for vacation.
Before you go, open the box to see what you’ll need to have to play the game. The game we played required a pair of scissors, a felt tip pen, and paper. You’ll want to bring those things along with you if you are playing on vacation.
This fun game is by the makers of Exploding Kittens. Unlike Exploding Kittens, however, it’s not something that you can play in public or in close quarters.
This rapid-fire game involves individual players quickly working to make matches of cards. When certain matches are made, opposing players have to compete in a match of throwing burritos. It’s such a fun game. You’ll need lots of space to throw, run, and duck.
This strategy game involves moving your forces across the board in an attempt to occupy each territory. It’s definitely a more challenging game with varying levels of rules. I’d recommend it for teens, as it may be difficult for younger kids.
Risk, like Monopoly, can take hours to play so it’s best to set it up in a place where you can leave it overnight. It’s a fun vacation game, but with dozens of tiny pieces, you’ll want to make sure you keep track of them if you travel with this game. A good way to keep it organized is to put all of the pieces in individual plastic resealable bags.
Although there is a board game party edition, the standard Sushi Go! is an easy to play, quick-moving card game. Collect cards to make sushi dishes as you pick and pass your hand. It’s the perfect game for travel since it’s easy to pack and quick to play.
Previously known as Settlers of Catan, this fun board game has you collecting and trading resources, building roads, cities, and settlements, and trying to avoid the robber. It’s one of the most popular games ever and has multiple versions, including a travel game, expansions, and spinoffs.
The first guest who reaches a set number of points wins. It requires both a combination of strategy and some good luck to win.