Emily VanSchmus | 

36 Classic Board Games for Your Next Family Game Night

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Whether it’s family game night or date night in, classic board games are a fun (and inexpensive) activity anyone can enjoy. Rather than spending money on tickets or one-time-only experiences, investing in a few of these games will bring your family fun memories for years to come. They also come in real handy on rainy days when you have bored kids. And some of our favorites start a just $5.

If you’ve been on the hunt for inexpensive family activities or are just looking to spice up your game cabinet, we’ve rounded up the top 36 classic board games you’ll love playing.

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Best Time to Buy Board Games

Some board games are naturally more expensive than others. A simple game like Checkers ($9, Amazon) typically costs less than something more involved like Settlers of Catan ($41.99, Amazon). And since you likely want more than one board game for your family game closet, you want to be sure you’re getting the best price possible.

Of course, games go on sale year-round, so if you see one that’s significantly discounted, go ahead and stock up. If you’ve got your eye on several different games, Black Friday is the best time to buy board games. After comparing price history for all the games on this list, we found that the days after Thanksgiving typically had the lowest prices. This past year, games like Trouble and Connect 4 were just $6 on Amazon, and both Target and Walmart had competitive pricing as well. We’ve rounded up the best board games on the market, along with their price history so you’ll know when you’re getting the best deal possible.


1. Monopoly

Pass go, collect $200, and plan a fun family game night with one of the most classic board games ($14.99, Target). Race around the board collecting properties, building houses and hotels, and trying not to end up in jail. Designate your most trustworthy family member to be the banker, and keep an eye on the funds as you play. Monopoly can take quite a while to complete, so be sure to set aside a couple hours to play. Just remember that it consistently goes on sale for $15 – $20, so if it’s not around that price now, then be sure to wait for a discount.


2. Scrabble

Grab a dictionary and brush up on your vocabulary words before diving into this fun word game ($14.61, Amazon). Each player receives seven tiles, each with a different letter and point value. The object of the game is to make the highest-point words you can. It’s a strategic game involving double letter scores, triple word scores, and inevitable arguments on whether that’s really a word or not. We recommend keeping a dictionary handy for this one. Once all the tiles are on the board, tally up the points and declare a winner. Scrabble is typically around $12 – $14, so it doesn’t usually go on major sale.

$14.61$21.99(34% off)

3. Clue

This murder mystery game ($10.97, Amazon) is fun for kids and true crime fans alike. Despite the theme, it’s totally family friendly. Was it Colonel Mustard in the kitchen with the rope? Or perhaps it was Miss Scarlett in the ballroom with the candlestick. Put your sleuthing skills to the test and be the first to figure out the correct combination. We like that both Clue and Monopoly have junior versions of the classic board games, great for the little guys. You can usually find Clue for around $10, but it’s been as low as $8 on Black Friday.


4. Guess Who

Does your person have brown hair? How about glasses? This iconic guessing game ($13.91, Walmart) is an easy 2-person game that even the littlest family members can play. The game boards hold 20 picture cards with all different people on them. Ask your opponent yes or no questions like, “Does your person wear a hat?” then flip down all the profiles that don’t match. The first person to narrow it down wins. Guess Who is typically around $15 at major retailers, but Five Below carries a version for just $5.

  • Sold at: Walmart or Amazon
  • Lowest price in the last 12 months: $8.69 at Amazon
$13.91$16.99(18% off)

5. Sequence

Sequence is a card game and a board game ($13.49, Amazon) combined to create one entertaining competition. Don’t worry: you don’t need to know anything about straights or flushes for this card game. The idea is simple: divide into teams (or play 1:1) and distribute the cards between the players. Each time it’s your turn, strategically place a chip on a game board space that corresponds with a card in your hand. But watch out: any time someone draws a one-eyed Jack, they can remove a chip from the other team. The first team to get four in a row wins!

$13.49$24.99(46% off)


6. Candy Land

Race around the iconic landmarks of this nostalgic game board ($8.44, Walmart), traveling through the candy cane forest and gum drop mountains. Take turns drawing cards that will direct you to different locations around the board. The first person to reach King Kandy will be declared the sweet winner. For an extra fun game night, stock up on all the candies represented in the game and award players a gumdrop or candy cane as they hit each tasty treat on the board.

Related: 10 Best Free Online Games to Play with Friends, Anywhere


7. Checkers

There might not be a more classic board game than Checkers ($9, Amazon). Assign each player red or black, and move your pieces from one end of the board to the other, capturing your opponents pieces as you go. It’s easy enough for even the youngest children, and the games go quickly. If you have a large family, consider setting up a tournament-style game night so everyone gets to play. While you certainly can find fancy, expensive versions of the game board, you can usually buy a game of Checkers for $5 – $10.

  • Sold at: Amazon or Walmart
  • Lowest price in the last 12 months: $8.35 at Amazon
$9.00$9.99(10% off)

8. Trivial Pursuit

Put your trivia skills to the test with this age-old classic ($24.49, Target)! Each player receives the iconic “pie” game piece at the start of the game. When you land on a space, you have the opportunity to answer a trivia question from the corresponding categories, which include Geography, Entertainment, History, Art and Literature, Science and Nature, and Sports and Leisure. If you answer correctly, you earn one slice of the pie in that color — and you get to roll again. Fill your pie before the other teams to win! The game supports up to six players, but you could divide a larger group into teams. This is typically one of the more expensive games, but you can usually snag it for half price on Black Friday.


9. The Game of Life

Whether you’re 8 or 80, you can experience the race to retirement in The Game of Life ($15.97, Amazon). Collect life experiences as you travel across the board, picking up new jobs, babies, and a few unpleasant responsibilities — like taxes and car insurance. Fill your car-shaped game piece with tiny pink and blue babies as you race to the finish in this iconic family game. It’s marked for ages 8 and up, and up to four people can play. Life is consistently priced between $15 – $20, so anything less than $15 is a good deal.

$15.97$21.99(27% off)

10. Sorry!

The object of this game ($10.97, Amazon) is to move all three of your game pieces around the board and to your “home” space before any other players. It might sound easy, but if an opponent lands on the same square as you, you’ll get bumped all the way back to the beginning. In terms of classic board games, this one depends entirely on luck, so it’s a fun one for all ages. We’ve seen it go on sale for less than $5, so if you’re on a budget, it’s worth holding out for a decent sale.

$10.97$11.99(9% off)

11. Backgammon

Backgammon ($5, Five Below) is a simple — but competitive! — game that’s perfect for a night in. Like Checkers or Chess, it’s one of the oldest known classic board games, and the rules are pretty easy to learn. In this 2-player game, you’ll take turns rolling dice and moving your game pieces around the board. It does require a bit of math, so it might be best for older kids and adults. Because this is such an iconic game, you can find plenty of fancy, expensive versions out there — but this $5 game board works just as well.


12. Operation

Generations have grown up playing Operation ($14.99, Target), which has you playing surgeon. The object is simple: remove the plastic bones and organs without setting off the buzzer. Whether it’s the frog in his throat or the butterfly in his stomach, you’ll use the game tweezers to remove parts from the game board without touching the metal edges. Expect to find this game for around $20, although it consistently goes on sale for around $15.


13. Trouble

Press on the center piece to pop and roll your dice in this family-friendly board game ($10.52, Amazon). Similar to Sorry!, you want to to be the first to get all your pieces around the board safely. There are four pieces of each color, so the likelihood that you’ll land on the same space as someone else is high. When that happens, you kick them all the way back to the start. Ages 5 and up can participate in the game, which can be played with two to four people.

$10.52$11.99(12% off)

14. Risk

World domination is the name of this game ($25.49, Amazon). Strategically organize your infantry, cavalry, and artillery and work to take over each of the 42 territories on the game map. You’ll need to form alliances along the way, but don’t get too friendly. Only one player can conquer them all! The game is best for ages 10 and up and can be played with two to five people. This game hardly ever goes on sale for less than $25, but sometimes retailers hike the price up, so watch for that.

$25.49$33.99(25% off)

15. Pictionary

It’s the party game ($5, Five Below) of quick sketches and hilarious guesses that will have everyone laughing. Like a combination of art and charades, you’ll take turns drawing and guessing the words on the game cards. Each card has five words to choose from (they’re color-coded by difficulty level), and you’ll draw things like “flea market” or “bathroom.” Plus, you don’t need to spend a lot for hours of fun because this classic family-friendly game is just $5.


16. Chess

The game of Chess ($10.99, Amazon) has been around since the sixth century, so it might just be the most classic of classic board games on this list. Each player has pawns, rooks, bishops, knights, a queen, and a king to maneuver across the board before their opponent. The catch is that each piece has different rules about how and when you can move it. (For example, the knight can only move in L-shape configurations.) If you’ve never played before, it does take a few turns to get the rules down. But once you’ve mastered them, you can play for life! Like Checkers, you can find expensive Chess boards for hundreds of dollars — but you can also find inexpensive versions for as little as $5 at Walmart.

$10.99$12.99(15% off)

17. Taboo

This ultra-competitive game ($14.92, Amazon) is perfect for game nights or parties and will have the whole room biting their tongue. Learning to play is simple: once the timer starts, you’ll pull a game card and try to get your teammate to guess the word at the top of the card. The catch is that you can’t say any of the related words to help them. You might be trying to get them to guess “campfire,” but your card will prevent you from saying words like fire, marshmallow, wood, or camping. Once they guess the word correctly, you draw another card and keep giving hints until the time runs out. At the end of the game, the team with the most correct guesses wins. It’s helpful if you know your teammate well. Keep that in mind when assigning teams. Ages 13 and up can play, and you’ll need at least four players.

$14.92$16.99(12% off)


18. Boggle

Instead of numbers, the 6-sided dice in this game are covered in letters of the alphabet. The game board ($10.15, Amazon) is a 16-square tray that holds the dice. To play, pop the cover on the board and give it a good shake, then jiggle the board until each die is settled in one of the squares. Next, start the timer and start writing all the word combinations you can find on the board. The person with the most (actual) words at the end is the winner. You might want to have a dictionary nearby for this one, as you’ll likely need to settle some word disputes. This isn’t an expensive game to begin with, but it does frequently go on sale for around $6.

  • Sold at: Amazon or Walmart
  • Lowest price in the last 12 months: $6.49 at Amazon
$10.15$11.99(15% off)

19. Battleship

This game ($12.99, Amazon) is all about strategy. Secretly arrange your ships on a grid marked with numbers and letters, then take turns guessing grid points trying to figure out where your opponents ships are. You’ll have to choose your grid points strategically to destroy their fleet before they destroy yours! This game is appropriate for ages 7 and up and can only be played with two players.

$12.99$16.99(24% off)

20. Settlers of Catan

Be the first to settle the island of Catan ($47.01, Amazon)! This strategic game is all about buying, selling, and trading resources to build settlements on the island. The game board is formed from 19 different tiles (each patterned with different resources), so the game changes every time you play. Travel the board to collect grain, wool, ore, brick, and lumber. These can be used to build roads and cities and form your army. You’ll need to trade resources with the other players, but watch out — everyone is in it for themselves, and no one can be trusted. Because there are so many elements to this game, it’s one of the more expensive board games. The lowest price we’ve found is $25 on Black Friday.


21. Herd Mentality: $18.99 at Target

Herd Mentality ($18.99, Target) is a fairly new game, but it’ll quickly enter your rotation of favorites. Unlike most guessing games, you want to write down the same answer as everyone else. Each card has a prompt, such as “What’s the best ice cream flavor?” All players write down an answer, and if your answer is in the majority, you receive a point. The game board is farm-themed, so you’ll receive cow tokens for each right answer. If you’re the only person with an answer in a round (say everyone else wrote chocolate and you wrote vanilla), then you’ll be handed a pink pig figurine. You can’t win the game while you’re holding the pig, so think like the herd and try to guess what everyone else will answer. This game is typically around $20, so anything less than that is a great deal.

  • Sold at: Amazon, Target
  • Lowest price in the last 12 months: $15.99 at Amazon

22. Mouse Trap

This family-friendly game ($16.49, Target) requires teamwork but also has a healthy dose of competition. Take turns building your Mouse Trap on top of the game board, then scamper around the board collecting cheese tokens. Everyone will work together to create the mouse trap, but you’ll have to compete individually to capture your opponents’ mice. If you’re the last mouse on the board, you win the game. This game is appropriate for ages 6 and up and can be played with up to four people. The game has gone on sale for more than half price around the winter holidays, but less than $10 is a pretty good deal year-round.


23. Parcheesi

This board game ($9.44, Amazon) is based on a centuries-old game from India called Parcheesi. Players race around the board to move all their pawns into the center space. Each player’s moves are determined by a dice roll in the game’s signature dice-rolling cups. But be warned: you can easily be captured and sent back to the beginning. The game is for ages 8 and up and can be played with two to four people. This is another classic we’ve seen go on sale for less than $5, so keep an eye out for discounts.

  • Sold at: Amazon or Michaels
  • Lowest price in the last 12 months: $4.88 at Amazon

24. Scattergories

If loud, fast-paced games aren’t your style, grab Scattergories ($14.92, Amazon) for your next game night. Roll the 20-sided die to determine a letter of the alphabet for each round, then distribute the game cards. Each player will have the same prompts for every round. You have to write down a word beginning with the letter on the die. For example, if the letter is “B,” you might answer “baseball” if one of the prompts is “something you watch on TV.” Answer as many as you can before the timer runs out, then compare answers. If you write down the same word as someone else, cross it out: you get one point for each unique word no one else has. The price of this game fluctuates between $8 – $20, so if you see it available for less than $10, go ahead and snag it.

$9.99$12.99(23% off)

25. Connect 4

The premise of this game ($10.97, Amazon) couldn’t be easier: get four in a row and you’re the winner! While this seems like an easy task, you’ll need to be just as focused on blocking your opponent’s progress as you are about landing four of your own discs in a row. And with only six rows, the game gets competitive quickly! The one is great for ages 6 and up, and two people can play at a time. This is another classic game available for just $5 at Five Below.

$10.97$11.99(9% off)

26. Cranium

Travel around the board competing in challenges in this fun family game ($16.99, Amazon). Complete challenges in four different categories (sketching, performing, trivia, and puzzle-solving) to get ahead of the other players. It’s an interactive game that requires a little bit of luck and a lot of brain power. This one is recommended for ages 16 and up, so it’s best played as a party game or with older kids. The regular price of Cranium is usually between $15 – $20, but it does frequently go on sale for under $10.

  • Sold at: Amazon, Walmart
  • Lowest price in the last 12 months: $8.99 at Amazon

27. Chinese Checkers

If you know how to play regular Checkers, you’ll be a pro at Chinese Checkers ($9.39, Amazon) — and way more people can play at once. The game board resembles a star with six points, all different colors. There are 10 colored marbles for each color. The object of the game is to get all of your marbles from your starting point to the opposite point using the standard rules of checkers. Play with up to six players, or split up the colors among a smaller group of people. You can usually find pretty inexpensive versions for less than $10.

$9.39$9.99(6% off)

28. Yahtzee

While Yahtzee isn’t technically a board game ($8.44, Amazon), it’s so fun that it deserves a spot on the list. Each round, you’ll roll a set of dice up to three times to try to get a winning combination. You’ll find that each of the 13 rounds has a different score combination (roll five of a kind to get 50 points, a full house to score 25 points, etc.). The person with the most points at the end of the 13 rounds is declared the winner. This game is equal parts luck and skill and is best for ages 8 and up.

$8.44$8.99(6% off)

29. Twister

Twister ($14.99, Amazon) definitely has the largest game board out of all the offerings on this list, and it’s certainly a classic. To play, lay out the mat in a large open area and declare someone the spin master. The cardboard spinner will dictate which body part should go to which color on the mat. It starts out pretty easy: you’ll just need to place a hand on red and a foot on green. But as the game goes on, it’ll get more difficult to keep your balance (and keep your face out of someone’s backside!). Whoever can hold their position the longest will be crowned the champion. Twister is usually priced around $15 and doesn’t typically go on major sale, so as long as you’re not spending more than $20 for the game, you’re getting a fair price.

$14.99$19.99(25% off)


30. Code Names

The “board” of this game ($12.79, Amazon) is created by laying out a grid of 25 cards. Each card has a different word on it, so the board will change each time you play the game. Split into teams and declare one person the spy master. They’ll receive a pattern card that shows them the location of three cards on the board, with three words. The spy master can give a 1-word clue that connects these three words, and the rest of the teammates have to guess which words. Seems easy enough, right? But there’s a twist: there are just as many “do not guess” words on the board, and if your teammates guess one of those, you’re out. The game is technically for up to eight players, but you can create teams of however many you like.

$12.79$19.95(36% off)

31. Chutes and Ladders

This iconic board game ($7.99, Target) hit the market in the 1940s and has been a classic ever since. Players take turns climbing up the ladders, trying to reach the top — but you’ll have to be careful not to slide down the chutes. This is one of the easiest board games to play, so it’s a great option for families with small kids. Ages 3 and up can play. This classic board game is usually around $12 – $15, but we’ve seen it go on sale for less than $8, so you can find sales throughout the year.


32. Mastermind

Put your sleuthing skills to the test in this 2-person puzzle-solving game ($12.37, Amazon). To play, one player creates a “code” of four colored marbles in the hidden compartment. The other player takes turns guessing the color combination and order of the “code” until they guess correctly or run out of marbles. You’ll have to pay close attention to the clues provided by the code creator to crack this one.

$12.37$15.99(23% off)

33. Ticket to Ride

Anyone who loves to travel will have a blast playing Ticket to Ride ($47.44, Amazon). In this railroad-theme game, players travel around the map by train trying to visit more cities than their opponents. Take turns drawing cards that dictate where you need to go and which train to take to get you there. Earn points by traveling between destination cities and for taking the longest continuous route across the board. The person with the most points at the end wins! The original game is around $45 at most retailers, (although it’s usually on sale for around $25 at Black Friday), but the spin-off games (like Ticket to Ride: Amsterdam) are less expensive.

$47.44$54.99(14% off)

34. Hungry Hungry Hippos

It’s a childhood classic ($16.49, Amazon) that will bring back memories from your youth. As soon as the marbles are released, four players compete to to see whose hippo can chomp the most. The player who collects the most marbles wins. It’s marketed for ages 4 and up, and since each round only lasts about a minute, it’s a quick and easy game to play if you’re crunched for time. Because this game is so popular, different variations can be pretty different in price. Around $8 is the best we’ve seen in the past year, and anything over $18 is on the pricey end.

  • Sold at: Target or Amazon
  • Lowest price in the last 12 months: $8.88 at Amazon
$16.49$20.99(21% off)

35. Cribbage

This age-old game ($8.99, Amazon) combines math and card hands for an ultra-competitive game. Players take turns building card combinations, trying to get to 15 without going over. The game board uses wooden pegs to keep score, and the pegs can usually be conveniently stored in a compartment inside the board. It’s not hard to learn how to play but does require a lot of clever strategy to win. While you can make this a team game, it’s easiest to play with just two people. There are plenty of collector Cribbage boards that cost hundreds (even thousands!) of dollars, but you can find a good quality game board for less than $10.


36. Pie Face: $16.99 at Target

If you can believe it, Pie Face ($16.99, Target) has been around since 1968. Cover the end of a mechanical arm with whipped cream, then prepare to see who gets pie in the face first. Play is pretty simple. You spin a spinner to see how many times you’ll have to twist the handle on the game. Then place your face in the target area and get to turning that designated number of times. Players accumulate points for the number spun if they don’t get a pie in the face. Only play this one if you have a sense of humor (and like whipped cream).

  • Sold at: Amazon or Target
  • Lowest price in the last 12 months: $12.49 at Amazon

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