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Whether you are looking for a board game to lure your teen away from their screens for a family games night, board games that teens can play when hanging out with friends or as party activities, or a board game to give as a gift, I’ve got you covered. I’ve curated a list of the best board games that are guaranteed to be a hit with teens.
I am a long-term fan of board games. My all-time favourites? It’s a toss-up between Scrabble and Taboo. My current favourite is Qwirkle, which we play with friends and extended family members from 8-18-80 years old (and beyond). So I know first-hand just how much fun can be had playing a board game.
I also know that though there are thousands of board games out there, it can be hard to find games that live up to the hype around them. A dud board game can turn carefully planned family game nights into damp squibs that will see your teen sloping back off to their room or put a downer on a teen party.
So take a look through my carefully curated list of the best board games for teens and take your pick.
Related: 28 Fun party games for teens that they actually love
THE BEST BOARD GAMES FOR TEENS
I’ve spent numerous hours researching, playing and curating this list of the best board games for teens. I’ve been careful to side-step games that fail to live up to expectations and made sure to include games that really are hugely fun and engaging to play.
- Betrayal at House on The Hill (3rd Edition)
- Speed Charades
- Who in the room?
For fans of mystery and suspense, I wholeheartedly recommend Betrayal at House on the Hill. The game starts collaboratively as players explore a haunted mansion, discovering new rooms and encountering hidden dangers. Then halfway through the game, one player becomes the traitor, and the game turns into a one-vs-all game, with the traitor trying to defeat the other players.
The game features a modular board that is randomly generated each time you play, and 50 different scenarios, each with its own unique story and set of rules, making it a highly replayable game, with no two games the same.
Additionally, the game includes 50 different scenarios, each with its own unique story and set of rules, so you can play the game many times without ever getting bored. The game also allows for different players to take on different roles, which can change the outcome of the game and keep things fresh and exciting.
Number of players: 3-6. Optimum: 5-6
Average duration: Around 60 minutes
Ease of getting started: It’s pretty easy for new players. You don’t need to know much at the start and can simply explain things as they come up.
Skill building: Cooperation, risk assessment, role-playing, adaptability
Taboo was first launched in 1989, making it another classic board game that has stood the test of time. It is a word-guessing game where players must get their teammates to guess a word without using certain 'taboo' words or phrases when describing it to their teammates.
The game's main aim is to get your team to guess as many words as possible within a set time limit. I have played this game on many occasions, and it never fails to induce giggles and near-hysteria as players battle to get their word scores up. It is utterly addictive, competitive fun.
The game is played with two teams of at least two players each.
Number of players: 4+. Optimum: Equally fun with four as it is with more.
Duration: 30-60 minutes, depending on the number of players and rounds played. The game typically consists of several rounds, each lasting a few minutes.
Ease of getting started: Easy to learn.
Skill building: Communication, creative thinking, teamwork, vocabulary
Telestrations is a hilarious combination of drawing and guessing. Think of it as a hybrid of the Telephone game and Pictionary. It is perfect for fun with family and friends. Players take turns drawing a word or phrase on a notebook and then pass the notebook to the next player, who has to guess what the drawing represents and draw their interpretation of the guess, and so on.
The injection of hilarity comes as the drawings and guesses get more ridiculous as the game progresses.
The game is played in rounds, each with a different word or phrase. This means there is always a new challenge to tackle, and the game never gets boring.
Telestrations is a great game for families and teens to play at smaller parties or sleepovers. It is particularly good as an ice-breaker at a party because it is so easy to learn and pretty much guarantees laughter.
For older teens, you could opt for Telestrations After Dark, which is specifically for players 17+ as it has some more risqué words and phrases.
Number of players: 4-8. Optimum: 6-8. The more players there are, the more chances there are for hilarity.
Average duration: 30 -45 minutes. Each round lasts around 2 to 3 minutes.
Age: 12+ or 17+ for Telestration After Dark
Ease of getting started: Easy to learn.
Skill building: Drawing, creativity, time management, communication
Charades is one of those games that just about everybody is familiar with. Enter Speed Charades! It's Charades with a twist.
Teams of players play against each other to act out and guess as many words or phrases as possible within a limited time frame. The team that earns the most points by successfully guessing the most words or phrases within the given time limit wins the game.
Number of players: 6+. Optimum: The more, the merrier!
Average duration: 30-60 minutes, depending on the number of players.
Ease of getting started: Easy to learn.
Skill building: Acting, communication, time management, creativity
Who In The Room is a brilliant party game. Players are challenged to answer questions about each other. The competition aims to guess who will most likely do or say certain things in the room.
To play, one player reads a question out loud, and all other players write their answers on a card. The responses are then collected, and the player who read the question must guess who wrote each answer.
This is a great game for parties and sleepovers for teens. I'd say it is better with groups of friends who know each other well unless they are a particularly resilient group of guests.
However, some questions encourage risqué answers, so if you want a similar game for younger teens, go for Who's Most Likely To instead.
Number of players: 4+. Optimum: 4-8.
Average duration: 30-45 minutes.
Ease of getting started: Easy to learn.
Skill building: Observation, diplomacy, communication, creativity
Related: 43 Birthday themes teens will love
CLASSIC BOARD GAMES
I thought it would be great to include a list of absolute classic board games, the games we parents played and enjoyed as kids. There’s a certain lovely nostalgia to playing a classic board game with your teen kids.
- Monopoly – This classic game of strategy has been a family favourite for generations. Players buy and trade properties, build houses and hotels, and try to bankrupt their opponents. Make like the Roy family (Succession) and pit the wits of parents versus kids!
- Scrabble – The word game that challenges players to create words from letter tiles and earn points based on the length and complexity of their words.
- Chess – This strategic game has been played for centuries and challenges players to outmanoeuvre their opponents and capture their king.
- Draughts – This classic game is easy to learn but challenging to master. Players try to capture their opponent’s pieces by jumping over them with their own pieces.
- Cluedo – The mystery game that challenges players to solve a murder by gathering clues and eliminating suspects.
- Pictionary – The classic drawing game that challenges players to draw and guess words and phrases, leading to lots of laughter and fun.
- Trivial Pursuit – The OG trivia game that challenges players to answer questions from a variety of categories, testing their knowledge and memory.
- Backgammon – The age-old strategic game that challenges players to move their pieces around the board and capture their opponent’s pieces.
THE MANY BENEFITS OF BOARD GAMES FOR TEENAGERS
Let’s face it, whilst there are many wonderful things about being a teenager; it can also be really stressful being a teen not least in an always-on world of screens, social media, pandemics, and economic crises.
I think board games can be a brilliant antidote to both screen time and teen stress. Here are some ways in which playing board games with family and/or friends can benefit teenagers:
- Promotes family bonding: Board games provide an opportunity for families to spend quality time together, which can strengthen family bonds and improve communication.
- Enhances social skills: Playing board games requires social interaction and communication, which can help teenagers develop their social skills and improve their ability to communicate with others in real life rather than through their mobiles.
- Improves cognitive skills: Board games can help teenagers develop critical thinking skills, problem-solving, strategic thinking and decision-making skills, which can be useful in academic and personal life.
- Reduces stress: Playing board games can be a fun and relaxing way for teenagers to unwind and reduce stress.
- Encourages healthy competition: Board games provide a safe and healthy way for teenagers to compete with each other, which can help them learn how to win and lose gracefully.
- Boosts creativity: Many board games require players to think creatively and come up with unique solutions to problems, which can help teenagers develop their creativity.
- Teaches life skills: Board games can teach teenagers important life skills such as teamwork, patience, and perseverance, which can be useful in many aspects of life.
As a mum to a teenager, I think it is great to choose board games that will not only entertain but also educate and help teens develop essential skills. They may feel that they are all grown up, but as those of us who have been through our teen years go, there is actually still a way to go.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when selecting the best board games for teenagers:
OPTIMUM NUMBER OF PLAYERS
Games usually state the minimum and maximum number of players, but it is worth checking what the optimum number is. Some games are too boring if there are too few players and some take way too long if there are too many. Teens don’t always have a huge amount of patience, so getting the balance right will go a long way to keeping them engaged.
Consider the typical playtime for each board game. Teens can have short attention spans, especially given the amount of fast-paced screen snacking they do, so selecting a game that doesn’t take too long to play can help to keep them engaged.
Whenever possible, select board games that have educational value. This can include games that enhance vocabulary, teach about finances, or encourage strategic thinking.
Your teen doesn’t need to know that you are hoping to educate them, but you’ll feel secretly like you’ve scored a parenting win and of course, in the long run, it’s a win for your teen too!
Opt for games that offer replayability, allowing teens to enjoy the game multiple times without getting bored.
Here are some genres of board games that might appeal to teenagers:
These games challenge players to outthink and outmanoeuvre their opponents. They often require critical thinking and planning, making them perfect for teens who enjoy flexing their mental muscles.
Party games are designed for larger groups and are typically quick and easy to learn. They are perfect for social gatherings and are great for helping teens break the ice and interact with others.
In cooperative games, players work together towards a common goal rather than competing against each other. These games can help promote teamwork and communication skills in teens.
Trivia games test players’ knowledge in various subjects, from general knowledge to pop culture. These games can be educational and entertaining while also providing an opportunity for teens to show off their intellectual prowess.
Luci is the founder of Mums Make Lists (Est. 2011). Over the last decade or so, she has used her experience as a mum to create useful guides to organising family life. During that time, she has found the most joy in creating lists of ideas and inspiration to make it easier for busy parents to plan and host kids’ parties and find great gifts. Read more.