As your child grows older it can be tough to relate to them or find common ground for family bonding time. It’s a period where they try being their own individual selves and start growing up. They’re not kids anymore.
The easiest way to reach them is through games. Find something that everyone will find fun and that is a bit more mature than the games you used to play together when they were younger. It’s time to get some board games for teens.
Yes, board games.
Teenagers are always looking for ways to challenge themselves – mentally and physically – so you are sure to find something among the vast trove of board games that will interest them.
And, it might be something they end up sharing with their friends as well if they like the game enough.
There is no doubt in my mind they’ll at least find some genre of board game that appeals to them, so talk to them and decide which ones you should be getting for the next family game night.
The first game on our list is one that emphasizes cooperation over competition.
It’s a game where you and the other players are a team of researchers who are working on a cure to a pandemic that has swept the globe.
You are the last line of defense against this biological menace and your end goal is to eradicate it as a team.
While the premise may be somewhat more mature than you’re used to if you’ve played younger children’s board games with them, it’s still a rather fun game to play.
You choose from a variety of roles with special abilities and each of you have set places where you have to contain and cure the source of the outbreak.
And you have to work together or risk losing entirely.
It’s a game where you all win or you all lose, thus promoting team play and better family bonding time.
It’s a rather interesting game that only lasts around 40-50 minutes per play but can easily be replayed multiple times.
I personally recommend it since I’ve had a lot of fun with it, though I haven’t introduced it to my kids yet.
I’m one of those parents who tends to respect the age ratings on games, and mine aren’t quite teens just yet.
The game is also rather affordable considering it’s quality and compared to some of the pricier board games out there.
2. Settlers Of Catan
If your teens are looking to scratch a more competitive itch and like developing their own strategies for winning, Settlers of Catan might be right up their alley.
This game features a less deadly theme and instead focuses on a player controlling a bunch of settlers whose aim is to grow their colony as they settle the island of Catan and plunder its resources to fuel their victory.
While the concept might sound dull at first, the game itself is quite interesting.
There are so many moving pieces that the game will never end up feeling the same no matter how many times you play it.
There are roads to consider, resource tiles, monopolies, blockades, and last but not least – the luck of the dice.
Not to mention the terrain tiles will almost never be in the same position. This means the game can be replayed endlessly.
Plus, despite sounding complex, the games only tend to last up to an hour, depending on how fast one of you gets the required 10 victory points to win.
It’s meant to be played with 3-4 players, so there’s plenty of room for politics and the occasional betrayal, depending on what sort of deals you make with your kids or your partner, and depending on who you choose to side with (temporarily).
This is definitely something I’m looking forward to trying out with my kids. I think they might like it, but only time will tell.
It’s a rather relaxing strategy board game despite being competitive and is one of my favorites, so I do hope they take to it.
3. Exploding Kittens
If you’re looking for a party game that’s fun for the whole family while also being a tad competitive, then Exploding Kittens is something everyone can enjoy.
It’s one of the most popular card games to come out in recent years thanks to a successful kickstarter campaign, which helped to bring this great game into existence.
The rules are quite simple, you have a deck of cards that you draw from until you draw an exploding kitten.
Think of it like a game of russian roulette but a lot friendlier and with more entertaining illustrations.
Morbid motiff aside, you use the cards that you draw in a strategic manner by either defusing the exploding kitten when you happen to draw it, adjusting the cards in the deck, or skipping your turn when you know the next card might be the fatal one.
The gameplay loop tends to be quite entertaining and the game itself is portable as it only involves cards and a set of rules, so you can take it on all your family trips or to other game nights.
Same goes for your teens and tweens.
There’s also a plethora of expansion packs available thanks to that initial kickstarter funding, though you might want to skip the NSFW pack to keep the game family friendly.
This is an incredibly simple game that will offer innumerable hours of fun and entertainment, whether it’s for a full table of five or just a simple two-player experience.
Despite being made for kids of age 7 and up, the theme is entertaining and cartoonish enough to be played with kids who are mature enough to not put the cards in their mouth, so I tend to enjoy the occasional game or two every week with my family.
Even my youngest is included and he’s managed to learn it quite quickly. Plus, the game’s silly sense of humor suits him well.
4. Forbidden Island – The Cooperative Strategy Survival Island Board Game
Returning to the style of cooperative games, Forbidden Island is the first in a series of three different board games (Forbidden Desert and Forbidden Sky being the others) where the goals are always similar but with a vastly different theme: survive and escape, or be swallowed up by the sea (or the sands or thrown off a floating city).
Essentially, the goal of the first game is to collect four ancient mystical artifacts of the Archeans, each representing a different element and each guarded by a different set of hazards which you and the other players have to navigate through.
This involves a lot of risk assessment and strategic planning skills that your kids will learn in a fun way that won’t leave any permanent consequences outside of a game loss.
Plus, they’re skills that are invaluable to their future.
The game lets you choose between a number of different adventurers, much like the researchers of Pandemic, and a varying number of different island layouts, giving the game a ton of replayability and the same amount of thrill in every playthrough.
The pieces of the game are made with a lot of care –, every single one is carefully crafted and the art on the cards and the tiles is beautiful and breathtaking.
The games themselves don’t really last that long – it’s 30 minutes for Forbidden Island while the others can take up to an hour or so.
Compared to some other games on the market these games are very affordable.
The game is for 2-4 players and is designed for players aged 10 and up. The more players there are the harder the game is, though it can become a lot easier the more you work together as a family.
Forbidden Island is one of those great board games that has even managed to catch the eye of the Mensa society, who have awarded the game a prize for helping to develop plenty of necessary cognitive skills.
Any avid board game fan would be silly not to include one of the most recognized and popular board games in their roster.
5. Kids Against Maturity: Card Game For Kids And Humanity
A more family friendly version of the classic game, Cards Against Humanity – the game teens are certain to buy, but not one I’d advise responsible parents to purchase given the…questionable nature of some of the cards.
At least with kids against maturity, the most egregious thing you’ll have to worry about is some toilet humor.
Overall, it’s a wonderfully entertaining game.
The basics of it are the same as for Cards Against Humanity – someone lays out a blue card filled with blank statements and the other players assemble their funniest answers on white cards that they place face-down.
The reading player decides the winner without knowing who the cards belong to and then the roles rotate clockwise.
Players always have a hand of ten white cards so they always have options when answering.
The winner is the person who owns the most winning white cards at the end of the determined amount of rounds.
The game suggests a wedgie as the reward for winning, but I’m certain that bit can be skipped during family game night.
It also suggests that the person with the hairiest knuckles begins first, though having your husband always be the reader might not be fun for them.
Either way, the game has so much potential for creating so many hilarious statements and funny moments.
Although you can play it with your younger kids, it’s an amazing game for teens as they’ll be able to offer you a wider variety of funny answers.
6. Spontuneous – The Song Game – Sing It Or Shout It
If you’re looking for sillier board games for teens, you might want to give Spontuneous a try.
If you find your older teens get frustrated with you breaking out into song over a random word spoken in a conversation, or they themselves do something similar, get this game and you can truly put yours and their skills to the test.
The basics of the game are quite simple compared to the other games I’ve mentioned.
A player draws a card with a word on it from the spontuneous deck and challenges the current player to sing a verse from a song that contains the same word.
If they do, they get to advance on the board. If they don’t, well, they’re gonna have to wait a turn and live with a bit of shame for not being the great music aficionado they thought they were.
The first one to reach the finish line, wins, as is customary with any dice game played on a board.
While this is normally a 2-4 player game, there’s nothing to say you can’t involve more people by using random household items as playing pieces as the only limit is the number of cards in the deck.
But even those can easily be reshuffled and you can even make more cards (because why not).
It’s a perfect game for a family game night for grownups and teens alike, though I’d refrain from inviting anyone but your close family to play if you suffer from stagefright and if you don’t want to embarrass your teenagers.
7. Pick Your Poison Card Game: The “What Would You Rather Do?” Party Game For All Ages
This game has taken yet another old schoolyard game and turned it into a card game. Plus, this one is one of the most appropriate board games for teens given the theme.
The game is based on the “Would you rather…” game kids play during recess or on an outing with friends. You know, when they ask questions like “Would you rather tell Brad how you feel or eat a worm?”
This game is more diverse and interesting, though, with a large number of cards allowing for nearly endless card combinations to occur.
It’s not so much competitive as it is fun, allowing you to peer into the psyche of your teens to see what they’re really like.
A subtle and fun way of getting to know them better.
If you want to make it competitive, you can just make your own points system up, but it’s meant to be more of a party game than anything else.
There is an adult version of it too, so watch out if you decide to buy this game – the family friendly one is the purple one.
That said, the adult version is probably something your older teens can stomach, but I’d advise against it in case a topic on the cards is a bit too sensitive for someone at the table.
8. Ticket To Ride Board Game
One of my other favorites is Ticket to Ride.
It might be just because I loved trains when I was young, which certainly adds some bias, but the game itself is rather fun and entertaining to play and yet another great example of all the excellent board games for teens.
The rules are simple. You are presented with a map of the United States and your goal is to make the biggest railway company, taking prime routes that are crucial to your plan before your competitors do.
But you’ll need resources and destination cards to get there, and you can only do one thing per turn, so you’ll have to learn how to plan ahead.
It’s a wonderful game of resource management and forward-thinking, and you might be surprised how well your teen handles the situation.
The board game comes with a beautifully illustrated game board, over 200 train cars, and 144 gorgeous cards.
Those things are worth the price alone, even if you’re not considering playing it.
It’s a deceptively simple game with a lot of depth and a ton of replayability, and it’s certainly something teens and adults alike can enjoy.
Just try not to be too competitive about it.
While this list barely scratches the surface of the treasure trove of board games available, a lot of these board games for teens are a surefire way of resonating with your teenage kids.
Also, they might end up being a route to having a fun family evening once every week and something all of you can delve further into together.
If anything, it’ll be a small distraction from their smartphones and buy you some quality time with them.
I do hope it works out for you mamas, I’m certainly going to continue going down this route myself and hope my kids will share one of my greatest passions with me.
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