Holiday Gift Guide – Board Games for Tweens and Teens

Best Board Games for Teeens & Tweens

Here is a list of 30 of our favorite board games that we enjoy as a family with tweens and teenagers. These are all games that are suitable for children over the age of 10, and a few of them as young as 7, so are ideal for tweens and teenagers. Some of them are technically card games but I’ve included them anyway because we highly recommend them. I have written comprehensive reviews on some of these games, to read more about them simply click on the links in the individual game descriptions below.

Some of these games are suitable for solo players while others we have adapted to play in groups of 20 people and more. There are a range of types of games here, from strategy to word games, drawing and brain puzzles, games that require speed and others that need lots of patience!

I have realized lately why it is that teens typically don’t like playing games with their siblings – it seems to bring out the worst in my kids. Amazing how a 17 and 15 year old can suddenly lose 10 years of their lives in terms of behavior. Games are an ideal training ground for learning basic manners. I suppose that’s a good thing, but as a result it’s not always easy to persuade them to play because they know there’s bound to be an argument at some stage, However, these are all games we have played together and they are willing to play again, even if we need to spend a bit of time being sent to our bedrooms afterwards (we the parents, I mean). So, in no particular order….

Here is the list of 30 Board Games for Tweens and Teenagers:

1.Telestrations

Undoubtedly one of the funniest games we have played, Telestrations can be played with up to 8 players so is ideal for a large family or for a group of friends. This is a drawing game and the worse you can draw the better, or funnier. Suitable for 4-8 players aged 10 and up.  Buy your own Telestrations here.

I love drawing, and funnily enough, I also enjoy a laugh, so this game is the ideal game in my books. However, even people who claim they can’t draw, but who still like a laugh, also thoroughly enjoy the game.

You don’t have to be able to draw to play Telestrations, stick men and symbols work just as well. In fact, the worse you can draw, the greater the potential for some surprising and funny results.

Most board games can only accommodate 4 to 6 players max so it’s great how this game can be played by a large group of up to 8 players.

Telestrations is recommended for ages 12 and up but we play it with our 10 year old and she is well able for it. I think any kids younger than that may struggle with conceptual drawings.

It’s brilliant how the the little booklets are wipeable so they can be reused an infinite number of times. The only items that may need to be replaced in the contents of the game are dry wipe marker pens.

Each sketch pad is cleverly defined by a uniquely colored spiral binding

I would recommend you cover the table with a wipeable cloth first, or play on an old table so that enthusiastic sketchers don’t end up inadvertently decorating your finest table cloth.

With regular use players may become familiar with the words on the cards, however, you can actually write anything you can think of, from specific items to catch phrases, and these would work just as well.

My final verdict?

If you only buy one game this year, you should definitely buy this one!

2. Catan

This is a timeless classic strategy game and has long been a personal favorite of mine so it’s great that the kids are keen to play too now. The aim is to build settlements on an island, to trade resources with the other players and to be the first to accrue 10 points. Suitable for 3-4 players aged 10 and up.  Buy your own Catan game here.

This is one of our family’s favorite games. We enjoy that it takes a good length of time to play which means that you can make an evening of it. It’s a game that is conducive to a social night in with another couple or is ideal for filling a rainy afternoon.

Catan requires a level of luck as well as skill, the way you set up your first settlements is key to your success in the game.

We enjoy the trading element of the game, depending on what you need to build, you need to accumulate combinations of wood, stone, brick, wheat or sheep/wool. The trading can become either hilarious or vicious, depending on who plays!

I love the illustrations, the pictures are filled with beautiful detail.

This would make an ideal family gift for a family with children aged 10 and up.

3. 7 Wonders

7 Wonders is a multiple award winning strategy game. Each player picks one of the ancient 7 wonders of the world and races their opponents to develop their commercial and military might. It took us a while to get to grips with the rules of this game but once we did we discovered it wasn’t as complicated to play as we first thought. Suitable for 2-7 players aged 10 and up. Buy your own Wonders here.

See the source image

4. Carcasonne

This is another settlement building game which compared to 7 Wonders and Catan is a bit simpler to explain and easier to play for slightly younger kids. There are various characters in the game, including knights, robbers, monks and farmers. The aim is to have the most points at the end of the game by building the most. Suitable for 2-5 players, aged 7 and up. Click the image below to find out more information.

5. Splendor

Splendor is set in the time of the middle ages amongst merchant guilds. Players have to collect gemstones in order to buy resources. Once you have collected a specific amount, you will be visited by a noble patron and earn prestige. The winner is the first person to reach 15 points. Suitable for 2-4 players aged 10 and up.

Splendor is essentially a card game with a range of beautifully illustrated cards, tiles and tokens. It is set in the Renaissance and each player plays the part of a precious gem collecting merchant. Using these gems, players buy prestigious developments to collect points. The winner is the first person to collect 15 points and a visit from a Noble Patron.

At the start of play, the cards are laid on the table in rows and columns and the gem tokens are placed in piles. Depending on the number of players playing, a selection of Noble Patrons are placed in a row along the top of the cards.

Each player has the choice of one of four actions on their round in order to collect gem tokens or development cards. The aim is to use the gems to buy development cards and to collect as many development cards as you can in order to reach a total of 15 points. However, you have to be careful because if there is a tie with an opponent who also has 15 points, then the person with fewer cards is actually the winner!

After a few rounds of this game, we all realized that there is a degree of strategy required in order to achieve a visit from a Noble Patron. Often you could be racing an opponent for a visit from the same Patron without realising it and they get them first (which usually catches me by surprise because my kids seem to get there before me more times than the other way round).

I love the look and feel of the gem tokens and noble tiles as they are robust so they feel that they are well made and will last a long time. I also like that the game box has separate slots for each category of item so the contents are well ordered, the game is easy to set up and is organised neatly when it’s stored.

Our whole family enjoys playing this game, from the 11 year old to the 50 year old and so far the kids seem better at the game than the adults! We highly recommend Splendor for both teenagers and adults.

6. Mysterium

Mysterium is a little bit like Cluedo but it is a collaborative game where everyone has to work together to solve the riddles in order to identify the the murderer. The characters in the game include a medium and ghosts but there’s nothing scary to frighten off younger players. The game also comes with an app so that you can play suitably eerie background music which lends to the air of mystery and intrigue. Ideal for 2-7 players aged 10 and up.  Buy your own Mysterium here.

Players assume the role of up to seven different psychic personae while one person plays the part of the silent ghost. The ghost can only communicate via knocking sounds whereas the rest of the players can chat and swap ideas. We found the more eyebrow waggling and whispering you can do, the greater the atmosphere of intrigue.

What I love about this game is that it is completely collaborative. Every person in the game works together to solve the mystery, the only competition is against the clock as you all try and solve the mystery before time runs out. This means that the youngest person playing the game has as much opportunity to win as the oldest as players are encouraged to help one another.

I really enjoy playing Mysterium, both as the ghost and as a psychic. Initially all the instructions were a bit overwhelming but the game is actually very easy to play once you know how to. The illustrations are beautifully done.

7. Mission: Diamond Heist

Mission: Diamond Heist  is another collaborative game where players have to work together to crack open a safe while racing the clock and keeping their cool. The game requires batteries and comes with sound effects and each round becomes a little trickier as the voice commands speed up. It’s amazing how tense you can become in your efforts not to make a mistake and let the whole team down! Suitable for 2-4 players aged 7 and up. Buy your own Mission: Diamond Heist here.

This is an hilariously dangerous game – hilarious because it’s funny how a little game can be so intense – watching one another bounce around in the suppressed terror of failure is entertaining in a twisted sort of way. Dangerous because poor Athol said his heart couldn’t handle the stress of playing it any longer than one round.

Mission: Diamond Heist is a fast paced collaborative game for two to four players, the aim is to try and crack the safe by following a set of instructions, without making a mistake, within the time limit. Players take on one of four different roles and have to pass various pieces of equipment to one another or push their corresponding button on the safe, directed by electronic commands issued by the safe.

I like that this is a collaborative game, all players have to work together in order to break the code.

Every member of our household enjoyed this game, including adults (even ones with sensitive hearts) and teenagers, both girls and boys. It is fast paced and includes five levels of difficulty with a bonus level – which we haven’t reached yet – so there’s longevity in the game.

Generally I don’t go for games that require batteries but this one is a good laugh and involves a group of players, not just one. I would recommend this as a fun family game for Christmas.

8. Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride is a tactical game which comes in so many different location variations. We have the London version but you can find versions for a range of cities, countries or even continents. In this game opponents have to build train or bus routes while trying not to be blocked by the other players. Points are gained by completing routes. Suitable for 2-4 players aged 8 and up. Buy your own Ticket to Ride here.

loved how quick it was to set the game up, to read and understand the rules and to get into the game. I also enjoy how the game combines a mixture of luck and skill, although it may be argued that with a bit more skill, your luck may also improve.

I don’t like how my kids keep beating me at this game, I have yet to win it. I blame it on bad luck, obviously!

I feel torn. On the one hand I think it would be ideal if the game took a bit longer to play and I imagine that the larger sized versions of the game do. On the other hand, Ticket to Ride London a perfect version if you’d like to play a board game with the kids that doesn’t take ages to get to grips with, or be thrashed in.

It’s a clever game that becomes more and more enjoyable as you figure out the tactics that are needed to win, and even though I’m the slowest to grasp them, I keep coming back for another thrashing. I give it 8/10.

9. Trivial Pursuit

We have the travel version of this game which comes in a very handy portable box. I prefer this version to the full game as it is compact and has a couple of extra features that the original game doesn’t have such as block and steal cards which add an extra twist. Suitable for ages 8 and up. Click the image below to find out more information.

10. Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon is set on a Polynesian archipelago, and looks like the movie Moana, so it feels like I am away on hols when I play it (a tiny bit). Players each have a tribe of explorers who have to claim the islands and their resources before the other tribes do.

The first thing my children said when we opened the Blue Lagoon board game was: “It looks just like Moana!” It’s true, the illustrations are bright, cartoon-like and tropical, as the game is a set among the Paradise Islands-a fictional Polynesian archipelago nestled in a vivid blue sea lagoon.

See the source image

Each player represents a tribe and the aim of the game is to explore, and then inhabit as many islands in the archipelago as possible. The game is played in two phases, the first is the exploration phase and the second is the expansion phase. You gain points by collecting as many resources and inhabiting as many islands as you can.

BUT you have to beware, the other tribes may get there first and block your progress!

On first glance, this game appears very easy to play, and it is! However, it is also extremely strategic and it’s not long before you realise that you need to have eyes all over the board to stay on top of the game!

My kids and I love playing this game – we have all managed to win at some point, from the youngest to the oldest. (Well not quite the oldest, Dad still hasn’t managed to beat the kids!)

11. Dixit

Dixit is a beautifully illustrated story telling game which encourages imaginative play. Players take turns to be the story teller and all the other players choose a card from their hand that best matches the story. Players then vote for which card they think belonged to the storyteller. For 3-6 players aged 8 plus.

Dixit is a beautifully illustrated game that is all about telling the story. It consists of a deck of 84 gorgeous picture cards that players use to creatively weave together a common theme, sentence or tale.

I love that this game is all about story telling and stimulating the imagination. It’s a gentle game, not at all stressed and is played at a leisurely pace – perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon or after a huge Christmas meal!

13. Cortex

Cortex is a little like Dobble in that players have to search cards for specific images or symbols, however, there is more variety in this game as it includes a range of different mental tasks such as reasoning, touch, color, co-ordination, mazes and frequency. I love how the different challenges make it possible for people with different strengths to compete fairly, there is something for everyone to be good at in this game. Suitable for 2-6 players aged 8 plus.

14. Qwirkle

Qwirkle is a little bit like Scrabble but with shapes and colours instead of letters. It’s a game that combines stategy and logic, players create sets by building on each other’s tiles. We love playing this multi-award winning game, it is also made from ethically sourced materials! For 2 or more players aged 6 and up. Click the image below to find out more information.

15. The Game of Life

The Game of Life takes a while to learn all the rules and can take a while to play too (although you can set the length of the the game) but once you get the hang of it it’s a great game to come back to on long rainy afternoons. Players take a journey in a little car/boat/plane across various different lands as they create a life for themselves from starting a career all the way through to retirement. Build your family and gather pets while encountering various surprises along the way. For 2-6 players aged 8 and up. Click the image below to find out more information.

16. Don’t Say It

Don’t Say it is similar to games such as Taboo and Articulate where players have to describe an object or an action before the times runs out and without using certain words. There is a beeper in this game which speeds up just before it goes off which lends a huge element of stress to the game! (We play it without the beeper too). This is a team game for two or more teams aged 6 plus.

17. Last Word

When you were in primary school did you play a game called the Alphabet game (my kids call it Stop the Bus now) on a sheet of paper divided up into columns with different topics? I loved that game! Last Word is a board game version of this. Players have to come up with words starting with the same letter, all under a specific category and under a random time limit. The randomness of the buzzer makes this game unpredictable and makes it easier for different ages to compete fairly. The letter and category changes on every round. This game is suitable for 2-8 players aged 10 and up.

18. Mastermind

Mastermind is another classic from my childhood and one that continues to be brilliant. Two players take turns using logic to crack a color code set by their opponent. The newer versions have a wider color range that the original game. Suitable for 2 players aged 7 and up. Click the image below to find out more information.

19. Game of Things

We have played Game of Things in a group of about 20 people as it can easily be adapted to a large group. A topic is drawn from the deck of cards, all players write down their answers and submit them to the reader (who changes on every round), players then take turns to guess who wrote which answer. The answers are often hilarious! For 4 and more players aged 8 and up.

20. Pipeline

Pipeline is a 3D construction game where players have to build a pipe from one side of the board to the other while dodging their opponents’ pipes. The hitch is you can only play the pipe piece that is determined by a dice roll, and your opponents may block your pipeline at any stage. Pipeline can be played by players as young as 4 years old and is suitable for 2-4 players.

22. Boggle

Boggle is a clever wordsearch game consisting of 16 dice covered in letters rather than numbers. Players shake the dice in a holder that also doubles as a grid to hold the letters in place. Players then have to look at the letters and find as many words as they can within the time limit. This game has been around since my own childhood and we still enjoy playing it as a family. Because we play with a wide range of ages, we give the younger players a handicap of a few extra points on each round to make it a little bit more fair. Suitable for ages 8 and up this game can be played with 1 to as many players as you have.

23. Upwords

Upwords is like a 3D version of Scrabble! The aim of this game is to score the most points by building words but you can stack words on top of one another and even alter words already played. I have to confess I prefer this to the original Scrabble game. Suitable for ages 8 and up, you can play this game on your own or with up to 4 players.

24. 30 Seconds

30 Seconds is played in teams and is like Charades, but with a timer. It is similar to 5 Second Rule in that you have to name a number of words within a set time. You can play with as few as 3 players, but the more players you have, the more fun the game. This game comes in a junior (age 7 and up) or standard editions (age 12 and up). Click the image below to find out more information.

25. Clue

I did love this game when I was younger and I still do. Nowadays it looks a bit different and this version has a new character. By deciphering clues, players have to figure out who murdered the victim, in which room the murder took place and what weapon was used. Suitable for 2-6 players aged 8 plus.

26. Monopoly

I really did NOT like playing Monopoly as a child, but now I enjoy it and so do my kids. The aim is to be the richest person on the board by trading property. The game comes in a range of variations nowadays – not just London – you may be able to find a version relating to your local city. In fact there are so mnay versions of this game (versions include Roald Dahl, KISS, 007, G.O.T, Fortnite, Mario Kart, Pokemon) it may be hard to find the original! Monopoly comes in versions which are suitable for younger kids too but the classic game is suitable for 2-6 players aged 8 plus.

27. Exploding Kittens

Ok, I have to confess I don’t actually understand this game, but my kids think it’s hilarious and it’s one of their favorites, especially my son. The description on the box says “A card game for people who are into kittens and explosions and laser beams and sometimes goats”. So that says it all! It’s a bit like Uno I think. For 2-5 players aged 7 and up. Click the image below to find out more information.

28. Scrabble

I am useless at Scrabble, my husband always beats me! The aim is to score the highest number of points by building words on a board that intersect with existing words already placed from a selection of 7 tiles in your hand at a time. The original Scrabble is for ages 10 plus and for 2-4 players, however, you can also buy this game in versions that are suitable for younger players.

29. Pictureka!

This a a great game if you are good at spotting details. Pictureka consists of 9 large double sided tiles which are illustrated with hundreds of small images and on each round players have to either: find 5 five of the same thing within 30 seconds, be the first to spot a specific object on all the tiles, or find an object on your tile alone. Suitable for 2 or more players aged six plus.

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