Be honest. Has your child started to beat you at games? Does sitting down to a board game together mean preparing for defeat? Me too. By the time children get to about nine years of age… ok, maybe a little younger… there’s every chance they’ll be able to win certain board games. Thankfully though, it is also an age where they can participate in games that are fun for everyone. So, being defeated by a tween isn’t quite as bad as it sounds. Now that we’ve established that losing is probable but equally fun, let’s take a look at the best board games for tweens. Listed in no particular order! I’m focussing on games the whole family can play together, although I’m sure some of them give children an unfair advantage!
Best board games for tweens to play in large groups
The upside down challenge
Before purchasing The Upside Down Challenge, you need to take a long, hard look at your motives. If you are looking to purchase a game that you will win at when playing against your children, put this down and walk away. Children seem to have an uncanny ability to adapt to seeing the world from a different perspective. Parents do not. The aim of this game is to complete simple tasks with upside down goggles on. Actions vary from drawing a particular picture to pouring a glass of water or giving someone a high-five. There is an easy and a difficult task on each card, so you can choose which one to go for. When a player completes a task, they are rewarded with a token. You can set the number of tokens required to win based on the amount of time you want to play for.
Of course, the glasses can be used outside of the game play format. Having been gifted this game at Christmas, We quickly established that our children could do almost anything with the glasses on, so the tasks they challenged each other to became increasingly outrageous. It turns out that with their respective worlds turned upside down, our daughters could play Beethoven on the piano, whilst my husband was completely unable to draw a recognisable stick picture of a tree.
Herd mentality is an extremely simple game that is brilliant to play as a group. It is available as both a board game and a much smaller travel version. The aim is to be one of the herd by giving the same answer to each question as other people playing the game. Herd mentality is suitable for a minimum of four and a maximum of 20 players. It’s a fantastic game to play with people of all ages, because people of different generations answer so differently.
An example question from Herd Mentality is, “What is the largest animal you could wrestle to the ground”. It’s an interesting question because everyone has a different level of strength, and the aim is to answer the same as other people. So, you have to think of both your own wrestling ability and everyone else’s! Answers in our group included a cat, a dog, a giraffe and a bear. The fact that my sister thinks she could wrestle a bear to the ground still crops up in conversation every now and then.
Kids against maturity
From the makers of Cards Against Humanity, Kids Against Maturity is a raucous game of hilarious toilet humour. The concept is simple. One person reads a question from a card and the other players give the funniest answer they can. The person who read the question is the judge and the funniest answer wins. The game is suitable for four players or more, so it’s great for family gatherings. It’s aimed at children aged 8 and over and takes 30 to 90 minutes to play. Better still, it’s portable so a great game to take on holidays and long journeys. You can read a review of the game from Suburban Mum.
Best board games for tweens: two player games
Ok, hear me out. I know it’s not a new and exciting board game, but drafts is a classic. It doesn’t take long to teach a tween to play drafts and their minds work so quickly that after a few plays, they will be giving you a good game. Drafts is available in both large and travel sets, can be played anywhere and virtually everyone knows how to play it. Children can play parents, grandparents and siblings. It’s a chance to sit down quietly, concentrate and connect with the person you’re playing.
Like drafts, chess is a classic game that can be a little bit marmite. For a child who loves to learn patterns and tactics, it can hold their attention for hours on end. The only downside is that they’ll need someone equally keen to play against. That said, if you put the time into it, children will eventually be able to give parents a good game. Many schools have a chess club too, so they can play against their friends and even take part in tournaments. A combined travel chess and drafts board can provide hours of fun for tweens on long journeys as long as siblings are willing to play against each other!
Table air hockey
Contrasting totally with chess and drafts, we have table air hockey. This takes little to no thought or strategy. It’s a two player game that doesn’t take long and at a family gathering, you can even set up a tournament. I do appreciate that it’s not a traditional board game, but for more active and restless teens, it’s a brilliant option. This is definitely a game that absolutely anybody can play and children are highly likely to beat their parents.
Best board games for tweens to play with the family
Ticket to ride
Ticket to ride is a series of games rather than a one-off, with various themes available. The game is based on taking train journeys around your chosen destination. Players connect routes using ticket cards, locomotive cards and stations. Each route scores points based on the number of carriages and the cities that are connected. Many people recommend it as a one of the best board games for tweens. Helen from KiddyCharts gives more details about the game in her review of ticket to ride Europe.
The good thing about tension is that it’s a team game. You can play with any number of players from two upwards and they should be split into teams. The aim of the game is to name the ten words on a card on a given topic. For example, the question might be “types of cooked potato”. Your team shouts out all the types of cooked potato you can think of but only get points for those on the card. The person reading the question keeps a tally of all the correct words that are mentioned using a scoring holder. This is an upbeat game that will cause plenty of giggles and encourage everyone to play together. If you’re considering playing this with just two players, check out this review.
Monopoly is such a nostalgia trip isn’t it? I have never played it with my girls but family blogger Nyomi has started to play it with her children. She reminded me that these days, you can buy numerous different versions of Monopoly, including ones that focus on your local area. However, her tweens prefer to stick with the traditional one and enjoy counting the paper money. Monopoly is a board game that can get genuinely competitive between parents and tweens. I think in our house there’s every chance it would end in all-out war.