5 Classic Board Games Every Family Should Own

Spend some time playing some classic games with the family.

A photo of the game of life
Photo by Randy Fath

Unless you’re my dad, family board game nights are the best. There’s no better way to simultaneously bond with and torture members of your family. And what better way to do that with some classics that have never gone out of style? Check out these five picks for some of the best classic family board games ever made.

Photo by Hucklebarry


If a simple game is what you’re looking for to have fun, look no further than Sorry! This game is good for 2-4 players where “Sorry!” is what you shout after brutally removing one of your opponents’ pieces from the game board and replace it with your own. The goal is to get all four of your pieces out onto and all the way around the board and into the home space. Each turn a player will draw a card and follow the instructions to, hopefully, advance their pieces on the board. Just hope you don’t get your own pieces knocked back to the beginning in the process!


Clue is a classic murder mystery game for 2-6 players that even inspired at least one movie (Clue) featuring Tim Curry. The board is the floorplan of a luxurious mansion that each player navigates to discover who the murderer is, what the weapon was, and where the murder took place. Upon entering a room, a player is allowed to point fingers at other players and weapons that they believe may have committed the crime in that room, until they are proven wrong by another player’s cards. When, at last, no one can defend the accused person, weapon, and room, the secret file will be consulted and a winner, or loser, is crowned. 

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto


Jenga’s genius is in its simplicity. The players are given a few dozen wooden blocks to stack into a tower, about a foot or so tall. Alternating turns, each player will pull out one block from anywhere in the tower and stack it back on the top. As you play the tower becomes taller and more unstable as blocks are removed from the lower half. Inevitably the tower will fall as someone removes a block and they are declared the loser. If this game sounds too tame for you, check out the adult-sized Jenga sets that typically stack over 5 feet and probably cause more injuries than we need to know about.

Photo by Justin C

The Game of Life

The game’s in the title: it’s life. Players traverse this colorful, twisted game board in tiny cars with an even tinier person. Each tile on the road has an insight into something your little person did in his life. Some of these are good, some of these are bad, and a lot of them are neutral. You can go to college, get married, change careers, have children, and the list of things you can accomplish in real life goes on and so it is with this game. Throughout the game, players collect Life tablets with a secret money value. You win by making it to the end with the most money and can retire in the mansions.

Photo by Pedro Santos


I bet you aren’t surprised by this one. Monopoly may be the most obvious way to both make and break a family game night. Each player chooses a fun little token piece to move across the board, and then the backstabbing begins. The ultimate goal of the game is to have monopolies over as many properties as possible in the game. Players move around the board to try to scoop up any available properties, but if they land on a purchased property they must pay the owner taxes–which can be outrageously high depending on both the placement of that property on the board and what kind of housing that player has purchased for it. You can try to buy owned properties through cash or trade but negotiate at your own risk as they will inevitably have plans of their own.


What games would you add to your family game night? Comment with your favorite classic games below!