Whether playing with a group of friends, a crush, or the whole family, the best board games for teens can turn a boring evening into hours of fun.
But with so many fantastic board games to choose from these days, how do you find a board game that everyone will love to play over and over again? Well, a lot of that will depend on the teen in question — but you'll definitely want to think about a few key factors.
Of course, you'll want to think about age recommendations and complexity since you don't want to end up with a dud of a game that's either too childish or too corny. Are you looking for a simple but hilarious board game that will make players laugh until they cry? A strategy game that keeps even advanced gamers on their toes? A collaborative game that the whole family can enjoy? Or an ice-breaking party board game that teens can take to college?
Whatever the case may be, there's a board game to suit your needs. Take a look at the best board games for teens below. All of them are recommended for tweens, teens, and young adults — and they're highly rated on Amazon as well.
1. Best 2-Player Board Game
Teens interested in a two-player board game to tackle with their best friend, sibling, or crush would be hard pressed to find a better game than 7 Wonders: Duel. This game won the Golden Geek Best 2-player Board Game Award in 2015, and the International Gamers Award - General Strategy: Two Players in 2016. Plus, Amazon customers give the game 4.8 stars.
Game play is all about building up your civilization, but there are three ways to win: acquire six of seven scientific symbols and achieve scientific dominance, draw a military card and advance to your opponent's capital city, or have the most points at the end of Age III. You'll want to read through the instructions carefully, (or watch this video explaining the rules), but this game can be played by anyone who is at least 10 years old, and it should only take half an hour to complete.
What fans are saying: “AN AMAZING 2-player game. Card drafting at its finest. Great components and artwork … My favorite filler game of all time.”
2. Best Board Game For College Students
With a 4.6-star rating and thousands of positive reviews on Amazon, you can't go wrong with this pick. As its name implies, What Do You Meme? is all about the internet's favorite way to make teens giggle: memes. Sort of like a naughty Apples to Apples, the point of this popular card game is to pair the caption card of your choosing with whichever hilarious photo card is currently in play. This intentionally inappropriate game is recommended for players who are at least 17 years old, making it ideal for college kids. Players should budget between 30 and 90 minutes to play, and expansion packs are available to keep game play fresh for years to come.
What fans are saying: "This game is perfect for any college kids you need a gift for. I played it over the holidays after gifting it to my brother, a college freshman, and two other college-age relatives. We laughed the entire time ... My brother can't wait to take it back to school with him to play with his friends!"
3. Most Hilarious Board Game
Inspired by the works of comedian Jeff Foxworthy, Relative Insanity is a super simple card game that guarantees lots of laughs. Game play is quite similar to Cards Against Humanity and Apples to Apples, but the punchline is always about someone you're related to. Amazon shoppers seem to love it, giving the game an impressive 4.4-star rating and hundreds of positive reviews. Plus, it was a 2019 finalist for the Toy Of The Year Award, and it's been played on The Tonight Show and the Rachael Ray show.
What fans are saying: “I bought this for myself and also received one as a gift. We had a blast playing this! We have played it a few times and literally laughed until we were crying! We played with teens and adults and we all enjoyed it."
4. Best Strategy Board Game
The Settlers of Catan has been receiving awards and nominations since 1995, and it's a classic for a reason. It's similar to Risk in the sense that players get to build and maintain their own civilizations, but even a lengthy game shouldn't take more than two hours. The game is simple enough that 10-year-olds should be able to play, but heads up: Catan earned a fairly high complexity rating from Board Game Geek, so it's probably not the best option for people who don't typically play board games.
At $104, this game is an investment for sure — but if strategy games are your thing, you'll definitely play it enough to get your money's worth. Plus, the game boasts a whopping 4.7-star rating and thousands of reviews on Amazon.
What fans are saying: “Teenagers and grown-ups alike love this game in our house ... teen friends come over sometimes just to play! It's a winner!”
5. Best Collaborative Board Game
Pandemic has been winning nominations and awards since 2008, and it's easy to see why. This cooperative strategy game casts players as disease-fighting specialists with one big task: work together to save the world. On each turn, a player can use up to four actions to travel between Earth's major cities, treat infected populaces, discover a cure, or build a research station. If one or more diseases spreads beyond recovery or if too much time passes, the players all lose. If they cure the four diseases, they all win!
As far as complexity goes, this board game is in league with strategy games like The Settlers Of Catan, making it ideal for teens. But with enough time and patience, players as young as 8 years old should be able to catch on. Also, Amazon shoppers give the game 4.7-stars and hundreds of positive reviews.
What fans are saying: “Great team game. Great game to introduce kids into more complex board and tabletop games. My teenage kids love this game and so does my girlfriend who does not play many board games and isn't into competitive games.”
6. Best Party Board Game
As one of Kickstarter's 50 most-backed projects of all time, it's no surprise that Amazon shoppers love Unstable Unicorns. Since game play differs based on whether you're playing with just two people or a large group, you'll definitely want to read the instructions thoroughly before getting started — but once you do, you'll likely have a blast building your unicorn army.
This game is ideal for players who are at least 14 years old, but some Amazon reviewers noted that it can be played by kids who are even younger. Players have 135 adorably illustrated cards to choose from, but expansion packs are also available if game play grows stale.
What fans are saying: "My daughter is a young teen that loves games and she loves unicorns, so this game seemed like a great Christmas present. She had her thirteenth birthday party on New Year's Eve and I heard all the girls playing this game just laughing and having a big time. I didn't get to play with them, but all of them said it was super fun. I rated this game based on how eight 13 and 14 year-old girls felt about it."
7. Best Board Game For Tweens
From the makers of Exploding Kittens, Bears Vs. Babies is as hilarious and adorable as it sounds. Suitable for players ages 7 and up, the whole point of the game is to build monsters who will protect you from violently aggressive babies. Although it's reportedly quite simple to play, this video should help clear up any confusion about the rules. The core deck includes over 100 cards, and Amazon shoppers give this game a 4.4-star rating.
What fans are saying: “We have played Exploding Kittens for a year now but are enjoying the latest creation even more, Bear vs. Baby. Love this game (especially to play with 8-13 year old children). Our nieces love this game, as well as our daughter.”
8. Best Family-Friendly Board Game
With a 4.8-star rating on Amazon and over 2,500 reviews, Codenames is a solid pick for teens who get roped into a family game night. It's similar to the card game Mafia in the sense that only two rival spymasters know the secret identities of 25 agents, but each spymaster is tasked with giving their teammates one-word and one-number clues to help them guess who's who.
This award-winning game is recommended for players who are at least 14 years old, and players should be able to complete a game in about 15 minutes.
What fans are saying: “I'm not really one for board games, but I agreed to play one game of this with my teenagers, and it was so fun we ended up playing all afternoon! The games are quick and it's fun to try to figure out how your partner is linking the words together. If you're in the zone, you and a partner can really go down some strange but successful word association rabbit holes ... lol I highly recommend — it's quick to learn and each game is fresh and challenging.”
Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle's editorial and sales departments.