9 of the Best Classic Board Games of All Time

Take a second and imagine how family gatherings went a few decades ago. This was before smart phones and easily accessible internet. This was analog time. What did everyone do? Sure, there was the eating, and perhaps gift opening if it was around the holidays or someone’s birthday. But when the dessert was done, and people were finishing up their coffee and just chatting, inevitably (at least in our house) someone broke out a board game.

These days, there are plenty of people who designate one or two nights per month as “Game Night.” They invite their friends over for some drinks and pull out some classic games. But those opportunities are few and far between. This year, consider gifting your favorite people some of the most classic board games. And then take the time to play one or two. It will get everyone off of their phones, and into real time, interacting with and enjoying everyone else’s company.

Here are some of the best board games EVER:

9. Trivial Pursuit

This can be a challenging game, so you not only need to know your audience, but you also need to be strategic when forming teams. If Uncle Joe is great with history, and cousin Ellie knows a lot about literature, you’re in good shape. But if everyone on your team is a movie buff, you’re going to struggle more than a little.

8. The Game of Life

As a kid, I always loved pushing the little cars full of peg people along the board, but as an adult, I realize that there is more to this game than just that. As it turns out, college, kids and cars are more expensive than you would think, and if you want to have a lot of money after paying off all your debts, you need to pick and choose what is most important for you in life.

7. Monopoly

What’s your strategy? Piling hotels onto every property? Buying up all the utilities? Skipping the low-income properties altogether? Some families have their own special rules, like creating a pot in the middle that someone can win upon landing on a specific square. However you play, it is guaranteed to be more fun than reloading your Facebook feed yet again.

6. Pictionary

This game is always a particular challenge for those who have no drawing skills, but that’s what makes it so much fun. The best part is having to draw ideas or concepts rather than just things like animals or places. But a drawing version of charades? What can be better than that?

5. Scrabble

We could all benefit from a little more Scrabble in our lives. With so much text-speak and abbreviated writing that goes into emails, it can be refreshing to dust off the brain and find some extensive (19 points) verbiage (14 points) that will optimize (21 points) your score.

4. Risk

Remember how much fun it was to conquer the world?  Imagine how much better it would be with a keener understanding of how geopolitics actually work. Take out your opponents and gobble up as much land as you possibly can. Now that’s a good time.

3. Clue

Mr. Green in the library with the candlestick. Mrs. Peacock in the kitchen with the noose. The game is a blast, while everyone tries to figure out who actually killed Mr. Boddy (and with what weapon in what room). But it’s always even more fun when it’s followed by a showing of the movie from 1985 starring Tim Curry.

2. Battleship

You sunk my battleship! While it can be pretty easy to cheat in this game (just glance over the barrier when the other person isn’t looking), but it’s far more fun to keep track of your hits and misses to really get a feel for where your opponent’s ships are. And you can totally catch them when they lie about whether you hit them.

1. Checkers

It’s extremely basic, but it’s good. When was the last time you actually played a good game of checkers? You can get lost in this game for hours with a good friend. It quickly becomes more about the conversation and the friendly competition than about the game itself, and that’s what it’s all about.