Looking for a fun game to play with friends or family? Our librarians share some of their favorites, along with tips and tricks on how to play. We also recommend similar games, called Play Alikes, to keep the fun going! You can also search by game type (deck building, cooperative, etc.) or what 21st Century Skill each game teaches.
Test your animal knowledge as you place pawns on illustrated icons of animal traits to describe an animal. Try to get your teammate(s) to guess what the animal is using only visual clues. The person who correctly guesses the most animals wins!
- Various ways to play and divvy up who gives the clues and who guesses - can be cooperative or competitive
- There are no words anywhere on the boards or cards, so it’s perfect for kids who can’t read yet or for non-English speaking players.
- Concept - Similar setup and rules but for an older audience
- Charades - Players are giving non-verbal clues to their teammates
The name says it all: connect 4 of your colored discs. You can create a row of 4 vertically, horizontally, and diagonally. As you create your own lines, be sure to foil your opponent whenever you can, and remember they can do the same to you.
- Tic Tac Toe – Similar strategy game.
- Gomoku – Must get 5 same colored discs in a row.
As a powerful courtier in a futuristic Italian city-state, you control 2 other courtiers with specific attributes. Using bluffing, scheming and deduction, you will try to eliminate other players by destroying their 2 courtiers and remaining the last player standing. It’s quick, easy to learn, and encourages player interaction which makes it a great choice for parties.
- Although the publishers recommend the game for ages 13+, we’ve found that 11-year-olds enjoy playing.
- The expansion “Coup Reformation” adds additional players, up to 10, introduces a new character card and team allegiances to add a little complexity to the game.
- One Night Ultimate Werewolf – also plays a large group of people and uses a similar game mechanic where players must bluff to keep their identities (cards) hidden, try to guess other’s cards, and avoid elimination
- Masquerade - similar theme and players control 2 cards that offer different abilities
You’re a cryptozoologist searching for an elusive cryptid. Knowing only 1 fact about where the cryptid could be, you have to try to locate the beast without revealing too much to your fellow players.
- If you run out of cubes (likely in 3 player games), you can use any other color or item to mark the misses.
- Optional digital companion for fast setup.
- Can be turned into a cooperative game where players still hide their clue but actively talk out strategy.
- Can also be played completely cooperatively for younger children (8-10) where all the clues are revealed and they have to find the location together.
- Escape from the Aliens in Outer Space - Players have limited information they can use to win the game
- 2 Rooms and a Boom - Players have to keep information secret from other players
- Minesweeper (computer game) - Similarities in gameplay
A game that is full of beautiful illustrations. Can you get your opponents to choose which card is yours? Make up a sentence that represents your card and players choose their most similar card to your description. Which image actually best displays the clue? Players may earn points from right and wrong guesses.
- There are multiple versions and expansion packs.
- Educators and program facilitators can use the cards as creative writing prompts.
- Mysterium - the primary method of advancing play is also through giving picture clues to players
- Obscurio - the primary method of advancing play is also through giving picture clues to players
- When I Dream - also includes the game mechanic of giving clues about pictures to players
You are neighboring monarchs competing against each other to grow your kingdom and its resources. Purchase resource cards to build a deck full of abilities that trigger domino effect actions in order to gain enough wealth to buy the most territories.
- Depending on how familiar players are and what card assortment you’re using, this game takes closer to 45 minutes to an hour to play.
- Because the main set comes with an assortment of resource cards, there are multiple combinations to use. This makes for great replayability and different paths toward winning.
- There is a free app that will automatically generate a resource pool based on what expansions you’re using.
- Harry Potter: Battle for Hogwarts – Another engaging deck building game, but cooperative instead of competitive
- Splendor – Also a game of resource purchasing where you may have to adapt your strategy based on your opponents’ tactics
- 7 Wonders - Players also collect cards and build a deck (tableau) to achieve the highest score
Each player has a set of test tubes and colored spheres. When a card with a pattern is flipped, players must pour and mix their spheres to create a match before their opponents.
Test your speed and dexterity against other players. Be the first player to mix your potions correctly. But be careful: if you spill, you’re out.
- No reading-all visual.
- Can be easily played alone.
- Very easy set-up.
- Great for before or after a program as it only takes a few minutes and can fill time.
- Twin it! - Speed matching
- Gravity Maze - Problem-solving based on a visual clue
- Ice Cool - Speed and dexterity focused
Delve into the dungeon and fight the dragon with your dice rolls! Play solo or with friends in this quest for treasure.
- You could use a tablecloth or mat to muffle the noise of the dice as they are very heavy.
- The game is very entertaining in single-player mode and can be played faster than 15 minutes.
- Zombie Dice- A push your luck dice game where you attempt to collect brains to eat while avoiding the shotgun dice
- Dungeon Mayhem - A dungeon delving card game where you battle other adventurers for ultimate glory and treasure
- 5 Minute Dungeon - Similar dungeon adventure theme
Do you know how much a Komodo dragon weighs? Do you know where the Eastern Gorilla lives? Bet on what you know (or what you think you know) or just make an educated guess. Points are awarded for correct answers and for answers that are close.
- The game board has two sides – one for standard measurements and one for metric.
- Players with more knowledge of animals can be given a handicap by being given fewer betting cubes.
- Players with less knowledge can benefit by making guesses based on their opponent’s bets.
- Would be a great fit for use in the classroom.
- Terra – It was designed by the same game maker, but instead of animals, it focuses on a monument, event, or location
- Trivial Pursuit – Because the game is largely knowledge-based
- Wits and Wagers - Hedge your bets based on other people’s knowledge
You’re a group of explorers trying to recover treasure from a sinking island. You must work together to stop the temples from sinking, collect the treasure, and make it off the island alive.
- Playtime can be longer or shorter depending on several factors. It frequently lasts longer than 30 minutes.
- A great game to introduce beginner players to cooperative play.
- Forbidden Desert is a sequel to Forbidden Island with enough new elements to make it worthwhile.
- Pandemic - A cooperative game where players use their special abilities to eradicate the disease and save the human race
- Flash Point - Players must work together to save victims trapped in a building that's on fire
You’re the head of an unfortunate family of misfits. Your goal: make your family as unhappy as possible, while bringing joy and happiness to your opponents. You win once your whole family has met with their untimely end.
- The game can be played by 5 people if you take one of the family members from each family to create 5 families of 4 members each.
- The subject matter really is designed for the target audience. However, the game mechanics can be understood by a younger audience.
- Once Upon a Time: The storytelling card game - Players use cards from their hands to create a story
- Imagine - Players use transparent cards together to get other players to guess their word in a Charades or Pictionary style game
In this fast-paced card game, secretly bid on the donut you want. If two of the players bid on the same one, nobody scores. If you’re the only one coveting that particular donut, it’s yours! To maximize your score, get all the unique and powerful donuts you can, and collect sets and pairs.
- Can be played with more than 6 players by creating teams.
- Sushi Go – Score points for creating sets or pairs of cards
Part marble run, part 3D puzzle, use logic and cards with visual clues to build a maze of towers that will carry a marble from start to finish. Varying difficulty levels keep the game engaging and challenging.
- No reading, all visual.
- Very easy set-up.
- Cat Crimes -Logic puzzle based on limited clues
- Junk Art - Building and dexterity skills
- Dr. Eureka - Problem solving based on visual clues and dexterity skills
- Rush Hour - solving logic puzzles that get sequentially more difficult
As an executioner during the French Revolution, you will behead the nobles and try to collect the most valuable heads in the lineup over the course of 3 days. The slightly macabre humor is witty and entertaining. “Take that” action cards provide enough unpredictability and opportunities for shaking things up in each playthrough to keep the game enjoyable, and not too repetitive.
- The theme (beheading and execution) and some irreverence in the language (Piss boy) might be offensive to some but are delivered in a silly rather than raunchy manner.
- A perfect traveling game due to its portability.
- Easy-to-learn rules make it a good choice for beginners.
- Munchkin – uses similar cards with “take that!” mechanism where players can directly attack other players, foil their plans and swing the game in an unpredictable direction
- Ticket to Ride – similar mechanic of selecting cards for your playing hand from a limited small set of available cards
Pre-schoolers will enjoy practicing their color recognition and counting skills as they take turns collecting carrots and measuring their harvest.
- Directions show cooperative and competitive versions.
- Hi Ho Cherry-O - Harvesting vegetation and counting
- Candyland - Similar color-matching gameplay