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.
In this year-by-year adventure that stays true to the book series, you can play as Harry, Ron, Hermione, or Neville who work together to save the wizarding world. Characters have their own unique base deck of cards to which they add spells and allies through gameplay.
- Also has an expansion that includes Luna Lovegood.
- This large boxed game includes different cards for each year, easily sorted into the packaging.
- Very faithful to the books and movies - this will be sure to impress any Harry Potter fan!
- Dominion - You are a monarch looking to build your kingdom but other monarchs have the same idea, so it's a race to get as much land as possible
- Legendary Villains – Lead Marvel villains to defeat the Commander of the forces of good before the Commander completes his plot and wins
- Codenames: Harry Potter - Same Harry Potter theme
In order to become the leader of the saber-toothed tiger clan, you must decide whether to collect resources, pray to the gods, attract mammoths, or barter with other clans. But most importantly, you can never forget to take care of Honga, the saber-toothed tiger.
- Contains 63 attractive wooden pieces with ziplock bags for easy storage.
- The 5 cardboard storage trays are sturdy and well-designed.
- King of Tokyo – Players can employ many different strategies to win
- Carcassonne – Players make choices about where to allocate resources
- Tokaido - Players can employ many different strategies to win
- Stone Age - Similar theme and gameplay
As a builder in ancient Egypt, you are competing against the other players to send shipments of stones to create monuments, tombs and pyramids. Time your shipments right to become the best builder!
- Offers 10 different options for the site boards, so game play can be changed.
- Also has an expansion pack for even more game variables.
- Small World - Same designer and also limits resources
- Karuba - Race against others to create or find treasure and structures
- Imhotep: The Duel - A lot of the same game mechanisms but for only 2 players
Compete against other artists as you travel the world, creating sculptures by stacking colorful wooden pieces. Choose from ten different cities to visit, each with different a different game mode and method of earning points.
- Although the publishers recommend the game for ages 8+, we’ve found that 6-year-olds enjoy playing.
- There are two different versions: one with wooden pieces, one with plastic. The version with wooden pieces is more popular.
- While it takes around 30 minutes to play a full game, it is easy to play stand-alone mini-games by just playing a quick 5-10 minute round of one of the ten game modes.
- Jenga - For players who enjoy competitive stacking games
- Maki-stack - Dexterity game with stacking pieces
You and fellow explorers have arrived to the Island of Karuba. You must be the first one to cut pathways through the jungle to loot the temples, collecting gold and diamonds along the way.
Good for spatial awareness.
Battle other monsters of Tokyo to deal damage to your opponents but know when to bow out of the fight or you could lose! Earn victory points, heal, deal damage, and buy upgrade cards by rolling dice. Be the first monster to earn 20 victory points OR the last monster standing in this king of the hill-style fighting game.
- Expansions and different-themed versions of the game are available.
- Boss Monster - For hit point mechanics, power ups and a choose-your-battle strategy
- Castle Panic - Uses hit point mechanics, monsters and card/dice combination
- Machi Koro - Fast-paced and similar dice rolling mechanics
As the lord of a kingdom, build up territory around your castle in a domino style-expansion where terrain can only touch like terrain. Players will create a 5x5 grid of territory around their castle to earn points and win.
- No reading, all visual play.
- Carcassonne- Tile laying and territory building
- Takenoko- Tile laying and drawing mechanics
- Catan- A simple expansion-focused strategy game
A lovely illustrated game where you can create a garden of beautiful flowers. Outsmart your opponents in order to lay claim to as many flowers as you can while blocking the other players.
- This game will require a lot of table space for spreading out the flowers.
- We found that this game will take at least 45 min to play through.
- Thanks to its tranquil flower theme, this game provides a peaceful play feeling despite its competitive nature.
- Great for beginner players.
- Takenoko - Thematically similar, a game of growing a bamboo forest for a panda; while competitive, it’s peaceful because of the beautiful art
- Lanterns - Thematically similar, utilize visual literacy and problem solving skills to strategically place tiles
As a smitten courtier, you will try to get your love letter to the unreachable princess before anyone else while trying to eliminate all the other suitors. This game of deduction, risk-taking, and hand management is easy to learn. It moves very quickly through the rounds as players try to figure out each other’s hidden cards, avoid elimination, and score a token of the princess’ affection. It’s a perfect game for beginner gamers, at parties, and on the go! And the attractive artwork is a plus.
- The edition “Love Letter Premium” comes with a base game, plays up to 8 players, and introduces new character card sets.
- The original edition’s size is easy to store and share.
- Coup – another portable party game that requires players to conceal their card’s identity and eliminate other players through figuring out who is who and revealing their identity
- The Grimm Masquerade – also relies on unveiling a hidden identity of other players thus robbing them of their chance at winning the round
In this fast-paced game, be the first to stack their sushi just right! Using your fingers as chopsticks or being blindfolded will slow you down but don’t let that stop you from balancing and arranging the sushi before your opponents!
- Attractive, sturdy pieces.
- 2 different versions of gameplay.
- As fun to watch as it is to play.
- Can make more difficult by making the teammate memorize the card.
- Junk Art - Stacking wooden pieces
- Sushi Go - Similar theme with fast-paced gameplay
- Dr. Eureka - Similar dexterity and visual literacy gameplay
- Jenga - Gameplay includes dexterity and balancing
- Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes (video game) - Some elements of the game are hidden from each player, requiring collaboration and communication to solve the problem
Participants play formerly human, enchanted warrior mice in this collaborative, turn-based role play game. Each character has their own backstory and special abilities and everyone must work together to complete quests and move the story along to its conclusion.
- A great introduction to the mechanics of pencil and paper role-play games like Dungeons and Dragons. The campaign is already designed with an integral story element and player stats are pre-established, so it’s easy to get started.
- You will need at least one strong reader to oversee the campaign guide.
- Pandemic – A collaborative game where each player also has unique abilities based on their role
- Dead of Winter – A slightly more complex RPG that also has a ready-made story and character sheets
- Stuffed Fables - A cooperative game that also uses a storybook to move the game forward
With exactly 42 minutes on the clock, you must solve the mysterious death of a poor murdered soul who still haunts an old Scottish estate. Acting as a medium, you must determine the murderer, location, and weapon used to commit the act. The catch? One person acting as the spirit can only communicate with you through “vision cards” (wordless illustrations) that will lead you to these answers. Can you uncover the truth and free the spirit before time runs out?
- It’s helpful to have this game pre-set ahead of time due to the many components.
- Requires ample table space for setup.
- Beautifully executed components, durable, and very attractive.
- This game takes longer to play than indicated by the publisher.
- Fun game for themed parties having a ghost and murder as elements of the story, especially when paired with a spooky soundtrack.
- Dixit -Communicate through beautifully illustrated cards to solve a riddle
- Clue - Uncover the same three elements (weapon, location, and person) to solve a murder mystery
- Obscurio - Clues are communicated through pictures
One Night Ultimate Werewolf is a fast-paced party game where everyone can play a different town character, in hopes of determining who amongst them is the werewolf in the morning.
- Easy party game for small or large groups.
- Comes with a free app that narrates the instructions, making it easy to remember what each character does what and when.
- Several variations of the game have been released. Mix and match characters from different versions of the game using the free app.
Mafia - Characters have hidden roles, and players have to work together to figure out who is guilty.
The Best of the Werewolves of Miller Hollow - Similar theme.
Salem - Similar gameplay, but features witches.
Masquerade - Players must determine their identity as well as other players’.
Coup - Bluffing game where you have to hide your character's identity.
A disease has gained a foothold in different parts of the world. You and your team must work together to find a cure before this pestilence engulfs the whole world.
- There are many expansions and legacy versions of the game.
- Can be played with more than 5 players partnering up.
- Would be a great fit for use in the classroom.
- Ticket to Ride - The game board is also a map
- Pandemic Legacy - Legacy version where players go through 12 months of gameplay, and the board changes as they do. Not recommended for library use as the game can’t be replayed once completed
- Betrayal at House on the Hill – Players must work together against a force that might destroy them all.
- Forbidden Island – Collaborative game where the group works together to achieve a goal before time runs out
- Risk - The game board is also a map
You are magic academy students taking the final exam for your potions class and it’s time to show off. Select a single ingredient from the marble dispenser to cause an explosion to collect even more resources. Brew potions to earn victory points and create special abilities.
- The marble dispenser functions like a 3D candy crush game and does not have to be disassembled to store in the game box.
- Incubation – Similar play mechanism where you collect resources in order to hatch an egg, or in this case brew a potion