The best board games for families are usually also great gateway games (games for people who are new to board games). That makes them some of the best board game investments since they get more time at the table than other types of board games. Finding cooperative family games can be a bit difficult, though, since you want to find games that people of all ages can enjoy equally. Well, that’s why this list was created!
The family games listed below aren’t necessarily the best cooperative board games out there, but they are the ones that members of my group have enjoyed playing with their families the most. To make it onto this list, the games needed to have simple rules, have very high replayability, and, of course, they needed to be fun! The games are ranked based on how well they play as family games.
Note: Take a look at our Cooperative Board Games for Kids list if you’re looking for co-ops that are suitable for younger kids.
Okay, here we go… Here are 10 of the best cooperative board games for families!
10. Slide Quest
Slide Quest is probably the best dexterity board game for families to play. Your goal in Slide Quest is to complete missions by using the four levers to slide the knight around, hoping to keep him from falling off/through the board. It was designed to feel like a video game in board game form, which it definitely does.
You can play Slide Quest untimed or as a real-time co-op game (using the app), and there’s a good mix of easy and challenging maps to try out. That makes it a great game for gamers of all ages.
Read our full Slide Quest review
King of Tokyo has been one of the top competitive board games for families for over a decade now, and the designer did a great job of bringing that same type of lightweight, dice-rolling, monster-fighting fun to the cooperative sequel, King of Monster Island. You roll your dice, fight some bad guys, gain new powers, and hope you can take down the boss.
If your family already enjoys playing King of Tokyo, King of Monster Island is a no-brainer if you also like to play cooperative games together. King of Monster Island is slightly more complex since there are some additional rules, but most families should have a pretty easy time figuring it all out within one or two games.
Read our full King of Monster Island review
Back to the Future: Back in Time is a thematic family game with a lot of Yahtzee-style dice rolling. Just like in the movie, your goal is to get Marty McFly’s parents to fall in love and then get back to 1985. You don’t have to be a fan of the first Back to the Future movie to enjoy this game, but it definitely makes it better if you are.
I think a lot of people would expect Horrified to be the Funko game that would be on this list since it’s one of the most popular co-op family board games around, but my group actually likes Back to the Future: Back in Time quite a bit more.
Read our full Back to the Future: Back in Time review
Hanabi is easily the most portable (and inexpensive) family game on this list since it’s just a small box of cards. What makes it great is what you do with those cards. You can’t look at your own hand of cards during the game, so your teammates have to help you figure out what you have without being able to actually tell you what you have. It’s a unique co-op puzzle that most people love playing.
You might assume that Hanabi will lack replay value since it’s just a small deck of cards, but it actually has plenty of replayability. While the goal (fix/build fireworks) never changes, each game plays quite differently because the cards will come out in a different order. Some games of Hanabi are a lot tougher than others.
Read our full Hanabi review
5-Minute Dungeon has shown up on a lot of different lists on this site, including high up on the Best Co-op Games list, because it’s a consistently fun real-time game that people of all ages enjoy playing. In this game, you’re simply trying to use your cards and powers to make it through a dungeon (a stack of cards) before time runs out. There’s a ton of tension as you try to communicate with your teammates and use your cards as efficiently as possible.
5-Minute Dungeon works really well as a filler game, but it can definitely work as a “main course” family game. It’s a co-op that I think everyone should own.
Read our 5-Minute Dungeon review
Check out our Top 5 Cooperative Limited Communication Games!
Forbidden Island has been considered one of the top board games for families for a very long time now, and for good reason. Your goal in Forbidden Island is to search the island for four treasures, but you’re doing that as the island sinks around you. It can be quite difficult to beat, but most people enjoy every game of it regardless of the outcome.
You might be wondering why Forbidden Island is here over Pandemic and Forbidden Desert, two other popular games from the same designer that have similar mechanisms. Well, both of those are excellent co-op games and could be in this spot, but Forbidden Island is the quickest to teach, learn, and set up, arguably making it better than those two as a family game.
Forbidden Island is the family game I’d recommend first to families that are just starting to play board games together.
Read our full Forbidden Island review
Adventure Tactics: Domianne’s Tower is a light fantasy campaign game that has some of the best character customization you’ll find. Everyone gets a chance to level up their heroes after each chapter, allowing you to get more powerful to take on the upcoming enemies. The game itself is awesome, but the leveling system is top-notch for a lighter game.
Adventure Tactics is slightly more complex than the other family games on this list, but if your family has already played some co-ops, you should have no problem with this one. It’s light enough for older kids to get into, but it’s also one that most adults will enjoy.
Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle is a co-op deck building game that lets you play through the seven books in the Harry Potter series. It includes just about every major character, spell, and item from the books/movies, so it’s very easy for fans of the series to get into it. It’s pretty exciting getting to see new characters (and a few surprises) as you play through the books.
If you have one or more Harry Potter fans in your family, Hogwarts Battle is definitely a game you’ll want to try. It’s one of the best family board games to get if you know your family likes (or will like) deck building games.
Read our Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle review
2. Castle Panic
Castle Panic is arguably the best tower defense board game for families. Your goal in this one is to use your cards to prevent a horde of monsters from destroying your castle. It plays extremely smoothly and it has a great look to it.
There are a number of different versions of Castle Panic out there, but I still recommend the original over the rest. They’re all solid board games for adults and kids, though. There are also some excellent Castle Panic expansions if you want to add even more content and replay value to the game, or you can get the Big Box, which has the base game and all of the expansions.
Read our full Castle Panic review
Flash Point: Fire Rescue checks just about every box that needs to be checked to be a great board game for families, which is why it’s still in this top spot. It has a firefighting theme that can work for just about any group out there, it has mechanisms that encourage a high amount of teamwork, and it is very easy co-op game to learn how to play.
Your goal in Flash Point is simple: Save everyone inside the house! Regardless of the firefighter role you choose, you will have a blast working with your teammates to put out fires and save as many people (and pets) as you can. It’s just an excellent cooperative family game.
Read our full Flash Point: Fire Rescue review
What are your favorite cooperative board games for families? Any that didn’t show up on the list?
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