Family Games that SHOULD rank high but DON'T
Joe Golton
United States
East Bay
California
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BGG is by and for game nuts hobbyists. Fine.

But what games are great to recommend for a typical family that miss the top 100 list? These should be games that you have recommended or seen other people recommend to typical families - and then seen that those families enjoyed the game, playing it a lot.

EDIT: I manually re-ordered this list by Thumbs Up votes frequently the first week this list was discussed, and a couple times per year thereafter.

Details:


Here's what the BGG list of 100 top-ranked family games looks like:

https://boardgamegeek.com/familygames/browse/boardgame

And here's a 538 article attempting to datamine BGG for good family games:

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/stop-playing-monopoly-wi...

Ludicrous! shake

Yes there's a few games in the top 100 BGG family games list I'd recommend and 3 of them make the top 10: Pandemic, Stone Age, and Ticket to Ride. And there's a couple more as you go further down the list, such as Settlers of Catan. But 2 games we play frequently are nowhere to be seen on the top 100 list - Dominion and Bananagrams.

There's two reasons for the odd family list:

1) BGG ranks reflect an audience of game hobbyists, not typical families.

2) Some great family games don't even appear on the list because of the group vote system for establishing category. For example, Dominion received 66.2% votes for Strategy, 20.8% for family, which gets it classified as strategy only.

However, many of us have seen how various games do with a typical family, and know what works. In fact, that has inspired me to write a series of game reviews on my blog, aimed at typical families. I kicked it off a couple days ago with a Dominion Review (http://www.filterjoe.com/2016/07/05/dominion-review-game-i-r...).

So - please add to the list which I started off with Dominion and Bananagrams. The idea is to add games which aren't on the top 100 family games, but are actually really great family games. So no need to post games that already made the top 100 list.

Again - these should be games that you have recommended or seen other people recommend to typical families - and then seen that those families enjoyed the game, playing it a lot.
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1. Board Game: Dixit [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:223] [Average Rating:7.29 Unranked]
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This is so very dependent on taste, context, and where you arbitrarily draw the line of what's a good rating.

Games I like that are rated as family games but not in the top 100 include but are not limited to Blockhead!, Scrabble, Hearts and That's Life!

Of the games not rated as family games, Dixit stood out as seeming very family friendly. There are a lot of examples I can certainly see some families playing with no difficulty, e.g. Tales of the Arabian Nights, but I can also see others being intimidated by options, procedures and things to keep track of.
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2. Board Game: Diamant [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:653]
Erik Anderson Sundén
Sweden
Uppsala
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Incan gold is always well received whenever I present it - be it gamers or non-gamers. The simple clear rules combined with the push your luck mechanism (and some healthy schadenfreude) makes this game great!
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3. Board Game: Sleeping Queens [Average Rating:6.45 Overall Rank:1997]
baker mouse
United States
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Indiana
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I bought this to play with my daughter and it has turned into a huge hit with her friends (she is 8). I think I have purchased 3 boxes of this game as gifts and I try to have one "in stock" at home in-case of a last minute party gift is needed.

I would recommend it to any family as its small, cute,and plays well.
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4. Board Game: Rhino Hero [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:663] [Average Rating:6.96 Unranked]
Christopher Peters
United States
Barberton
OH
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I could set this game box on a table in any house, and (we're there at least one person who could spend eight seconds explaining the rules) a tower would be on its way up within 5 minutes.

It's a quick simple little masterpiece.
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5. Board Game: Can't Stop [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:676]
Joe Cool
Austria
Vienna
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Easy rules that can be learned in a few minutes, lot of fun and tension...
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6. Board Game: Deep Sea Adventure [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:556]
Andrew
United States
Kansas City
Missouri
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This one barely misses the top 100 in family. Fun push-your-luck game that totally depends on the people you're playing it with. There is a lot of game in this little box! (Seriously, it's about the width and depth of a credit card, and only a few inches tall).

Basically, you are all divers trying to burrow deep under the sea and bring up treasure. But you're sharing an air supply, so beware of treasure weighing you down and keeping you from the submarine: you'll have to drop it all! Played in three rounds, great little game that's pretty much perfect as-is.

Deep Sea is really the ideal filler. So quick, so short -- great push your luck game. I'm always happy to give this one a play.
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7. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:75] [Average Rating:7.64 Unranked]
Joe Golton
United States
East Bay
California
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Dominion has only 20.8% voting it as a "family game" type, which I guess is below the minimum threshold needed to classify this as a family game (in addition to strategy, which got 66.2%).

However, our family of 3 has played this more often than any other game over the past few years. My son started playing at age 7. It is my wife's favorite game. Most other games we like take too long when we only have half an hour to play a game before going to sleep, so it doesn't take much for her to convince my son and I to play one game.

More importantly, I've seen this in two families that were not as gaming-centric as ours (I recommended to one of them). For both, it was one of their favorite games.
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8. Board Game: Bananagrams [Average Rating:6.35 Overall Rank:1642] [Average Rating:6.35 Unranked]
Joe Golton
United States
East Bay
California
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Our 11-year-old son has tried a few word games over the years and disliked all of them. This was the first one he liked. He is not yet winning, but he's starting to come close. Best of all, it takes about 15 minutes to play which basically means it's the only choice when we have fewer than 20 minutes to squeeze in a game.

I know several typical families who own and play this game as one of their family favorites.

There's little strategy to this game and it's not very deep, which explains the middling ranking on BGG. But it's fun, short, and different from the other games we play often, which are pretty much all strategy games that happen to work well for families too.
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9. Board Game: Tiki Topple [Average Rating:6.44 Overall Rank:2086]
The Freeze
United States
Denver
Colorado
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I don't know if this game belongs in the top 100 family games but it is hard to believe that it is close to falling out of the top 500 (current ranking #480)!

The age range on the box says 10+, which is way too high. I've played with 6 year olds who understand the rules & mechanics and play competitively.

Tiki Topple is another game that doesn't last too long, has nice components, and keeps older kids/adults interested as they try to predict how each player with manage their hand of cards.

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10. Board Game: Mice and Mystics [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:253] [Average Rating:7.37 Unranked]
United States
New York
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this should be number one. brilliant. enough said.
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11. Board Game: Chicken Cha Cha Cha [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:1528]
Bill
United States
Sayville
New York
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I know that this is basically a souped up version of Memory but there's something about the mix of quality child-friendly components, an extremely short play time and an exciting endgame that usually sees one or two people racing to wrap around the entire board stealing everyone's feathers that makes this game a wonderful choice to play with very young children. Older children who have been raised playing this game with often return to it with the younger ones as well. As often happens in memory based games, parents can compete against their children without sandbagging as well.
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12. Board Game: Loopin' Louie [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:771]
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United States
Seaside
California
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I mean come on, everytime this game comes out at a convention...it's not kids playing it. Is it serious? No. Is it deep? Heck no. But is it fun? Absolutely, just look at the picture! This is one of the greatest silly fillers ever.
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13. Board Game: Kodama: The Tree Spirits [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:1006] [Average Rating:6.80 Unranked]
baker mouse
United States
brownsburg
Indiana
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Ok this is a new one, but it is a really great game.

There are cards you use to build a tree, and some condition cards that will give you points. In this game they have condition "kodama" cards for adults that are more complicated and ones for kids that are easier to achieve. It really levels the playing field.

Honestly I can play this with anybody. Easy enough for non-gamer's to get, but still enough there for heavy gamer's to enjoy, able to play with kids on a level field. I don't think you can ask for more in a family category.
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14. Board Game: Scotland Yard [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:1160]
Joe Cool
Austria
Vienna
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I think it was the first cooperative deduction game for families on the market. For over 30 years it is still available - go out and get one ... you won't regret it!!!
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15. Board Game: TransAmerica [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:971]
The Freeze
United States
Denver
Colorado
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TransAmerica might be the best gateway / introduction to all train games. Very easy to learn track laying game that plays up to 6.

Players race to connection their 5 cities on the board by placing tracks on the map. Even simpler than Ticket to Ride .

Can be a bit too simple / easy as kids get older but the Vexation expansion adds a nice wrinkle to the game by giving players a chance to keep others off their railways.

Would like to try Trans Europa the sequel(?) to this game. It might be the same exact game with a European map.


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16. Board Game: Ghost Blitz [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:970] [Average Rating:6.73 Unranked]
Joe Cool
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Vienna
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A nice little brain and reaction trainer for everyone in the family
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17. Board Game: Timeline: Inventions [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:943] [Average Rating:6.71 Unranked]
Holger Doessing
Denmark
Odense
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This is the game for those families that really don't like complicated (ahem!) games.

My dad cannot grasp new games anymore, possibly due to early onset dementia. (I tried playing Hanabi with him once and we got a record all-time low score of zero.) However, this is probably the only game in my collection that he can handle with ease, with the rules being so dead simple: "On your turn, place one of your cards correctly on the timeline; get rid of all your cards to win." We always play with 2 teams so team mates can complement each other and have a bit of back-and-forth discussion, possibly leaving the strategic overhead to be handled by just one of them.
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18. Board Game: Memory [Average Rating:4.74 Overall Rank:17226]
Greg Darcy
Australia
Blue Mountains
New South Wales
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This is played every single day in our household. It is enjoyed by all regardless of age.
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19. Board Game: Get Bit! [Average Rating:6.17 Overall Rank:2094]
The Freeze
United States
Denver
Colorado
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Here is another game close to falling out of the top 500 family games that is better than it's current ranking.

With the expansion the game plays up to 7 and the simultaneous card selection keeps everyone involved each turn.

A bit gruesome (losing limbs to a shark), but I've never played with a kid that got freaked about by it. Maybe because the figures are very lego-mini-figure-esque.

A good filler and easy to teach.
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20. Board Game: Tales & Games: The Three Little Pigs [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:2074]
The Freeze
United States
Denver
Colorado
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I've had great luck playing this game with younger kids (4-8) and their parents. The theme is accessible, the mechanics are easy (yahtzee), and the components are great.

The game doesn't overstay its welcome and the push your luck aspect will keep adults tuned in until the end of the game.

However, the big bad wolf does show up and blow houses down. Tears are highly probably, but they don't last too long.

This game should at least be found in the top 400 of family games!
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21. Board Game: UNO [Average Rating:5.36 Overall Rank:17159]
Joe Cool
Austria
Vienna
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I think nearby every family owns one and it's played for millions of times ... and then only on position 1.449?!? I guess there's something wrong with the valuation
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22. Board Game: Pickomino [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:1156]
Joe Cool
Austria
Vienna
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This dice game meanwhile you can also call a classic. And it's absolute fun!!! Not easy for me to understand why it's ranked so low (~270) shake
On the occation of the 10th anniversary 2015 the extention "Extrawurm" was published which makes the gameplay more tactically - a "must have".
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23. Board Game: New York 1901 [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:836]
jim billingham
Canada
oshawa
ontario
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#116 ranked in Family, not far from the top 100. The same complexity as Ticket to Ride makes it a great family game.
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24. Board Game: Monster Factory [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:4167]
Robert Seater
United States
Ashland
Massachusetts
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The more I play this with my family, the higher I rate it. There is enough luck and silliness to make it accessible, but there are subtleties to manage that you can use to stay engaged as a serious gamer, even if they only eke out some marginal percentiles in your win rate.
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25. Board Game: Hare & Tortoise [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:1216]
Joe Cool
Austria
Vienna
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It was the first "Spiel des Jahres" which I bought. 30 years later sometimes it is still on the table! For me it is one of THE all time classic games for families which definitely should be under the top 100 thumbsup
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