Amanda Levick
Australia
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This list is tailored towards adults and children playing together; families just getting into boardgaming and games for kids that aren't conspicuously educational but are still challenging and informative.

I've collated this list with the help of my kids (11 and 13 years old). We've been playing board games all their life and belong to a club.
The list is not exhaustive and will miss games we haven't played yet. Please suggest any that meet the criteria and target audience, we will be playing through them and updating this page as we go.

The criteria is: kid's preference; Club popularity; fun; education potential; not inappropriate; accommodate disparate ages; beginner friendly; minimal luck; challenging.

Each game wont tick all the boxes, some are listed because they are die hard favourites even though they're a bit fluffy! The whole last list are not beginner games.

In the interest of families and beginners I've excluded looooong games; games with a lot of set up; excessive learning or re-learning of rules; two player war games and tabletop miniatures; adult games; pure theme and little content; unbalanced/luck; heavy; unplayed games.
Games that break the rules or benefit from additional information have notes attached.

The games listed will be followed with: geek rating; player number, with recommended player number in brackets; recommended age; play time; approximate cost from online Australian outlets (using boardgamesearch.com.au).
Co-operative games have a (c), games that involve player vs player or thwarting other players and best not played with sensitive or aggressive people have an (x), games that need smack talk and fun and are best not played too seriously have an (f).
Some are available as apps; physical games are still more fun as a family but apps are much cheaper so you can try before you buy.

I've grouped the list into more manageable geeklist bites (work in progress):
Extraverted Family Fun

There are four groups: The first is party games and/or can play 7 or more; the second group consists of card and/or tile games; the third is lighter games; the last group comes with a caution - they are longer/heavier/harder and require some extra set up and reading of rules, they're good family games but not beginner games.
Even though they are listed in preferential order, we enjoy and recommend every game, they're good games.

Party/Group
Mysterium 7.7* 2-7(5-7) 8+ 42m $66-85 (c)
The backstory involves mystics communicating with a spirit to solve it's murder, but for kids it's easy to invent another backstory.
Concept 7.1* 4-12(6) 10+ 40m $53-65 (c)
Concept has a scoring system but the game's nature is not competitive, so we usually play co-operative.
Codenames 8* 4-8+(6/8) 10+ 15m $33-40 (c)(f)
BANG! 6.6* 4-7 10+ 20-40m $28-30 app (c)(x)
Bang requires bluffing and not giving away your secret identity, so you can play with as young as 8 if they're capable of that. If you want to get Bang, there is also Bang the Dice Game which people seem to prefer but we like it less, so check both out.
Dixit 7.4* 3-6/3-12 12+ 30m $40-50/50-65 app (c)
There are quite a few Dixits now, I recommend the original(2008) although you'll want Odyssey for 3-12players. It's not a hard game, but requires subtlety that comes with age. Dixit doesn't translate to an app, but it's free so have a look.
Incan Gold 6.8* 3-8(5-6) 6+ 20m $35-45(f)
Time's Up 7.4* 4-18(6/9/12) 9/12/15+ 90m $25-60 (c)(f)
Its a form of charades, so topics and appropriateness can be tailored towards the lowest age. You can also make your own cards for themed parties.
7 Wonders 7.9* 2-7(7) 9+ 30m $62-70
6 nimmit! (6 Takes) 7* 2-10(5/6) 7+ 45m $15-20(f)
Timeline: Historical Events 6.9* ]2-8+(4/5) 10/12+ 15m $20-26
There are over 10 variations of timeline, depending on your interests and setting. Few adults will know dates well enough so there's enough guess for kids not to be disadvantaged. Especially good for history buffs .
Citadels 7.1* 2-8(5) 8+ 20-60m $32-45(x)
I haven't played Libertalia (it's on the to do list!) but I've heard it's very good and an 'upgrade' on Citadels.
Apples to Apples 6.4* 4-10(6-8) 10+ 30m $50-60 (c)
It's a bit adult, we've pulled out inappropriate or irrelevant cards. There is a junior version, which we haven't tried, might be a better option.
Ricochet Robots 7* 1-15+(4-6) 8+ 30m $56-80
EPYC 7.5* 3-99(7/90 8+ 20m bunch of exercise books and pencils (c)
One Night Ultimate Werewolf 7.5* 3-10(6-8) 10m 8+ $34-42 (c)(x)
Bohnanza 7.2* 3-7(5) 8+ 45m $25-35
Zombie Dice 6.4* 2-8(4) 6+ 10-20m $15-20 app
You don't really want to play a dice game electronically.(f)

Cards and Tile
Fairy Tale 6.8* 2-5(4) 10+ 30m $30 app
I find the app's tutorial confusing compared to the game. I wouldn't really recommend it, but it's freeish.
Battle Line 7.4* 2 8+ 30m $31-40 app
Sushi Go! 7.2* 2-5(4) 6+ 15m $22-25
Splendor 7.7* 2-4(3) 8+ 30m $53-70 app
Coup 7.2* 2-6(5) 10+ 15m $25 (c)(x)
Coup is a strategic bluffing game with a traitor and so requires sufficient maturity.
For Sale 7.2* 3-6 8+ 20m $30-40
(Zombie) Fluxx 6.1* 2-6(4/5) 8+ 10-40m $14-35 fluxx app(f)
There is every flavour of Fluxx, ie: Star, Pirate, Martian, Nature, Batman. It's a fun fluff game, not suited to an app.
Alhambra 7.1* 2-6(3) 8+ 45-60m $100(big box) app
The app isn't as good, for a start you can't rotate the tiles.
O Zoo Le Mio 6.6* 2-4(4) 8+ 30-50m $34-60
Tantrix 6.4* 1-4(2) 7+ 30m $34
Tantrix also has a 1player puzzle quest which is challenging.
Race for the Galaxy 7.8* 2-4(4) 10+ 30-60m $48-60
Hive 7.4* 2 8+ 20m $40-76 app
Bridge 7.5* 4 10+ 6m each deal lessons & pack of cards (c)
Bridge is a lifelong game requiring 10+hrs to learn from scratch. Definitely breaks the rules but if you ever have the opportunity it's great to learn as a family; you can go anywhere in the world and have a game.
Once Upon a Time: The Storytelling Card Game 6.5* 2-6(5/6) 8+ 30m $20-35
Cardcassonne 6.1* 2-5(4) 8+ 30-45m $35-45
Carcassonne 7.4* 2-5(3) 8+ 30-45m $50-60 app
We have expansions: builders & traders, cathedrals & inns, princess and dragon. The first two really improve the game, the dragon is the great equalizer (or burnanator!) and fun.
Jambo 7.1* 2 8+ 45m $27-30(x)
Lost Cities 7.1* 2 8+ 30m $28-35
We made our own with 2 packs of cards and a sharpie, the board game is more thematic and prettier though . App not available in Australia.
ZERTZ 7.3* 2 8+ 30-60m $44
Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game 7.6* 1-5(3) 9+ 45m $63-135 (c)
Qwirkle 6.9* 2-4(3) 6+ 45m $35-40 app
Different strategic game with 6/10/14 year olds.
Escalation! 5.7* 2-6 6+ 15m
Gang of Four 6.6* 4 8+ 40m $25-30
No Thanks! 7.1* 3-5 8+ 20m $10-25
Tichu 7.6* 3-10(4) 10+ 60m $17-24 app (c)
San Juan 7.3* 2-4(3) 10+ 45-60m $33-60 app
Forbidden Island 6.9* 2-4 8+ 30m $35 app (c)
Othello 6.1* 2 6+ 30m $30app called Reversi
Labyrinth 6.4* 1-4(4) 6+ 20m $51-91
Dominion 7.8* 2-4(3) 8+ 30m $65-80 app(x)
Dominion is more lucky then I'd normally recommend although with variety of cards, it has so much variability that it's challenging to adapt different strategies accordingly.
Aquarius 6* 2-5(4) 5+ 20m $20

Light
Survive: Escape from Atlantis 7.4* 2-4(4) 7+ 1hr $70(f)
Expansions increase players to 6 and add to the game. $13-30, they also add pvp. (x)
Dead of Winter 8* 2-5(4) 11+ 45-210m $78-105 (c)
Risk (Starcraft) 6.4* 2-6(4) 8+ 30-50m $53-120(x)
Risk is heavily luck based and aggressive; but themed Risk can add a lot to the game if you're into the theme. Some themes include Star Wars, Game of Thrones, Halo, Dr Who...
Get Bit! 6.3* 3-6 6+ 20m $25-30(f)
Tsuro 6.7* 2-8(4) 6+ 30m $60-70 app
Even though Tsuro can play 8, you wouldn't play it with more than 6, so it is listed here. Tsuro is the original; there is also Forbidden Desert and Tsuro of the Seas which add complexity and therefore a higher recommended age. They are both also listed in Intermediate. There is an app called Pathology HD which is similar and cheaper
Terror in Meeple City 7* 2-4 6+ 45m $75-85(f)
Pente 6.6* 2 7+ 30m
Pente is a simplified version and training tool for Go. Fun of itself. We use our Go board and stones for it, but it would be fairly easy to make your own too.
The Adventurers 6.6/6.9* 2-6(4/5) 6+ 45m $40/50-50-65
There are The Adventurers: The Temple of Chac and The Adventurers: The Pyramid of Horus versions.
Galaxy Trucker 7.5* 2-4(4) 8+ $65-95 app
We love Galaxy Trucker, but it's tilted towards speed over efficiency which isn't the spirit of the game. We've modified it with house rules. There are expansions which I haven't tried, maybe these balance it.
Castle Panic 6.7* 1-6(4) 6+ 60m $60-65 (c)
Lord of the Rings: Confrontation 7.5* 2 8+ 30m $40-56(x)
Reminds me of stratego but thematic and the two sides vary in goals, skills and strategies (so, better ).
Quarriors! Quartifacts 7.6* 2-4(4) 8+ 30m $95-110 app
Tobago 7.2* 2-4(4) 10+ 60m $60-95
Dice Town 6.9* 2-5(4) 6+ 60m $56-71
King of New York 7.2* 2-6(4) 8+ 40m $60-85(f)
King of New York is the same game as King of Tokyo in a different setting and with extra complexity. Tokyo is better for younger and lighter players, although both games aren't complex.
Takenoko 7.4* 2-4 8+ 45m $60-85
RoboRally 7.2* 2-8(5/6) 9+ 20-120m $50-79(x)
King of Tokyo 7.3* 2-6(4-5) 6+ 30m $53-85(f)
Roll through the Ages 6.9* 1-4(2) 8+ 30-45m $33-62
App not available in Australia. app
Ticket to Ride 7.5* 2-4(4) 8+ 30-60m $70-75 app
Catan 7.3* 3-4(4) 8+ 60-120m $70
Although it is the most well known, I wouldn't play Catan without the cities & knights and seafarers expansions. Catan has a lot of luck.
Blokus 3D 6.8* 2-4(4) 6+ 15m

Intermediate
Xia: Legends of a Drift System 7.9* 3-5(3) 11+ 1-2hrs $120(x)
Chess 7.1* 2 10+ 10-30m
Lords of Waterdeep 7.7* 2-5(3-4) 10+ 60-120m $60-75 app(x)
Tigris and Euphrates 7.8* 2-4(4) 90m $80-105 app(x)
Play a peaceful, lighter version with 10+ year olds or a much harder, deadly game with 14+.
Chinatown 7.2* 3-5(5) 10+ 60m $70-75
Railways of the World 7.7* 2-6 10+ 120m $100
For a harder game play with 3 people or an easier game with 5. It's expansion Railways of England and Wales changes and adds to it with shares and companies. It's greater complexity raises the age to 14+.
Terra Mystica 8.3* 2-5(4) 13+ 60-150m $110-140
Caverna: The Cave Farmers 8.2* 1-7(4) 13+ 30-210m $113-170
We haven't actually played Caverna although it is an updated version of Agricola but apparently far superior. Agricola (Agricola app) was here on the list but we decided to replace it as surely as Caverna replaces the game in real life.
Zendo 7.3* 3-5+(4) 8+ 40m $10 for cones from Looney Labs or use anything! Lego!
Zendo has a Buddist theme but after reading Zendo as a tool for teaching the scientific method I was sold.
Puerto Rico 8.1* 2-5(4)12+ 90-150m $60-80 app
Oddville 7*[/COLOR] 2-4 10+ 45m $30-48
Forbidden Desert 7.4* 2-5 8+ $35-45
See also Tsuro and Tsuro of the Sea.
Small World 7.4* 2-5(4) 8+ 40-80m $80-88app(x)
Try the app, if it's a hit, buy all the expansions with the physical board game; the necromancer expansion adds a player slot and a balance to all the carnage.
Tsuro of the Seas 6.7* 2-8(4) 10+ $40-50
See also Tsuro and Forbidden Desert.
Pandemic 7.7* 2-4(4) 8+ 30-90m $60-70 app(c)
Pandemic can have good or bad luck but is still challenging. There is another app Operation: Eradication which is basically Zombie Pandemic and cheaper.
Ra 7.5* 2-5(3-4) 8+ 45-60m app
Power Grid 7* 2-6(4/5) 12+ 120m $62-70
Through the Desert 7.2* 2-5(3) 8+ 45m app(x)
Lighter game, more strategy with older players.
Kemet 7.8* 3-5 12+ 90-120m $84-112(x)
Kemet and Cyclades feel very similar, even though they are from different designers (same publisher), if you like one, you'll like the other.
Cyclades 7.5* 2-5(4-5) 12+ 60-90m $87-120app(x)
Kemet and Cyclades feel very similar, even though they are from different designers (same publisher), if you like one, you'll like the other.
Go 7.7* 2 8+ 20-45m $35-100
You can get this from K-mart etc, for a decent price.
Yspahan 7.2* 3-4 10+ 45-60m $80-90
Five Tribes 7.8* 1-4 10+ 40-80m $80-120
Village 7.6* 2-4(4) 12+ 60-90m $70
Through the Ages 8.2* 2-4(3) 13+ 240m $65-90

Note on purchasing from Amazon for AU buyers: When on sale, light games can be a good buy from Amazon but shipping kills it for bigger games for us in Oz, keep an eye on that and the currency conversion!
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Chris Stanton
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Can I suggest making this a Geeklist? It will make it so much easier to read & spot things.
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Ms. Shug
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Round Rock
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I second the geeklist idea. Also, I think it would be great if you are gearing this as a list to help homeschoolers, perhaps mention what skills you believe each game helps develop. I have plenty of familiarity with games, but homeschoolers looking for games to teach specific skills and or subject matter might not be familiar with all of these and it could be more useful to them it they can view a summary of each that speaks to educational benefit. I do homeschool my kids and know this would be the top of the list for other homeschooling parents, especially those who are not technically gamers or are new gamers. Just a suggestion.
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Elizabeth Nugent

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Fyebear wrote:
Alhambra 7.1* 2-6(3) 8+ 45-60m $100(big box) app
The app isn't as good, for a start you can't rotate the tiles.


You can't in Alhambra, either, if you're actually playing by the rules.
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Nicolette Tanksley
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Jackson
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quirogal wrote:
I second the geeklist idea. Also, I think it would be great if you are gearing this as a list to help homeschoolers, perhaps mention what skills you believe each game helps develop. I have plenty of familiarity with games, but homeschoolers looking for games to teach specific skills and or subject matter might not be familiar with all of these and it could be more useful to them it they can view a summary of each that speaks to educational benefit. I do homeschool my kids and know this would be the top of the list for other homeschooling parents, especially those who are not technically gamers or are new gamers. Just a suggestion.

+ 1 to this idea! I do this a little bit in my Geeklist for 4/5yos
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Constantino Martinez Ferrari
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great list! another games for the your list can be:

-once upon a time: card game
-Tsuro
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Amanda Levick
Australia
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ENugent wrote:
You can't in Alhambra, either, if you're actually playing by the rules.


Ah, another of the pit falls of learning a game from people who know it, instead of reading the rules myself, thank you.

It's funny, I feel like I read the rules more these days for clarification then we read them in the beginning to learn them!
 
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Amanda Levick
Australia
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constantinox wrote:
great list! another games for the your list can be:

-once upon a time: card game
-Tsuro


Thank you!

They're both in there, I agree with you .
 
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Amanda Levick
Australia
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Toc13 wrote:
Can I suggest making this a Geeklist? It will make it so much easier to read & spot things.


I understand and agree, the list is overwhelming. I'm working on geeklists which I will link (just haven't had time).
I just wanted somewhere where it was all together but once it was done I realised I had to simplify it.

Thank you all, watch this space!
 
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