12 perfect board games to play this winter
Because every night should be game night.
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Depending on where you live, you've been all cooped up indoors this winter, and the cabin fever is real. Naturally, we're all looking for new ways to entertain ourselves. And what better way to pass the time than with some of the most popular games on the market? From tabletop board games to puzzles and everything in between, these games will help beat your boredom and keep you entertained all winter long. Already stocked up on games? Send one to a loved one to help distract them from these crazy times.
1. This game for the social media-obsessed
Let's face it. We're all obsessed with meme culture. Allow me to introduce you to What Do You Meme, which requires you to pair a popular meme image with a funny caption. Whichever combination the rotating judge deems the funniest wins that round, so you have to know your audience. With over 22,000 Amazon reviews, this game has become something of a cultural touchstone that unites generations young and old (just be sure Grandma knows that she’s in for a lot of F-bombs).
2. The cult-favorite Cards Against Humanity
Cards Against Humanity is a must-have for every game collection. Each round, players must select the most outrageous of their seven white cards to complement the prompt on the black card. Much like What Do You Meme, Cards Against Humanity requires you to select what you think the black card reader will find to be the funniest (often most inappropriate) card. The game has racked up over 80,000 reviews on Amazon as one that will keep everyone laughing for hours.
3. This tile game for word nerds
Simple, fast-paced, and totally addictive, you’ll find yourself playing round after round of Bananagrams. Race against your opponents to complete a crossword layout containing all of your 21 letters. Once you’re done, shout “Peel!” and savor in the glory of watching all other players need to complete their boards while using additional letters. Coming in a banana-shaped pouch, the game is a great space-saving alternative to clunky board games. The game is so ap-peel-ing, that it has 10,000 reviews, with many noting it takes virtually no time to set up and makes time fly by quickly.
4. This game that’s all too relatable right now
Games are often an opportunity to escape reality, but Pandemic is now an opportunity to confront it. Each player adopts an integral role in battling the widespread deadly pandemic—be it a scientist or medic—in an effort to save humankind. Travel to various outbreak hotspots around the globe while using a research center based in Atlanta and disease cubes spread out across the board. With a 4.8-star rating on Amazon and 9,000 reviews, players appreciate how the game is suitable for all levels: “Love this game for a night stuck in with just one other person or when we are allowed to gather again! I like that you can change the difficulty if you are playing with someone who has never played before or a group that are experts.”
5. This game that’s truly fun for the whole family
Picking a game suitable for all generations can be a challenge—but Codenames is full of good, clean fun that's a perfect source of entertainment for the whole family. Help your friend (and their squad) feel like secret spies by offering one-word clues pointing towards a secret word among a collection of random ones. The catch? Playing as part of competing spy networks, you can’t inadvertently reference any of the other team’s words. The team to contact all of their secret agents first—without calling upon the assassin—wins. Boasting a 4.9-star rating, reviewers are pleased with how simple the rules are to pick up—and how difficult it is to put the game down.
6. This game for those who like to think on their feet
Think of Taboo as the Pictionary of word games. Instead of having your teammates guess the word on your selected card through visuals, you have to hint at what it is through words alone in under two minutes. But here’s the catch: The makers of Taboo have assigned five forbidden words or phrases for each card that might otherwise be helpful (like not using the words salary or wages to describe paycheck, for example), so you have to get creative in your descriptions. Of its 3,800 Amazon reviewers, many say the game has brought them to tears of laughter.
7. This grown-up version of your favorite childhood game
If the last game of Connect Four you ever played was covered in a layer of spit from your kindergarten classroom, you're due for a classy upgrade thanks to beachy-keen Australian game brand Sunnylife. Simply take turns popping your tokens into the game board in an effort to get four in a row, and keep it on display year-round for a much-needed pop of color. One five-star reviewer says “Man is it pretty! If you’re looking for a beautiful game showpiece this is it.” Not looking to spend that kind of dough? I don't blame you. You can't go wrong with the ol' classic.
- Get the Sunnylife Lucite Four-In-A-Row Game from Anthropologie for $130
- Get Hasbro Connect 4 Game from Amazon for $9.84
8. This classic game that doubles as art
Look, sometimes you just need to make a decision. Instead of flipping a coin or playing a game of rock, paper, scissors, you can challenge someone to a quick game of tic-tac-toe. In true Anthropologie fashion, this game doubles as a stunning accent item made of marble, agate stone and brass, making it both playful and elegant. “I wanted to incorporate marble and gold into my living room decor. This turned out gorgeous,” says one pleased reviewer. If you're afraid it's going to get trashed in your home because of the pets or kids, don't worry. There's a rustic and sturdy option for way less.
9. This ice breaker game for getting to know your loved ones better
Never Have I Ever is one of those games you and your friends might have played on the first night of summer camp to get to know your fellow bunkmates better—and make them blush in the process. Now you and your loved ones can experience that same thrill with the board game edition of Never Have I Ever, which requires players to answer questions about their personal life, earning them points for honesty. With prompts like “Swallowed a bug unintentionally” and “Licked the brownie bowl,” the game is a great way to break the ice on chilly nights stuck indoors. Boasting 4,300 Amazon reviews, players say it’s a great game for getting to know those you thought you knew best: “Raised quite a few eyebrows amongst people who thought they knew each other pretty well!”
10. This pretty puzzle
This puzzle makes for so much more than a rainy day activity—it’s an opportunity to pay homage to the hundreds of women who’ve fought tirelessly for equal voter rights and freedoms. The 500-piece puzzle, which also looks dazzling as a framed art piece once completed, comes with a poster-sized pamphlet offering bonus information on the landmark 19th Amendment. With a 4.9-star rating, Uncommon Goods’ top-selling puzzle has everyone buying this item. Sure, it's not technically a game, but it's just as fun when you're all working together to piece it together.
11. This game for trivia fanatics
There are certain things that should be common knowledge—but somehow aren’t. With this game boasting 4,500 reviews, allow your friends to rack their brains answering questions like “Does the Statue of Liberty hold the torch in her left or right hand?” and “Is a penguin a bird?” What sets this trivia game apart is that you don’t receive points for correct ones, but lose points for incorrect ones. Each pack comes with 400 questions, providing endless hours of fun and frustration.
12. This addictive game for cat lovers
Anyone can pick up any old deck of cards and play a game of Go Fish for the 600th time, but not everyone has played an exhilarating game of Rat-A-Tat-Cat. Featuring adorable paintings of cats, mice and rats in all kinds of unlikely scenarios (like jamming out to a boombox and driving a convertible), the goal is to collect cards featuring the lowest number of points while benefiting from power-ups like swap, draw two, and peek. The player who believes they’ve drawn cards with the lowest total points lets other players know by triumphantly knocking on the table while saying “Rat-A-Tat-Cat.” Of this Amazon’s Choice game, players say they appreciate how quickly each round goes, and how it makes for a fantastic stocking stuffer.
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