7 Board Games to Play With Your Family That Are More Fun Than Monopoly

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Board games are the traditional family holiday activity, but a lot of families out there are choosing sub-optimal games for family together time. It’s not their fault, though, they just don’t know that there are much better games out there. For most people, Monopoly is the standard “difficult” game. It’s so contentious that the company is even offering a holiday hotline to settle family disputes over who is in jail and who owns R&R Railroad.

But Monopoly is not the best board game to play. Honestly, it’s kind of boring. Nobody reads the rules so nobody really knows how to play, they just know the version that was taught to them by someone else who didn’t read the rules. Everyone just winds up fighting, and the most fun part of the game is when you get the piece you wanted to play at the beginning. (Team Scotty dog!)

So in the interest of actually having a good time over the holidays, here are 7 board games to play with your family that are actually fun.

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Give Me the Brain


(Steve Jackson Games)

In this game, you and your family members are all zombies working at a fast food restaurant, and you have one brain between you. Your goal is to finish all your tasks so you can go home, but for some tasks you will need the brain. It’s ridiculous and weird and a ton of fun. Kids and teenagers will probably love it.

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Settlers of Catan



This is one of the best games ever designed. Everyone gets a certain number of various resources at the start of the game, and then has to trade resources, build, and settle the continent. It has everything people like about Monopoly, but it’s a lot more fun. This is a “more difficult” tier of board game, so if you’re looking for something to play with family members who really suck at games, this might not be a good option. It might also be too advanced for smaller kids, but if they can handle Monopoly they should enjoy this one.

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This one is quick to play, but it also stands up to a lot of re-playing, which makes it good for new players because you can play it once, then by the second or third time everyone is an old hand at the game. The point of this one is to “guillotine” the highest-ranking collection of nobles. Every game the lineup of aristocrats is different, and you play cards to move the various nobles around in the queue, hoping to get the highest value people at the head of the line on your turn. (Marie Antoinette is the highest-ranking card in the game, obviously.)

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Before I Kill You, Mister Spy…


(Cheapass Games)

The first time I played this game it was called “Before I Kill You, Mr. Bond,” and it’s gone through several names since some lawyers started banging on the door. For a while there it was called “Totally Renamed Spy Game,” but now it’s called “Before I Kill You, Mr. Spy …” and it’s just as good. It’s only for two to six players, and it’s a quick play of about 30 minutes. The premise is that you are all super villains, and your job is to build a lair, lure a spy to your lair, and then kill the spy. The spies are worth a varied number of points, and they’re worth more if you taunt them by telling them your evil plans. Taunting them increases the chance that they’ll get away and destroy your lair, though, so it’s a high-tension move.

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While this might look like “Choking Hazard, the Board Game” to parents of very small kids, for ones who can be trusted not to eat the pieces, this is a fun, fast-playing game where people try to make chains and then keep them going. To put a piece down, it must be touching another one of the same color, but corner-touching counts. At the end, the person with the fewest pieces left in their hand wins.

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This one’s a classic for a reason.

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Pie Face Showdown


(Toys R Us)

How did I not know this game existed? You and a sibling put your faces through holes, and in the middle is a plastic hand full of whipped cream. Then you mash your buttons as hard as you can, and whoever mashes best gets to smash the handful of whipped cream in their sibling’s face. Seriously, I am 30 years old and I would play this right now. Where’s my sister? We need to Instagram this shit.


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