Board games are the ultimate classic toy. They have been around since the beginning of humanity, and have become an essential part of childhood. We are lucky enough to now live in their golden age, where board games are more popular than ever. Every year, new innovative brands arise, and we have access to an incredible diversity of games.

Genres include strategy, role-playing, card and skill games. While certain games are designed for you to move or react quickly, others require deep concentration. This ultimately means that there is a perfect board game for every child. We’ve designed this article to help you find what that is for your little one, or even for yourself!

Key Facts

  • The market offers an incredible variety of board games, with countless categories to choose from. There’s everything you want from simple dice games, to elaborate role-playing or strategy games.
  • Playing is the absolute best activity if you want your child to learn. Board games will encourage his or her cognitive, motor and social development while having fun.
  • We encourage you to search for games that will entertain your child as well as yourself. This will allow you to have afternoons of family games. Teamwork and healthy competition also contribute to strengthening family ties.

Ranking: The best board games on the Australian market

There truly is a board game for every taste. We want to help you find just the right game for you, whether it’s to entertain your child and his friends or for a family night at home. We’ve selected our favourite board games in the following section to get you started in your search.

No. 1: Articulate! by Drumond Park

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Articulate! is a board game that’s almost 30 years-old, and it has become a true family favourite over the years. That’s why it’s not surprising to see it top our list and be Amazon’s Choice in the category, with past customers praising the endless hours of fun and accessibility to different age groups. You can play with 4 to 20+ players.

This game is actually tailored for players aged 12 and over, so it won’t be the first board game your children play. However, we’re ready to bet you won’t spend another family night without it when your children are old enough to play. The aim is simple, and as fun as it is educational: make your teammates guess a series of words saying it!

No. 2: Monopoly – Australia Edition by Hasbro

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You know we couldn’t make a selection of the best board games out there without including the Monopoly, quite simply one of the most popular games ever made. Dozens of different versions have been made, with the game even being available on gaming consoles. And the theme of this version is perfect for your children, as they will also learn about key Australian places and events.

The rest of the game remains pretty standard, and it is a great way for kids to start understanding the value of money and how the monetary system works. Past buyers have simply loved the Aussie twist of this classic board game, and you can be sure you’ll have hours of fun ahead. For players aged 8 and above, playable with 2 to 6 players.

No. 3: Don’t Break the Ice by Hasbro

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Like Monopoly and other games of our ranking, this game was developed by Hasbro, an industry leader in toys and board games. Don’t Break the Ice could well be one of the very first board games your children play, as it is designed for players aged 3 and up. You can play it from 2 to 4 players, meaning your kids can also play amongst themselves once they’ve got the hang of it.

The aim of the game is quite simple, and it involves motor skills to contribute to your little one’s development. They’ll have to keep Phillip the Penguin from falling off the ice floe, all the while tapping out the ice blocks it is made of. While this may not be a game parents play with their friends, your children will surely love it and learn while playing.

No. 4: The Settlers of Catan by Asmodee

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French company Asmodee has been in the board game business for almost 25 years, and they have already designed cult games for parents and children alike. The Settlers of Catan is one such game, having become an Amazon Best Seller and a true classic for board game lovers. Each game involves 3 to 4 players, lasting around 1 hour.

Designed for players aged 10 and above, this strategy game is a great way to familiarise your children with trade, as they explore the isle of Catan and try to take its full control. The great thing about this board game is that even adults can have hours of fun, and it’s the perfect family game for rainy days!

No. 5: Jenga by Hasbro

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Here is yet another product by Hasbro, and it’s also a great classic that you’ve probably heard of. Children aged 6 and above can play it, and one fantastic characteristic of this game is that your child can easily play it alone and still have lots of fun. It’s also very affordable and great to have around.

As you might already know, the goal of the game is pretty straightforward: take hardwood blocks out of the tower without being the one to make it fall. This fun game is a great way to develop your children’s motor skills, as well as their ability to analyse a situation. And here’s a fun fact for you: the name is derived from the Swahili word meaning “to build”!

No. 6: Yahtzee by Hasbro

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Who hasn’t played Yahtzee before? This board game has been around for over 70 years, and it is one of the most played dice games around the world. This casino version comes with a modern twist to the classic game and features an elegant dice shaker, but the rules remain exactly the same: score as high as you can in each category and aim for the Yahtzee.

How? Get the same number on all five dice with just three throws! This is a fun game that mixes luck and strategy, which is a great combination for children, who can start playing it around the age of 8. You can also easily turn this game into a mathematics class by letting your kids count the points. Its small size means it’s also ideal for travelling!

No. 7: Zingo! by ThinkFun

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The games designed by ThinkFun, a company founded in 1985, generally revolve around problem solving and stimulating the mind, and this is exactly what Zingo! does. Designed to be played by children aged 4 and above, 2 to 6 players can partake in a game, making it ideal for birthday parties or family evenings.

Following the playing style of the classic Bingo, each challenge card features pictures with their corresponding words. The dispenser releases two cards at the same time, and the first one to call out the name on the picture gets the chip – so long as it’s on the player’s challenge card, of course. The first child to get a full card can yell “Zingo” and takes the win!

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about board games

Board games are the perfect gift, with each one being unique. The almost endlessness of concepts and genres can be overwhelming when you’re on the hunt for the perfect game for your child. In the following section, we’ve discussed some of the most frequently asked questions about board games to give you all the information you need.

Board games are the ideal entertainment to motivate children to learn.
(Source: Iakov Filimonov: 88128036/ 123rf.com)

What types of board games are available out there?

As you probably know, there are a great variety of board game genres to choose from. These can be defined by their physical elements, their rules or their mechanics. In the table below, we’ve summed up the main board game categories:

Category Way of playing Characteristics
Dice games They are based on throwing a die and moving a token on a board. They include some of the most classic and iconic games, such as the Game of the Goose. Winning mostly relies on chance, and games tend to be shorter. They are generally easy to understand.
Strategy games These games involve players developing a series of strategies to achieve a goal. They can be cooperative or individual. They depend on players’ analytical, planning or deduction skills.
Card games Card games are only played with cards, whether traditional or specifically designed for the game, such as Uno or Dixit. Each game is unique. Some are purely random, while others involve strategy, skill or deduction.
Role-playing games These games involve a narrator, and the players must take on the role of a character. They test players’ storytelling skills, communication and imagination. The games tend to be very long.

What are the benefits of board games?

Children learn best by playing. They are developing key cognitive and socio-affective skills while they’re having fun with a good board game. While the educational content will naturally depend on the game you choose, most games offer the following benefits:

  • They contribute to cognitive and motor development: Board games, and more specifically those with attractive and colourful designs, contribute to the cognitive development of children. They help them better identify shapes, numbers, letters and colours. Games with different pieces also stimulate motor skills and coordination.
  • They stimulate social skills: Playing a board game with other children helps them to learn bout healthy competition and cooperation. Children therefore train their patience, generosity and even their understanding of justice. They may even learn to analyse other players’ strategies and adapt their own.
  • They allow quality family time: One of the best ways to make the most out of board games is to play them as a family. Game nights are ideal to spend some time with your child while being away from screens. Teamwork and healthy competition are also concepts that are uniting.

Should I play board games with my children?

Of course! Most child-oriented board games are easy to understand and perfect for children to play with their friends or siblings. They’ll even be able to enjoy them without supervision once they understand the rules. That being said, it is important for you to also play games with your kids.

Easy board games are fantastic didactic tools for your youngest children. As they grow, you’ll be able to play games that you can also enjoy and that are more challenging for all ages. That way, you can organise family game night and spend quality time together.

Having board games at home is a life saver during bad weather.
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When can my child start playing board games?

As you might know, there are different board games designed for each stage of childhood. Experts recommend children to start playing board games around the age of 4. This is when children are developing the appropriate motor skills for this kind of games. This is also an age particularly favourable for them to learn to play in a structured way with their peers.

Children will be attracted to more complex board games as they grow up. There really is no age limit for board games, and teenagers may have a preference for role-playing or strategy games. There are also excellent options that any adult will enjoy if you’re looking for a fun way to spend an evening with your friends.

Shopping Criteria

Board games are more popular than ever, which also means that the market offers an incredible diversity. This is great news, and we bet you want to find the perfect game for your child. In the next section, we’ve discussed some of the most important criteria to consider when looking for your new board game. They are the following:

  • Age of your child
  • Number of players
  • Game genre
  • Difficulty and length
  • Educational content

Age of your child

Your child will be able to start experimenting with board games around the age of 4. In that regard, it is crucial that you provide the right games for the stage of life they are in. Opt for short games if you don’t want younger kids to lose interest. Because children of that age are so energetic, we recommend a game that involves movement.

Classic games like Uno or Monopoly can be introduced a little later in life. Children can understand just about any board game around the age of 8. This will be the appropriate time for you to initiate them to more complex games, like strategy games. You’ll also be able to enjoy your time playing with your children.

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Did you know that Monopoly is one of the best-selling games in the world?

Number of players

This is naturally a key element to consider when buying any board game. We encourage you to go for a product tailored for more people if you’re not quite sure how many players you’ll have. Most games can be played when you have guests over, or during a family evening.

You should also think about when you’ll be playing the game. If you have several children, some game are ideal for playing in pairs. Other games, on the other hand, are more tailored for large groups: they are perfect for a family evening or for your child’s birthday party.

Game genre

The personality of your child and his interests will naturally determine which type of game you should go for. Extroverted children, for instance, will particularly enjoy games that involve singing or miming. Narrative games like Dixit are great for creative kids who love to tell stories. If your child is very alert, you might be interested in strategy or deduction games.

Didactic games are also a fantastic way to contribute to the development of our kids. You can also find products that encourage physical activity if you want your child to exert himself. Certain games available on the market are designed to test the flexibility, balance, coordination and even the rhythm of the players.

Monopoly is a great classic that you simply must have at home.
(Source: Steven Cukrov: 29099192/ 123rf.com)

Difficulty and length

The complexity of a board game is a big differentiating factor, and one that will strongly influence which you choose. Role-playing games and certain strategy games, for instance, are harder to understand and entail more rules, but they are fascinating to play. These games that are more complex immerse the players in elaborate fictitious worlds and can last several hours – or more.

That being said, please do remember that not every child and teenager enjoys these harder games. As we mentioned earlier, try and stick to simpler and shorter games if your child is still under 8. Complicated games that require a lot of patience will most likely bore kids of that age.

Educational content

As you’ve probably understood, board games don’t have to be explicitly didactic to contribute to your child’s cognitive development. Most games actually allow kids to work with different skills and learn while playing. Simply think about the skills you want to stimulate in your child and look for games that provide the right playing environment for this.

In our selection of board games, we’ve tried to include games that also contribute to the development of various skills in your children. Monopoly, for instance, serves as an introduction to money management. Aussie Scrabble, on the other hand, will help expand their vocabulary and they’ll start playing with letters in a fun way.

Summary

Board games are always an excellent gift idea, whether it is for a boy or a girl. Their ever-growing popularity means that the market has an almost infinite offer of all genres and types. There is always a board game out there suitable for everyone, regardless of age, personality or interests.

Your child’s development can also greatly benefit from playing board games, as they allow kids to learn while having fun. We can’t encourage you enough to choose a board game that you can also play with your children, as they are a great way to spend quality time together.

If you liked our guide to board games, feel free to share this article on your social media, or leave us a comment in the section below!

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