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19 Classic Board Games Everyone Should Own

From family game night to trivia with friends, everyone loves a good time. And what better way to have one than to break out a fun board game.

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Grandad's got time to teach me the game of the mastersPredragImages/Getty Images

Classic board games

Who doesn’t love a classic board game? Friends or family members sitting around a table rolling dice, reading cards, or moving pieces across the board to see who wins is an excellent way to spend quality moments together and pass the time. Don’t miss these 15 little-known board game trivia facts!

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Monopoly

$15.97

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According to the Hasbro website, Monopoly is the world’s favorite family gaming brand. Brand, because while the original Monopoly game is still going strong, there are now more versions that anyone can count including ones based on Finding Dory, Empire, Disney princesses, and Minions. There are even versions of these classic board games for the horse lover, cat lover, and One Direction and The Walking Dead fans. Plus, you can find electronic and on-the-go versions, and of course, an app for every device. Feeling nostalgic? This is what the first-ever Monopoly game looked like.

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Scrabble

$17.99

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For wordsmiths and puzzle lovers, Scrabble has been one of the go-to classic board games since the 1950s. From 1984 to 1990, a Scrabble-based game show ran on television. And although the classic Scrabble board hasn’t changed much throughout the years, Merriam-Webster’s Official SCRABBLE Players Dictionary, which contains over 100,000 usable words, is now in its sixth edition and includes new words like bitcoin, emoji, and facepalm. Before you play, read these 22 high-scoring Scrabble words you should memorize.

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Sorry!

$9.99

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Not much had changed with the look and rules of Sorry! That is, until 2013, when some rules were updated and some changes made. Players now only get three pawns (before they started with four), and two new cards, Fire and Ice, were added. Special editions of this family board game include ones featuring Disney characters, The Simpsons, Pokemon, and SpongeBob SquarePants. More of a puzzle person? These are the most challenging jigsaw puzzles you can buy.

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Trouble

$12.93

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Get ready to hit that famous Pop-o-Matic and watch the dice roll. The classic Trouble game has remained pretty much the same since it launched in the 1960s, but recent special editions include Trolls, Star Wars, Marvel’s Avengers, Olaf from Frozen, and a Despicable Me edition. A smaller Grab & Go version means Trouble can follow you wherever you go. Also, try these outrageously fun adult party games.

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Trivial Pursuit

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The classic version of this iconic game involves having knowledge of six different categories, including Geography, Entertainment, History, Arts & Literature, Science & Nature, and Sports & Leisure. But as of 2014, there were more than 50 special editions of these classic board games, including everything from Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, 2000s edition, Baby Boomers, and a junior edition. The new 2000s Edition includes the categories of Places, Entertainment, Events, The Arts, Science & Tech, and Sports & Hobbies. Hitting the road? These are the best road trip games to play.

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Clue

$12.08

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Clue is so popular it’s spawned multiple versions, books, and even a cult classic film. To distinguish between all the different versions, the original is always marked “The Classic Mystery Game.” Currently, there is a Star Wars version of Clue that takes place inside of the Empire’s Death Star and players can choose to be Luke, Leia, Han, Chewbacca, R2-D2, or C-3PO. Add these family movies that everyone will enjoy to your queue.

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Candy Land

$12.99

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Didn’t everyone own this one growing up? Candy Land requires zero strategy, unlike some others on this list, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less fun. In the 1940s during the polio epidemic, Eleanor Abbott, a victim of the disease, wanted to create a game for bed-bound children recovering from the disease. Candy Land was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2005. Current special editions for Candy Land include Disney princesses and Minnie Mouse. These are the car games for kids even parents will love.

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Risk

$29.99

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World domination is the goal of this military-themed game. According to About.com, Risk was created by a French film director and first published by Parker Brothers in the United States in 1959. Risk may be the most complicated and strategic of the classic board games listed here, but that hasn’t taken away from its popularity. It’s so popular, in fact, that the classic game has inspired special editions such as several Star Wars versions, Europe, Captain America, Lord of the Rings, Narnia, and Transformers. There’s even an edition where players can conquer the moon! These are the hardest puzzles you can get on Amazon.

Catanvia amazon.com

Settlers of Catan

$43.97

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This classic settlement board-game-turned-video-game is filled with action and adventure, as each player is on a mission to be the first to settle the uncharted island of Catan. This game originated in Germany and was one of the first German-style board games to be successful outside of Europe. This simulation-esque game intrigues people from all walks of life—it’s fun for the whole family. Here are the best-reviewed board games to play while in self-quarantine.

battleshipvia amazon.com

Battleship

$16.99

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This infamous strategy-heavy board game is perfect for a sibling rivalry. Its roots go back as far as World War I, where it was said to be played by Russian officers with a pen and paper. Milton Bradley ran with the concept, and the familiar Battleship game with plastic boards and pegs made its debut. This game of competition and strategy is perfect for the game night where you still want to use some brain cells. These board games will help you get smarter during the pandemic.

game of life via amazon.com

The Game of Life

$19.99

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It’s not possible (yet) to choose our life’s path in advance, but the Game of Life gives us the ability to at least pretend. Spin the wheel and your future awaits you. Will you get married? Have twins? Go to college? Receive a pension? Who knows, but that’s the fun of it. And it’s hard to have the same path twice, so this is one of the classic board games that’s good for the long haul.

pictionaryvia amazon.com

Pictionary

$31.49

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Like charades, but better (especially for the lazy game-nighters). This classic drawing game is always good for laughs. When someone gives you the excuse “I’m not good at drawing,” remind them that the worse the drawing is, the bigger the laughs and the more memorable it is. This game can be for kids and adults, as there are plenty of “junior” cards that the kiddos will be able to comprehend. Pictionary is the most fun when it’s played with a big group, so be sure to pull it out at your next dinner party (once big parties are safe again, of course). And when it’s nice outside, check out these yard games that are sure to be a hit at your BBQ.

Wit's Endvia amazon.com

Wit’s End

$36.95

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This is the perfect board game for people who love wordplay and riddles. Get ready for brainteasers and genius-level challenges. Players need to think outside the box and stretch their critical thinking muscles. There are four different categories to test skills: sequences, odd one out, teasers, and wild cards. The questions span history, geography, science, pop culture, and more! It’s the ideal gift for the brainiac gamer on your list. Check out more great holiday gifts for people who love games.

connect four gamevia amazon.com

Connect Four

$11.99

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The simple concept of lining up four chips in a row proves to be a classic game time and time again. Do you start in the middle, or do you focus on one of the corners? The choice is yours in figuring out a strategy to outwit your competitor.

Aggravationvia amazon.com

Aggravation

$19.99

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There’s never been a board game so aptly named—that is, if you like to aggravate your game night opponents with high doses of aggravation! This classic marble and dice game seems random, but it requires intense strategic forethought to avoid getting sent back home before you’re in the safe zone. Perfect for people who can keep their cool while wreaking havoc and winning. If you prefer your games disgusting rather than infuriating, you need to see the grossest toys and games ever made.

Twistervia amazon.com

Twister Ultimate

$19.99

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You’re the actual game piece in this classic party game. The board is big enough to cover your entire floor—or you can move it outside! The ultimate edition has twice as many spots as the original. Players spin to find out where they’ll put their hands and feet. Contort your body, get closer to friends and family, and best of all, get ready to end up laughing. Reminisce about the craziest toy fads in history.

Go game setvia amazon.com

Go

$22.98

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This game was invented in China over 2,500 years ago and people are still playing it! Two players use black and white “stones” to strategize how to take over territories on the board. The set-up is deceptively simple, but it requires abstract thought and intensive strategy. Perfect for competitive types! Try out these brain games that will boost your brain power.

checkers board gamesvia walmart.com

Checkers

$7.99

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Who doesn’t remember taking out the old checkerboard and jumping over various squares to get to the other side? Checkers is one of the world’s oldest games and Greek writers Homer and Plato have even mentioned this two-player game in their works. Life is full of change, but checkers will apparently always be there. Did you know that these childhood toys could be worth thousands?

checkers board gamesvia walmart.com

Chess

$27.41

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How can you mention old table games without mentioning chess? Another one of the oldest games in the world, according to Britannica, chess appeared around the sixth century AD in India and then spread to other parts of the world including Europe and the Middle East. Even the nobility started playing this “royal game” in the 15th century. Next, see if one of these classic board games was the most popular toy the year you were born.

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Felissa Benjamin Allard
Felissa Allard has worked at The New York Daily News, Health, Life & Style, About.com and more. As a freelancer, she has had pieces published on What To Expect, SELF, Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, Modern Mom, Working Mother, and more. Her specialities are beauty, fashion, health, wellness, and parenting.