My family played a lot of board games when I was younger, and part of our Christmas tradition was getting a new game and playing it as a family. I do the same now with my son. Most of us will be stuck at home with our families or roommates this holiday season– the perfect scenario for hauling out some board games and spending a few hours laughing, strategizing, and playing together. If you’re alone this season, some of these games can also be played either over video calls or online with friends (or strangers!). Most of the age limits can be stretched a bit to accommodate younger kiddos. 

Fluxx by Looney Labs
Type: Competitive Card Game
Players: 2-6
Playtime: 5-30 minutes
Ages: 8+

I counted 20+ versions of this card game at the date of publication, a testament to its popularity. The basic concept of the game is to draw a card and play a card, following the instructions on the card. As tame as that sounds, ever-changing rules and goals for the game follow from these basic actions, making for an addictive and fast-paced round.

Online versions: Fluxx is available in app stores and is rated E for Everyone

Sequence by Jax Games
Type: Abstract Strategy Board Game
Players: 2-12 (teams of 2-3)
Playtime: 15-30 minutes
Ages: 7+

This game is suited to larger families or groups as well as smaller gatherings. It’s a game of strategy as you draw cards and attempt to complete a sequence of five markers in a row on the board. The first player or team to two sequences wins. It’s an easy enough game to play that everyone can enjoy it, and not so captivating you can’t have a conversation at the table as you play. 

Online versions: There are a few Sequence apps available in Android and Apple stores, however, they are not official versions.

Loaded Questions by All Things Equal, Inc.
Type: Party Game
Players: 3-6
Playtime: 45 min
Ages: 13+ (Junior version is ages 6+)

Players take turns reading questions (as varied as “What time would you visit if you could time travel?” and “What’s your favorite item of clothing?”) to the group, with all other players writing down their own personal answer. One player reads all of the answers, and the questioner must match answers to players to earn points. This game helps you get to know your friends and family better, opens up fun discussions, and usually involves a lot of laughter. 

Online version: No online version, but could be played on a video call

Munchkin by Steve Jackson Games
Type: Competitive Card Game
Players: 3-6
Playtime: 1-2 hours
Ages: 10+

Munchkin is my favorite part of any role-playing game: killing monsters and stealing stuff! It’s a fast-paced, silly game, involving Boots of Butt-Kicking, Magic Missles, and Plutonium Dragons. There are several more versions of this game if you really love it and need more.

Online Versions: No official versions

Ticket to Ride by Days of Wonder
Type: Competitive Card Game
Players: 2-5
Playtime: 30-60 minutes
Ages: 8+

Players in this game collect train cards to claim railway routes, then win points by completing ticketed routes from one destination to another along their route. It’s a fun tabletop game with artful cards and colorful train pieces on large map boards. There are many versions of this game, as well. 

Online version: Available in most app stores

Exploding Kittens by Exploding Kittens, Inc
Type: Competitive Card Game
Players: 2-5
Playtime: 15 minutes
Ages: 7+

In this hilarious game, players draw cards by turns until a player draws an exploding kitten and is out of the game. The last one standing wins, but there are cards that let you peek at the deck, re-order cards, skip turns, or attack your competitors, and all of them are illustrated with humorous cartoons. My kiddo loved playing this one even younger than 7, so there is some wiggle room on the age. There are also several expansion packs for this game.

Online Versions: Find the mobile app in most app stores

Zombie Kidz Evolution by Scorpion Masque
Type: Cooperative
Players: 2-4
Playtime: 5-15 min
Ages: 7+

Although this game is geared toward kids, it’s an entertaining game for kids and adults to play together, and is perfect for families. The object of the game is to clear the zombies out of a school and lock four doors before the school is overrun. This is a legacy-style game, wherein the gameboard and gameplay are forever altered during the course of play with stickers, a logbook, and more, making it even more special for families to play together. 

Online version: No online version at this time

Seven Wonders by Repos Production
Type: Strategy
Players: 2-7
Playtime: 30 minutes
Ages: 10+

A world-building strategy game based on drawing and playing resource cards. This game is set in the cities of the seven wonders of the ancient world and is pretty focused and intense. Players will develop resources, build their cities and militaries, and interact with neighboring players to earn victory points. The player with the most points at the end wins the game. Many variants on the original exist, including Duel, a two-person game my son and I love to play.

Online version: available at  

Cards Against Humanity Family Edition by Cards Against Humanity
Type: Party Game
Players: 4-30
Playtime: 30 minutes
Ages: 8+

A family-friendly version of the original Cards Against Humanity. One player reads from a black card, and every other player answers with their funniest white card. The best answer, picked by the reader, is awarded a point, and the game continues with the next reader. This version is heavy on the poop and fart jokes, but if you’re OK with that, your family will have tons of fun with this game. There’s also a free, downloadable version you can print out at home available on the game site, no purchase necessary. If you’re playing without kids, try the standard version.

Online version: There isn’t a family-friendly version available online

Catch Phrase by Hasbro
Type: Party Game
Players: 4+ (two teams)
Playtime: 30 min
Ages: 12+

Read the word or phrase on this electronic passing game and try to get your teammates to guess it by describing it in any way possible, then pass the handheld reader to the next team. If you’re stuck with the game when the buzzer goes off, the other team gets a point. A raucous and high-energy game that gets everyone involved. 

Online version: Catch Phrase app (rated E for Everyone) available

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