Researchers have embraced the benefits of play as a key part of the development of the human mind, both for kids and adults. So it’s important to take a break and play some games sometimes, and here are ten of the best board and card games to help you relax, laugh and maybe even boost your brain power all at the same time. Note: If you’re a lover of more hardcore fantasy, strategy or war games, be sure to check out what top-ranked companies like Fantasy Flight Games, Rio Grande, Mayfair, Hasbro, AEG, Games Workshop, Avalon Hill and others have to offer as well.
Apples to Apples – It’s been around for years now, but Apples to Apples is a great way to bring families and friends closer together as they plead the case that their card is the best match for the judge’s category. Creative thinking, lobbying and even misdirection can be employed, but this game is completely wholesome. Unlike the next one…
Cards Against Humanity – This game’s designers call it “a party game for horrible people,” and it’s essentially Apples to Apples but with a bad attitude. One card is turned over, and all other players must play a card that they think will be chosen as the best match to the card, except the responses are usually anything but g-rated. This is definitely not one to be played with the kids.
Dweebies – This card game for kids has colorful characters, and when you place them next to other Dweebies, you collect points. Its simple gameplay consists of drawing and playing cards and is a great choice for families with kids.
Name 5 – This card-based party game asks you to name five specific things, which is actually a bit more difficult than it sounds. Whether it’s pizza toppings, things that make you sneeze, or movies starring Tom Hanks, you’ll need to think quickly under pressure to name five items before time runs out.
Qwirkle – This game is kind of like Scrabble, a little like Dominoes, and sort of like Rummikub. You get six tiles with a colorful shape on them, and you must make rows on the board that are either all of the same shape or color. Get points for each tile you play as you fill up the board in what ends up being a beautiful pattern.
Rory’s Story Cubes – A great game to be played with kids, Rory’s Story Cubes consists of nine six-sided dice, each with a different illustration on them. After rolling them, you must make up a story involving all the images that appear. It’s a great way to help encourage imagination and creativity.
Spot It – This fast-paced game uses 55 circular cards, each decorated with eights symbols. As two cards are turned over, it’s a race to see who can spot the images that match. And when there’s a tie, there’s even a way for two players to have a decisive head-to-head duel.
Telestrations – Telestrations is like a drawing version of the classic telephone game in which one player draws something for another, who must quickly replicate that drawing for another teammate. While the words may be simple, seeing the drawings quickly transform and change adds a fun wrinkle to this drawing-style game.
Ticket To Ride – This board game places in you on a circa-1900 train journey to collect cards and claim railway routes. There’s a little bit of history, a little bit of geography and a lot of fun in this highly detailed and charming offering.
7 Wonders – 7 Wonders is card game that lasts through three ancient ages, with players getting seven cards during each turn. It’s a strategy game with colorful illustrations and historical gameplay that requires careful thinking and paying attention to your opponents.