Here at the Strategist UK, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy, but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed products and single out the most convincing ones. (You can learn more about our rating system and how we pick each item here.)
And while we’ve written about games before — including the best overall board games and the best chess sets — here, we’ve rounded up the best board games for kids, as praised by the most enthusiastic reviewers on Amazon.
Best-rated overall board game for kids
This classic kids’ game sees players carefully insert coloured plastic swords into the barrel. The objective is to avoid making the pirate “pop up.” It has 74 percent five-star reviews, with 75 reviewers saying it brought hours of fun despite taking less than three minutes to play a game. It was enjoyed by a broad range of ages — one parent said their 3-year-old roared with laughter when the pirate popped up, while kids ages 8 and 9 enjoyed the strategy element (despite the game being entirely random, many parents said the decision-making process was part of the appeal for older kids). Fifty-three customers wrote that it was excellent value for money, including a woman who said her retired parents would often sneak a game in after her kids had gone to bed. The game includes 24 swords — four each of red, green, yellow, and blue — so larger groups can play in teams. Several reviewers also said this game could be easily “reversed” — so the winner was the one who caused the pirate to pop, rather than the loser.
Best-rated guessing game for kids
This guessing game has 78 percent five-star reviews and can be played by up to six people. Players must try and guess the card attached to their headpiece by asking yes-or-no questions, and the game comes with 69 cards. Ninety-one customers said it was great fun (one described it as like Guess Who? but flipped on its head), with parents saying kids between ages 5 and 8 would enjoy it the most. Some reviewers suggested the egg timer can be discarded to make it easy for younger kids to get involved, too, but there are also question prompts (such as “Am I a food?”) to help nudge little ones along in their guessing. Fifty reviewers said it was good fun, and 24 wrote that the whole family enjoyed playing. One customer said that despite the large number of cards, their 10-year-old had memorised the answers after a few games, so they started making their own answers on index cards.
Best-rated board game for kids ages 3+
Parents and children alike will be familiar with the rules of Snakes & Ladders — this set is under £10 and has 67 percent five-star reviews (it’s also currently on sale). Twenty-two customers wrote that they appreciated the old-fashioned aesthetic of the game, with a further 42 reviews mentioning the quality and design of the board (the manufacturer, HTI, say they specialise in “classic” board games). One parent said the simple rules were excellent for teaching her sons about adding and subtracting and said the placement of both the snakes and ladders ensured the games didn’t drag on too long (or finish too quickly). Several reviews also liked that a dice shaker was included in this set.
Best-rated board game for kids ages 6+
Dobble has been featured in our board-games coverage before, but this special Great Ormond Street Hospital edition is particularly well reviewed: 88 percent of the reviews are five stars, the highest of any games featured on this list. This edition contains 55 cards, rather than 30, and includes a special GOSH symbol among the other Dobble ones (like igloos and treble clefs). Reviewers called it a “brilliant, perfect” game, remarking that it’s easy to take on the go and small enough to stash away in a drawer. And though it has plenty of grown-up fans, 867 reviews say this is great for kids. One parent said his 7-year-old was quicker at it than him and his wife, while one granddad bought it for his 6-year-old granddaughter and said her observational skills were getting better and better with every game played. Adults generally wrote that this game kept them on their toes, while 70 reviews mentioned how the quick gameplay retained their kids’ attention more easily than a board game with lots of pieces. Games are quick, too — players can be awarded points for every pair they spot first, or the game can be played more like a “best of five rounds” style. The latter was favoured by one reviewer, a primary-school teacher, who says he keeps a deck up his sleeve for when his pupils started to get bored. The other appealing part of Dobble is there are many variants — such as Harry Potter, Frozen, and the Gruffalo decks.
Best-rated board game for kids ages 10+
This trading board game is beloved by experts (and pop stars) and is highly reviewed on Amazon, where 87 percent of the reviews are five stars. Though there are junior- and family-friendly versions of this game, both are currently sold out, and the original set is still well reviewed by parents, particularly those of older kids. Players collect resources to build a civilization from the ground up, earning points along the way. They gain resources by rolling dice or bartering with other players. One parent of a 10-year-old said it was a great way for them to learn complex skills like collaboration, conflict, and consequence — the reviewer said kids learn quickly that if they punish another player, that player is unlikely to trade with them later on. Another said their teens preferred playing Catan on a Saturday afternoon rather than being glued to their devices, with two hours being the approximate time of a game. There are a number of extensions and add-ons; the general consensus among reviewers was that after four or five months of regular gameplay, an expansion pack was a good way to get more use out of the game.
Best competitive board game for kids
This simplified version of the classic board game has 84 percent five-star reviews. One reviewer said it captured everything she loved about the regular Monopoly while distilling it down so that her children could enjoy it, adding that her 6-year-old daughter couldn’t get enough of it over Christmas. Another explained that the gameplay was sped up (purchase prices and rents are the same; there are no buildings), and the Chance cards offer a leg up to struggling players. The board is also smaller. Despite the age suggestion, one customer said their 3.5-year-old picked the game up no problem and grasped the concept of “buying” properties like the zoo and the ice-cream parlour. Another parent, who said they enjoyed this more than the grown-up version, said a game typically lasted for 20 minutes (this is due to the game being over when one person runs out of money). Several parents said this would be perfect for anyone whose kids needed constant reminders about how Monopoly was played, and the way the game encouraged basic maths was also mentioned numerous times. But one frequent complaint about this version was the paper-thin money, which some parents described as looking cheap and being easy to tear (one mum went so far as to laminate her notes so they wouldn’t get torn by accident).
Best-rated less-competitive board game for kids
For something less likely to cause arguments, this fast-paced quiz game has 78 percent five-star reviews. Players must simply answer a prompt in five seconds (such as “Name three flavours of ice cream” or “Name three months”). One family wrote that they hadn’t stopped laughing during the two hours they played this during lockdown, with 15 reviewers saying it was great fun for a broad range of ages. One grandma bought this for her 6- and 9-year-old grandkids and said they now play it together over Skype. Another customer said their 7-year-old was a pro but that younger kids might struggle, and they suggested tweaking the 5-second rule to make it easier. But overall, nearly every review mentioned families in fits of giggles trying to answer the prompts in time, and it came highly recommended for families who found competitive board games quite emotionally taxing.
Best-rated chess sets for kids
This folding chess set was highly recommended by several parents, with 77 percent of the reviews being five stars. One reviewer wrote that the magnetic board helped prevent pieces from being knocked over when playing with his son. Another parent wrote that their 4-year-old was able to pick up the rules easily and enjoys unfolding the board and setting the pieces up each time they play. A further 10 reviewers said it was a great starter set for kids, and 21 customers said the small fold-up board made it easy to take on the go.
The Strategist UK is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Read about who we are and what we do here. Our editors update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.