The recent launch of Haunt the House and a visit to UK Games Expo where I picked up a copy of Spaghetti made me think about what family games are on the market and what distinguishes them from other tabletop games.

The range of family games available is quite large. Classics like Mouse Trap, Ludo and Yahtzee all heavily rely on dice rolling – and very little else. It’s all about chance rather than skill or strategy. Many recent family games focus on skill, such as Spaghetti, Catacombs & Castles or Flip Ships. Co-op games have also made it into the family game sector, such as Forbidden Island or Forbidden Desert – and strategy games such as Ticket to Ride or Smallworld are now also often considered family games. Even dice rolling is still popular with games such as King of New York or Dice Forge.

Family games no longer have to be all about cute animals with lots of bright colours. Modern family games feature a wide range of themes – history, fantasy, science-fiction, survival, economics and more – which are no longer limited to grown-up tabletop games.

So which family games have you got at home? What are your favourites? Which family games do you play without kids, because they are interesting and challenging enough for an older audience? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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