We tested hundreds of games -- board, card, dice, and electronic -- to find the very best for kids and parents.

January 29, 2014
Credit: Photograph by Mark Mantegna

20 Express

As numbered tiles are randomly pulled from a bag, players decide in which of their game sheet's 20 boxes to write the digit. the longer each string of ascending numbers made, the more points earned.

1 or more players. Ages 8 and up.

$19.99, blueorangegames.com.

Stack Up!

For preschoolers, what's more fun than building towers and knocking them down? how about having your whole family join in the action? Working together, players try to stack 12 wooden blocks before the stack smasher (shown) can travel around the board and topple the tower. Three levels of play means kids of various ages can all be challenged.

2 to 6 players. Ages 3 and up.

$24.99, peaceablekingdom.com

Shelby's Snack Shack Game

A dual spinner determines how many plastic bones players will add, or take away, from their bowl as they compete to gather the biggest pile. Our testers thought the Shelby Squeezer, a cute plastic pug used to pick up the treats, was the game highlight -- no bones about it!

2 to 4 players. Ages 4 and up.

$21.99, amazon.com


As players compete to have the last pawn standing, a roll of the die lets them move their pieces -- and possibly the game cube itself. if they land on the right spot, they can lift the cube, turn it, and smash any pawns on the bottom into the block, a move our testers found quite satisfying!

2 to 4 players. Ages 6 and up.

$29.99, squashedgame.com


The goal sounds simple: make a path with your pieces from one side of the board to the other. But, trust us, it gets tricky. The cards in your hand determine where you can move and in what ways, including blocking competitors or even removing their pieces.

2 to 4 players or teams. Ages 8 and up

$24.95, amazon.com

Plucky Pilots

Players race across the board, flying from island to island, in an effort to collect the most gold. Each move requires a calculation, however. Try to get to another island (with more treasure!) and risk the gold you have or stay put and keep what you've earned.

2 to 4 players. Ages 6 and up

$20.99, habausa.com


There's no reading required in this colorful game, just a sharp eye. Each player starts with three tile cards and at "go," races to find the matching spaces on the board. Testers liked the fact that Korner'd has partnered with Autism Speaks in an effort to provide games for kids of all abilities.

1 to 6 players. Ages 8 and up

$19.99, endlessgames.com

Crazy Creatures

The object of this game is to be the first to complete a barnyard animal from plastic playing pieces. The laughs come from seeing the critters built along the way. A cow head on a horse body with a pig tail? Giggles galore!

2 to 4 players. Ages 4 and up

$19.99, intplay.com

Make 'n' Break Party

In this team competition, one player describes a structure shown on a card while a teammate tries to construct it from various blocks -- without seeing the card. Four game modes (including a blindfolded build) add to the challenge.

3 to 9 players. Ages 10 and up

$30.99, ravensburger.com

Even Steven's Odd!

Speed is key as players roll six dice trying to complete challenges such as "all dice add up to 18" or "all dice are even." the first to roll the right combo and grab Steven (shown here) wins the round.

2 to 4 players. Ages 8 and up

$19.99, amazon.com

Thinking Game: WordARound

Talk about a game that makes your brain go in circles! Players try to be the first to read (or, more likely, decipher) the word in a colored band and say it aloud. Collect ten cards to win.

2 or more players.

Ages 10 and up, ThinkFun, $12.99

Originally published in the May 2013 of FamilyFun

Memory Game: What's That Racket?

The hunt is on for a bevy of barnyard animals hiding from their farmer friend. At the count of three, gamers baa, bark, bray, and more, all at the same time (a tester fave, of course!), indicating which critter they've hidden under a card. The player who's the farmer then has to remember who's who as he tries to find the missing livestock.

3 to 6 players.

Ages 4 and up, Haba, $12

Originally published in the May 2013 of FamilyFun

Game of Luck: Race Through Space

A roll of the die determines how many spaces players can move their rockets as they dash to dock them on the moon. The board tiles shift as well, and if you're stuck on the bottom tile when it moves, watch out! Your rocket is thrown into a black hole and out of the game.

2 to 4 players.

Ages 6 and up, Ravensburger, $20.99

Originally published in the May 2013 of FamilyFun

Tricky Game: Swivel

The goal here is to get four pieces of the same color in a row. Easier said than done, as wild tokens, player bluffs, and a board with rotating levels make for a constantly shifting playing field.

2 to 4 players.

Ages 8 and up, Patch Products, $21.99

Originally published in the May 2013 of FamilyFun

Active Game: Never Land Challenge Game

Based on the hit TV show Jake and the Never Land Pirates, this cooperative game has players draw cards to determine what action to take (slither, hop, crawl) and which of the included props to use (feather, cannonball) as the team tries to collect more gold than Captain Hook.

1 or more players.

Ages 3 and up, Wonder Forge, $19.99

Originally published in the May 2013 of FamilyFun

Strategy Game: Indigo

Rich colors, shiny gems, and beautiful design are the hallmarks of this game. Using tiles, players build paths to move the gems across the board and collect points. Occasionally, two can work together to build a route that will benefit them both, but there can be only one winner -- the player with the most gems, naturally.

2 to 4 players.

Ages 10 and up, Ravensburger, $34.99

Originally published in the May 2013 of FamilyFun

Cooperative Game: What's It?

Does your family think alike? This fast-paced game pits a team of players against the game itself. Roll the category die, flip a doodle card, turn the timer, and start guessing what the doodle looks like -- and what your teammates will say. The more answers you share, the more points you earn for your team, while unique responses score points for the game.

2 to 6 players.

Ages 8 and up, Peaceable Kingdom, $24.99

Originally published in the May 2013 of FamilyFun

Balancing Game: Topsy Towers

Players roll a colored or numbered die to determine which chunky blocks to use as they build a lofty high-rise. Testers often created Leaning-Tower-of-Pisa-like structures seemingly kept upright only by the power of crossed fingers.

2 to 4 players.

Ages 4 and up, HaPe/Beleduc, $19.99

Originally published in the May 2013 of FamilyFun

Math Game: Robbin' Eggs

This colorful game combines math skills, memory, and a bit of luck in egg-zactly the right proportions. Players roll the die, then turn over a predetermined number of eggs (blue are positive, green negative), trying to equal the number set by the die. Keep your eagle eye on the eggs as other players take their turns. You'll need to remember the location of those numbers as you solve your own problem!

2 to 6 players.

Ages 7 and up, The Haywire Group, $19.99

Originally published in the May 2013 of FamilyFun

Cooperative Game: Race to the Treasure!

Players take turns drawing cards and then work together to determine the best spots to place them on the board. The goal? To create a path from start to finish and gather special keys along the way. But if too many Ogre cards turn up before the path is finished, the grinning monster wins.

2 to 4 players.

Ages 5 and up, Peaceable Kingdom, $15.99

Originally published in the May 2013 of FamilyFun

Super Video Games

In the brick-building game Lego Marvel Super Heroes, players team up to defeat nefarious ne'er-do- wells and (you guessed it!) save the world. the cast of 100 playable heroes and villains ensures everyone's fave character is included.

1 to 4 players. DS, 3DS, Wii U, PS4, PS3, PS Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PC.

Ages 10 and up

$29.95 to $59.95, amazon.com

The Batcomputer lends a helping hand as players solve logic and word puzzles in Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure. Families can play the game in co-op mode, a favorite feature of our testers.

1 to 4 players. 3DS, Wii U, and PC.

Ages 10 and up

$39.99 to $59.99, amazon.com

Just Dance Kids 2014 isn't truly just for kids, as the 30 infectious songs (including a modern take on "the hustle") will entice parents to join in, too. The Wii U version lets players use the dance director mode to call the shots and give other dancers wacky dance instructions midsong.

1 to 4 players. Wii, Wii U, and Xbox 360.

Ages 8 and up

$29.99, amazon.com

Family Apps

Our testers found Heads Up! to be a double dose of laughs. Each player takes a turn holding a phone or tablet against his forehead. As the screen displays words or phrases ("dragon," "Justin Bieber"), the others shout or act out clues until the phone holder guesses right. When time is up, everyone can watch the hilarious video replay of the clue givers in action.

A "Just for Kids" deck is available.

2 or more players. iOS.

Ages 8 and up $2.99

Sushi Scramble has two game modes on the menu: collaborative and competitive. In the first, one player places letters on a revolving sushi tray while another uses them to meet a challenge, such as "make six words in two minutes." in the second mode, players vie for the highest score by building words -- the longer, the better.

2 to 4 players. iOS and Android.

Ages 6 and up $2.99

Originally published in the February 2014 issue of FamilyFun

Family Fun


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