Best Board Games for Teens (Top 18 in 2021)

Sandy Fargus

Last updated: January 11, 2021

Best Board Games for Teens

Buying anything for teenagers can be a daunting proposition. Between their strong opinions and apathy, it can be a challenge to find the right balance. This is a list of games that includes a wide range of options that should appeal to all sorts of teenagers.

Our top pick is Bounce Off because it’s a quick and fun game of skill that can be played in a wide range of settings. It should be a good option for most teens.

Our Top Picks
Best Overall
Mattel Games CBJ83 Bounce-Off, Multicolored
Best Euro Style Game
Indie Boards and Cards Terraforming Mars Board Game, Multicolor (6005SG)
Best Budget Option
On a Scale of One to T-Rex: A Card Game for People Who Are Bad at Charades - Card Games For Adults, Teens & Kids
Name
Bounce Off
Terraforming Mars
On a Scale of One to T-Rex
Features
This is a game of skill for 2 or 4 players. It involves bouncing ping pong balls with accuracy.
This game for 2-5 players is an involved engine-building game that will delight gaming fans.
This is a game for 2-8 players that is about having silly fun acting out things like being a T-rex.
Best Overall
Our Top Picks
Mattel Games CBJ83 Bounce-Off, Multicolored
Name
Bounce Off
Features
This is a game of skill for 2 or 4 players. It involves bouncing ping pong balls with accuracy.
More info
Best Euro Style Game
Our Top Picks
Indie Boards and Cards Terraforming Mars Board Game, Multicolor (6005SG)
Name
Terraforming Mars
Features
This game for 2-5 players is an involved engine-building game that will delight gaming fans.
More info
Best Budget Option
Our Top Picks
On a Scale of One to T-Rex: A Card Game for People Who Are Bad at Charades - Card Games For Adults, Teens & Kids
Name
On a Scale of One to T-Rex
Features
This is a game for 2-8 players that is about having silly fun acting out things like being a T-rex.
More info

Related post: Best Board Games for Preschoolers [Our Top 15 Picks]

Best Board Games for Teens in 2021

Best Overall – Bounce Off

Best Overall
Bounce Off
This is a game of skill for 2 or 4 players. It involves bouncing ping pong balls with accuracy.

Bounce Off is a great game for teens, no matter their age. It’s a fun game to play with anyone and goes really quickly. It’s the kind of game you can play with both family and friends.

Players take turns to bounce balls off the table into the holder. The aim is to be the first to land your balls to make the target image. You can play one on one, or in two teams.

Gameplay is quick and fun. You can challenge someone to a game and be done in 5-10 minutes. That means it’s fun even in a larger group as you can quickly take turns, plus watching is fun too.

Best for Avid Gamers – Terraforming Mars

Best for Avid Gamers
Terraforming Mars
This game for 2-5 players is an involved engine-building game that will delight gaming fans.

Terraforming Mars is one of the ‘heavier’ games on this list. It has a lot going on and takes a bit of thinking to understand. That said, if your teenager is an avid gamer, then this will be a great option. It’s a fun and interesting game that is very replayable.

The aim of the game is to turn Mars into a habitable planet. This is done by increasing the oxygen, water, and temperature. To do this involves planning resources and a little luck. This is a really fun and interesting game that I heartily recommend. It’s so popular that since the original, it has spawned a slew of spinoff games.

Budget Option – On a Scale of One to T-Rex

Best Budget Option
On a Scale of One to T-Rex
This is a game for 2-8 players that is about having silly fun acting out things like being a T-rex.

On a Scale of One to T-Rex is a game that works best with more players. While you can play with as few as 2 players, it really works better with 5 or more. So this is a good option for playing at parties and gatherings.

In this game, you all act out a simple action at the same time. No one has to guess what you’re doing, just how ‘intensely’ you’re doing it. For instance, you might act out ‘be a T-rex’ at level 1 while the person next to you is discovering their fingers at level 8. The challenge is in guessing the level.

This is a fun and silly game that takes no more than 15 minutes to play. It’s a great option for parties.

Best for ARMY – Uno BTS

Best for ARMY
Uno BTS
This is a themed version of the classic Uno game that will delight and BTS fans.

Uno BTS is a great gift for any BTS obsessed teens in your home. Whether they truly love them or just embrace the joy of K-pop, this is a fun gift.

The game is essentially Uno. with two main differences. The first is that the cards all feature pictures of the band. The second is that there is a special wild card, which makes players choose between drawing three cards and performing a BTS dance.

While this game is not for everyone, for the right teen, this will be the perfect gift.

Best for Those Who Like Long Games – Root

Sale
Best Long Board Game
Root
This game for 2-4 players is a strategy game where players fight for control of the woodlands.

Root is a darker game, then the cute artwork might suggest. In this game, up to four players wrestle for control of the woodlands. There is often no outright winner as it becomes a tug of war game.

Each of the four factions has different play styles and tactics, so there is a lot of replayability in this game. This is a great option for teens who enjoy strategy games.

This game works with 2 or 3 players but is at it’s best with four. A campaign usually takes between 60 and 90 minutes.

Best for Cut Throat Players – Exploding Kittens

Best for Cut Throat Players
Exploding Kittens
This is a Russian roulette-style game for 2 - 5 players.

Exploding Kittens is a pretty silly card game take on Russian roulette. Players take turns to draw cards, all hoping to get anything but a kitten. If you draw a kitten and you can’t figure it, then you’re out of the game.

With action cards to help, you can survive for longer and try to push the risk to the other players.

This is a fun game for 2-5 players but is best with at least 3. A game usually lasts between 10 and 15 minutes.

Best Monster-Building Card Game – Bears vs Babies

Best Monster Game
Bears vs Babies
In this game for 2-5 players, you build monsters to eat as many babies as possible.

Bears vs Babies is a game from the creators of Exploding Kittens. It is a very silly game where you draft together monster parts to create the best monster possible. You can give them tools to help them in their quest to eat as many babies as possible.

The fact that the game comes in a furry box is probably everything you need to know. It sets the tone for the game perfectly.

The game works well for 2-5 players. There is a bit of a learning curve to get over, but watching a video explainer is a great way to get your head around it if you’re unsure. A game takes about 20 minutes.

Best Strategic Game – Unstable Unicorns

Sale
Best Strategic Game
Unstable Unicorns
In this game, for 2-8 players, you race to be the first to collect 7 unicorns.

Unstable Unicorns looks like a cute and sweet game. Do not be fooled! This game is ruthless! It’s also a lot of fun.

The aim of the game is to collect 7 unicorns. However, as you compete against other players, you can sabotage each other and ruin someone’s carefully laid plans. There is real strategy in this game, and the cute uniform theme really adds to the fun.

This is a game for 2-8 players. Depending on group size, it takes 30-45 minutes to play.

Best for Conspiracy Buffs – Conspiracy Theory Trivia Board Game

Best for Conspiracy Buffs
Conspiracy Theory Board Game
In this game for 2-6 players, you answer trivia questions about internet conspiracy theories to win the game.

Conspiracy Theory Board Game is a fun twist on a trivia game. All of the question categories are based on conspiracy theories. You win by collecting a full set of cards by answering correctly.

The game is fun and accessible. The questions are multiple-choice, so even if you don’t know anything, you have a chance to win. There are also some interesting dice-rolling mechanics that add a bit more random chance to the game.

The game works well with 2-6 players. It takes just under 30 minutes to play.

Best Party Board Game – Pick Your Poison

Sale
Best Party Board Game
Pick Your Poison
This game for 3-16 players is a perfect party game to get teen chatting.

Pick Your Poison is a nice take on the would you rather game. It’s a great party game and a good way to get people talking and having fun.

Players take turns to create the choice of two horrible scenarios. They pick two scenarios from the cards in their hand. The other players can ask for more details then they all vote for which they’d choose. If the group agrees, they win. If the group disagrees, the starting player wins.

It’s a game for 3-16 players that takes between 20-45 minutes to play, depending on the group.

Best Trivia Board Game – Half Truth

Sale
Best Trivia Board Game
Half Truth
This is a trivia game for 2 or more players, where you have multiple choices answers to choose from, and every player plays every question.

Half Truth is a really great trivia game. It has some interesting questions that you may have no clue at all about. However, for each question, you have 6 answers to choose from, half are correct, and half are wrong. It means everyone can play, and everyone can have a guess.

If your kid likes trivia games and obscure facts, then this is a great option. It’s a fun and interesting game where you’ll definitely learn something new.

The game works with any number of players as you can easily team-up. It takes about an hour to play. And with 500 questions, you can play a few times before you start seeing questions come back around.

Best Dodgeball Card Game – Throw Throw Burrito

Best Dodgeball Card Game
Throw Throw Burrito
This is a set collecting game for 2-6 players where you occasionally get to throw a burrito at each other.

Throw Throw Burrito is a mix between a card game and dodge ball. You spend most of the game trying to collect sets to earn points. Every now and then, a duel card will come up, and you have to quickly grab one of the burritos to throw at someone. Get hit with a burrito, and you lose points.

This is a fun and silly game that works well with 3-6 players. You can play with 2, but it’s not as much fun. A game usually takes 10-15 minutes to play. Just make sure to clear away any breakables first.

Best Classic Game – Ticket To Ride

Sale
Best Classic Game
Ticket To Ride
This classic game for 2-5 players challenges players to build a rail network across Europe.

Ticket To Ride is a classic board game beloved by many gamers. It’s a great introduction to the world of eurogames. There is a mix of skill and luck, and most of the competition is indirect. In other words, you win by doing well, not by sabotaging your opponents.

Each player has a set of destinations that they can try to connect to earn points. They can also score for having the longest continuous train and being the first to use all their trains. This is a great game for showing kids that there’s more to board games than monopoly.

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This game works with 2-5 players and takes between 30 – 60 minutes to play.

Best Game for Creative Thinkers – Dixit

Sale
Best for Creative Thinkers
Dixit
This is a beautiful game for 3-6 players that challenge players to think creatively.

Dixit is a really pretty game. The artwork is outstanding, which is part of the charm of this game. It will certainly appeal to any teens who have an artistic streak.

The game has 84 cards with different images. Players take turns to pick a card from their hand and describe it as best they can. The other players have to choose one of their own cards that also fits the description. All the player’s vote on which they think is the first player’s card. To win, you want some people to guess right, but not everyone.

This is a great game to play in groups, so even though it says it’s for 3-6 players, you can easily accommodate many more players in this whimsical game. It usually takes about 30 minutes for someone to win.

Best Adventure Game – Above and Below

Sale
Best Adventure Game
Above and Below
This is an adventure game for 2-4 players that mixes village building with choose your adventure style storytelling.

Above and Below is a fantastic game to introduce kids to the world of RPG and storytelling games. It’s a game with a mix of mechanics. Above, you build a village through worker placement and resource management. Below you go on adventures and make choices to decide the outcomes.

This is a really fun and enjoyable game. Unlike a lot of fantasy adventure stories, it’s actually quite bright and joyful. It really is a great, fun game to play.

The game works with 2-4 players but is best with 3. It takes around 90 minutes to complete the game.

Best for Those Who Love Cartoons and Comics – King of Tokyo

Sale
Best Overall
King of Tokyo
This is a king of the hill style game for 3-6 players.

King of Tokyo is a game where you get to play a monster who is fighting for control of Tokyo. Players compete to earn points and survive while they hold onto Tokyo. Points can only be scored while you’re in the city, but you can also be attacked and lose your minimal health points.

You win by either getting the target number of victory points or by being the last monster standing.

This is a fun game for 3-6 players. It takes around 30 minutes to play. The graphic style is really appealing, and this is a great game to pull out for new gamers.

Best Real-Time Game – Galaxy Trucker

Sale
Best Real-Time Game
Galaxy Trucker
This game for 2-4 players requires you to build a spaceship as a clock ticks down. You then find out how well your hastily built ship survives.

Galaxy Trucker is a great game for anyone who enjoys games with a little bit of time pressure. In the first phase of this game, players have a limited time to grab pieces and try to fit them to their ship. When the time is up, check that nothing’s going to fall off, then head into space.

In the second round, players can earn points by completing tasks with their ships. The better the build, the better the results. The player with the most points at the end of three rounds wins.

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This game works well with any of 2-4 players. It takes around an hour to play all the way through the game.

Best Game for Teens Who Like To Shout – Space Team

Best for Teens
Space Team
This game for 3-6 players takes a fun and frantic 5 minutes to play, and you all win or lose together.

Space Team is a great ice breaker game. You’re all on the same team trying to repair your ship. You all have a task to complete at the same time, and you all need each other’s help. Players will end up shouting over each other in their excitement to fix the ship before you run out of time.

This game is fun and frenetic. It’s also so popular that there are plenty of expansion packs to add on if your kids love this game.

The game needs a minimum of 3 players, and it works even better with more players, to a maximum of 6. You can add more players if you get the expansion packs. A game takes a total of 5 minutes to play, so it’s fun, fast, and replayable.

What to Consider When Buying Board Games for Teenagers

Difficulty

Teenagers are a pretty diverse group, so it can be a challenge to get the level of difficulty right. Age isn’t always a helpful indicator of ability when it comes to some more challenging games. If you’re not sure where to pitch the difficulty, it can be a good idea to consider how much experience your teen has with playing board games.

If they have a big collection already, then you’ll be safe to pick some of the more involved games like Terraforming Mars or Galaxy Trucker. If this will be one of a small number of board games they own, then you might to better to opt for some of the lighter games, like Bounce Off or Pick Your Poison.

Theme

Terraforming Mars board game laid out on the table
Terraforming Mars board game laid out on the table. Photo credit (resized): Renessaince, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Picking a theme for teenagers is a little tricky. For some, they have clear preferences, and you can easily pick something out based on their TV, book, and music choices. Some of the silly options will either be a big hit or feel patronizing to teens, so pick those with care. If your kid is quite social, then you might want to go for one of the more social games, like Pick Your Poison or Dixit.

Mechanics

There is a wide range of game mechanics in this list. It can be worth taking a moment to think about the games that your teen already enjoys. You can use this to guide you towards games with a similar mechanic, as they are likely to be well received. The mechanic of a game is probably the most important feature when it comes to deciding if you like a game or not.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes a good board game?

A good board game is one that meets the needs of the players. There isn’t really a one size fits all solution. There are so many choices because different types of games are very different. The only way to find a good board game is to try a few and find out what you like.

If you’re worried about finding a good one, you can always go for some of the most popular ones around. Games become popular for a reason. For instance, King of Tokyo and Ticket To Ride have been popular games since they came out, and they continue to be well-loved.

How do I choose a board game for a teenager?

The best piece of advice that I can give is to trust your instincts. Just remember two things. First, you’re buying a game for them and not you. Second, think of them as an individual, not a teenager. It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking about what teenagers like rather than what your specific teenager likes. You know them, so use that knowledge to guide you.

Sandy Fargus

Last update on 2021-01-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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