Who has time for the best board games, you’re wondering. We’ve all heard the saying “work hard, play hard.” And most of us spend a lot of energy focusing on the “work hard” part of that equation. We work hard in our jobs, as parents and we work hard on our relationships. But what about our playtime? Just because you’re an adult does not mean you should forget about the benefits of some good old-fashioned play in your life. Play can help you connect with others and can help you unplug from the stress of your everyday life as you embrace your inner-child and have fun. As NPR reports, according to Dr. Stuart Brown, head of the National Institute for Play, “play is something done for its own sake…it’s voluntary, it’s pleasurable, it offers a sense of engagement, it takes you out of time. And the act itself is more important than the outcome.”
As per Psychology Today, Lenore Terr, M.D., clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco agrees, saying that “a productive distraction from worries about spreading waistlines and mounting bills, true play gives us the opportunity to put aside our egos and focus on pleasure rather than duty.” So what can you do if you want to enjoy some true play in your life? The possibilities are endless, but these 10 best board games are a perfect way to get started and let loose at any age. Whether you’re getting silly with your family or with your friends at your next cocktail party, these activities are sure to lighten the mood and make you feel like a kid again.
1. Uno This is one of the family board games (well, it’s more of a card game) that has been around forever, and it’s fun to play whether you have one opponent or a group of 10. The rules are so simple even your kids will love it, and believe it or not, it’s still fun to play even as a grown up. Bonus perks: it’s a compact stack of cards, so you can take this game with you anywhere. We’ve been known to whip it out at the beach and at the bar.
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2. Monopoly We first learned how to count money when playing Monopoly several decades ago, and it’s still fun. The thrill of getting rich and buying property (without any real-life repercussions or risks) is just what you need to let lose, get competitive and forget about your stress. And it’s a classic game that you can teach to your kids and enjoy together.
3. Spot It A way to improve reflexes and visual perfection, Spot It is a fun game for all ages. By trying to find the matches on 2 cards (and yes, there is always a match) you’ll have to be quick and focused as you try to make the most matches. This game is a great way to teach kids new words and recognition of new objects, and no matter how old (or young) you are, it’s always challenging and fun. Plus it’s all stored in a compact tin—perfect for on-the-go.
4. Pictionary Whether you are a budding Picasso or you are artistically challenged, this game will make you laugh as you try to sketch images based on various clues. You’ll laugh with (and at) your friends and family, and maybe even embrace your inner artist as you play.
5. Boggle Think you’re vocabulary skills are good enough to beat your peers? Put it to the test with Boggle, the quick-thinking game where you have to recognize as many words as possible (and more words than your friends) before the timer runs out. It’s stressful and competitive, and really really fun.
6. The Game of Life As an adult, we now know that life is definitely not a game, but with this board game from Hasbro, it can be a carefree way to laugh with your friends and family as you spin the wheel to determine your career path and the fate of your family.
7. Scrabble Yes, you can play Scrabble on your phone or iPad, and you probably do. But there’s something about playing the old-fashioned way on a Scrabble board with wooden letter tiles that brings out the kid in all of us.
8. Apples to Apples One of our favorite games to play during game night (and especially when there are cocktails involved), Apples to Apples makes you laugh uncontrollably at some seriously silly word comparisons. You simply have to match one of your word cards with the word dealt by the judge, and whoever picks the funniest, silliest and most absurd match wins. Let the ridiculous word choices begin.
9. Jenga Why is it so stressful to play Jenga?! It’s just a pile of wooden blocks, and yet, when those blocks all come tumbling down your heart skips a few beats before you topple over laughing. Maybe it’s just us, but this game seems like a perfect addition to any bar or house party.
10. Hedbanz What’s better than acting silly? Looking silly, of course. This game makes you look a little ridiculous as you play, since you are wearing a headband with a card displayed on your forehead, and the outcome is nonstop laughter as you try to guess the word and image on your card, which everyone can see but you. And yes, there are adult (slightly inappropriate) and kid (G-rated) versions, so you can choose the game that is best for you.