The Top 10 Board Games to Fuel That Festive Family Fight

Ditch the Monopoly and treat yourself or someone special to a trendy table-top game, all without breaking the bank.
Fry Money Meme

If you're bored of the festive family feud around the Monopoly board, you can replace the game with something a little more imaginative to make it through the upcoming holidays (we can do little to end the war of words, however).

From battling apocalyptic zombies to trying the win the heart of a disinterested bubblegum scientist, you or someone lucky on your holiday gift list can avoid the elements, break out the dice, and indulge in some serious tabletop gaming, all without breaking the bank.

The Top 10 Board Games

Dead of Winter

Number of Players: 2 – 5
Recommended Age: 14 and up
Best Price: $43.48 with free shipping (a $6 low) at Amazon

Fans of The Walking Dead should avoid the board game of the same name and instead consider the award-winning and awesome Dead of Winter. In this semi-cooperative game, each player takes control of a group of survivors in an attempt to beat the cold, hunger, and zombie epidemic by collecting food and ammunition and building barricades.

That is if everyone is working for the common good. Isolate the saboteur and avert crises Rick Grimes-style, and you'll be home and dry. (Friendly warning: This is not a game for the casual board gamer. Prepare yourself for a 20-page rule book before the action starts.)


Number of Players: 2 – 6
Recommended Age: 9 and up
Best Price: $11.99 with free shipping (a $1 low) at Fry's

Coup is a card game of influence that is perfect for when you want an easy game to play over drinks or as you let your holiday feast digest. Each player begins the game with two tokens and two of the Duke, Assassin, Contessa, Captain, or Ambassador cards, played faced-down. Using your two people of influence and their power or your bluffing skills, work to eliminate the others until you're the last one standing.

Ticket to Ride

Number of Players: 2 – 5
Recommended Age: 8 and up
Best Price: $29.99 with free shipping (a $10 low) at Target

Winner of the 2004 Spiel des Jahres Award (pretty much the Academy Awards for board games), this German railway-themed title is beautifully simple and family-friendly. Each player is given a selection of routes to claim and complete across North America with a series of brightly-colored train cars.


Number of Players: 2 – 8
Recommended Age: 14 and up
Best Price: $19.99 with $3.99 s&h (a $14 low; the expected shipping date is December 6) from Barnes and Noble

Test your word association skills with this team-based private eye word game from Czech Games. In Codenames, two teams appoint a Spymaster who must make contact with his teammates through one-word clues that will link as many phrases on the board as possible. Avoid the assassin and build up your mental thesaurus with this optimum small party game.

Adventure Time Love Letter

Number of Players: 2 – 4
Recommended Age: 10 and up
Best Price: $7.75 with free shipping (via Prime, a $3 low) from Amazon

An adorable re-imagining of the much-loved Tempest game Love Letter, this Adventure Time card game is the perfect gift for any fan of the show, young or old. Players compete to win the affections of the science-focused and indifferent Princess Bubblegum using deduction and risk.

Cosmic Encounter

Number of Players: 3 – 5
Recommended Age: 12 and up
Best Price: $45.99 with free shipping (a $2 low) at Walmart or Amazon

The ultimate strategy game for sci-fi fans, Cosmic Encounter is the perfect title if you enjoy making and breaking alliances and arguing with your closest friends about galactic colonization.

Each player represents a different alien race and uses their unique powers to try and establish the largest empire. With 50 different alien species included, there's incredible variation in every game and you'll find it hard to ever play the same one twice. (And that's all without splurging on pricey expansion packs!)


Number of Players: 2 – 5
Recommended Age: 8 and up
Best Price: $14.54 with free shipping (a $3 low) from Go Sports and Entertainment via eBay

Another winner of the coveted Spiel de Jahres award, Hanabi is a unique co-operative card game that can be likened to an elaborate game of blind Solitaire. Each player works together to create an elaborate firewoks show by placing a series of colored cards in order on the table. The catch? Only the other players can see your cards and must give you limited hints to find the correct one for each turn.

A Game of Thrones

Number of Players: 3 – 6
Recommended Age: 14 and up
Best Price: $33.69 with $6.87 s&h (a $1 low) from GoHastings via Amazon

There are a selection of A Song of Ice and Fire-themed board games on the market, but the only one that's really worth your attention is this 2011 release from Fantasy Flight Games. This second edition of the strategy game includes up to six playable houses (depending on how many people are playing): Baratheon, Greyjoy, Lannister, Martell, Stark, and Tyrell, with each family bracing for war in an attempt to claim the Iron Throne.


Number of Players: 2 – 8
Recommended Age: 8 and up
Best Price: $22.01 with free shipping via Prime (an $8 low) at Amazon

An incredibly simple, but beautifully designed tile board game, Tsuro is perhaps the most kid-friendly title in our list. Each player takes turns to place a path tile down, avoiding the edge of the board, and aims to have the last playable piece of the game to complete the journey. It can be played by two people, but is far more fun with a big group.


Number of Players: 3 – 6
Recommended Age: 6 and up
Best Price: $24.99 with free shipping (a $7 low) at Toys "R" Us and Amazon

Yet another Spiel des Jahres award-winner, Dixit is a story-telling party board game that calls for you to exercise your creative juices. Not only is the gameplay simple and social, but the artwork is stunning and colorful, making it a great gift for any gamer with artistic flair. The aim of the game is to complete the storyteller's narrative by guessing which of each player's six picture cards best matches his/her hints.

Did we miss any greats? What are your favorite lesser-known board games? Let us know in the comments below.

Content Editor

A former Fashion Editor and Boggle champion, Donna Doyle spends her time writing for DealNews, re-reading Harry Potter, and living in denial.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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Scroogus Maximus
Fluxx-- any of the varieties. A game which changes the rules with every card causes blood pressure to go through the roof, friendships to sever, and relationships to degenerate to the endurance level of a Britney Spears marriage. Add "talk like a pirate" or mockeries of space opera, and now you have a geek war.
Scotland Yard. One of my favorites.
Jeff Somogyi (DealNews)
This is an amazing list of games and each one really does have the potential to destroy friendships, as you hamstring your opponents along the way to victory.
(Except Hanabi, because you're working as a team... but that has other frustrations built-in!)