Good Board Games for Teens

Though video games have gone a long way to supplanting their older, less flashy brethren, board games are still going strong today. If anything they’re a bit stronger now than in the past decade, thanks primarily to review sites and shows such as Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop. But each board game has its niche, and not every gamer is likely to enjoy every game. This article will explore five board games suitable for teenagers, especially those who may be on the fence about board games in the first place.

The Settlers of Catan

Endlessly replayable and as fun as it is frustrating, The Settlers of Catan is possibly one of the most popular modern board games of all time. The concept is simple enough: the players are trying to create a series of interlocking settlements on an island fertile with natural resources, and they must vie with one another for dominance. Roll the dice to collect resources, use those resources to buy your way to victory, and stymie the efforts of the other players. The Settlers of Catan is easy to learn and lots of fun to play, as each setup is entirely unique and allows players to employ different strategies on their path to success.

Ticket to Ride

The age of steam has hit the United States, and railroad tycoons everywhere want to buy up land so they can set down their steel ribbons. Ticket to Ride plants its players in the shoes of those barons, building railroads that stretch from one coast to the other. Collect cards and build coloured railways between cities to accumulate points for an eventual showdown at the very end. Routes are kept secret from other players, so it’s wise to watch where tracks are going down – and then cut your rivals off before they can collect on their points. Ticket to Ride can be taught to a newcomer in less than five minutes, yet its elegant game play and penchant for encouraging rivalries will bring players back again and again.

Cranium

Can you draw? Sculpt? Add? Subtract? Spell? Hum? Act? None of the above? Either way, Cranium is a great buy. Players split into teams of two and move around a board, answering questions on a variety of topics. A fairly weird game in its own right, however, Cranium often forces its teams into hilarious interpretations of its answers, most of them based on already-fun party games like Charades, Pictionary and straight-up improv. It’s good fun for any age, and still playable even after you’ve gone through all of the question cards.

Apples to Apples

Another fantastic party game that teens will enjoy to the ends of the earth, Apples to Apples is as much about making other players laugh as it is strategizing the best answer. Each round of play features a judge with a ‘green apple’ card containing an adjective, as well as other players with ‘red apple’ cards who try to apply the best noun they have on their cards to the adjective. The judge picks a winner and play continues. It sounds dull at first glance, but when you get combos like ‘spilled milk’ and ‘terrifying’, giggles abound. 

Scattergories

Player rolls a dice. It comes up ‘B’. They scan their category card, forming answers that start with B… Famous Actors, Brad Pitt… Capitals, Berlin… Meal, Breakfast… Sports, Basketball… Mascots? What mascot could start with a B? This is the essence of Scattergories, a timed word game that forces players to think fast and consider weird, creative options. Answers quickly turn into a hilarious mish-mash of faulty logic and poor reasoning, and even the loser gets to laugh riotously.