As a gamer, I wanted to provide you with the ultimate list of the best family strategy board games for 2020 and game reviews for each. Some of these games may be new to you, but not all of them were released in 2020.
I have 16 strategy board game reviews for you. I have played them all.
My goal is to put on your radar some fun family games that appeal to the strategist. I will provide you with brief descriptions, age appropriateness, number of players and time it takes to play.
These Best Family Strategy Board Games for 2020 are mostly for families with kids age 8 and up, but some will appeal to younger kids. Players will need to be able to read to play these games.
If board games aren’t in the cards right now, consider these fun family games you can play over Zoom.
Best Family Strategy Board Games for 2020
Strategy games are also called “Euro-Style” games and differ from many of the most popular games that rely heavily on luck.
If you think of great games like Life, Payday, Sorry and Yahtzee, luck trumps strategy in terms of game play. These are all fun games to play as a family, and we enjoy them too. However, if you are in the mood for something that engages your mind even more, you are in the right place.
The games I am suggesting today flip that. Yes, there are elements of luck, but they games rely heavily on a plan of action among the players.
Some of the more popular Euro-style strategy games that you might be familiar with already include Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, and Risk. If you enjoy those games, this list of the best family strategy board games for 2020 will be just what you need as you are shopping for your family for Christmas.
With the list here, I want to provide strategy games that you may have never heard about before.
I am a huge believer in and proponent of games. Euro-style games teach problem solving, strategy, math, reading comprehension, communication, sometimes cooperation and sometimes competition. I am convinced that teaching kids games and engaging with them in that way gives them a leg up in school and in life.
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Tiny Towns – My number one pick for Best Family Strategy Board Games for 2020
Tiny Towns is probably my favorite game right now. While the game says 14+, my 9 year old navigates play just fine. Like I have mentioned, we are a family who loves and has played a lot of strategy games, so that helps.
This game is good for 1-6 players and takes about 45-60 minutes to play.
Spacial awareness and strategy are required, with a slight likeness to Tetris mixed with strategy card games. With different combinations of cards drawn each time, there is variety to every play.
Essentially, you are wanting to build a town that generates the most points. Each card provides a different type of building you can construct in your town. Different buildings are worth different point values and often depend on interactions with other cards in play.
King of Tokyo – a high contender for Best Family Strategy Board Games for 2020
While we all enjoy King of Tokyo, this games especially appeals to my 10 year old son. It is made for ages 8 and up, but I know younger kids who enjoy strategy games and can read who also enjoy this game.
King of Tokyo is designed for 2-6 players. It takes a quick 30 minutes to play, making it an ideal game for quick wins.
Here is how Amazon describes this game: You play as mutant monsters, rampaging robots, or even abominable aliens battling in a fun, chaotic atmosphere. Roll the dice and choose your strategy: Will you attack your enemies? Heal your wounds? Improve your Monster? Stomp your path to victory!
This is definitely one of the games that gets grabbed out of our game cabinet the most right now.
Paperback and Hardback
Hardback and Paperback are deck-building, strategy games that involve word-building. If you love word games like Scrabble, Words with Friends and other spelling games, this takes it to the next level.
These two games are rated at age 10-12 and up. I’d say that is about right. Good spellers and older kids will have an advantage. We play fairly cooperatively with younger kids who need help constructing words.
These games take 45-60 minutes to play. They are designed for 2-5 players.
While maybe way too eerily close to home for 2020, Pandemic is a fun cooperative game where you work together to save the world from impending doom and disease spread.
Basically 4 diseases are threatening the world and the team needs to work together, stop the spread and find a cure. Random card draw determines some of the play and influences team strategy. Each member’s specialist abilities contributes to the success of the team.
This game plays for about 45 minutes, is made for 2-4 players and is for ages 8+, which I would agree with as a good age to start.
Another personal favorite is Mystic Vale. My whole family enjoys this deck-building strategy game. One of the fun components of this game is that everyone is kind of working on their own strategy while others are playing so there isn’t much lag time.
Stacking cards within a plastic sleeve takes deck-building to a whole new level with Mystic Vale. The goal is to build up the most victory points for the win.
This game takes about 45 minutes for 2-4 players to play. The box says the game is good for 14 year olds and up. My son started playing when he was 9 and caught on quickly, so this rating seems high to me.
While Scotland Yard is in no way new to the scene, it is a bit unknown. I first came across this game when I lived in England in the early 2000’s. Immediately I fell in love with it.
While vacationing in a beach town in the states, I ran into it again in a small game shop and just had to buy it.
This is a family strategy board game that is both cooperative and competitive. There is one Mr. X who the rest of the players, the Scotland Yard team, are trying to track down. Everyone has the ability to travel by either bus, taxi or underground. Mr. X’s location surfaces every once in a while, which helps the Scotland Yard try and hone in and capture him on one of his locations.
Scotland Yard can be played with 3-6 players, although I find 4-5 ideal. Manufactures rated age is 8+, and I’d agree with that. This strategy games takes 30-45 minutes.
As either the captain, first mate, engineer or the radio operator, the goal is to find and destroy your enemies sub while avoiding detection yourself. Captain Sonar has a similar feel to Battleship but takes on more complex strategy.
This is a fast pace and high concentration kind of game.
This game is designed for kids 10 and older (I might say 12 and up is more accurate), takes 30-45 minutes to play and requires 4-8 players.
My goal was to introduce you to strategy games that might not be on your radar yet. The popularity of Citadels might make it already familiar to your family. It is a popular family strategy board game for a reason.
Amazon describes it best: “Plot, scheme, and deceive as you build fantastical cities in Citadels, Bruno Faidutti’ s classic game of card drafting, intrigue, and cunning characters. In Citadels, two to eight players must shrewdly draft characters and use their abilities to create the most lavish, profitable city possible.”
This game is meant for 2-8 players ages 10 and up. It takes approximately 30-60 minus to play.
Another more popular and well-known Euro-style strategy game is Splendor. We have enjoyed this game for years, and it doesn’t get old.
It is made for kids age 10+ but my kids started playing at 7 or 8. It takes about 30 minutes to play and is designed for 2-4 players.
This is another game where victory points are the key. You want to be the first person to collect chips, which buy you cards, which give you the points to be able to win the game.
While Coup isn’t technically a board game, it gets honorable mention as one of my favorite games. It’s a game of lying and deception. While I do not encouraging dishonesty in our home, when it comes to a game that requires it, deception is strongly encouraged.
It definitely needs to make the Best Family Strategy Board Games for 2020 list, even though it was released in 2013.
Here is what Amazon says: “Coup is exactly what you want in party game – a small box, learn in minutes, and games that are over in ten. Play once to warm up the crowd, or over and over to get a read on your friend’s “tells”. The more you play, the deeper the strategies are!”
All that is so true. Essentially, you are dealt two cards that become your characters. Each character has certain abilities that help you block or gain privileges over other players. Your goal is to be the last man standing as people are trying to coup and assassinate one other.
Strategy comes in as you are allowed to lie about which characters are in your hand. Be careful though because if you are caught lying, you lose a life.
You can buy Coup by itself or start with both that game and the expansion pack in the Coup Bundle.
To keep cards nice in this game and others, I would definitely encourage you to buy card sleeves. It prevents damage so that other players don’t figure out the nicks and bends in the cards dealt.
Coup is a strategy game for 2-6 players. The game is rated at 13+, but I have successfully played with 7+. It takes them a bit to learn how deceive, but the first time they get over that threshold, they blow your mind.
This is a quick 15 minute game. I love how quick the game play happens.
In Unearth, “long ago, your ancestors built great cities across the world. Now your tribe of Delvers must explore forests, deserts, islands, caverns, and mountains to find lost cities. Claim the ruins, build places of power, and restore the glory of a bygone age.”
While this is a dice game so does have a large luck component, strategy definitely takes a high spot as well. It’s a game of trying to claim ruins, collect cards and stones that give you the most points in the end.
Unearth is a newer game for us. We all do enjoy it, but it didn’t rise to the top of our list for long. It’s a game that definitely gets revisited but others on this list have take priority.
This game is geared for ages 8+, takes 30-45 minutes and requires 2-4 players.
In Dominion, you are a ruler who wants to expand your kingdom to bring in the most victory points to win the game. There are many versions and expansion packs available to make this game continue to keep interest.
Dominion has become a popular game for a reason.
It’s rated for 13+, but I think a couple years younger could play this game. Playing time is 30 minutes, and it requires 2-4 players.
Another one of my favorite games is Villagers. I know! I know! My favorite games list is getting long. I just love games.
Villagers is a card stacking game where you are trying to gain the most victory points by building up the people within your village to be the most prosperous. You need to choose your skills, building capabilities, feeding options carefully in order to gain the most momentum in this game.
The games says it is for 14+, but my kids, age 10 and up, can play this game. The game can be played within an hour and is meant for up to five players.
Another honorable mention, even though it is not a board game is Love Letter. This strategy card game provides player with 8 different characters. Each character has different abilities. Everyone is trying to get their now love letter to the princess.
Here is how one Amazon rater described the game play: “On her turn, a player takes the top card from the deck and play one of the two cards in her hand by playing it face up on the discard pile. Then the card effect is applied and either a player is knocked out of the round, or the turn passes to the player on your left. At the end of the round if only one player is left he or she gets a token of affection, if more than one player is left, the player with the highest value card gets the token. A player wins the game after winning a number of tokens based on the number of players.”
What I like about this game is that it takes deduction, but it is a quick playing game and easy to set up, only lasting 15 minutes. It is also pretty easy to learn. It’s fun to be able to get in a quick round or play multiple rounds in a row.
Love Letter is age rated at 10+ (a bit high in my opinion) and can be played by 2-4 players.
Kingdomino is a fun game where you are building up a little 5×5 grid town.
The manufacturer describes it best: “Kingdomino is a Card Drafting and Tile Placement game using a Pattern Building mechanic. It’s like playing dominoes with a Kingdom building twist!
Each turn, connect a new domino to your existing Kingdom, making sure at least one of its sides connects to a matching terrain type already in play. The order of who picks their domino first depends on which tile was previously chosen. The game ends when each player has completed a 5 x 5 grid, and then points are counted based on the number of connecting tiles and crowns.”
This game is for 2-4 players age 8+. It takes 15-30 minus to play, making it quick and manageable and not too complicated.
I can only speak briefly about this strategy game because I played it once a while ago. I still wanted to mention it because I believe it is a popular Euro-style game that is worth mentioning.
Because it has been a while, I am just going to provide the Amazon product description:
Make the right decisions to lead your civilization to prosperity! Lead one of the seven greatest cities of Antiquity. Develop your civilization on a military, scientific, cultural, and economic level. Once built, will your Wonder bring you glory for millennia to come?
No downtime, renewed fun in each game and perfect balance regardless of the number of players.
This game is designed for 3-7 players, ages 10+ and provides 30 minute play time.
Best Family Strategy Board Games for 2020
As you are considering building more into your family through games, I hope you found this list of strategy board games and reviews really helpful.
Meaningful Mama is a place to encourage you in family life. Playing together – specifically playing board games – is a way to build into your children’s heart and minds. It is one form of togetherness and builds a sense of identify within a family.
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