close-up of board game

Gift Guide: 20 Must-Have Games Boys Love and Enjoy

Overview: Looking for games boys love? Board games make great gifts. If you’re looking for gifts for boys, look no further. Here are our all-time family favorites!

My boys LOVE to play games. Games make excellent gifts! And did you know playing board games is a great way to build your son’s logic skills?!? True story.

In fact, there are many skills our kids can learn from playing games: money handling skills, bargaining, math facts, battle strategy, etc. There are even some games which will help our boys to develop their fine motor skills!

games boys love
This post is not sponsored but it does contain affiliate links. When you click on those links to make your purchases, I receive compensation at no extra cost to you. I love it when you do that. πŸ˜‰ So thank you!

The games below are some of our favorites. I hope that this gift guide will help you find just the right games for your boys! Have fun!

Settlers of Catan is my favorite game of all time. The thing I like most about this game is that everyone has things to do during each player’s turn; so, even though the game is long, there isn’t a lot of waiting around for everyone else to take their turn. We have a tradition of playing this game AT LEAST ONCE every Christmas break – although, I always try to get my guys to play it with me more than once!  πŸ™‚ I would also highly recommend you buy the Seafarers of Catan expansion pack to go with this game. Super fun!

Memoir 44 is my oldest son’s favorite game. He loves following the World War II strategies which are listed in the manual as well as making up his own scenarios. This game is hours of fun for boys who enjoy complex strategy games.

Ticket to Ride is a fun game to play, and it doesn’t take long to get set up. This makes it great for families who have younger boys or boys who don’t have super long attention spans!

If you’ve never played Carrom, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this one! This game is fun for everyone – even kids who don’t typically like to play games! It comes with short cue sticks you can use as if you were playing billiards, but I’ve grown up playing this game by snapping the white shooters with our fingers. NOTE:  It helps to put a bandaid on your shooting finger so that it doesn’t get sore. Such a fun game!!!

β†’ Related Content: 100 Educational Gifts Boys Love

CarcassonneΒ is also a fun game for the whole family. There is almost no setup, the learning curve is very short, and the turns are alsoΒ short, so it’s great for the whole family. Β πŸ™‚

StrategyΒ is also another of my boys’ favorites. Even my son who isn’t into games as much enjoys playing a good game of Stratego with his brother. It’s fun to see the various strategies they employ to win this game!

Risk Yet another game from my childhood. What can I say?!? Sometimes the classics are the best. And what better way to spend the evening than with attempting world domination? LOL

Pay Day is another game from my childhood. My boys and I enjoy playing this game because you choose how long or short you’d like it to be by choosing how many months you want to play. This is a good game for learning how to handle money because there is lots of buying, selling, and paying bills going on.

Life is another fun game I remember playing back when I was a kid. I was very careful with my games and was able to save a bunch of them from way back when. My boys love playing Life. It’s always fun to razz them by asking who their wife is or asking them what they’re naming the kids they’re piling into their cars. πŸ™‚

Chess may not be the first game you think about for kids, however, it’s actually an incredibly fun game once they get the hang of the rules and strategies and such. My boys have a wonderful time competing against each other and against their grandpa for bragging rights.

Pictionary – My son, Sam, absolutely loves this game. He enjoys drawing and laughing… so when he gets to combine both things, he’s on board with it for sure. We have the version with pencils and notepads, but this new version with a whiteboard looks pretty cool!

Pandemic – This is one of our newer favorites. I enjoy playing cooperative games, where we all band together to try to beat the game. That’s exactly how it is when you play Pandemic. The object is to wipe out the diseases before they spread across the world. It sounds morbid but it’s really super fun!

Dominion – This game takes a bit of concentration to learn… but once you have it down, it’s super fun! It doesn’t take very long to play, either, so it’s a great one to play if you have someone with a shorter attention span in your family. Just figure it out first and then call them over to play!  πŸ˜‰ I sometimes watch the tutorials on so that it takes me less time to figure new games out.

7 Wonders – This game is super fun and super fast.Β It doesn’t take incredibly long to pick up, either, so it’s another good one to play with those non-gamers in your family.

Battleship Express – My boys discovered this game when they were camping with my dad and my sister’s family. They ended up having so much fun playing it that as soon as they got home, my oldest son promptly asked if we could get it for our family. It’s a fun, short game.

Can’t Stop – This is a super fun game that I’ve had since I was a kid. Basically, you roll the dice and see who can get to the top of three of the twelve columns the quickest. Very easy rules allow even very young children to play. But this game is fun for all ages. And it’s so tempting to roll just one more time!

Clue – Here’s another one of my childhood favorites. If you haven’t tried playing this with your kids, be sure to give it a try. Super fun! I’m always Mrs. White.

Pit – This game is loud and fun and exciting. It’s a fun, hands-on way to teach your kids about being on the stock market exchange floor. This is a great game to play with energetic boys!

Phase 10 is a very simple and fun game that is accessible for the whole family. I enjoy playing this game when I don’t want to think too hard to come up with a strategy, but just want to relax and have fun.

Bonkers – You may not have heard of this game before since they weren’t making it for a while – but it’s back in print! This game is hilarious. It starts out slowly, but within a short time it becomes fast-paced and hilarious. Even young kids can play this game. Get ready to laugh as you’re moving back and forth on the board and racking up points!

Question:Β If you have suggestions of other games boys love, please leave a comment below.

34 thoughts on “Gift Guide: 20 Must-Have Games Boys Love and Enjoy”

  1. We are really into board games in this house, too. Catan has been a favorite for many years. We also like Carcassonne. We have multiple Risk games including LOTR Risk. Stratego gets played when we need a shorter game. I love Ticket to Ride, but I get so tense that someone is going to beat me to where I need to go! I had to laugh about Carrom, something I played as a kid, but I remember my finger killing me. Duh! A bandaid is a brilliant idea!

    For your son who likes Memoir 44, I would check out games by Columbia Games My son has the whole set of EastFront, Westfront, and Eurofront. He also has Hammer of the Scots, Liberty, and Julius Caesar. I would say the Eurofront games and Hammer of the Scots has seen the most use. Another in his gaming arsenal (sorry) is Axis and Allies.

    7 Wonders has been hugely popular for introducing others to games. I have not played it, but this game comes out when some of the cousins who aren’t into the super long games get together. Another one the cousins have played is Dominion.

    I just asked my younger son and he said he likes Lords of Waterdeep. I think the fact that he just beat his older brother for the first time may have something to do with that.

    My husband and older son went to a board game convention in the spring and after that requested two games: Suburbia and Pandemic.

    For those of us not really into the hours long strategy games, I can highly recommend Quirkle, Ringgz, and Blokus. Card games that are enjoyed are Werewolf, Bang!, and Bohnanza. Some “educational” games are Perspective (timeline) and Mad Dash and World Dash for geography.

    If you have any questions about these games, let me know. I am sure my son has some other games that I have not mentioned here. I also recommend checking out and videos of game reviews either at TableTop (with Wil Wheaton) or The Dice Tower.

    We’ll be getting together with family for 5 days over Thanksgiving, and when we are not eating, most of the time will be spent playing games. I’ll try to remember to come back here and mention any new games we come across and like.


    1. Wow, Sarah, what an awesome comment! I’ll definitely be checking some of those out. And yes, anything else you can think of would be appreciated.

      BTW – Don’t feel bad about the band aid thing… that took me YEARS to come up with. LOL

  2. I meant to apologize about the long comment. Get me talking about games or books and watch out! I’m glad you found it helpful. The guys have put together the pile of games they are planning on bringing with us for Thanksgiving and all of them are ones I mentioned. Hopefully we’ll see something new while we are visiting.

    Happy Thanksgiving and happy gaming!


    1. Feel free to leave long comments here anytime! Super helpful. πŸ™‚

      I hope you also have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. My son loves the game Cashflow for Kids. It is easy to set up, learn to play and usually not a long game. It revolves around handling money and chosing between buying items with your cash or “charging” it and paying for it the rest of the game. The goal is to make enough money to pay your bills by saving money from your “paycheck” and making investments that earn a profit. The math is very easy as the game uses discs to help the players keep track of the money. My son has been playing since he was 7 years old. We like it because it is quick, fun and gives a different perspective on money management through a more visual and hands on approach.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion! Sounds like a game with a good point to it – especially if you have to pay interest if you charge it!

  4. We really like quirkle also!!! We got catan for our boys for Christmas last year…and…shamefully…havent even played it once. This Christmas break…we definitely will. Thanks for sharing!!!

    1. I’ve heard of Quirkle… I’ll need to check that one out, more. Yes, yes, yes… give Catan a try this break. You’ll be glad that you did. Follow the scenarios in the instructions to start out as there is a bit of a learning curve. But it’s worth it!!!

  5. The Cities and Knights expansion for Settlers of Catan is also a good one. You can get so much into the game that it’s almost sad when somebody wins… even if you’re the winner! πŸ˜‰ Loads of fun. πŸ˜€

    1. Ha ha ha! I feel the same way, Anna. We take our time playing it… usually stretch it out over a whole afternoon and eating snacks as we go. Such a warm and cozy family activity!

    1. Carrom (listed above) would be fun for them!!! Also, when my boys were younger they loved games such as Clue Jr, Monopoly Jr, Hi Ho Cherry-O, Sorry, Uno, Trouble, Headbandz, and Chutes and Ladders. When they were really little, they loved Candy Land. πŸ™‚

  6. Okay, we are back from Thanksgiving and these were the games that were played:

    Settlers of Catan
    Lords of Waterdeep
    Ticket to Ride (this was played in teams. They used the US board, but the extra pieces – which I believe you need – from either the Europe or Asia game.)

    Card Games:
    Full contact multi-sol – This is group solitaire (I know that doesn’t really make sense) where you share the piles that start with the aces. In our family it can be a little chaotic as people rush to get the card from their solitaire set-up onto one of the piles, hence “full contact”.

    So, no board games that I haven’t previously mentioned. I did put a few on my amazon wishlist as possibilities based upon reviews I watched on The Dice Tower:
    Babel (an expansion for 7 Wonders)
    Twilight Imperium (one my son said he wants)
    King of Tokyo
    Gemblo (like Blokus, but with hexes instead of squares and stranger shaped tiles)

    I won’t get them all, so I need to make some decisions.

    Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving!


    1. Michelle Caskey

      Wow, you guys are really into your board games!!! Full-contact multi-solitaire?!?!? Sounds like fun. LOL

      I haven’t decided which new games I’ll get my boys, yet, but your comments will definitely help me with my decision! Thanks for sharing all of the info. It’s super helpful. πŸ™‚

      And thanks, we did have a nice Thanksgiving. It sounds like you did as well. Take care and I hope to hear from you again sometime!

  7. It has been awhile, but I thought I would mention a couple of new games we got at Christmas.

    Babel – an expansion for 7 Wonders
    Suburbia Inc. – an expansion for Suburbia
    Twilight Imperium – this was for my hard-core board gamer
    Jungle Speed – this was a fast paced card game that everyone really liked and we played with all ages. You take turns flipping over cards with similar designs. If they match, you grab for the totem. Can be a little crazy with people grabbing for the totem at the same time (I recommend everyone clip their nails before playing). It can be hilarious, too when someone thinks they have a match, but they don’t. I think it’s probably one of those games they would recommend for us older folks to keep our brains flexible.

    Did you end up getting any new games for Christmas?


    1. Michelle Caskey

      Hey, it’s good to hear from you again, Sarah!

      Ha ha ha! Sounds like fun. Yes, I took your advice and got Dominion and 7 Wonders. We ended up enjoying Dominion very much! There were some vague parts in the instructions that baffled us the first time we played… but after we figured out what they were talking about, we had a great time. We ended up playing that one several times.

      We had a very busy Christmas break so we didn’t get a chance to try 7 Wonders, yet… but I’m planning to play that with my boys sometime this week. I’ll add it to their schoolwork checklist if I have to! πŸ™‚

  8. I’m glad you enjoyed Dominion. I think you will like 7 Wonders, too.

    If you ever have questions on rules, I would suggest visiting Go to the page for that game and then find the forum. Often, other people have the same question.

    We had a busy break, but it was mostly busy playing games! (and watching Top Gear UK).


    1. Michelle Caskey

      Great tip! I’ll keep that in mind. I’m not sure why we were struggling at first. Maybe our brains were scrambled from consuming so much sugar and junk food over Christmas break?!?!? πŸ˜‰

    2. Michelle Caskey

      FYI – The boys and I just played 7 Wonders this afternoon and we LOVED it. I did watch a video on BoardGameGeek to see how to play it and that did speed up our understanding of the different cards. We’re looking forward to playing it with my husband, now, too. Thanks again for the recommendation, Sarah! πŸ™‚

      1. I’m glad you liked 7 Wonders. I get nervous making recommendations, but based on other games you liked, it seemed like a good fit for you.


  9. I’ve had Settlers on my to buy list for several years. We love playing games and have several new ones coming for Christmas. Last year my sister and her husband bought the boys Dominion and they have had a lot of fun playing that one this year. Your games look awesome – maybe we should get together and have a game day sometime. πŸ™‚

  10. I have two boys who are almost nine and 6. It is hard for us to find games for all of us to play but I did get Qwirkle and Then I specifically because someone else recommended then for blended ages. We play them both a lot. And I just ordered the card pack 77 ways to play Tennis for Christmas. Thank is for all the suggestions here. There are several i had not heard of yet. πŸ™‚

  11. Thanks for this! My 11 year old son loves to play Rummikub. He’s very competitive and this game really puts him to the test, especially considering that Dad is a VERY good player.

    1. You’re welcome. I hope you’re able to find some more great games that your son will enjoy from this list. And thanks for the suggestion. I’ll have to check that out! Sounds fun. πŸ™‚

  12. We like Blink. It is a fast game you can squeeze in even if you don’t have a lot of time for a game. Sometimes we play 2 out of 3 games. My kids found a short cut – instead of dividing the cards into 2 stacks 1 by 1, they separate the cards into 2 stacks and slide cards off the taller one until they are even. I’m kind of a perfectionist, but even I have accepted this as a great time-saving tip.

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