Fun Board Games From the Past That Defined Your Childhood

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When it came time to spend time with your family, nothing brought a spirit of competitiveness and a sense of fun like a board game. Before computers, the internet, and even the Atari you had to get your kid in the 1970s, board games were one of the best ways to bring your family together to share a laugh and quality time.

While board games are still around – despite their more significant complexities, rulesets, and greater time they take to play – we’re talking about the board games that defined your childhood and even those adult years with young kids.

So, grab your favorite folding chair, saddle up to the dining room table, get the grandkids ready, and let’s talk about your favorite board games!


The board game Monopoly

We’d be hard–pressed if we didn’t mention what many folks consider the greatest board game of all time. Monopoly puts you in the role of a budding real estate mogul tasked with gathering properties, building houses and hotels, and earning the most money by bankrupting your fellow players.

While the game has changed plenty since it first arrived in 1935 – primarily due to technology making the banker almost obsolete – the game’s goal remains the same: be the player with the most money at the end of the game.

You and your grandkids can spend hours – yes, competitive games can still last longer than an average movie – dueling who will become king or queen of the board.


The board game Clue

The murder mystery board game Clue has caused the death of game victim Mr. Boddy more times than any other game on earth. Luckily, with your kids enjoying true crime podcasts and mystery documentaries, you can get in on the fun again.

Clue, released in 1949, puts you in the role of one of six would-be murder suspects in a high-stakes whodunnit to decide who killed Mr. Boddy, with what weapon, and where. This classic game has changed little in over seven decades, meaning if you last played it a few decades ago, you will likely still remember the rules.

The best part of the game is the time it takes to play a full round. While shorter than Monopoly, a complete game can take up to an hour, depending on the number of players.


Chess board image

Following the release of the Netflix series “The Queen’s Gambit,” old standby chess is in a moment of renaissance.

Chess puts you in the role of a commanding army tasked with protecting a queen. While the game’s object is simple, the strategy to play it can take years to master. So pack your patience if you’re trying to teach jittery grandkids how to play.

Regardless of the skill it takes to play, chess is a game that can still captivate anyone. But, of course, if you don’t want to stress out a kid too much, there’s always chess’ cousin…


Checkers board
Photo by Leonard Reese on Unsplash

Checkers is another simple board game that can be played on a chess board if you need more space because of too many board games.

To begin, each player takes 12 pieces and places them on the dark squares of the checkerboard. Players alternate turns, with each player moving a piece diagonally one space on their turn. Pieces can “jump” over an opponent’s piece to remove it from the board. The game ends when a player has no pieces left or cannot make a legal move.

Endlessly playable and easy to pick up, checkers is such an excellent game for adults and children alike. This game is an easy pick.


Battleship board game

Take the fun of board games with the naval combat strategy, and you have one of the best board games for grandkids – especially young boys. “You sank my battleship” is as relevant today as ever!

Battleship might be challenging for some kids, but it teaches children the importance of strategy and consistency. As the general of a naval fleet, the player must discover and eliminate the other player’s vessels.

Each player places their ships on a grid and take turns guessing the location of their opponent’s ships. Once a ship is hit, the player must identify the type of ship and its location. If you’re the first to sink all the opposing ships, you win!


An English-language Scrabble game in progress

No board game has helped sales of dictionaries more than Scrabble. Developed in 1933, Scrabble is a unique title that forces you to reach down deep into your vocabulary and spell words using only the seven letters you’ve drawn.

Once you teach your grandkids how to play Qs and Zs on double and triple-letter scoring zones, the game becomes exceptionally high scoring.

Despite the game’s educational slant, the game has achieved new life on smartphones and tablets – one surefire way to get your grandchildren interested.

The Game of Life

The Game of Life board game

Nothing makes the fundamental aspects of living life seem like fun like The Game of Life. A hit since its release in 1960, Life makes the goal simple: get through life to retirement. Of course, the way to win is to amass the most wealth, but the game finds a way to make it fun.

You’ll graduate college, get married, have children, buy a house, and get a career. Of course, you’ll also navigate the pitfalls of life, but you’ll also learn how to navigate it in the colored car of your choice.


Jenga game in progress

Jenga is a game designed to test your reflexes, attention span, and sense of balance.

To begin, set up 54 wooden blocks in a tower with three blocks across each layer. Take turns pulling out blocks from the tower one at a time, and placing them back on the top. If you make the tower fall before your turn is over, you lose. The last person to successfully remove a block without making the tower fall wins the game. Talk about a way to make engineering fun!

Dozens and dozens of board games remain on the market these days, but none can hold a candle to the games you played as a child. So while you may have some experience with a handful of these and none in others, these classic games will surely hold your grandkids’ attention and bring back happy memories.

Nostalgia is not overrated as long as you enjoy your past games with the kids of the future! Happy gaming!

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