Did You Know | Family

20 Unusual Board Games That'll Actually Get Your Family To Put Down Their Phones


When I was growing up, family game night was a staple every Friday evening.

My parents, brother and I would gather around our kitchen table and play a rotation of either Monopoly, Scrabble, Sorry!, or the Game of Life.

But as we got older, board games were replaced with technology and eventually tossed in the closet.

While the newer generation may put their nose down to this once popular family tradition in favor of spending time on their computers or phones, board game companies have stepped up to the plate and have created new modern and fun games that are bound to interest those from at least nine to 90.

1. Escape Room The Game

If you've never had the opportunity to visit an escape room in real life, you can bring one to you in the form of Escape Room The Game.

Players are given 60 minutes to enter the correct keys on the Chrono Decoder to escape. It will count down remaining time for you and emit incredibly loud noises when you get closer to the deadline.

Recommended for players 16 years and up, the board game comes with four unique escape rooms: Prison Break, Virus, Nuclear Countdown, and Temple of the Aztec.

Buy it here.

2. The Sock Game

Socks aren't just for your feat anymore, as they're the most important part for one of the newest family board games.

The Sock Game is a fast-paced interactive game, where players must figure out what is hiding in your sock.

Participants must use the spinner to determine what item they're looking for, and then feel their way into the sock to find what they're looking for.

Along with the assortment of 30 pieces that come with the game, players can add their own unique items to the mix on the customizable board.

It's recommended players be ages eight and up.

Buy it here.

3. Phone Phever

It turns out your smartphone will no longer become a distraction when it comes to family game night, as it now plays an essential role in Phone Phever.

Players 13 and up can choose from 1,200 unique questions and challenges across six different trivia categories: TV, music, movies, law and politics, history and technology, and everything else in an effort to be the first person to enter the Phone Phever store on the board.

Each colored stack of red, green, and yellow cards have a requirement on whether or not you can use your smartphone, so you should make sure yours is fully charged before the game begins.

Buy it here.

4. Who Tooted?

A game perfect for children six and up who need a good laugh, Who Tooted? is a great and wacky way to bond with your entire family.

Players take turns pushing the whoopee cushion-shaped button, which has 10 different sounds effects, to make "toot" noise.

Once you hear the toot, players must guess which one of their peers passed gas. Make sure to keep a straight face, or else your opponents will know where the flatulence came from!

Buy it here.


In this family-friendly game designed for players aged five and up, participants can chose to play either the "Family Fun Version," "Strategy Version," or the alternative "Bad Guy" option.

Using 3D wall pieces, players must make a giant maze, and then use their pawns to reach the finish line. While one dice is used to advance their token, the second is used to move walls to either open their path to the Finish or hinder their opponent's ability to come out victorious.

Buy it here.

6. Qwirkle

While some people may be caught off guard by this game's unusual name, Qwirkle is a great game for every member of the family to enjoy.

Described as "the perfect game to hone player's tactical maneuvers, strategical planning, and forward thinking," competitors are tasked with building lines by matching the wooden tiles based on either color or shape.

Players six and up gain points by making more complex combinations, which will challenge them mentally while also keeping them engaged.

Buy it here.

7. Conspiracy Theory

If you're someone who loves conspiracy theories, this game is perfect for you.

In Conspiracy Theory, players 14 and up are tested on their knowledge of the world of internet conspiracies within the five categories: Mythos (mythical places and creatures), Aliens (ancient and modern), Technologies, Schemes (governments and secret organizations), and Random (everything else).

But, players should be aware of the "Cover Up" card, which can take some or all of your winning cards.

Buy it here.

8. Mysterium

Unlike competitive games, those playing Mysterium will either win or lose as a team.

The premise centers around the aftermath of a horrible crime that has been committed. One player will take on the role of the ghost and help guide the investigators (you and your teammates) to discover the weapon, location and killer.

Buy it here.

9. Don't Step In It

A hilarious game for anyone four and up, the title Don't Step On It, says it all.

Players take turns spinning a dial which tells them how many steps they must take on the plastic mat, with the goal of stepping on as few compound molds (in the shape poop) as possible - while blindfolded.  

The person to step on the least number of poop wins!

Buy it here.

10. Pimple Pete

While having acne is every teenager's worst nightmare, Pimple Pete makes popping zits fun.

Created by Dr. Pimple Popper Dr. Sandra Lee, players must twist out the zits from Pimple Pete's face. Players get points for each pimple they remove, but be aware that popping different zits have different difficulty levels.

If you pull out a pimple too hard,  you risk setting off the "mega-zit" on his nose "“ and be sprayed by its "pimple juice," eliminating you from the game.

Buy it here.

11. Shocktato

If you're tired of playing hot potato, this game certainly takes the original up a notch.

With three different modes, "Lame," "Normal," and "Extreme," the goal of "Shocktato" is to pass the toy around to avoid the shock! It's perfect for parties and players who love a good laugh.

Warning: players who have a pacemaker, suffer from epilepsy, a heart condition, any similar or related illness, or is pregnant, this electric shock game, is not for them.

It's recommended for players ages 14 and up.

Buy it here.

12. Pie Face

If you're not afraid to get a little messy, Pie Face is a guaranteed good time filled with fun and suspense.

After loading the plastic hand with whipped cream, players take turns sliding their heads into the cutout mask.

They must then spin the spinner in hopes the arm doesn't wack them in the face full of whipped cream. But beware, at any time you could be the recipient of a very sticky face!

The first player to score 25 points wins.

Buy it here.

13. Concept

Looking for another challenging game to introduce to your family? Then Concept is just for you.

Individual participants or teams play on a board covered in icons, where they must silently communicate concepts such as "Dinosaur," "Eiffel Tower," or "Sigmund Freud" to their fellow players.

Whoever collects the twelve light bulb-shaped victory tokens wins.

Buy it here.

14. Anti-Monopoly

Forget playing the iconic Monopoly and try your hand at its new counterpart Anti-Monopoly with your family and friends.

Players eight and up must decide if they want to be a monopolist or a free market competitor, who follow different rules to receive the biggest pile of loot through both luck and skill.

Buy it here.

15. Plague Inc.

Based on the hit video game Plague Inc., this board game version is excellent for anyone 14 and up who has a little bit of a dark side.

In the 60-minute game, each player becomes a deadly disease, who "evolves unique symptoms to customize their pathogen" in an effort to infect the most cities across the world and become the first one to "wipe out humanity."

Buy it here.

16. Brain Freeze

Nothing is worse than an ice cream headache, but the game Brain Freeze will give you new meaning to the popular saying.

In this strategy game, players are tasked with correctly guessing which sweet treat their opponent has chosen, by using strategic methods such as memory, deduction and logic.

If players guess the wrong dessert, they get a Brain Freeze!

This game is perfect for kids aged five to ten.

Buy it here.


Another strategy game for players aged eight and up, BIG FIVE CAPTURE is an entertaining game for anyone looking for a safari adventure.

The goal is to capture the Big Five animals (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, buffalo), but players should be careful of poachers and other wild beasts roaming the area.

If a player is lagging behind, they may call for an auction and beat their opponents to be the first to own an animal loop - while making their competitors pay the price.  

Buy it here.


If you're a lawyer in the making, LAWSUIT! is a great way to hone your skills, while having an entertaining evening with your family.

Players are given "whimsical" legal scenarios, where they must decide to pursue a settlement, accept a verdict or appeal, practice solo or in a partnership.

This game is suitable for children ages eight and up.

Buy it here.

19. Betrayal At House On The Hill

Forget Clue and team up with other players to play this fun suspenseful game.

Betrayal At House On The Hill is a 60-minute game, which allows participants a new experience nearly every time as it offers multiple scenarios and a different lay-out during each new game.

The objective of the game is for the team to investigate "that creepy old place on the hill" - until one player decides to betray the others.

Perfect for players aged 12 and up, this cooperative game is an exciting adventure for any horror fan.

Buy it here.

20. Squashed

If you want to teach your children problem solving and strategy skills at an early age, Squashed will accomplish all that and more.

Players are forced to think in three different dimensions as they're tasked with squashing their opponents as the cube flips multiple times. They must decide if they're willing to sacrifice one of their pawns to take out more of the others in an effort to reach the king.

Buy it here.

What are your favorite board games to play with your family? Let us know in the comments!

Just so you know, Shared may collect a share of sales or other compensation from some of the links on this page. However, we only choose products we would or have purchased ourselves.

Maya has been working at Shared for a year. She just begrudgingly spent $200 on a gym membership. Contact her at maya@shared.com