12 Great Board Games for Seniors and People of All Ages

Look for easy-to-learn games that you can play again and again.

Laughter will be in unlimited supply when playing these great board games

Choosing a board game that appeals to all ages isn’t rocket science, but it can feel like it sometimes. With so many options available, and so many personal favorites, you might struggle to find a game that appeals to everyone. With that in mind, we put together this list of 12 great board games for seniors, older adults, kids, and people of all ages to play together. You can enjoy these games with large groups or with just 2 people during a Papa Pal companionship visit.

Let’s count down 12 great board games for seniors and people of all ages.
Laughter will be in unlimited supply when you play any of these great board games for seniors and people of all ages.

First, let’s cover the basics for choosing a game.

Start by looking for a game that meets this criteria:

  • It’s easy to learn. Reading a thick instruction booklet will stop game night before it even begins. So, choose a game that everyone can learn quickly. (Even better, find a game that the seniors in your group know well and ask them to teach everyone.)
  • You can play it again and again. Ask your group about the type of games they love to play and hone in on some likely favorites beforehand.
  • It has an element of competition, but doesn’t pit people against each other. Look for cooperative games or team games that encourage working together.

If you work as a Papa Pal companion caregiver and want to play board games during a companionship visit, think about taking several games with you. It's always great to have a couple of options on-hand.

Next, let’s count down 12 great board games for seniors and people of all ages.

For starters, these 12 games are just plain fun. Each offers something different. And when game night begins, you'll be surprised by the savvy skills and hidden talents they bring out in your fellow players.

#1 Scrabble

It’s a classic, and for good reason. Not only does Scrabble boost your vocabulary, it also strengthens your math skills. People can play Scrabble for hours on end, so it’s a great game for holidays and quiet times when you’re not rushed. (Pro Tip: have to have a Scrabble dictionary handy to resolve spelling disputes.)

#2 Backgammon

People the world over love backgammon. This game helps build problem-solving skills while testing your luck. Plus, it has fewer moves and rules than chess, making it easier to learn. Backgammon is popular across all generations, so chances are there’s someone in your group who can give you a master class. (If you want a fun online version, try Backgammon Online.)

#3 Exploding Kittens

The concept? Don’t explode. And, don’t be surprised when you find yourself plotting against fellow players. While there’s a lot to love about Exploding Kittens, don’t take it too seriously. It’s a game of luck, some skills, and lots of laughs. Simply playing will make you smile.

#4 Roulette

It’s not a board game, but roulette has a lot going for it when played at home. Because it’s a game of chance, there’s less strategy to learn. This fact alone makes it a great game for all generations to play together. It’s also one of the easiest games to play, so you won’t spend hours studying the rules. And when it comes to setting the stakes, why not play for candy or treats?

#5 Battleship

This classic two-player game requires an element of skill, a large portion of luck, and a permanent poker face. Battleship is a great indoor game that moves relatively quickly. 

#6 Jenga

Ultimately, the Jenga tower is going to come crashing down... Just don’t let it happen on your watch. This game offers a quick lesson in the meaning of “structural integrity” and teaches lessons about patience and remaining calm under pressure. If you have a Jenga pro in your group, be sure to enlist their advice for tricky moves.

#7 UNO

This portable, inexpensive card game has stood the test of time. With a deck of 108 cards, it offers unlimited potential for fast-paced fun. Another key point about UNO is that even young kids can play alongside adults, so there’s no reason for anyone to miss out.

It's game night. Time to play one of these great board games for seniors and people of all ages.
You’ve got comfy chairs and snacks ready, now it's time to play a great board game for seniors and people of all ages.

#8 Obstacles

Who doesn’t love a good story? That’s the core of Obstacles, a game that encourages imagination and creativity. The goal of Obstacles is simple: use a random selection of illustrated cards to explain how you could travel around an obstacle, like an erupting volcano. Depending on which cards you draw, you might have to plot your journey with a trumpet, plate of cookies, trampoline, vacuum cleaner, and a camel. Either way, storytellers are guaranteed lots of laughs.

#9 KerPlunk

Another classic, KerPlunk is part chance, part skill, and part good timing. This game for 2 to 4 players has been around since the 1960s, so don’t be surprised if there’s an older adult in your group who is a master of KerPlunk strategy. In addition to being a great game for small groups, it also offers the chance to practice hand-eye coordination.

#10 Sorry!

With a team component, Sorry! is one of the world’s most popular family games. Along with a dash of excitement, it helps players hone their counting skills. There’s also a more advanced set of rules for experienced players, so you can tweak the game depending on the make-up of your group.

#11 Trouble

Who doesn’t love the popping sound of Trouble? Thanks to its fast pace, Trouble is a great game to play when very young kids join your group. While there’s counting involved, it’s easy to learn and the playing time flies by.

#12 Trivial Pursuit

When you hear “trivia game,” do you instantly think of Trivial Pursuit? If the answer is yes, you’re not alone. What began in the 1980s as a trivia board game has since grown into an international phenomenon. There are several versions, including specialized editions for Harry Potter, Star Wars, and horror movie fans. Whichever version you choose, check to make sure that your players love that genreas well. If you’re not sure, a great choice is the 40th Anniversary Ruby Edition that includes 1,200 "Remember When?" questions from 1979 to 2018.

Pro tip: Save on games by shopping around

As soon as you’ve chosen a couple of games, consider where you can buy low-cost versions. Check thrift stores like Goodwill, as well as garage sales and moving sales, for deals. You might even find games that are still in their packaging.

Don’t forget that card games like Go Fish, Rummy, War and even Poker have the benefit of being both inexpensive and portable.
On the road? Bring a deck of cards to play whenever you have a little down time.

Don’t forget a deck of cards

Lastly, don’t forget that card games like Go Fish, Rummy, War and even Poker have the benefit of being both inexpensive and portable. You can take these games anywhere and play on-the-fly when you have a window of free time.

Time to play a great board game for seniors and all ages

It's game time! You’ve picked your game, now you’re ready to play one of these great board games for seniors and people of all ages. It's time to settle in for a fun time creating new memories together.

Interested in becoming a Papa Pal companion caregiver? Click here to learn more about this flexible, part-time job that gives back to the community.