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25 Board Games Tailored To Your Holiday Crowd, from the Rowdiest to All Ages

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When you're home for the holidays—or hosting others—what's your tactic for convincing the troops to put down their phones, back away from the TV, and interact with each other? Me, I'm a true believer in the humble board game (with a side of wine). Whether the political conversations are making you batty or the kids are hyped up and you need to just direct their energy somewhere, the board game is here for you.

5 Card Games to Know (and Snacks to Eat While Playing)
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5 Card Games to Know (and Snacks to Eat While Playing)

But which game is right for your group? Here's your game, based on who's around. (And if you don't have the one that's right for you, maybe it's time to upgrade?):

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For The Rowdy Bunch

Guillotine

Guillotine

Pictionary

Pictionary

Cards Against Humanity
The self-proclaimed "party game for horrible people." Break this out after the bourbon's on the table and the little ones have retired for the evening.

Pictionary
Make sure the teen artist who can draw is on your team.

Sorry
In my house, when you knocked someone off the board you did so in a flamboyant fashion while yelling "SORRY"! We didn't really raise our voices all that often, so it was invigorating. I suggest you try it.

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Yahtzee
Everyone should have their own signature dice shake, because even if you come in second, you'll look cool doing it.

Guillotine
Somewhat macabre in title, but pretty harmless in practice. You line up a bunch of characters from the French revolution and collect them with action cards—gather the most points (i.e. the most valuable characters), and you win.

For The Readers and Wordsmiths

Taboo

Taboo

Moby Dick, The Card Game

Moby Dick, The Card Game

Taboo
Don't say it, don't say it! Until someone guesses it, that is.

Scrabble
But you already own this one, right? Right?

Scattergories
A personal favorite! Roll the alphabetical dice and then race against opponents to scribble out as many words as possible that relate to a list of categories before time is up.

Moby Dick
A new card game for the literature lover, described by the creators as such:

Experience the thrill, the awe and the terror of The White Whale in this card-driven narrative adventure game based on the classic book by Herman Melville. Set sail with 2 to 4 players, and follow Ahab and the crew of the Pequod to their inevitable, fated destruction. Roll custom engraved dice, collect beautiful raw wood oil tokens, and assemble a crew of hardy sailors ready to take on the boundless adventure of the open ocean.

Bananagrams
Be your own best Will Shortz, but do it quickly and use up all those tiles!

For The Competitive Set

Trivial Pursuit Master Edition

Trivial Pursuit Master Edition

Jenga

Jenga

Monopoly
But only the version with paper money!! Do not even reach for the one with a credit card reader. (P.S. There is also a Star Wars version, my fellow nerds.)

Clue
This classic game pits you against each other to find out who committed the perfect—or not so perfect—crime. (Mr. Mustard is usually my alias.)

Trivial Pursuit
Even if you can't complete your pie before someone else does, you can impress your family members with obscure sports facts.

Jenga
Lots of trash talk until the tower topples right into your beer.

For The Group In It For The Long Haul

The Game of Life

The Game of Life

Settlers of Catan

Settlers of Catan

Settlers of Catan
Never rely on the longest road—it gets you nowhere. And plan for about 3 hours for this one.

Evolution
Only click on this if you plan to have 5 free hours somehow during the holidays, and you're cool with masquerading as a reptile, bird, or insect.

Risk
To be honest, looking at the Risk board gives me anxiety, but it's good for occupying competitive siblings who want you to know just how strategic they are.

The Game of Life
Spinning the wheel is the best part because, at least in my childhood version, it sounds like what I imagine the Wheel of Fortune does.

For All Ages

Chinese Checkers

Chinese Checkers

Candyland

Candyland

Twister
You're gonna need stretch pants for this one.

Uno
One of the easiest card games to grasp right from the beginning—and also one of the easiest to annoy everyone by reversing the order 4 times!

Candyland
We always put real candy to be won at each new location—good incentive to occupy kiddos while you drink wine in the other room.

Trouble
Portable enough for distraction in the car and to go right to the table when you arrive.

Operation
That buzzer when you hit someone's abs while trying to remove a rib stays with you, even after the game's over.

Parcheesi
Get all your pieces to home base before the others do. Or else!

Chinese Checkers
Contrary to what the name suggests, this game is German in origin. Race across the board by hopping other players and making single-space moves to take the other corner. You got this.

You look like you might need some snacks handy with all that playing...

Jacques Pépin's Fromage Fort

Jacques Pépin's Fromage Fort by Genius Recipes

Chevre Devils

Chevre Devils by gingerroot

Caramelized Onion Dip

Caramelized Onion Dip by ADRIENE

Sweet and Spicy Pretzel and Nut Mix

Sweet and Spicy Pretzel and Nut Mix by drbabs

Ovenly's Secretly Vegan Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ovenly's Secretly Vegan Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies by Genius Recipes

Super Fudgy Brownies

Super Fudgy Brownies by Merrill Stubbs

Let's hear it: What is your favorite board game to rally family around? Tell us in the comments below!

Tags: board games, groups