Fancy combining money saving and fun? An evening out with the family can easily set you back forty or fifty pounds. Here’s my pick of the best family board games that can keep you entertained for days on end whilst spending quality time with your family. So cook a healthy budget meal, get your game hats on and roll the dice as you save a fortune having a great night in.
Below are 18 games that will keep the bills low but the fun high. Prices were correct at the time of publication, however at the end of the article is a link to some top games sellers, allowing you to check to see if there is a better price available.
In Monopoly players scramble to buy their favourite roads, stations and utility companies. Build houses and hotels with the aim of becoming the richest player in town. You would soon become bankrupt if you paid one retailers price tag of £16.99, however Amazon make this a cheap deal for the banker at under £14.
Model: Monopoly (for ages eight and above)
Highest price: £16.99
Best deal: Amazon for £12.30
Monopoly Junior is ideal for younger players who can practice their counting skills, collect Party cards and buy and trade properties. Priced on special offer at £3.99 with Mothercare and around £10 with Amazon.
Model: Monopoly Junior Party Game (for five and over)
Highest price: £14
Improve your children’s word power and have fun with Scrabble. Each player starts with seven letters, replenishing the tiles as they create new words. The winner is the one who has the highest score when all letters are used. You’d feel cheated (39 points if on a triple word score) if you paid £23.53, however Smyths Toys are offering it for just £9.99 (plus P+P, but it’s still the cheapest deal).
Model: Scrabble original (suitable for 10 and above)
Highest price: £23.53
Best deal: Smyths Toys for £9.99.
Junior Scrabble has two levels to accommodate two age groups, with the younger children starting with ‘words and pictures’ and older ones (seven and above) playing ‘Rainbow Scrabble’. The cheapest offer is with Tesco at £14.99.
Model: Junior Scrabble (suitable for five and above)
Highest price: £24.98
Best deal: Tesco for £14.99
We’ve had hours of fun with the Logo board game with inter-family competitions throughout the year. Game time is short enough to keep some of the more fidgety family members interested, but long enough to get into. It’s worth saving money by buying it from Toys R Us with their online saver offer.
Model: Logo board game (12 upwards)
Highest price: £32.99
Best deal: Toys R Us for £26.69 online deal
What Am I? Logo board game for juniors allows you to describe, draw and guess the brands and products shown on the cards. Amazon are best priced at £18.08.
Model: What am I? (Eight upwards)
Highest price: £29.99
Best deal: Argos for £19.99
Articulate is a fast-talking description game with 500 cards and 3000 entries. Words can be difficult to describe for younger children, so we simplified the rules by allowing them to say ‘sounds like’ or ‘rhymes with.’ Expensive is the only way I would describe one store at £36.89, however Amazon is currently selling it for under £24 which is the cheapest price we’ve seen yet.
Model: Articulate! (twelve and above)
Highest price: £36.89
Best deal: Amazon for £23.79
Articulate for Kids is a board game compiled by an educational specialist. It has the same six categories as the original game, so can be played alone or alongside Articulate. Argos squeeze in the best value at £15.99, but many retailers price it around £20.
Model: Articulate for kids (from six upwards)
Highest price: £22
Best deal: Argos for £15.99
I remember playing Trivial Pursuit as a child and being frustrated at the lack of ‘cheeses’ won because I didn’t know the answer to questions like ‘What, in 1975, did 18 Nobel laureates claim has no basis in fact?’* To be honest I still wouldn’t know the answer without looking! However Hasbro have created the Trivial Pursuit Family Edition with separate cards for adults and children allowing you to play happily together and feel clever. One of the absolute best family board games out there. Argos are the big cheeses at £19.99.
Model: Trivial Pursuit Family Edition (eight and above)
Highest price: £35.54
Best deal: Argos for £19.99.
Banagrams Game is a word game with a difference. There’s no need for a board, pencil or paper and it’s been ranked one of the most popular games out there at the moment. (Apparently the cast of Downton Abbey play it between takes!) It’s perfect for crossword lovers and those with a short attention span – one hand can be played in as little as 5 minutes. Top banana price goes to Amazon at £13.05.
Model: Bananagrams Game (five and above)
Highest price: £15.00
Best deal: Amazon for £13.05
Technically you could have me under the trade descriptions act as Jenga is not a board game, but such fantastic fun for all ages over six. The game starts with all the blocks together in a tower. Players take it in turns to carefully pull out blocks without the building falling down. I have had games where the formation resembles the leaning tower of Pisa before the bricks have finally crashed on the floor. Despite knowing this will eventually happen, everyone still jumps! TheToyShop break down barriers at £10.40.
Highest price: £14.99
Best deal: TheToyShop for £10.40
Brainbox The World is a brilliant fast and fun memory game that can be played for as long as you like. It’s educational, easy to join in and great for all ages. A player simply picks a card and takes in the info on it for 10 seconds before being asked a question from the back, chosen by rolling the dice. You get to keep the card if you get it right, if not it is returned to the box. The player with most cards after 5 or 10 minutes wins! It’s currently cheapest on Amazon£6.69.
Model: Brainbox The World
Highest price: £13.99
Best deal: Amazon for £6.69
Pass the Pigs – while not technically a board game it is a fun all-time classic game that can be played anywhere, by anyone. Using the two little pigs as dice, you try to get 100 points before your friends do. You could get a double snouter if you’re lucky, or a Pig Out?! Good luck! We found it on offer for £7.12 – not something to turn your snout up to!
Model: Pass the pigs
Highest price: £7.99
Best deal: Amazon for £7.12
Cluedo – This classic game has been around for years, but it still continues to deliver as a brilliant source of entertainment for the whole family. It’s the original ‘who dunnit?’ game but with updated character personalities and weapons. Now with more tension, twists and intrigue. You’ll love it. Especially at the murderous price of just £11.90!
Model: Cluedo by Hasbro
Highest price: £16.99
Best deal: House of Fraser for £11.90
The game Risk is another classic that has been around for a while, yet it still hasn’t lost its charm. The game of global domination and strategy involves armies, battle and attack – take that nerve-wracking Risk to reap rewards or spell disaster. Place your troops and plot your plan. Can you win it?
Model: Hasbro Risk board game
Highest price: £21.99
Best deal: Asda for £16.65
The Chase board game isn’t just a quiz board game, it’s a race. Based on the TV quiz show of the same name there is over 1000 questions included and you’ll be up against the ruthless and brilliant quiz geniuses determined to stop you winning. Answer the questions under pressue with the timer and see how much cash you could win, then go head to head with one of four Chasers.
Model: The Chase board game
Highest price: £23.99
Best deal: Argos for £19.99
Angry Birds Knock on Wood board game – This game, based on the original best selling phone app game can be played together with family and friends. The main aim is for the opponent to build a fortress for the green pigs. The player then launches the birds with the slingshot and uses the unique power of the Angry Birds to destroy the greedy pigs’ fortresses.
Model: Angry Birds Knock on Wood board game
Highest price: £24.99
Best deal: Amazon for £8.99
The Magic Tooth Fairy Game – This is a magical game that will enchant the kids and the winner is the first player to lose all their teeth. The ‘Magic’ bed turns teeth into glittering gold coins and it’s for 2-4 players. Plenty of cute parts to keep the little ones occupied to play until the end.
Model: The Magic Tooth Fairy Game from Drumond Park
Highest price: £19.99
Best price: Argos for £15.99
Searching for the best prices
The prices mentioned above will change over time, however it’s worth scouring the sites below to help find the best deals, especially if they have sales on.
Another idea to think about is buying your best family board games off eBay. I checked out prices for Junior Scrabble and you could get a used set for around £8 or £9.
*The answer was astrology!
Marc Lockley is a coach and money saving writer. He is the author of How To Pay Less For More, a book showing people how to negotiate in shops, showrooms and even with the boss over working part-time. As a dad of two, Marc values his work/life balance and is a dab hand at using money saving techniques to keep the bills down.