Best Board Games for 10-12 Year Olds [Top 18 Picks in 2023]
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Board games have been booming recently. It’s great that there are so many amazing and intriguing options out there. However, it can make it hard to find the right game for your kids or for family game night.
This list has a range of best board games for 10-12 year olds to try. Our top pick is Ticket To Ride. This classic game is a great board game for the whole family to play together and has the right mix of strategy and luck that ensures everyone has a chance to win.
Best overallTicket To Ride
Best Scary GameBetrayal At House On The Hill
Budget OptionHow to Rob a Bank
Related post: Best Educational Board Games
Best Board Games for Kids Aged 10-12
Best Overall — Ticket To Ride
Ticket To Ride
This classic game is a great light strategy game, where you build a railroad empire across Europe.
Ticket To Ride is a classic amongst gamers. For many, this game serves as a bridge between luck-based games and games of skill. As such, it’s an excellent game for kids in this age range.
Learning to play is easy. Your aim is to earn the most points by connecting target cities with your trains. Each player has different target cities, so the competition is indirect. It’s about strategy and planning.
There’s a small amount of luck in the drawing of cards. This keeps the game fresh and keeps its replayability high.
This is a great family board game. Kids and parents will all get something out of this game. It’s a fun board game that feels grownup but is accessible, this makes it a great choice for kids aged 10 – 12 years old.
Best Scary Game — Betrayal At House On The Hill
Betrayal At House On The Hill
This haunted house-themed game boasts 50 different scenarios to play through and is as fun as the group of people playing it.
Betrayal At House On The Hill is an exciting game. The game is based on bad horror movies, so it has some scary themes which you should be aware of. Just like a movie, it’s split into two acts.
In act one, all the characters explore the house, you discover the rooms and grow your character’s skills. In the second act, the haunting begins, and one character becomes the betrayer. At this point, you whip out the rules, and it becomes a whole new game depending on which of the 50 scenarios you triggered.
Now, this might sound like an odd thing to say, but, in a lot of ways, this is a bad game. Some of the scenarios are unbalanced, and the stat tracker is a pain to use. But, despite that, it’s surprisingly enjoyable. This game creates a fun experience that overshadows some of the poor design.
The creepy setting makes it an exciting game to play, especially for kids who love to be scared. My one big piece of advice is to use pen and paper to track your players’ stats. Just trust me, it will save you a lot of irritation and let you focus on having fun.
Budget Option — How to Rob a Bank
How to Rob a Bank
This game pits the robbers against the bank in an intriguing game of strategy.
How to Rob a Bank is a one against many games. One player plays the bank, and the other players are the robbers. A good feature of this game is that it does work well with only two players.
The first step is to create the bank. This is done at random by pulling out tiles and laying them down to form the blueprint of the bank. This also identifies the starting positions for the money, the guards, and the robbers.
The players then pick five of their eight cards to plan their actions. This is all done in advance of knowing what the other players will do. In other words, the robbers plan the heist, and the bank plans their defense. Then it’s go time.
Players take it in turns to play their actions. You’ll soon find out if your plan has worked or if you’re going to have to improvise on the fly. This is a quick and fun strategy game.
Visually Attractive Games
Best Relaxing Game Play — Tokaido
Take a stroll through Japan collecting points for all the touristy activities you enjoy along the way.
Tokaido is a really pleasant game to play. The artwork is beautiful, and the gameplay is relaxed. This is a nice game to play if you want to calm things down a little.
There is one route through Japan for all players to follow. Whoever is at the back gets to move. Each turn, you get to decide how many spaces you move. Wherever you stop decides the action you perform. These actions allow you to collect cards that will add up to give you points at the end.
Each spot can only hold one player at a time. This means you have to decide between taking things slow and getting more stops or racing ahead to get the stops that will get you the most points.
This game is great for families because it’s easy to learn, but it takes some time to master the best strategy to win.
Best for Story Telling — Dixit
This beautiful game combines creativity and storytelling into a guessing game.
Dixit comes with a pack of 84 gorgeously illustrated cards. Players take turns to pick a card and come up with a description. The rest of the players then add cards from their hands into the mix. All players have to try and guess which was the first player’s card.
To make it interesting, the first player only wants one person to guess correctly. If everyone gets it right, they get no points at all. This encourages inventive descriptions and thoughtful play.
There are expansions with extra cards to add to the deck for families who fall in love with this game. This is a great game for kids to play with either their friends or family. You can easily play in teams to allow any number of children to join in.
Best Game About Nature — Wingspan
This nature-based board game includes an amazing 170 different species of birds for a truly replayable game.
Wingspan is a beautifully designed and well-thought-out game. Every item in the box is stunning and matches the game’s theme, even down to the bird feeder shaped dice tower. This makes for a very pleasing gaming experience.
In the game, players try to attract birds to live in their aviaries. The more birds they collect, the more actions they can take, and the more points they can earn. Each of the 170 different species of birds offers different play actions.
The wide variety of birds means that it will be a little different each time you play this game. It also means that you’ll all learn a lot about birds species that live in America. If you fall in love, you can buy the European expansion to add even more birds to your aviaries.
Best Cooperative Card Game — Ravine
This cooperative card game pits you against the night as you try to survive until you can be rescued.
Ravine is an interesting survival game. Each player is assigned a character that they will take control of. Once selected, all your players are involved in a freak plane crash. You must survive through the day and the night until you can be rescued.
The game starts with a roll of the dice. This decides how much life each player has to work with. Then using their skills, the players spend the day gathering supplies and crafting resources. Once the night falls, the whole team has to pull together to survive not only the dangers from nature but from the mental stress of their crash and survival.
This game comes in a small box, but you can tell that a lot of love went into crafting it as soon as you open it. The cards are beautifully illustrated, and the wooden tokens are laser cut and feel good in your hand.
This is an easy to learn game that offers a real challenge for players. As it’s cooperative, it allows kids to face more demanding challenges than they might if playing alone.
Best Silly Game — Exploding Kittens
This fun and silly game pits you against each other as you hope to avoid finding the exploding kitten.
Exploding Kittens is a little like Russian roulette. You take turns drawing cards from the deck. Each time you draw, you might find an exploding kitten and be out of the game. However, the cards can also help you to survive for longer.
The action cards let you skip your go, survive a kitten explosion, or peek at the deck. However, there isn’t anything so dull as a ‘skip’ card; instead, there’s the ‘strap on a cheetah but to run so fast you miss your turn’ card.
This game is ridiculous and fun. It’s also challenging and has many different strategies for playing. Do be warned that it may bring out the nasty side in some of you, as you can use your cards to target other players and put them in the firing line to save yourself!
This game is both silly and fun – so, ideal for kids.
Best Army Building Game — Unstable Unicorns
This fun game lets you build an army of unicorns and then betray your friends to seek ultimate glory.
Unstable Unicorns is an army building game. Only your army is made up of unicorns. The winner is the first player to reach the target number of unicorns in their stable.
As well as unicorns, there are loads of magic spell cards that players can use on their turn. These allow you to buff your unicorns, get more unicorns, or mess with the other players.
This game is fun and very pretty. However, it’s not a simple game. There are layers to the strategy. As you’re learning the game, there will be a lot of reading involved. If your kid is turned off by reading, then this might be one to miss.
This game does have a selection of expansion packs to add more fun to the game and more unicorns for your armies. However, do be aware that two of the options are NSFW. They are very much, not child appropriate. Without these packs, the game is perfect for kids, so just beware if you start looking for expansion decks.
Best Maze Game — Calliope Tsuro
Short and sweet game that is never the same, no matter how many times you play it!
Tsuro by Calliope is a very short game that lasts up to 30 minutes.
But here’s the catch: every time you play it, the maze will change. So if you like immersing in board worlds for hours, start the game over and enjoy the ever new and fresh challenges!
Every player needs to move their marker stone along their path. But the thing is, the path isn’t predetermined. Each of the players will try to build their path by strategically positioning three tiles that they are dealt on every turn.
The point is not only to build a path for your stone, but also to disrupt your opponents’ paths so as to lead their marker stones off the board! This is what makes the game very dynamic. And ending up off the board (which means losing the game) is easier than might seem at first glance. The last person still standing on board is the winner.
Apart from the exciting game play, I’m also amazed by the sheer beauty of this board game.
Best 3D Building Game — Santorini
This brilliantly simple game is super easy to learn but is packed with hidden tactics.
Santorini is a really good looking game, and the board is high quality as are the pieces. In this game, you will use the 3D buildings to construct a city with the aim of getting your worker up to the 3rd Level.
The city you build is based on the real structures you can see on the island of Santorini, which is a really nice touch.
The gameplay is simple. On your turn, you can do two things. You can move and then build. It’s that easy. Kids much younger than 10 years old can pick this game up. However, it works for older kids and adults because there are a lot of tactics involved.
Because the game is based on a Greek island, there are Greek Gods involved. Each player has a greek god to give them powers that change how they play.
This game works best with two players, but you can also play with two teams of two.
Best Card Drafting Game — 7 Wonders
This is the game that pioneered the ‘pick and pass’ style of play. It’s a card drafting game for 3 – 7 players.
7 Wonders is one of my favorite games to play. This is true even though I hardly ever win. I think that says a lot about how enjoyable this game is.
In this game, you pass hands of cards around, and each time you choose one to keep and play. It’s in this way that you build your deck.
After each player picks a card to play, they are revealed and paid for. You go through this process until each player is left with one card, which is discarded. This completes an “Age”. A full game consists of three Ages, and points are tallied to find the winner!
Each player has their own game board. This helps to organize their cards, guides the scoring, and gives the player their unique abilities for the game.
The cards have effects that build and give you advantages later in the game, while others simply give you military strength. At the end of the game, it’s the combination of these cards that decide how many points you have. There are so many strategies to try that this game is really replayable.
Exciting Scenario Based Games
Best Scheming Game — Colt Express
This fun family game involves a train heist on a 3D locomotive.
In Colt Express, you get to play as a bandit. Your aim is to steal the most loot from the train by the end of five rounds. The game is for 2-6 players, but for the best experience, you’ll want as many players as possible. So this is a good game for big families or to play with friend groups.
This is a great board game for kids. The 3D train makes it exciting and interesting to play. The mechanic also requires some thinking.
Anyone who has learned anything about programming will have a big advantage in this game because that is essentially how the rounds work. The first phase of each round is for schemin’. You pick the moves you are going to play and in what order. The second phase is for stealin’. You carry out your actions and see how well your schemin’ worked.
Best Real-Time Game — Galaxy Trucker
This game challenges 2 – 4 players to build a spaceship under the pressure of a ticking clock.
Galaxy Trucker is a really fun game that introduces time pressure in a fun way. The rules are a little more complex to learn, so it’s a good option for more experienced gamers.
There are two phases to the rounds. In the first phase, players are presented with a massive pile of parts. They have a limited time to pick pieces and build their ship. When the time is up, the vessels are inspected, and any parts that aren’t fitted properly are instantly knocked off. Space is unforgiving, after all.
Whatever state the ships are in, it’s time to undertake a mission. The better your ship is built, the more money you’ll be able to earn. The building and time pressure are what makes this game fun and offers a lot of replay value.
Under 30 Minutes Games
BestPattern Board Game — Bounce-Off
This competitive game is perfect for anyone who likes fast and fun family board games.
Bounce-Off is essentially beer pong without the beer. In this game, you split into two teams or play 1-on-1. You bounce balls into the grid in an attempt to create the pattern on the challenge card.
This game is straightforward and quick to play. You can easily play a king of the hill style tournament on family game night or a big team version at a party.
This game is so easy to learn that any 10 years old or younger, can pick it up. It’s fun to play because you can really see how much better you get as you play. It’s also a game where the kids in the family probably have much more skill than the adults.
Best Hybrid Game — Throw Throw Burrito
Throw Throw Burrito
This is the mashup of a card game a dodgeball you never knew you wanted to play.
Throw Throw Burrito is a silly, frantic, and unique game. It’s a great way to tempt reluctant gamers into trying a card game.
The card game part of this involves hunting for matching sets. You get points for all the sets you can collect. However, hidden in the deck are burrito cards. If one is played, then some or all the players are pulled into a burrito match.
The burritos for throwing are soft and a good size for some silly fun. I do recommend clearing the area of breakables and making a good amount of space in the room. The point of the burrito battle is to steal points from other players. If you hit them with a burrito, they lose a point.
This is a board game that lasts no more than 10 minutes, but it’s really fun to replay. It’s a great way to burn some energy.
Best Logic Based Game — Azul
This is a pattern building game based on tile factories!
Azul is great for kids ages 8 and up. It’s a really classic eurogame as it involves no direct competition, it’s a game based mostly on skill and planning, and luck is only a small part of the gameplay.
This is a nice quick game that takes 30 -45 minutes to play through, which is a good length of time for 10 year old kids.
In this game, you select tiles and then hang them on your wall. Your aim is to complete a pattern on your wall in the most effective way. You’re trying to get as many points as possible. The fewer tiles you waste along the way, the better.
This is a great board game for any kids that love puzzles because, at its heart, Azul is a puzzle game.
The pieces are pretty and feel nice in your hand, so this is a game that will stand up to a lot of playing.
Best Classic Co-Op Game — Pandemic
This classic board game gives players the opportunity to cure the world of four diseases causing a global pandemic.
Pandemic is a game that almost feels prophetic at the moment. In this game, players work together to cure the four diseases that infect cities across the globe.
Each player has a different role, which means they can bring something unique to the team. The aim is to create vaccines and eradicate the diseases before there are too many cases.
There are a lot of rules to get your head around, so I recommend watching the video below which explains the rules. It’s the easiest way to understand all the pieces. Once you’re up and playing, it flows nicely. Having a cooperative game can be a nice change, especially for the whole family to play together.
What to Consider When Buying a Board Game For 10-12 Year Olds
There is a wide range in playing time for board games. Some can be done in as little as 30 minutes, and others can be multi-hour epics. When choosing a game, you should try to find one that matches your child’s attention span.
If your child is new to board games, it can be a good idea to stick to shorter games, to begin with. You can build up to the longer games once you’ve piqued their interest. That said, don’t let a longer playtime put you off a game that you think your child would love otherwise. Kids this age are full of surprises.
You know your kids better than anyone. When picking a game, don’t let the recommended ages sway you too much. Some games pitched at younger kids can have surprising depths, and older rated games aren’t always inaccessible. When you’re thinking about the difficulty level, try to keep your mind open.
The perfect board game should be easy to learn but have more depth to it that offers a good level of challenge. Games that are easy get boring fast.
Not all board games are made equal. It is much more enjoyable to play a game that is made using high-quality materials. If the cards and pieces look dogeared after one playthrough, then you’re probably not going to keep going back to it.
Games that look attractive and have beautiful artwork and playing pieces can be really enticing. I have certainly played a game just because the pieces looked well made and interesting.
Choosing games for 10 to 12 year olds is sometimes a little challenge. The theme of the game is fundamental. It doesn’t matter how fun the game is or how interesting the mechanics are if your child never opens the box. I heartily recommend picking a game with a theme that will appeal to your child’s interests.
Some games are fun the first few times you play them, but they get old fast. This is often the case with games where there is a single optimal strategy, or the play feels the same every time. You’ll get more replay value out of games that offer more options or rely on player choices to guide the direction of the game.
Games with expansion options can be a good choice. The existence of expansion packs indicates that the game has been quite popular. It also means that if the game is a hit, you might have your next birthday or Christmas gift sorted!
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I pick the right board game?
There is no magic formula for finding the perfect board game. Some games that seem like they should be an ideal fit can turn out to be a flop. On the other hand, I’ve had my arm twisted to play a game I wasn’t interested in, only to find my new favorite board game.
When it comes to games for kids, I suggest cultivating an open mind and starting with a game that has an attractive theme and look to it.
Are these board games accessible to new players?
All of the games on this list are totally accessible for new or casual players. You don’t need to be a master strategist to enjoy these games.
What are the best types of kids board games?
The best games are the ones your kids enjoy. I apologize if that sounds like a simplistic answer. Board games can be quite a personal thing. It’s like finding a TV show you’ll like. There are a lot of factors that go into the decision, but ultimately it’s a very personal choice.
Kids in this age range are old enough to know what they like. So if you’re struggling, you could always ask them their opinion. Getting them involved in the decision will improve your chances of finding something that you’ll all enjoy playing together.
Last update on 2023-04-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API