Family game night is an excellent way to bring your deepest darkest resentments and conflicts with the people closest to you right up to the surface, and build some new ones along the way! Sure, no one has ever gotten stabbed over “Family Movie Night,” but sometimes you have to figuratively and literally roll the dice.
Here are the top classic board games ranked by their ability to make your family give up on the pretense of concepts like “love” and eat each other like the animals you truly are.
52. Hungry Hungry Hippos
Hippos kill more humans than any other animal in the world, but aside from inviting a few mean jokes toward the heaviest member of your family, there’s very little chance for Hungry Hungry Hippos to tear a family apart forever.
51. Apples to apples
If you’ve never played it, Apples to Apples is basically like an even more dumbed-down version of Cards Against Humanity without the “Against Humanity” part. Just simple, non hentai/AIDS/racism nouns matched to adjectives. Any family game night can have a sore loser, but if this one causes significant friction in your family you guys have way deeper issues to work out.
50. Connect 4
Basically a glorified version of Tic Tac Toe, Connect 4 actually requires you to make pleasant chit-chat in the hopes of distracting your opponent from what’s right in front of their face. If your family can’t enjoy Connect 4 without serious conflict, move out immediately.
Look, if you’re arguing over a game of checkers, it has nothing to do with the checkers and everything to do with the fact that you hate your siblings.
48. Dream Phone
Unless someone in your family is drunk enough to make really inappropriate “twink” comments you’re pretty safe playing Dream Phone.
In the commercials when you lose at Jenga that’s okay, it’s part of the fun! In reality, it’s Mom, every single goddamned time. Is she doing it for attention?
A deceptively challenging game with a million opportunities to make one innocent mistake that will 100% be interpreted as a lie.
45. Guess Who
This game seems straightforward, but there’s just enough room for error in the interpretation of certain questions to build accusations of cheating that will serve as the seeds for resentments that can last a lifetime.
44. Mystery date
There’s no reason for this game to devolve into a passive-aggressive tiff rooted in homophobia when played with a family group, and yet every family has at least one dude who will bring it there every single time.
In the movie, Jumanji is a magical game forcing players into an epic high-stakes adventure. In reality, it’s little more than a re-skinned version of Candyland that will have your family shouting “Whose dumb idea was it to play this boring game anyway?!” in no time.
This classic Napoleon-themed war game is simple enough to instill children with the close-to-the-chest tact they’ll one day use to tiptoe through future family gatherings.
Versions of this game date back to ancient Egypt, but the modern American version always ends the same way: Children in the back of a car whining “Why do we always have to go to Grandma’s house, it’s boring!”
If your family agrees to play Risk, it’s because it’s a board game they have heard of and they have absolutely no information beyond that. Technically the game can last days, but you’ll all storm off hating one another within a few torturous hours.
A straight-up dice gambling game disguised as wholesome entertainment, sort of like the razor-thin veneer of “loving family” You know is hanging by a thread.
If you think your problem-drinking uncle isn’t going to turn your game of Othello into a race thing you’ve got another thing coming.
37. Chutes and Ladders
A game with absolutely zero strategy, the winner is determined by what each player randomly spins. So why is my brother looking so smug after winning? You didn’t like, DO anything bro, get over yourself.
Another zero strategy game, the winner being predetermined by the order of the cards at the beginning of the game. So why does your cousin keep insisting she’s “good at it”? You should be able to let it go, but you just can’t, I mean what does that even mean?!
With all of those colors, numbers, and a somewhat complex scoring system there’s bound to be at least one member of your family with just enough of a processing disorder to have a full-on meltdown.
34. Exploding kittens
This ain’t your Grandmother’s card game! That’s probably why she’s so confused. You’re trying to explain the rules as politely as you can but you know it’s only a matter of time before you yell at her, and you already hate yourself for it.
33. Mall Madness
This game seems like a cutesy celebration of ‘80s consumerism, but it can bring out the worst in people. It’s basically Black Friday, the home edition. You even need to find your parking spot after you buy everything.
The first time you hear that little buzzer go off everyone has a nice fun laugh. After the 100th time, you will look the woman who gave birth to you dead in the eye and say “What the hell is wrong with you?!”
While its cousin Scrabble is a much more potent argument generator, Boggle gets some points because you can grab it with one hand and use it as a projectile if you’re mad enough.
It’s never too early to teach kids the smarmy passive-aggression that will generate physical fights with their siblings for years, maybe decades!