7 board games to play with your family on New Year’s Eve

Because Monopoly can get old

With capacity limits once again in place and social gatherings limited to 10 people, you might be looking for some ways to have fun at home on New Year’s Eve. Board games are generally the go-to in our household, but who wants to play the same old boring games like Checkers, Operation, and Guess Who?

Here’s a list of board games that cover a pretty wide spectrum whether you want to outsmart your opponent, work together, or just have some silly, random fun.

Axis & Allies

If you enjoy the strategy (and back-stabbing) of board games like Risk, you should definitely check out Axis & Allies. Lead one of the five powers in a struggle for supremacy during World War 2. There are several versions of this game including a smaller and simpler game that takes less time and can introduce you to the mechanics of the more complicated, original version. Since you have some time though, I do recommend getting steeped in the long and deep strategy of the original.


You won’t exactly be escaping the real world with this one, but I assure you it is a lot of fun. Pandemic is a cooperative board game that has up to four players take on special roles in order to stem the outbreak of infections while working together to produce a cure. A perfect game to get the family to cooperate and work together.


Codenames calls itself the word game for people who are bad at word games. The very simple premise is that a “Codemaster” must give a one-word clue to link as many of their own words on the table together for their partner to guess. It can be played with 4 or more people and is a ton of fun.

Exploding Kittens

Don’t worry, no kittens were harmed in the making of this board game. Exploding kittens is an easy-to-learn game for two to five players that is basically an expanded version of Russian roulette. You draw cards, with some having special abilities that you can use (like skipping your turn), but if you pull an exploding kitten, you lose!

Sheriff of Nottingham

Sheriff of Nottingham is a hilarious bluffing game that has players try to smuggle, bluff, and bribe their way to victory. Each round, a player is named sheriff and the other players must pass goods, some legal and some illegal, to the sheriff in a sealed bag and tell the sheriff what is in it (or not). If the sheriff doesn’t trust that person they can open the bag, and he will either be punished or rewarded if they are right or wrong.

Secret Hitler

Another game of deceit and deception, Secret Hitler is very similar to campfire games like Werewolf and Town of Salem. It has a wider set of rules that I won’t get into but the basic concept is that there are liberals and fascists both trying to pass policies. If either side passes the required amount, they win (or if Hitler is elected president, the fascists also win). The real joy is that only the fascists are known to one another before the game begins, so it’s not long before people are shouting “you’re definitely a fascist!” at one another.

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Castle Panic

Another easy-to-learn board game, Castle Panic is a cooperative experience that has players working together by trading cards, creating strategies, and slaying monsters all in order to protect their castle in the middle of the board. This one has multiple ways to make it harder or easier depending on your skill level too.

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