Best board games by decade

Quality family time around a classic board game.
Quality family time around a classic board game. Photo: Getty

There aren’t many adults today who don’t have fond memories from when they were a child, sitting around the family table with their favourite board game. It brought out the best and at times the worst (for those with a competitive streak) in all of us.

With children of your own now, you are no doubt continuing this age-old tradition and while the new-release games are still fun there is something to be said for the classics. We have collected a list of our favourite releases by decade for you to add to your growing pile of games.

Favourites from the 1960s

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Mouse Trap - A fun family favourite that requires 2 to 4 players. Players must start the game working together to build a Rube Goldberg-like mouse trap but once the trap is built, the players turn against one another. There new goal is to trap all their opponents mouse-shaped pieces in order to be crowned the winner.

Battleship - A two-person guessing game that requires opponents to arrange their fleet of ships on a grid so that only they can see where they are placed. Players must then take shot at the enemy's fleet by guessing the players squares on the grid. When all the squares of a ship have been hit the ship is sunk and the player announces it to his opponent. When all the player's ships have been sunk the game is over and the other player wins.

Trouble - In this board game players must be the first to move all four of their pieces around the board according to the roll of a die that is encased inside a plastic bubble in the center of the board that you need to push down on for it to roll.

Favourites from the 1970s

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Rummikub – This game consists of numbered tiles that range in value from one to thirteen in four colours, with each combination of colour and number represented twice. Players must keep these tiles hidden from their opponents and place consecutive numbered tiles or matching numbered tiles alongside the ones already placed in the center of the game by the other players, until all their tiles have been surrendered to the middle.

Connect Four - This is a two player game that is similar in some ways to naughts and crosses. Each player chooses a colour then takes turns dropping the coloured discs from the top into a vertically suspended grid. The goal of the game is to connect all four of your coloured discs in a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal row before your opponent does by blocking their row with your coloured disc.

Guess Who - Is a two player guessing game that requires opponents to guess which of the cartoon faces on their board game is the opponent's person by asking questions that will eliminate characters on the board game until they can confidently 'Guess Who'.

Favourites from the 1980s

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Trivial Pursuit – If you have a wealth of information on general knowledge and popular culture stored up in your brain then Trivial Pursuit is the game for you. Consisting of 2 to 6 teams, players must progress around the board based on their ability to answer the trivia questions.

Balderdash - If you are as good at trivia as you are at bluffing and have a Scrabble players love of words then you should excel at Balderdash. Players must be able to correctly write down the definition of the word called out or write one that is convincing enough to fool your opponents into choosing your wrong answer as the correct one. Points are awarded to players who either write down the correct definition and those whose wrong answer is selected by players as the right one.

Taboo - One of the best party games out there, Taboo requires 4 or more players to make up a minimum of 2 teams to play. The objective of the game is to get the members of your team to correctly guess the word hidden on your card by describing it to them in a way that doesn't use that word or any of the additional banned five words listed on the card.

For more inspiration have a look through our family board games photo gallery.