Below you’ll find the best superhero(board & video) games for kids by age that you’ll be able to enjoy as a family.
Love may be the bond that holds families together, but games are a close second. Check out our list of favorite fantasy board games for families. Whether it be a simple round of card game classics like Old Maid and War, complex modern board games like The Settlers of Catan and Carcassone, or good old video games like Wii Sports and Jackbox Party Pack, games pull the family together.
In fact, the only thing that threatens to unseat game time as the ultimate family experience is sharing nerdy media, particularly superhero movies and shows. In the same way that parents and kids gather around the table for a rousing game of Sorry!, others plop on the couch, fire up Disney+ to laugh and thrill at The Avengers and WandaVision.
While some families certainly prefer games and others prefer movies, there’s really no reason to choose. Nerdy families who want to combine their love of superheroes with a passion for gaming will have plenty of options.
Superhero games offer the best of all possible worlds. Inserting superheroes into proven titles like Candy Land and Street Fighter gives a new and exciting twist to old favorites that everyone already knows. These games also give players a chance to indulge their nerdy side. They not only let players take on the roles of famous characters like Batman and Captain Marvel, but many refer to lesser-known characters such as Guy Gardner and Kate Bishop. And, of course, they let parents and children complete and collaborate with one another, growing closer as they get nerdier.
In fact, there are so many options that they can get a little overwhelming. But have no fear, nerdy parent! We’re here to help you narrow down the list and point you toward the best superhero-themed games. Make sure before you leave you check out our favorite superhero toys by age as well to truly spoil those little ones.
Chutes & Ladders (or Snakes & Ladders, if you’re in the UK) is a mainstay of family game time, dating back to the ancient Indian game Moksha Potam. Its simple structure, in which players roll the dice to land on game spaces that either move them far forward or sets them all the way back, is practically board game perfection. But do you know what would make it better? Spider-Man.
A spin-off of the animated series Marvel Super Hero Adventures, Spider-Man Web Warriors Chutes & Ladders fills the classic game with not only Spider-Man but also cool new characters from the show, such as White Tiger and Power Man. More than a simple reskinning of a well-known game, this take on Chutes & Ladders introduces a narrative component, letting kids pretend that they are heroes taking down the evil Electro as they rise and fall across the board.
For younger children, there’s not much separation between gameplay and pretend time. In fact, it can be hard to get kids to stop dashing through the house shouting “I’m the Flash!” long enough to take their turn in a game. The I Can Do That! solves the problem by integrating a child’s wild imagination into the actual gameplay.
Designed around 15-minute rounds, perfectly suited to a child’s short attention span, I Can Do That! gives each player a superhero-themed challenge. Can your kid throw a hammer-like Thor? Can they shoot webs with the accuracy of Spider-Man? Can they race through an obstacle course with the speed of Captain Marvel? After playing this game, your kid will answer, “I can do that!”
Apples to Apples is one of the most popular recent family games, and with good reason. A card-based game in which players make comparisons between two different things or concepts, Apples to Apples lets kids explore their creative and critical thinking sides.
The Marvel Edition of Apples to Apples keeps the basic structure of the original game, but it adds characters like Captain America and Thor. Players still make comparisons between their favorite heroes and villains, but the Marvel Edition brings in new dynamics, such as the deck-clearing “Thanos Snap” trap. With vibrant images from some of the best modern comic book artists, Apples to Apples: Marvel Edition lets kids be creative and nerdy!
All younger kids want to play video games, but not many this age have the hand-eye coordination to enjoy the same titles played by their older friends and siblings. Fortunately, there are the Lego video games, with bringing to gaming consoles the same accessible approach as the toy bricks for which the company is known.
The Incredibles video game follows the basic plot of the 2004 Pixar classic, with a family of superheroes battling against the evil Syndrome. But it also uses the great Lego video game format. Although these games do have the same life bars and mission objectives that you would find in most platformers, they are decidedly low stakes. These games have no “Game Over” state, they have almost no violence (characters who lose explode into Lego bricks), and they reward exploration and creativity. Throw in some fun cartoon cut scenes and advanced multiplayer modes, and Lego The Incredibles is the perfect choice for relaxing family video game time.
If you’ve been in any toy aisle lately, you’ve certainly seen boxes and boxes of Funko Pops! Little figurines with giant heads and cute button eyes, Funko Pops! have made their name by appealing to both children and collectors, drawing from everything from extremely popular franchises such as Disney Princesses to the not-so-kid-friendly cult series Twin Peaks.
The Funkoverse game comes with two mini-Pop figures in the shape of Wonder Woman and her arch-nemesis Cheetah and works them into a simple strategy game. With card sets that present different scenarios and buffs, along with a game board that encourages dynamic play, the Funkoverse DC Comics game has all of the fan service and nerd fun that you want in a superhero-themed item, along with a strategy structure that appeals to players who want more difficult games.
Once the domain of analytical thinkers squirreled away in their basements, strategy games have been enjoying a wave of unprecedented popularity. Thanks to surprisingly accessible games such as Ticket to Ride and The Settlers of Catan, even casual players can sink their teeth into games far more complex than good ol’ Monopoly and Clue. In 2018, the venerable German puzzle maker Ravensburger brought Disney into the strategy game world with Villainous, in which players take the role of classic movie baddies such as Maleficent and Jafar.
Marvel Villainous: Infinite Power swaps out those cartoon antagonists for supervillains Loki, Ultron, and Thanos. Acting as one of these evildoers, each player sets out to achieve a goal such as collecting the Infinity Stones, with the help of cards that introduce buffs and gameplay alterations. With a variable structure that allows players to change the difficulty and impressively designed player figures, Marvel Villainous is the perfect game for everyone from dedicated strategy game nerds and casual fans.
Ever since Pokémon exploded onto American scores in the mid-90s, deck-building games have been popular among cards. Deckbuilding games combine the strategy and action of classic card games with the trading and collectible fun of sports card collecting. Unsurprisingly, superheroes have invaded the genre, spreading their full host of characters and scenarios onto the collectible cards.
Like most deck-building games, this DC version includes character cards, event cards, and various types of buffs and game-changers. Subjects of the cards go very deep into DC Comics, featuring lesser-known characters such as Red Son Superman (a version of Superman who was raised in the Soviet Union) and the villainous Parallax, as well as deep-cut comic stories, including Infinite Crisis.
Although most of the titles in the genre are rated T or M, fighting games have a wider appeal than nearly any other type. They feature bright, over-the-top characters with simple objectives (beat the person in front of you), and they can be played by simply mashing buttons. No fighting game defined the genre like Capcom’s Street Fighter II, which established not only the mechanics but the goofy characters. The Marvel vs. Capcom series brings Marvel Comics characters into fighting games for a perfect fit. Even those who don’t recognize Mega Man or Resident Evil’s Chris Redfield will still get a kick out of playing as Spider-Man and Iron Man.
The most recent entry in the Marvel vs. Capcom series, Infinite has an odd story that involves the two fictional universes combining. The plot might throw some kids, especially those who didn’t grow up playing Street Fighter or Mega Man. But at the end of the day, the game has all of the over-the-top action that you want, made all the more fun when heroes use the Infinity Stones to improve Captain America and Black Panther. No one cares about the story when you can simply mash on the buttons to stage massive battles between Marvel’s greatest heroes.