Classic Board Games for Families, like Operation, Aggravation, & More

Classic board games, like Operation and Aggravation, are a fun way to bond with family and friends, so let’s get playing!

Monopoly money and game pieces photo

Hello all, today we’ll be discussing classic board games. When the topic of board games comes up, usually the first thing that comes to mind is a night with family and friends. It’s a fun way to unwind and spend time together.  Unless, that is, you or someone you’re playing with is the overly competitive type. But hey, what’s a few games without smack talk? Personally, I find gentle ribbing and friendly taunting the funniest part of the night (your mileage may vary). No matter what happens though, remember to have fun and repeat to yourself, “It’s only a game.”

Real quick, if you’re looking for more modern, fantastical board game options, be sure to check out our list of fantasy board games that parents will enjoy playing with their kids!

Now then, gather everyone around the table. It’s time to play some classic board games!

Operation Board Game Box photo


We begin with one of the most frustrating, irritating, and anxiety inducing games that’ll have you screaming that you didn’t touch the sides. But we all heard the buzzer, and despite what anyone claims, you’ll wonder if you really did touch the sides or is the game just trying to make you look bad. That game, of course, is Operation. Listen, ignore my saltiness, it’s a fun game, just be patient.

Sorry Box photo


The original, and the blueprint for creating the type of people who are most likely take board games way too seriously. But, I suppose, in Sorry that’s kind of the point. In this game, it’s genuinely okay to ruin your friends good time by being a jerk. I can only imagine the number lifelong beefs this game has created. But I mean, hey, you technically get to say, “Sorry.” Okay, wow, that was bad even for me. 

Candy Land Box photo

Candy Land

I adored Candy Land as a kid, for a multitude of reasons. Real talk, the art on the 2005 version was my everything and after it changed, not gonna lie, part of my spirit faded. It was a trying time for my sister and I, since we both watched and adored the 2005 animated movie based on the game (oops, is my age showing?). Honestly, childhood nostalgia is kicking in pretty hard, right now, so I’m gonna go.

Classic Board Games: Aggravation Box photo


So, major reveal and utter disappointment, I’ve never actually played this game. Nor do I really know the rules. I’ve seen it around and in the attics of my family members, but I never learned how to play. So, I feel slightly bad, because I know this is probably someone’s favorite game, and I don’t understand it at all, like all I know is it contains some marbles. I do understand how to play marbles though, so there’s that. 

Classic Board Games: Monopoly Box photo


Another game you can technically be a jerk in, but, I guess that depends on how you play and how you are as a person. I’ve played a handful of times but have never finished a single game. There’s something about this game that makes me want to play it, especially because as time goes on, the game gets cute new versions to match certain shows and fandoms. It’s not retro, but the Animal Crossing version certainly has my eye. 

Classic Board Games: The Game of Life Box photo

The Game of Life

Another favorite from my childhood. Not going to lie, out of all the games on this list, this one was genuinely an obsession. I even played the computer version. Weird to think about it now, because real life turned out nothing like this cute board game. I’m supposed to be a doctor with four kids and a mansion by now, dang it! Sorry, that was personal. 

Classic Board Games: Clue Box photo


The original murder mystery that’s actually kind of dark for kids if you think about it, but I digress. Also, not many other board games got an actual good movie based on it. Much as I love Liam Neeson, Battleship doesn’t count, people. It’s been a very long time since I’ve played this, but the concept was always so fun for me, especially the mystery aspect. It’s fun to solve mysteries! 

Classic Board Games: Guess Who Box photo

Guess Who

Speaking of mysteries, this classic is one of the simplest games on our list, but that doesn’t make it any less interesting. Using your powers of observation and critical thinking to discover the truth! Just be careful not to play with cheater. I think we all know that one person who doesn’t want to be truthful and will lead you astray despite what the rules say. I may be speaking from personal experience, here.

Classic Board Games: Mouse Trap Box photo

Mouse Trap

My first introduction to Rube Goldberg machines, this game is another childhood favorite. It’s a very cute game and you get to handle cheese. I mean, who doesn’t love cheese?! Oh right, lactose intolerant people don’t. Anyways, I wish I got to play it more growing up because I always found building the mouse trap charming.

Classic Board Games: Chutes and Ladders Box photo

Chutes and Ladders

Okay, truth time. Which name do you prefer? “Chutes and Ladders” or “Snakes and Ladders”? I know there are no snakes on this box but I think we’ve all seen both variations of this game in some form. Maybe you’re like me and heard of Snakes and Ladders first and never got the image of slithering reptiles out of your head. Personally, lowkey, it’ll always be Snakes and Ladders to me, but hey, chutes are fun too. 

Classic Board Games: Connect 4 Box photo

Connect 4

If someone were to ask me years ago if I thought Connect 4 was a board game, I’d have said no. But honestly it counts, and that’s the shocking part of this story. Now as easy of a concept as this game is, I’ve only ever won a total of three times. In my defense, I never played much as a kid, but as an adult, I think I would dominate at this game. Anyone up for a game?

Classic Board Games: Trouble Box photo


This game and I have history. See, much like Uno, the people I played with made up their own rules and I honestly just went with it. So, when researching, I learned the actual rules—honestly, tutorials really are magical. Turns out, it was nowhere near as complicated as what little kid me had to suffer through. Oh well. At least, I always had fun using the Pop-O-Matic.

Classic Board Games: Scrabble Box photo


I’m sure most of you have heard of Scrabble. Well, this simple word game that can get pretty competitive, and sometimes, it can even have some of us questioning if we ever knew actual words to begin with. I remembering reading dictionaries just so I could beat my grandma at this game. My favorite valid Scrabble word I discovered: “pyx.” Put that 15-point three-lettered word on a Triple word score and you’re golden!

Classic Board Games: Trivial Pursuit Box photo

Trivial Pursuit

When I think of this game, I get flashbacks to taking pop quizzes at school. Then, I curl up and cry because I hated pop quizzes. Also, whenever I played this, I’d get stomped. Maybe I need to make more dumb friends… I’m not bitter. Anyways, if you’re not like me and are actually good at trivia that isn’t limited to just cartoons, video games, and anime, then I’m sure you’ll always love seeing who’s the most trivial, I mean smartest, in the room. Okay, fine, I am bitter.

Classic Board Games: Yahtzee Box photo


Okay, for really real, I love this game. There’s just something so satisfying about rattling dice around in a cup and rolling them. It’s almost therapeutic. That is, until you need one more six to make upper section bonus but you keep rolling fives. I already have my fives! Gimme a six, dang it! Sorry, I’m getting carried away again. Seriously, though, this game brings me joy.

Dungeon Box photo


Some of you may remember this as your first introduction into the world of Dungeons and Dragons. Others of you don’t remember this at all, and are probably wondering why it’s on this list. Well, this game has been around since the 70s (which qualifies it as a classic to me), and it’s a really fun family game too. If your family loves fantasy, check it out!

For even more fantasy fun, pop on over to our instructional article about how to plan your kid’s first D&D adventure.

Uno Box photo


Last, but certainly not least, is Uno. Now, I hear you, that’s not a game that comes with a board, and yes, you’re right, but my editor approved it nonetheless, so here we are. This simple, yet diabolical, card game is probably best known to have people causing fights because everyone wants to make up their own rules. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve never played Uno the same way twice, out of the multiple times I’ve played it. Good thing this deck comes with the official rules to settle all arguments.