*Ladders’ affiliate partners provide us compensation for product links on our site.
Thanks to their subtle distraction from direct conversation and eye contact, board games are such a great way to break the ice at a party or with distant family over the holidays… However, now that we’ve all been sheltering in place due to the pandemic, they also offer a great escape from the mundanity or Netflix, snacks, and repeat.
With that in mind, we’re sharing some of the best-selling board and card games on Amazon—from anagram-based word games to putting your pop culture and useless knowledge to work, these pretty much guarantee a fun and entertaining night
Arguably one of the most popular board games of all time, Scrabble is always a safe bet for both parties and at-home date nights. It’s easy enough to play, just about everyone has played a round before, and it’s a lot of fun—especially for anagram geeks. Alternatively, if you’re looking for something to play outside at the cottage or on a patio, consider Bananagrams —it’s similar enough to Scrabble but packs into a cheeky banana-shaped carrying case for easy transport. Buy it here.
Formerly known as Settlers of Catan, this rather new board game was quickly embraced by board game lovers around the globe for its easy-to-master rules: guide settlers to victory by collecting and trading resources that will build a settlement before the other players around the board. Interestingly, Catan has a variety of expansion packs to accommodate more players or a variety of new challenges, including cities and knights, pirates, and more. Buy it here.
You either love or hate Monopoly, there is no in-between. Dating back to 1935, the polarizing board game was created by Charles Darrow before being made popular by Parkers Brothers.
The classic property acquiring game might even be on your shelf already—but it might be worth looking into an updated board if you’re looking for a new challenge. Today, the classic game has an endless list of spin-offs, including a cheater’s edition and even Monopoly reimagined as a socialist society. Buy it here.
Whether you’re a fan of memes or you have endless pop culture knowledge rolling around in your head, What Do You Meme is a hilarious, light-hearted card game for anyone looking for a good laugh rather than a fierce competition. The expansion packs range for all tastes and talking points—from Mean Girls and Real Housewives to Disney and more general family-friendly packs. Think of it as a slightly less crude version of Cards Against Humanity. Buy it here.
If your free time is spent reading true crime, listening to forensic podcasts, or going down the rabbit hole of the latest murder mystery documentary on Netflix, there’s no question that Clue is for you. While it might not get into the gruesome nitty-gritty of pathology or forensic science, this classic murder mystery board game still requires fast thinking, problem solving, and close attention to detail. Buy it here.
While it may not be a classic card game quite yet, Anomia is one of the most engaging, fast-paced card games on the list. The card game plays off the fact that our minds are constantly swimming all sorts of useless knowledge and puts our memory and ability to recall day-to-day mundanity to the test. Buy it here.
In this game of global domination, players control territories of the world and must weigh the risk of playing defense or going on the offense to try and win more territories. The game works just as well with two places as it does with a whole group, which makes it a great option for anyone isolating at home with an equally competitive partner. Buy it here.