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Board games are a great way to spend quality time with friends and family at home. Long gone are the days of dusty, boring classics that take hours to finish – there are now plenty of modern tabletop games with creative themes that are fun and engaging to play.
Following a recent increase in popularity, you’ll find a huge selection of new games available to buy in shops and online. We’ve taken a closer look at our favourite subject – food – to find the best tabletop games on the market.
We’ve chosen a range of food-themed games that are suitable for different ages, abilities and budgets. Most games are recommended for ages 8+, since children will require some attention to play and follow the rules.
As well as family games that are easy to learn and quick to play, we’ve also included a few more complex games that would suit teenagers or adults.
We tested the games based on how fun they were to play, value for money and their re-playability over time. Games with quality artwork and well-made components were scored higher, and for family games, we looked at how easy they were to learn and whether they were educational.
If you need to keep the kids entertained on a rainy day or are looking for a fun gift for a foodie friend, read on to discover our top game recommendations.
For more like this, visit our reviews section and find over 400 practical buyer’s guides, including family-friendly round-ups of the best student kitchen essentials, the best toy kitchens for little ones and the best foodie films.
Easily transported and quick to play, card games are a popular option for families and board game beginners.
Abandon all artichokes
Best family travel card game
This fun vegetable-themed card game is the perfect companion for long train journeys or family holidays. It’s easy to learn, speedy and offers great value for money, as kids will want to play again and again – you have been warned!
It offers a good balance of luck and strategy so both children and adults can enjoy the game. Best of all, it packs away neatly in a tin and you just need a small table area to play.
Best two-player card game
Offering beautiful artwork and educational value, too, Fungi is a brilliant two-player card game with a foraging theme. Each player takes it in turns to gather mushrooms from the forest, avoiding poisonous species and cooking the edible ones for extra points.
The mushrooms are drawn in a realistic style with the correct Latin names for each species. This is a strategic card game that will take around 30-40 minutes to play – great for older kids, small families and couples.
Best family card game
Players: 2-5, or expansion available for 2-8
This fast-paced pick-and-pass card game is a real crowdpleaser, and fun to play with all ages. Each player receives a hand of different sushi cards and decides which one they want to keep.
You then pass the remaining cards to the next player and pick another. It sounds simple, but you’ll soon be obsessed with how many dumplings you have in your hand! Perfect for beginners, the cute artwork and quick playing time makes this one a firm family favourite.
Have a big family? It’s worth noting that Sushi Go Party! is a larger version designed for 2-8 players, which includes the base game as well as extra card types and a handy score board.
Tile placement games
This type of game doesn’t use a classic board – instead, players take it in turns to place tiles, a bit like dominoes. Tile placement games are often simple to learn, making them a good starting point for new players.
Best tile placement game
If you enjoy card games and are looking for the next step, Cacao is a beautifully illustrated tile-based game that will engage kids and adults. Playing as a tribe leader, the objective is to cultivate and sell cacao, resulting in the most gold at the end of the game.
The rules are well explained and easy to follow, although we suggest allowing a little extra time to learn the game if playing with 8-12-year-olds. Once you’re in the swing of it, this 45-minute game has a well-balanced competitive pace and is great fun to play.
Available from Amazon (£26.66)
Modern games can vary in complexity and are usually labelled as entry-level (easy), mid-weight (intermediate) or heavy-weight (difficult).
Best board game for teens
Teens and adults with a keen interest in cooking will enjoy this competitive, restaurant-themed game. Players get to build their own food court by choosing their favourite world cuisines and hiring the best chefs to make their business a success.
Setting up the various cards and tokens takes a little while at first, but the result is a fun family game that plays differently every time – offering good value, even though it’s a little pricier. We love the high-quality artwork and components, too.
Best entry-level board game
Players: 3-4, or expansion available for 5-6 players
Catan is an award-winning classic board game that sees players competing for resources on an island. As well as making strategic decisions on where to place settlements, players will need negotiation skills to trade with others in order to win the game.
There’s strategy and luck involved – adults will enjoy playing as much as older children and teens. You can expect to play for 1-2 hours depending on experience and age of the players. This farming-based game is more of an investment but the layout changes every time, giving it huge replay value.
Agricola: Family edition
Best mid-weight board game
The original version of this popular board game is quite complex – we prefer this streamlined family edition as a way to introduce younger kids to more strategic gameplay. It’s essentially a farming game with players competing for resources; wooden components represent pigs, cows, sheep and wheat on your farm.
Each player builds their own farm and takes it in turns to allocate workers to the most productive places on the board. Once you’ve learnt the rules, each game will typically last around 45 minutes. We love the fact that this game can be played single-player, too.
Best heavy-weight board game
In it for the long haul? For seasoned board game enthusiasts, Viticulture is a critically-acclaimed strategy game set in the world of wine-making. It’s more suited to groups of adults or older teens who have previous experience of tabletop games.
You can expect to enjoy a complex, layered game with lots of rule-checking along the way – games are estimated to last at least 90 minutes, and we’d suggest allowing a little more. The wine-making theme is brilliantly executed – each player is given a board which represents their own vineyard – and the game is above all wonderfully immersive and engaging.
Co-operative board games
While most board games are competitive, there are also some fantastic co-operative games where players work together to win.
Best co-operative game
Wok Star is a fast-paced, co-operative family game where players work together in real time to run a Chinese restaurant. Each person chooses a different character to play, then everyone simultaneously helps to prepare dishes within a 30-second window for each customer.
Working against the clock while communicating with each other makes this game exciting to play – there are bound to be some heated discussions around the table as you race to complete orders! You can adjust the difficulty level to easy, medium or hard mode for different ages. We highly recommend this game and think it’s well priced for the amount of fun it offers.
Available from Zoku (£26.69)
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Have we missed your favourite board game? Let us know in the comments below…
This page was last updated in August 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.