Inside: After sampling over 50 board games for 3 players, here are our best 3 player board games for families. These board games are perfect for children and parents.
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Every year for Christmas I hunt down 12 of the best board games I can find, wrap them and attach a month to each one instead of a name tag. Then on the first of each month, they open a new board game. We call this Game of the Month. It’s the gift that lasts all year long.
Throughout the designated month we play the heck out of the particular game. This year will be our 5th year.
The problem I have is finding awesome 3 player board games. Most board games are best suited for 4 people. Four people allow for teams and it’s an even number.
But, we are a family of 3. It’s the 2 kids and me. So I spend a considerable amount of time looking for award-winning family games for 3 players.
Here is our list of the best 3 player board games out of over 50 games we have played over the years. These board games are the ones we still play month after month. Some games didn’t last after the first month of opening, but these below are still on our shelf and still in our rotation.
The Best 3 Player Board Games for Families
A Note About the Games
These are not your standard Candy Land or Chutes and Ladders. These must have games are harder to find and some (not all) cost more than a couple of cups of coffee.
I always consider what I’m getting back in return. How many hours are we sitting down as a family? Two or three of us sitting together, no electronics (gasp), for multiple evenings with no drama. Add up all those hours and I guarantee you cannot buy this entertainment (and time with your children) anywhere.
2-6 Players / Age 8 and Up (Note: my kids started at age 7 with no issues)
This is my favorite game of the bunch. It’s similar to SkipBo but more action-packed. It’s also more fun the more people you have but I play it all the time with my 2 kids and we love it.
We began playing it when my youngest was 7 and he picked it up quickly.
There is a playing arena everyone plays their cards. There is no taking turns, everyone plays their cards onto the arena, trying to create as many piles of 1-12 as they can – you play on each other’s cards. Once the round is over, you count to see who has the most cards played and those are the points. You play as many rounds as needed until the number of points is reached.
2-4 Players / Age 6 and Up
This is an easy and fun game to play with younger and older kids. Everyone has 3 test tubes you arrange the balls to look like the picture shown on the cards. You can make it more difficult by not allowing the test tubes to touch the table.
2-6 Players / Age 10 and Up
If your kids like the board game Clue, they (and you) will love this game. Suspicion is a mystery game minus the murder aspect. It’s all about strategically figuring out who each person is. It’s more difficult the more players, but I almost always play with 2 or 3, unless the kids have a friend over. Clue is impossible to play with 2 players, it’s obvious, where Suspicion can be played with 2 players.
It can be difficult to find this game if Amazon doesn’t have it, then sometimes Target does.
1-4 Players / Ages 8 and Up
Dimension is a strategic puzzle game requiring you to work with different colored spheres and meet all the requirements of the cards shown within the timeframe given.
Each player has their workspace and when the time is up you see how many points you accumulate. Points are awarded depending on how many spheres you used and how many requirement cards you met. It’s a fun game where your children won’t even realize they are learning at the same time.
One of my children is more of a strategic thinker than the other, but surprisingly that child doesn’t shine in this game. So my other child gets the greatest pleasure out of this game. It is wonderful for their self-esteem.
2-4 Players / Ages 6 and Up
This is another family favorite. Each player starts with tiles laid down on a master board. They align by color and shape. You get points for laying them down in certain patterns.
This game has straightforward scoring. Scoring is not complicated, but it is a continuous addition. Plus extra points for creativity. I let the kids keep score to work on their math skills.
Everyone has a lot of fun, and it’s not a game in which you can easily beat your kids.
2-4 Players / Ages 7 and Up (Easily 6-Year Olds can play)
This is a good one for younger kids, but I was surprised my 10-year old wanted to play it so many times. The manufacturer says ages 7 and up, but even younger can play this game.
There are cards you indicate whether you have them or not and then you guess whether the person is fibbing or not. If you are wrong, you get a nose added to your glasses. If the person is fibbing and they are caught, they get a nose added. It’s funny, and it goes by fast. But it is easy to figure out by the cards as an adult.
2-6 Players / Ages 6 and Up
Kids love this wild game where different cards have them do things like put a spoon on their head or repeat a rhyme everytime a 6 is rolled or other silly stunts. My kids pretty much always want to play this game, it can take some energy out of you to play it as you have to get up and move around.
By the time my kids were 10, I had let them play the adult Quelf. I don’t know any adults that want to put makeup on with their eyes closed and sit there for the whole game. As long as your kids can read, I would buy the adult version.
2-4 Players / Ages 7 and Up
This game reminds me of Tetris except playing on a board game, and each player has their pieces. The twist is trying to connect your pieces but only touching the corners and try to make them fit on the board before the whole board is filled up – any pieces left at the end count against you.
It’s another good strategic game for kids.
2-4 Players / Ages 10 and Up
This is our current favorite game. It is different from most games because you all play together to “beat” the deck. There are goal cards for everyone to work together to match colors or numbers all without telling each other what is in your hand. If you have kids who get upset when someone is always winning, this is a good one to play together.
1-4 Players / Ages 8 and Up
This is a puzzle game for each person to figure out on their own before the timer goes out. You each get your own board game, and pieces and you have to find a way for the pieces to fit. Each board is different, and they are all challenging. There are more difficult boards if you want to have a more challenging board while your child plays the less challenging but both can be difficult.
Game of the Month
When a game doesn’t win the final rotation, we either donate it to the kids’ elementary school for inside recess or take it to our local Goodwill.
We keep our game shelf with open spaces because next Christmas the Game of the Month will be returning with 12 wrapped games.