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Best board games for 8 year olds (and some to avoid)

Introduction

So your child is eight years old and if you have searched for and found this article it is likely you are in the market for some great board games. I have researched the most popularly rated games on Board Games Geek and Amazon to find the best games suitable for 8 years old.

There are plenty of board games available for your 8 year old but finding the right one can be tricky. Here are my recommendations for the very best board games for your 8 year olds. From 2 player upwards I have recommended collaborative board games, games they can play with ther older or younger siblings and even some to avoid. Read on to find the best board games for your 8 year olds.

Before we get into the best board games for 8 year olds, I looked up some information on the development stage your child is currently in. Hopefully this will help guide your decisions about what sort of games you wish to purchase.

8 year old development stage

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) groups 8 year olds in the 6-8 year age group. In their Middle Childhood (6-8 years of age) article they note that your child is beginning to be more independent. They can do more for themselves such as get dressed and tie their own shoelaces. It states that this is a critical time for the child to develop confidence throughout their life.

8 year olds cheakily peaking over hedge

Image by Lenka Fortelna from Pixabay

Emotional/Social Changes

Children in this age group might:

  • Show more independence from parents and family.
  • Start to think about the future.
  • Understand more about their place in the world.
  • Pay more attention to friendships and teamwork.
  • Want to be liked and accepted by friends.

Thinking and Learning

Children in this age group might:

  • Show rapid development of mental skills.
  • Learn better ways to describe experiences and talk about thoughts and feelings.
  • Have less focus on one’s self and more concern for others.

Taken from “Middle Childhood (6-8 years of age)” on CDC website.

The Center for Parenting Education in their post, Child Development by Age, writes that at 8 years old the child is generally ‘Lively and Outgoing.’ They also list that the child may have a more intense relationship with the mother and also cite that they may want to play more board games with her. 

They also note that your 8 year old, “likes to acquire, barter, arrange, classify, and gloat about possessions.” Well that sounds like a great opportunity to play that out through board games to me. Which brings me nicely onto this post about the best board games for 8 year olds.

How I picked the best board games for your 8 year olds

We all know the classic games of Scrabble, Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit and Clue (Cluedo in the UK) and there are plenty of these versions for children of 8 years and younger. So I won’t be listing those here in order to bring you something new to play. Of course the good old classics are always worth buying and introducing to your loved ones. However, if you are looking for something a little different then read on as I have some great choices for you.

I researched over 500 games on Amazon and Board Game Geek to find more than 80 games suitable for your 8 year old. I then reviewed each game, it’s ratings and how many people had reviewed the game.

With this in mind I selected the very best games with the highest ratings on both Amazon and Board Game Geek to share with you below. I have categorised the different board games for your 8 year old so that you can quickly find the best games for your family. 

I have included are best board games for:

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

  • 2, 3, 4, and 5 players.
  • 8 year olds with younger siblings.
  • 8 year olds with older siblings.
  • 8 year olds with younger and older siblings.
  • Collaborative board games for 8 year olds.
  • Best holiday or travel board games for 8 year olds.
  • Finally, I have mentioned a few games to avoid.

Let’s start with the Best Family Board Game for 8 year olds as this will be the most inclusive.

Best family board game for 8 year olds

I have included games here that will not only be perfect for your 8 year old but also the whole family too. Whatever your family size these games will enable you all to join in and enjoy playing.

So let’s have a look at the best family board games that your 8 year old will love.

I have broken down the games so you can easily see which are best depending on the number of players. Starting with 3 players and working up through 4, and 5 players. Finally I have put a couple of board games together for collaborative play and parties.

Best 2 player board game for 8 year olds – Gunslinger Vs Samurai, Dice Throne: Season 2

Players
2
Playtime (minutes)
20-40
Complexity
Easy 0-5 Hard
2.33
Overall
7.7
Players
2
Complexity
Easy 0-5 Hard
2.33
Playtime (minutes)
20-40
Overall

7.7

Dice Throne is an epic cross between a card and dice game. You can see that it is on the more complex side of board games and will definitely need some adult input at least at the beginning. The set is actually two heroes from a list of 16. The heroes can be purchased separately in duo sets (like this one) or in complete season battle chests of 8 each.

Box Sets (season 1):

  • Barbarian Vs Moon Elf
  • Monk Vs Paladin
  • Pyromancer Vs Shadow Thief
  • Treant Vs Ninja

Box Sets (Season 2):

  • Gunslinger Vs Samurai
  • Tactician Vs Huntress
  • Artificer Vs Cursed Pirate
  • Seraph Vs Vampire Lord
Samurai pieces

So, there is plenty of room for expansion if you like it and will enable you to play with more players. 

This would be my recommendation as it could lead to hours of fun once mastered and give huge flexibility with game modes that can include 1v1, 2v2, 3v3 or even 2v2v2. There is also an expansion to enable a cooperative mode of play called Dice Throne Adventures.

Best 2 player board game alternative for 8 year olds – Santorini

Players
2-4
Playtime (minutes)
20
Complexity
Easy 0-5 Hard
1.72
Overall
7.5
Players
2-4
Complexity
Easy 0-5 Hard
1.72
Playtime (minutes)
20
Overall

7.5

Santorini Board Game

Whilst Dice Throne is on the more complicated side, Santorini on the other hand is a lot simpler to grasp and a great strategy building game. It is as difficult to play as your opponent is skilled and is very inclusive. 

The Board Game Geek community even considered this game would be suitable for 6+ and I would agree. At its core it is very simple to learn the rules and play which makes it very accessible to all ages. The 3D board is also imaginative and looks great. Check out the full Santorini review here if you are interested in finding out more.

Players
2-4
Age
8+
Playtime (minutes)
20
Rating
7.5

Best 3 player board game for 8 year olds – Toy Story: Obstacles & Adventures

Players
2-5
Playtime (minutes)
45-90
Complexity
Easy 0-5 Hard
1.80
Overall
7.7
Players
2-5
Complexity
Easy 0-5 Hard
1.80
Playtime (minutes)
45-90
Overall

7.7

Toy Story: Obstacles and Adventures is set around the movie franchise. It is a great collaborative game where you are one of the characters. The objective is to complete 6 adventures each increasing in difficulty. You must complete each objective before proceeding to the next one.

Toy Story components

This is a deck building game which means as you progress through the adventures more cards and characters are added to the game. If you want to find out more about what a deck building board game is then take a look at the Wikipedia entry here. You can also find my full review here.

The game is based on the Harry Potter deck building engine so this would make a perfect progression game from 11+. It is beautifully designed and the graphics are excellent.

This game gives you the flexibility of playing with two to five players but three is the sweet spot. And hence it is my recommendation for 3 players.

Best 3 player board game alternative for 8 year olds – Century Spice Road

Players
2-5
Playtime (minutes)
30-45
Complexity
Easy 0-5 Hard
1.77
Overall
7.4
Players
2-5
Complexity
Easy 0-5 Hard
1.77
Playtime (minutes)
30-45
Overall

7.5

In Century Spice Road you become the caravan leader where you trade spices for points cards. The objective is to gather cards in your hand to enable you to obtain, upgrade and convert spice cubes. 

There are several color spice cubes running in ascending order of value from the lowest Yellow, Red, Green and finally the highest value brown spice cubes. There are more mechanics that ensure that there is plenty of strategy to this game. The game play makes the spice cubes a really valuable commodity to be used carefully.

In a 3 player game it ends at the end of the round where the 6th points card is picked up. Adding up the points the player with the most points wins.

This is really a card game but I have included it as the alternative recommendation because it is a really fun game which I think teaches a lot of valuable lessons.

Players
2-5
Playtime (minutes)
30-45
Rating
7.4

Best 4 player board game for 8 year olds – Ticket to Ride

Players
2-5
Playtime (minutes)
30-60
Complexity
Easy 0-5 Hard
1.85
Overall
7.4
Players
2-5
Complexity
Easy 0-5 Hard
1.85
Playtime (minutes)
30-60
Overall

7.4

My daughter is too young for this board game but I am looking forward to introducing it to her in a few years. My wife and I play the Ticket to Ride Europe version all the time. It has been a regularly played board game for us since before she was born and is a very replayable game.

Ticket to Ride

The original Ticket to Ride is a great game to add to your collection. It will be a game that will entertain your children and also be something you will want to play once they are tucked up in bed.

The objective is to finish the game with the highest score. To get points you complete routes, destination cards, finishing the game with the longest route, and points for each station you still have at the end. The game takes 30-60 minutes to play and is pretty easy to learn. The build quality is excellent and they even throw some spares in in case you lose any. The graphic design is really pleasing and the board is sturdy.

This is the best family board game for your 8 year old and why I recommend it.

Players
2-5
Playtime (minutes)
30-60
Rating
7.4

Best 4 player board game alternative for 8 year olds – Kingdomino

Players
2-4
Playtime (minutes)
15
Complexity
Easy 0-5 Hard
1.21
Overall
7.4
Players
2-5
Complexity
Easy 0-5 Hard
1.21
Playtime (minutes)
15
Overall

7.4

Kingdomino

Kingdomino is a shorter game than Ticket to Ride. It is also rated as a much easier game to play.

The objective of the game is to expand your kingdom using domino style tiles. This game is for two to four players but four players seem to play the best. The game is easy to learn and quick to play so it will be ideal for either the end of the gaming session or when you’re not in the mood for a full on 90 minute game.

Players
2-4
Age
8+
Playtime (minutes)
15
Rating
7.4

Best 5 player board game for 8 year olds – Dixit

Players
3-6
Playtime (minutes)
30
Complexity
Easy 0-5 Hard
1.22
Overall
7.3
Players
2-5
Complexity
Easy0-5 Hard
1.22
Playtime (minutes)
30
Overall

7.5

I played Dixit for the first time at my friend’s house as he was hosting a games night. I thought it was rather an odd game as the rules were explained to me. Playing it, however, was an entirely different matter. I found it to be a really wonderfully creative game with more depth than I had anticipated. 

Each player takes turns to be the storyteller and chooses a card from their own hand. They will then speak a word, sentence or phrase that describes the card image. They then put it on the table so no one else sees. 

The storyteller’s objective is to get some but not all of the players to guess their card.

Each player also adds a card from their hand to storytellers and all the cards are shuffled and placed face up. Now each player except the storyteller votes on which card they think is the storyteller’s card. If no one or everyone guesses correctly then the storyteller get a zero score and every other player gets 3 points.

In the case that one or more (but not everyone) guesses correctly then each player plus the storyteller gets 3 points

A point is also awarded to each player who had a card incorrectly guessed.

This is an easy game to pick up and learn and ideal if friends are over and you want to play a game. Dixit won the 2010 Spiel des Jahres and is definitely my recommendation for 5 or 6 players.

Players
3-6
Age
8+
Playtime (minutes)
30
Rating
7.3

Best 5 player board game alternative for 8 year olds – King of Tokyo

Players
2-6
Playtime (minutes)
30
Complexity
Easy 0-5 Hard
1.49
Overall
7.2
Players
2-6
Complexity
Easy 0-5 Hard
1.49
Playtime (minutes)
30
Overall

7.2

As King of Tokyo is an alternative here, I have written a more complete description below where it is recommended for 8 year olds with younger and older siblings. 

With the chance to be a monster of your choice this is my recommendation for an 8 year old  playing with 4 other players.

Players
2-6
Playtime (minutes)
30
Rating
7.2

Best board game for 8 year olds with younger siblings – Outfoxed

Players
2-4
Playtime (minutes)
20
Complexity
Easy 0-5 Hard
1.13
Overall
7.2
Players
2-4
Complexity
Easy 0-5 Hard
1.13
Playtime (minutes)
20
Overall

7.2

Somebody has stolen your pie and it is up to you to find out which naughty fox is the culprit. Outfoxed is another collaborative game with a cool clue decoder that is sure to intrigue your kids.

The fox that stole your pie is making a run for it across the board and it is up to you to single them out from 15 other suspects. If the fox reaches his foxhole then your pie is lost forever.

The game starts with the foxy thief on one side of the board and the 16 suspect cards face down around the board. Two suspects are then turned over and revealed. 

At each player’s turn they must decide if they want to roll for suspects or clues. If they are successful for suspects then two more suspect cards are revealed. Clues will allow them to take a clue disc and put it on the clue decoder to reveal the clue.

Outfoxed

If they are unsuccessful at rolling the dice for their choice of suspect or clue then the fox moves 3 spaces closer to his lair.

If you guess the fox correctly before he reaches the foxhole then you win, else the naughty fox is down the hole and you will never catch him.

This is a fun game for two to four players and as it is only 20 minutes long it will be perfect for your 8 year old and their younger sibling(s).

Players
2-4
Age
5+
Playtime (minutes)
20
Rating
7.2

Best board game for 8 year olds with older siblings – Carcassonne big box

Players
2-6
Playtime (minutes)
35
Complexity
Easy 0-5 Hard
1.94
Overall
8.2
Players
2-6
Complexity
Easy 0-5 Hard
1.94
Playtime (minutes)
35
Overall

8.2

This is the big box version with the base game plus 11 expansions which add additional mechanics to the game. I selected the big box as it was the highest ranking board game from all the games I researched with a rating of 8.2. If you want you can buy the base game which is slightly cheaper. Note that the base game is recommended for 2-5 players.

Carcassonne is a german-style tile game where the players work together to build cities, towns, roads, and fields together as the game progresses. The players have a number of meeples each and through careful placement on a road, field or city the player accrues points. Once the game is completed there is a final score added to each player. Then the player with the highest score wins.

This sounds simplistic and it is but there is more to Carcassonne and it is a really good game to play and one that can be played with older siblings and in fact another good choice for the whole family to play. It is best to start off with the base game and then add the expansions as you grasp the rules and mechanics.

Players
2-6
Playtime (minutes)
35

Best board game for an 8 year old with both younger and older siblings – King of Tokyo

Players
2-6
Playtime (minutes)
30
Complexity
Easy 0-5 Hard
1.49
Overall
7.2
Players
2-6
Complexity
Easy 0-5 Hard
1.49
Playtime (minutes)
30
Overall

7.2

If you have ever wanted to be a monster whose only purpose in life is to fight other monsters then King of Tokyo is the perfect board game for you.

Each player chooses their monster which comes with a Health/Points card with respective dials on it. 

This is a dice rolling game which comes with 6 dice. Once rolled you can select a number of the dice to reroll a further two times. This will result in each dice displaying either a number, heart, lightning, or claw. 

King of Tokyo

You need three of the same number to score that amount in points plus one point for every die over the three with the same number e.g. 2-2-2-2 will result in a total of 3 points. 

For each heart symbol you will regain 1 health as long as you are not in Tokyo. Every lightning die you will earn 1 energy. Collecting energy allows you to buy power cards which give you abilities to wield against the other monsters.

Finally the claw will deal damage. If you are currently in Tokyo then it will deal 1 damage to each player outside Tokyo. If you are outside Tokyo then it will deal damage to the Monster who is currently in Tokyo.

When your health is zero you are out. To win, be either the last monster standing or the first one to 20 points.

Whilst the game is for 8+ the Board Game Geek community considers this to be suitable for 6+ so it is a good choice for 8 year olds with younger and older siblings.

Players
2-6
Playtime (minutes)
30
Rating
7.2

Best collaborative board game for an 8 year old – Toy Story: Obstacles & Adventures

Players
2-5
Playtime (minutes)
45-90
Complexity
Easy 0-5 Hard
1.80
Overall
7.7
Players
2-5
Complexity
Easy 0-5 Hard
1.80
Playtime (minutes)
45-90
Overall

7.7

Co-operative games are a great opportunity to teach your child to work as part of a team to achieve a goal. Here are some good choices that’ll be fun and do just that. 

We have already discussed this great board game as my recommendation for 3 players so take a look here. It is also my recommendation for the best collaborative board game too. The combination of the adventures following the movies and the additive nature as you complete each one together is great to play.

Best holiday or travel board game for an 8 year old – Kingdomino

Players
2-4
Playtime (minutes)
15
Complexity
Easy 0-5 Hard
1.21
Overall
7.4
Players
2-5
Complexity
Easy 0-5 Hard
1.21
Playtime (minutes)
15
Overall

7.4

Want to have something handy to take on holiday or away with you to play. Then Kingdomino is a really good choice. Easy to play and for 2-4 players this game is very compact and easy to pack with a box size of 7x7x1.5 inches. You will need a tabletop or a bit of a flat surface to play though. Kingdomino is my recommendation to take with you and play away. You can read the description of the game earlier in this article here.

Players
2-4
Age
8+
Playtime (minutes)
15
Rating
7.4

Board games for 8 year olds to avoid

I would like to make a few things clear before we look at the games to avoid. This does not make them bad games. Purely that whilst researching I have noted that these games may actually be more appropriate for an older age group. 

Obviously each child is different and if your child is able to play more advanced games then games like Pandemic Fall of Rome are some of the highest rated. So they could actually be good choices. If not then wait a few years and the game will be perfect. 

So, bearing the above in mind, let’s have a look at the list.

Board Game
Rating
7.7
Publishers Age
8+
BGG Community Age
10+
Complexity
Easy 0-5 Hard
2.45
Board Game
Rating
7.7
Publishers Age
8+
BGG Community Age
12+
Complexity
Easy 0-5 Hard
2.21
Board Game
Rating
7.4
Publishers Age
8+
BGG Community Age
10+
Complexity
Easy 0-5 Hard
2.13
Board Game
Rating
7.2
Publishers Age
8+
BGG Community Age
10+
Complexity
Easy 0-5 Hard
2.01
Board Game
Rating
7.1
Publishers Age
8+
BGG Community Age
10+
Complexity
Easy 0-5 Hard
2.28
Board Game
Rating
5.5
Publishers Age
8+
BGG Community Age
10+
Complexity
Easy 0-5 Hard
1.48