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Top 7 Fun Family Games for January

fun family games feature

It seems so distant. That day, pre-Pandemic season 3: Return of the lockdown, when a jolly fat man deposited a bunch of heavily sanitised presents beneath your Christmas tree. But that rotund gentleman was especially generous to our family this year. So I want to share with you, in a bunch of mini-reviews, what has been keeping my little family occupied on the cold dark evenings since that ever more distant festive day. I shall be rating them in terms of the fun they brought our family, out of 5. Here are my top 7 fun family games for January.


"What?" I hear you cry. But it's true: I do not own a copy of this stalwart. Yes, it is simple, and I prefer my gameplay a bit more in-depth, with less dice chucking, but my wife and daughter enjoy it. It is also easy for us to bring to the table and play. It also reinforced my 10-year-old daughter’s ability to kick our backsides at a game on her first playthrough.

Fun Rating: 3

Codenames Marvel

Codenames is a great party game, one of the most popular fun family games out there. It can be played with distant family members over video calls. We (or should that be I) love Marvel. But therein lies the issue with this version of the game. Whilst I can sit there and confidently state, "Symbiote, 2" the rest of my family would look at me blankly and never link Venom and Carnage. Sad times!

Despite that, my daughter loves it, giving me an opportunity to encourage her to take more of an interest in all things Marvel.

Fun Rating: 4

Mysterium Park

Next up is Mysterium Park. (Or mute Codenames. Or Cluedo, but good.) A great little murder mystery game, with some lovely artwork. Definitely one of my top 7 fun family games. This game highlights the fact that my brain works in a different way to the rest of my family. Again, my daughter loves it, especially when we ask people to explain their reasoning as to why they have drawn a particular conclusion from the vision cards. It gives a nice little insight into how their brains work. I prefer to look at the meaning behind an image, whereas my wife and daughter like to look for direct references in the images. For example, if I see a half-burnt candle I would look for an older person, as that image stands for the passing of time. On the other hand, they will look for some kind of flame or something burning in the image.

Fun Rating: 4

New York Zoo

This is my first Uwe Rosenberg game. It reminded me very much of BarenPark in terms of fitting together lots of geometric shapes onto a board, accompanied by some nice looking animal meeples. My family are obsessed with the flamingos and arctic foxes. It’s a good, fun family game that allows you to be ruthless without being too mean. Once younger players have gotten to grips with the concepts, it should make a very quick game that you will enjoy getting out.

Fun Rating: 4

Stuffed Fables

Or Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion, for kids. We have only played one round of this and it plays well. The artwork is lovely and the miniatures also add to the atmosphere of the game. The first mission was very simple for my tastes, but I can see the game gets a little meatier and I look forward to this. The story should keep players of all ages interested and I think it introduces some more complex gaming concepts to younger players that they can use in more complex games. However, the setup was quite long and I think the rules could be a little clearer.

Fun Rating: 3


I like deck builders! I like the puzzle of building deck combinations and seeing them play out. I like the look on other people's faces when they think you have gotten to your last card and you get to draw more. I do not like when my daughter, on her first play, manages to construct a deck where she gets to play almost all of the 20 odd cards in her hand in one go. We all liked the game and there seems to be lots of replayability out of the box. A worthy addition to the top 7 fun family games.

Fun Rating: 4

Here to Slay

We have Unstable Unicorns and all its expansions. We have Llamas Unleashed, which is the same game with llamas and goats and things. I think they are ok games, but the one thing missing from them is a bit of player interaction. Here to Slay is better for this. It also adds a purpose to building out your roster of heroes. It has the same gorgeous artwork, reminiscent of Lauren Faust's My Little Pony art style, like the previous games. However, the game does just kind of end at one of the win conditions, to the point where I have contemplated a house rule around one of them. One of the win conditions is to have a full party of heroes. The house rule: keep the full party for a full turn.

Fun Rating: 3

Final Thoughts

So those are the fun family games that we enjoyed this Christmas. These are all games we would play again. They also provided us with some nice respite from our electronic devices, although it's easy to have one more round of Among Us or Phasmophobia - those are games with some solid board game concepts backing them up. There are also two games waiting to be played: 7 Wonders Duel: Pantheon and Dice Forge. I also have Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion, which was a pre-Christmas gift, set up ready to go.