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Best Board Games for 11-12-Year-Olds

In a world full of devices, tuning out to play some board games every now and then is a magnificent way to bring your family together and spend some quality time. These board games offer intellectual stimulation, team building, strategic planning, and enhanced spatial and cognitive skills.

Get creative with your pre-teens and enjoy some fun-filled laughter by including these favorites in your game night arsenal. Find the best games for 11-12-year-olds below.

YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY (BEST GAMES BY AGE GROUP): Toddler & Preschool | Kindergarten | 2-Year-Old | 3-Year-Old | 4-Year-Old | 5-Year-Old | 5-6-Year-Old | 7-Year-Old | 8-Year-Old | 9-Year-Old | 10-Year-Old | 11-12-Year-Old | Teens & Teenagers

🏆 Our Top Picks for Best Board Games for 11-12-Year-Olds

In a hurry? Take a quick peek before you go.

Best Hidden Traitor

Betrayal at House on the Hill
  • Tile by tile, terror by terror, build your own haunted mansion -...
  • With 50 blood-curdling scenarios, each trip to the house on the...
  • Players must work together to survive the nightmare.

Best Card Game

Unstable Unicorns
  • Build a Unicorn Army. Betray Your Friends. Unicorns are Your...
  • Unstable Unicorns is a strategic card game that will destroy your...
  • The game was one of Kickstarter’s top 100 most backed projects...

Best Overall

Splendor
$39.99 $35.99
Buy on Amazon Buy at Noble Knight
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/29/2022 03:30 am GMT

#1. Splendor

Splendor Board Game Box and Card Setup

Players: 24
Playing Time: 30 minutes

A game of riches and wealthy merchants, Splendor operates on chip-collecting and card management. Rack up “prestige points” by buying valuable gems. 

On any given turn you can choose from three actions: collecting gems, buying a card, or reserving a card. If you choose to collect gems, you’ll pick up 3 gem chips from the bank. If you decide to buy a card, you’ll spend your jewels on a gemstone resource. 

Or, if you choose to reserve, you’ll get a wild chip, and save this card to buy later. This can be done for personal use or to sabotage opponents from winning. The first gem-miner to collect 15 points is the most Splendid!

Children love Splendor for its great components and strategy, and parents love it for its ability to keep kids playing for hours. Being able to manage gems and renewables, all the while watching your opponents for noble visits keeps players on their toes. 

Splendor
$39.99 $35.99
Buy on Amazon Buy at Noble Knight
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/29/2022 03:30 am GMT

#2. Istanbul

Istanbul Board Game

Players: 25
Playing Time: 40-60 minutes

Just as Istanbul is a hustling and bustling city in Turkey, so too is the board game. Your main task is to surpass your opponents in rubies by selling your heart out in the busy Turkish bazaars. 

It won’t be easy as the supply chain has many steps: fill your wheelbarrow with goods, transport them to sale locations, and manage your assistants wisely. One merchant can’t handle this scale of a business by their lonesome, so you’ll have four assistants to boss about the 16 different bazaars. 

As your assistants get booked up with biz, you’ll need to manage your time wisely to pick them back up again and not lose precious selling opportunities. This board game is well praised for the quick learning curve, and it won’t take more than one round for your kiddos to catch on. 

#3. 7 Wonders

7 Wonders 6-Player Board Game

Players: 27
Playing Time: 30 minutes

With great power comes great responsibility! In this game, you’re the leader of one of the 7 ancient cities with the task of city construction. The card management could be compared to Sushi-Go!’s pick and pass rounds; however, some of these plays have immediate resolving effects. 

The best feature about 7 Wonders is how everyone is playing at the same time, avoiding the long wait times that can get both children and parents alike distracted. Since you’re always making decisions in real-time, the game seems to fly by! 

An additional bonus is that the gameplay plays for similar amounts of time, no matter 2-7 players, so feel free to bring this wonderful table topper out at children’s parties! 

7 Wonders
$59.99 $44.97
Buy on Amazon Buy at Noble Knight
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/30/2022 05:30 am GMT

#4. Betrayal at House on the Hill

Betrayal Board Game Featured Image

Players: 36
Playing Time: 60 minutes

This old mansion on the hill lingers in mystery, waiting to be discovered by your ghost-busting crew. It hides a secret. As you uncover the maze of antique rooms, you’ll outwit werewolves, monsters, and other creepy beings; as your fortunes unravel, the game won’t be as simple as it seems. It appears that one of your explorers has turned against you, but who is it?

If you’re an undercover opponent, you’ll need to play hush-hush while trying to assemble all the artifacts to beat your crew. The only issue is — they’re going to be conspiring to beat you as well, and nobody knows who’s really who they say they are in this dark house on the hill.

Some of the haunts in Betrayal at House on the Hill could be a bit tricky for newbie pre-teen gamers, but those who love reading and can keep up on the complicated dice rolls and characteristics will adore the storyline. Most youngsters get a kick of being the saboteur and wreaking havoc. For others, the shared win/loss is an added bonus. 

Betrayal at House on the Hill
  • Tile by tile, terror by terror, build your own haunted mansion -...
  • With 50 blood-curdling scenarios, each trip to the house on the...
  • Players must work together to survive the nightmare.

#5. Imhotep: Builder of Egypt

Imhotep: Builder of Egypt Board Game Box and Components

Players: 2-4 
Playing Time: 40 minutes

Imhotep is well known far and wide for his amazing architectural talent, but you have some artistic creativity too, just bursting to be unpacked. In order to take the title from Imhotep, you’ll need to build 5 different monuments on the base of the river by planning out supplies and transport.

Every turn is a choice: secure new stones, load materials on the boat, transport the boat to the monument or play an action. Sculpting is a competitive hobby, so all your opponents will also be managing their time to become Egypt’s next big name.

The Ancient Egyptian theme sparks wonder for many young people, who would marvel at the opportunity to build grand structures like Obelisks, Pyramids, Temples, etc. The gameplay is fun for pre-teens to practice resource allocation, visualize strategy as they sail their cargos, set up stones, and plan for the future.

It is quick to learn, and only the depth of your strategy creates the difficulty of the competition.

Imhotep: Builder of Egypt
  • By Phil walker-harding, designer of sushi go, small world,...
  • 2016 Spiel des Jahres nominee
  • A strategy game for 2-4 players

#6. Wingspan

Wingspan Board Game Box and Setup

Players: 1-5
Playing Time: 40-70 minutes

Take flight in your newly adopted career as a bird-watcher and ornithologist. Owning a nature preserve takes work and birds (obviously). To attract the best species to your lands you’ll be playing cards to feed, lay eggs, and acquire more birds. Wingspan is only four seasons or rounds, and whoever has the most desirable range of flying friends in their arsenal wins!

Wingspan reaps massive benefits for playing with your 11-12-year-olds. The first is the educational aspect of learning all about bird species and variations, diet, habitats, and more. Some cards dictate nesting styles, wingspans, and some fun facts. The second pro is the math and logistics to add up the birds and points as you go along. Making sure to focus on multiple aspects is key. 

Wingspan
$65.00 $47.33
Buy on Amazon Buy at Noble Knight
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/30/2022 10:30 am GMT

#7. Pandemic: Iberia

Pandemic: Iberia Board Game

Players: 2-5
Playing Time: 45 minutes

Pandemic: Iberia brings a spin to an old classic by taking players back in time to treat old diseases emerging in Spain circa 1848. Cloak up as a nurse, doctor, or sailor to try your luck at curing malaria, yellow fever, and others before they spread. Travel by boat, train, or carriage (no high speeds flights — sorry!), and do your duty to the world with your fellow players to stop the outbreak before it gets out of hand. 

The people need you! Your fellow players need you; there is no winning unless you do it all together. Pandemic: Iberia is a solid choice for cementing teamwork skills, smart planning, and thinking ahead. For young competitive minds, this cooperative game is perfect, as no player gets left behind. 

#8. Galaxy Trucker

Galaxy Trucker Board Game Box and Components

Players: 2-4
Playing Time: 60 minutes

Corporation Incorporated has called you in for backup to install sewer systems across the solar system, and you should expect your fair share of pirates coming to steal your booty.

Players will pick from tiles laying face down to assemble their trucking fleet to the highest standard. Equip yourself with guns, shields, engines, cargo containers, and batteries as you soar through space war zones and face up with pirates, meteors, and disease outbreaks. Whoever gets through the planets with their vessel intact and full of precious sewage cargo, wins!

Players must be spatially aware to build a sturdy ship quickly. If your gaming kiddos giggle at ship explosions and don’t mind a bit of wreck and space-time havoc, give it a go! The timer makes for quick thinking in the rounds and lightspeed decisions.

Galaxy Trucker
  • Haul sewer pipes across the galaxy in this fun, chaotic...
  • Enjoy a faster, more accessible Galaxy Trucker experience
  • All-new art and graphic design

#9. Unstable Unicorns

Unstable Unicorns Card Game

Players: 2-8
Playing Time: 30-45 minutes

Friends? Neigh. Unicorns? Hayyyy!

This card collection game is a magical horse race to the finish, composed of magical actions, upgrades, downgrades, and instant effects. No opponent is safe when you unleash your unicorn army. Be the first to fill your stables with seven unicorns to win!

In Unstable Unicorns, gamers are in for a laugh as these cute little beings go completely savage with some of the actions. The art is hysterical, the gameplay is speedy, and the player-to-player interactions are a complete blast. 

Unstable Unicorns
  • Build a Unicorn Army. Betray Your Friends. Unicorns are Your...
  • Unstable Unicorns is a strategic card game that will destroy your...
  • The game was one of Kickstarter’s top 100 most backed projects...

Have you already played Unstable Unicorns? If so, then check out 5 games like Unstable Unicorns for something new to try!

#10. Colt Express

Colt Express Board Game

Players: 2-6
Playing Time: 40 minutes

All aboard!! The train has departed from New Mexico for its long journey east, full of rich passengers, and a briefcase full of miners’ salaries. It’s not all fun and games in the Wild West, so you’ll be playing as a bandit trying to rob the train.

All players are tasked to punch, steal, shoot, and draw on the Marshal to try to claim the biggest rewards. Whoever makes it out alive, fires the most bullets, and robs the passengers bare, wins Colt Express!

The physical elements make it visually exciting to play with kids as they move through the different cabins. The game requires some heavy strategic thinking, ending up somewhere unintentional on the train can cause some bullet holes in your plans.

Colt Express runs on programmable movement, meaning that your actions are queued. What may have seemed like a good idea at the time, is now placing you in the Marshal’s train car. There are varying levels of difficulty so it’s nice to be able to adjust to what suits your playing party the best. 

Colt Express
  • German (Publication Language)

Wrap-Up

We hope you enjoyed our list of the best board games for 11-12-year-olds! These games are a blast for all ages but are also perfect for your pre-teen and tweens. Make board gaming a new family tradition while spending quality time with your kids.

Have you tried any of these games? Did we miss any of your favorites? Drop a comment below and let us know! We’d love to hear from you.

Looking for something a bit more advanced? Check out our best board games for Teens below:

SHARING IS CARING

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