Thanksgiving is a time to spend with family and friends. During the Thanksgiving holiday, we take time to remember and enjoy the people that make our lives special.
What better way to do that than with board games? We’ve compiled this list of the best Thanksgiving board games to play throughout Thanksgiving day, whether it’s waiting for the oven timer, a quick round with pre-dinner drinks, or a bigger game at the end of the feast, you’ll find something to play that’s guaranteed to please the whole family.
Top 10 picks for Thanksgiving Board Games
- Sheriff of Nottingham
- Sushi Go! Party
- Snake Oil
- Ticket to Ride
- One Night Ultimate Werewolf
- Small World
Sheriff of Nottingham
Nothing says “Thanksgiving” like gathering around the dining room table and lying to each other’s faces.
Players take on the roles of merchants and take turns playing as the mean old Sheriff of Nottingham. The object is to get your perfectly normal (or illicit) goods through the city checkpoint. The fun part is that you do this through the old-fashioned gift of gab and if that doesn’t work, you can always bribe and bluff your way through the gate.
Splendor is an easy pick-up-and-play game that’s suitable for everyone in the family. At its core, it’s a very simple engine-building game. It’s easy to teach and fun to play while waiting for the oven timer to ding and quick enough that you won’t burn the gravy on the stove while playing. Well maybe not that quick, but you get the idea.
A Thanksgiving dinner isn’t complete without one of the most popular party board games.
In Codenames, players split up into two teams, each with their own team leader. The leaders try to lead their team to find their agents in the field without hitting civilians, using simple words and phrases.
As players go on, they’ll need to be clever about their word choices and which cards they select. Codenames is always a hit at family gatherings. It’s easy enough to teach and learn and because of the social aspects and wordplay in the game, it plays perfectly with family and friends.
Sushi Go! Party
Okay, so maybe sushi isn’t traditionally served as part of the Thanksgiving meal, but it’s just too adorable to pass up.
Sushi Go! Party is the perfect appetizer for bigger games and a great way to spend some time with the whole family while cooking Thanksgiving.
It’s a rapid-fire game that can keep the little ones (or adults) entertained and out from underfoot.
Snake Oil is a joke generator in which players take two cards and come up with a zany product to sell to unsuspecting customers. It’s the family-friendly and (honestly) more fun version than some of the other black box joke games (you know the one).
It’s a silly game that lets players come up with some fun little mashups. Rounds move quickly and are always followed by giggles.
Ticket to Ride
The classic train route game is perfect for an after-dinner snack while everyone is digesting.
Ticket to Ride is family-friendly and competitive without being confrontational. Players compete to build train routes across the country. Each player has their own routes they’re trying to complete, and the longer the route the more points they’re worth.Ticket to Ride
If you already have the original Ticket to Ride, be sure to check out the other thematic versions of Best Ticket to Ride Board Games and expansions!
One Night Ultimate Werewolf
The One Night Ultimate edition of Werewolf is incredibly fast and perfect for big parties. It can play up to 10 players and rounds can be managed by the Werewolf App, making it easier to run the game.
One Night Ultimate Werewolf lasts only a single round and can be played rapid fire. It’s perfect for a quick break throughout the day to spice up your Thanksgiving.
This social deduction game gives every player a role and some kind of special ability. Villagers are trying to root out the werewolves, and the werewolves are trying to hide so that they can live to eat another villager.
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Word games are great for large groups and Decrypto changes up the format by making players guess at a sequence of words using a series of hidden words and numbers. You’ll need to have your thinking caps on to decrypt the hidden meanings and hints from the other players.
Coming up with ridiculous clues to find the patterns is a ton of fun for both children and adults. It takes a little bit more thought than some of the other games on the list, but that’s what makes it more rewarding when you manage to decipher the clues.
Mysterium is a party game in which an amnesiac ghost has to lead mediums to find its killer.
It’s a colorful group game where players decipher the ghosts’ clues to choose the correct cards. If you’re familiar with Dixit, Mysterium uses a similar mechanic where players have a series of cards with various imagery on them. The ghost has to direct the other players to the correct card by giving 1-word responses.
Mysterium is another great game for playing while lounging around after stuffing yourselves with stuffing.
Just like a real Thanksgiving, sometimes there are too many cooks in the kitchen. Small World throws players into a…well, a small world, and it’s definitely not big enough for everyone to live in peacefully.
Flying Orcs? Boom, you got it.
Dragon-taming Hobbits? Why not?
Seafaring Dwarves? You know it.
Players battle it out for supremacy on the board where there will definitely be some scuffles. It’s a perfect way to ease any tension that may arise over the dinner table.Small World
Have a Happy Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is a time for friendly gatherings and family bonding. There’s no better way to spend quality time with family and friends than around a fun or challenging board game. These are some of our favorites that don’t require too much time or explanation and are endlessly enjoyable for players of all ages.
We hope you enjoyed our list of the best board games to play at Thanksgiving! Have you tried any of these board games? Did we miss any of your Thanksgiving family favorites? We’d love to hear from you — so drop a comment below and let us know!
From all of us at Game Cows, we wish you a very happy Thanksgiving!
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Before starting GameCows with his wife Kendra, he used to teach English Language Arts in the US. He combined his love of gaming with education to create fun game-based learning lessons until he eventually decided to run GameCows with Kendra full-time. He’s known for pouring over rulebooks in his spare time, being the rule master during game night, and as the perma DM in his DnD group. Bryan loves board games, writing, traveling, and above all his wife and partner in crime, Kendra.