16 Board Games That Defined Your Childhood, Ranked From Worst To Best

Your childhood was all about passing Go and collecting $200.

You remember them, and you remember them well. Board games were a common childhood experience shared by most kids raised in the U.S. -- a life saver for those who didn't grow up with high-tech innovations such as Fruit Ninja and Flappy Bird.

Yes, it was a simpler time. One where the truth of the phrase, "it's just a game" depended entirely on whether you won or lost. Board games came, they conquered your life and mostly, they just saved you from being bored. (See what we did there?)

Here they are, definitively ranked. Which was YOUR favorite?

16. Mall Madness: THE WORST.

mall madness game

Game Instructions: "This Mall talks! Press the button and listen as the electronic voice of the mall takes you on an exciting shopping spree!"

Real Life Instructions: Hooray! You get to go on a shopping spree where you get to keep nothing, all the while developing terrible spending habits that will haunt you into adulthood.

15. Don't Wake Daddy


Game Instructions: "Be the first player to tiptoe from your bed, past all the noisy obstacles, to the refrigerator for a midnight snack without waking Daddy."

Real Life Instructions: Hold your breath in excruciating anticipation until the man in the middle of the board pops out of his bed. Then you lose, or start over, or whatever.

14. Hungry Hungry Hippos

hungry hungry hippos

Game Instructions: "Be ready to join in the feeding frenzy when you release all the marbles onto the game base, because all the hippos will be chomping and your hippo will need to move fast."


13. Trouble

trouble board game

Game Instructions: "Pop into the racing, chasing game where everyone's in Trouble!"

Real Life Instructions: Make your way around a seemingly average board while popping the dice instead of rolling them. Groundbreaking fun ensues.

12. Chutes and Ladders

chutes and ladders board game

Game Instructions: "Chutes and Ladders is the game of rewards and consequences."

Real Life Instructions: You're basically just climbing up and sliding down things while imagining what it would be like if instead of stairs, your whole house was filled with chutes and ladders.

11. Jumanji

jumanji game

Game Instructions: "Beware the dangers of the jungle! Every step could lead into the path of a raging rhino, lurking lion or slurping quicksand."

Real Life Instructions: Play the game. Prepare for disappointment when Robin Williams and monkeys and shit don't actually come to life.

10. Risk

risk board game


Game Instructions: "Only the strong will survive in this exciting, unpredictable game of global domination."

Real Life Instructions: Embark on seemingly never-ending experience that seriously strains your relationships with friends and family. Pretend to be disappointed when the board "accidentally" gets hit, sending pieces flying everywhere and ending the game.

9. Trivial Pursuit

trivial pursuit game

Game Instructions: "Great questions from art, sports, literature, geography, entertainment, science, nature and more."

Real Life Instructions: Guess your way through trivia questions about people and events that were popular 20 years before your birth. Chalk up your correct answers to your intelligence, blame incorrect ones on outdated nature of the questions. Classic trivia.

8. Candyland

candyland board game

Game Instructions:"Passing the peppermint forest and the ice cream sea on the way, the first one to reach the candy castle wins."

Real Life Instructions: Now you're hungry. Congratulations.

7. Scrabble

scrabble board game

Game Instructions: "Put letters together, build words, add up your points and win!"

Real Life Instructions: Try not to let it weigh too heavily on your ego as you realize that you have the worst spelling and vocabulary among your family and friends. Resist urge to cheat. Blame everything on having too many vowels.

6. Monopoly

monopoly game

Game Instructions: "Monopoly is the fast-dealing property trading game that your will have the whole family buying, selling and having a blast."

Real Life Instructions: Yes, you're getting screwed on your rolls. Yes, every deal your opponents want to make is a rip-off. Yes, the banker is swiping extra cash. And yes, you will lose this game in humiliating fashion after selling all your houses, mortgaging all your properties and begging your sister for a free stay on Mediterranean Avenue.

5. Battleship

battleship board game

Game Instructions:"Classic Battleship game lets you hold head-to-head naval battles."

Real Life Instructions: Keep the red dots off your damn boat. That's how you sink. Full disclosure: Your opponent will definitely be a lying, cheating doodoo-head.

4. Sorry

sorry board game

Game Instructions: "By drawing cards, players move their game pieces around the board, hoping to eventually accumulate all their pieces at the final destination -- home sweet home."

Real Life Instructions: By drawing cards, you will plod along in enraging circles until your opponent miraculously slides into home with the life-ruining "move 4 spaces backwards" card.

3. Life

life board game

Game Instructions: "The Game of Life challenges you to manage your money and get to retirement wealthy."

Real Life Instructions: Nobody wins at real life, so this might be as close as you get. Savor it while you can.

2. Guess Who?

guess who game

Game Instructions: "Try to deduce the identity of their opponent's mystery person."

Real Life Instructions: Enjoy this memory exercise until you realize that this game is basically just you staring at a bunch of fictional white people's faces.

1. Clue: THE BEST.

clue board game

Game Instructions: "Collect the right clues, make the right deductions, to determine who, where, which weapon and you will solve the mystery and win the game."

Actual Description: Kick ass and feel like Angela $*%@ing Lansbury in Murder She Wrote as you figure out who killed whom, with what and where.

Man, like it was yesterday...


All game instructions via Amazon

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