The 7 Best Classic Parlor Games for Your Family Get-Togethers

Board games have come a long way since these classic parlor games, but they remain classics for a reason!

We often recommend products we like. If you buy anything through our links, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you.

Parlor games played with the family can have two outcomes: the family can resemble the art on the box and everyone's having a grand ole time, or it can all end in a ball of fiery argument.

But isn't that part of the charm?

One of the many reasons why we all get together with our loved ones and engage in the "sport" of parlor games is that everyone in the family unit can participate while allowing for old rivalries to rear their heads.

If you're in need of parlor games to play with your own family, here are our favorite picks for parlor games everyone will enjoy.

7. Trivial Pursuit

The general rule of Trivial Pursuit is that the most intelligent player usually trounces everybody else and brings home the win. However, that challenge becomes far more enjoyable when played in teams!

When the best player ends up being paired with others from the family, it creates a dynamic that sees each team trying to one-up the rest and dominate the other players. By making the odds more even, the challenge of Trivial Pursuit becomes more interesting.

Trivial Pursuit is one that will stay with the family for years, as the fun of playing keeps children interested into adulthood, all leading to the point when they can finally beat their parents. 

6. Pictionary

Pictionary is the safe shore of fun for most families, as the need to draw prompts brings an element of interpretation from the players. 

Of course, it helps if the teams are well mixed—mostly to avoid a bunch of literary masterminds on one side—and that will keep everybody entertained for hours on a rainy day. 

As time runs out to guess what somebody has attempted to draw, the feverish moments of wild speculation make it intensely fun and over the top—exactly what's needed when everybody's together. 

5. Operation

Operation is the game we all first loved as kids, mostly because it's all about having steady hands and not faltering under pressure. 

So, playing this in teams with your family makes it equal amounts of fun for the whole family, as each member must extract parts of the patient without setting the buzzer off by touching the sides.

This one is the least likely to cause arguments amongst players, as it's completely down to the dexterity of each individual as they go in.

4. Monopoly

Monopoly is the king of classic parlor games. No other game has caused more family arguments and squabbles than this incredibly competitive property battle (often due to unnecessary house rules).

However, despite it being a ruthless play that pits family members against one another, it remains a classic spectacle that withstands time. 

The race from GO! to become the one person to rule the board is an open competition. Anybody can get good rolls and stay in the game until the bitter end, when most of the family have left the table in disgust. 

In any case, Monopoly is still the game that gets pulled out most on a rainy afternoon among families who love classic parlor games.

3. Heads Up!

Heads Up! is now more famous for being a product on the app store, which can be played anywhere at any time with friends or family, but the concept has been around for many years longer.

Simply put, a person has a word or phrase to guess, and the people around them have to describe what it is without saying the word or phrase itself. If you've played Taboo or Celebrities, this is the same thing distilled.

Heads Up! is a family favorite because of its quickness and versatility. Anybody can play it and everybody can enjoy the tension as the clock runs down, with hilarious descriptions and guesses flying everywhere.

2. Clue

More thought goes into this one than most classic parlor games, as Clue (also known as Cluedo) has to be more mysterious by design.

You know this game: one character is murdered in an old mansion and all of the players have to track down clues to deduce who killed them, where they killed them, and how they killed them.

Clue is the kind of game that can bring smiles to the coldest of faces, and for that reason it's been alive and kicking for many decades now.

Multiple generations of families play it when they get together during the holidays and beyond, which only adds to the spirit of competition as the older heads try to prevail over determined youths.

1. Charades

Charades is the ultimate family game in many ways, primarily because everybody can be involved in the game at all times.

In Charades, two teams are pitted against each other to score points by one person silently acting out what's written on paper and their team trying to guess what they're acting out.

The hilarity and sense of competition can drive a fierce game, but as long as it's all played in the nature of good fun and togetherness, Charades can prove to be a day-making activity.

More Articles Like This

Where to Buy Used Board Games Online: The 8 Best Sites

The 12 Best Single-Player Card Games That Aren’t Solitaire

The 11 Best Solo Board Games to Play on Your Own, Ranked

The 11 Best Family Board Games That Are Great for All Ages

The 13 Best Party Board Games for Larger Groups (8 or More Players)

The 15 Best Halloween Party Games to Play With 5 or More People

The 11 Best Deckbuilding Board Games and Card Games, Ranked

The 11 Best Digital Board Games on Nintendo Switch, Ranked

The 10 Best Tie-In Board Games Based on Movies and TV Shows