8-10 years old can be difficult to buy games for. They’re just starting to be strategic enough to want a bit of thinking in games to keep them entertained, they’ve started to develop interests so it has to be thematic, and it has to be quick and easy enough to still account for shorter attention spans.
I have four kids, all of wildly different interests and two of whom are 8 and 10. I’ve found that these have all been great hits at our family gaming table, with each of my kids and their friends of different interests and genders.
Best Board Games For 8 To 10 Year Olds – Quick Comparison
|Rank||Name||# Players||Time||Complexity||Good For|
|#1||Ticket to Ride London||2-4||15 mins||Easy||Best OverallQuick and Strategic|
|#2||Just One||3-7||20 mins||Easy||Party GameWord Association|
|#3||Sushi Go Party!||2-8||20 mins||Easy||Filler Game|
1. Best Overall: Ticket to Ride London
It just takes 15 minutes to play the game Ticket to Ride London, which is designed for 2-4 people and is easy to learn.
In the game Ticket to Ride London, you collect colored cards that let you play bus routes between cities. Each player has different cities they are trying to connect that are worth different scores, and the aim is to maximize your score.
This is the younger sibling of one of the most well-known board games, Ticket to Ride. It has a smaller board and is played much faster, and I feel it suits children more than the original game since it moves along quickly.
This game is thematic, children understand the public transport theme way more than something like an economic game, and it’s got a very tactile element that I find children really enjoy.
- Public transport theme is relatable for children
- Tactile experience
- Accessible rules and gameplay
- Quick turns and fast game
- Very similar gameplay to the full edition of the game
- Monotonous after too many plays
2. Best Party Game: Just One
Just One is a quick 20-minute party game that can be played by 3 to 7 people and is very easy to learn.
The game’s basic idea is that you work as a team and take turns guessing words on a card. One player is the guesser, while the other players write down a single word clue, but if two players submit the same clue, both are disqualified from the round and you are not given that clue.
Everyone is attempting to give decent clues, but also a clue that no one else is providing, so you may get some odd combos which can often lead to a lot of laughs.
This game is so much fun to play with family or is easy enough for the kids to play on their own. Whether you win or lose, there are always bonding moments that are memorable.
- So much fun!
- Exercises lateral thinking
- Cooperative and creates bonding opportunities
- Repetitive after a while
- Not too strategic
3. Best Filler Game: Sushi Go Party!
Sushi Go Party! is a simple game for 2- 8 players that plays in around twenty minutes.
This is an ideal game for the 8-10 year old age range, as the gameplay is easy, the artwork is bright and colorful (without looking like it’s made for little kids), yet it still feels strategic enough while providing a little bit of take that – and it’s fun.
The aim of this game is for players to collect sets of sushi, with each type of sushi scoring in a different way, which is a good way to exercise their basic math skills. They collect the sushi by exchanging hands of cards and picking out the cards that they want to keep before passing their hand along.
It’s an easy game to learn and plays well with a variety of player counts – it’s even great for bigger groups, which can be tough to find games for.
Because of the large number of sushi combinations you can have in a game, it means that each time you play the gameplay will seem different.
- Easy and approachable rules
- Just a hint of take that
- A little bit of strategy but not so much that some kids will be miles ahead
- Good for big groups (turns are played simultaneously so no downtime)
- Exercises basic math skills
- Quite simple – won’t make them really think
- Some kids can get upset with any “take that” in a game
4. Best Adversarial: King of Tokyo
King of Tokyo is a game for 2-6 players that takes around 30 minutes and is easy to learn.
In King of Tokyo, you play as mutant monsters fighting to take over Tokyo. You do this by rolling dice that either give you victory points, let you recover, let you gain energy to get improvements, or let you fight other monsters. You win by either getting 20 victory points first or being the last monster standing.
I find this battle game appeals to the superhero / teenage mutant ninja turtles fan. It’s fast-paced, action-packed, has heaps of player interaction, and lets you feel like you are a fighting mutant monster.
- Very accessible gameplay
- Fun player interaction
- Great feeling super monster theme
- Luck based depending on dice rolls
- Fighting (some kids don’t deal well with adversarial games)
- Knocks out players from the game
5. Most Fun: The Quacks of Quedlinburg
Quacks of Quedlinburg is a 45-minute game for 2-4 players that is of light to medium complexity.
In this game, you are a quack doctor making potions. This game has a pool-building aspect, but instead of a deck you collect ingredients in your bag of ingredients to be able to pull them out and make potions with ingredients that score more points. But you also need to manage how much you are pulling out of your bag, because if you take out too many cherry bombs, then your potion will explode and you won’t gain points or new ingredients for that turn.
Quacks of Quedlinburg is hilarious yet crazy. It’s simple, every game is different due to the variety of ingredients, and it’s enjoyable. This is a firm family favorite, both for kids and adults.
- Hilarious gameplay
- Great theme
- Very hands-on experience
- Good for different experience levels
- Quite a bit of luck involved
- Not the deepest game
6. Best Strategic: My Little Scythe
This is a game for 1-6 players that takes about an hour to play. While this has “My Little” in the title, it’s actually most suitable for ages 8+ as it’s still a medium complexity game, being the kids version of the very complex game Scythe.
This game has pretty simple rules. Each turn you can only move, seek or make. However, there is a large decision tree with many different paths to winning by getting trophies for different things.
- Good for all player counts
- Strategic game
- Fantastic artwork and components
- Too long and complex for children with short concentration spans
7. Best Quick Game: 5 Minute Dungeon
5 Minute Dungeon is a very light game for 2-5 players that takes up to 30 minutes to play.
In this game, players are heroes of the type you see in Dungeons and Dragons (Wizards, Barbarians, etc.) and they have to defeat all the monsters in the dungeon within 5 minutes. They do this by playing special ability cards that match the symbols on the monster cards.
This is a fun cooperative fast-paced game, and only taking 5 minutes is great for those times you only have a bit of time to fill. There is also a Marvel version of the game, called 5 Minute Marvel, if your kid prefers superheroes.
- Very accessible rules
- Quick game
- Good theme
- Can get repetitive
8. Best Tile Laying: Carcassonne
Carcassonne is a quick and simple game for 2 to 5 players that lasts roughly 30 to 45 minutes.
In Carcassonne, you lay down tiles to create a central board together and then place little meeples (that’s the actual term for the wooden miniature people you receive in board games) on a farm area, a road, a castle, or a cloister in order to earn points.
There is player interaction and a lot of “take that” as each player wants to have more meeples than their rivals in a given region in order to win the points. You may also place tiles in a way that thwarts the plans of your rivals.
I personally find the picking up of tiles in this game a little too random, but every kid I have played with enjoyed it. The game is very interactive, and there is just enough strategic thinking to keep kids from getting bored while not turning it into a chore to play.
- Just enough strategy to keep 8-10 year olds thinking
- Interactive game
- Tactile experience placing tiles and meeples
- Some downtime between turns
- Luck based depending on the tile you pick up
9. Best Racing: Camel Up
Camel Up is a very light game for 3-8 players that takes around half an hour to play.
In this game, you are moving camels around a track, and the camels can stack on top of each other and be carried to the finish line, making them totally unpredictable.
The aim of this game is to bet on the camel that you think will win the leg and the race (some parents may not like the idea of kids playing a betting game). I find it’s thematic, light-hearted, and a fun way to spend a few hours together without needing to think too much.
- Works well with lots of players
- Funny and unpredictable
- Great components – chunky camels, great board artwork, and a cool dice roller
- Develops an understanding of probability
- Not strategic at all
- Some parents may be uncomfortable with a betting game
10. Best Pattern Matching: Calico
Calico is a game for 1-4 players that takes around 45 minutes and is of medium complexity.
The premise of this game is that you are creating a quilt on your board out of hexagonal tiles to try and attract cats to earn points, but the cats are super fussy and will only lay down on certain patterns on the board, with each cat preferring a different design.
The rules for this game are easy enough for children to understand, but it takes a lot of thought to win since there is so much pattern matching! It contains both an easy version and a tougher variant, where the tougher variant requires a lot more pattern matching, so it’s one that if your kids are good at it you can make it harder.
I find the main appeal of this game is that it is so cute yet takes quite a lot of thinking. I can get my 8 year old daughter to play it because of the theme, but my highly analytical 10 year old will also very happily play it, unlike lighter games.
- Adorable game
- Works for a variety of skill ranges
- Simple to understand, difficult to master
- Develops pattern recognition
- Involves some luck depending on the tiles you select
- Can be stressful to deal with the best location to put a tile
- Some kids will just naturally be way better at this game
If you are still looking for more, here are some that are also firm family favorites in my house that the kids will often pull out to play.
- Dixit – this is a storytelling game where one player uses cards to tell a story, and the other players need to play cards from the story and then convince everyone why theirs is the correct one.
- Patchwork – A 2-player polyomino tile placing game where you are trying to build the best patchwork quilt while building an engine that gives you more buttons to buy better patches in the future.
- Barenpark – A similar game to patchwork by the same game designer, but for up to 4 players and you are building a park for bears to live in.
- Point Salad – A bit similar to Sushi Go Party! In this game, you are drafting colorful salad cards from the center of the table in order to collect food that scores in different ways.
- Project L – In this game, you collect polyomino pieces to build certain shapes. It’s a puzzle game that feels a bit like Tetris crossed with engine building.
There are so many great games for 8-10 year olds. The thing to look for in a game is something you think they’d be interested in, that’s short enough to play but still interesting enough that they’ll want to play. Usually, the interest comes either from a great theme or great gameplay.
For those who are all about action, King of Tokyo gives them a great fighting game, Camel Up is some chaotic racing, and 5 Minute Dungeon is some super quick dungeon crawling.
For those who love to sit and think more, Ticket to Ride London lets them build a public transport system, My Little Scythe is a full game experience with lots of different decisions, and Calico lets them solve a cat themed pattern matching puzzle.
And for just a fun lighthearted activity Just One is a great word guessing game or Sushi Go Party! For some super cute sushi set collection.