best new family games

12 Days of Best New Family Games 2019

This year, Studio 5 is able to release a dozen new recommendations for favorite board games. These are games that meet our criteria and we have tested in various family settings. On our list you’ll always find something that is new this year, easy to learn, all ages can play together, and takes less than 30 minutes to play. And, check out our mega list of favorite games here!

Happy gaming!

-The Studio 5 Team

Studio 5’s Best New Family Games


This is an instant favorite where everyone works as a team to win. Of all the games tested this year, Whozit was the overall favorite.

Pick cards identifying six people ranging from Bilbo Baggins to a gymnast, from Darth Vader to a bus driver. (One of them is secretly selected and known to the person who is starting off.) That person randomly selects two descriptors. It could be “has likely slept in a gutter” and “likes to be the center of attention”. They place those descriptors card on a scale from Definitely Not all the way up to Definitely with several options in between. The rest of the group rules out people that don’t fit the description and they get a point for each one they correctly identify. This always goes down to the wire on the fifth round trying to get the best score.

Studio 5 Tip:

There will be five rounds. Have your best player go last since that’s the opportunity to make up for lost ground from earlier rounds.

Color Brain
Big Potato Games

What color is Winnie the Pooh’s balloon? What are the four colors on the Brazilian flag? Once a question is asked, quickly grab the right color(s) from your 11 cards and put them face down. There can be four players or teams so if you have a larger group, you can work together on a team. This one is even available in most Target stores, not to mention online. It’s quick to learn and everyone can play. The Disney version is great for younger players. If you have mostly adults, the regular version is a great option.

Studio 5 Tip:

Don’t think the Disney version is simple and easy for everyone. If you don’t know the two colors of the Cheshire Cat’s stripes when first encountered by Alice in the Tree, or the color of Wreck-It Ralph’s undershirt, you might be better off getting the regular version.

Sherlock Express
Blue Orange Games

This is a fun “ice breaker” game which is a cross between Spot It and Shrimp Cocktail. You need fast reflexes and a quick mind. Six possible suspect cards are revealed. You flip over clue cards that eliminate suspects until there is just one suspect left. Slap your hand on it and get the point. This one is great for kids, with colorful cards and friendly graphics. Picture a tiger wearing a bowler hat in a library. It’s fast moving and good for varying groups.

Studio 5 Tip:

We tried this a different way, with a “moderator” flipping over the clue cards one by one instead of the players flipping over cards themselves.

Team 3
Brain Games

A team of three has to use colored “tetris-like” blocks to replicate a pattern on a card. The challenge is that of the three people on the team, only one can see the card and that person can’t speak. Only one can touch the pieces, and that person is blindfolded. So the person in the middle has to interpret the charades/sign language of the card holder and relay the information to the builder who can’t see what they are doing. It’s as much fun to watch as to play.

Grab it a Target.

Studio 5 Tip:

Get a blindfold ready. The game doesn’t come with one. They just instruct that player to keep their eyes closed. But a blindfold makes it a little more official.

This could also be great inspiration for a giant-sized version of the game. Picture a family reunion where you could have large cardboard boxes that have to be arranged instead of the smaller blocks.

This Game Goes To Eleven

Play your numbered cards on the discard pile. If it totals 11, you can make someone take the pile as negative points. If the total is over 11, you have to take the cards. If it’s under 11, play continues. There are a couple tricky cards, like the 11 or the 0 and a few quirks. But it’s a fast fun game if you like card games and it’s all based on a rock and roll speaker/amplifier theme so the visuals are fun. This is one of the best for a mixed group of different ages. All you have to do is add to 11.

Studio 5 Tip:

We like the “Advanced Rules” where the negative discard pile just goes to the next person in order, and you don’t have to decide who to be mean to.

The Bears and The Bees
Grandpa Beck’s Games

You’re building a giant beehive. Most cards are like honeycombs with various colors on the outside. You have to match colors to existing card colors to play a card. Some sides are honey, which is wild. There are a couple extra cards with special powers, but all in all, it’s a “sweet,” fun game with a little strategy without being too hard. First one to get rid of all their cards is the winner.

Studio 5 Tip:

This is a great game for people who like slower paced card games. And save a “honey” card to get rid of last since it’s easier to “go out” on that.

The Detective Club
Blue Orange

A bluffing game with the most fantastic illustrations. Everyone gets six cards with creative and quirky pictures. The leader finds two cards that have a key word in common. Everyone knows the key word but one person. Each person lays down two cards and when it’s done, the key word is revealed and everyone explains why they picked their two cards. The “bluffer” has to fake their explanation and then everyone picks who the bluffer might be.

Studio 5 Tip:

The scoring in the rules is the only flaw in the game. We like letting all the players guess who the “bluffer” might be. Create your own rules for scoring, but the “bluffer” should be rewarded for fooling people, and you should be penalized if people think you’re the “bluffer” and you’re not.

Cover Your Kingdom
Grandpa Beck’s Games

This is the creative, new spin on one of the most popular games in the state of Utah, Cover Your Assets. This version has mythical and magical creative creatures living in your kingdom instead of the assets of cars and jewelry in the original. You create clans (pairs of cards) and steal from other kingdoms to see who can capture the most points. There are a few extra twists: you can place your “clans” in two different piles, or play cards that let you perform specific magical actions. The colorful graphics and quirky names in the new version give it a fresh take.

Studio 5 Tip:

Don’t be overwhelmed by the 14 pages of instructions. Watch the video at for a quick start. And don’t get overwhelmed by the modifications and new ways to play. Start simple.

The game was funded by a Kickstarter campaign which was seeking $5,000. It actually raised more than $80,000 in no time, proving the loyal following of the game.

Slide Quest
Blue Orange

This isn’t really a game, but rather an activity. Remember that labyrinth game where you try to roll a marble through a maze by tilting a board. It’s like that, but a team version. Four people can lift levers to control the tilt of a game board and try to roll a token through a variety of maps and obstacles. There are 20 different maps/challenges to get through getting harder with each level.

Studio 5 Tip:

With four levers, you can have 4 people play, but it’s also fun with two or three since you have two hands and can operate two levers. This is one you can play with mixed abilities (kids with adults) and since it’s not a structured game, you can play as long or short as you like. If you have a kid who loves video games, this is a great transition to get them off the TV and play a game in real life.


This is a slower paced “roll and write” game. You have flower beds with different color flowers on your sheet of paper. One person rolls all the dice and each person picks a colored dice. If you pick the orange four, you have to link four orange flowers on your sheet. You continue picking flowers as you clear out the flower beds and eliminate the flowers color by color. You get points as you do. There’s some strategy involved, but it’s still fun and colorful even if you don’t want to think too much.

Studio 5 Tip:

Don’t circle the flowers. As you go on, it makes it hard to see which ones are circled. Instead, use a marker and draw a line directly through the flowers that are selected.

Sushi Roll

This is a new twist on Sushi Go, which was a Studio 5 pick a couple years ago. This time, it’s with dice instead of cards. You put together a variety of sushi to earn points. This time, you’ll pass a “tray” with sushi dice on it. Roll the dice when they come to you and pick the sushi you want to go along with the ones you already have. Each roll, you can keep one of the dice. You’ll get more points if you have certain sets of sushi dice.

Studio 5 Tip:

We still love the original version, maybe more than Sushi Roll. But this might be better if you need a little help making sure everyone is getting their sushi in the right order. It moves a little slower and takes a little longer. There’s also an additional element of luck since you can’t control what you’re going to roll. So this might be better for people who like their sushi without having to think as much about strategy.

Blue Orange

This is a great new concept for a game. You have a magnetic “geodesic” planet. You place magnetic pieces on it to create deserts, jungles, oceans, etc. Then, on each round there are cards that reveal who gets points for various things like “the largest desert that doesn’t touch an ocean” or the “smallest body of water”. When your planet is filled up, count up points to see who the best planet builder is.

Studio 5 Tip:

Don’t get caught up in the present. Glance ahead at what cards are coming up to know how you want to play your land and water masses. The cards will be out on the table for everyone to see.

It’s not a game for larger groups. There are only 4 planets. You can always form teams if you have more than 4 players.

Studio 5 has affiliate relationships, so we may get a small share of the revenue from your purchases. Items are sold by the retailer, not by KSL. All prices are subject to change.

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