header image

12 Board Games for Developing Thinking Abilities and Life Skills

board games for building life skills

Board games can build valuable life skills.

My sister works for—and is part owner of—a company that brings innovative teaching methods from around the world to Panama and licenses them to schools here. One of the programs that she promotes is called the Mind Lab Method. Here’s what the method is about :

“At the heart of the Mind Lab Method is the notion that the most effective way to learn is through an immediate and authentic experience that leaves one wanting more. Game-playing is the perfect example of such an experience – it is entertaining, engaging, and exciting, and therefore stimulates eager involvement. Game-playing also provides fertile ground for the training and application of thinking abilities and life skills.”

onehouradayformula banner long

Of course, it’s not just children who can learn from playing board games, but adults as well.

In fact, in my blog post on becoming more resilient , I recommend playing board games as one of the strategies to follow in order to increase your resilience. After all, board games help to develop mental flexibility, and being mentally flexible will help you to bounce back quickly when adversity strikes.

I sat down and did some research in order to determine which board games would be helpful in developing thinking abilities and life skills, and here are the 12 that I came up with:

settlers of catan

By playing Settler of Catan, you learn all of the following:


Playing chess promotes brain growth–specifically, it fuels dendrite growth–, and it exercises both sides of the brain. In addition, playing chess can increase IQ. A study conducted in Venezuela involving 4,000 students found that 4 months of chess instruction increased the students’ IQ scores.

In addition, chess teaches a plethora of valuable skills, including the following:

Here’s a quote from Benjamin Franklin about learning from chess: “We learn from chess the greatest maxim in life – that even when everything seems to be going badly for us we should not lose heart, but always hoping for a change for the better, steadfastly continue searching for the solutions to our problems.”

cash flow

This game teaches all of the following:


That’s when Andrew decided to create a game that would replicate the way we learn our first language. He wanted to make learning languages easier, and fun. And that’s how Kloo was born. When Andrew tested his game he discovered that both kids and adults learn an average of 20 to 30 words in their target foreign language per game. And without even realizing it!

Kloo games are available to learn Spanish, French, Italian, and English. Here’s their suite of products (they have card games and board games):

chutes and ladders

Here are some of the lessons in dealing with life’s challenges which you can learn from “Chutes and Ladders”:


Mancala has been played for thousands of years in Africa and different parts of the Middle East. There are also versions in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Mancala can teach all of the following:


Phlip E. Orbanes, author of Monopoly, Money, and You: How to Profit from the Game’s Secrets of Success , explains that playing Monopoly teaches the following life lessons:


Set has won over 35 best game awards including MENSA Select.

Playing Set teaches pattern recognition. In turn, the ability to recognize patterns gives us the ability to predict what will happen next with some degree of accuracy. That is, predict what other people are likely to do, how circumstances are likely to play out, and what has a high probability of occurring next in your environment.

There are many people who think that the purpose of intelligence is prediction. After all, the better you are at predicting what will happen in the future, based on patterns that you’ve recognized in the past and in the present, the more likely it is that you’ll succeed in life.

Prime Climb

By playing Prime Climb–which can be played by people who are “bad at math” and math whizzes alike–you’ll acquire deeper mathematical understanding. This game will turn everyone in your house into a lover of math.


Unlike most board games, Pandemic is cooperative, rather than competitive. The players, as a team, must coordinate their actions to stop a global pandemic. A game of Pandemic will have all the players discussing strategy and options together on almost every turn. If everyone does their part, the world is saved and all the players win.

As you can clearly see, Pandemic teaches teamwork and cooperation.


Mastermind can be used to teach, practice, and discuss scientific reasoning skills. Specifically, the game can be used to to teach topics such as sound experimental design, hypothesis-testing, careful interpretation of results, and the effective use of controls.


Playing Clue teaches deductive reasoning, which encourages critical thinking. As players move about the board making guesses as to where, who and what did the killing, they have to use deductive reasoning to narrow down the list of suspects, the possible murder locations, and the possible weapons.

Clue has been used to teach propositional logic and computer programming to college students.

Board games are fun, and they’re a great way to spend quality time with friends and family. However, board games can also teach us thinking skills, as well as life skills. Live your best life by playing board games–you can start by playing the 12 games described above.

What have you learned by playing board games? Please share on Twitter (I’m @Marelisa ).

system banner

Related Posts:

Next post: How to Read Hamlet

Previous post: How to Know When to Quit – The Knowing When to Quit Cheat-Sheet

Marelisa Fabrega

Popular Posts

57 Tips For Writers From Writers

17 Ways to Slow Down Aging and Live Longer

How to Conduct a Life Audit

119 Journal Prompts For Your Journal Jar

18 Things to Do With a Moleskine, or Any Notebook

Recent Posts

How To Live Your Best Life

This site rocks the Classic Responsive Skin for Thesis .

What Do We Do All Day logo

10 Problem Solving Games for Kids

Playing board games is one of the best ways to spend time with your children. Why? Board games offer ample ways for kids to build their brains. Not only does playing games with your children improve family relationships and give opportunities for caring adults to help nurture good sportsmanship but the best games build kids' critical thinking and problem solving skills.

black and white checkers board

Note: this post contains affiliate links that may earn commission.

We've composed a list of problem solving games for kids that help develop the following critical skills:

Games work on all these skills while also being fun. What could be better? Here are our favorite 10 problem solving games for kids and families!

A note regarding age recommendations. I've included the manufacturer's recommendation, but most games can be played with younger kids, provided an adult is at the ready to assist.

Battle sheep game tiles


Every time you play Battle Sheep the playing space is different! That's because players start with 4 pasture boards that they take turns placing down to create the playing field. Kids are using advance planning and reevaluation right off the bat! Each player begins with 16 sheep and aims towards occupying as many pastures as they can. Players must chose between placing sheep or strategically blocking their opponents. We love this game that engages players' abstract thinking, strategic, and visual perception skills. Ages 7 and up. 2-4 players.

Find it: Amazon

Tsuro game of the path board, box and pieces

The board changes every time you play, keeping players on their toes and constantly reassessing their strategy. Players use tiles to create paths along which they move their tokens. The objective is to create paths in such a way that keep you moving but force your opponents off the board. Players must anticipate other's moves and problem solve in order accomplish both goals. Tsuro is also surprisingly easy to learn! Ages 8 and up. 2-8 players.

Labyrinth board game box with game boards and pieces

Players make their way through an ever-shifting maze in pursuit of treasure. Each player begins with a set number of treasure cards and the player who collects all their treasure first, wins. The board consists of moving panels and on their turn, a player shifts the panels in an effort to further their own progress or hinder that of others. Ages 7 and up. 2-4 players

Kingdomino tiles and game pieces

Kingdomino is a tile placing game in which players must make choices regarding how to build their kingdom. The objective of the game is to score as many points as possible by matching tiles based on terrain. But some terrains score more than others. Players must decide if they want to build a lot of low scoring terrains, or fewer high-scoring terrains. Your tile choice also affects the order of play for the next round so it's important to be thoughtful. We've throughly enjoyed this game. An expansion pack is available. Ages 8 and up. 2-4 players

Find it: Kingdomino | Expansion pack | Queendomino

Photosynthesis game board with tree tokens laid out


Photosynthesis from Blue Orange Games has an environmental theme. Players focus on growing trees through their life cycle from seed to maturity. Players strategize to "plant" their seeds where they will receive the most light, without being blocked in the future by other, maturing, trees. Successful game play requires planning and analysis. The artwork is beautiful and adds to the unique game play. We have enjoyed playing this game! Ages 8 and up. 2-4 players.

Azul game board and tiles

Azul's stunningly colorful game design was inspired by azulejos , a type of decorated ceramic tile introduced to Spain by the Moors and made popular in Portugal by King Manuel I. Players transform into tile laying artists, and must strategize over three phases of game play: choosing tiles, laying them and prepping for the next round. The object is to collect the most points by creating lines of 5 consecutive tiles. Each line of tiles must contain only one of each type of tile. The game ends when one player has completed a row, but that player is not necessarily the winner. Strategic problem solving and planning are required because players can lose points in the wall-tiling phase for any remaining, unused tiles. Ages 8 and up. 2-4 players.

Gobblet game board and wooden pieces

Gobblet looks like Tic Tac Toe but players have large, medium and small pieces that nestle inside each other like Russian dolls. Players attempt to get four in a row by "gobbling" up smaller pieces. The game relies on advance planning, anticipating your opponent's moves and memory skills since you have to remember which Gobblets have been gobbled without peeking! Ages 7 and up. 2 players. A version for ages 5 and up is available as Gobblet Gobblers.

Find it: Gobblet | Gobblet Gobblers

Cat Crimes single player game from ThinkFun


Logic games are the ultimate problem solving entertainment! We love single player logic games and probably own an unhealthy number of these brain boosting puzzle games.

The following are some of our top favorites:

wooden Mancala board with marbles

Mancala is a classic game every family should have. The board has two rows of depressions, plus end "home" bowls. The goal is to transfer the most stones from the rows into your home. A set of rules govern how you deposit and capture stones. You must use strategy to capture stones and ensure you do not leave them vulnerable to your opponent's greedy, greedy paws. Playing Mancala improves memory and observation skills. You must engage your strategic thinking skills to make sure you don't inadvertently give your opponent the opportunity to thwart you. Ages 8 and up. 2 players.

Clue game box and game board

There's a reason the classic detective board game, Clue, remains so popular. I loved it when I was a kid and I bet you did, too. Players race to be the first person to solve the mystery of the who, what and where of a murder. Clue requires deductive reasoning and logic skills to narrow down the possibilities. Players must also vigilantly observe the actions of other players to help them make logical decisions. Ages 8 and up, 2-6 players ( much better with 3 or more players ).

problem solving board game

Reader Interactions

Leave a reply cancel reply.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .

Problem Solving : Board Games

How are you shopping today, same day delivery.

Indoor gaming is a great way to unwind and have some quality time with friends and family. Stock up for those game nights with a bunch of fun board games. Be it family board games, card games, wargames, strategy games or video games, Target’s board game collection has it all. Get together to have an intense monopoly session, or lay back and enjoy a game of scrabble. Put those problem-solving skills to the test to beat some clue-finding games. Introduce the kids to old-school dice games & word games for some family-friendly gaming fun. From Chess & Ludo to Pictionary & Backgammon, find all those childhood games you were so fond of. If you’re into strategy-riddled role-playing games, Catan and Gloomhaven are right up your ally. Get into fast-paced, two-player fights with other players, or relax with tabletop games on quiet evenings. Target’s fun range has something for everyone. Find just the game for you and your loved ones!

Get top deals, latest trends, and more.

This Simple Balance

25+ Best Logic Board Games for Kids of All Ages

chess pieces, game pieces, dice and dominos

Inside: Help your kids develop critical thinking and reasoning skills in a fun way using logic board games! Choose from over 25 of the best logic board games for kids of all ages – preschool through teenager.

I remember loving logic puzzles and brain teasers as a child, and I couldn’t wait until my kids were old enough to try them! 

Last year, we started adding in logic exercises like Sudoku and logic puzzles. More recently, both of my older kids went on a deep dive into Rubix cubes, spending hours one week learning the algorithms required to complete them. 

When I first introduced logic puzzles, I worked alongside my oldest to teach her the basics.

And dang! I forgot how much patience, perseverance and brain power logic puzzles require!

As you work your way to more difficult puzzles, the brain exercise is INTENSE. You’re holding several different facts in your brain at once, looking for definite conclusions and constantly making sure your reasoning is sound. 

Sometimes, you make big leaps and conclusions that are WAY off. Or you forget to take into account all the information and what each clue tells you (along with what that clue rules out).

Then you have to go back to the beginning and start all over again.

Despite all of that, my kids and I keep coming back for more!

Related: 17 Best Educational Board Games for Kids (that we play ALL the time)

kids playing chess and other logic board game pieces, with text overlay, "25+ of the best logic games for kids (4-15)"

Why Buy Logic Board Games?


We are just dipping our toes into logic board games primarily because logic puzzles are difficult to do with more than 1-2 people. Since there’s one of me on five kids, I’d love to be able to work on logic exercises and activities more than just 1:1.

That being said, some of the logic games on this list can still be played alone (like Logic Links and Rush Hour ). 

In a world of shorter and shorter attention spans, logic puzzles and logic board games help our kids develop sustained attention and the ability to work through a problem to the end. 

I rounded up the best logic board games for our own Amazon wishlist. And I hope you can find a few logic board games in this list to add to your own educational board game collection!

(Side Note: Our favorite logic puzzle books are THESE ones . I do them on my own and with my daughter – she started around age 9.)

More Educational Board Games:

25+ Logic Board Games for Kids

1. my first castle panic.

Ages 3 and up, 1 to 4 players, 2-minute playtime

There is no reading required with this logic board game that encourages little learners to use strategic planning and cooperation.

problem solving board game

Ages 5 and up

A froggy fun twist on solitaire from logic game gurus Think Fun! 40 multilevel challenges become more difficult as you work through them.

It teaches strategic thinking and planning.

problem solving board game

3. Dinosaur Escape

Ages 4 and up, 2-4 players, 10-minute playtime

Kids work together using memory and strategy to rescue the dinosaurs before the volcano erupts!

This is a great logic board game for younger kids that incorporates team-building and shared decision making.

problem solving board game

4. Animal Sodoku Math Logic Board Game

Ages 4 and up

Adorable animal titles and bright illustration make this game fun and engaging for little mathematicians. Introduce Sudoku, develop basic math reasoning and logical thinking skills.

Choose the animal version or one of the five other options.

problem solving board game

5. Sequence for Kids

Ages 4 and up.

Another logic board game easy enough for young children that does not require any reading. Players select cards and place chips on corresponding characters on the game board.

problem solving board game

Ages 8 and up

This classic board game requires serious reasoning and deduction skills.

How can you ask the right combination of questions in order to figure out the murderer, the weapon and the room before someone else figures it out first?

I personally prefer the retro version, but the new version of the game (swaps Dr Orchid for Mrs. Peacock)  is much cheaper and can be found HERE.

problem solving board game

7. Rush Hour Traffic Jam

Figure out how to unblock the traffic jam. Comes with the board, all the required cars, and 40 cards with different initial scenarios ranging from beginner to difficult. 

From Think Fun, Rush Hour is one of the most popular STEM/logic board games today – it gets almost perfect 5 star reviews on Amazon. How often does that happen?!

My older kids (6-10) all really enjoy this one.

problem solving board game

8. Cat Crimes

Cat Crimes is another logic game by Think Fun where players develop critical reasoning and logical deduction skills while they solve increasingly difficult challenges.

Find out which cat is responsible for the crime using paw prints, toys, and clues to figure it out. 40 challenges ranging from beginner to expert.

problem solving board game

Ages 8 and up, 2-4 players or teams

This game of strategy is great for the whole family! Players drop tiles of different shapes into a vertical game board. Think Connect 4 with shapes with a bit of challenging twists.

problem solving board game

10. Code Master Programming Game

Coding, programming logic, and STEM! Players will develop critical thinking skills, reasoning, and planning with 60 beginner-expert level challenges. Instruction booklet with solutions included!

problem solving board game

11. Shadows in the Forest

Ages 8 and up, 2-7 players or teams

Does anyone remember playing flashlight tag? Be the Seeker or the on a team that controls the forest animals who hide from the light. This unique board game helps team building and critical thinking.

Perfect for a camping trip and also teaches how lights and shadows work!

problem solving board game

12. Dr. Eureka

Another great game of strategy for short attention spans. This logic board game is all about speed!

It can be played independently or with others and is great for all ages. Players move test tube ingredients from one tube to another as shown on challenge cards. Great hands-on game!

problem solving board game

13. Brain Games (Kids)

Ages 8 and up, 2 or more players

Learn how the human brain works! Players use deduction and reasoning, problem-solving, strategic thinking, and teamwork as they race to the finish space.

Based on the National Geographic Channel TV Series, Brain Games, this logic game will get the whole family thinking.

14. The Fairy Game

Ages 5 and up, 2-4 players

Players work together to help the fairies escape winter frost. Match fairy cards and gather hidden gems in this logic board game.

We love cooperative games from Peaceable Kingdom!

problem solving board game

15. Invasion of The Cow Snatchers

Ages 6 and up.

This game is a magnetic maze with 60 challenges of increasing difficulty. Players take control of their own UFOs to solve challenges, snatching cows.

A crazy attention grabbing game that develops critical thinking.

problem solving board game

16. Brain Freeze

Ages 5-10 years

Players race to guess what secret sweet treat their opponents have chosen.

Using logic, reasoning, and memory players will eliminate variables to make the best possible guess! Guess right and win or guess wrong and get a “Brain Freeze”!

problem solving board game

17. Connect 4

Ages 6 and up

This classic logic game needs little introduction. It’s a fast-paced game of strategy and skill that is perfect for a break from the books!

problem solving board game

18. No Stress Chess

Help your kids learn chess! Pick up the skill instantly with a special game board that guides players through set up.

There’s also a card deck that shows how to move each piece.

problem solving board game

Use tactile tracking and speed to solve these game board puzzles. Players use observation to find the patterns to rebuild as fast as they can, but it’s get’s tricky!

Three levels of difficulty make it flexible for multiple ages.

problem solving board game

20. Logic Links

Each card includes clues you decipher to place the colored chips in the correct sequence. 166 puzzle cards with 32 plastic colored chips. 

Game can be played alone or with others. Compete to see how many puzzles you can complete in a set amount of time OR work together as a team.

problem solving board game

21. Telepathy Head to Head Logic Board Game

Ages 10 and up

“Battleship meets Sudoku” in this strategy game that combines logic and deduction as players try to guess their opponents secret square on the gameboard.

problem solving board game

22. Spy Alley

Ages 8 to adult, 30-40-minute playtime

Use logic and reasoning to unmask enemy spies. The top spy will have to “bluff, deceive, and double-cross” their opponents in a suspenseful logic board game that will engage the entire family.

problem solving board game

Ages 8 and up, 2 player, 15-minute playtime

An abstract strategy game using deductive reasoning. A concept simple enough for kids with a design sophisticated enough for teens and adults.

Easy to learn and quick to play!

problem solving board game

24. Labyrinth

Ages 7 and up

Players race for treasure in a loving maze while playing this logic board game. Learn cause and effect, planning, and association.

The player with the shortest route through the labyrinth wins!

problem solving board game

This is a classic strategy game for all ages. Players take turns placing their titles on the game board, but there are rules. Each new piece must touch at least one other piece of the same color-but only at the corners!

Simple enough for little ones to catch on and addictive fun for the whole family.

problem solving board game

26. Otrio         

Ages 6 and up, 2-4 players

Another great game for that will pass inspection from big kids and teens, yet it’s simple enough for the youngest in the family too.

problem solving board game

Escape Room The Game

Ages 16 and up

What a fun game night! Use logic and reasoning in this real-life escape room set that includes three different room possibilities.

The only downside to this logic board game is once you’ve completed all three escape rooms, you probably won’t want to play again.

You could always start a fun regifting train and keep a list inside the box of all the families who have played the game!

problem solving board game

Help a friend out: share this!

where can I buy these:?ew there use games for sale anywhere?

Amazon. Or eBay for used copies. Good luck!

This was great! It had a lot of great games for my family (and my christmas list)

So glad it was helpful Clark!

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Disclosure   /   Privacy Policy   /   Contact Copyright © 2023 This Simple Balance   -   All Rights Reserved Brigsby Theme (Free Version) by wpHoot Website Design by Robert Partridge

5 Board Games to Develop Critical Thinking Skills

Brief evolution of board games, not just for the bored, brain games, you may also like, 10 critical thinking questions you can use to solve everyday problems, jobs that require creative thinking, how to develop critical thinking skills, how to answer critical thinking questions.

Because differences are our greatest strength

6 great board games to boost critical thinking in teens and tweens

problem solving board game

By Amanda Morin

problem solving board game

Some tweens and teens may choose boredom over board games. But encourage them to keep an open mind. These games will capture your child’s attention, sense of humor, and imagination while boosting critical-thinking skills.

Apples to Apples

This card game helps kids predict their friends’ preferences and build social skills and vocabularies. Each round, one person plays the judge. The other players each get seven cards. Each card has a red apple with a noun written on it.

The judge plays a green apple card with an adjective written on it. The other players choose one of their nouns to go with the adjective. The result can be serious or funny, but the goal is for players to guess which noun card the judge will like best with that adjective card. Players aren’t allowed to tell which card belongs to whom. There’s also a junior version of this game, which allows younger kids or teens with limited vocabulary to play.

This game is played in teams of two and is similar to charades. Each team has a deck of 40 cards that name famous people. One player gives clues to get his teammate to guess the person on the card.

Here’s where critical thinking comes in: In each round of play, there are increasingly tougher restrictions on the clues players can give. In Round 1, players can say anything. In Round 2, players are allowed to use only one word to describe each person. In Round 3, players can only act out clues.

The Settlers of Catan

This award-winning game teaches your child to plan and strategize . Players are settlers in a new land and need to build the most successful society. Each player begins with two roads and two settlements.

They roll dice to gain resources — including lumber, stone, wool, and brick — that can be used to build roads and homes and other things needed for the settlement. Those resources can also be traded with other players. Kids have to keep track of their resources, settlements, and what other players are doing.

Fact or Crap

You may not like the name, but this game is a great way for your child to learn how to figure out what’s true and what’s not. (If you want, you can always call it “Fact or Fiction.”) Once the reader picks a card and reads the statement, each player has to decide as quickly as possible whether the answer is real or not. The questions open up discussion and provide ways to research new topics.


In this game, your child’s team must come up with as many appropriate words as they can for a certain category. The catch is that the words have to start with the letter rolled on the die. There’s also a time limit.

For example, your child picks the category “vegetables” and rolls the letter “S.” Your child’s team now has to come up with as many appropriate words as possible before the timer runs out. Multi-word answers get more points. So “summer squash” is worth more than “spinach.”

This is a great game for tweens and teens who aren’t always confident in their ability to figure out tone of voice and emotions. On the surface, it’s simple. Each player chooses a card with a phrase and then rolls a die to get a “mood.”

Then the player has to say the phrase in that mood. (For example, “I love chips” in a bossy way.) Other players have to guess the mood. They aren’t all easy to show and guess. The dice includes tough emotions, such as “sneaky” and “dazed.”

Tell us what interests you

About the author.

Amanda Morin is the author of “The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education” and the former director of thought leadership at Understood. As an expert and writer, she helped build Understood from its earliest days. 

Reviewed by

problem solving board game

Jenn Osen-Foss, MAT is an instructional coach, supporting teachers in using differentiated instruction, interventions, and co-planning.

Discover what’s possible when you’re understood.

We’ll email you our most helpful stories and resources.

Wunder The first community app for parents and caregivers of children who learn and think differently.

Copyright © 2014- 2023 Understood For All Inc.

Interactive resources you can assign in your digital classroom from TPT.

problem solving board game

Easel Activities

problem solving board game

Easel Assessments

Unlock access to 4 million resources — at no cost to you — with a school-funded subscription., social problem solving board game for social emotional learning skills.

problem solving board game

What educators are saying

Also included in.

problem solving board game


Practice social skills and social problem solving with a board game! The game includes over 80 scenario cards focused on real life social situations at school, at home, with friends, and during activities. After reading the cards, kids will act the out the situation, discuss consequences, give three options, identify what they would do, and more.

This game is great for students with social difficulties and those who are rigid and might get "stuck" in their way of thinking. Use this game to allow students to discuss a variety of social situations and brainstorm for the best solutions to problems. This includes students with autism, ADHD, oppositional defiant disorder, and more.

How to Play - PRINT

Students will roll a dice to advance on the board game. The image they land on will tell them what type of scenario card to pick up. As they pick up a card, they will also need to spin a spinner that tells them how to respond to the card: act it out, discuss why it matters, explain your choice, give three choices, or explain the consequences of your choice. The first to “finish” wins, but students can continue playing again and again!

How to Play - DIGITAL

Open the file with "digital directions" in the title. You will then click a link in a blue box to open the digital Google Slides version. Note that you will need a Google account (which you can get for free) to access the resource. You can assign to your students (if they have Google Accounts) or share your screen/project to play as a group. You will click the first video to "roll" the dice. Then, you will click the second video to get a random social scenario card.

Note that sometimes schools block videos from out of district. I've included two versions to assist with this (one includes videos from my Google Drive account and the other includes videos from YouTube). If videos are not working for you, please contact your tech team to allow access.

Encourage Making Positive Choices

As students discuss and answer the questions from the scenario cards, they will learn to make more positive social choices in real life situations. It is recommended to have some peer role-models in small groups or partners to play this to allow for positive model responses along the way.

Note that both black/white and color options are included. Blank cards are also included to make your own social situations, as needed.

{ Click here to follow my store! }

Tips for Customers:

Terms of Use:

© Pathway 2 Success. One license is for the classroom/personal use for one educator and their students. Materials may not be shared with other educators without the purchase of extra licenses. Materials may not be posted on the Internet where they can be publicly accessed. Personal and classroom use only. Please see full terms of use for more information.

Disclaimer: These resources are for supplementary support/education purposes and are not a replacement for education or other necessary supports. Educators, parents, and others who utilize these materials are encouraged to seek out additional support, as needed.

Questions & Answers

Pathway 2 success.

TPT empowers educators to teach at their best.

Keep in Touch!

Are you getting the free resources, updates, and special offers we send out every week in our teacher newsletter?

Game Cows Text Logo Horizontal

Best Critical Thinking Board Games for Adults

' src=

Critical thinking skills are… critical! They help us think outside the box, analyze situations, and problem-solve effectively. 

To keep those critical thinking skills sharp, you’ll need to use them! Our top picks for the best critical thinking board games for adults are here to help. 

We’ve done the research. Now it’s your turn to decide which is for you. So put your critical thinking cap on, pick your favorite, and get ready to play! 

🏆 Our Top Picks for Best Critical Thinking Board Games for Adults

In a hurry? Take a quick peek before you go.

Best Tile Placement


Best Mancala

Five Tribes

Best Overall


#1. Five Tribes

Five Tribes Board Game Box, Board, Meeples, and Rulebook

Players: 2-4 Playing time: 40-80 minutes

The death of the sultan has brought about a great opportunity in Naqala. The seat of power is up for grabs, and it’s best to strike while the iron is hot! Can you use the region’s Five Tribes to your advantage and become ruler of this Arabian land? 

Five Tribes is a set collection and bidding game played on a modular board. The rules seem straightforward, but you’ll need to use your best critical thinking and planning skills to achieve goals.

Turn-taking happens in steps and begins by bidding for turn order. In the movement phase, pick up meeples from any square on the board and move them Mancala-style. The meeples you pick up dictate what you do in the action phase. Ultimately, you’ll trade meeples to collect cards, which can be exchanged for coins. It’s about strategic placement and trading up.

The wealthiest player in Arabia is the winner, so go big or go home! 

#2. Cascadia

Cascadia Board Game Box and Art

Players: 1-4 Playing time: 30-45 minutes

Welcome to the Pacific Northwest! The region of Cascadia is as diverse as it is beautiful . The terrain includes deserts, mountains, valleys, and rivers – and it’s your job to decide where they all go. 

Played on individual modular boards, everyone begins with a starting tile with all 7 terrains represented. On your turn, add a terrain tile and animal token to your board. Place them strategically because adjacent terrains add up to points. End-game bonuses are also waiting for those with the most of each landscape. 

But don’t forget about the wildlife in Cascadia! Wildlife tokens are played and scored according to different rules in each game. Maybe hawks prefer flying over deserts, or animals like to travel in pairs. Things to bear in mind! 

Turns run out when the tiles do, so use your time – and tiles – wisely! Will you be a force of nature in Cascadia? Play to find out.


Players: 2-4 Playing time: 30-45 minutes

You’ve been tasked with tiling the beautiful walls of a mosaic-style building. But you can’t add tiles just anywhere! Tile placement and planning are critical in this game. 

Azul is played in three rounds with three phases each. Players get their own personal walls. Purchase tiles from the community factory and think about which will fit best and how exactly you’ll lay them out. But don’t overstock – excess tiles count against you!

It’s time to tile! Organize your tiles row by row. But use some critical thinking here — certain patterns and orders will earn you more points! 

Building up walls isn’t always a bad thing. May the most beautiful one win! 

#4. Quoridor

Quoridor Board Game Featured Image

Players: 2-4 Playing time: 15 minutes

Quoridor is a quick-playing game requiring spatial awareness and logic . 

It comes with a square playing board, wall-like blocks, and pawns. On your turn, choose to place a wall or move your pawn one space. The ultimate goal is to move all pawns to the other side – but that task is more challenging than first meets the eye! You’ll be balancing defense and offense as you make your way across. 

Create corridors to block your opponent, but don’t neglect your pawns in the process. Will you get walled-in or race your pawns to victory? 


#5. Charterstone

Charterstone Legacy Board Game

Players: 1-6 Playing time: 45-75 minutes

Charterstone is a land grabbing and city-building game. As a legacy game , the board will change along with your moves. 

Players utilize two workers throughout the game. Start off small but create a bustling village by the end. Take an action on your turn – that might be placing a worker and buying a benefit or collecting your workers from the table . Ultimately, you need to use your workforce to create the most prosperous city in the land.

The game builds well — starting simple and becoming more complex. There are more and more choices and strategies as you progress. If you can predict your opponents’ future moves, you may even be able to use them to your benefit. 

But don’t let analysis paralysis bring you down! Keep calm and build on.  


Players: 2 Playing time: 20 minutes 

This buzz-worthy game will have you exercising your analytical and abstract strategy skills. 

Hive is a tile-placement game that requires zero setup and can be played almost anywhere. The opposing sides have either black or white tiles representing different insects – and your collection of creepy crawlies is itching to get out and play. 

Each turn, players add an insect tile to the communal hive. The goal is to surround the opposing queen bee, taking her down. Creatures move differently – spiders crawl three tiles away, the elegant bee moves only one space, and the pesky mosquito takes on the abilities of those around it. Analyze the insects at play and decide which should hop, crawl, or soar to victory. 

This two-player game has one clear winner and loser. Will you fly high or feel the sting of a loss? Head to the hive to find out!  

#7. Mandala

Mandala is an aesthetically pleasing game involving colorful card collections. 

The goal is to fill up your river with these cards. You can have up to 8 cards in your hand. When it’s your turn you can add cards to the mountains or fields to form mandalas or discard unwanted colors. There are rules for where and how to place each color though, so analyze your choices well.

Once a mandala is complete, players go back and forth choosing which color cards from the mandala to add to their rivers. You want your river to be overflowing. The extra cards get you points at the end so avoid a drought at all costs!. 

It’s the type of game that’s easy to pick up once you see it and start playing. Get into the flow of things with Mandala! 

#8. Dinosaur Island

Dinosaur Island Board Game Box and Board Setup

Players: 1-4 Playing time: 90-120 minutes

Head to Dinosaur Island! Here, you’ll be responsible for a Jurassic Park-themed operation. Your workers and scientists must collect DNA, analyze it, and produce the correct sequence to revive these extinct creatures.  

Dinosaur Island gets you thinking critically by working out these equations and using business savvy. You must research and develop the busiest theme park to bring in those visitors – and profits. 

If you can’t decode the DNA and build your business, your theme park will go extinct! How will you fare on the island? Will you dino- soar or sink?

Dinosaur Island

#9. Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig

Players: 2-7 Playing time: 45-60 minutes

If you like critical thinking games with a theme, you’ll enjoy Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig. 

It’s the Post-Napoleonic era, and castles are in high demand. The Mad King Ludwig commissioned his finest architects to design a castle according to his demands. You’ll work with others, but only one architect will get the final say. 

In Between Two Castles, you’ll work with the players on either side of you to create a castle. Cards represent different rooms. Pick up two at a time and decide which castle they will benefit most – the right or left. Add each card to the optimal blueprint. Room placement matters as you get extra points for satisfying the King’s wishes.   

You’ll be collaborating and competing with others while creating designs. The mechanics are unique, but you’ll catch on quickly after a few rounds. 

Decision-making is the key to the castle! So don’t get yourself between a rock and a hard place. Get between two high-scoring castles instead! 

#10. Chess and Go

Players: 2 Playing time: 10-60 minutes

Chess is a race to take down the opposing King. All the pieces move according to specific rules but work together. You’ll want to keep as many pieces as possible during your mission. In Chess, there are many routes to choose from. Observe the board, think ahead, and consider your options. Devise the best plan of attack – or defense. You can slowly weaken the opposition or go straight for their King. But the first player to say “Checkmate” wins!

Magnetic Wooden Chess Set

Go is the oldest critical thinking game still played – and it’s survived for a reason! It’s a simple concept but employs high-level thinking. Two players use either white or black tiles. Go back and forth, placing one of your tiles on the board each turn. If you surround your opponent, you claim their tile. At the end of the game, count the open intersections and the seized tiles to determine the winner. It’s all about gaining territory. So strategize and go, go, go! 

Go Board Game

We hope you enjoyed our list of the best critical thinking board games for adults! Playing these board games will help you improve your problem-solving, logic, and critical thinking skills, all while having fun! Have you tried any of the games on this list? Did we miss any of your favorites? Drop a comment below and let us know what you think! We’d love to hear from you.

You may also enjoy:

' src=

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post Comment

View more related articles

Alaria: Valor & Company table top RPG

Spotlight on Alaria: Valor & Company

Alaria: valor & company review.

Best 2-Player RPG Board Games Featured Image

Best 2-Player RPG Games

Welcome to the Moon board game featured

Welcome to the Moon Review

Best Economic Board Games

Best Economic Board Games

Frosthaven Board Game Review Featured Image

Frosthaven Review

Marvel Champions: The Card Game Featured Image

Marvel Champions: The Card Game Review

5 games like Axis & Allies featured image

5 Games Like Axis & Allies

Best Ancient Civilization Board Games

Best Ancient Civilization Board Games

5 Games Like Joking Hazard

5 Games Like Joking Hazard


  1. Social Problem Solving Board Game by Pathway 2 Success

    problem solving board game

  2. Problem Solving Game Board

    problem solving board game

  3. Social Problem Solving Board Game

    problem solving board game

  4. Social Problem Solving Board Game

    problem solving board game

  5. Addition and Subtraction Problem Solving Board Game

    problem solving board game

  6. Problem-Solving, Coping Skills, & Social Skills Board Game

    problem solving board game


  1. Games Logic Puzzle

  2. Maths puzzle| Gaming puzzle| Reasoning puzzle| Maths problem| Can you solve 🤔🧐


  4. solve this problem 😃😃 Maths Puzzle 🧩🧩🧩🧩#shorts

  5. When game gives you a math problem to solve

  6. Can you solve it||#logic #puzzle #upsc


  1. Problem Solving Games

    Solution Seekers Problem Solving Scenarios for Kids - Autism Learning Materials - Speech Therapy Materials, Emotional Regulation, and Reasoning Skills - Therapy

  2. 12 Board Games for Developing Thinking Abilities and Life Skills -

    Problem Solving; Decision Making; Logical Thinking; Emotional Intelligence; Cooperation; Competition; How to Deal with Mistakes; Deferring Gratification; and so

  3. 10 Problem Solving Games for Kids

    Best critical thinking and problem solving board game for kids and families to work on strategy, advance planning and logic skills.

  4. Problem Solving : Board Games

    Target/Toys/Games & Puzzles/Problem Solving : Board Games (124)‎. How are you shopping today? Pickup. In-store pickup, ready within 2 hours

  5. 25+ Best Logic Board Games for Kids of All Ages

    kids playing chess and other logic board game pieces, with text overlay, "25 ... Players use deduction and reasoning, problem-solving

  6. Social Problem Solving Board Game for Social Emotional Learning

    Dec 1, 2017 - Practice social skills and social problem solving with a board game! The game includes over 80 scenario cards focused on real life social

  7. 5 Board Games to Develop Critical Thinking Skills

    Chess and Clue, for example, are great games for training logic and problem-solving. Boggle and Scrabble on the other hand can improve language and memory. And

  8. Board Games to Improve Critical Thinking in Teens and Adolescents

    6 great board games to boost critical thinking in teens and tweens · Apples to Apples. This card game helps kids predict their friends' preferences and build

  9. Social Problem Solving Board Game for Social Emotional ...

    Practice social skills and social problem solving with a board game! The game includes over 80 scenario cards focused on real life social situations at

  10. Best Critical Thinking Board Games for Adults Problem-Solving

    Our Top Picks for Best Critical Thinking Board Games for Adults · #1. Five Tribes · #2. Cascadia · #3. Azul · #4. Quoridor · #5. Charterstone · #6.