Too many lists out there of “The Best Games for Seniors” rely on the same-old games. While nobody is arguing that chess isn’t a great game (and it’s included within this list), there are a many other great games out there that older adults have been playing for years.
So, let’s jump right in. These are the 19 best games for seniors.
Best Board/Card Games for Seniors
Whether you’re relaxing at home with friends or hanging out with family around the holidays, board and card games are a staple of the world of games. We have published a more thorough article specific to board games for playing with grandchildren, but here are a few of the best for seniors themselves.
They wildly vary in difficulty, complexity, and level of fun, but below are some of what we believe are the best of the best for seniors. They’re all easy to learn, they are wildly entertaining, and virtually anybody can engage in them.
Ahh, the classics. How could we write this list without including chess? This two-person game is anything but simple. Despite being around for centuries, there are still dozens (if not hundreds) of books written on this game per year. There are more books written on chess than any other game in human history.
- FREE ONLINE COURSE - Every Chess Armory chess set comes with a free online course taught by an expert chess player to help you start your chess journey!
- ♕ INLAID WALNUT CHESS BOARD: The compact 15" x 15" chess board is made of smooth inlaid walnut, where every square measures 1.625" x 1.625". It folds in half, so you can store the chess pieces inside when needed.
This is a fantastic game of quiet solitude as each player tests and analyzes the defenses and attacks of their opponent. It’s a great battle of wit and is a game everybody should know how to play. Teach your grandchildren how to play chess!
Another time-tested gem, Uno is a game you will find being played at senior centers. Perhaps 70% luck and 30% strategy, this card game requires you either match the color or the number of the card the preceding player just placed on the table in front of you.
- UNO is the classic family card game that's easy to learn and so much fun to play!
- In a race to deplete your hand, match one of your cards with the current card shown on top of the deck by either color or number.
Don’t have anything in your hand that matches? Then you must draw more cards from the deck. The winner is the player who runs out of cards first.
Are there a bunch of readers within your friend group/family? If so, then you’re bound to enjoy Scrabble. Players are each given a set number of lettered tiles and take turns attempting to spell out words on the board. All words must be connected to other words on the board without spelling gibberish, and extra points are awarded for hitting certain board locations, using difficult letters (e.g. ‘Q’), and so on.
- Classic work game features sleek folding carrying case with handle and two slide-and-store trays
- Colorful gameboard features recessed game spaces
This game is so popular that there are national championships held for it.
A more portable, fast-paced word assembly game, Bananagrams involves each player being given 21 lettered tiles. Words are spelled out in a connected version very similar to Scrabble, but the winner is the player who runs out of lettered tiles and yells “Bananagrams” first.
- ✅ FAST TRACK BOARD GAME: Jabuka is a fast speed board game for all ages. Similar to scrabble and bananagrams, but with a whole new dimension. Turn the wooden, coffee bean shaped game pieces to form different letters and words. Perfect mornings at the coffee shop, game night for couples, teens, families and parties.
- ✅ AWARD WINNING PARTY GAMES: Multi award winning game including National Parenting Product, Mom's Choice, Best Toys for Kids Finalist, and Creative Toy Awards Game of the Year. A twist on classic word games like banana grams and scrabble go, Jabuka will surprise and entertain a large group. The W can be a B or an E, the R can be a J, the PO can be a DO, and MORE! The possibilities and fun are endless!
Adding to the suspense is the fact that you’re racing against other players to get rid of all your tiles first, and there are times you’re required to pick a new tile from the main pile in the center of the table. Very simple gameplay that requires thinking on your feet.
Get the chance to practice your Las Vegas’ skills by playing a few rounds of Blackjack, aka 21. All that’s needed to play is a deck of cards. Here, players take turns receiving cards from the dealer as they attempt to get as close to the perfect score of 21 as possible. Go over 21 and you’re disqualified for the round.
Play it too safe and somebody else is bound to get closer to 21 to you and to win the round. Most people play this game with poker chips, and oftentimes there’s something at stake (it’s a popular gambling game), but you may enjoy this within a party setting by having 21 rounds being played and the overall winner being presented with a restaurant gift card or something of the like.
A golf-themed card game, Play Nine is a game involving both strategy and luck. Players take turn uncovering their numbered cards to match them with other cards in their deck. The lower your score at the end of the round, the better you’re doing. Fail to match up a series of high-value cards and you can easily blow the game.
- HOLE IN ONE! Play Nine: The Card Game Of Golf! Is a fun and exciting twist on the classic game of golf. Just like in golf, the person with the lowest strokes wins.
- FUN FOR ANY AGE: Recommended For Ages 8 And Up, Play Nine has easy to follow instructions and Simple gameplay so the whole family can join in on a round and play a hole or two.
This is a really fun party game that can be played for hours without ever getting old.
This game can be as simple or as complex as you would like it to be. Players take turns drawing tiles from a stack to which they place onto the ever-growing map in front of them. The winner has the most points at the end of the game and points are awarded for successfully finishing routes, surrounding churches with tiles, farming land, and finishing castles.
- STRATEGY GAME - PLAN YOUR WAY TO VICTORY: Develop the landscape of a medieval fortress city one tile at a time. Whether blocking a city's growth or connecting with your opponent’s road to share the points, Carcassonne provides plenty of ways to use your cunning and outsmart your opponents.
- ONE STEP AT A TIME TILE-PLACEMENT GAME: Players fill in the countryside around the medieval fortified city, choosing from tiles that depict cities, roads, monasteries, and fields; each new tile creates an ever-expanding board on which players can then add their followers.
To make for a simpler game, play without the farmers. As everybody gets a better grasp on the nature of the game (which takes perhaps five minutes to learn) add the farmers back in for an extra layer of nuance.
Additional expansions to this game can be purchased to further develop the game experience.
Ticket to Ride: Europe
There are multiple versions of this game out there, but Europe is easily the best. Within this game your goal is to build trains throughout the continent as you strive to connect various destinations with each other. Points are awarded for having the longest train, for each destination ticket you accomplish, and for the number of trains you have on the board.
- THE CROSS-COUNTRY TRAIN ADVENTURE GAME: Climb aboard for some railroading fun and adventure! Collect and play matching train cards to claim railway routes connecting iconic cities throughout Europe.
- FAST-PACED STRATEGY BOARD GAME: Collect train cars and use them to build stations and claim railways throughout Europe. Complete routes to earn points, but plan for the future. Ticket cards can give you many more points if you connect two cities.
It’s a fantastic game that requires strategy but doesn’t bog you down with too many rules or details. One can easily learn this game in 10-15 minutes. Don’t bother with the original version here either. Even though it’s placed in America, the layout of the board makes for an incredibly frustrating experience should somebody else take a route you need to fulfill one of your destination tickets.
Best Party Games for Seniors
Looking to have a party with a church group or several of your closest friends? Then you need a party game! While some of the above board and card games could also easily fit within this category, we believe that there are three games here in particular that really fit the bill of great party games for seniors.
A classic that’s been around for decades and for good reason: it’s too much fun. This game requires all players to fill out a form with as many things they can think of that start with one of the letters of the alphabet.
- Includes original mechanical timer with three different setting
- All original content cards
On one round you may be thinking of state capitals, famous presidents, and things you eat with cheese that all start with the letter ‘R’, and on the next you may be searching the recesses of your mind for wedding foods, gym equipment, and horror movies that all start with the letter ‘T’.
The more people you have with this game, the better, and the challenge remains each time you play it.
Apples to Apples
Comedic gold. If there was a subtitle for this game, that would be it.
- This item has been discontinued by the manufacturer
- Apples to Apples [Discontinued by Manufacturer]
Players take turns being the dealer, during which time they draw a green apple card with an adjective on it. All other players must then play a red apple card with a noun on it they believe is pertinent to the green card.
The results will often leave you in tears, and this serves for a fantastic game to play with large groups of people.
A dice game, this is another game that is best played tournament style with a large group of other people. Tournaments can take up to 6 hours to finish, after which prizes are often distributed.
- FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY: A game that everyone can play and never gets old. With this simple and easy to understand game, it brings everyone together for a night full of enjoyment.
- PERFECT PRESENT: Great for the office secret Santa, stocking stuffer or birthday present, you’ll have them thanking you as it quickly gets everyone together for a night of fun.
This game proved to be wildly popular during the early ‘00s, and you can still find groups of players scattered about.
Best Video Games for Seniors
Who says video games are just for kids? Many seniors enjoy video games, and they can serve as a great way to not only increase one’s physical activity (believe it or not), but also help to pass the time while waiting on an appointment. They are playing them on their phones and on tablets (read our best tablets for seniors article).
An older game but still genius in its conception. Wii Fit requires a Nintendo Wii to play and gives players motion-activated controls. As your hands move, the character on the TV will move as well. This allows you to golf, box, and engage in various other physical activities simply by standing in your living room.
- The active-play phenomenon started by Wii Sports now spreads to your whole body thanks to a pressure-sensitive Wii balance board, which comes packed with Wii Fit. The board is used for an extensive array of fun and dynamic activities, including aerobics, yoga, muscle stretches and games. Many of these activities focus towards providing a "core" workout, a popular exercise method that emphasizes slower, controlled motions.
A balance board is included as well, and players can use this to snowboard, practice yoga, and other games. This is a great low-impact way to get more activity into your daily life.
Candy Crush Saga
A mind-numbing puzzle game that can easily suck you into it for an hour before you’ve realized what’s happened, Candy Crush Saga requires you to swap the position of various colored pieces to line up with other similar pieces. This causes the pieces to explode, after which new pieces fill up their place.
There’s very minimal strategy involved here, but it does serve as a great way to pass the time on one’s smartphone as you’re waiting in a doctor’s office.
Perhaps one of the most-played mobile games of all time, Angry Birds is about as simple of a video game to learn as it gets. Players use a giant slingshot to shoot a variety of colored birds into buildings full of evil green pigs. Those evil pigs have stolen the birds’ eggs and popping the pigs with explosive eggs, super speed yellows, and tiny blues will teach them a valuable lesson about family.
Best Physical Games for Seniors
Looking for something with a little more sweat equity in it? Then look no further! These are all great physical games for seniors to get you up and moving more without leaving you unable to walk the next morning.
This is a lower intensity yet still difficult version of tennis. You are going to have to be in some degree of shape to play pickle ball as you’re going to be running all around a gym court trying to whack that little plastic wiffle ball back over the net.
Games are often played with doubles (much akin to doubles’ tennis), require underhand hits, and are a great way of breaking a sweat as you spend time with others. For complete rules, check out the Pickle Ball Inc. website.
Feeling active? I know of no better way to completely enthrall a grandchild in the thrill of hiking, map reading, riddle solving, orienteering, and a treasure hunt than with geocaching. You’re going to need a designated GPS or a smartphone with cell reception to play, but if you have that you’re all set.
The first step is to make an account with geocaching.com. You can search a map of your region to find where the local geocaches in your area are. Coordinates will be listed to each location, all you must do is plug them into your GPS/smartphone, and off you go!
Caches are typically boxes full of goodies and a notebook hidden out in the woods and oftentimes require solving a puzzle to find them. While it’s a low-intensity activity, it is high excitement.
Best Lawn Games for Seniors
Have some friends coming over for dinner and looking for a way to pass the time with the guys as the steaks are on the grill? Check out one of the following options.
Another classic, horseshoes require players to throw a horseshoe around a stick in a sandpit some distance away. Players gain points for being in various distances or positions to the stick, and the player with the most points wins.
If you can throw a bean bag you can play cornhole. A staple at college tailgates everywhere, cornhole is the redneck version of horseshoes.
- 100% SOLID WOOD: Premium craftsmanship boards, varnished surface (easily painted or customized) made using pine wood frames and featuring mitered corner joints; Boards are also ready to use without additional work required
- REGULATION SIZE: Includes 2 regulation size (4 ft x 2 ft) cornhole boards for authentic gameplay, 8 all-weather regulation bean bags, carrying case, bean bag tote, and rules
For the woodworker, this can be a simple and fun build as well, giving them the ability to play a game with their grandchildren and friends that they themselves have constructed.
- ★COMPLETE SET: VSSAL bocce ball set includes 90mm balls (2 red, 2 yellow, 2 green and 2 blue), 1 white pallino, 1 measuring rope and 1 carrying bag. There are 2 deeply carved patterns per color (circle pattern and straight line pattern), allowing 2-8 players to join the entertainment. Ideal for backyard, lawn, beach, sand and grass.
- ★TAKE IT ANYWHERE: With a durable heavy duty zip-up carrying case, it stores bocce ball sets nicely, holds its shape for travel and ease of storage. No need extra cardboard inside to hold everything in place. Whether going to a bbq, park, or party, our bocce games are the perfect accessory. All you need to get the good times rolling.
Another “see if you can throw this there” game, bocce requires the tossing wooden balls as close as possible to a little white ball that was thrown previously. The closer you can get to the little white ball, the better your score.
Best Games for Seniors Summarized
Just because one is older does not mean that all the fun is sapped out of life. Games can serve as a great source of distraction, entertainment, and a means of passing the time. I’m sure you’ll find something original you’ll like that you may have never heard about before.
What are your thoughts? Are there other games you think should have made this list? Have you tried any of the above? Let us know in the comments!