We need physical exercise, but also fun outlets to give our minds a mental workout. The best way to do this: practice critical thinking with strategic games that keep players engaged, thinking and problem solving. Besides strengthening your cognitive skills, strategic games strengthen your social skills — best of all, many can be played in the comfort of your home.

Keep reading to learn more about how these top 12 indoor strategy games can strengthen your brain.


  1. CHESS: In the game of chess, players must gain the mental advantage over their opponent by using all their pieces to control the board. The ultimate goal: checkmate your opponent’s king or call a draw.
    Players: 2
  2. DARKRIDGE REUNION: This murder mystery game lets players slip into the roles of geeks, jocks, and rebels — all with special powers granted from artifacts. Each player must carry out goals and missions without running into the slasher. At the end, teams wager their points to guess the slasher. The team with the most points wins!
    Players: 6-12
  3. CATAN: On this fictional island, players use different strategies to place their settlements where they can gather prime resources: sheep, wood, brick, ore and wheat. Get 10 points first and you win Catan!
    Players: 3-4 or 5-6 with an expansion set
  4. BATTLESHIP: It takes strategy to sink your opponent’s ships and win Battleship. Players try to outwit their opponents by placing their battleships horizontally and vertically on their board. If the other player calls out the right coordinates, the battleship sinks and it’s game over!
    Players: 2
  5. CHECKERS: Checkers is a game of many strategies: forced moves, advancing en masse, and blocking. Players pick a color (red or black) and then advance across the checkerboard to capture as many pieces as possible from their opponent.
    Players: 2
  6. CONNECT FOUR: If you can anticipate your opponent’s next move, you can win Connect Four. Be the first to get four of the same-colored pieces in a row (horizontally, vertically, or diagonally) and you win.
    Players: 2
  7. DOMINOES: Players try to score the most points in Dominoes by strategically placing their dominoes to match those placed on the table. The first player to use all their dominoes wins, or the person with the least dominoes.
    Players: 2-4
  8. JENGA: It takes more than luck to know which Jenga blocks to push or leave until the end. Players must anticipate their opponent’s move with each placement and hope the tower doesn’t topple. The winner places the last block on the top without knocking it over.
    Players: 2-6
  9. MONOPOLY: Your objective: Build and buy as much as you can in this real-estate game, but make sure that you can pay your rent or you might go bankrupt. The player with the most money at the end of Monopoly, or the one player who doesn’t go bankrupt, wins!
    Players: 2-8
  10. RISK: Eliminate your opponents and conquer the world in the game of Risk. The game features a map of six continents with 42 territories. When players have no more territories, they must quit. The winning player claims world domination when they defeat all other players.
    Players: 3-6
  11. SCRABBLE: Scrabble is more than just a wordplay game that strengthens your vocabulary — it takes tactical skill to win. Players must interpret their opponent’s next move while using as many letter tiles as possible to earn the most points.
    Players: 2-4
  12. SCYTHE: The game of Scythe takes place in an alternate history of the 1930s known as “The Factory.” Players try to outsmart their opponents and lead their factions to become the richest and most powerful. The objective: be the player with the most coins in the end.
    Players: 1-5

Choose any of these strategy games to keep your mind active and sharpen your critical thinking skills. Then, use strategy to plan your next move, outwit your opponents and win the game. Give your mind a workout while you have fun with friends and family with this list of top 12 indoor strategy games.

Planning for a large group event can be overwhelming. The key to making it awesome is finding the right activity: engaging, active and memorable. This top fifty list combines new and classic games.  It should give you some great options!  


1. FLASHLIGHT TAG – run, hide and “tag” players with by shining a flashlight on them – outdoor, ages 4+

2. HEDBANZ – guess the mystery character or word displayed on a card on your head – indoor, ages 4+

3. SCAVENGER HUNTS – find the treasure items on a pre-made list – indoor/outdoor, ages 4+

4. OBSTACLE COURSE – create obstacles to balance, jump over, and climb – indoor/outdoor, ages 4+

5. LIMBO – shimmy under a bamboo stick as it goes lower and lower – indoor/outdoor, ages 4+

6. CHARADES – act out and guess scenes or words without speaking – indoor/outdoor, ages 5+

7. CAPTURE THE FLAG REDUX – run, chase, strategize with glowing “flags” – outdoor, ages 8+

8. FLAG FOOTBALL – pull flags off the ball carrier instead of tackling – outdoor, ages 5+

9. THE FLOOR IS LAVA – navigate an area without toughing the floor – indoor/outdoor, ages 5+

10. MUSICAL CHAIRS – circulate around chairs, grabbing one when the music stops – indoor/outdoor, ages 5+

11. RED ROVER – run and break through opposing team’s chain – outdoor, ages 5+

12. CORN HOLE – toss bean bags toward a board to score points – outdoors, ages 5+

13. STUCK IN THE MUD – chase and tag players until they are stuck – outdoors, ages 5+

14. SARDINES – reverse hide and seek – indoor/outdoor, ages 5+

15. GAGA BALL – dodgeball played in an octagonal “pit” – outdoor, ages 6+

16. TWISTER – see where the spinner lands and place your hands and feet accordingly – indoor/outdoor, ages 6+ 

17. JENGA/GIANT JENGA – take turns removed wooden blocks without making the tower fall – indoor/outdoor, ages 6+

18. PICTIONARY – draw and guess scenes or words without speaking – indoor, ages 6+

19. KICK THE CAN – kick, count, hide, seek and chase – outdoors, ages 6+

20. LEFT, RIGHT, CENTER – roll dice and gather playing chips to win – indoors, ages 6+

21. FLICKIN’ CHICKEN – throw rubber chickens at a target to win – indoors/outdoors, ages 6+

22. VOLLEYBALL – serve, bump, spike over a net to your opponents – outdoor, ages 7+

23. EXPLODING KITTENS – strategic card game of Russian roulette – indoor, ages 7+

24. UNO – card game where you race to empty your hand of cards – indoor, ages 7+

25. BADMINTON – serve and volley a “birdie” over a net to opposing team – outdoors, ages 7+

26. SPUD – throw a ball and eliminate other players by catching it, – outdoor, ages 7+

27. SPOONS – pass playing cards and don’t be the last to grab a spoon – indoor, ages 5+

28. BEAT THAT – bet on your ability to complete the challenge rounds of this board game – indoor, ages 8+

29. VIKINGS OF THE NORTHERN LIGHTS – part freeze tag, part scavenger hunt with glowing gems – outdoor, ages 8+

30. BOP-IT – mimic actions of this handheld electronic game – indoor/outdoor ages 8+

31. ASSASSIN – card game where you eliminate players with a wink of an eye – indoor, ages 8+

32. WEREWOLVES & WIZARDS – hunt, hide, howl and search for glowing crystals – outdoor, ages 8+

33. BUNCO – roll dice, match numbers and score – indoors, ages 8+

34. KUBB – toss wooden batons to knock over opposing pieces – outdoors, ages 8+

35. BUMP RUMBLE – roll the cube and bump, balance and race in a ring – indoor/outdoor, ages 8+

36. DARTS – aim at a bullseye, and throw rounds of darts – indoor/outdoor, ages 8+

37. BAMBOOZLED – roll the dice and bluff your way to win – indoor, ages 8+

38. WATCH YA’ MOUTH – speak and guess phrases with cheek retractors – indoor, ages 8+

39. BOCCE BALL – take turns throwing balls to hit the target ball – outdoors, ages 8+

40. KANJAM – toss a flying disc toward a can to score points – outdoors, ages 9+

41. DODGEBALL – teams throw, dodge, catch any number of balls – outdoor, ages 10+

42. FOWLING – lawn game that is a combination of football and bowling – outdoor, ages 10+

43. GIANT YARD PONG – strategize, aim and throw balls into giant cups – outdoor, ages 10+

44. CATCH PHRASE – guess the clue, pass the game before the buzzer goes off – indoor, ages 12+

45. WOULD YOU RATHER – trivia game where you choose option one or option two – indoor, ages 12+

46. GLOW BATTLE – battle with harmless glowing swords – indoor/outdoor, ages 8+

47. APPLES TO APPLES – card game of funny comparisons – indoors, ages 12+

48. EYEBALLS OF MADNESS – toss a rubber carrot to knock over opposing eyeball stakes – outdoors, ages 12+

49. DARKRIDGE REUNION – murder mystery game where players act out parts – indoor, ages 12+

50. SILVER BULLET – card game where you eliminate werewolves – indoor, ages 14+

With so many great options, you’re well on your way to throwing a memorable group event! Yes, it might be intimidating to organize, but know that you’re providing an opportunity to get people off their phones, bring them together and forge new memories. Enjoy!