You can find Disney board games in any toy store, but however much fun Disney movies and characters are, the fact is that spin-off games are something of a lottery. The good news is that lots of them are great fun. The even better news is that we’re here to tell you which ones those are, guaranteeing you a great time with your favourite animated avatars – including lots of the picks here being ideal board games for kids.
Alongside titles designed directly for the house of mouse, several of our picks are Disney-themed versions of existing games. Releasing after the original means the designers get the chance to clean up the rules and make some fun tweaks in addition to the Disney makeover. You've got some great cheap board games in this list, because they've been made to appeal to as many people as possible – a little bit of Disney magic, you might say.
This hit game comes with a wicked twist: you get to play as the villain! Each of the included villainous characters has their own unique board, card decks and win condition. King John wants to amass a fortune, for example, while Captain Hook needs to defeat Peter Pan.
Moving around your own personal board, each player can take certain actions on certain spaces including gaining power tokens or spending them to play cards. Best of all there’s an action that forces other players to draw from their “fate” deck of heroic opposition, hindering their schemes. There’s a surprising amount of strategy beneath the enticing wrapper here, making this fun for families and hardcore gamers alike.
Best of all, it's fun to replay over and over, because even though the core of the game is the same each time, how you play it varies wildly depending on which villain you are, making it excellent value.
This is a revamped version of a Harry Potter game in which players work together to survive an adventure. You each choose to play as one of the Toy Story characters and take the matching deck of cards. You’ll need to play these cards to overcome the hazards that lie ahead, but there’s a twist. Some cards let you buy new cards to add to your deck for use through the rest of the adventure. In this way, you can tailor your deck to whatever strategy you think will help you win through to the end.
As you overcome each adventure, you get to reveal more content and add it to the game. It means that playing becomes both a tutorial and an ongoing narrative all at once. Young gamers will love playing as their favourite Toy Story characters, and older ones will find the deck-building a fun challenge.
The fact that it's teaching you the game as you're playing makes it great for a wide age range too, especially if you're playing it though with a family or other group of the same people. Each time you play, you'll all have learned the last cool new rule together already!
A new game which resurrects an old Disney classic: Hocus Pocus from 1993. It’s a co-operative card game and another hit from the team behind Disney: Villainous. Everyone gets a hand of potion ingredient cards, which they take turns playing into one of five piles on the game board. If all piles are of the same type or colour, you stun one of the witches, taking you a step toward victory.
Sound easy? Well, it might be if not for the fact that you’re playing under a spell of silence. You’re not allowed to tell your fellow players what cards you’ve got. That makes it a whole lot harder… and massively more exciting when you achieve it! You have to look at what's currently on the board, and what's in your hand, and make a judgment as to what will help get the group closer to being able to match all the piles, and when you've correctly guessed which way the wind is blowing, it's so satisfying for everyone.
There are lots of in-game effects that fiddle with the formula, including the cute cat Binx, who lets you show your hand to other players, giving them useful extra guidance on what cards are a good idea to lay. Fast to play but hard to win, Hocus Pocus has cooked up a winning recipe.
The original Codenames is a breakout party game that’s been a hit with both board game hobbyists and family gamers alike. You lay out a grid of word cards, divide into two teams, and one player on each team takes the role of clue-giver, who knows which cards on the grid “belong” to each team. The catch is they’re only allowed to think up one-word clues to link as many cards as they can together for their team-mates to guess. As an alternative, you can have a single team playing co-operatively to see how fast they can guess all the clues.
Giving and guessing clues can be as creative as your imagination will go. This Disney version replaces the words with characters and places from Disney classics. There are words on one side and pictures on the other so it can be enjoyed across all ages.
Codenames is such a big hit because it give you the triumphant feeling of something like charades, where working out the logic or intentions in someone else's head delivers a huge satisfying win. And in this case, it gives big Disney fans a chance to show off their deep knowledge, and what does any fan love more than that?
This game based on the popular ride sees players as guests in the Haunted Mansion, trying to meet as many ghosts as possible. But the hitchhiking ghosts along for the ride can force the players to take haunt cards, and the player with the most when the game ends will lose a chunk of points. It's a great risk/reward balance.
There’s a surprising amount to think about here, from the collecting sets of cards to score higher, to the neat way you can move all the player pieces by rotating the centre of the board. Best of all is the cool duel mechanic which allows you to steal ghosts off other players in a secret bid to see who is willing to take the most haunt cards as a penalty. It means that if someone is clearly doing better than you, you can make it so that they have to decide to take a big hit if they want to stay clearly in the lead. A simple game that’s addictive enough to haunt you for weeks.
Apples to Apples is a long-standing family classic. Players take turns to be 'judge' and turn over a random card with a word on it. The other players then choose a card from their hand they feel best fits that word, and get to plead their case with the judge as to why theirs is best. These discussions are the core of Apples to Apples, full of flattery, persuasion and hilarity.
This Disney version keeps all the joy of the original but replaces the words on player cards with Disney characters, together with a fun factoid. That not only makes it better for younger players but gives you a lot more leeway in how you think it might match up to the judge’s card. Together with 'poison apple' cards which have players picking opposites instead of matches, this is a surefire riot for Disney fans.
Board game fans may know Talisman from its previous guise as a fantasy adventure game. That makes it a natural fit for Kingdom Hearts, a computer game adventure series that combines Disney and Square Enix’s video games. Now you can play as Mickey or Mulan (or many others) as you gain experience and magic items on your journey to the centre of the board and try to seal the Door to Darkness.
It’s much faster and more forgiving than the original game, while still being full of exciting competition and variety. The big stack of cards you draw encounters from contains all sorts of memorable Disney moments to enliven your adventure. And the box comes will a full set of character miniatures to bring your quest to life.
Another popular game given a Disney makeover, this is a trivia game with the twist that all the answers are colours. Each player, or team, starts with a hand of colour cards. For each question, you choose one – or more – colour cards that you think match the answer. This non-verbal aspect makes it great for younger players.
All the questions in this edition are from Disney media and range from the easy to the obscure, so there’s something to challenge the most die-hard fan. There’s also a neat one-use colour capture card that lets you stop a team from using the majority of its colours for the next question. It adds a bit of excitement to this otherwise knowledge-based game.