Diversity and representation are vital in movies, books, and board games. The number of women designers is growing in the gaming industry, and I am here for it. In the past, I mostly paid attention to the name of the publishing company. Now, I enjoy learning more about the designers and artists of my favorite games.
I was delighted to find so many incredible female game designers. Some game designers I was already familiar with and some I was not. Either way, it was hard to narrow down this list, but I decided to focus on games that would be great for the whole family to play.
Below are five games designed by women that are perfect for your next family game night!
Qwirkle is an award-winning game designed by Susan McKinley Ross and published by Mindware. It’s played by placing wooden tiles to create lines that are all one color or one shape without duplicates. Getting all six in a row is called a Qwirkle and is worth double points.
There is no reading involved, which makes it an excellent choice for kids as young as 5 or 6. It’s also a unique opportunity for kids to practice addition. The mix of strategy and chance keeps the game engaging for players of all ages.
Wingspan is a fun, bird-themed board game for 1-5 players designed by avid bird watcher Elizabeth Hargrave and published by Stonemaier Games. Players collect a combination of bird powers on their habitat mat to build resources and points more efficiently throughout the game.
Each bird has powers inspired by its behavior in nature. Bird cards also include information about the type of nests they build, the food they eat (in general terms), their wingspan, the continents they live in, and a fact about them.
It’s a fun way for kids to learn about birds and become more interested in the wide variety of bird species, their habitats, and what they eat. For a more in-depth look at this game, check out our Wingspan board game review.
Blitz Champz is a football card game for 2-6 players designed by Adrienne Smith, a women’s tackle football gold medalist and national champion. It’s a quick card game that uses football in a fun way for kids to practice their math skills. It only takes a few minutes to learn how to play and can be played in about 15 minutes. It’s an excellent way for kids to work on addition and subtraction facts.
Haunt the House
Helaina Cappel co-designed Haunt the House, a spooky family board game for 2-5 players, with her husband, and is the founder of Kids’ Table Board Gaming publishing company.
In a fun twist, players are the ghosts in the house and try to scare the ghost hunters coming to investigate. Each player tries to collect the most valuable gear dropped by the frightened ghost hunters. The art is cute and perfect for kids.
My Little Scythe
My Little Scythe is a family-friendly strategy board game inspired by the best-selling game Scythe, published by Stonemaier Games. I love the story behind My Little Scythe. It began as a fan-made My Little Pony themed game designed by six-year-old Vienna Chou with the help of her dad, Hoby Chou.
They shared their fan-created print and played games with the board game community. It was an instant hit and caught the attention of Stonemaier Games. While it is no longer pony-themed, it’s now an officially published game. My Little Scythe uses some of Scythe’s game mechanics, but its simplified rules and cute animal theme makes it a fantastic family game.
Katie Khau illustrated the incredible artwork, and you can paint the game’s adorable miniatures. Players complete actions to increase their friendship and pies, deliver apples and gems, and complete quests. The first player to collect four trophies from eight possible categories wins the game.
There are plenty of more games created by talented women. I hope this list helps you seek out new games to play or inspire you to work on creating your own board game! For even more inspiration, check out this list of women and nonbinary game designers.