15+ Board Games for Teaching English as a Second Language

Hi, thanks for watching! I’ve left links to all of these games that I can find sources for, but just know that most of these games can be somewhat recreated using classroom supplies. It turns out this list has more than 15 items on it, but many, like the last four Basic games, all sort of serve the same purpose, so I counted them as one item on the list.


Candyland – https://amzn.to/3b2mWuP

Uno – https://amzn.to/2X1heB0

Farkle – https://amzn.to/2KTbwi4

Skip-Bo – https://amzn.to/3o9AcBu

The Game – https://amzn.to/388edVV

No Thanks – https://amzn.to/2LaFM82

High Beginner:

Spot it! – https://amzn.to/2X1CQxa

Scrabble – https://amzn.to/2JBV59g

Upwords – https://amzn.to/3n7VTR7

I Spy – https://amzn.to/2KUtkJO


Hedbanz – https://amzn.to/3odetsu

Guess Who? – https://amzn.to/2KVR9Rt

Taboo – https://amzn.to/3pMXWvp

Picture Flash Cards – https://amzn.to/388IPa0

High Intermediate:

Rory’s Story Cubes – https://amzn.to/3hAKpnS

(All three sets of Rory’s Story Cubes – https://amzn.to/2X69he0 )

Storyteller Cards – https://buttonshygames.com/collection…

Name 5 – https://amzn.to/2Lg3Shw

Scattegories – https://amzn.to/3pDtxj6

Life Stories – https://amzn.to/3rNO8Dl (as of this moment, it’s looking pretty expensive, so maybe keep an eye out on ebay or thrift stores)


Say Anything – https://amzn.to/2LjPNju

Codenames – https://amzn.to/389IhjO

Games I would keep, if I could only keep 10 (then 9, then 8, etc.)

If you could only have 10 board games for the rest of your life, and you didn’t have a bunch of friends or family nearby with collections of their own, which 10 board games would you keep? Here is my answer to this question. Here are some things about me that might give insight for if this list might be relevant to your taste as well:

My Gaming Style

– I am a “Carebear”, as Rahdo would say. I like strategy, but I don’t like a lot of “Take That” in my games. If I play a two player game, I want it to be about who can work the system better, not who is best at keeping the other player from winning.

– I love card games. Until about 5 years ago, that meant primarily games with a traditional deck of playing cards, but now, obviously, includes a lot of hobby games.

– I haven’t played a lot of “Heavy” games. Those that I have, I’ve probably only played them once, because I don’t own them, so they won’t end up on my list.

– I love games with Solo options. It’s not a deal-breaker if a game doesn’t have this, but if I have the choice between two games that both sound good, and only one has a solo option, I’ll choose that one. Rules of the List

– I’m permitted three standard decks of playing cards as well as these games. The goal is primarily to decide on the 10 hobby-style games, so I’m not requiring myself to give up Spades, Euchre, or Contract Rummy in order to keep the others.

– I’m permitted expansions, but only those that could reasonably fit in the base game box, without making the lid not sit flat.

Here’s the video where I tell what games are on the list!

Games List (Amazon Affiliate Links)

Runners Up:

Underwater Cities


Descent 2nd Edition




Top 10

List Say Anything




7 Wonders


Tiny Epic Galaxies


Race for the Galaxy


Star Realms: Frontiers


Terraforming Mars


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Skull & Shackles




SpaceShipped (Tutorial and Playthrough Video)

SpaceShipped is an 18-card space-trading game published by Button Shy Games, and designed by Lucas Gentry (that’s me!) It can be purchased at: https://buttonshygames.com/products/s…

SpaceShipped — A solo space trading game of buying and selling resources, upgrading your ship, crew, and equipment, dealing with pirates, and making deals. A card game with over 30 random events, 4 types of ship, 4 sets of crew members, and 8 different pieces of equipment to install, all using only 18 cards packed neatly in a little wallet.

Your goal: Make enough money through your buying and selling of resources to be able to afford two very expensive exotic stones (three, if you’re really daring). At the same time you’re trying to do it, pirates are working hard to collect them as well. If they get to them first, or if your ship takes enough damage, you lose. As if the pressure from the pirates wasn’t enough, on each turn, you’ll pilot your ship to different planets, experiencing random encounters, solar winds, and violent attacks. Spend too much time repairing your ship and the pirates will steal the crystals first, but don’t repair your ship enough and it will likely be destroyed by these attacks. Hire the right crew, buy the right ship, fit your ship with the right equipment, and you just might make it out of the galaxy alive.

Maiden in the Forest (Tutorial, Playthrough, and Build)

Maiden in the Forest is a solitaire card game, published by Button Shy Games in their Wallet line of games, but also available on BGG as a free Print-and-Play game. I made a tutorial video with a playthrough, but I also made an Intro to Print-and-Play gaming tutorial, where I teach you how to make this game from common items around the house. Both videos are below:

Maiden in the Forest is a small, but very thinky solo card game designed by Todd Sanders. It’s super fun, but I lost. And I made some mistakes. At around the 22 minute mark, I flipped over a couple cards that I had already manipulated on this turn, so that wouldn’t have been allowed. I ended up losing the game, and making some mistakes, but the important part is I think it was enough of the game to make sense to people wanting to understand how the game works.


BGG Game Page: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/1…

Print-and-Play Version on BoardGameGeek: https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/11…

Professionally-Printed Version from Button Shy Games: https://buttonshygames.com/products/t…

Then, I made a video about building the game for yourself at home!

Hive Pocket (Tutorial and Playthrough Video)

Hive Pocket is a game I always describe as playing Chess with a bag of bugs. It’s a great 2-player strategic game that you can play anywhere — even outside in the dirt — and it will be just fine, because it’s made of hard tiles and no cardboard. Here’s a playthrough video I made of it:

Valley of the Kings: Afterlife (Tutorial Video and Playthrough)

Valley of the Kings: Afterlife is a deck builder card game with an Ancient Egyptian theme. I put together a tutorial. It’s an older video, but you might be interested:

Valley of the Kings: Afterlife is a fun little deckbuilder card game with an Egyptian theme. Your role is to try to pack the pharaoh’s tomb with the most, and best stuff, to gain more points than your opponents. The version I’m playing, however, is a solo game, where you try to insure that one of each type of object (no more, no less) ends up entombed.

Link to BGG:


Purchase Links:

Valley of the Kings: Afterlife


Valley of the Kings: Premium Edition (includes all three base sets)


Top Roughly 10 Pocket Games (Video List)

I put together a list of roughly 10 board games that can fit in your pocket. This video was made quite a while ago, so the items on the list have changed, but I’m keeping the video up for posterity, I suppose.

Here are several of the games mentioned in this list:

Quick List, in no particular order of favorites:

Friday – 00:00:15


Hive Pocket – 00:03:14


Mint Works – 00:06:25


Star Realms – 00:09:59


Hero Realms (Can’t find this available as of 12/26/20, but here is a bundle that includes it — https://amzn.to/2WLtp4G )

Star Realms Frontiers


My Replacement Score Cards for Star Realms — https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/generic-score-card-system

Sprawlopolis / Circle the Wagons – 00:17:58



Sprawlopolis Playthrough – https://t.co/q92bomorOU

Palm Island – 00:23:39


No Thanks – 00:30:26


Blood of an Englishman – 00:35:26


Mr. Jack Pocket – 00:39:23


Love Letter – 00:45:52


Card Capture (Tutorial Video for Free Print and Play Game)

Card Capture is a Solitaire Deck Builder card game using nothing but a single standard deck of playing cards.

Here is the BGG Link to the files, if you’d like to download it for free:


Also in the BGG files section is a French translation, and a couple other rethemes that people have made. Last but not least, here is a playthrough for Card Capture: