Nine 90s Board Games We've Never Forgotten

Take a look back at some of the most-loved 90s games that still go as hard today as they did 20 years ago.

Published December 30, 2023
The popular new board game, Cranium - Getty Editorial

In the 90s, you had video game families, or you had board game families — and mine was strictly a board game one. From rereleases of your parent's favorite games to new titles full of unpredictable fun, the 90s was one popular decade for board games.

Let's take a look back at nine of our beloved 90s games that still go as hard today as they did 20 years ago.

1. Cranium

Cranium is the 90s game that kids still pull out of their closets at sleepovers today. Other games might have you laser-focused on one goal, but Cranium was unique. In it, there were a myriad of random activities you could be forced to try out. Now the Cranium brand has an entire franchise of add-ons and spinoffs, but it's the '98 original that we always turn to.

2. Crossfire

You were lucky if you had a friend with parents well-off enough to afford an air hockey table in the 90s. Game developers might not have heard our kiddy prayers, but they sensed an opportunity in the market and so Crossfire was rereleased.

Crossfire was the tabletop air hockey-inspired game where you'd use a gun attached to one side of the board to shoot a hockey puck into your opponent’s goal. And in true pre-teen fashion, the game always devolved into trying to yank the guns as high as they'd go so you could try to shoot your friend or sibling.

3. Perfection

Perfection — more like panic. This game might've come out in the 1970s, but 90s kids remember those popping polygons well. With the stop-clock stakes of a final quarter playoff, this game made our brains 404: Not Found in seconds. But, if you're like us then you have a score to settle with this simple game. Thankfully, you don’t have to rummage through thrift stores to find yourself a copy.

4. Uno Attack

Uno is the perfect game if you love to fight with your siblings. There's nothing like using a little targeted +4 vengeance to get back at your old sister who tattled to your parents about you putting your Razor scooter through the garage wall.

But Uno Attack changed the game in '98. That +4 looked like nothing compared to the sweet retribution the card launcher could dole out. A regular deck of cards has taken Uno's place around many millennial tables, but we highly suggest breaking this one out during the holidays.

5. Mystery Date 

If there's one game that puts us right back to our childhood sleepovers, it's Mystery Date. Reissued in 1999, this old Milton Bradley board game got a Y2K upgrade – cell phone and all. It shouldn't come as a surprise that millennials run the true crime genre, considering we've been doing our own detective work since '99.

If you're feeling particularly bleak about the future, relive your pizza-fueled giddy sleepovers with a round or two of Mystery Date.

Fast Fact

Kids today know Chris Evans for his beloved performance as Captain America in the MCU, but 90s tweens encountered him first as Tyler in the Mystery Date reissue.

6. 13 Dead End Drive 

Long before Gen Z was lying to their friends in Among Us, we were sneaking around everyone at Aunt Agatha’s house trying to nail her massive fortune. Looking back, it's a wonder that any of us took a chance on this fun deception game when all we had to go on was the commercial. What life-size puppets who resembled Wayland Flowers’ Madame had to do with this game, we’ll never know.

7. Taboo

While televised game shows have been thriving for decades, kids' game shows really peaked in the 1990s. Legends of the Hidden Temple, Guts, Double Dare, Figure It Out, and Nick Arcade were just some of the competition shows that we begged to be on. But when Taboo dropped in 1989, it was the closest we could get to replicating that frantic game show energy.

The best thing about this classroom favorite is that you can enjoy it at any age. Whether you're 5 or 35, you’re still shouting at your teammate as the sand timer runs down to read your mind. This is a rare 90s classic that both kids and adults loved.

8. Jumanji

Jumanji was the movie that made all of us a wee bit afraid of cracking open our favorite board games. Like all massive successes in the 90s, the marketing campaign was on top of capitalizing off of the film and so the real-life board game version of the movie's titular game was released. While you never faced murderous big game hunters and crocodiles hiding in the deep, you could close your eyes and imagine the thunderous drumbeats calling your name.

9. Mouse Trap

Growing up in the 90s, there's one board game commercial that sticks in my mind – and it's Mouse Trap. While Mouse Trap had been around since the 60s, the colorful Rube Goldberg shenanigans were tailor-made for a 90s audience. It felt dangerous being able to construct a maze without your parents' input, and that pseudo-independence is what has us wistfully looking back on this Milton Bradley staple.

As If These 90s Games are Going Anywhere

Not all of these 90s games have stood the test of time, but many of them have transcended into board game legends. If you're feeling particularly nostalgic, drop a line at your local thrift store and you're sure to hit the jackpot on your favorites from our list.

Nine 90s Board Games We've Never Forgotten