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The White Family: Super Mario Party is Our New Favourite Board Game

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In 1998, Nintendo created an exciting, virtual board game starring Mario and friends for the Nintendo 64. Since then more than 10 sequels have launched on various Nintendo platforms including the GameCube, Wii, and 3DS. In October, the latest entry in the series, Super Mario Party, released on the Nintendo Switch. The game has 80 new mini-games, 1-4 player gameplay both online and offline and a brand new type of play using two Switch consoles.

Super Mario Party is similar to a real-life board game. Each game consists of 4 players, either real or computer controlled. You move around a board by throwing a dice, and then compete in a random mini-game. Once the selected number of turns per game is complete, the player with the most stars and coins wins.

For families it's the inventiveness of the mini-games that are great. Games like “Can Take Pancake” where you race to grab more pancakes than the other players, “Lit Potato” where you toss a bomb-om, so you aren’t holding it when it explodes, and my personal favourite, “Sizzling Stakes” where you use the JoyCon as a frying pan and try to cook the perfect steak. Outside of the primary game board mode, there are additional modes if you just want to enjoy playing the mini-games.

There's also a great River Survival mode where 4 players share a raft cruising down a rapid river. The players use the JoyCon controllers to row. When the two players on the left row, the boat turns right. Obviously, this is the opposite for those sitting on the right.

The average 4 player game of Super Mario Party clocks in at an hour. You can get through a round of River Survival in less than 30 minutes.

It's worth knowing that this game can only be played with JoyCon controllers. The Switch itself comes with 2 JoyCon controllers in the box, but if you are wanting to have a 4 player experience, you need another couple. It's also worth noting that there is a lot of luck involved. Children need to be happy with losing now and then, no matter how hard they try.

Nintendo knows how to build games for families. They’ve been doing it for over 30 years. Super Mario Party is another example of that. From the bright colours to simple and easy to pick up gameplay, it’s the perfect game for families. My kids range from 12-years-old to 2-years-old, and they all enjoy playing. If you are looking for a game to enjoy with your family, Super Mario Party should be at the top of your list.

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Andrew Robertson
Andy Robertson is the editor of AskAboutGames and has written for national press and broadcast about video games and families for over 15 years. He has just published the Taming Gaming book with its Family Video Game Database.