My boys do like Monopoly si I'll play it, but I've hated it for years. Goes on for ever and so repetitive, with often a clear winner who flies ahead from early on and it ends up being boring for everyone else.
However, I married a man who spent most of his teens (and ALL, I say ALL - 12 hours) last monday playing a hex based paper war game with his school mate of old (I know!) - but the less extreme form of that has been his keen-ness to find us games we can all enjoy as a family, that are not so predictable. I'd urge you first of all to check out
The Dice Tower - its a review site run by Tom Vassel with top tens on all sorts of games - he has yet to send us a wrong recommendation. The other idea I'd give you, should you have time and inclination next year, is to visit The Games Expo at the NEC - a whole hotel devoted for two days (pop in for one) to showcasing all kinds of board games, with whole tables devoted to showing people how to play and trying out prototypes, competitions, all sorts.
So, knowing you are already on our wavelength in liking Forbidden Island, and with boys a similar age (ours are both 12), I'd urge you to check put The Dice Tower reviews for the following games (ooh, also, searching Youtube for "game play ***" is a great way of shortcutting boring rule reading!! These games are sometimes pretty expensive, but the quality is great and they will last indefinitely, and are not at the vagaries of fashion. All can be played and enjoyed by our children since they were 8 or 9, though best now they are older.
1. Carcassonne - My favourite of ALL - lots of expansion packs as you get used to the original
2. Pandemic - another co-operative game like Forbidden Island where you ahve to try and save the world from a marauding set of diseases.
3. Ticket to Ride, I mentioned before. We have 8 different versions!! (
I know!) - this is such a classic family game where you compete to complete train routes across a country or countries, by collecting relevant coloured train cards. Points are awarded for station to station claims, and then also for completing whole routes, but no one knows your routes or if you have completed them until the end, so you cannot know before then if you are winning or not. The different versions have different elements to them. We love them all. Start with America as thats most straightforward and everyone should have it. Not complicated. Can't recommend more highly.
4. Formula D - cars racing - boys love this one
5. Memoir 44 - hex based WW2 board game. Soldiers, tanks and artiillery on landscapes representing key battles of WW2. You make decisions and move according to selected cards and dice rolls. Has taught me a bit about key battles and boys know a LOT now, but far more family friendly than dhs war games. Expansion packs available.
6. Wings of Glory - ww2 or ww1, scale models of real warplanes and you do dog fights moving your planes around the table.
7. King of Tokyo - Mean!!!!
8. Dixit - beautiful illustrations, you have to make a word or phrase to describe a card mised in with others, if you make it too obvious and everyone guesses, no points, too obscure and no one gets it, no points, so have to pitch it so that one or two people guess which card you played. Clever, good for imaginative thought and beautiful.
9. Some quickie ones that you could do in an airport, car etc
Bang - Wild west based, dice roll - sheriff needs to survive, others try to kill him off
Zombie Dice - great fun, dice roll, risk more dice throws to get more brains to eat but might get killed by a grenade instead
River Crossing - more cerebral, cute little game testing your powers of problem solving to move planks around in restricted ways to get across a river.
Story Dice - box of 9 dice, throw each one and build a story based on what you get.
Dobble - Fast and furious, find which picture of 8 on a round card matches with one of 8 on opponents card, shout it out and offload the card, winner first to have no cards. Frustrating, so so easy and you would swear sometimes there is NO match (but there always is!)
There. That should keep you going for a while. ANy other questions let me know, hope you find something in there. Don't forget, Dice Tower and Youtube!
Happy playing (oh, by the way, we tip all these into careful bags to we can take them all on holiday - no screens!)