Best Board Games: A Guide to Hours of Fun and Strategy

by Tara Price

26th December, 2023

Best Board Games: A Guide to Hours of Fun and Strategy

Introduction

Board games have experienced a resurgence in recent years, with an abundance of innovative and engaging options hitting the market. Whether you’re a seasoned board gamer or a newbie looking to dip your toes into this exciting hobby, there’s no shortage of choices. From classic titles like Monopoly and Scrabble to modern gems like Gloomhaven and Wingspan, there’s a board game to suit every taste and preference.

In this guide, we’ll explore the best board games across different categories, helping you find the perfect game for your next game night. We’ll cover family-friendly options, two-player games for intimate competitions, solo games for those seeking a challenge, strategy games that will put your tactical skills to the test, and much more. So, let’s dive into the world of board games and discover the best ones to add to your collection!

Best Board Games for Families

Family game nights are a wonderful way to bond with loved ones and create lasting memories. The following board games are perfect for players of all ages and offer a mix of fun and strategic gameplay that will keep the whole family entertained.

Candy Land

Candy Land: 65th Anniversary Edition
Candy Land: 65th Anniversary Edition

Created in: 1948
For ages: 3 and up

Candy Land is a timeless classic that has been enjoyed by generations of children. Designed for young players, this game requires no reading or counting skills, making it accessible to even the youngest members of the family. The colourful board represents a magical candy-filled land, and players journey along the path, encountering sweet surprises along the way. With its simple rules and delightful theme, Candy Land is a must-have for any family game collection.

Guess Who?

Hasbro C2124 HAS-C2124-0001 Guess Who Game
Hasbro C2124 HAS-C2124-0001 Guess Who Game

Created in: 1979
For ages: 6 and up

Guess Who? is a classic two-player game that challenges players to guess the identity of their opponent’s mystery character. With a diverse range of characters to choose from, including a recent update that introduced more female and non-white characters, this game encourages critical thinking, deductive reasoning, and problem-solving skills. It’s a game that is as fun as it is educational, making it a perfect choice for family game nights.

The Game of Life

Hasbro Gaming The Game of Life Game, Family Board Game for 2 to 4 Players
Hasbro Gaming The Game of Life Game, Family Board Game for 2 to 4 Players

Created in: 1960
For ages: 8 and up

The Game of Life takes players on a journey through various life stages, from college to retirement. As they navigate the board, players make choices that determine their career, family, and overall success in the game. With its engaging gameplay and relatable theme, The Game of Life offers a fun and interactive experience for the whole family. Whether you’re strategizing to amass wealth or enjoying the unpredictable twists and turns, this game is sure to create laughter and friendly competition.

Best Two-Player Board Games

Sometimes, a more intimate gaming experience is desired, and that’s where two-player board games shine. These games are designed specifically for duels between two opponents, offering intense and strategic gameplay. Whether you’re looking for a competitive head-to-head battle or a cooperative experience with a friend, these two-player board games are sure to deliver.

Chess

Created in: 6th century A.D.
For ages: 8 and up

Chess is the ultimate test of strategy and intellect. Dating back centuries, this classic game has stood the test of time and continues to captivate players around the world. The objective is simple: outmanoeuvre your opponent and capture their king. With its endless possibilities and intricate gameplay, chess offers a lifetime of challenge and enjoyment. Whether you’re a seasoned chess player or just starting out, this game is a must-have for any board game collection.

Patchwork

Lookout Games | Patchwork | Board Game | Ages 8+ | 2 Players | 15-30 Minute Playing Time, Multicoloured, 7.87 x 1.77 x 7.87 inches
Lookout Games | Patchwork | Board Game | Ages 8+ | 2 Players | 15-30 Minute Playing Time, Multicoloured, 7.87 x 1.77 x 7.87 inches

Created in: 2014
For ages: 8 and up

Patchwork is a delightful two-player game that combines puzzle-solving with strategic decision-making. Players take turns selecting and placing fabric patches on their personal quilt boards, aiming to create a visually pleasing and efficient design. With its unique theme and engaging gameplay, Patchwork offers a perfect blend of competition and creativity. It’s a fantastic choice for couples or friends looking for a relaxing yet challenging gaming experience.

7 Wonders Duel

Repos Production | 7 Wonders New Edition | Board Game | Ages 10+ | 3 -7 Players | 30 Minutes Playing Time
Repos Production | 7 Wonders New Edition | Board Game | Ages 10+ | 3 -7 Players | 30 Minutes Playing Time

Created in: 2015
For ages: 10 and up

7 Wonders Duel is a two-player adaptation of the popular strategy game 7 Wonders. In this highly immersive game, players compete to build the most impressive civilization by constructing buildings, developing military strength, and advancing their scientific knowledge. With its dynamic gameplay and strategic decision-making, 7 Wonders Duel offers endless replayability and a thrilling head-to-head experience. If you’re a fan of strategic games and enjoy battling it out with a friend, this game is a must-try.

Best Solo Board Games

Solo board games have gained significant popularity in recent years, offering a unique and immersive gaming experience for those who prefer to play alone. These games often feature rich storytelling, challenging puzzles, and strategic decision-making. Whether you’re seeking a thrilling adventure or a brain-teasing puzzle, these solo board games are sure to captivate and entertain.

Gloomhaven

Cephalofair Games, Gloomhaven, Ages 14+, 1-4 Players, 60-120 Minute Playing Time
Cephalofair Games, Gloomhaven, Ages 14+, 1-4 Players, 60-120 Minute Playing Time

Created in: 2017
For ages: 12 and up

Gloomhaven is a legendary cooperative dungeon-crawler that can also be played solo. Set in a rich fantasy world, players take on the roles of adventurers, exploring dangerous dungeons, battling monsters, and uncovering secrets. With its deep and immersive gameplay, Gloomhaven offers a massive campaign with branching storylines and countless challenging scenarios. If you’re a fan of epic adventures and enjoy the thrill of exploration, Gloomhaven is a game that will keep you enthralled for hours on end.

Friday

Rio Grande Games 457RGG Friday, Multicoloured
Rio Grande Games 457RGG Friday, Multicoloured

Created in: 2011
For ages: 13 and up

Friday is a solo deck-building game that challenges players to survive as Robinson Crusoe stranded on a deserted island. As you navigate through various challenges and hazards, you’ll need to build up your deck, improve your skills, and ultimately defeat the pirate ships to escape the island. With its clever mechanics and strategic gameplay, Friday offers a compact and addictive solo gaming experience. If you’re looking for a game that you can enjoy on your own and offers a satisfying challenge, Friday is an excellent choice.

Best Strategy Board Games

For those who enjoy flexing their strategic muscles and engaging in deep tactical gameplay, strategy board games are the perfect choice. These games often require careful planning, resource management, and decision-making skills. Whether you’re commanding armies, building civilizations, or conquering new territories, the following strategy board games will put your strategic thinking to the test.

Terraforming Mars

Stronghold Games | Terraforming Mars | Board Game | Ages 14+ | 1-5 Players | 90 - 120 Minute Playing Time
Stronghold Games | Terraforming Mars | Board Game | Ages 14+ | 1-5 Players | 90 – 120 Minute Playing Time

Created in: 2016
For ages 12 and up

Terraforming Mars is a highly acclaimed strategy game that puts players in the role of corporations tasked with making Mars habitable for human colonization. As you compete with other players to terraform the planet, you’ll need to manage resources, invest in projects, and strategically advance your corporate agenda. With its deep and engaging gameplay, Terraforming Mars offers a rich and immersive experience that will keep you coming back for more. If you enjoy strategic games with a strong emphasis on resource management and long-term planning, this game is a must-have for your collection.

Scythe

Stonemaier Games | Scythe | Board Game | Ages 14+ | 1-5 Players | 90-115 Minutes Playing Time
Stonemaier Games | Scythe | Board Game | Ages 14+ | 1-5 Players | 90-115 Minutes Playing Time

Created in: 2016
For ages 14 and up

Scythe is a visually stunning strategy game set in an alternate 1920s Europe. Players take on the roles of competing factions, each with their own unique abilities and objectives. As you expand your influence, build mechs, and harvest resources, you’ll need to balance your actions and make strategic choices to secure victory. With its beautiful artwork, immersive theme, and deep strategic gameplay, Scythe offers a gaming experience like no other. If you’re a fan of strategic games with a touch of steampunk flair, Scythe is a game that should be on your radar.

Twilight Struggle

GMT Games, Twilight Struggle the Cold War 1945-1989 Deluxe Edition, Board Game, Ages 14+, 2 Players, 30+ Minutes Playing time
GMT Games, Twilight Struggle the Cold War 1945-1989 Deluxe Edition, Board Game, Ages 14+, 2 Players, 30+ Minutes Playing time

Created in: 2005
For ages 14 and up

Twilight Struggle is a two-player game set during the Cold War, where players assume the roles of the United States and the Soviet Union. As you navigate the delicate balance of power, engage in political manoeuvring, and influence global events, you’ll shape the course of history. With its deep strategic gameplay and tense decision-making, Twilight Struggle offers an immersive and thought-provoking experience. If you enjoy strategic games with a historical backdrop and a high level of player interaction, this game is a must-play.

Best Party Board Games

Party board games are perfect for social gatherings, bringing friends and family together for a fun and lighthearted gaming experience. These games often involve laughter, creativity, and quick thinking. Whether you’re hosting a game night or attending a party, these party board games are sure to bring joy and entertainment to the occasion.

Codenames

Codenames Game, Updated, English, Cool Party Card Games, Teens, Boys, Girls, Couples, Fun Gift, Two To Eight Plus Players, Combo, Bundle, Two E Books
Codenames Game, Updated, English, Cool Party Card Games, Teens, Boys, Girls, Couples, Fun Gift, Two To Eight Plus Players, Combo, Bundle, Two E Books

Created in: 2015
For ages 14 and up

Codenames is a word-based party game that challenges players to communicate and guess words based on one-word clues. Split into two teams, players take turns as the “spymaster,” providing clues and their teammates guessing the corresponding words. With its simple rules and endless possibilities, Codenames offers a hilarious and engaging experience that will have everyone on the edge of their seats. If you enjoy word games and friendly competition, Codenames is a game that should be on your party game playlist.

Telestrations

Asmodee | Telestrations | Hilarious Party Game | Ages 12+ | 4-8 Players | 30 Minutes Playing Time
Asmodee | Telestrations | Hilarious Party Game | Ages 12+ | 4-8 Players | 30 Minutes Playing Time

Created in: 2009
For ages 12 and up

Telestrations is a hilarious drawing and guessing game that will have everyone laughing out loud. Each player starts with a secret word or phrase and must draw it on a sketchpad. The sketchpad is then passed to the next player, who must guess what the drawing represents. This process continues until the sketchpad returns to its original owner, and players reveal the progression from the original word to the final drawing. With its unpredictable and often hilarious outcomes, Telestrations is a must-have for any party or gathering.

Just One

Repos Production | Just One | Party Game | Ages 8+ | 3-7 Players | 20 Minute Playing Time
Repos Production | Just One | Party Game | Ages 8+ | 3-7 Players | 20 Minute Playing Time

Created in: 2018
For ages 8 and up

Just One is a cooperative party game that challenges players to guess a word based on one-word clues provided by their teammates. However, there’s a twist: players must write down their clues without consulting each other, and duplicate clues are cancelled out. The goal is to provide unique and helpful clues to help the guesser identify the word correctly. With its simple rules and fast-paced gameplay, Just One is a perfect choice for parties and gatherings. It promotes teamwork, creativity, and lots of laughter.

Best Cooperative Board Games

Cooperative board games offer a unique gaming experience where players work together towards a common goal. These games foster teamwork, communication, and strategic planning, making them ideal for players who prefer collaboration over competition. Whether you’re defending the world from a global pandemic or embarking on a thrilling adventure, these cooperative board games will keep you engaged and united with your fellow players.

Pandemic

Z-Man Games, Pandemic Legacy Season 1 Blue Edition, Board Game, Ages 13+, For 2 to 4 Players, 60 Minutes Playing Time
Z-Man Games, Pandemic Legacy Season 1 Blue Edition, Board Game, Ages 13+, For 2 to 4 Players, 60 Minutes Playing Time

Created in: 2008
For ages 8 and up

Pandemic is a cooperative game that simulates the outbreak and spread of infectious diseases. Players take on the roles of specialised disease-fighting experts, working together to contain and eradicate four deadly diseases before they cause a global catastrophe. With its intense gameplay and strategic decision-making, Pandemic offers a thrilling and immersive experience. As you collaborate with your teammates, each with their own unique abilities, you’ll need to manage resources, plan your moves, and adapt to the ever-changing circumstances. If you enjoy cooperative games that require teamwork and strategic thinking, Pandemic is a must-play.

Forbidden Island

Created in: 2010
For ages 10 and up

Forbidden Island is a cooperative game where players work together to retrieve ancient treasures from a sinking island. As the island floods and tiles disappear, players must coordinate their actions to collect the treasures and escape to safety before it’s too late. With its innovative mechanics and tense gameplay, Forbidden Island offers a thrilling and immersive experience. It’s a game that requires careful planning, strategic decision-making, and effective teamwork. If you enjoy cooperative games with a sense of urgency and adventure, Forbidden Island is a game you won’t want to miss.

Spirit Island

Greater Than Games | Spirit Island | Board Game | 1 - 6 Players | Ages 14+ | 90 - 120 Minutes Playing Time
Greater Than Games | Spirit Island | Board Game | 1 – 6 Players | Ages 14+ | 90 – 120 Minutes Playing Time

Created in: 2017
For ages 13 and up

Spirit Island, mentioned earlier as a solo game, is also an excellent cooperative game that can be enjoyed with friends. In this game, players take on the roles of powerful spirits defending their island home from colonising invaders. With its deep and immersive gameplay, Spirit Island offers a highly strategic and cooperative experience. Each player controls a unique spirit with its own set of powers and abilities, and together, you must plan your actions, unleash devastating powers, and coordinate your efforts to repel the invaders and protect the island. If you enjoy cooperative games with a strong thematic element and strategic depth, Spirit Island is a game that should be on your radar.

Best Board Games for Kids

Board games are a fantastic way to engage children and promote learning and social skills. The following games are specifically designed for younger players, offering age-appropriate gameplay and educational value. Whether you’re looking for games to play with your little ones or games they can enjoy with their friends, these board games will entertain and educate children of all ages.

The Game of Life Junior

Hasbro Life Junior
Hasbro Life Junior

Created in: 1960
For ages 5 and up

The Game of Life Junior is a kid-friendly version of the classic game that introduces children to basic financial literacy concepts. As players move along the board, they make decisions on career paths, earn money, and make choices that impact their future. With its colourful board and simplified rules, The Game of Life Junior offers a fun and educational experience for young players. It’s a game that encourages decision-making, counting, and social interaction, making it an excellent choice for family game nights or playdates.

Sneaky Snacky Squirrel

Created in: 2011
For ages 3 and up

Sneaky Snacky Squirrel is a delightful game that teaches young children essential skills like colour recognition, sorting, and fine motor control. Players take turns spinning the spinner and using squirrel-shaped tweezers to collect acorns of specific colors. The first player to collect all the acorns wins the game. With its cute theme, simple rules, and engaging gameplay, Sneaky Snacky Squirrel is a perfect choice for preschool-age children. It promotes hand-eye coordination, strategic thinking, and social skills, all while having a blast with adorable squirrels.

Spot It!

Created in: 2009
For ages 6 and up

Spot It! is a fast-paced matching game that challenges players to find the matching symbol between two cards. With its simple rules and quick gameplay, Spot It! is an excellent choice for young children. The game comes with various mini-games, each offering a different twist on the matching concept. From identifying matching animals to spotting symbols in different sizes, Spot It! promotes visual perception, cognitive skills, and friendly competition. It’s a game that the whole family can enjoy, making it a perfect addition to your board game collection.

Best Adult Board Games

Adult board games offer a more mature and strategic gaming experience, often tackling complex themes and requiring advanced decision-making skills. These games are designed for older players who enjoy deep and immersive gameplay. Whether you’re hosting a game night with friends or seeking a challenging solo experience, these adult board games will provide hours of entertainment.

Brass: Birmingham

Roxley Games | Brass: Birmingham | Board Game | Ages 14+ | 2-4 Players | 6-120 Minute Playing Time,Mixed Colours,11.75 x 1.92 x 11.75 inches
Roxley Games | Brass: Birmingham | Board Game | Ages 14+ | 2-4 Players | 6-120 Minute Playing Time,Mixed Colours,11.75 x 1.92 x 11.75 inches

Created in: 2018
For ages 14 and up

Brass: Birmingham is a highly strategic economic game set in the industrial revolution era. Players compete to build networks, grow industries, and navigate the complex world of 18th-century Birmingham. With its intricate gameplay mechanics and deep strategic depth, Brass: Birmingham offers a challenging and rewarding experience. As you manage resources, make strategic investments, and outmanoeuvre your opponents, you’ll need to plan your moves carefully to achieve victory. If you enjoy complex economic games with a historical backdrop, Brass: Birmingham is a game that should be on your radar.

Terra Mystica

Capstone Games Terra Mystica: Big Box - Contains: Terra Mystica: Base Game, Fire & Ice Expansion, Merchants of The Seas Expansion by Automa Factory. Ages 14+, 1-5 Players, 30 Min Per Player
Capstone Games Terra Mystica: Big Box – Contains: Terra Mystica: Base Game, Fire & Ice Expansion, Merchants of The Seas Expansion by Automa Factory. Ages 14+, 1-5 Players, 30 Min Per Player

Created in: 2012
For ages 12 and up

Terra Mystica is a highly regarded strategy game that challenges players to build and expand their fantasy civilizations. With its rich theme, intricate gameplay mechanics, and deep strategic depth, Terra Mystica offers a rewarding and immersive experience. Players must manage resources, construct buildings, and compete for control of territories, all while balancing their faction’s unique abilities. With its variable player powers and vast array of strategic options, Terra Mystica offers endless possibilities and replayability. If you’re a fan of strategic games with a fantasy theme, this game is a must-have for your collection.

Wingspan

Created in: 2019
For ages 10 and up

Wingspan is a visually stunning game that celebrates the beauty and diversity of birds. With its unique theme and engaging gameplay, Wingspan offers an immersive and strategic gaming experience. Players take on the roles of bird enthusiasts, aiming to attract and care for a variety of bird species in their wildlife preserves. With its elegant mechanics and strategic decision-making, Wingspan offers a perfect blend of competition and tranquility. If you enjoy games with stunning artwork, deep strategic gameplay, and a touch of nature, Wingspan is a game that should be on your radar.

Best New Board Games

The world of board games is constantly evolving, with new and innovative titles hitting the market each year. These new releases offer fresh gameplay mechanics, exciting themes, and unique experiences for board game enthusiasts. Whether you’re a seasoned gamer looking for something new or a newcomer to the hobby, these new board games are worth exploring.

Ark Nova

Feuerland Spiele | Ark Nova | Board Game | Ages 14+ | 1-4 Players | 90-150 Minutes Playing Time
Feuerland Spiele | Ark Nova | Board Game | Ages 14+ | 1-4 Players | 90-150 Minutes Playing Time

Created in: 2021
For ages 12 and up

Ark Nova is a modern board game that challenges players to plan and build a scientifically managed zoo to support conservation projects. With its innovative gameplay mechanics and captivating theme, Ark Nova offers a unique and engaging experience. Players must balance the needs of various animal species, manage resources, and make strategic decisions to create a thriving zoo. With its stunning artwork and deep strategic depth, Ark Nova is a game that will captivate players and provide hours of enjoyment.

Dune: Imperium

Dire Wolf | Dune: Imperium | Board Game | 1- 4 Players | Ages 14+ | 60 to 120 Minutes Playing Time, Black, 11 x 11 x 4 inches
Dire Wolf | Dune: Imperium | Board Game | 1- 4 Players | Ages 14+ | 60 to 120 Minutes Playing Time, Black, 11 x 11 x 4 inches

Created in: 2020
For ages 14 and up

Dune: Imperium is a strategy game set in the universe of Frank Herbert’s iconic Dune series. Players take on the roles of influential leaders vying for control of the planet Arrakis. With its immersive theme and strategic gameplay, Dune: Imperium offers an engaging and challenging experience. Players must manage resources, recruit allies, and engage in political intrigue to gain power and influence. With its rich thematic elements and deep strategic depth, Dune: Imperium is a must-have for fans of the Dune series and strategy game enthusiasts.

Lost Ruins of Arnak

Last Level-LA LOST RUINS OF ARNAK Board Games, Multicolor
Last Level-LA LOST RUINS OF ARNAK Board Games, Multicolor 

Created in: 2020
For ages 12 and up

Lost Ruins of Arnak is an adventure and exploration game that takes players on a thrilling journey to discover the lost ruins of Arnak. With its unique blend of deck-building and worker placement mechanics, Lost Ruins of Arnak offers a dynamic and strategic gaming experience. Players must manage resources, explore the island, and uncover ancient artefacts to gain points and advance their expeditions. With its immersive theme, stunning artwork, and strategic depth, Lost Ruins of Arnak is a game that will keep you engaged and entertained.

Best Board Games of All Time

Certain board games have stood the test of time and continue to captivate players with their timeless gameplay and enduring appeal. These classics have earned their place in the pantheon of board game greatness and are beloved by players around the world. Whether you’re a collector or a casual gamer, these all-time favourites should not be missed.

Chess

Created in: 6th century A.D.
For ages 8 and up

Chess is a game that needs no introduction. Dating back centuries, this timeless classic has been enjoyed by millions of players worldwide. With its simple rules and endless strategic possibilities, chess offers a level of depth and complexity that few other games can match. The objective is to outmanoeuvre your opponent and capture their king, employing tactics, foresight, and critical thinking. Whether you’re a seasoned chess player or just starting out, chess is a game that deserves a place in every board game collection.

Monopoly

Winning Moves Mega Monopoly Board Game, an upgrade on the classic game board with 12 extra spaces including Downing Street, Saville Row and Knightsbridge, Invest in Skyscrapers, for ages 8 plus
Winning Moves Mega Monopoly Board Game, an upgrade on the classic game board with 12 extra spaces including Downing Street, Saville Row and Knightsbridge, Invest in Skyscrapers, for ages 8 plus

Created in: 1935
For ages 8 and up

Monopoly is a household name and one of the most iconic board games of all time. In this classic game of capitalism, players buy, sell, and trade properties to build their real estate empires. With its simple rules and competitive gameplay, Monopoly offers a rollercoaster of emotions as players wheel and deal their way to financial victory. Whether you love it or hate it, Monopoly has become a cultural phenomenon and a must-play for board game enthusiasts.

Scrabble

Mattel Games Classic Scrabble, Original Crossword Board Game, English Version, Family Board Game for Adults and Kids, Word Game for 2 to 4 Players, Ages 10 and Up, Y9592
Mattel Games Classic Scrabble, Original Crossword Board Game, English Version, Family Board Game for Adults and Kids, Word Game for 2 to 4 Players, Ages 10 and Up, Y9592

Created in: 1933
For ages 8 and up

Scrabble is a word game that challenges players to create words on a grid using letter tiles. With its emphasis on vocabulary, strategy, and wordplay, Scrabble has become a favourite among language enthusiasts and competitive players alike. The game rewards creativity, strategic placement of tiles, and knowledge of word patterns. Whether you’re a wordsmith looking to showcase your linguistic skills or simply enjoy a challenging game of mental gymnastics, Scrabble is a classic that never fails to entertain.

Conclusion

Board games offer a world of fun and excitement, providing endless hours of entertainment for players of all ages. From family-friendly classics to intense strategy games, there’s a board game out there for everyone. Whether you’re looking to bond with loved ones, challenge your strategic thinking, or embark on thrilling adventures, the best board games mentioned in this guide are sure to deliver. So, gather your friends and family, clear the table, and let the games begin!

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