If we say let's play a board game, what do you think of? Your mind probably immediately jumps to Monopoly, Scrabble, Cluedo and Life—all those family board games tucked away in the cupboard that you lost interest in as soon as you hit high school (or got a gaming console). Well we’re here to tell you that board games have progressed well past anything involving yelling at your siblings to pay up, and if the #tabletop TikTok trend is anything to go by, we’re not the only ones getting addicted.
So fire up the group chat and tell your crew it’s time for a games night, because we’ve rounded up 10 of the best board games around, whether you’re playing with two or six, amateurs or pros.
Ticket To Ride
Ticket To Ride has been around for almost 20 years and after one game, you’ll find out why. The aim is to claim railway lines between cities with trains in your colour—but first you’ll need to collect enough train cards to ‘buy’ the lines. Complete particular ticketed routes and score extra points for having the longest uninterrupted route, but watch out—other players might snap up a line you had your eye on first, and boy does it get heated when that happens. Bonus, there’s multiple expansions with different continents and countries to play, so you’ll never get bored. Buy it here.
Being one of the few board games out there that more than five people can play, Seven Wonders is perfect for bigger groups. Bonus, though it may look complicated, it’s a quick one and easy to get the hang of—a game will only take 20 to 30 minutes, meaning you can battle it out over multiple rounds. Over the course of three ‘days,’ you’ll stockpile resources to build structures and armies using cards and coins, but be sure to have a solid strategy—in this game, the winner really isn’t clear cut until the very end. Buy it here.
Formerly known as Settlers Of Catan, Catan is another game that’s been around for yonks—if you’ve got any friends really into their board games, you will definitely find this one in their cupboard. A bit of a lengthy one (but that’s part of the fun), you’ll roll dice to use resources like sheep, wheat, wood, brick and ore to build settlements, cities and roads. The aim of the game? To accumulate victory points from building settlements, having the longest road and the largest army, among other things. The winner is the player who hits 10 points first, but you can have some points in secret, so don’t be lulled into a false sense of security by your fellow players. Buy it here.
This is Monopoly like you’ve never seen it. Taking the traditional, hours long board game and turning it into a snappy, 15-minute long card game, Monopoly Deal is—dare we say it—even better than the original. You still pass go, build properties and demand rent from other players, but in this version, it’s fast-paced, fun and full of backstabbing. You may not all be friends at the end, but you’ll have a damn good time becoming enemies. Buy it here.
Another board game that looks fairly intense but is actually incredibly easy to understand, Libertalia turns you into a pirate crew, looting your way across the seven seas. The only problem is, there’s other crews out there too, and you’re all chasing the same loot—and it’s not just treasure you might end up with. You’ll place character cards with different values and abilities face down on a board, flipping them all at once to see who gets first pick of the gold, but it’s not always just about who goes first—strategy is a must in this game. Aye aye, captain. Buy it here.
Ok, it may not feel particularly appropriate in the current climate, but Pandemic has been taking over table tops since long before Covid-19 was a thing. A co-op game, Pandemic is the game for anyone who isn’t overly competitive (and still wants to be friends with their fellow players at the end of board game night). Instead of competing against each other, all the players are on the same side, and need to work together to stamp out virus outbreaks and find a cure before the world is overrun. Different characters have different abilities, but be careful you don’t start a new epidemic. Buy it here.
A game for young and old, Sequence is part card game, part board game. The board is layed out with a full deck of cards—your (or your team’s) goal is to claim a sequence of five cards, which you do by drawing cards from a deck and playing them on your turn. Sounds simple, right? It is until you realise that other players can block you from getting a sequence by claiming a card for their own… It’s even trickier if you play in teams, but it does make the game all the more strategic. Buy it here.
Ok, so technically Sushi Go is a card game, but it’s just as fun and engaging as any board game, so we’re including it on this list. Incredibly fast-paced, you’ll build sushi roll combos as you pass around a set of cards accumulating points that get added up at the end. You’ll need to be aware of what you’re passing on to the next player as well as what you need to take to get a perfect score—it’s not as simple as it looks. Luckily, you’ll only need 15-20 minutes per game, so you can play a few practice rounds to start. Buy it here.
Another card game that plays out like a board game, Guillotine will see you losing your head in more ways than one. Over the course of three rounds, you’ll ‘behead’ nobles and peasants alike, using action cards to score yourself higher value characters. You can also use action cards to seriously screw with other players, so beware. Buy it here.
Alright, you’re going to need to set aside some serious time for this one—the average Root game time is about 90 minutes, and even longer for newbies. It’s worth the time though, as players battle it out for control of a vast wilderness. Every player has a different role, and a different secret agenda, so you can replay the game and have a totally different experience as a different character. Buy it here.
If you'd rather watch the action, not play it, here's the best movies on Netflix right now.
Image credit: Aksel Fristrup
Editor's note: Urban List editors independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. Urban List has affiliate partnerships, so we get revenue from your purchase.