When my son asked me what board games I think are the best of all time, I reminisced about the fun times I had with family and friends. I believe the best board games are enjoyable for all ages, easy to learn, and have multiple levels of play. So, which ones meet these criteria?
While there are many different types of board games, some rise above the rest as all-time classics. Monopoly, for example, is a game that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and can be played for hours on end. Another classic is Scrabble, which tests players’ vocabulary and strategic thinking skills.
Other popular board games include chess, checkers, and Candy Land. These games are not only enjoyable, but they also provide an excellent opportunity to spend some quality time with loved ones. So, next time you’re looking for a fun activity, consider breaking out a classic board game.
Do you love playing board games? In this blog post, we’re going to look at some of the best board games of all time. So sit back, relax, and get ready to have some fun.
What Are the Best Board Games of All Time?
When I was young, my grandmother used to take all the kids into the kitchen, and we would play games like Monopoly or Scrabble. In her kitchen, I learned that board games are more than just a way to pass the time.
They can also be a great way to bond with family and friends. Whether you’re playing a classic game like Monopoly or a newer game like Catan, board games give you a chance to interact with other people in a fun and relaxed setting.
They also help to stimulate your mind and keep you sharp. As you strategize about your next move, you’re also exercising your critical thinking skills. And when you finally win the game, you’ll experience a sense of satisfaction that can only come from beating your opponents fair and square.
So next time you’re looking for a fun and meaningful way to spend some time with loved ones, consider breaking out the board games.
From chess to checkers, there are hundreds of board games that players worldwide enjoy. But what makes a game truly great? It could be the level of strategy involved, the amount of chance, or the simple fun of playing. Whatever the case may be, certain games stand out above the rest as the best of all time.
Let’s look at the 25 best board games of all time.
25 Best Board Games of All Time!
Chess is a centuries-old game that needs no introduction. It is the most famous game in history. Thanks to the International Chess Federation (FIDE), the sport has become popular worldwide also due to the introduction of Chess Championships from early on.
Chess is closely linked to the growth of computing as well. Grandmasters like Anand, Kasparov, Karpov, etc., have added to the game’s popularity. Its global reach and timelessness make chess our winning entry in the list of best board games of all time.
Related: How Many Chess Moves are There?
#2. The Game of Life
Of course, I have to include Life (or The Game of Life) in this roundup. I am sure many of you remember playing this game as a kid. The Game of Life instills confidence and helps kids in decision-making. After all, every decision you make ends up impacting your result.
Each player gets a plastic car that s/he has to maneuver through various life stages such as college, career, etc. The aim is to retire first with plenty of money.
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The beautiful game of Monopoly has been around since 1904! It is believed to have helped people during the Great Depression since it offered them a ‘fantasy’ of being wealthy while facing so many financial hardships in real life.
Monopoly is a luck and skill-based game. Its beauty is that you’re allowed to make your own rules without impacting the game’s core principles or unbalancing the results. Monopoly aims to drive the other players to bankruptcy. Since its distribution in 1935, Monopoly has sold more than 250 million sets worldwide!
#4. Guess Who?
Guess Who? is a classic guessing game for two players created in 1979. It involves asking each other a series of Yes-No questions that help identify a mystery character. The first person to guess the opponent’s mystery character wins. The fun game can teach children the important skill of asking the right questions.
Scrabble is a wonderful word game that has been around for almost 100 years. It is believed that the President of the Macy’s chain stores – Jack Straus – became so enamored with the game while vacationing that he placed a bulk order that set off the Scrabble craze.
The other reasons behind Scrabble’s popularity are that it is easy to learn, does not cost too much, and is a family-friendly game for 2-4 players. I play Scrabble all the time on the Scrabble Go app, and it helps me take my mind off things. It is very relaxing!
This classic naval strategy game is suitable for two players aged seven and above.
The Battleship board game that we play today has undergone several changes since the original was played using paper and pen. It was an immensely popular game in the French and Russian armies during the First World War.
If you are looking to introduce a game of luck and strategy that’s ideal for young players or people new to board games, Battleship is an excellent choice.
Most adults will remember playing this classic board game as a kid, and it is definitely one of those games you must teach your kids. Connect4 is a strategic game that boosts critical thinking skills in young children since it requires players to think several moves ahead and anticipate their opponent’s moves. The game became extremely popular in the 1970s when Milton Bradley created a plastic version to bring to the masses.
Blokus, pronounced as ‘Block Us,’ was the 2003 Mensa Select Winner. It is an abstract strategy-based game that requires players to fit as many of their 21 pieces on the board. Each new piece must touch at least one other piece of the same color, but only at the corners. Hearing the click of the tiles on the board is immensely satisfying!
Also Read: 24 Best Games for All Ages on Family Game Night
Rummikub is a children’s game that was created in 1978. It is a strategic and luck-based game that could develop communication skills in younger kids as well as patience, spatial intelligence, and critical thinking.
The entertaining game might even lower adult players’ blood pressure since they will be laughing all the time! Rummikub is a fairly straightforward game that requires players to create a set of three tiles bearing the exact figure in different colors or three consecutive numbers in the same color.
Known as Draughts in the U.K., checkers is a fun game and one of the first games I learned as a kid. Its beauty lies in the fact that you can make it as serious or silly as you like. Many people compare Checkers with Chess, but in reality, Checkers is a lot simpler. It simply involves moving all pieces forward – except the King. The aim is to advance your pieces across the board while removing the opponent’s pieces from them.
Pandemic became more popular during the, well, pandemic, but in reality, it has always been one of the coolest board games ever made. The game requires players to look for a ‘cure’ before an infection spreads around. But doing so isn’t easy as there are many coughs and sneezes along the way.
Pandemic board game is hailed as one of the best cooperative strategy games. It requires players to cooperate and strategize with each other at every turn – so it involves every player. The game has longevity and can be replayed over and over – the infection locations are all random, which keeps things exciting and unpredictable.
If you haven’t tried Pandemic, it is time you do! I promise it will be your go-to game for those game nights.
Pictionary has been a classic family favorite since 1985, and over 38 million copies of the game have been sold in more than 60 countries.
It is an art-based game that requires a team member to pick a card and draw an image that describes the card’s instructions while the other team members try and guess the word/sentence from that art. No verbal cues, pointing at objects, numbers, or letters are allowed.
#13. Ticket to Ride
Elegant and simple gameplay that can be learned in under 15 minutes makes Ticket to Ride one of the best family board games of all time. The game’s objective is to go on a cross-country train adventure while collecting matching cards to claim railway routes. The longer the routes, the greater the player scores.
Ticket To Ride has won multiple awards and honors, including the Best Origins Board Game Award in 2004 and the 2005 Diana Jones Award for Excellence in Gaming.
Splendor is so popular that nearly 7 million people worldwide love playing it. This family-friendly game is fast, intuitive, and easy to learn. It also offers countless replay opportunities, so you always have something exciting to look forward to. The objective of Splendor is to collect unique tokens (raw gems) using which you can acquire mines, boats, caravans, and stores across the globe.
Splendor is the recipient of the 2016 Short Game Award.
Candyland is a must-have board game if you have very young kids aged three years and over – mainly because it needs no reading skills. In fact, most people might remember this classic board game from their childhood, and many are introducing it to their little ones these days.
The objective of Candyland is simple – draw a card and move your gingerbread man across the board. The first player to reach King Kandy’s castle wins.
There are several reasons behind Sequence’s popularity: it is easy to learn and luck-based, which makes it fun for all ages. It also gets families to communicate while playing, and playing in larger groups is encouraged since that ups the excitement even more.
The best part is that Sequence can be enjoyed by 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, or 12 players – there is no holding back. It is also the kind of game that one can leave if they’ve had enough, and someone else can easily join in their place. The objective of the game is to score the required number of 5 card sequences before one’s opponents.
Designed in 1995, Catan or Settlers of Catan is a beautiful game with a ‘trading’ principle at its core. It is so much fun that even the Green Bay Packers are obsessed with Catan. The 3-4 player game can be learned in 15 minutes and enjoyed for the rest of your lifetime. Catan has won many awards, including the Game of the Century in Germany and the USA, and has even been called the Perfect Social Game.
Catan relies not just on the roll of the dice but also upon your art of negotiation. The gameplay is simple, and the rules are easy to learn. A fair amount of luck and plenty of strategy and tactics keep Catan flowing beautifully from start to finish. The best part is that you can even play it via video conference when staying indoors!
Clue or Cluedo is a suspenseful game developed way back in 1947. It is a 3-6 player game; the objective is to investigate a murder and find out who did poor Mr. Boddy in. There is a process of elimination involved, and that makes Clue a family favorite after all these years.
Disney’s Villainous is recommended for kids above 10 years, but even 7-8 years and over will surely enjoy it. The fun game has even won 2019’s TOTY Game of the Year award. While you can play Villainous on its own, it is also compatible with other games in the series: Perfectly Wretched, Wicked to the Core, etc.
The aim of Villainous is simple: to give your villain the happy ending they want. There are no dice – so the game is not luck-based. There is strategy involved as you not just work on your plans but also try to thwart your opponent’s plans.
Trouble is known by different names across the world. For example, in the U.K., it is known as Frustration and in Finland as Kimble.
This board game is suitable for players aged 5 and above. Trouble and Sorry are somewhat similar, but the former is more luck-based. The aim of Trouble is to move all four of your ‘pieces’ from Home to Finish at the roll of a dice contained in a Pop-o-Matic. Its simplicity makes it an ideal game for engaging younger kids. The Pop-o-Matic is fun to press and keeps the dice from getting lost.
#21. Ravensburger Labyrinth
Labyrinth is designed for 2-4 players aged 7+. Gameplay takes about 30 minutes. The aim of the game is to race for treasure in a moving maze. The strategy-based game involves trying to stop your opponent from reaching the treasure.
Azul is a visually appealing tile-based board game that requires players to ‘become artisans’ and lay tile mosaics. It is a strategy-based game that requires each player to thwart their opponent’s plans. Azul’s gorgeous play pieces and captivating gameplay are the reasons behind its popularity. The tactics and rules of the game are also simple to learn, making it a great game for family game night.
#23. Exploding Kittens
My family loves this game, and it has to be there in our lineup of games on game night. Exploding Kittens game was created in 2015 and soon became an Internet sensation that sold more than 9 million copies worldwide.
Its gameplay is simple. The family-friendly game is designed for up to 5 people who draw a card from a stack of 56 cards. The player who draws an exploding kitten is rendered ‘dead’ unless s/he has a defuse card.
Who doesn’t like the glory of war and conquest? These are the main components of Risk. The game came into existence during the late 1950s when board game competition was at a minimum.
Risk remains popular today because it is nostalgic to us people born before 1990. An average game of Risk can take anywhere between 1 to 8 hours! Every aspect requires strategic planning. There is even an Xbox version of the game; such is its popularity.
Twister has been around for decades and its popularity won’t be decreasing in the years to come. It came into existence during the 1960s and has been selling millions of copies worldwide since.
Twister even made its T.V. debut in 1996, and at one point, crazy people were even playing it in the nude! In 1987, 4160 contortionists assembled to play Twister and set a world record for most players in a game. Such is Twister’s popularity. I am sure you have played this beloved game at some point!
Don’t forget to check out my guide on How to Play Dumb Charades
What Makes a Good Board Game?
Whether you’re a fan of classic board games like Monopoly or Clue or are happier playing Alien, board games never go out of fashion.
Every board game you’ve ever played has a clever designer behind it who has put in a lot of thought behind every move of the game. A good board game has the following characteristics:
- It is exciting – it should not just be luck-based but also require strategy. The game should have great visuals and should also be suspenseful. A good board game also has great pieces and is visually appealing.
- It is easy to learn and can be understood within minutes. It has simple and straightforward rules.
- It has enough going to keep players engaged for 20 minutes to an hour
- It is replayable
What Is the Number One Game in the World?
Chess remains the number one board game in the world. There are several reasons behind its popularity:
- Chess is highly entertaining – whether you are a grandmaster or an amateur, you will find reasons to enjoy chess and be entertained by it. It has stoked passions and even caused deaths.
- Chess has a global reach – Chess is centuries old, and thanks to World Championships and the ease of playing due to mobile apps and online chess sites, the game has reached every corner of the world. Series on chess such as Queen’s Gambit has made it even more popular.
- Learning chess is easy – most players can memorize its rules in under 10 minutes.
- It has many health benefits – Playing chess can be stress-relieving.
- The recent pandemic has enhanced chess’s popularity as more and more people stuck at home have played it online and offline.
What Is the Most Popular Board Game in the U.S.?
There are several popular board games in the U.S. Here is a top 10 list:
- Exploding Kittens
- Chutes and Ladders.
Conclusion – What Are the Best Board Games of All Time
Board games create endless universes for us to discover. They help players lose themselves in the wonder of adventures and exploration. They are an excellent way to get kids off their phones and bond as a family.
The best board games of all time include Chess, The Game of Life, Catan, Scrabble, Twister, Risk, and Guess Who? Other popular board games include Pandemic, Ticket to Ride, Exploding Kittens, and Clue.
I hope you have played most of these games with your family and friends on game night!