Whether you’re stuck at home with your housemates or keen to host a games night with friends, we’ve rounded up some of the best board games on the market. Ranked from easiest to most challenging, and with plenty of similar options included, we have no doubt you’ll find the right board game to suit your tastes.
Ticket to Ride (2004)
In this Industrial-era-themed game, you and up to five other ambitious rail tycoons will attempt to build and connect train lines across a map – be it America, Europe, or the myriad of other locations available – with the goal of creating specific routes. It’s very simple to pick up the rules, and the gameplay is fluid and easy to follow. Ticket to Ride is nicely balanced between luck and strategy, allowing more competitive players to maintain engagement, without alienating the more casual gamer. This makes the game ideal for larger groups who don’t have a lot of patience for some of the other games on this list and are just looking for a fun, relaxed playing experience.
This elegantly designed two-player game requires each person to create their own patchwork quilt using the oddly shaped tiles they have at their disposal. The player that ends up with the largest quilt and the most buttons is the winner. Anyone who enjoys solving puzzles and creating order out of chaos will find playing Patchwork very satisfying. Add to this beautiful pastel illustrations and you’ve got the perfect game for cosying up with a good friend.
In this playfully morbid card game, players are assigned a random set of bodily organs that they must defend from a variety of illnesses and maladies. At the same time, they have to inflict as much bodily harm on other players as possible. The humorous graphics are surprisingly educational and are as amusing as the fast-paced gameplay.
OrganATTACK! is great with only two players, though it scales well with additional players. It probably has the shortest playing time on our list, taking less than 10 minutes to complete a game. However, we guarantee you’ll want to play it multiple times in a single sitting!
Carcassonne is inspired by the walled Medieval city that shares its name. As players build an infinite number of worlds using an ingenious tile placement system, they can earn points by completing features such as fields and rivers. There’s a lot of strategy involved, and it can take several goes to really master the game. The randomness of picking up tiles means that no two games are ever the same, which gives Carcassonne a lot of replayability. Up to four players can play, though it works best with only two.
Set in a not-so-unimaginable world where three deadly viruses have spread across the globe, you and up to three other players must cooperate to try and eradicate them. Pandemic offers many exciting twists and turns and at times can be very brutal. A small cluster of infections can quickly turn into a full-blown epidemic if you don’t cooperate well with your teammates and take hold of it.
King of New York (2014)
King of New York lets players assume the role of giant monsters terrorising New York. Unfortunately, even New York is only big enough for one monster, so you must all fight it out amongst yourselves to see who gets to call the Big Apple their new home. The game involves rolling dice to hurt other monsters (players), gain lives and score points, with the ultimate goal of either acquiring enough points to win or killing the other monsters. Alliances will be forged. Damage will be done. And mistakes will lead to punishing results.
If the thought of battling it out against other players appeals, try the original game, King of Tokyo.
Food Chain Magnate (2015)
Food Chain Magnate allows players to run their own fledgling fast food business in a small American town. You’ll be responsible for designing your own corporate structure, handling marketing and managing finances, all with the aim of growing your company and trying to drive your competitors out of business. Food Chain Magnate was created with the serious gamer in mind, which is reflected by its $180 price tag. But if you enjoy strategy gaming, then the cost might be well worth it, as it’s easily one of the best games we’ve played.
Twilight Struggle (2005)
This two-player historical game is set at the beginning of the Cold War. One player will play as the Russians, while the other will play as the United States, with both trying to gain a socio-economic foothold on the world without destroying it in the process. Twilight Struggle brilliantly encapsulates many real-world events into the gameplay, letting players take a deep dive into a terrifying time in history.
The oldest game on the list, Talisman still remains a classic fantasy adventure game. Two to six players can choose from a wide variety of enchanted characters to enter and explore a perilous world full of dragons, demons and other dark creatures in the hopes of retrieving a magic crown and becoming ruler of the land. As with many fantasy games, the great joy of Talisman comes from developing your character and interacting with other players and the environment. Also, like several other fantasy games, Talisman can be very slow-paced, so make sure you’ve got lots of free time and a comfortable chair.