Home » The Ultimate Board Game Guide – Best Games For Every Situation

The Ultimate Board Game Guide – Best Games For Every Situation

Not sure what board game to play? We set out to find the best board games for any situation you could find yourself in. Having a game night with 3 friends? We got you covered. Looking to play a few games by your self? We got that too. Are you short on time and want to play a quick game in 30 minutes or less? Look no further.

Best Games You Can Play Alone

Some games can be played with large groups and others are best played alone. Some games are even designed to only be played by yourself. Below we listed the three best games you can pick up to day if you want to spend some time alone playing games. We actually compiled a much bigger list with 25 of the best games to play alone.

3. Arkham Horror: The Card Game

Arkham Horror the card game

Image courtesy of: CristiQ @BoardGameGeek.

Arkham Horror: The Card Game is a fantasy horror adventure card game. It is based on a novel by H.P. Lovecraft. In this co-operative deck building and role playing game you play with characters with variable powers. Core mechanics of this game are action point allowance and hand management. If you are a fan of the Cthulhu fantasie you will love this game!

Score: 7.9
Players: 1-2
Playtime: 60-120 minutes
Age: 14+
Difficulty: 3.17 / 5

2. Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island

Robinson Crusoe

Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island is an epic game from Portal. You will build a shelter, palisade, weapons, you will create tools like axes, knives, sacks, you will do everything you can to… to survive. You will have to find food, fight wild beasts, protect yourself from weather changes…

Score:  7.9
Players:  1-4
Playtime: 60-120 minutes
Age: 14+
Difficulty: 3.72 / 5

1. Mage Knight Board Game

Mage Knight Board Game

Image courtesy of: culturemind @BoardGameGeek.

Mage Knight The Board Game is a thematic strategy game. In this fantasy adventure you explore the word and fight baddies. You do can do this alone or co-operative by building a deck (drafting cards), moving around the board, rolling the dice and placing tiles. This game is a favorite single player game for a lot of die hard board game fans and definitely deserves a spot on this list!

Score: 7.9
Players: 1-4
Playtime: 150 minutes
Age: 14+
Difficulty: 4.23 / 5

Three of the Best Games for 2 Players

One of the most popular game types are two player game. In this category you can find both duel style games in which you face each other and find out who will be the winner, or games in which you play together with your friend against the game itself. Besides specially designed games for two players there also are a lot of games which can be played with 2 or more players. Below we listed three of our favorite 2 player games, if you want to see our full list of best 2 player games you can do that here.

3. 7 Wonders Duel

7 wonders duel board game

Image courtesy of: PZS69 @BoardGameGeek.

In 7 Wonders Duel is a card game in which you draft cards and try to collect sets. You play as a civilization of ancient times and try to advance your military and scientific development to eventually build wonders. There is 1 expansion available at the moment called 7 Wonders Duel: Pantheon which was released in 2016. You can read my full 7 Wonders Duel review here.

Score: 8.0
Players: 2
Playtime: 30 minutes
Age: 10+
Difficulty: 2.25 / 5
Developer: Enigma

 2. Star Wars: Rebellion

Star Wars - Rebellion board game

Image courtesy of: vecnalives @BoardGameGeek.

Star Wars: Rebellion is a thematic strategy game set in the Star Wars universe. Players play either as part of the Galactic Empire or Rebel Alliance. Rebellion is a form of wargame in which you fight with miniatures in this science fiction setting. During the game you roll the dice, move your miniatures around the board and form partnerships to finally emerge as victor!

Rebellion was probably the most awarded game in 2016 with prestigious awards as Golden Geek Best 2-Player Board Game. With 12 Awards & Honors Rebellion could not be missed on this list.

Score: 8.2
Players: 2-4
Playtime: 180-240 minutes
Age: 14+
Difficulty: 3.61 / 5
Developer: Enigma

1. Twilight Struggle

Twilight Struggle Board Game

Image courtesy of: Thommy8 @BoardGameGeek.

Twilight Struggle is on of the best board games of all time because of its perfect blend of Strategy and Wargame. In this quick-playing political strategy game you play during the cold war (1945-1989) and move unites across the world map to exert influence. If you love history and 2 player games Twilight Struggle will not disappoint you.

Score: 8.2 
Players: 2

Playtime: 120-180 minutes
Age: 13+
Difficulty: 3.55 / 5
Developer: Enigma

Three of the Best Games for 3 Players

Very few games are created specially to be played with 3 players, but that doesn’t mean that the ‘optimal’ amount of players can not be 3. Users of the BoardGameGeek forum voted on the optimal amount of players for each game and from that we compiled the list below. You can view the full list on this page.

3. Terraforming Mars

Terraforming mars review

Image courtesy of: Tournqiuet @BoardGameGeek.

Terraforming Mars is a manufacturing and territory building strategy game. You can read our full Terraforming Mars review here.

Score: 8.2
Players: 1-5
Playtime: 120 minutes
Age: 12+
Difficulty: 3.26 / 5
Developer: Stronghold Games

2. Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization 

Through the ages- A New Story of Civilization board game

Image courtesy of: Muse23PT @BoardGameGeek.

Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization is the new edition of Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization, with many changes small and large to the game’s cards over its three ages and extensive changes to how military works.

The core mechanics remained the same in this civilization building game and people who loved the first game will certainly love this new edition! There is also a application of this game so you can play it on your table or phone!

Score: 8.3
Players: 2-4
Playtime: 180-240 minutes
Age: 14+
Difficulty: 4.36 / 5
Developer: Czech Games Edition

1. Gloomhaven

Gloomhaven board game

Image courtesy of: zgabor @BoardGameGeek.

At the very top of the best board games for 3 players stands Gloomhaven. It is a Euro-inspired tactical combat game in a persistent world of shifting motives. This game is ideally played over may game sessions, as when you finish one sessions you can decide how the story continues. Which makes Gloomhaven a truly fantastic game and deserving of the #1 position on this list.

Score: 8.6
Players: 1-4
Playtime: 30-120 minutes
Age: 12+
Difficulty: 3.78 / 5
Developer: Cephalofair Games

Best Games for 4 Players

Four players feels like the optimal amount of players for a lot of games. Playing with four often prevents awkward situations in which one player gets a head start which forces the other players to team up against him. Having an even number of four also often prevents games from taking too long while also providing enough differentiation and action each round. Below we summed up our favorite games to play with four but you can check out the full list here.

3. Scythe

Scythe board game

Image courtesy of: magic_erwt @BoardGameGeek.

Scythe is another game which was successfully funded on Kickstarter. In total more than 17.000 people backed this game for over 1.8 million dollars. This strategic territory building game involves grid movement and variable player powers. It is set in an alternate history during the 1920’s in Europe. One of the best parts, and why scythe is on this list, is that the action-selection is very streamlined. There are no rounds or phases as in many other games, which keeps the gameplay fast.

With over 22 Awards & Honors between 2016 and 2017 Scythe definitely is one of the best and most popular games of all time!

Score: 8.1
Players: 1-5
Playtime: 90-115 minutes
Age: 14+
Difficulty: 3.36 / 5
Developer: Stonemaier Games

2. Terra Mystica

Terra Mystica Board Game

Image courtesy of: duchamp @BoardGameGeek.

Terra Mystica is a beautifully designed territory building strategy game. It heavily revolves around economic activities, network building and area control. Many people like the minimal luck factor of the game which really rewards strategic play. You can also get a expansion for the game called Fire & Ice, which is very good as well!

Score: 8.1
Players: 2-5
Playtime: 60-150 minutes
Age: 12+
Difficulty: 3.94 / 5
Developer: White Goblin Games

1. Pandemic Legacy: Season 1

Pandemic Legacy- Season 1 board game

Image courtesy of: geigersplat @BoardGameGeek.

Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 is a legacy type of game in which you play a co-operative campaign of 12-24 missions, depending on how well you do. Pandemic Legacy: Season one is part of the larger pandemic series, including Pandemic Legacy: Season 2.

Score: 8.5
Players: 2-4
Playtime: 60 minutes
Age: 13+
Difficulty: 2.81 / 5
Developer: Z-Man Games

Best Games to Play in 30 Minutes or Less

Games can not only be categorized by amount of players but also by playtime. For me personally I always find it important to know how long a game normally takes. For that reason we went out looking for the best games you can play in 30 minutes or less. Below you find our top three, you can also see the full list here.

3. Patchwork

Patchwork board game

In Patchwork, two players compete to build the most aesthetic (and high-scoring) patchwork quilt on a personal 9×9 game board. To start play, lay out all of the patches at random in a circle and place a marker directly clockwise of the 2-1 patch. Each player takes five buttons — the currency/points in the game — and someone is chosen as the start player.

Score: 7.6
Players: 2
Playtime: 15-30 minutes
Age: 8+
Difficulty: 1.71 / 5
Developer: 999 Games

2. Codenames

Codenames

In Codenames, two teams compete to see who can make contact with all of their agents first. Spymasters give one-word clues that can point to multiple words on the board. Their teammates try to guess words of the right color while avoiding those that belong to the opposing team. And everyone wants to avoid the assassin.

Score: 7.7
Players: 2-8
Playtime: 15 minutes
Age: 14+
Difficulty: 1.34 / 5
Developer: White Goblin Games

1. 7 Wonders Duel

7 wonders duel board game

Image courtesy of: PZS69 @BoardGameGeek.

In 7 Wonders Duel is a card game in which you draft cards and try to collect sets. You play as a civilization of ancient times and try to advance your military and scientific development to eventually build wonders. There is 1 expansion available at the moment called 7 Wonders Duel: Pantheon which was released in 2016. You can read my full 7 Wonders Duel review here.

Score: 8.0
Players: 2
Playtime: 30 minutes
Age: 10+
Difficulty: 2.25 / 5
Developer: Enigma

Best Games to Play in 2 Hours or Less

If you have a little more time then just 30 minutes but don’t want to spend a full night (or even more) playing one singel game then look no further. Below we summed up the best games which will normally last no longer then 2 hours. Of course we also compiled a larger list which you can view right here.

3. Viticulture

Viticulture board game

Image courtesy of: zgabor @BoardGameGeek.

Viticulture is an economic / farming type of game. The game heavily relies on hand management and worker placement. It is set in Italy in pre-modern Tuscany. As the owner of a vineyard you just inherited you are responsible for the survival of this property through the season.

Score: 7.9
Players: 1-6
Playtime: 45-90 minutes
Age: 13+
Difficulty: 2.94 / 5
Developer: Enigma

2. Blood Rage

Blood Rage board game

Image courtesy of: zgabor @BoardGameGeek.

Blood Rage is a fantasy fighting game set in a mythological world. The game features beautifully designed miniatures with which you move around. Beside moving and fighting you will be busy drafting cards and managing the cards in your hand. This game is one of the successful Kickstarter board game campaigns and even made it onto this best board games list!

Score: 7.9
Players: 2-4
Playtime: 60-90 minutes
Age: 14+
Difficulty: 2.89 / 5
Developer: Guillotine Games

1. The Castles of Burgundy

The Castles of Burgundy Board Game

Image courtesy of: ChipChuck @BoardGameGeek.

The Castles of Burgundy is set in medieval France (Burgundy) heavily revolves around territory building. You build up your land by placing tiles. You play against other aristocrats (players) who are also trying to gain more land. During the game you try to collect a set of matching tiles. Fun part about this games and a reason why so many people place it on the list of best board games is the variable phase order. There is also a less popular card and dice variant of the game. You can read my full Burgundy review here.

Score: 8.0
Players: 2-4
Playtime: 30-90 minutes
Age: 12+
Difficulty: 3.03 / 5
Developer: Ravensburger

And this concludes our list of best board games for every situation. Please have a look at our other pages for each category to find more games to play!