Aug 10, 20165906 views

What Are Your Top 10 Board Games?

Wassup Gaiz,
So just a little background, I'm pretty heavily invested into MTG. I've played the game for years and I've always held it as a game that I can always fall back on. (similar to how I play video games, I've played League of Legends almost exclusively for the past 4 years).
However, I've recently gotten really into Board Games and I need a place to start. I've looked at board game geek for hours on end, reading boards and threads but I wanted to get a better sense of what people think are their top ten Board Games
Top 10 on Board Game Geek for those that are interested:
1. Pandemic Legacy: Season 1
2. Twilight Struggle
3. Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization
4. Terra Mystica
5. Caverna: The Cave Farmers
6: Puerto Rico
7. Agricola
8. Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization
9. The Castles of Burgundy
10. 7 Wonders: Duel
ltopper, bradr, and 12 others

As some other people have mentioned, Board Game Geek tends to favor more complex/heavy and legacy games in their rankings, and if you're just getting started and don't have a consistent/experienced group to play with, something like Terra Mystica or Through the Ages might be a bit too much. In my experience, games in the 2-3 complexity range (using BGG's scale) are fairly easy to pick up and still offer a lot of strategy and replayability. Some of my favorites in no particular order: Catan 7 Wonders Boss Monster Cytosis Ticket to Ride Europe Betrayal at the House on the Hill King of Tokyo (or New York) La Strada Carcassone Pandemic
Ticket to Ride and Pandemic were gateway drugs for me, and any time I want to get someone to try a board game I will go for either of those. While many of the other games people listed are good, even great games, Ticket to Ride and Pandemic are easy to learn and hard to master. They have excellent artwork and pieces to get people invested in the quality of the game they are playing, and they both can cause a table to be flipped if the loss is that great. Try either, or both of those.
I’m an older gamer, so my choices will look a little weird to most, and really strange together on the same list:
  1. Acquire
  2. Power Grid
  3. Escape: The Curse Of The Temple
  4. Hero Realms
  5. Spurs: Tales Of The Old West
  6. Stockpile
  7. Monopoly
  8. Tomb Raider Collectible Card Game
  9. Lost Cities
  10. Dice Masters
If you are just now starting up in board games, you are going to need some Gateway games to hook your friends and family. While it is true those top 10 games are quite good... unless you dip your toe in with some really addictive games you may get bogged down in complicated rules or strategy games. While these games are good... they need to be introduced gradually... A few games that are easy to learn and play are needed, as well as games that will NOT take a huge time investment. Once you have a few of those, you can toss in a harder\longer game to play once in a while... and if it becomes your groups favorite... there ya go. Cosmic Encounter: great fun, few rules, quick to play. Talisman: easy to learn, not quick to play though. Operation F.A.U.S.T: While technically a card game with a board game feel... it is quick to learn and play. House on Haunted Hill: Fun game, easy to learn, cooperative until the end game. Not too long. Not sure if I have a top-10... but the above works for starters.
Play. Gloomhaven.
If you have a consistent group and like legacy games, you will LOVE it.
Arkham Horror Firefly Dead Of Winter Catan Pandemic
How has no one mentioned Spartacus?! If you all haven't checked it out, you should. It was the one that got me obsessed with board games!!! And if you watched the show, yes, the board game nails it pretty damn well. Et tu brute?
One of my more memorable board game experiences was with Spectre Ops.
Boy was that intense! But in the best way a board game can be. It's not a "gateway" type but if you're into MTG (which I also play) you will definitely enjoy this.
Some of my go-to faves in no particular order:
Samurai Sword King of Tokyo Betrayal at House on the Hill Firefly (!) Pandemic Ticket to Ride 7 Wonders Adventurers Quarriors Epic Spell Wars
... and so many, many, many more, lol. Welcome to this side of nerdom!
Ticket to ride - kind of like risk/strategy Smash up - deck building (they have good themes for decks -- GoT, Marvel, etc) risk - strategy/war exploding kittens - card game after dark charades - good party game with friends
Caught the BG bug two years ago and the library is now at 100. It's addictive. I prefer the heavier side of the Euro. My current top ten might look something like:
1. Food Chain Magnate 2. Trickerion 3. Orleans 4. Scythe 5. Arboretum 6. Modern Art 7. Terraforming Mars 8. Great Western Trail 9. The Gallerist 10. Not Alone
If you are an MTG fan but a. trying to get out because it is too expensive or just want a board game that gives the feel but is easy to explain and have non-mtg players play. You must try Seasons, fun game but i did not have to spend thousands of dollars for it. As for my top 10, I am a Feld die hard, but to keep it even I throw only my top feld in there.
1. Macao 2. Terra Mystica (have not tried Gaia Project yet) 3. Troyes 4. Bridge 5. Keyflower 6. Agricola 7. Antiquity 8. Chinatown 9. Acquire (still the best economic game hands down) 10. Concordia
Massdrop is responsible for getting me into board games, and my entire collection. What's been wonderful is that many of the drops overlapped directly with BGG top 100 titles :)
One thing to consider: the BGG top 10 span several genres, as well as complexity levels -- it's worth getting a feel for which mechanics/genres might appeal most to you: Ameritrash vs. Euro; LCG vs. RPG; dungeon crawl vs. tabletop miniatures skirmisher; legacy vs. individual session; etc.
For what it's worth, I bet you'll enjoy and be happy with ANY Massdrop drop of a title in the top BGG 150 -- I certainly have been.
My secret hope is that Massdrop will launch a BGG Top 100 collection campaign, and help us addicts collect the ENTIRE set of BGG Top 100 (including classic canonical games like Catan, Agricola, 7 Wonders, Dominion to hottest recent releases like Pandemic Season 2, Scythe, Star Wars Legion, Twilight Imperium 4th Edition, etc.)
So excited for you to jump in and get bitten by the boardgame bug!
Massdrop: please hurry up and allow us to post our collections on our profile pages :)
I haven't played many board games sadly, but I did have a chance to try Catan and really liked it. I haven't had a chance since because... I have no friends.
I'm new to the world of board games and the very first board game (card game i guess) is munchkin that a friend of mine brought abroad. Board games in my country are very niche and there's not a lot of choice. Massdrop helped me started with my board game addiction as the shipping is much cheaper than most online shop i tried.
Haven't played a lot of the games you guys mentioned here but have seen the play through online. I'm starting to get some slowly now. I can't mentioned any top tens currently but would love to contribute as a new player my favorite games currently. I'm hoping that the community can or may help me branch out or advice/recommend me more great games for me and a little group of mine to play.
My current favorites right now and that i own are: Dead of winter Escape from 100 million BC Coup Catan Splendor
I want to delve into RPG but having no veteran DMs around so i'll be trying games like the D&D tabletop instead. Cheers
vote up for splendor, catan and coup
If you like games like MTG, you should try Ascension. As an avid mtg player, this game is easier to learn, and provides hours of entertainment. I highly recommend it.
Ten Excellent Games
Dominion - Granddaddy of deck building games. Terraforming Mars - Probably game of year last year Chaos in the Old World - Great assymetric territorial control game. Pandemic: Legacy - Best coop game AND best legacy game Trajan - Underrated classic Tyrants of the Underdark - Streamlined deckbuilding + territorial control Lords of Waterdeep - an excellent, highly accessible worker placement game. Caverna - It's agricola, but with the worst parts of agricola fixed. Blokus - Best game to play with non-gamers. Kingsburg - Best game involving rolling lots of dice.
Been playing hobbyist games since 2007, but in the last two years my collection has burst the seams of every surface in my family (now GAME) room. I enjoy heavy thinkers, with minimal random number generation (I can enjoy dicey games, as long as probability is key to it - see one of my list that is very much dice).
There's no way to put a ranking on this list, but there are a few that I will drop most things to play, so I'll start with those:
Terraforming Mars Power Grid Dead of Winter Roll for the Galaxy Race for the Galaxy Agricola/Caverna
I don't own Scythe, yet, and that might be a bad word here on MD after the Jamie incident. That whole experience turned me off to his game, but there's just so much positive feedback on's hard to not want to try it out.
In no particular order - Battle For Sularia Dead Men Tell No Tales Boss Monster Tiny Epic Galaxies Eminent Domain Firefly Board Game Resident Evil Deck Building Game CLANK 7 Wonders Above and Below
I am selling board games for 8 years. over 7 million boxes already, and that is what stats tells. There are games that are named "board games" in stores, but in fact that is not even a gateway - Jenga, Uno, Tenzi etc. In numbers that is a huge part of sales. There are gateway games - the best point to start boardgaming - Ticket to Ride, Catan, Carcassone. And there are lots and lots more games for core gamers - but you shouldn't start with it - sometimes reading a rulebook takes an hour. But after gateway games you surely will switch to "gamers games". By the way in Russia most popular gateway game is Jackal - just now it is on Kickstarter
1) Container 2) See #1.
I'm so obsessed with this game it isn't even funny.
Things I love about the game: 1) There's no RNG. (Unless you consider the random order of player seating at the start of the game - over hundreds of games with the same group of players, we have found no correlation between starting position and outcome) 2) It's a game about supply chain management, which tickles my economics nerdiness fancies 3) There is very little asymmetric information, which means decision making is incredibly subtle. 4) There are many different auction bidding strategies to consider. 5) Specialization and gains-from-trade are essential, yay free trade! 6) There are basically three rules to the game, so it's really easy to learn 7) There's nothing to memorize (I hate games where you have to anticipate 'he's probably holding the Thief card so I have to play around it, even though this is my first game and I've never seen the Thief card, or the 60 other mystery action cards').
Instead of looking at the top 10 on, I would instead look at the "weight" rating on that site for each game. For instance, Twilight Struggle is #2 on that site and it's weight rating is 3.52 (out of 5). That's a heavy game for someone new to the hobby to learn and process if you are just getting in hard core. Terra Mystica is a 3.92, and Caverna is a 3.79. You might get lost if these are the first three games you purchase.
I got into the hobby about two years ago in earnest and I started out with the "gateway" games like Ticket To Ride, Stone Age, Splendor, Dominion, and Pandemic.
I buy about one game a month and I can echo some of the earlier suggestions on this thread. Blood Rage is great, but unforgiving if you make a mistake. You can put all your eggs in one basket in that game and get slaughtered, but once you know what the cards do, you rarely make that mistake twice. Dead of Winter is great, as is Betrayal at House on the Hill (both games have crazy replayability due to the crossroad cards in DOW and the 50 scenarios in BAHH. Marvel Legendary is a great deck building game if you get tired of the theme-less (but awesome) Dominion. Stone Age is a great entry point into worker placement games. I haven't yet migrated to the Agricola's of the world. I also think Five Tribes is a nice twist on that worker placement mechanic. I am just now graduating to meatier games like Blood Rage, Cry Havoc, Scythe, and Istanbul.
My advice to you would be check out the "gateway" games (that typically have a weight rating on BGG of about 2.75 or less) to figure out what types of games you prefer. Then, once you do that, start moving into the heavier games of that type with more rules, nuance, and depth.
I've played far fewer games than most people here. I'm trying to carve out more regular time to play this year though.
Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization - I've only played this once with @jasper and @jxliu. Really enjoyed the game and want to play again soon after the first session.
Age of Empires III: Age of Discovery - Played 5 or 6 times. Really enjoy how the bidding process mixes up each round of the game.
Dominion - I've only played base game so far, but really enjoyed it. Settlers of Catan: Seafarers
Carcassonne. Fun game with an easy learning curve. I like to break this out for a lighter game to break new gamers into. Always fun, but expansions are a must.
Pandemic - Only played once, but I enjoyed the co-op aspect. We failed by 1 turn. :(
Settlers - Seafarers - I enjoy this expansion a lot, but I really want to try some different expansions. I always seem to play with someone who hasn't played settlers before and this is one of the easiest break-in game with a few more rules I've found. . . . . NEXT TO PLAY:
Dead of Winter.
A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (Second Edition). Some friends have started playing the online version of this game as a game they kind of always have going. They get an email when it's their turn and then make their move.
Betrayal at House on the Hill
Mr. Jack
Web of Spies
Finally! Someone giving a nod and props to Betrayal at House on the Hill!
I'm an avid player, and this has become one of my favorites.
I've been playing magic for 20+ years now (right when ice age came out) which lead me into board games about 10 years ago. My top ten at the moment is: 1) Agricola (This is leagues beyond everything else for me. I prefer drafting magic cards and drafting Agricola gives me that same feeling.) 2) Eclipse 3) Stone Age 4) Five Tribes 5) Robinson Crusoe 6) Mage Knight the board game 7) The Gallerist (or any Vital Lacerda game) 8) Tokaido 9) Dungeon Petz 10) Le Havre
1) 7 Wonders
While I have built up a fair bit of variety in my board game collection, 7 Wonders is still the game I end up wanting to play in every situation. Scales well from 3-7 players and it supports a number of playing styles. It's basically card drafting a la MTG, but with room for a lot more strategy and interplay. Can't see myself getting tired of it, and I can't recommend it enough. I would stay away from the expansions/map packs, with the exception being Duels (though it's more of a standalone game).
I started out as a video gamer. Went to a convention in 2002 for a Halo tournament, and during a bye round wandered into the board gaming room, and never went back to my tournament. Now I have about 375 games in my collection (after selling off ~300 to move cross country), and more coming in all the time.
1) Terra Mystica - a little bit of everything in this. It's not quite an area-control game, not quite a worker placement, not quite a 4X, but a little taste of all of those.
2) Power Grid - A classic, and with all of the expansion maps still a favorite. Korea especially, splitting the resource market was genius.
3) Scythe - Area control with an engine builder and just a smattering of "read off your encounter and choose a response".
4) Pandemic: Legacy - I was hesitant about this at first, like many people, but the unforgiving nature of it added such a feeling of tension and importance to every scenario that it was easily one of my top games. I cannot wait for Season 2 and Seafall.
5) Eclipse - When this first came out I hated it. But the expansions have made it a much better game, and I have now tricked out my copy with everything they publish for it, a custom space mat to play on, and a ton of upgraded bits and tokens for it. It can be a long one, but it's a lot of fun.
6) Princes of Florence - Another old game, but still great, with auction and tile-placement aspects, as well as limited actions and money being very tight.
7) Dead of Winter - I hate zombies, and I think they're horribly overused, but this semi-coop is just a fun game, and the upcoming expansion looks to make it even better.
8) Pursuit of Happiness - Despite the shipping issues Artipia had with this kickstarter, I was one of the lucky ones who had no trouble, and this is a really fun and thematic "life-builder". Worker placement where your "workers" are actually time you spend out of your life.
9) Amun-Re - The very first board game I ever played (post-childhood), and the one that got me addicted. It's aged a bit, but the auction/secret bidding/building game with the twist where after half the game everything you have built gets re-bid on and can end up helping others is still one of my top 10.
10) Alchemists - Another worker-placement with a lot of logic deduction and hidden information. This can be a brain-burner, but it's a lot of fun (except when you realize that someone made a mistake and you based a lot of your assumptions on their flawed logic).
I've been playing hobby board games since a family member brought Dominion to a Christmas gathering in 2009 or so, and I've been hooked ever since! I would strongly recommend you visit a local board game store - many have a play area where they stock public copies so you can try them out. I didn't know what I liked initially, and I made some hasty purchases that weren't ideal. I've found that I'm mostly a eurogame mechanics fan, though I appreciate innovative theme integration too! My current top 10:
1. Le Havre (Rosenberg is probably my favorite game designer) 2. Through the Ages (Haven't played the new one yet, but I can't wait to do so) 3. Castles of Burgundy 4. Agricola 5. Race for the Galaxy 6. Biblios (My favorite "filler" game, with great probability-based decisions, auctions, etc) 7. Food Chain Magnate (Haven't gotten nearly enough plays of this yet) 8. Power Grid 9. Blood Rage (Bit of an outlier-ameritrash game, but it's so well-designed!) 10. Voyages of Marco Polo
My top 10, based on my ratings of them on BGG:
1. Scythe A competitive game for up to 5 players. It's basically area control with some heavy Euro influences, which means combat is not particularly strong in the game.
2. Kingdom Death: Monster Honestly this is the most impressive game I own, but it better be damned impressive for having a MSRP of $400. It's a combination of settlement building, survival horror and a dungeon crawler. A very heavy game that's hard to get to the table, but when you do it's one of the best board game experiences you'll ever have.
3. Above and Below The lightest of my top 3, A&B is a competitive settlement builder with strong storytelling aspects. Very Euro.
4. Blood Rage Pretty much the exact opposite of A&B, but almost as good. Beat the crap out of people as you try to accumulate the most honor before Ragnarok.
5. Celestia The lightest game on my top 10, but very, very good. For the price I recommend everyone to have it in your collection. It's a simple, fun push your luck game with bluffing and deception.
6. Eldritch Horror A very heavy and thematic cooperative game where you are trying to prevent an Old One from crossing over into the world. Set aside at least 2 hours for this one, though, especially if you're playing with 4 or more, which I suggest.
7. Lords of Waterdeep One of the iconic Euro games, but still a good one. Play as a masked lord of waterdeep, hiring adventurers to complete quests and outsmart your competition.
8. The Others A one versus all game where one player is one of the seven deadly sins and everyone else is against them. Really it's the best one versus all game I've ever played, so if you like that style of game (not everyone does) then it's a good one to pick up.
9. Paperback Just slightly heavier than Celestia, but still super light. Basically a better version of scrabble.
10. Bloodborne It's strange just how much strategy you can get out of what is basically a card game. Part cooperative and part competitive, but very fun.
I ended up with only 8 that I feel strongly are in my personal top X board games. Again, this is a personal list; I'd definitely come up with a different list for games that I'd recommend to others.
1. Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization I've only played this version once and the previous edition 4 times, but this is the game I want to play the most. It combines a lot of the game mechanics that I love---drafting, resource management, worker placement, city building---with a theme that just works. It's a long game (3 to 4 hours), but every action you take matters.
2. Agricola + Farmers of the Moor This is the game that made Puerto Rico obsolete for me. Has a similar role choosing mechanic like Puerto RIco, but adds a good bit of randomness with occupation and improvement cards. IMO, Farmers of the Moor is a must for me because base Agricola boils down to 5 family members or bust.
3. Factory Fun Basically a tile-laying, engineering game. My brain just loves trying to figure out how to tweak factory layouts to maximize efficiency. This game totally drives some of my friends crazy though.
4. Galaxy Trucker Another tile-laying game where you rush to build a spaceship, head out on an adventure, and watch your ship get smashed by asteroids and pirates.
5. Pathfinder Adventure Card Game D&D distilled into card game form. I have a ton of memories of my playgroup's narrow escapes and improbable deaths.
6. Tichu I've watched my friends play way more Tichu than I've played myself. The more I think about Tichu, the more I'm unsure what to say about it. It's a great game; I should rank it higher...
7. Hanabi Great cooperative game. Dead-simple ruleset, but very interesting decisions to make each turn because you can see everyone else's cards but not your own.
8. Power Grid This is the game you want your Accounting or Finance department to be great at. Literally planning your power plant bids, fuel purchases, and electrical grid connections down to the dollar every turn. You either shuddered or got really excited reading this.
I did the same thing when i first got into the board game-scene. What Board Game Geek, and people in general, think is a good game, might not be what you're looking for. I love console splitscreen coop, but as PS4 and Xbox are going more for the PC-gaming experience, splitscreen is out the door. Enter boardgames, and the options are endless.
Cooperative gameplay, head to head, free4all, take your pick. Fantasy, sci-fi, movie/book-based. When you know what want, just start looking. If you buy a game and it wasnt what you imagined, there's alot of forums for trading/buy/sell.
Most of the games i bought, that got 10/10 in reviews, wasnt at all what i wanted. 'Nations' is a good example. It's very complex and the developers really put their heart and soul into making that game. The learning curve is insane. When you get into it, its a really good game, but it was lacking the cooperative gameplay experience i was looking for. Its more head to head, first guy the finish line, monopoly kind of gameplay (even though it looks like Civilization at first glance). Dont get fooled by the fancy covers and descriptions.
Of course, board games and roleplaying games like D&D is what you make it. If you have a bad dungeon master in D&D, your experience will most likely be very bad.
'Betrayal at House on The Hill' is exactly my kind of game. Cooperative gameplay halfway through, other half will be survivors against one player who serves as the bad guy. Endless replayability, almost. A book with scenarios to go by, and just like any other roleplaying game, pressing skip on the intro/story-scenes will result in a bad experience. Again, it depends on what you're looking for.
Lastly, this is my list of favorites.
1. Forbidden Island - Very easy, anyone can get it up n runnin under 5 minutes. Cooperative gameplay with a flare of mystic. Lots of replayability and expansions.
2. Betrayal at The House on The Hill - For more serious gaming, larger learning curve than #1, but lots of fun.
3. Stockholm Maffia - Swedish board game, not sure if there's a english substitute. Recruit gang-members, do heists (think Payday), when the stop card emerge's, the gang leader with the most money wins. Very easy & lots of funs. My fiancée's favourite and the first game she bought.
4. Settlers of Catan - Should be in every gamers shelf.
5. Pandemic - I read a book once, 'Hot Zone' written by Richard Preston. It's a true story written in a story telling kind of way about the Ebola-virus. My favourite book of all time. The gameplay and general feeling of Pandemic is very close to that book and i just love it. Easy to get into and lots of replayability with the expansion's.
Hope this helps and sorry for the grammar in advance, english is not my native language :)
Great response, and great list! I just wanted to ask if you've tried Forbidden Desert? As soon as I did, I sold off my Forbidden Island copy.
I have, great game :) Anything with a cooperative playstyle is a win in my book :)