October 1, 2019  

12 Of The Best Board Games For Adults (Beyond Monopoly & Apples to Apples)

Updated 11/12/19 | Originally Published 10/16/17

I’ve gathered some of the best board games for adults to help you with your gift shopping this year. They’re all personal favorites of ours and are sure to make great gifts. Have fun shopping! 

Collage of 12 images of best board games for adults

I have always loved board games. I remember playing hours and hours of games with my siblings and cousins growing up. And that love of games has only grown stronger as an adult. When I met my husband in college, he introduced me to a whole new world of board games beyond Monopoly and Apples to Apples. And we’ve made some incredible memories together over board games as a couple and with both old and new friends.

In a world where we’re constantly glued to a screen, it’s a welcome break to be able to unplug and enjoy a good board game. If you’re not much of a board gamer, you should know that I’m not talking about your classic childhood games. There are so many strategic, sophisticated, complex board games for adults these days.

I invited my hubby to take over the blog today to share his favorite board games for adults. When it comes to board games, David is full of information and suggestions! I hope this will give you some new ideas so you can play with friends or as a couple. And board games also make awesome gifts for husbands, boyfriends, siblings, friends…anyone really. I’ll let David take it from here.

collage of 12 images best board games for adults

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Here are some of the best board games for adults! These are such fun and unique gift ideas for husbands, boyfriends, siblings and friends. Click to check out the gift guide.
12 Of The Best Board Games For Adults

I’ve played board games with lots of different people for years, and they are a fantastic way to both make new friends and have fun with current ones.

There are a staggering number of board games, with a huge variety of styles, which can leave new board gamers a bit confused. Whether you’re a board game newbie or connoisseur, hopefully, you can find some gift ideas for the gamers in your life (or yourself) below!

collage of 3 images of best board games for adults

1 | Deception Murder In Hong Kong

Deception is a fun detective game that someone brought to game night last year. Emily has been bugging me to get it for a while, she’s kind of addicted! In Deception, one player has committed a murder, one player is the forensic scientist and the rest are investigators. Use the few clues given to narrow down who you think committed the heinous act, as you only get one chance to accuse per game. Great for people who like deducing clues in tv shows (especially cop dramas like CSI), this game is best played with a bigger group (4-12 players).

2 | Sentinels Of The Multiverse

Have someone who loves comic book heroes and villains? Sentinels of the Multiverse (and its various expansions) let you play a wide variety of heroes against nefarious villains! The game actually plays the villains through some simple mechanics, and you and your super-powered players get to face off in a battle against minions of evil. This is one of my favorite cooperative board games, good for people who love games, but not necessarily the competitive ones. Teams will win or lose together, so it takes the edge off of competition.

3 | Ingenious

Ingenious is one of Emily’s all-time favorite board games. It’s really colorful, which might be why she likes it so much. Gameplay is quite simple actually, so it’s easy to play with new people. Although the rules are simple, there is a ton of strategy in this game. Your goal is to place tiles on the board to connect like colors, earning points based on the number of colors you get in a row.

collage of images of best adult board games

4 | Ticket To Ride

Ticket to Ride is a great starter board game, perfect for people of all ages and skill levels. There are a variety of different maps to choose from, including Europe and the Nordic countries. This game blends a good bit of luck, with a few different strategies to get to where you need to be! If you haven’t played many board games, this is easy to pick up and learn and quick enough that even those with short attention spans should be able to play.

5 | Catan

This is a classic strategy board game. Players compete to be the dominant force of the island of Catan. You’ll be settling cities and building roads, gathering resources along the way. Catan appeals to new board gamers as well as experienced gamers. This is a great one to play for three to four players.

6 | Zombicide

Have a zombie-obsessed member in your family? This game will get them slaying the undead in no time flat! The game comes with a bunch of plastic zombies and survivors. It is fully cooperative, so you need to work together to survive and complete the mission before you become a zombie’s lunch! Each of the expansions comes with a bunch of new zombie-types, and new areas to escape/explore/survive in. Losing can be a bit rough on everyone playing when I’ve played, we will be doing pretty well until all of a sudden they’re all over us. Probably not a great choice if you have someone who has to win, as it does take some planning and strategy, and there is always an element of (bad) luck to the zombies.

collage of images of best adult board games

7 | Dominion

Dominion isn’t actually a board game, but a card game that’s much more interesting than your traditional deck of cards. In Dominion, players compete with each other to achieve dominion over civilization. You build decks of cards that enable you to hire minions, construct buildings, fill your money bag, claim land and more. This was the first game I introduced Emily to back in college, and it quickly became one of our favorites. It never gets old because there are many expansion packs that introduce new elements into the game. We have quite a few of them in our collection!

8 | Agricola

This farming game is all about maximizing how many actions you can take to ramp up your small house and get the goods necessary to survive. It is a bit more complicated than some of the other games I’ve mentioned, so young children may struggle a bit. There are a few expansions that add in neat variety, like seasons, and really give the game some added complexity. If you like worker placement games, this is an excellent choice.

9 | Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is a highly rated board game than most board gamers have probably played. Each player has their own board where they work to construct buildings, plantations and resources. Collect victory points by producing things on your plantation and shipping them back to Europe. This is a simple game to learn and will provide hours of enjoyment.

Here are some of the best board games for adults! These are such fun and unique gift ideas for husbands, boyfriends, siblings and friends. Click to check out the gift guide.

10 | Cards Against Humanity

I know this isn’t a board game, but I decided to put in on this list anyway. I have had way too much playing this with friends over the years. With a tagline of “A party game for horrible people,” you know it’s going to be good. If you haven’t played it before, I’ll describe it as the adult version of Apples to Apples. Those with a dirty sense of humor will definitely appreciate the fun. Just make sure there are no kids in earshot for this one.

11 | Civilization: The Board Game

One of my favorite video games, also a fantastic strategy board game! Start off your new empire and slowly build it up, expanding through science, the arts, and of course the military. The game is beautiful, has tons of pieces, and is great for people who enjoy a variety of play styles, with different win conditions. The biggest downside to this one is that there are  A LOT of pieces, so it does take a big table to play at for groups. The expansions are not required, but they do add some really nice options and depth to the strategy. This is probably my favorite competitive strategy game right now!

12 | Balderdash

Balderdash can be a lot of fun with family or a group of friends. It’s a party game based on real words nobody has heard of. Players invent “definitions” for obscure words and try to fool their opponents into thinking theirs is the correct definition. The game tends to turn silly if you play with a bigger group, especially Emily’s cousins. They go overboard creating ridiculous definitions and the laughter tends to overtake the game before too long. That’s what you get for having about a bazillion girl cousins all in one room I suppose.

I hope you enjoyed this list of board games for adults! If you have any questions or are looking for more suggestions, leave a comment and I’ll be happy to answer them.

I hope David gave you some good gift ideas. It’s pretty easy to choose a fun game for kids, but shopping for the adult board gamer can be more confusing. We’ve personally played all of these and love them!

What board games for adults would you add to this list? I’d love to hear your favorites! We’re always looking to add to our collection 😉

More Gift Guides You’ll Love

Check out these guides to discover gift ideas for everyone on your list!

Happy gifting!

Have a fantastic day!

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  1. Catan is a family favorite. Telestrations is another great game. There are different size versions of the game so you can play with larger groups. We play it every Thanksgiving after dinner. You can’t play this game without laughing.

    1. Ooh, I haven’t tried Telestrations but I bet it would be great to play with our huge family after holiday dinners this year. I’ll check it out. Thanks Jenny!

  2. My husband and I love Ticket to Ride and Ingenious! Thank you for your suggestions; we will have to check them out!

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