Board Games Bucket List: 50 of the All Time Best Ones to Play

Some people may think board games are boring (I’m not one of them!), but they can actually be a lot of fun especially if you have the perfect game and people to play with. Board games have definitely evolved over the years, but there are both classics and modern games that would make for a fantastic game night with adults, families and couples alike.

From backgammon to Scrabble, work your way through this bucket list of the best board games of all time!

Best Board Games of All Time for Adults, Families & Anyone Who Wants to Have Fun

1. ✧ Axis and Allies

Set during World War 2, your mission is to work together with your team to plan offenses and decide how to use your resources. Imagine you’re a high ranking official during the war. With Axis and Allies, you have the power to destroy your enemies and win the war without destroying the actual world!

Buy It: Axis and Allies

2. ✦ Backgammon

The objective off this classic board game is to move your checkers to your home board and bear them all off. Backgammon uses two dice to determine the movement of the checkers. Remember to place at least two checkers on each point and to always hope for doubles after a roll of the dice.

Buy It: Backgammon

Backgammon Best Board Games of All Time for Adults, Families & Anyone Who Wants to Have Fun

3. ✧ Balderdash

Do you enjoy bluffing your friends or family? Balderdash is the best board game of all time for this! All you have to do is make up answers and bluff your opponents. Be creative with your answers but don’t get too far-fetched or your opponents won’t believe you.

Buy It: Balderdash

4. ✦ Battleship

In playing Battleship, you have to sink all your opponent’s ships. Call out the letter and number of a target hole and your opponent will tell you if it’s a hit or a miss. Place your ships at the edge of the board and scatter the others in the middle to confuse your opponent.

Buy It: Battleship

5. ✧ Betrayal at House on the Hill

Betrayal at House on the Hill is the best board game to play on Halloween. You’ll be building a haunted house, and encountering spirits and bad omens that’ll tell your character’s fate. However, be warned that one of your opponents will betray you. You have to defeat him or her before it’s too late.

Buy It: Betrayal at House on the Hill 

6. ✧ Blokus

The goal of Blokus is to fit all of your pieces on the board while blocking your opponent. by using my biggest piece to occupy plenty of spaces. Sounds easy, right? Not quite. The twist is each new piece you put on the board must touch the corner of the other piece of the same color!

Buy It: Blokus

7. ✦ Candyland

Did you know that Candyland was first created to entertain the children recovering from Polio? The goal is to be the first to find the lost King Kandy at the Candy Castle. It won’t be that easy because there are obstacles along the way that might delay you.

Buy It: Candyland

8. ✧ Carcassonne

Build your own city in a Medieval setting by drawing a tile from the deck! All you have to do is to connect each tile depending on what it depicts. Roads connect to roads, cities to cities, and etcetera. Playing Carcassonne is exciting because, after every game, you form a different landscape from before.

Buy It: Carcassonne

9. ✦ Cards Against Humanity

Ah, a very humorous game. Cards Against Humanity is probably one of the board games I like to play during an adults only party. You have to fill in the blanks of the black card with the phrase on your white card. The Card Czar will choose the best combination and whoever owns it will get the black card as a point. Warning: most cards are raunchy and not politically correct!

Buy It: Cards Against Humanity

10. ✧ Catan

After a long sea voyage, you arrive at an uninhabited island and decide to settle. However, you’re not the only discoverer of the island. The objective of Catan is to build new settlements, roads, or improve existing settlements to cities which are equivalent to points. The first player who reaches 10 victory points wins the game.

Buy It: Catan

11. ✦ Checkers

Checkers is a 2-player game that can be played on a chessboard. However unlike Chess, the pieces are flat and round, and black starts the game. You have to capture the pieces of your opponents by diagonally leaping over them. You win the game if all your opponent’s pieces are captured or blocked.

Buy It: Checkers

12. ✦ Chess

Chess is a 2-player game played mostly by adults. The objective of the game is to checkmate your opponent’s king until it’s trapped to be captured. But, winning a game of Chess is very challenging. To win, you have to study your opponent’s moves before making yours and keep in mind that sacrificing pieces is necessary to win.

Buy It: Chess 

13. ✦ Chinese Checkers

The goal of Chinese Checkers is to move all your pegs to the star point opposite you. Move your pegs across the board by jumping over your opponent’s peg or even your own. All the pegs remain on the board, so you have to have a good strategy on how you can complete your goal without getting blocked.

Buy It: Chinese Checkers

14. ✦ Chutes and Ladders

The goal of Chutes and Ladders is to reach the 100th tile to be the winner. The number on the spinner determines the move you’ll make. If you land on a square with a ladder, you can move up and advance to the square at the end of it. However, if you land on a square with a chute, you need to slide down at the bottom of it! This one is fun for the whole family, but especially the kids.

Buy It: Chutes and Ladders

15. ✦ Clue

Do you love a good murder mystery? The objective of Clue is to know who, what, and where Mr. Bobby was killed. Each player has to use his or her power of deduction to solve the mystery. If you love Sherlock Holmes, playing Clue will give you the time of your life.

Buy It: Clue

16. ✧ Codename

Codename is played by two teams of two. The spymasters give the one-word clue related to the word on the board. Meanwhile, the field operatives guess and point to the word related to the word.

Buy It: Codename

17. ✦ Connect Four

Connect Four is an easy game to play. All you have to do is drop your checkers on the slots on top of the grid. The first player who creates four of the same checker in a row wins. I always like to play this game with younger kids in my family and whoever loses has to buy the other a cone of ice cream!

Buy It: Connect Four

18. ✦ Cranium

To win Cranium, you have to be the first to arrive at Cranium Central and successfully complete the final activity. Pick a card and do whatever activity is described. Once your answer is correct, you get to roll the dice that’ll get you closer to the center!

Buy It: Cranium

19. ✧ Escape from Iron Gate

Don’t you just love a good action movie where your favorite character is wrongfully accused of a crime, sent to jail, then breaks out with guns blazing? Escape from the Iron Gate is similar to that but without the guns. You have to escape from room to room and through the gate by solving puzzles, drawing figures, or trading.

Buy It: Escape from the Iron Gate

20. ✧ Gloomhaven

Battling monsters, completing quests, and going on adventures? Count me in! Gloomhaven will rouse your imagination to make your own story. Here you’ll have to work with the other players as part of a campaign. Guided by a Scenario Book, you can create a new adventure every game!

Buy It: Gloomhaven

21. ✦ Hungry Hungry Hippos

My grandma used to call me a little Hippo when I was a kid because I would just gobble up all the food in front of me, just like in the game Hungry Hungry Hippo. The objective of the game is to capture as many marbles as you can using your Hippo’s mouth. Whoever has the most number of marbles wins.

Buy It: Hungry Hungry Hippo

22. ✦ Jenga

I love playing Jenga with kids or tipsy adults because they get too excited and easily knock over the tower! The game is played by removing a block and placing it on the top of the tower without toppling it. Pro tip: hold your breath and pray for a steady hand when it’s your turn!

Buy It: Jenga

23. ✦ KerPlunk

A careful hand wins a game of KerPlunk. The game is simple: you have to slowly remove the sticks impaling the tube and dropping the fewest marbles. The person who has the least number of marbles dropped at the end of the game, wins.

Buy It: KerPlunk

24. ✧ Latice Hawaii

Latice Hawaii is an easy game but it’s hard to master. It’s played by matching the tiles of the same color or shape. The challenge is putting a tile that matches two or more sides of the existing tiles on board. The highest match you can make is four, called a Latice.

Buy It: Latice Hawaii

25. ✦ Monopoly

This game has caused a lot of arguments in our family because of our competitiveness. The main goal is to be the wealthiest player by buying, renting, and selling properties, and making the other players go bankrupt. But be careful about spending too much because you might get bankrupt or land in jail!

Buy It: Monopoly

26. ✧ Mousetrap

I’m not a big fan of real mice but the game Mousetrap is really cute. The objective is to let your mouse run around the board and collect cheese while avoiding the traps. You have to gather six slices of cheese to make a wheel and use it to bait the other mice. The last player whose mouse isn’t caught wins the game.

Buy It: Mousetrap

27. ✦ Operation

Remember when you used to play as a doctor as a kid? With Operation, playing “doctor” becomes more realistic and fun. All you have to do is “operate” on the patient, Sam without lighting his nose up. You need a steady hand on this one!

Buy It: Operation

28. ✦ Othello

Othello is played by creating a “sandwich” with your discs, trapping your opponent’s disc in the middle. The discs in the middle will be flipped and become yours. At the end of the game, the players whose disc is dominant on the board wins.

Buy It: Othello

29. ✧ Pandemic

A game to save humanity in the grips of four deadly diseases—Pandemic is a game that requires the cooperation of all the players. You’ll be playing as a disease control team and it’s your mission to find the cure for all the diseases.

Buy It: Pandemic

30. ✦ Pictionary

In Pictionary, you have to draw your way to the last square to win. All you have to do is pick a card from the category deck, sketch the word, and your team has one minute to guess the word. If you guessed correctly, you get to roll the die and move to the next squares.

Buy It: Pictionary

31. ✧ Pie Face

Do you think that the messier the game, the more fun it is? If so, Pie Face is sure to be one of those. All you have to do is turn the handle based on the number on the spinner, and pray that the hand won’t slap you with whipped cream. The first to get 25 points wins. Don’t forget to take a selfie!

Buy It: Pie Face

32. ✧ Qwirkle

The objective of Qwirkle is to create a line that contains six tiles. The tiles can be of the same color but with different shapes or of the same shape but with different colors. No same tiles should be placed on one line. One tile is equivalent to one point. You win when you have the highest points.

Buy It: Qwirkle

33. ✧ Risk

The objective of Risk is to conquer the world by occupying all the pieces on the board and eliminating all your opponents. This is a fun game but it takes so much time to finish. You need a huge amount of patience, careful planning, and bold moves to be the conqueror of the world and win the game.

Buy It: Risk

34. ✦ Scattergories

Scattergories is a game where you have to fill out a category list with answers that start with the same letter. The twist is, you can’t have a similar answer with other players. You only score points if your answer is unique, so you have to think quickly and be creative.

Buy It: Scattergories

35. ✦ Scrabble

Scrabble is a well-loved classic game that has been around for ages, and is one of my family’s favorites. It’s played by forming a word on the board using a letter tile on a crossword puzzle format. The challenge is to create a word based on the tiles you have, so brush up on your vocabulary and spelling before playing!

Buy It: Scrabble

36. ✧ Skyjo

Playing Skyjo requires exercising your math skills. Each player will have 12 cards facing down the table. Pick a card from the draw pile and choose to exchange the card from your 12 or disregard it. The goal of the game is to have the lowest sum of all your cards, so whoever that is, wins.

Buy It: Skyjo

37. ✦ Sorry

The game Sorry uses pawns and a deck of cards. Each player has four pawns. The goal is to get all pawns home after rounding the board. It won’t be as easy as it sounds because there are instances when your opponent can knock you back to start!

Buy It: Sorry

38. ✧ Smart Ass

When playing this game, you literally have to be a smart ass because whoever reaches the Smart Ass’s butt first, wins. You have to answer the questions depending on the category. If you answered correctly, you can roll the die and move closer to the butt.

Buy It: Smart Ass

39. ✧ Splendor

Imagine you’re a rich merchant who turns raw gems into precious ones. You will be collecting gems which can be used to acquire development cards or noble cards. These cards have prestige points. You win the game if you’re the first to reach 15 points or more.

Buy It: Splendor

40. ✧ Spontuneous

Have you ever been in a mood where you just start singing upon hearing a word? Spontuneous is made from that idea! List down trigger words from the lyrics of any song. If you can sing the lyrics including the trigger word, you get to roll the dice and move up the treble cleft.

Buy It: Spontuneous

41. ✦ Taboo

In playing Taboo, you get the most score if you correctly guess the words. It’s like a game of charades where one gives clues while the other guesses the word. However, instead of acting out the clues, the clue giver will describe the word without using the taboo words!

Buy It: Taboo

42. ✧ Terraforming Mars

It’s the 2400s. Mankind begins to terraform Mars until it becomes habitable. Terraforming Mars is an elaborate game that ends when the ocean, temperature, and oxygen have reached the right levels. The person who makes the most projects gets the highest score and wins.

Buy It: Terraforming Mars

43. ✦ The Game of Life

The Game of Life depicts how real-life works in a board game setting. Your goal is to travel the path of life by making decisions, building a family, and collecting Life tiles.

Buy It: The Game of Life

44. ✦ Trivial Pursuit

In Trivial Pursuit, your goal is to be the first player to fill your Scoring Token with different colored wedges. You earn wedges when you correctly answer questions. Once you have all six wedges, you can move towards the center space. If you answer the final question correctly, you win the game.

Buy It: Trivial Pursuit

45. ✦ Trouble

Trouble is similar to the game Sorry. The goal is to move all your pegs around the board to the finish line. Instead of rolling a dice to determine your move, you pop the Pop-O-Matic in the middle of the board. Have fun popping!

Buy It: Trouble

46. ✦ Twister

Tired of sitting while playing a traditional style board game, how about a game of Twister instead? This will exercise and stretch your body in ways you can’t even imagine. All you have to do is put your hands and feet on the colored circles as directed by the spinner! The last player on the mat wins.

Buy It: Twister

47. ✦ Upwords

Similar to Scrabble, Upwords is a game where you use tiles to form words. The biggest difference is you stack your tiles on top of the existing letters on the board to form a new one. To do this, at least one letter from the old word should remain. The highest scorer wins the game.

Buy It: Upwords

48. ✧ What do you Meme?

Who doesn’t love memes? It’s all the rage! In playing What Do You Meme? you put a picture of a meme on a stand and the players have to choose the best caption. The player who has the funniest caption takes the meme as a point.

Buy It: What Do You Meme?

49. ✧ Wingspan

Being a bird enthusiast, your goal is to discover and attract different kinds of birds to your aviary. Wingspan uses cards that contain the profile of the birds, chips, dice, and a player mat. You get points based on the accumulated birds you have, eggs, and other bonus cards. You win if you have the most number of points.

Buy It: Wingspan

50. ✦ Yahtzee

The objective of Yahtzee is to roll the dice for scoring combinations to get the highest score. There are five dice that you can roll a maximum of three times. For each roll, you can choose to set aside the dice with combinations and roll the remaining dice or you can roll all five dice on the second or third time. The player with the most points after 13 rounds wins the game.

Buy It: Yahtzee

Playing board games is a great way to spend quality time with your family, friends, kids or as a couple. these all time best board games will keep you plenty busy. You can even make it more exciting by having a little wager before the game starts, like whoever loses has to do the dishes or rake the lawn. Just remember to be a good sport and to have fun!

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2 thoughts on “Board Games Bucket List: 50 of the All Time Best Ones to Play”

  1. I wanted to add a little something extra. A bonus challenge that added a touch more adventure to the fun. So I took a cue from video games and added spaces for 9 optional achievements. I filled in 7 and left 2 blank for everyone else’s creativity. I loved this element of the Bucket List and one of my minor disappointments in 2017 was that I only crossed off 4 of the 9. The only way that’s considered a good percentage is if you’re a baseball player or TV meteorologist. ?
    As I was making the changes for this year, I realized that I was really boxing people in on the available achievements. Of course, video games do the same thing – but I want to be cooler. I want this experience to be fully customizable.


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Annette White the Owner of Bucket List Journey
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