Here at the Strategist UK, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy, but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed products and single out the most convincing ones. (You can learn more about our rating system and how we pick each item here.)
And while we’ve written about home essentials before — including the best knife sets and the best toasters — here, we’ve rounded up the best board games, as praised by the most enthusiastic reviewers on Amazon.
Best-rated overall board game
The cross-country train game Ticket to Ride has over 13,000 reviews, with 86% of those being five stars. 91 reviewers wrote that the game, which involves collecting types of trains in order to claim rail routes across North America, was really easy to learn, while another 91 described the gameplay as “simple.” There were 153 reviews that described it as a great game for families, with 11 specifically saying their teenagers really enjoyed playing. The manufacturer says it’s best for 2–5 players, but several reviewers said six players could enjoy it, while one couple said they enjoyed playing it by themselves on date night. Overall, reviewers said that a game typically took from 40 minutes to an hour.
Best-rated board game for playing on repeat
No two games of Labyrinth will be the same, due to the layout of the board changing each time. 71 reviewers spoke highly of the strategy involved in this game, which sees players shift the maze layout in the pursuit of treasure. The quick thinking may mean it’s less suited for younger gamers — one reviewer said their 5-year-old didn’t understand the strategy element, though in one household a 7-year-old is the reigning champion. The manufacturer suggests 2–4 players total, and several families said working in two teams was a great way to help younger kids learn the ropes, while one dad said he and his daughter could sneak a quick game in before dinnertime. In total, the game has 3,676 ratings, 87% of which are five stars.
Best-rated imaginative board game
One reviewer describes Dixit, which has 2,414 reviews and an average of 4.7 stars out of five, as being like the game show Call My Bluff, only involving abstract, illustrated picture cards. Each round, the active player (also known as the Storyteller) must describe one card, and the remaining players then have to match that description with one of their own cards. Then the cards are revealed, and remaining players must bet tokens on which card they think belongs to the Storyteller, with the overall goal being to get to 30 points. Despite the setup sounding complicated, 53 reviewers said gameplay was easy once you got into it. The game was also described as great for older kids or anyone with big imaginations, as the illustrated cards were described as “esoteric” and “abstract” by reviewers. One parent said her 12-year-old was great at conjuring up obscure references, but her 8-year-old struggled with how to play it. Another called it deceptively simple but surprisingly difficult, and there were 162 reviews mentioning how much fun it was.
Best-rated speedy board game (30 mins)
Splendor is the highest-rated game featured here, with 93% of its 3,389 reviews being five stars. The Renaissance-based trading game takes just 30 minutes to play, and 34 reviewers praised it for its quickness. One reviewer said that despite that, it’s full of complex strategies and each game has a different feel to it. Another said it’s best to play with more than two players due to the higher potential to “sabotage” your opponents. The manufacturer says it’s best aged 10 and up, but not all the reviewers agreed. One dad, who runs a board game club in his community, said his 7- and 10-year-old kids became pros within an hour (or two games).
Best-rated really speedy board game (10 mins)
This speedier version of the classic property game has gone down a storm with parents and players who want to get through the game at a quicker pace. 38 reviewers said they loved how quick it was compared to the normal version — each player has their own dice, so they move, purchase and collect money simultaneously. A further 15 reviews commented on how much quicker the game was, with one parent saying it was fast-paced enough to entice her teenager off his iPad. Another said his family could play three games in one rainy afternoon, whereas a single game used to take three days due to tantrums and upsets. And one person noted that the simplified mechanics in the game (no buildings, and rent and purchase costs being simplified) made it easy for their 6-year-old to understand the rules. It’s important to recognise that not every new feature was well received — the voice recognition element got several critical reviews, but gameplay can be done without it.
Best-rated competitive board game
Best-rated two-player board game
Jaipur is a card game for two people that involves trading across two rounds. It takes about half an hour and has 1,400 reviews in total, with 90% of those being five stars and an average of 4.9 stars out of five. 56 reviewers agree that this is one of the best card games for two people due to its relatively simple format and quick pace. One reviewer bought it for his wife, to commemorate their trip to Jaipur, and said the illustrated cards were a big selling point. Another reviewer, who placed themselves as a semi-advanced gamer, said it was always in rotation between Monopoly and Carcassonne.
Best cooperative board game
Pandemic is a bit different than the other games in that it involves players (from two to four) working together to stop the spread of four epidemics while researching potential cures. One parent wrote that the cooperative nature of it really made playing with their 10-year-old a joy — they got through six games back-to-back on Boxing Day. Another parent said that by playing a game involving teamwork and communication, younger siblings were able to learn the rules more easily than when all four players were in direct opposition. It’s the best-rated cooperative board game, with 5,100 five-star reviews alone (out of 6,013 total).
Best-rated board game for families
Over one in five of all reviews for Articulate said it was the best game for families, from the family who had three generations playing together to the one that has played it every Christmas for five years. The game, which for those who don’t know is like charades but with the ability to speak, has 2,572 reviews in total, with an average of 4.8 stars out of 5. 94 reviewers said it was lots of fun, while 71 said it was the best board game out there, period.
Best-rated board game for solo players
Though it doesn’t actually use a board, this game and its story-prompt cubes are one of the best-rated, particularly for solo players. The set comprises nine dice, each with six different images, and many of the reviewers say they’re excellent in classrooms. 110 of the 3,788 reviews said they were a fantastic storytelling resource, particularly in schools, where 28 teachers wrote that they were great for homework prompts and creative writing sessions. One parent said they fired up his son’s imagination in the evenings, which helped him with his homework, while another said they make great presents for school friends.