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Players of all ages agree that there are popular board games that transcend generations and personal preferences and are fun to play no matter when and where. Today, we take a look at the most popular board games you can buy this year.
Our list features titles that will appeal to kids and adults, and that are without a doubt some of the most popular board games to add to your collection or play.
We have taken a good look at the top-rated and top-selling board games that people keep buying, in some cases for decades, and bring you the definitive list of popular board games.
Designer: Klaus Teuber Age: 10+ Players: 3-4 Complexity: 2.30/5
This 1995 classic remains to this very day one of the most popular board games of all time. Catan a family-friendly strategy suitable for ages 10+ and it also has a version for kids as young as 6+. The game will have you collect and trade resources, establish settlements, and even declare war on your neighbors.
Players colonize the board with their settlements and roads, as they try to expand their clout and civilization and gather the coveted 10 points to declare the game’s end and announce the total number of points they have collected.
Catan has won multiple awards from all distinguished board game awards and is without a doubt one of the most popular board games for adults and kids alike. The game sells thousands of copies every month.
Designer: Vlaada Chvátil Age: 14+ Players: 2-8 Complexity: 1.26/5
Codenames is one of the most popular board games for parties that will accommodate up to 8 players at a time and is marked by very simple and accessible rules. Codenames is a game of cat and mouse where two rival spymasters will give clues to their teammates to identify 25 agents in the field. The game also has a dedicated 2 player board game version.
The spymasters ought to help their teammates by offering single-word clues such as who the agent in the field may be, and teammates will have to, in turn, uncover those agents, without accidentally stumbling across an assassin.
The teams will try to be the first to contact all of their 25 agents in this deductive board game and one of the most popular titles of all time.
3. Ticket to Ride
Designer: Alan R. Moon Age: 8+ Players: 2-5 Complexity: 1.83/5
This is the time of railroad expansion, and 2-5 players will embark on a journey to accomplish the most sprawling network of railways across North America. Since it was introduced in 2004, Ticket to Ride has been consistently one of the most worthwhile and exciting games to try.
A fantastic introduction to the board gaming hobby as a whole, this fairly lightweight game asks players to connect cities using trains and railroads in what is simple, but ultimately rewarding gameplay that will have the best strategist win. There is also a kids’ version for ages 6+.
Even if you are not that keen on cut-throat railroad competition, there is a good chance you will enjoy this one! The game offers a team mode where you can play with another player against someone else, making it a fantastic board gaming experience.
Designer: Michael Kiesling Age: 8+ Players: 2-4 Complexity: 1.76/5
Azul is a lightweight game that offers enough depth to make it infinitely replayable. The game is inspired by the legend of Portuguese King Manuel I who was awe-struck by the beauty of the Moorish decorative tiles and ordered his architects to decorate his own palace’s walls.
In the game, you will play as one of those architects, drafting from a beautiful bag of colorful tiles and arranging them in the best way to please the King.
The player who completes the most patterns and scores the most patterns wins the game.
This mesmerizing tile-laying game is one of the most popular board games for you to enjoy right now and share with your friends, family, and partners!
5. Trivial Pursuit Family Edition
Designer: Hasbro Age: 8+ Players: 2+ Complexity: 1.42/5
If you are looking for the most popular board game to play with your family, Trivial Pursuit may just be the right option for you. A game of Trivial Pursuit will test your general knowledge and stir excitement among juniors and adults alike.
The game comes with thousands of questions designed to provide you with interesting factoids, and while sometimes your results may be a little dispiriting, this is a great way to learn across categories such as Sound & Screen, Innovation, News, Game Time, Global View, and so much more.
The themes have been designed to be fun, and educational, and give you plenty of opportunities to show off your knowledge. One of the most popular board games of all time, Trivial Pursuit is an unending carousel of fun for all ages.
Designer: Brian Hersch Age: 12+ Players: 4-10 Complexity 1.21/5
If you love word games, Taboo is one of the most popular party board games to try. The premise of the game is very simple – clue your teammates about the word you have on your written card without using certain telltale prompts.
This is a great game for bookworms and those of you who appreciate charades with a few extra steps.
Taboo is an absolute winner on our list and one of the best and most exciting games of all time, helping you not only learn new words but also come up with a fun way to explain them.
The title feels doubly special to players who love words! As Hasbro puts it, this is “the game of unspeakable fun,” and we couldn’t agree more!
Designer: Uncredited Age: 7+ Players: 2 Complexity: 1/5
Battleship is a game of cat-and-mouse in which you will conduct maritime warfare half-blind, and half-guessing where your opponents’ ships are.
Yet, the goal of this game is quite simple – find and sink the opponent’s ships before they can do the same to yours!
There are plenty of clever tactics you can deploy, and you will feel like you are indeed hunting for the fleet of an enemy that is trying to destroy you before you can strike them first.
One of the oldest and yet most popular board games of all time, Battleship is a source of endless entertainment to players of all age groups.
Designer: Randy Flynn Age: 10+ Players: 1-4 Complexity: 1.83/5
Cascadia is one of the most popular board games that relies on tile drafting and tile laying as its core mechanics. The game will reward players for building beautiful habitats and populating them with various wildlife, from salmon to eagles, to bears, to stags, who roam the lands and terrains, and bring joy to the eye and points in the corner of the competitive player.
The more harmonious your ecosystem ends up at the end of the game, the bigger your results will be.
You get extra points for various resources and patterns, as well as for controlling the largest of a certain type of habitat. Cascadia is a remarkably satisfying kid and family-friendly game you can play leisurely or perhaps even get a little more competitive.
9. Exploding Kittens
Designer: Matthew Inman, Elan Lee, Shane Small Age: 7+ Players: 2-5 Complexity: 1.09/5
Cats usually meow, but in Exploding Kittens, they go kaboom! Exploding Kittens is an innovative, lightweight, fun, and gripping party game that brings endless variety to every play and makes for exciting moments gathered around the kitchen table.
Players will have to avoid getting blown up by the proverbial Exploding Kitten by either skipping turns, hoping for luck of the draw or, as a last resort only, using the Diffuse cards to avoid detonation.
Diffusing bombs has never been so fun, and satisfying, but don’t think you will always win – chance is often the deciding factor whether you will go up in smoke.
Designer: Jacques Johan Mogendorff Age: 8+ Players: 2 Complexity: 1.85/5
Stratego is a classic game of tabletop warfare in which you will use two-colored tile forces to march forward and capture the flag. You will try to ensure that you are ahead of your opponent in terms of surviving pieces as you make your advance.
The game plays very simply and it has been around since 1946, becoming one of the most popular board games of all time for adults and kids alike. You can place bombs, flags, and troops across the board and use tactics and strategy to overcome your opponent.
Stratego is a predecessor of more complicated war board games, but every bit as exciting.
Designer: Henry Audubon Age: 10+ Players: 1-5 Complexity: 2.13/5
PARKS is a game that celebrates US National Parks, and it’s a particularly well-done game, which has made it one of the most popular board games not just on our list, but in the entire country. Illustrated by Fifty-Nine Parks Print Series, the game will have you trail the national parks and collect memories that will come at a cost.
You will hike and trek through lovely scenery during all four seasons but also compete with others trying to collect precious moments.
Gaining access to a place in a park that is already busy would cost you more resources, as there will be other challenges. PARKS is a great board game for family and friends to share at any time.
12. Castle Panic
Designer: Justin De Witt Age: 10+ Players: 1-6 Complexity: 1.65/5
Castle Panic is not only one of the most popular board games of all time, but it’s also something you can play with young and old players alike. The game comes with a fairly easy rule set, that will have you play in no time. In Castle Panic, you will play cooperatively with your fellow heroes who have just finished building a castle.
This is great news, but there is a rub – monsters are gathering around the walls, and they want to gain entry and wreak their evil deeds inside the castle walls! It’s your job to stop them by trading cards, assigning roles, and holding down the fort.
Yet, although you must withstand the attack together as a team, only one player may be the Master Slayer, the highest honor to win out of the game!
Designer: Kevin Russ Age: 10+ Players: 1-4 Complexity: 2.17/5
Knit the most beautiful carpet pattern and attract the most gorgeous felines to have a snazzy rest atop.
Calico is a game where players compete to put together interesting rugs and carpets so that their cats can plonk their sizable rumpuses and bring you points! Cats only see the shapes and patterns of the blankets you knit, but not the colors.
Yet, you will have to balance between bigger objectives as set out by the game, color, and shape patterns to get ahead and score the most points.
Get your cat friends to come over and end this tile-laying game about pusses as the ultimate knit master!
Designer: Matt Leacock Age: 8+ Players: 2-4 Weight: 2.40/5
Pandemic is one of the world’s most popular board games and perhaps even more recognizable today than it has ever been. With thousands of copies sold around the world, the Pandemic will have you rush against time as different strains of super viruses are washing over the world and infecting the populace.
The only way to tackle the disease is to travel to the hotbeds, collect samples, and rush against time to come up with a cure and vaccinate enough people.
Each player plays as a specialist who can travel faster, cure more people at once, or perform some other relevant action that allows them to stay ahead of the ticking clock. Whether the viruses win or you run out of time to stem the tide of the disease doesn’t matter as you will have split seconds to win.
Designer: Klaus-Jürgen Wrede Age: 7+ Players: 2-5 Complexity: 1.90/5
In Carcassonne, players will strive to control farmland, cities, and castles, position their meeples of cloth on abbeys, and even try to escape a raging dragon that is determined to snack on any player who gets in the way!
A flying machine does make an entry, and there are bandits all over the evolving board of this tile-drawing and tile-laying game.
Carcassonne is simple yet gripping and replayable to infinity.
The scoring is fun, and the opportunities to claim another player’s city or road, farmland, or another territory of value – is always on the tiles! Definitely one of the most popular board games on this list, you will want to try Carcassonne!
Designer: Merle Robbins Age: 6+ Players: 2-10 Complexity: 1.11/5
Uno is an excellent card game that has been around since the 70s. It has evolved repeatedly over the years, yet kept the core gameplay simple, easy, and pocket-sized.
The idea is to get rid of your cards first and say “UNO!” so you make your triumph official – fail, and another player may beat you to the punch.
In this fun, exciting, and easy-to-follow game, it’s easy to get distracted, so you should make sure to not get too carried away when you are about to chuck your last card!
Uno is fun five decades after it was released, and it’s without a doubt one of the most popular board games you can try whether you want to party or play at home!
Designer: Elizabeth Hargrave Age: 10+ Players: 1-5 Complexity: 2.46/5
Wingspan invites players of all age groups to have a crack at creating the most worthwhile habitats that will bring you the most beautiful birds.
You want to create a wildlife preserve that allows the rarest species to nestle and thrive in it. An engine and card-driven middle-weight board game, Wingspan is one of the most popular board games of all time.
The game is developed by a scientist and is focused on providing players with factual and inspiring gameplay that is underlined by an accurate and captivating theme. You will strive to grow your habitats in a fairly amicable and relaxed atmosphere or, if you choose to, you may even get a little more competitive!
18. The Game of Life
Designer: Reuben Klamer, Bill Markham Age: 8+ Players: 2-6 Complexity: 1.17/5
The Game of Life is just what it sounds, and it’s one of the oldest and most popular board games around – every bit as popular as it was back in the 1940s.
It’s a fun emulator of an entire life, where players will race through a fictional life and conquer its milestones, from going to college, to finding love, to succeeding at their career.
The simulator, which inspired video games such as The Sims, is one of the best board games you can find and play today, suitable for 2-6 players aged 8+, and treating players to some very simple and rewarding gameplay.
Designer: Joe Bradford Age: 12+ Players: 2-4 Complexity: 1.20/5
Inspired by the popular New York Times word game, Wordle brings the digital game to a physical tabletop format, and this step into the tangible realm has been a success. Wordle has quickly become one of the most popular word board games just as it is one of the most popular digital options if you love word puzzles.
The goal of the game is to guess a secret word while having fewer guesses than your opponents to win the round, and possibly – the game!
Wordle is a captivating and inspired title that will have the bookworms amongst you hooked. Even if you are not keen on word games, Wordle is a title that beats expectations and will have you excited as soon as you try it.
Designer: Marc André Age: 10+ Players: 1-4 Complexity: 1.78/5
It’s the Renaissance and you are an affluent merchant trying to get even richer. To get there, you need to secure ships, buy gem mines, and win favor with the nobility. In this open-market card-drafting game, players will embark on a journey to score 15 points before anyone else can.
A single turn may end up deciding the outcome of the entire game, so make sure you are aware of what you need to get ahead and quickly.
Yet, don’t you worry, as Splendor is a very accommodating game, and one of the most popular board games that you can try with your family, friends, or partners today!