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Top 10 Best Board Games Of All Time

by Tarni Kirkpatrick
fact checked by Jamie Frater

While we live in a world of short attention spans and ever-changing online games to cater to today’s generation, there is one thing that just never gets boring. That is board games! I guarantee that each of you has played at least one of these incredible top-selling board games, some of which have sold millions of copies and been played by billions of people worldwide. Check out this list of the top 10 board games of all time.

Note: because Christmas is just around the corner and inexpensive board games make good stocking fillers, I include links* to buy these on Amazon.

See Also: The 10 Most Offensive Board Games Ever Published

10Ticket to Ride

Buy Ticket to Ride On Amazon

Ticket to Ride has won dozens of awards and sold over 6 million copies since its creation. It is the most popular modern board game as it takes players on a train ride across the country while they collect cards of various types of trains which allow them to own railway routes between different locations. The game is simple to learn but requires great strategy and tactics to win. The longer the train routes each player claims means the more points they accumulate.

There is also a selection of “destination tickets,” which allow players to earn bonus points. To put it basically, each turn, you draw more cards, claim a route, or get a destination ticket. Don’t tell the kids, but it’s also educational. Everyone can brush up—or learn—their geography. There are also versions where you can build your routes throughout Europe, Scandinavia, and Africa. It’s a high-quality, modern game that everyone in the family can enjoy! Better get tracking![1]

9The Game of Life

Buy The Game of Life On Amazon

TheGame of Life is a board game from Milton Bradley that originated in the 1860s under the name, The Checkered Game of Life. The game simulates the steps one takes throughout their life—from college to retirement—with options for marriage, children, and homeownership along the way. There have been many versions of the game with various rule changes, with the game becoming less harsh in recent years. The modern version of the game was introduced in the 1960s and included squares for revenge against another player. These spaces were changed to “Sue for Damages” in the 1970s, and today, there are reward squares added—for recycling or helping the homeless.

The game is easy to play, with a game board, spinner (instead of dice), cards, tokens, cars, pegs, and money. After deciding on either the College path or Career path, you are on your way. Spin to advance and follow the instructions on that tile. You will have paydays, options to buy insurance or a house, have children (or not), and the one who retires with the most money wins. Have a good life![2]


8Clue

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Clue (Cluedo in some places) is the number one classic detective game that requires solving a crime. There is one murder with six suspects. The game aims to determine who the murderer is, what weapon they used, and in what room the crime was committed. To do this, you must make your way around a mansion into all the different rooms. Each player has been dealt an equal number of cards that have each suspect, weapon, and room on them. Once you reach a room, you are to ask the player to your left if they have a particular character, weapon, or room card, and they must show you if they have one of the three cards you have asked for.

In the case that they have none, the question goes to the next person to the left. Through the process of elimination, you can cross off each suspect, weapon, and room and eventually make an attempt at solving the homicide. If you are wrong, you are out of the game and play continues with the remaining players. This is definitely a game you want to keep your poker face on for.[3]

7Battleship

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Battleship is a classic Hasbro game that requires some luck and some strategy. It is a naval-themed game requiring a player to sink all of their opponents’ battleships before they get to yours. The game is played on a 10″ by 10″ grid and starts with players positioning a number of different shaped and sized ships on said grid. Your goal is to strategically place your battleships to make it harder for your opponent to discover their position. From there, the excitement begins when you and your opponent take turns guessing locations on the grid where you think each ship might be located. If you have scored a hit, your opponent yells out, and you get another turn.

Once a ship has been sunk, the catchphrase, as advertised by Hasbro, is “you sunk my battleship!” The game carries on until one player has sunk all of their opponent’s battleships. The game is simple but fun, and there are endless ways to position your ships. Now there are countless versions of online BattleShip games which can be played all over the world. Happy firing![4]


6 Scrabble

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Scrabble was a game invented by Alfred Mosher Butts during the 1930s, the time of America’s Great Depression. Little did Butts know that his game would be a life-changer for many and would bring smiles to families who had little left to smile about. He analysed popular games such as chess, checkers, and bingo for years and concluded that word games didn’t reach the same popularity as other games because there was no score. Thus, Scrabble was born. The game is simple but requires a lot of thinking. Players start with 7 tiles, each with a letter and its corresponding point value typed on the front. After each turn, players take more tiles to replenish their “hand.” Each turn, the player forms a word using the tiles in their hand, and the points are calculated based on what squares the word is placed on. The words, however, must be attached to one or more letters of the words that have already been played. This adds an element of difficulty to the game.

Once a player has played all their tiles, and there are no more remaining in the pool (or once there are no more words possible to be made), players calculate the sum of their scores. Players with tiles remaining deduct the sum of the points from their hand from their total score. Your winner has the greatest number of points. Legend has it that the point system for each letter, as generated by Butts, was formulated from the letter’s likelihood to appear on the front page of The New York Times![5]

5 The Settlers of Catan

Buy The Settlers of Catan On Amazon

The Settlers of Catan puts players back in history to a time of voyages and discovery. Your ships have landed on the coast of uncharted territory, and its name will be Catan. Therefore, as players, you are the Settlers of Catan. Although it isn’t the most popular game in the world, it is certainly up there among the best! It is, of course, another game based on trade and economy. The game aims to take over the island of Catan, although there are no fights or eliminations of other players. Instead, the players use the island’s natural resources to build cities and trade goods with one another. At the end of the game, there will be one person who has earned enough points to be deemed the dominator of Catan.

While the goal is to have the most points by the end of the game, it is impossible to win without trading with your opponents and sometimes giving up valuable resources. This is where the strategy comes in! Pay attention to what you need and what your opponents need and form a strategy to ensure fair trading and ultimately win.[6]


4 Risk

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Created in 1957 by Frenchman Alber Lamorisse, it was originally titled La Conquete du Monde, which translates to The Conquest of the World. Parker Brothers then brought the game to the U.S. and retitled it to a more appealing sounding “Risk.” However, the aim of the game has always remained the same–to strategically eliminate your competitors and earn control of the board’s entire territory. The game took off in the 1960s and was hugely popular among high school and university students around the globe.

Its rise to fame was attributed to its challenging nature, which kept the minds of young students active and engaged. Although luck does play a little part in the outcome of the game, strategy is the ultimate key to conquering the board. Aside from Monopoly, Risk has been labelled as the best game for practicing and learning skills of negotiation and strategic interaction. Happy strategizing![7]

3Monopoly

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Monopoly is one of the most popular games in the world. I’m sure almost all of you have played it at least once or twice or at the very least have heard of it. Since its creation in 1935, more than 250 million versions of the game have been purchased and played by more than 1 billion people. Being one of the most popular board games known to man, it was officially inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 1998. For anyone who hasn’t played, Monopoly is a real-estate-based board game played by up to eight players. The main aim of the game is to be financially stable while simultaneously forcing opponents into bankruptcy.

Each player moves around the board purchasing properties and building hotels which opposing players must pay to land on. As one player builds up their empire, the rest will slowly dwindle until there is only one player remaining with all the money. While chance can help you win or lose faster, it is essentially a game of strategy. The original game was set in London; however, there are hundreds of versions of the game now with many destination and movie themes.[8]


2 Stratego

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Stratego is a game where two opponents use pieces of opposing colours (typically red and blue). Each piece has a numbered rank on one side, which is played facedown to remain unknown. When a piece is moved to an opponent’s square, the pieces are flipped, revealing the numbers, and the piece with the smaller number is eliminated from the game. In the case that the pieces are of matching digits, both are removed from the game. The ultimate goal is to remove all of your opponent’s pieces or force them to surrender. True to its title, this game appeals to strategy enthusiasts and hearkens back to World War II.

Since it was released, more than 20 million copies have been purchased worldwide, particularly in the US, Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium. Now, similarly to chess, there are national and world championships organized each year. As well as having new online versions released, there are several Sci-Fi-themed versions of the game. Definitely one to give you a headache![9]

1 Chess

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Chess is one of the oldest and most played board games in history. Played by two people on a checkered board of contrasting colours (standardly black and white) and corresponding pieces. The pieces consist of a King and Queen, two bishops, knights (usually depicted as horses) and rooks (from the Persian word for a castle tower), and eight pawns. Each piece moves in a different direction around the board, and the aim of the game is to corner the opponent’s king. The game first appeared in India around the 6th century AD and quickly spread to Asia and Europe. It soon became known as a “royal game” due to its popularity amongst the royal family and is still played exactly the same today as it was back then.

During the 20th century, the game underwent massive growth, leading to nationwide competition and player sponsorships. With recent mass growth in technology, many apps have been created, allowing people to play online, accommodating international games and competitions. I’m sure back when the game was founded, it was never dreamed that it would become the phenomenon it is today.[10]

+ Competition

COMPETITION ENDED: This competition has now ended. Congratulations to the winners who have been announced in the comments below.

Five random commenters will be chosen to win this awesome classic board game 100 game set, which comprises “An array of over 100 classic games, made with premium quality materials, all inside a stunning gold-foil gift box. Enjoy playing with your family and friends. A weekend trip or a week-day routine, this game set has multiple games to engage and entertain all players. 5 double-sided printed game boards: Snake & Ladders, Checkers, Backgammon, Ludo, Solitaire, Chess, Nine-men Morris, Racing game, Goose game, Chinese checkers, and more. Comes with 5 rolling dice, 30 checkers/backgammon pieces, 32 chess pieces, 15 matches, 60 ludo pawns, and instructions.”

How to enter: Simply comment on the list. You can tell us what your favorite board game is, or perhaps your funniest board game-related story, or you can just compliment the list writer! All comments are eligible, and you can enter multiple times (by commenting more than once). The competition runs until midnight tonight. The winners will be chosen at random, so it doesn’t matter whether you comment at 1 am, 6 am, or 11 pm.

* Listverse makes a small amount of money if you purchase items after following our Amazon links

               
fact checked by Jamie Frater