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Top 10 Board Games with Cult-Like Followings

by Andrew Gestalt
fact checked by Rachel Jones

It’s no secret that board games can be addictive. There’s something about gathering around the table with friends and family, working together to achieve a common goal, or trying to be the last one standing that just makes for a good time.

While most games are fun, some board games have developed cult-like followings, with a fan base that is borderline obsessive. Here are 10 of the most popular board games with fans who fall more in line with devoted priests than players.

Related: 10 Ancient Board Games That Inspired Modern Games

10 Munchkin


This irreverent card game is all about pillaging and looting your way to victory. With easy-to-learn rules, Munchkin has become one of the most popular board games in the world. It really is as simple as 1-2-3. Kick the door down, then fight the monster or loot the room.

It’s a fantastic way to spend time with your friends whether your group plays just for the fun of it or gets a little too competitive. Backstabbing and betrayal can happen at any moment, so you’ll need to keep your wits about you if you want to come out on top.

Munchkin has spawned a number of expansions and spin-offs, including Munchkin Zombies. There’s almost a version for anyone, even one for Harry Potter fans. So gather your friends and start kicking down doors.

9 Clue

Detectives Play Clue

Clue has been around for decades. The objective of the game is to solve a murder, and it’s up to you and your fellow players to figure out the who, where, and what. There’s no mystery why this game has so many devoted fans.

People love the macabre, and it can’t get much worse than murder. Internet detectives, true crime fanatics, even nosey neighbors love playing Clue.

Each player starts the game with their own cards, giving them clues about the murder. Then they have to complete their investigation without letting the other players be in the know. The first person to correctly solve the case wins!

If that seems too simple for the amateur sleuth in you, switch it up by trying adding one of these rule variants.

  • Players are allowed to lie.
  • Players need to come up with alibis based on cards that aren’t in their hands.
  • Allow evidence to be lost for two turns.
  • Designate two detectives; they try and solve the crime as everyone else tries to convince them they are innocent.

8 Monopoly

How To Play Monopoly

You wouldn’t think watching your friends slowly bankrupt you with fake money would be so stressful, but it is. I personally know a couple who broke up because of Monopoly. The game is that intense.

Based on the real-life effects of capitalism, Monopoly has players compete to be the richest by buying and selling property. The game has been around for over a hundred years, and its popularity is still growing.

There are tons of different versions of Monopoly. Purists can play the classic version. Or, if you want to switch it up, you can play themed versions like Super Mario, Cheaters Edition, or Monopoly Deal. Each version comes with slightly different rules, but the strategy is the same: Become the richest person in the room by any means necessary.

7 Zombicide

Zombicide: Black Plague – Overview

Aladdin isn’t the only one who can face a galloping horde. In Zombicide, up to six players team up to survive a zombie apocalypse. The rules are simple, but the gameplay is intense. And because no two games are the same, this board game has quickly become a fan favorite.

You could be fighting off zombies in a shopping mall one minute, then the next, you’re holed up in an office building. Each game is a new adventure, and the possibilities are endless. There are also several different versions and expansions of the game so you can fight orcs, zombies, ghosts, or werewolves.

There’s also the satisfaction of watching your friends turn into zombies. The only downside is that there’s always one player who gets bitten, and you have to watch them turn before killing them yourself. It’s brutal, but it makes for a great game night experience.

6 King of Tokyo

King of Tokyo: Totalbiscuit, Greg Zeschuk, Craig Benzine, and Wil Wheaton on Tabletop SE2EP4

In King of Tokyo, players take on the role of giant monsters fighting for control of Tokyo. The game is simple, but there’s a lot of strategy involved. And with different versions and expansions, there’s always something new to try.

The basic objective of the game is to be the first monster to either reach 20 victory points or be the last monster standing. Players can gain victory points by either destroying buildings, defeating other monsters, or landing on specific spaces.

Each turn, players can choose one of three actions: attack, heal, or rampage. Attacking allows you to damage other monsters or destroy buildings, while healing lets you restore your health. Rampaging gives you extra abilities but also makes you a target for other players.

Do you think that you are capable of ruling Tokyo?

5 Dominion

How to Play Dominion in 3 Minutes – The Rules Girl

Dominion is a deck-building game where players compete to have the most valuable deck of cards. It has been around for over a decade and has won several awards. Like most of the games on this list, the game is fairly simple to learn, but there’s a lot of strategy involved if you want to master it.

Players start with a basic deck of cards then use those cards to buy new ones. The new cards are used to buy even more cards and so on. The goal is to have the most valuable deck of cards at the end.

But the catch is that each game is different. The available cards are randomized, so you never know what you’re going to get. This makes for a lot of replay value and keeps the game fresh. Dominion is a great way to spend time with friends or family without things becoming too competitive.

4 Carcassonne

How to Play Carcassonne

Carcassonne is a tile-laying game where players build up a medieval landscape. The game is easy to learn and can be played with two to five players. Because it is so simple, it’s also a great gateway game.

Players start with a hand of tiles then take turns placing them down. Each tile has different features like roads, fields, or cities. Once all the tiles are placed, players take turns scoring points by claiming features with their meeples. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins.

What makes Carcassonne so great is that it’s a different experience every time you play. You never know which tiles are going to be available and where they’re going to fit in. This leads to some interesting and unique landscapes.

3 Pandemic

How to Play Pandemic in 5 Minutes – The Rules Girl

Pandemic was popular before the actual Covid pandemic hit the world’s pause button. But it really took off in the first few months of that real-life pandemic. People were throwing pandemic parties faster than they could spread Covid.

In Pandemic, players work together to save the world from four deadly diseases. The game is simple to learn but can be quite challenging. In fact, most games end in failure. But that’s part of the fun. Trying to save the world from a pandemic is a daunting task, and it’s one that’s made even more fun when you’re playing with friends.

Players start in one of four cities then travel to other cities in an effort to find a cure. The goal is to find all four cures before the diseases spread too far. Each player has a unique role that gives them different abilities. For example, the medic can heal diseases while the scientist can develop cures. The game is cooperative, so players have to work together if they want to win.

2 Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride – How To Play

Ticket to Ride is a railroad-building game where players compete to build the best railway network. The game is simple to learn but can be quite challenging. It’s also one of the most popular games out there, with over 20 million copies sold.

Players start by drawing train cards and then placing their game pieces on the board in such a way that they create a continuous path from one city to another. The goal is to score the most points by the end of the game. You can score points by completing routes, connecting cities, or avoiding obstacles. There are also bonus points up for grab if you have the longest continuous route.

Ticket to Ride is a great game for people who love trains or people who like relaxed gameplay leaving plenty of time for talking and snacking.

1 Settlers of Catan

How to Play The Settlers of Catan

Settlers of Catan is another board game that has been around for years. And with over 30 million copies sold, it’s one of the most popular games ever made. What makes Settlers so popular is that it’s a gateway game for people who want to get into board games. It’s simple to learn but can be quite challenging. It’s also a great game for people who want to play with friends.

The game is set on the fictional island of Catan, and players must compete to build the best settlement. Players start with nothing, but by the end of the game, they have to build a thriving settlement if they want to win.

The goal of the game is to score the most points by collecting resources, building settlements, and developing roads and cities. The player who scores the most points wins the game.

fact checked by Rachel Jones