100 Best Board Games – What’s your vote?

Dominion card game

Dominion is my most played card game. Tons of fun.

“What’s your favorite board game?”

When people find out that we review family board games, this is the first question they ask.

If not that question exactly, then something along those lines.

And I usually answer back with a question.
Not because I’m being rude, but because the answer to my favorite board game depends on the setting – how many are playing? what ages? how long? how much strategy? etc.

Or I may cut to the chase and rattle off 5 or 6 games that I love.

Power Grid board game

Power Grid is a longer game that totally pulls me in.

But this time around, I’m not going to stop with 5 or 6. And I won’t even stop at my Top 14 (like I did with our favorite games lists 2 years ago.)

This time around, I’ve made my list of my favorite 100 board games!

What finally got me to make my Top 100 Board Games list was voting in The Dice Tower 100 Best Board Games – People’s Choice list. Every year, The Dice Tower publishes the Best Board Games of All Time list. And it’s open to anyone who wants to participate.

And you can participate too!

You don’t have to list 100 games though. The tool lets you submit your top 20 games. But if you only want to give a shout out to 5 games that you think are the tops, then just vote for those 5.

My Favorite 100 Board Games

With my list I’m not claiming that these are the 100 best board games ever invented. Of the 100′s of different board games I’ve played, these are simply the ones that I enjoy the most. Click on the board game name to see our full review.

Memoir '44 board game

Memoir ’44 tops my 2-player board game list.

  1. Dominion
  2. Memoir ’44
  3. Power Grid
  4. Kingdom Builder
  5. RoboRally
  6. 7 Wonders
  7. Yinsh
  8. Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation
  9. Alien Frontiers
  10. Scotland Yard
  11. Carcassonne
  12. Hive
  13. K2
  14. Code 777
  15. Ticket to Ride: Europe
  16. Telestrations
  17. Castle Panic
  18. King of Tokyo
  19. Gravwell
  20. Battlestar Galactica
  21. Stone Age
  22. Small World
  23. Pandemic
  24. Blokus
  25. Sequence
  26. Wits and Wagers Family
  27. Monkey Lab
  28. Lemming Mafia
  29. Settlers of Catan
  30. Roll Through the Ages
  31. BANG!
  32. Abandon Ship
  33. Shadows Over Camelot
  34. Forbidden Desert
  35. Catch Phrase
  36. Inkognito: The Card Game
  37. Big Boggle
  38. Mastermind
  39. Risk Legacy
  40. Ingenious
  41. Escape: The Curse of the Temple
  42. Sounds Like a Plan
  43. Say Anything Family Edition
  44. Descent: Journeys in the Dark 2nd Edition
  45. The Resistance
  46. Spot It
  47. Incan Gold
  48. Word on the Street
  49. Wits and Wagers Party
  50. Tsuro
  51. Mamma Mia
  52. Fast Flowing Forest Fellers
  53. Rattus
  54. Forbidden Island
  55. Chess
  56. Tobago
  57. Rollick / Reverse Charades
  58. Fastrack
  59. Thunderstone Advance: Towers of Ruin
  60. Martian Dice
  61. Clue
  62. Dixit Odyssey
  63. Flash Point: Fire Rescue
  64. Time’s Up: Title Recall
  65. Gloom
  66. Survive: Escape from Atlantis
  67. Can’t Stop
  68. Set
  69. Timeline
  70. Quarto
  71. Careers
  72. Lord of the Rings
  73. Scattergories
  74. Pizza Theory
  75. Hey! That’s My Fish
  76. Takenoko
  77. Pony Express
  78. Guesstures
  79. Ninja: Legend of the Scorpion Clan
  80. Taboo
  81. Bubble Talk
  82. Ligretto Dice
  83. City Square Off
  84. Quoridor
  85. Fortune and Glory
  86. Rummikub
  87. Risk Star Wars
  88. Mystery of the Abbey
  89. Defenders of the Realm
  90. Snake Oil
  91. Pentago
  92. Confusion: Espionage and Deception in the Cold War
  93. Flip Out
  94. FITS
  95. Jungle Ascent
  96. Wits and Wagers
  97. Pirate versus Pirate
  98. Rack-O
  99. Qin
  100. For Sale

Kingdom Builder board game

I love the simplicity, variability, and puzzle-like game of Kingdom Builder.

The Process
And the process wasn’t easy. I took my first stab simply based on the games I have a desire to play most often. Then I compared it to the list of games I’ve actually played the most. Then I looked at my ratings for games we’ve reviewed and those I’ve rated on BoardGameGeek.

Once that was sorted, I went line by line moving things around based on this simple question: “Given the choice (and in the ideal setting for each), which of these two games would I want to play the most?” Then I’d move a game up or down based on my answer.

Party games were the toughest to fit in and sort out because they’re hard to compare side-by-side with strategy games. But they definitely deserve their spots.

RoboRally board game box

Robot racing chaos is always a hoot.

Inevitably, I’d see a game listed in the 30′s or so and I’d think. “I REALLY love that game – it should definitely be closer to the top of the list.” But, I just couldn’t bump the ones before it that I also really love.

It took a few hours, but it’s safe to say that the Top 60 on this list are very solid. I’ll happily play them anytime.
(It also means I need to adjust some of my ratings on BoardGameGeek now.)

Will my list change next year?

Most likely – because I plan to play many new games every year. For example, there are plenty of board games ranked in the top 100 on BoardGameGeek that I have yet to play. And when I get the chance to play them, who knows, they may very well jump into some top spots on this list.

7 Wonders card game

7 Wonders packs a great, civilization game into 30 minutes.

There’s always so many great board games still to explore…

If you need some additional ideas, here’s some other resources to get your juices flowing:

Now, go cast your own vote.

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Scotland Yard is a great family board game

Scotland Yard family board game

Scotland Yard is a great semi-cooperative, deduction board game.

A couple months ago we had a family reunion where, amongst other things, we played a ton of board games. And one of the board games we enjoyed the most was Scotland Yard.

In our recap, we said we’d have to do a review soon because it’s such a good family board game.

We’ll now it’s time!

Scotland Yard isn’t the ‘latest hotness’ off of the game printing presses. In fact, it’s over 30 years old. But it’s such a solid game that we highly recommend it.

Frequent readers/viewers may already know that we love cooperative board games – where you work together as a team to beat the game. We also love deduction board games – games that exercise the mind into figuring out tough stuff. Well, Scotland Yard is a great mix of both – with hidden-movement thrown in as well.

Watch Trevor’s video review to see all about Scotland Yard.
(This is also Trevor’s last video review before heading off to college. Who knows when he’ll be behind the camera again.)

Scotland Yard family board game

Time to run around London.

Can the whole family enjoy Scotland Yard?
One of the many reasons we like Scotland Yard is that up to 6 people can play.

With our family of 6, Scotland Yard is a great game to pull out for family night.

The only hurdle we have to first get over is who will be Mr. X (because everyone wants to be).

One player takes on the role of the criminal Mr. X (or as Brooke claims Mrs. X), who moves around London unseen except for a few turns when he “surfaces”. The rest of the players are detectives working together to catch him/her by moving onto the same location where he is by using various modes of transportation.

Scotland Yard family board gameBecause it’s a cooperative game, even kids younger than the recommended age 10 can enjoy playing. They may not be the ones to take on the role of the elusive Mr. X. But they can join in as a detective and move around the board to help corner and capture Mr. X.

For people who only enjoy fast-paced, lots of action games, Scotland Yard may not be for them. Because it’s definitely more of a thinking game.

Put on your thinking caps
Another great element that Scotland Yard has going for it is that it keeps you engaged in the game even when it’s not your turn. Figuring out how to locate and capture Mr. X takes teamwork. Fellow detectives pay attention and offer advice as each makes their moves.

And Mr. X can’t sit back and relax when it’s not his turn either. During the detective turns, Mr. X is constantly trying to figure out the best options for eluding the detectives.

It’s a lot of fun being the person on the run. But it’s also fun trying to hunt him/her down.

It’s a great ‘cat-and-mouse’ game.

How does Scotland Yard score on the “Let’s Play Again” game meter?
Scotland Yard family board gameScotland Yard scores high on our “let’s play again” game meter. And usually a cry of “let’s play again” is also followed with “I get to be Mr. X this time.”

The version we picked up earlier this year in a board game trade at SaltCON was published in 2004 by Ravensburger. (Actually, we ended up with 2 copies of Scotland Yard because of a miss-click by dad when setting up the game trades. Our 2nd copy is the 1985 Milton Bradley version.) Anyway, we’re very happy with the trade because we’ve now got another fun family board game with a permanent and prominent spot on our game shelves.

Scotland Yard may not be the newest and hottest board game on the market, but it’s a fantastic family game.

The Board Game Family Game Ratings
Caleb: 4.0 Meeples Caleb
Brooke: 4.0 Meeples Brooke
Has not played Jaden
Trevor: 3.5 Meeples Trevor
Mom: 2.5 Meeples Mom
Dad: 4.0 Meeples Dad
Average: 3.6 Meeples Average
Pick up a copy!

Buy Scotland Yard from Amazon

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Back to School Board Games

The Board Game Family swimming

Summer is so fun!
But so is back-to-school time.

Ahhh – the peace and quiet.

I love that settling feeling once the kids are in bed and the house is nice and quiet. And now that school is back in session, I can appreciate it a bit more.

Don’t get me wrong. I love summer nights.

I love longer evenings outside, kids playing night games with the neighbors, starry skies, and late night movies. But sustained late nights can also make the next morning difficult for work.

And when kids are regularly up until 11, the “down time” post bedtime is very scarce.

So getting back into a school, homework, and bedtime routine is heavenly.

Yes, there will still be occasional late nights for the various activities everyone is engaged in, but they won’t be Every night. And that’s nice. Some quiet evening solitude to collect thoughts is grand.

But the other quiet in our family this year is that we’re now down 1 child.

The Board Game Family college

Good luck at college Trevor!

Changing Family Dynamics
Last week we dropped our eldest son, Trevor, off at college. And now our home feels a bit too quiet.

I wrote earlier this year about his upcoming departure and all the games I’d like to get in before he left. Unfortunately we didn’t come close to getting through that list. But fortunately we did get to share some great times as a family this summer. And for that, we’re very grateful.

The good news is that he’s not far. He’ll make it back around for dinners here and there (and maybe some laundry runs). And of course he’ll be back home for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays (with games just waiting to be played).

With Trevor gone, the family dynamics are already starting to change. Jaden now takes the reigns as the oldest child at home and Brooke and Caleb follow his lead. It’s going to be a great new experience for all of us.

Back to School Board Games
While we may be down 1 board game player, 1 board game reviewer, and our board game reviews video editor, that won’t stop our drive to tell everyone how great family game time can be.

With 1 child in college, 1 in high school, 1 in junior high, and 1 in elementary school we thought that would be a great way to list great family board games and card games for these back-to-school days.

The Board Game Family tubing

Caleb’s lazy summer day on the river.

Elementary School
Most games found in retail store game sections are well-suited for elementary aged children and their families. There are thousands of great games that help develop mental capabilities in young children. Here are a few we think are especially great.

The Board Game Family waterfall

Brooke and mom taking in the sights.

Junior High School / Middle School
Once kids hit junior high school, the world opens up to them even more. They reason more clearly and it’s a perfect time to dive into games with more strategy.

The Board Game Family fish tacos

High school boys can sure eat.

High School
Once kids hit high school, who know what they’ll enjoy. By this time in life they’ve been exposed to many things and their interests will vary wildly. Board games with strong themes can be very appealing to kids in these fun years.

The Board Game Family biking

Some end-of-summer mountain biking.

College
No doubt college is about gaining a mass of knowledge. But it’s also a period of time where social life is kicked into gear even more. Grab the games that bring a lot of group fun.

So wherever your kids may be going to school this year, there are plenty of great family board games to match.

Enjoy!

 
 
 

Digital Boss Monster going to be a reality

Boss Monster card game

The Boss Monster card game is going digital.

A few months ago we posted a card game review for Boss Monster, a dungeon-delving game from the bad guy’s perspective. In the game you build out deadly dungeon rooms to lure and defeat the heroes from the village. Defeat the most valuable heroes and you’ll win the game.

All the artwork in the game is old-school, 8-bit video game style – just like the side-scrolling dungeon delving games from yesteryear.

Well, now it’s going digital!

That is, as long as the Kickstarter campaign is successful.

And from how the numbers are looking today, we’re pretty sure the funding goal will be reached.

Boss Monster card game digital

Boss Monster development looks to be coming along nicely.

The publishers of Boss Monster, Brotherwise Games, set the funding goal at $85,000 for the project and with just 2 weeks to go, the pledge level is already over $78,000.

Close to 3,000 people have pledge support to bring the project to life. And for as little as $5, you can join in as well and get a copy of the game when it’s released. Of course, there are also more pledge levels that include additional game elements that you may want thrown in – like the Power Up Pack.

Check out the video preview on the Kickstarter page of what the digital Boss Monster edition is going to look and play like.

Have fun building your dungeon and capturing those pesky heroes.

 
 
 

Star Wars Imperial Assault – count us in!

Star Wars Imperial Assault board game box

We can already tell Star Wars Imperial Assault is going to be awesome!

Just over a week ago, the largest board game convention in the US set another attendance record – 56,614! Representing a 14% increase from last year, it keeps getting more popular every year (4 years of +10% yr/yr growth). While we have yet to make it to GenCon, it’s definitely on my ‘must do’ list.

But even without going to the convention, we can enjoy what comes from it – great games!

For one, we were excited to read more details about King of New York – that we wrote about before GenCon. It’s going to be great.

The announcement from GenCon that we’re most excited for came from Fantasy Flight Games about Star Wars Imperial Assault.

With so many Star Wars related board games and card games, what makes Imperial Assault so special?

Star Wars Imperial Assault board game map

It’s easy for the excitement to build with pictures like this.

Because the format of the game is just like another hit board game that the boys and I love playing – Descent: Journeys in the Dark 2nd Edition.

Descent is set in a fantasy world where a group of heroes ventures out on a series of quests against a mighty overlord. As the campaigns progress, our characters and abilities become more powerful and we enjoy a lot of great strategic battles in dynamic quest maps.

So when we heard we’ll soon be able to battle in a similar manner in the Star Wars universe, how could we not get excited!

Check out what’s in store:
Read more »

 
 
 

Game Design Merit Badge in action!

Game design merit badge

It’s time to dive in with our scouts.

Regular visitors to our site will know that our family is involved in scouting. Trevor, Jaden, and I (dad) are Eagle scouts and I’ve been involved as scoutmaster for a number of years. In addition to all the camps, we’ve also worked on plenty of merit badges.

And we’ll admit that some merit badges are more fun to work on than others.

But I don’t think I’ve anticipated working on a merit badge with as much enthusiasm as I have for the one we began tonight – Game Design!

Boy are these scouts in for a treat!

The Boy Scouts of America added the Game Design merit badge to the mix in March 2013. And I’ve been waiting for a chance to work on it with our scouts ever since.

As a troop, we have a regular cadence of working on certain merit badges to help the boys progress in their rank advancements. But we also make sure to schedule in merit badges that they have extra interest in. For some it’s Reading, for others it’s Photography.

And for others it’s Game Design!

Read more »

 
 
 

Travel the world with Expedition: Famous Explorers

Expedition Famous Explorers board game

Ready to travel world?

As we draw to the close of summer, many families are fondly looking back on their fun family vacations. Others are still trying to cram in a trip in the last weeks before kids head back to school.

Whether it’s still to come or just happened, family vacations can be a blast.

With a couple family reunions and our own special family vacation this year, we’ve had some great times together and have seen some great places.

In June we reviewed some fun family board games about traveling – the 10 Days series (10 Days in the Americas & 10 Days in Africa). And now we’re wrapping up summer with another fun family board game about traveling.

But this time we’re setting off on expeditions around the world with Expedition: Famous Explorers.

See how to play and what we think of the board game in Caleb’s video review:

Can the whole family enjoy Expedition: Famous Explorers?

Read more »

 
 
 

King of New York – Can’t Wait!

King of Tokyo board game

King of Tokyo is a fun game. We’re pretty sure King of New York will be likewise.

King of Tokyo has been a big hit family board game. It’s also been a huge hit at our Guys Game Nights.

And it seems everyone we’ve introduced it to has rushed out to buy a copy of their own.

Actually, “rushed” isn’t the right word for one of our neighbors. He borrowed our copy for a Thanksgiving weekend with extended family and says they played it about 100 times that weekend… Then he bought a copy of their own.

Needless to say, it’s a very fun king-of-the-hill game.

So when we heard the game publisher, iello, was going to make King of New York, we immediately added it to our “games we can’t wait for” list.

Read more »