The Rundown: The Best Board Games of All-Time

Board games aren’t just for kids.

If we’re being honest, they’re probably more fun to play as adults because (a) you can have a couple drinks and swear at your friends/family/competitors and (b) you have a better understanding of how to screw over said friends/family/competitors, which often delivers greater satisfaction than actually winning the game itself.

The next time you and some friends have a Saturday night free and you’re trying to figure out what to do, may we recommend a Games Night (with or without cocktails, your choice) at home? And if you need a game to play, consider these options…. Because these are the best board games of all time.

Taboo

Any game involving an annoying buzzer when someone screws up is fun and this game where one member of a team has to get the other member(s) to say a word without using any of the “taboo” words often shows the strange way individuals minds work. It’s also wildly entertaining watching your opponents struggle to make connections as you watch the timer tick down.

Scattergories

When a game gets turned into an NBC game show hosted by Dick Clark, you know it’s badass. Basically, you get a category – Famous People – and a 20-sided die tells you the first letter used – R – and everyone starts scribbling down their answers. Unmatched answers earn you points and alliteration is encouraged. Seeing the stuff people come up with for some of these random categories is always amusing.

Monopoly

Whether you’re playing the original version or one of the 487 branded versions that have come out over the years, this old standard is still tons of fun. Everyone attacks the game differently – some buy up as much property as possible, others wait for premium space – but no matter how you approach things, bankrupting your friend or scoring a windfall from Free Parking never gets old.

Scrabble

Another oldie, but goodie. One of the great joys of life is placing a word that contains a Z or a Q on a Triple Word Score in a close game against a tough adversary. The look of contempt on their face when you place that first tile and they know what’s coming is priceless. Pro tip: invest in the Deluxe Edition and thank me later.

Cranium

This Canadian gem tests you in a number of areas, rather than just one. From drawing with your eyes closed to humming marginally recognizable songs for your teammates to guess, Cranium is guaranteed laughs and very inclusive, where some trivia games are not.

Risk

If the game has been part of an awesome story arc on one of the best sitcoms of all-time, it has to be on this list. Ukraine is not weak. Risk is legit.

Settlers of Catan

Settlers combines elements of Monopoly and Risk with a few other things to be one of the most addictive games to come along in quite some time. There are a bunch of different expansions and offshoots that build off the base game, but even if you just play the basic version, chances are you’re going to be trying to arrange the next Settlers night as quickly as possible once you’re done… especially if you lose.

Clue

Listen: when “it was Col. Mustard in the library with the candlestick” still makes sense to pretty much everyone, you know that a game is iconic and has had an impact on generations. Also, it was once made into a movie… and not an absolutely awful movie like Battleship either.

Apples to Apples / Cards Against Humanity

The former is the tamer, family-friendly game. The latter is more adult-oriented. Each involves playing a card from your hand that best matches the green apple/black card in play. Both are hilarious.

Trivial Pursuit

Whether you’re playing the original or any of the numerous specialty editions that are out there, this Canadian creation is in the Games Hall of Fame and has been adapted into a television show (no Dick Clark though) and various video games over the years. It’s one of those games where people are either going to think you’re really smart or wonder (usually aloud) why in the hell you know some of the random things you know.

E. Spencer Kyte

E. Spencer Kyte

E. Spencer Kyte is a freelance journalist based in Abbotsford, British Columbia, where he lives with his wife and dog. In addition to his work here, he writes about sports for Complex Canada and covers the UFC for various outlets. His mom also still tells him what to do on a regular basis, even though he’s nearly 40. He tweets from @spencerkyte.

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