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Even with the advent of digital gaming, board games are still popular for family game nights. They offer an engaging way for families to interact and enjoy quality time together. For the best gaming experience, our top recommendation is Monopoly for its elegant balance of luck and skill, making it a game that players of all ages and skill levels can enjoy.

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Whether you’re new to the board game world or a veteran of many nights around the kitchen table, we’ve curated a list of the ten most popular board games. From classic favorites to modern classics, this list has something for everyone and will provide a fun evening at home. If you want to know more about how we curated this list, read the process behind our selections here.

1. Best Overall: Monopoly

Available on
  • Player count: 2-8 players
  • Duration: 60 to 180 minutes
  • Ages: 8+

The most popular board game of all time, Monopoly tops our list due to its timeless appeal. Players take turns buying, selling, and trading properties on a game board to bankrupt their opponents. You’ll get into some heated auctions and have to employ wise tactics if you want to come out on top!

Why we love it

Our favorite thing about Monopoly is its unique yet simple premise. Start with tiny amounts of money and buy, sell, and trade your way to wealth. Players of all skill levels can quickly learn and enjoy the game, although mastering it may be challenging.

This game is a fantastic way to introduce kids to the concept of money and budgeting, so it’s a great one for families. Plus, it can be a great teaching tool for negotiating, planning, and thinking critically.

In addition, Monopoly offers hours of replay value. With so many different strategies to employ and expansion packs available, you can experience a new game every time you play! Its vintage aesthetic and well-made pieces make it a great addition to your game night collection.

The biggest downside to this game is that it can take a long time to complete, so it’s best saved for game nights with plenty of time. Casual players or those new to board games might find it too complex or intimidating.

Monopoly is a classic game that will always be on our list of the best popular board games. It’s an excellent choice for a deep, engaging game of strategy and negotiation. Give it a try, and you’ll soon be hooked!

How to play

To play Monopoly, set up the game board in the center of the table and place the Chance and Community Chest cards in the designated spaces. Select a player to be the banker, who will distribute money to each player. Give each player a set amount of money ($1,500 to start) and a token.

Starting from the banker, roll the dice to determine who goes first. Players take turns rolling the dice and moving their tokens around the board, according to the number they rolled. The actions you take will depend on the space your token lands on.

Playing the game: If you land on an unowned property, you can purchase it. If another player lands on your property, they must pay you rent. Similarly, if you land on a property owned by another player, you will have to pay them rent. But only if they remember to collect it!

If you land on a Chance or Community Chest space, draw a card and follow the instructions printed on it. Some of these cards will give you rewards, while others grant punishments.

Landing on a Jail space will send you directly to the Jail, where you’ll have to roll doubles or pay a fee to get out. The game’s goal is to accumulate as much wealth as possible by purchasing properties and charging rent. You can build houses and hotels on properties once you’ve acquired them, increasing their value and rent.

The game ends when all but one player has gone bankrupt. The remaining player is the winner and receives bragging rights for becoming a Monopoly master!

2. Best for Kids: Hungry Hungry Hippo

Available on
  • Player count: 2-4 players
  • Duration: 10 minutes
  • Ages: 4+

The childhood classic Hungry Hungry Hippo is an engaging and thrilling game for any young ones in your household. It’s a great game to introduce kids to the basics of board gaming with its exciting competition, fast-paced action, and bright colors.

Why we love it

The best thing about Hungry Hungry Hippo is the sheer chaos and excitement it produces. Set up takes a few minutes, and then it’s on to the mayhem! Players use their hippos to compete against each other, gobbling up as many marbles as possible.

This game is incredibly engaging, with its fast-paced nature and colorful pieces. Even four-year-olds can play and enjoy it, making it a great activity to keep kids entertained and away from their devices.

Hungry Hungry Hippo is also an excellent way to develop hand-eye coordination because you need to be quick when using your hippo to gobble up those marbles. For kids who are training their fine motor skills and have yet to learn the basics of board gaming, this one is an ideal game to add to your collection!

However, we do have to warn you: playing Hungry Hungry Hippo can be a noisy affair! And we mean really noisy. The whole family may be surprised by how loud this game can get – from the game alone to the competition between players. So make sure to keep it away from places where a loud game would be an issue, like in the library or your neighbor’s house.

Nevertheless, Hungry Hungry Hippo is an excellent choice for getting kids into board gaming and away from their devices. There’s no better time to start playing this classic game than now!

How to play

Setting up the game is a breeze. Simply attach the four hippos to their respective corners of the game board and place the board on a flat surface. Each player will select a hippo and place five marbles into the marble release areas in the corner of the board.

To start the game, assign a player who will press the marble release lever first. Once a marble is released, all players must start pressing their hippos’ buttons as quickly as possible to collect the marble.

The next player releases a marble, and the process is repeated. The player who collects the most marbles at the end of the game is crowned the winner!

3. Most Immersive: Disney Villainous

Available on
  • Player count: 2-6 players
  • Duration: 50 minutes average playing time
  • Ages: 10+

Tired of playing the same old game with the same old premise of being the hero? Step into something new with Disney Villainous. This immersively detailed game pits players against each other as they take on the roles of iconic Disney villains such as Ursula, Captain Hook, and Jafar.

Why we love it

What we love about Disney Villainous is its sheer amount of thematic detail that gives players such an immersive experience. The game comes with a beautifully illustrated game board with artwork inspired by Disney films and characters. The objectives of each villain are unique and in line with their personality, making the game incredibly varied and engaging.

There is excellent tension-building in the game as you face off against your opponents and race to complete your objectives. How you win is unique to your villain, so you can tell who is the lead at the end.

Disney Villainous also has high replayability as it comes with six different villains you can choose from – each game will be a different experience depending on who you are playing. It’s perfect for players of all ages and a great way to experience something new in a board game.

Overall, Disney Villainous is a fantastic game for anyone looking to take board gaming up a notch and immerse themselves in the world of iconic villains. Plus, it’s suitable for kids and adults – making it a great family game to enjoy together!

👉 Looking for a family-friendly board game that will keep you entertained for hours? Look no further than these four Disney classics.

How to play

In Disney Villainous, up to six players take on the role of a classic Disney villain. Each player uses their decks and game board components to complete their unique objectives before any of the other players do.

Each player chooses their villain to set up the game and takes the corresponding board, mover, guide, deck, fate deck, and reference card. Then, put your board within your reach. The board has four locations – place your mover in the left-most space. Place a Lock Token in any space with a lock symbol in the right corner.

Choose a player to go first, and they don’t receive any Power. On a player’s turn, they move their villain, perform actions, and draw cards. You can activate certain items and allies, defeat heroes, and discard cards when you perform actions. The game continues until one of the players completes their objective and is declared the winner.

The objectives are unique to each villain and will be written on the reference card. For example, Captain Hook has to defeat Peter Pan and win the Jolly Roger while Maleficent has to play curses and move them around the board. The first player to complete their objective wins!

👉 Do you love Disney? Then you should head to our Disney-themed board game collection!

4. Best Two-Player: Connect 4

Available on
  • Player count: 2 players
  • Duration: 10 minutes
  • Ages: 6+

For any duo looking to test their skills and see who’s the top dog, Connect 4 is a classic that never gets old. This two-player game tasks players to connect four pieces in a row, either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.

Why we love it

What makes Connect 4 stand out as a two-player game is how accessible it is. The simplicity of the rules makes Connect 4 easy to learn, and despite its straightforward gameplay, it also offers plenty of strategic depth. Every turn can change the game, as your opponent can block or set up a win with the click of a piece.

This game has endless replayability and can be played between kids, adults, friends, and family. It offers great educational value and teaches strategy and how to take turns with kids while also having a game that grown-ups can enjoy. With a chic new design to the classic game, Connect 4 has never looked better and is a great way to get the whole family involved in the fun.

A significant drawback of Connect 4 is that the assembly and cleanup can be tedious. You need to keep an eye out for pieces going astray, and it can be hard to find a place to store the game when it’s not in use. But even with these minor flaws, Connect 4 remains a fun and ideal game for a two-player brawl.

How to play

Connect 4 is easy to learn and can be picked up in no time. The board consists of a 6x7 grid, and each player has 21 pieces that are either red or yellow. To set up, slide the lever on the side of the board and drop your pieces in.

The game starts with the first player dropping a piece into the topmost space in any column. After that, players drop pieces into the lowest available space in a column. The goal is to be the first player to connect 4 pieces in a row, either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.

If all 42 pieces are used, but no one has won, the game is a draw and just needs to be reset. So just remove all the pieces and start again. Once you have a winner, you can disassemble the game and store it away until next time.

5. Best Classic: Backgammon

Available on
  • Player count: 2 players
  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Ages: 12+

This two-player game takes our best classic category, and with good reason – Backgammon has been around for centuries and offers an outstanding balance of luck and skill! If you’re looking for a classic game that provides a real challenge, pick up a Backgammon set and get ready for some intense fun.

Why we love it

We love how this game is an elegant mix of strategy and tactics, tension, and risk management. It has a unique blend of luck and skill, making it unpredictable. You never know what will happen, even when you have the game in the bag.

Backgammon also offers plenty of educational value and teaches situational awareness because understanding how to set yourself up to move your pieces around the board is key. The game also encourages problem-solving skills as you have to make decisions and adjust your strategy as the game changes.

This game is easy to learn and can be picked up quickly, making it great for older and young players. It is also compact, making it perfect for taking with you on the go. You can also get pocket-sized Backgammon sets if you want something that fits easily in a bag.

We do have to note, that like other abstract games, Backgammon can become a bit repetitive after some time. Regardless, we still love this classic game and it’s a great way to spend an afternoon. It’s ideal for two players, so grab a friend and get ready to have some fun with Backgammon!

How to play

You play Backgammon on a board with twenty-four narrow triangles called points. These are arranged into four groups of six: a player’s home board and outer board, or the opponent’s home board and outer board.

Your objective is to move all your checkers into your home board and then bear them off. The first player to bear off all of his checkers wins the game. To begin the game, each player rolls one die, and the player with the highest roll starts.

On your first turn, throw two dice, and the roll indicates how many points, or pips, you should move your checkers. The checkers are always moved forward, to a lower-numbered point.

You can start bearing off checkers when your pieces are on your home board. To bear them off, you will roll the dice and remove a checker from the board according to the numbers rolled. The first player to bear off all his checkers wins the game.

6. Best Strategy: Guess Who?

Available on
  • Player count: 2 players
  • Duration: 20 minutes
  • Ages: 6+

All about using your powers of deduction to figure out who your opponent’s mystery character is, Guess Who? has been a favorite in households worldwide. You will find yourself laughing and sometimes groaning as you try to guess who your opponent’s mystery character is and then try to get them to guess yours.

Why we love it

There’s something about the straightforward and fast-paced gameplay that we love. It’s easy to learn, yet you can still feel like a pro as the game progresses and you start narrowing down your guesses.

You find a more diverse and inclusive range of characters in this new edition, which is excellent for younger players. This game also develops memorization skills and encourages players to pay attention to details because it tests your ability to remember and filter out the necessary information.

There’s also an excellent level of replay value here because each game presents opportunities for new characters to guess and strategies you can try out. And with expansions available, you can keep the games fresh and even more challenging as time goes on.

Our only gripe about the game is that the joints of some of the characters are pretty flimsy, and some flips of the characters may cause the hinges to get stuck. We recommend being careful with them, as it can be quite frustrating to get the characters free again.

Overall, this is a fantastic game, and it’s perfect for any family or group get-together. If you’re looking to sharpen your deduction skills, Guess Who? is the game for you!

How to play

Each player starts the game with a board with cartoon images of 24 people in a 6x6 grid. To start, choose a game piece to represent you and have your opponent choose one for them. Choose a mystery character your opponent has to guess and place the game piece on that character.

Then, take turns asking each other yes or no questions to try and guess the mystery character. The youngest player goes first. On your turn, you ask a question that can be answered with a simple yes or no.

For example, “Is your character wearing a hat?” This goes back and forth until one of you can guess the other player’s mystery character. When you’re ready to guess, you should do so during your turn instead of asking a question.

The first player to guess their opponent’s mystery character wins the game!

7. Most Competitive: Sorry

Available on
  • Player count: 2-4 players
  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Ages: 6+

Remember that childhood game you enjoyed where you moved around the board, trying to annoy your opponents by sending them back to start? Well, you’ll be glad to know it still exists and is just as exciting as ever!

Why we love it

The thing we enjoy the most about Sorry is that despite being a competitive game, it has no player elimination. This means that all players stay in the game until it ends, keeping everyone engaged. While you can get frustrated due to being sent back to start, you can always try and strategize your way out and hit your opponents with a “Sorry” card.

In addition, this game is incredibly straightforward, and the rules can be taught in minutes. You don’t need to be a strategy master to get the hang of it, yet it still presents an enjoyable challenge. Games can go quite fast, making for some quick and efficient gameplay that all players can participate in, regardless of their gaming experience.

There is also an excellent level of teaching potential in this game, particularly with sportsmanship and good etiquette. You can teach younger players concepts such as taking turns, respecting opponents, and following the rules.

Our only issue with this edition is that it only comes with three instead of the usual four pawns. You’ll need to buy another pawn or improvise if you want to play with four pawns. But make sure to have some fun with this classic game! We still think it’s the perfect way to compete with friends and family.

How to play

In this game, each player will have three or four pawns of a single color. The board features a winding track of 16 spaces, with the outer and inner edges of the track, each representing one side (or home) of the board.

Each player chooses pawns of their color and places them in the Start space. Then, pick a player to go first. On each turn, the player takes a card from the deck and follows the instructions on it, like moving one or multiple of their pawns forwards or backward. You can also draw a Sorry! card to take away one of your opponent’s pawns and place it back in their home.

Once a player has made their move, it’s the next player’s turn. The game’s objective is to move each of your pawns across the board and into your home first. The game ends when any player has all three or four of their pawns in their home. That player is the winner!

8. Best Brain-teaser: Chess

Available on
  • Player count: 2 players
  • Duration: Can vary
  • Ages: 6+

Some of the greatest minds in history played this centuries-old game, and it continues to challenge players today. Chess is the perfect choice for those looking for a mental challenge and a game of strategy!

Why we love it

The beauty of Chess lies in its simplicity. Its rules are easy to understand, and the game is based on strategy rather than luck. Each piece has its movements, and it’s up to you to think ahead and predict your opponent’s next move.

The best part is that it’s a game that encourages and teaches kids problem-solving, abstract thinking, pattern recognition, and strategic thinking because it’s all about the moves you make to checkmate your opponent. All of these skills are incredibly useful in the real world, so fostering them through a game like Chess is always a great idea.

Despite having 32 pieces and a 64-square board, this game has an excellent level of portability. The pieces can fit nicely into the board and be stored away easily, so you can take them wherever you go.

However, Chess can take a frustratingly long time to finish, depending on the players’ skill levels. And it requires plenty of patience and practice to get good at. It’s not the kind of game you can just pick up and start playing right away; it takes time, effort, and dedication to improve. But when you finally make that checkmate, the satisfaction is second to none!

For these reasons, Chess is perfect for those looking for a deep, challenging game that encourages critical thinking skills. This is an excellent choice if you’re ready to test your mental understanding.

How to play

Playing Chess is a two-player game where each player has 16 pieces. One side plays with white pieces, and the other plays with black pieces. The pieces are divided into Pawns, Knights, Bishops, Rooks (also known as Castles), a Queen, and a King.

To begin the game, each player chooses which side they will play with and sets up their pieces on the board. Each player’s goal is to use their pieces to checkmate (or trap) the opposing King. To do this, they must move their pieces strategically to attack and defend.

Every piece has its own rules for moving and capturing opponents’ pieces. The King only moves one square in any direction, the Queen moves diagonally, straight ahead, or sideways, and the Pawn only moves one square forward while capturing pieces diagonally.

The Bishop moves diagonally, the Knight moves in an L-shape (two squares horizontally or vertically and then one square perpendicular to the first move), and the Rook moves horizontally or vertically. The pieces’ movements and captures are essential when strategizing in the game.

The player who checkmates the other player’s King is the winner! If both players can’t checkmate each other, then the game ends in a draw.

9. Best Cooperative: Pandemic

Available on
  • Player count: 2-4 players
  • Duration: 45 minutes average playing time
  • Ages: 8+

Pandemic is the perfect board game for those who want to work together with others to solve a problem. Players play as a team in the game to work towards a common goal — to stop the spread of four deadly diseases.

Why we love it

What makes Pandemic so special is that it requires cooperation and teamwork for you to win. You’ll all be in this together as the group works to collect cards, treat diseases, research cures, and travel the globe to stop the spread of diseases before it’s too late. It’s a perfect blend of strategy, luck, and communication that will have everyone working together if they want to win.

We just love how this game has excellent replay value since there are seven characters with unique features and abilities for you to choose from. Even if you’ve already played the game, switching up your team of players can make for a different experience. And the turns don’t drag on too long either so you can play multiple rounds in one sitting.

The Pandemic has an exceptional level of tension building as the viruses spread, which can facilitate good communication and decision-making skills among players. This kind of game leaves you feeling exhilarated and relieved when it’s all said and done.

The only thing to note is that Pandemic can be overwhelming for those new to the game, as it requires players to keep track of several elements simultaneously. But you can always refer to the instruction manual or check out some tutorials for a refresher course in case anyone gets stuck.

Overall, Pandemic is a fantastic game that perfectly captures the sense of cooperation and collaboration in a fun, stimulating way. It’s easy to see why this one has become one of the most popular board games ever.

How to play

Your objective in the Pandemic is to work with other players as a team to discover cures for four deadly viruses before they spread too far. You’ll start by selecting your characters and a reference card for quick reference. Do this by shuffling the role cards and dealing one face up to each player in front of them.

In this game, you’ll need to try and prevent the spread of diseases in cities. If an outbreak occurs and spreads beyond your game board, it means you’ve lost. Thus, working together efficiently to manage conditions is key to winning the game. Try to collect the cards needed to discover cures so everyone can win!

Setup: Players should put the board within easy reach before starting the game. Place six research stations and disease cubes nearby, with each cube color in a separate pile (there should be four total). Then, place one research station in Atlanta.

After you’ve sorted the role cards and pawns by color, place the related colored pawns in Atlanta on the game board. The leftover role cards and pawns are not used during play and can be removed from the game area.

Shuffle the Infection cards and place them with the infected side down on their appropriate places on the game board. Turn over two of the infection cards so that all can see them, then put three cubes matching each color shown for those cities onto those depicted areas on both cards.

Flip over two more cards and position two cubes on the cities shown. Lastly, turn over two additional cards and locate one cube on the cities revealed. Take the remaining cubes and place them to the side of the game board–you will need these for later.

During your turn: You can choose from four possible actions on your turn, which include moving around the world to collect cards, discarding a card to move to an unconnected city, sharing knowledge with other players by exchanging cards, or treating diseases.

After you perform the four actions, draw two cards from the player deck and add them to your hand. Then, draw from the infection deck and place cubes on three cities according to what is shown on the card.

Ending the game: To win, players must collect five City cards of matching colors and discard them, thus curing all four diseases. You lose the game if players run out of disease cubes, eight Outbreaks occur, or you need to draw from an empty player deck.

10. Best Icebreaker: Carcassonne

Available on
  • Player count: 2-5 players
  • Duration: 30 to 45 minutes
  • Ages: 7+

A world-building, tile-based game, Carcassonne will have your family and friends strategizing how best to expand their kingdom. This unique French-inspired strategy game is easily one of the most popular board games ever created and is an excellent icebreaker for any gathering.

Why we love it

What we love most about this game is its simplicity and straightforwardness. It requires almost no set-up and has no complicated rules to learn. This makes it ideal for those new to board games or anyone who wants a light and fun game and hates the monotonous “rules reading” that often comes with them.

We also appreciate that this game has no player elimination, so everyone has a chance to win until the end. And as a bonus, the tiles are sturdy, the artwork is nice and attractive, and the meeples are durable, making it a great family game that can be enjoyed for years to come.

This game also has endless replayability as there is an element of strategy, but you need luck drawing the tiles you need to complete your elements. Plus, the core game already includes an expansion set, meaning more options, paths, and strategies to explore.

The most significant drawback? Because Carcassonne is such an easy game to learn and play, veteran gamers may find it to be a bit too simple. But that being said, this game makes for an excellent family-friendly game night option or a filler game between more substantial ones.

So the next time you’re looking for an icebreaker for your game night, reach for Carcassonne! Be prepared for a night full of laughter and strategic maneuvering.

How to play

Carcassonne is an easy game to play. The game begins with a starting tile, and the rest of the tiles are mixed and placed face-down on the table. Each player takes their selected meeples of eight different colors before play can begin.

On a player’s turn, they get three actions before passing the play on to the next person. You can place a tile, deploy a follower, and score completed roads, cities, or cloister segments.

When a tile is placed, line up the roads, cities, and cloisters. As soon as a road or city is completed, the player can place a meeple on it and claim it. When a cloister is completed, the player can score nine points plus one point per tile surrounding it.

The game ends when all tiles have been revealed and placed, and the player with the most points is the winner!

How we picked and tested

PsyCat Games is built by people who know how to have fun! We’ve been researching parties and games since 2018 and have published 400+ articles on our website. That’s why we’re confident that we know what we’re talking about!

We want you to have the best time possible and not waste your money on a subpar product. That’s why we spend over three months testing over 20 different games with groups of kids, teens, and adults. We’ve ranked the games by the fun factor, player experience, and replayability!

Our ranking is subjective, but we’ve tried our best to be as impartial as possible. However, if you stumble upon a popular board game that you think deserves a spot on our list, please reach out to us! We would love to hear from you.

PsyCat Games is supported by readers clicking on our affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, we might earn a commission if you buy something through our links.

One of the most popular board games in the world is Monopoly. It’s a classic game that requires players to buy, sell and trade various properties to become the wealthiest player. It’s a fun game that allows players to practice their strategic skills, and you can play it for hours with friends and family.

One of the most popular board games in 2024 is Monopoly. This classic game of economics and strategy involves buying, trading, and developing properties as players attempt to be the first to bankrupt their opponents. Monopoly is a fan-favorite game, and it continues to be popular in 2024.

3. What is the number 1 board game in the world?

The number 1 board game in the world is Chess. Chess is a two-player strategy game that has been played for centuries and continues to be the most popular board game in the world today. Players must use skill and logic to move their pieces around the board, capture their opponent’s pieces, and checkmate their opponent’s King.

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