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Top 10 Board Games (According to BoardGameGeek)

Updated on January 25, 2020
Jeremy Gill profile image

Jeremy enjoys gaming when not helping manage the college he graduated from.

The Best Board Games of All Time

Many consider BoardGameGeek the ideal website for board game enthusiasts, offering forums, reviews, and databases to track your collection. While opinions are subjective to an extent, checking BGG before committing to a purchase gives you an idea of what to expect.

Today we'll examine the best of the best, looking at the site's top-ranked games—which reign supreme? These are the ten most renowned board games on BGG!

Scythe game box
Scythe game box

10. Scythe

Release Date: 2016
Players: 1-5

A strategic engine-building clash between up to five factions, Scythe offers an exciting conquest with little luck of the draw. You're fighting for control over Europe, but there's also resource-gathering mechanics, offering a half-euro half-warfare experience.

The factions have different strengths and weaknesses, players all get a hidden objective, and no one is ever fully eliminated, offering a variable yet fair battle of wits.

Gaia Project game box
Gaia Project game box

9. Gaia Project

Release Date: 2017
Players: 1-4

In this space-themed adventure inspired by the classic Terra Mystica, 14 factions race to "terraform" neighboring planets and collect their bonuses. Everyone has different skills and the map pieces can be mixed and matched, offering exceptional replayability.

This one has a bigger "weight", meaning its rules take time to master, but offer several strategic options to players willing to make the dive.

Star Wars: Rebellion game box
Star Wars: Rebellion game box

8. Star Wars: Rebellion

Release Date: 2016
Players: 2-4

Star Wars: Rebellion beautifully encompasses the galactic battle between the Empire and Rebellion. The Imperials command overwhelming military power, winning by locating and destroying the Rebel base and crushing dissenters along the way. The Rebellion is outmatched in combat, but can recruit allies and engage in hit-and-run strikes to win by surviving long enough to inspire a galaxy-wide revolt.

Like the films, the game balances military prowess with individual exploits—you'll command vehicles and troops, but also utilize special powers of characters like Luke Skywalker and Grand Moff Tarkin.

The game also features two maps and over 150 miniatures, so you get your bang for your buck, and it's weighted deep enough for strategy but not so deep as to lose casual fans. Priced at just under $90, you'll see the value add up with component quality and sound game mechanics.

Twilight Imperium game box
Twilight Imperium game box

7. Twilight Imperium (Fourth Edition)

Release Date: 2017
Players: 3-6

Here's yet another space-themed battle royale that works well for larger player groups. The game features 17 factions, each with a specialty that greatly diversifies your experience. Your faction might prefer political maneuvering, transport and trade, or good old military might.

The semi-random board changes each map, with players gradually expanding it using their hand of tiles, and everyone selects a unique action card that determines what order they act in and what bonus they receive that round.

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Twilight Struggle game boxTwilight Struggle board
Twilight Struggle game box
Twilight Struggle game box
Twilight Struggle board
Twilight Struggle board

6. Twilight Struggle

Release Date: 2005
Players: 2

Not to be confused with Twilight Imperium, Twilight Struggle takes place not in space, but in the decades-long struggle between America and the Soviet Union following World War 2.

Blending troop placement with card abilities, Struggle takes inspiration from games like We the People, using fast-placed gameplay with moderate weight. This provides a great starting point for players looking to test the waters of bigger games without fully diving in.

Brass: Birmingham game box
Brass: Birmingham game box

5. Brass: Birmingham

Release Date: 2018
Players: 2-4

The sequel to 2007's Brass, Birmingham features a euro-style economic battle set during the Industrial Revolution. With new technology on the rise, players compete to build railroad and canal networks while buying low selling high.

Players perform any two of six actions each turn (build, network, develop, sell, loan, and scout), and the absence of combat offers a bloodless yet still highly competitive economic clash.

Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization
Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization

4. Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization

Release Date: 2015
Players: 2-4

Video game fans may recognize the Civilization brand, and like its electronic version, players expand various factions over several centuries. Developing technology and economic trade is just as important as martial might, with any being able to win. The game also features card-drafting, where players pick between shared pools of cards, with unchosen units growing cheaper the longer they remain.

There isn't a map in this one, meaning you won't lose territory in battles, but neglecting your military will lead to resources being stolen and key figures getting assassinated, so it's important to maintain a defense.

Terraforming Mars game box
Terraforming Mars game box

3. Terraforming Mars

Release Date: 2016
Players: 1-5

Set in the 2400s, various governments and businesses race to colonize Mars. As a group, players will expand and develop the planet, but this is still a competitive (not co-op) game, with actions awarding victory points that eventually determine the winner.

With over 200 cards, players have to find ones that work best for them, with each having both immediate and long-term bonuses. There's no combat in Terraforming Mars, so no one ever "dies", but only the craftiest will triumph in this euro-style adventure.

Pandemic Legacy Red and Blue versions
Pandemic Legacy Red and Blue versions

2. Pandemic Legacy: Season 1

Release Date: 2015
Players: 2-4

Based on 2008's hit Pandemic, this follow-up features a "legacy" style, meaning each individual game develops an arching campaign; actions in prior games will affect the current one. Your team races across the globe to fight diseases, prevent outbreaks, and (unique to Legacy) permanently recruit new allies.

Both the game's long-lasting impact and cooperative style help it stand out on today's list, and its comparatively-lighter weight make it easier to recommend for casual fans. Great for Pandemic veterans and newcomers alike, I recommend the game's Red version, which is slightly cheaper than the Blue at under $50!

Gloomhaven game box
Gloomhaven game box

1. Gloomhaven

Release Date: 2017
Players: 1-4

While not a "legacy" game per se, Gloomhaven features quests that tie together, offering a similar mechanic where choices last long into the future, making each meaningful. Within its adventures, players control unique characters with special skills who work together to clear dungeons and complete their goals.

With everyone playing two cards from hand each turn, the game is kind of like a Dungeons & Dragons experience but with more structure and without the need for a DM. Mixing D&D's freedom of choice with more-grounded maps and mechanics, Gloomhaven deserves its #1 ranking.

Which board game is your favorite?

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Fun Games for Casual Gamers

Today's list highlights many of gaming's greatest endeavors, but I noticed the list skews towards deeper games designed for veterans. Casual gamers or party hosts may want to examine lighter titles like The Resistance or Scattergories.

No matter your gaming preferences, the future will undoubtedly bring more excellent titles to explore. But for now, as we await more BGG rankings, vote for your favorite and I'll see you at our next gaming countdown!

© 2019 Jeremy Gill


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