Thursday, June 28, 2012

Top 5 Board Games of All Time

First things first, we are not going to include ancient classics. No chess, checkers, etc. You need to be trademarked to be in this list. Second, this is board games, so sorry Boggle and Yachtzee, you're out. Finally, we already covered the best board games for kids, so those won't be on this list. Sorry! That's Life! (Get it?) Everything else is fair game. (Game! Wokka wokka!)

5: Pictionary (1985) - Guess the picture someone else is drawing from one of multiple categories. Race to the finish line. It's like charades, but on paper and with a goal. Okay, just trust me--it's a lot more fun than it sounds. Plus, it has staying power--this game has been popular since it debuted. That's just under 30 years, which doesn't seem that long--but consider that hundreds (maybe thousands) of board games have come and gone since then.

4: Risk (1957) - World domination!  Risk let's you control armies, inch your way into other nations' lands, build up troop strength, and strategically align yourself with others to conquer the globe (or at least a Mercator projection of it).  It's one of the best multi-player games ever created, and it is easily the best "war" game (sorry Stratego and Battleship--but it isn't even close).

3: Scrabble (1938) - You need to have a good vocabulary and be clever to do well at this game.   It's not always about playing the best words in your hand; you need to consider smaller words played in more strategically beneficial places.  Consider where double and triple letter and word scores are, consider how many tiles remain in the bag, and take into account the board you are leaving behind for the other players.  Yeah, I stink at this, but Sooz kicks a little ass.

2: Trivial Pursuit (1982) - Many trivia games flood the market, but none hold a candle to Trivial Pursuit.  Sure, Scene It has gained in popularity while Trivial Pursuit's heyday was in the 80's, but with so many editions, a strong history, and notoriety for having the most challenging questions, Trivial Pursuit is king of the meaningless knowledge category of games.  It's the Jeopardy of parlor games (without that annoying Trebek).

1: Monopoly (1904) - The perfect blend of skill, strategy, and luck, this Depression-inspired game has it all.   It is easy enough for families to play, but competitive enough for adults.  Anyone who tells you it's all luck of the roll has never really played.  Knowing the number of houses remaining, understanding the relative values of the properties in relation to where layers tokens are, and coordinating multi-player deals that appear mutually beneficial but provide you a slight statistical advantage is what separates the millionaires from the bums.

I can't imagine there's a problem with this list--(unless you are a kid--see the link above to kids' games).  But if you have one, let me hear it in the comments below.  And as always, find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or share us with friends!


  1. Great list!  I've never played Risk although friends that did were obsessed with it.  I'm addicted to Scrabble and I believe getting the app for my phone was not the brightest thing I've ever done, however, it beats losing the tiles everywhere!  As for Monopoly, well, I'm a collector.  I have boards from England and France that my cousins gave me when I was a kid and then when the 'craze' hit (making everything an "-opoly") I got a few of the official boards such as the Simpsons and Wizard of Oz. That aside, the game itself brings back memories of my neighbor and I having marathon games that would sometimes last for days. We got hooked and dropped the video games one Summer and just played Monopoly. Still love it to this day and wish there was time now to do another 4 day game. :)

  2. I have several versions of Monopoly as well; wouldn't technically say I'm a collector, but I certainly love the game and keep nice sets if I come across them...

  3. Well, I certainly don't have them under protective acrylic like my Jeter card or Rivera ball,  but I do have a couple still wrapped in the plastic.  (i'm so afraid of losing the pieces)  lol

  4. Just never got into "Monopoly." "Risk," either. Too much thinking and working with other people, maybe. I'd slide "Scattergories" and "Balderdash" in there instead. Great to play with creative and funny people, which is usually the crowd I find myself in around a board game. Was immediately on board when "Trivial Pursuit" hit in the 80's and was old enough to love it.
    Probably my number one too.

  5. We considered Scattergories, but went back and forth as to whether it is actually "board" game or not...

  6. You are BRILLIANT at Balderdash. No one else has a chance!

  7. What about adding Clue to your list? I consider the above (apart from Risk, never really bothered to learn this one) as family - have played with my kids successfully and competitively from 8 up. As a kid my fav was LIFE. "Thats how we play the game of life, the game of life!" (jingle circa 1970s).

  8. Yeah, Clue was a great, great game, and there's certainly an argument that it should be on this list.

    As for kids games, we did a post on that too (see the first link above)!