This article showcases our top picks for the Best Strategy Board Games. We reached out to industry leaders and experts who have contributed the suggestions within this article (they have been credited for their contributions below).
We are keen to hear your feedback on all of our content and our comment section is a moderated space to express your thoughts and feelings related (or not) to this article This list is in no particular order.
Before the last 18 months, I never really used to be into board games. But 18 months ago, my wife and I left England and became nomads, and we found that board games are popular amongst co-working communities. I wouldn’t say I’m addicted, but I like playing the odd board game or two. And one that I really enjoy the most is Azul. It’s not too long which is great for board gamers like myself but still involves thinking and strategy.
Splendor is an enticing, resource-based strategy board game played between 2-4 players. Each card is worth a set number of points, and players collect gems in order to earn (purchase) cards of various values. There are several different strategies, but the game comes down to the final turn almost every time! Every move matters and, contrary to most strategy games, Splendor is quick to play (20-30 minutes) and easy to learn.
This product was recommended by Emily Cooper from Oliver Wicks
One of my favorite go-to strategic board games would be Catan. This classic board game has been a fan favorite over the years. Each player is tasked to build up settlements by making use of effective trade strategies in order to get resources. The player who is able to establish the best settlement wins the game. This board game unleashes each player’s creativity and allows each one to think out-of-the-box. It’s definitely one of those games you would want to play with friends or family members. It serves as a good bonding experience and also allows you to get those brain cells working at the same time.
‘Risk’ teaches players basic strategy, how to plan two moves ahead and determine the moves that their opponents are going to make so that they can outthink and outmanoeuvre them at every stage of the game. It’s the granddaddy of strategic board games and an essential part of any wargamers arsenal.
Monopoly is one of the most successful strategy board games everyone knows about. The first Monopoly got launched in 1935 and, until today, managed to be among the best-selling board games. It involves critical thinking and advanced planning and has a lot of luck when playing. A good part of Monopoly is that players gain financial literacy as they learn how to handle finances to build empires and gain returns. If you fail to reach the game’s final goal or become bankrupt, it helps to improve your financial knowledge. The game’s competitive nature inspires players, and many play it for years.
Chess is the best-in-class strategy board game to play. The main object of the game is to checkmate the other player, implying their king piece can’t avoid being attacked. Every component on the board can only move in specific ways, so you have to contemplate a couple of moves ahead to create the best winning strategy. The significant part is that chess can be taught at any age; some people indoctrinate children as young as 4 to play, while others don’t touch a chessboard until they’re adults.
This product was recommended by Steven Walker from Spylix
This is an intriguing game, especially if you enjoy history. Scythe is set in an alternate history version of 1920s Europe, where the Great War has left Europe in turmoil. Each player is a member of one of Eastern Europe’s five factions. The game’s objective is to lead your group to success and ascend to power by capturing and defending areas. Will you accomplish your objectives and rise to the top of the world?
Diplomacy is a Grand strategy game without dice rolls, which involes careful consideration, some educated risk taking and a bit of interpersonal manipulation. Diplomacy leans into the deceitful backroom machinations of international relations and war, as anywhere between two to seven players take on the role of European powers vying for territorial dominance in the lead up to World War One. A player Issues attack and defend commands to thei troops, making their decisions in secret before resolving their effects simultaneously along with all other players. Calculations on which territories have switched hands is based on the relative size of the battling battalions. One move in the wrong direction can see you losing land to another army, but a well thought out attack can see you taking control of the board as a dominance. If the term ‘think before you act’ could be attributed to a board game, it would be this one.
I recommend this strategy board game because this game is especially for the younger crowd to spend fun hours with family and friends and have access to cultures and be able to build architecture, explore natural resources, make commercial relations, and also participate in the military force. 7 Wonders is a civilization-building game, where you must, through cards, seek the elements that make up that culture. As the game evolves, players go to different stages, build civilizations, make translations, and wage war. The cool thing that I love about this game is the contact with elements referring to ancient civilizations. This game is divided into 3 decks, Age I, Age II, and Age III. Therefore, it evolves and new situations appear. In each era, the plays are similar and each player uses six cards in each era. At the end of the turn, there is a sum of points, which are equivalent to your cards. The cards that most contribute to the development of cities and have more war strength are the ones that add up the most points. That is why I recommend this to all who want to explore and like smart strategy games and also want to learn a bit about history.
This product was recommended by Ashley Chubin from Flyhi
Jenga, in its purest form, is a game of intense strategy and intense risk, with a potentially big payoff. Sure it isn’t as long as what you would consider most strategy games, but pulling the blocks from levels of the Jenga tower isn’t just about controlling the shakes and precise movements. You have to consider every possible future move your opponent might make, and ask yourself, what makes their next step harder? what increases the likelihood of the tower falling on their move? It may be a fairly straightforward and quick-acting strategy, but it is strategy nonetheless, and a great way for players to build their strategic brain around the more long-form games that are more typically described as strategic.
Agricola is one of the most famous strategic hand management games in the board game world. Winning dozens of awards since its release in 2007, it’s the perfect blend of strategy and theme on expanding your land and farm. If you’re looking for an upgrade from a game like Catan, then Agricola is a highly recommended strategic board game.
Although economic strategy games abound, Brass: Birmingham is the only one that manages to feel both realistic and entertaining. You’ll be developing industries and guaranteeing they’re nourished with raw materials through an expanding network of canals in this game set during the British industrial revolution.
Barrage is a hard workout if you truly want to engage your strategic muscles. It’s a game about building dams to create hydroelectric power in which participants may pay to utilize their rivals’ buildings, engines, and pipes.
Oath is a strange beast, a game that is plainly about how power shifts hands through time, yet it’s set in a fantasy country with many abstract themes. However, despite the superficial trappings of a conquering game, there is a deep vein of strategy to be mined under the surface.
Many of the games on this list are quite difficult to learn. However, Food Chain Magnate is rather straightforward. It’s all about hiring and training personnel to staff your growing 1950s diner company and strategically locating locations for consumer convenience. However, don’t be fooled into believing this is an easy or light game.
It might not sound like it, but Wingspan is a really interesting strategy game that only came out recently. I always appreciate a good-looking game, and the artwork in Wingspan is wonderful. I also like that the stakes are lower than you get in a lot of strategy games – instead of world domination or control of all the money, you’re just trying to create the most hospitable habitat in order to attract the most birds. I’m a bit of a birdwatcher myself, but even my friends and family (who couldn’t care less about birds) found a lot to enjoy in the board game, and it always gets pulled out during an evening of games.
This product was recommended by Anastasia Allmon from FRP Legal
I really love a game that the whole family can play, which is why I’m really into Taco vs Burrito (stay with me). Yes, it was created by a child, mostly for children, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be enjoyed by people of any age. My husband and I even play it together once the kids have gone to bed. It seems pretty easy to learn, but there’s actually a surprising amount of strategy involved in order to actually get good at it. Easy to learn, difficult to master.
This award-winning board game will surely allow you to enhance your strategy game as well as learn about trees and their life cycles. It works via the Action Points Allowance System Mechanism where you take your seedlings to fully blooming trees. Players get to collect light points as their trees collect energy from the sun’s rays. To win the game, a player must have the most light points. Overall, this is a very educational and enjoyable strategic board game.
This product was recommended by Thalita Ferraz from Her Bones
On Mars is a great strategy board game, highly reminiscent of Settlers of Catan. Although the instructions feel a little bulky to get through at the beginning, it’s very much a game that you have to play to understand properly. It’s great for a group of 4, that gets you to decide whether to play defensively, passively, or offensively, and rewards players for whatever strategy they choose. It was a lot of fun and though it did cause a couple of arguments, what’s a good strategy game night without a fight?
The goal of Tenzi is to roll your ten dice as rapidly as possible so that they all land on the same number. Try the 77 Ways to Play Tenzi expansion pack for a fresh variation on the simple game, where you flip a card that adds a twist to each round, such as creating a humorous sound after each roll. The game is suggested for kids seven and up, but it’s even better with an over-21 beverage if you’re over 21. Highly recommended, Tenzi!
In Trivial Pursuit, players walk around the game board answering questions from six categories: geography, history, art and literature, science and nature, sports and leisure, and science and nature. Your right response will reward you with a colored wedge when you land on a category headquarters slot. The first person to collect all six wedges wins — but only after successfully answering one final question!
It’s a highly competitive, addictive game that encourages its players to try and outthink the other players in order to build a railroad empire across America in the nineteenth century. Whoever comes up with, and develops the best strategy always wins, and conquers the last American frontier with steam and rail power.
This product was recommended by Jason Cordes from CocoLoan
You gain an advantage in Lattice by playing your tiles as rapidly as possible. However, it would help if you exercise caution because your speed must be balanced. It’s a cross between Rummy, Sudoku, and the Rubik’s Cube. The game can be won or lost in just a few turns, but you’re never out until the last tile is played.
Inspired by the most recent pandemic, this strategy board game aims to build cooperation among the players. With an average playtime of 45 minutes, the players have to work together in order to prevent the spread of a pandemic and control the infection while finding the cure at the same time. Players must apply their character’s unique skills in order to successfully control the pandemic and save humanity.