If you’re unaware, Board Game Arena is a website that allows you to play hundreds of board games with players across the world for free right in your browser. No downloads necessary!
As of the writing of this article, Board Game Arena has a staggering 487 games for you to try. Naturally, with so many games available, it’s extremely difficult to know what to play. Luckily, we’ve tried the majority of the games on Board Game Arena and have put together this list of the top 10 games that you have to try.
Whether you’ve been playing on Board Game Arena for years, or if you’re brand new to the service or hobby, these 10 games are a must try.
Time: ~20 minutes
Splendor has you lead a merchant company with the goal of becoming more recognised and powerful than the other players. You get to play one action a turn, whether that’s simply deciding to accrue gems, or carefully spending those gems to purchase developments to attract nobles, the decision is yours. Deciding when to hold your wealth and when to spend it is the core strategy. But remember, the other players can beat you to your purchase if you’re too hesitant.
Splendor is easy to pick up, but has a lot of complexity. Perfect for new board game players, but also a tense battle if you get 3 other players who are well-versed. You can play it right now on Board Game Arena and see for yourself.
Alternatively, you can get a great deal on a physical copy below:
Buy Splendor from Amazon.
Buy Splendor from Zavvi.
Buy Splendor from The Hut.
Time ~45 minutes
A casual guessing game that’s perfect for players that just want a calm experience that tests how you think, instead of how well you strategise.
Players are split into teams, and one player on the team will draw a card and choose a ‘concept’ from the list. A concept can be practically anything. An object, a piece of food, a place in the world, - nothing is off limits.
The goal of the team is to guess what the chosen player’s concept is. Except the player cannot speak, they may only use Concept’s dozens of ambiguous cards to communicate the idea.
With a simple gameplay loop, this is perfect for people that don’t play too many board games, or those that just want a game that’s not mechanically challenging. Concept is available to play right now for free on Board Game Arena.
If you want to try this fast-thinking game at your next game night, you can find a good price on the physical version below:
Time: ~60 minutes
Whether you’ve played it or not, you must’ve heard of Catan. This board game has been around since the early 90s and has only grown in popularity since.
Trade, barter and grow, you’ll need to work with the other players to eventually win against them. Each development you make scores you points, and the first player to 10 points wins.
It’s simple, easy to understand but requires you to play smart to prove you’re the best settler in Catan. Though it may seem complex at the beginning, after giving it a go, you’ll understand exactly how to strive. It’s a perfect game to sink your teeth into on Board Game Arena.
But, if you’d rather have a physical version of Catan, check out some great deals below:
Buy Catan from Amazon.
Buy Catan from Argos.
Time: ~20 minutes
Bang! puts you in the world of a classic western. In it, you play as outlaws or the sheriff and his deputies - poised and ready for a shootout. Each role has a different ability and a number of bullets. The goal? The outlaws must kill the sheriff. The sheriff and his men must kill the outlaws. Sounds simple enough, except your position around the table decides who you can and can’t target with your shots. You must play smart, make alliances, turn people against each other and know that it only ends when one side is dead.
Bang is fast, frantic and easy to pick up on Board Game Arena.
If you want a great deal on a physical version of Bang, check out these prices below:
Time: ~15 minutes
Possibly the most beautiful game on our list, Azul tasks you with tiling a palace wall, and it is exactly as calming as it sounds.
How you place and order your tiles will dictate how many points you score. Tile the walls expertly and go home with all the riches. You and the other players have to decide which tiles you want from a shared pool, so if you wish to ruin another player's plan, you can take the tile they want before they get a chance to do it. However, if you want to play nice, that’s fine, too. All you need to do is use what’s available to you to create the perfect palace walls.
With so many pieces, it works great on Board Game Arena, as you can let the site do the setup for you.
However, the spectacle and beauty of this game cannot be fully realised on Board Game Arena, and so if you want to experience everything this game has to offer, check out great deals on Azul below.
Buy Azul from Amazon.
Buy Azul from The Hut.
Time: ~25 minutes
In Love Letter you must secretly deliver your declaration of love to the Princess in order to woo her. However, this is made a lot more difficult by the other players, who act as competing suitors who will stop at nothing to make sure your letter remains undelivered. Luckily, you have one secret weapon - the staff that work with the Princess. One of them will be chosen to deliver your letter, and your goal is to make sure that they are the closest to the Princess by the end of the day.
Cards you and your opponents play decrease or increase the space between staff members and the Princess. It’s up to you to find out who is carrying the other players’ letters, and to make sure they’re kept away from your future love. However, at the same time you must make sure that your staff member is kept secret in order to protect them from the other players.
Risk, deduction and deception are key to winning a game of Love Letter. Though the first few games may seem overwhelming, it’s very easy to understand once all the pieces fall into play. This makes it the perfect game to try on Board Game Arena.
Yet, if you want to deliver your letter in-person, check out our deals on a physical version of Love Letter.
Buy Love Letter from Amazon.
Buy Love Letter from Zavvi.
Time: 10 minutes
The first cooperative game of our list, The Crew: Mission Deep Sea is known as a ‘trick’ taking game. In it, you and your team are tasked with achieving certain objectives that are easier said than done. Each round you play a single card from your hand until you’ve all played one, the highest number card of the correct suite wins those cards. This is known as winning a ‘trick’.
In The Crew Mission Deep Sea, you must play your coloured and numbered cards precisely, but communication is limited. You may only refer to one card you have each level, so you have to choose the card very carefully, and even then you may only show the card and state whether it’s your highest, lowest, or only card of that colour. As you progress through the levels, the difficulty increases. Starting with one player having to finish an objective such as ‘don’t win any tricks with a green card’, this quickly ramps up until multiple players have an objective that must be completed. If a single one fails, you lose and must restart.
The higher levels are incredibly difficult, but when you succeed, it’s a feeling like none other.
The Crew Mission Deep Sea is a perfect and quick game for Board Game Arena, and a great way to meet new friends.
However, if you want to play with the cards physically, check out this deal for The Crew Mission Deep Sea below:
Buy The Crew: Mission Deep Sea from Amazon.
Time: ~15 minutes
A fast and fun game for monster fans, King of Tokyo gives you the claws and teeth of a gigantic monster with one goal in mind - become the King of Tokyo (who knew?). You have two paths to victory, either gain 20 victory points by fighting against the other monsters and taking locations, or by making sure you’re the last monster standing.
This is a dice game where you must think carefully before taking your actions, as a bad roll could cost you dearly. Level up, evolve and destroy the competition as you become the King of Tokyo.
While definitely geared at veteran board game fans, with the right group, King of Tokyo isn’t nearly as overwhelming as it seems. It’s even easier to learn on Board Game Arena thanks to the clear rules.
Once you’ve mastered the game, consider getting the physical version which is an experience within itself. We’ve got some great deals for it here:
Buy King of Tokyo from Amazon.
Time: ~20 minutes
In this game you work as a team to find the cure for dangerous diseases that are putting the world in danger. You work against the clock to discover and cure new diseases, knowing that another threat lurks just around the corner. Each player has a unique skill they can utilise to bring you closer to victory, but everybody must work together to get a hand of 5 colour-matching cards in order to develop a cure for the respective disease. All the while, setting up new research stations, travelling to cities across the globe and working as fast and as smart as they can.
You win when you have cured all four diseases, you lose when there have been too many outbreaks, you run out of cards, or you can no longer place disease cubes.
Player vs. board games are always an interesting bag, but they’re perfect for bonding and testing team work. No player is competing against you. It’s just you and your friends together until the end.
This game is perfect to learn on Board Game Arena due to how many cards and pieces there are during setup.
However, once you’ve played a few matches and you’re comfortable with where everything goes, nothing beats a team around a table trying to save the world from a seemingly unstoppable force. Grab a physical version of Pandemic here:
Buy Pandemic from Amazon.
Buy Pandemic from Zavvi.
Buy Pandemic from Argos.
Time: ~30 minutes
One of the top games you have to try on Board Game Arena is Forbidden Island. In it, you play as explorers trying to recover 4 treasures from an island that definitely doesn’t want you there.
Each player picks a class that gives them a special ability which allows them to manoeuvre and manipulate the island in their own way. You also draw cards that are necessary for your victory. To recover a treasure, you must have 5 cards representing the treasure in your hand. It is critical for you to discuss and trade cards with the other players to ensure that all four treasures are recovered. The difficulty is that every round parts of the map can sink under the waves, potentially blocking your path, and in some cases, stopping your journey altogether.
As the game goes on, the tides rise higher and higher. You’ve got to work fast and efficiently to succeed. Forbidden Island is a perfect game to try on Board Game Arena due to its cinematic nature. Automatically having the tiles sink feels more threatening than having to do it by hand. Do you dare face the Forbidden Island?
The one thing the physical version does better than Board Game Arena is the well-crafted treasure pieces. It’s a great feeling to hold them in your hands once you’ve recovered them. If you want to see them for yourself, check out these great deals on the physical version of Forbidden Island:
Buy Forbidden Island from Amazon.
Hopefully you found a new favourite game to try on Board Game Arena. If you’re looking for new people to play with, check out our Discord where you can meet other board game fans.
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