19 best family board games 2021

If you"re looking for something ot play with your friends on games night, you need the best of what"s available, whether strategy, social, or surreal. To help you find your next game night mainstay, we’ve curated a các mục of the best board games available lớn buy and play right now. Regardless of genre, player count, theme or mechanics, these are the best board games in 2021 that we think deserve sầu a spot on anyone’s shelf.

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Read our các mục khổng lồ find some of the best board games for sale right now, of all genres, types và lengths. Whatever you"re looking for, you"re bound khổng lồ find something you can enjoy.

Best board games 2021

With the number of chất lượng tabletop tiles increasing year by year, this menu will be periodically updated to lớn include newer examples of excellent board games, remaining a solid indication of what’s worth getting your hands on at the moment. Luckily enough, all of these games are widely available, having seen multiple reprints & a healthy amount of stoông xã at various outlets. With that said, let’s take a look at some of the best board games available in 2021.

1. Azul

Can you create the most beautiful mosaic và score the largest amount of points?
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Players use solid plastic tiles of different patterns khổng lồ make their mosiacs.

If you’re new to board games, sometimes the best place to start is with something that teaches its players some fundamentals of tabletop gaming. Azul is a perfect beginner board game because it doesn’t give sầu players an awfully large amount of elements to lớn manage, but still requires them to pay attention & think a few steps ahead.

The setting for the game is a little on the dry side - players are artists creating mosaics for the Portugese monarch King Manuel I - but there are certainly other board games with far duller themes than this one. In terms of gameplay, Azul sees players taking turns khổng lồ choose tiles from a shared pool before placing them onto their mosaic. Each round, tiles are taken from the bag và randomly distributed onto factory boards. Whenever a player wants to take tiles from a certain factory, they must take all the tiles of the same colour. These tiles are then placed in a row of the player’s choice next to lớn their mosaic, with the alặng being khổng lồ completely fill the row và add the matching tile to lớn their wall.

If players are clever with how they align their coloured tiles, they can score points by making certain patterns or collecting certain sets. Whichever player has the most points by the over of the final round is the game’s winner. Azul moves really quickly, has a very accessible set of rules and yet still has the potential to lớn challenge even the most seasoned players. This beautiful tile-laying board game is an absolute must for any tabletop game thủ.

Buy Azul from Amazon US and Amazon UK.

2. Cosmic Encounter

Make & break alliances lớn dominate the galaxy in this weird và wonderful sci-fi game
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Cosmic Encounter"s universe is filled with fascinating species.

Originally created way baông xã in 1977, Cosmic Encounter has since been revitalised for the modern era - và it’s not hard lớn see why. In a similar fashion lớn fellow classic Diplomacy, Cosmic Encounter sees players making temporary alliances khổng lồ further their own ambitions, with the ayên of the game being lớn control as much territory as possible. However, Cosmic Encounter provides a much more exciting experience than Diplomacy ever could, thanks khổng lồ its collection of weird & wonderful alien species.

Rather than controlling warring nations, the sci-fi game has players commanding fleets of spaceships representing an ambitious alien empire. These spaceships can be used to lớn invade other players’ planets, with a stand-off between the involved parties determining whether the original owner retains their control. Playing friendly with your opponents and convincing them lớn send some of their own spaceships to help you attack or defend can give sầu you a significant advantage during the game. However, the different powers held by each species means that players might give certain alliances a second thought. There are a huge variety of species in Cosmic Encounter &, whilst some have sầu fairly unremarkable abilities, others are decidedly more wild. (For example, the Loser species needs to lớn đại bại the entire game in order lớn win.)

This is exactly what makes Cosmic Encounter so special. If you’re not a bạn of randomness or unbalanced elements, it’s unlikely that you’re going khổng lồ get along with this game. However, if you enjoy board games with incredibly strong themes and some goofy mechanics, then Cosmic Encounter is an excellent choice for any groups with larger player counts and a taste for chaos.

Buy Cosmic Encounter from Amazon US và Amazon UK.

3. The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine

Complete a series of space missions without saying a word in this unusual co-op thẻ game
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Cards need to be played at the right times for players to lớn pass each mission successfully.

The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine is a trick-taking card game; players take turns to play cards during a round, with the winner of each round - or ‘trick’ - being whoever played the highest card of the suit first played or that round’s trump suit. Usually, trick-taking games are a competitive sầu affair. However, The Crew stands out as a co-op experience.

The Crew goes one step further & combines its co-op trick-taking with enforced silence. While playing, players are forbidden from communicating in any way outside of specific in-game methods. This might seem a bit odd, but it makes perfect sense when you consider that The Crew is a game about astronauts completing missions in space - và in space, no-one can hear you… at all. Each mission in The Crew has players fulfilling certain requirements, whether that’s winning tricks with a certain card or playing cards in a particular order. A little lượt thích that other co-op thẻ game, The Mind, players in The Crew must use their natural intuition to lớn judge the right time to play certain cards.

Unlike in The Mind, luông xã is less of a factor in The Crew. With fewer cards in play, players can better judge the best time to lớn play by observing what’s in the disthẻ pile and what’s currently in their h&. Successfully completing a mission in The Crew is a beautiful thing, & even the most inexperienced of players will soon find themselves witnessing that wonderful moment of victory.

Buy The Crew: Quest for Planet Nine from Amazon US và Amazon UK.

4. Wingspan

A relaxing board game about appreciating birdlife
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The artwork for Wingspan is breathtakingly beautiful.

Wingspan proves that not all board games need lớn feature thrilling chases, epic shootouts or tense stand-offs. Sometimes, there’s nothing better than kicking bachồng & feeding a few birds once in a while, which is exactly what Wingspan is about. Packed with fascinating facts about fowls, Wingspan sees players attempting lớn coax a litany of feathered friends inlớn their chosen habitats. Known as an engine-building game - in which players gain và tăng cấp actions designed khổng lồ full bộ with one another - Wingspan is an especially satisfying game to play thanks to lớn its accessible but deep gameplay mechanics.

Players have three habitats they can place birds inkhổng lồ, with each habitat having its own associated action. In order lớn attract birds, players need to lớn pay the right amount of food by rolling và selecting dice results from the bird feeder. Playing bird cards into lớn your habitats doesn’t just get you points - depending upon the value of the bird - but can also produce bonus effects that can lead khổng lồ obtaining more points. Each of the game’s three rounds has its own random bonus that grants players points if they successfully fulfill its requirements. You can also gain points by having the birds in your habitat lay eggs.

Once you get inlớn the flow of playing Wingspan, there’s nothing better than taking an action and having that action lead perfectly inkhổng lồ the next action - which is the true joy of engine-building games. Wingspan isn’t just a delight lớn look at, it’s a pleasure lớn play, making it one of the best board games out there regardless of your ornithological knowledge .

Buy Wingspan from Amazon US and Amazon UK.

5. Gloomhaven

Become immersed in an epic world filled with quests, danger and treasure
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Gloomhaven comes with miniatures for each of the different characters players can control.

Fantasy-themed board games are a dime-a-dozen, but there’s something special about Gloomhaven. Perhaps because it skillfully straddles the line between roleplaying game and board game? Or maybe it’s the ability to take on a variety of different quests at any one time? It could even be the world’s dark tone và oppressive atmosphere. For these reasons & more, Gloomhaven instantly captured the hearts and minds of the tabletop gaming community when it released in 2017, & it continues khổng lồ captivate audiences almost four years after its launch.

The game sees players becoming adventurers seeking their next big job in the thành phố of Gloomhaven, taking on various quests that take them into dungeons invested with - what else? - hordes of monsters. As players explore the game’s world they’ll encounter scenargame ios where they’ll have khổng lồ make narrative decisions as a group, with the potential to change the direction of the story. When talking isn’t an option, players will have to lớn work together khổng lồ fight whatever enemies blochồng their path. Gloomhaven’s combat has players taking turns to play cards lớn perkhung their character’s actions, with each character having their own quality mix of abilities & playstyle.

Being able to lớn make choices - whether inside or outside of combat - is quite possibly what makes Gloomhaven most appealing to lớn its players. The world-building is undoubtedly impressive sầu, the combat system is challenging and the loot is certainly desirable. But it’s the freedom to make decisions that makes Gloomhaven feel like such an epic co-op experience.

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Buy Gloomhaven from Amazon US & Amazon UK.

6. Codenames

Clue your teammates into lớn picking the right words in this beloved tiệc ngọt game
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The clue-giver should help their teammates to avoid picking cards that aren"t theirs.

Combine espionage with word interpretation & you get Codenames, a các buổi tiệc nhỏ board game that sees players becoming spies attempting to secretly communicate with their fellow agents. Codenames works because it’s incredibly simple on the surface, but there’s plenty of potential khổng lồ get really clever with it. Players are split inkhổng lồ two teams, each with their own clue-giver at the helm. The clue-givers then take it in turns to lớn provide their fellow team members with a one-word clue that relates to lớn the word cards laid out on the table.

These word cards are arranged in a grid, with both clue-givers having access khổng lồ a thẻ that shows which of the word cards each team needs lớn guess correctly in order khổng lồ win. The clue-givers can attempt lớn connect as many word cards as they can with their clue, but they must make it clear how many word cards they’re referring to whenever they voice their clue. Once they’ve received their clue, the guessers must select which word cards they think relates khổng lồ the clue one at a time. If a team ever guesses a word thẻ they’re not supposed khổng lồ, their turn ends instantly - with the potential lớn hvà a point or even instant victory lớn their opponents.

Codenames is an undeniably accessible board game. Its rules are straightforward and there are no challenging barriers for less experienced players. However, it’s definitely a game that’s more enjoyable khổng lồ play with people you know. Giving what should be a nonsense clue, only khổng lồ tóm tắt a knowing look with one or more of your teammates, is truly a wonderful thing and a major part of what makes Codenames such a great game.

Buy Codenames from Amazon US và Amazon UK.

7. Root

Ally yourself with one of four possible factions in this epic asymmetric board game
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Root comes with a collection of charming little wooden components representing each faction.

Root is a prime example of how modern board games have made deep strategy more approachable than their predecessors. It’s far from the simplest tabletop experience out there, taking a few playthroughs to really get to lớn grips with. However, Root’s unusual theme, surprisingly engaging lore và variety of gameplay styles has made it a very popular board game for people who like khổng lồ thử nghiệm their minds - and rivalries.

Root presents a world in which four factions - the Marquise de Cat, Eyrie, Woodlvà Alliance and Vagabond - are butting heads with one another over who gets lớn control the Great Forest. Each of the four factions provide players with a completely different approach - both ideologically và gameplay-wise. For example, the Marquise de Cat is all about mass production và dominance, meaning that whichever player takes control of the faction can expect khổng lồ be tackling resource management & area control. Whereas the Woodland Alliance is more invested in recruitment schemes và protests, requiring the player controlling them lớn think carefully about unit placement và building toward crucial board actions.

The process of learning the ins-and-outs of each faction makes Root such an engrossing board game khổng lồ play. With every game of Root your knowledge & understanding of your chosen faction improves tenfold, to lớn the point wherein you’re anticipating each move sầu in advance - which is an incredibly satisfying feeling. For a game that tests và rewards in equal measure, consider giving Root a try.

Buy Root from Amazon US & Amazon UK.

8. Pandemic Legacy: Season 0

Experience the finale - và origins - of one of the most well-regarded tabletop series in modern history
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The various components included in Season 0 make it easy for players khổng lồ get immersed in its world.

The year is 1962. The world is in the grips of the Cold War. A team of special operatives find themselves caught in the crossfire between the US và the Soviet Union. This is the stage that Pandemic Legacy: Season 0 sets for its players: a battle of subterfuge và secrets where the world is under threat from a rumoured bioweapon created by Soviet scientists.

Starting with Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 in năm ngoái, many of the series’ features, such as having players permanently alter the game’s board and cards, are now considered defining aspects of legacy board games. Season 0 is the last entry in the trilogy and despite staying true to the fundamentals of the series - travel around the world lớn complete objectives before too many outbreaks or an empty player dechồng cause the game khổng lồ end - it manages to introduce plenty of new aspects, particularly when it comes lớn theme và story. Season 1 and 2 both had elements of storytelling to lớn them, but they weren’t the primary focus of the experience. In his Reviews of the game, Matt argued that the story and characters of Season 0 - a prequel khổng lồ the previous games - are arguably the main draw khổng lồ the game and make it incredibly easy to get invested in the adventures of the players’ chosen spies.

As players progress through each month of the co-op board game, they’ll find themselves having lớn make decisions that affect the narrative of their particular playthrough. Having the power to lớn change the direction of Season 0’s plot gives players a real sense of agency, making them care about the fate of the game beyond just winning or losing. With players able khổng lồ start the game without even having played the first two, it’s also a potential jumping-off point for your legacy game experience.

Buy Pandemic Legacy: Season 0 from Amazon US và Amazon UK.

9. The Resistance: Avalon

Root out the traitors in your midst and save sầu the kingdom from evil forces
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Each side in Avalon has its own selection of roles that can provide players with a unique ability lớn use.

Inspired by Arthurian myths & legends, The Resistance: Avalon is a social deduction game mix during medieval England, where players become key members of the king’s roundtable. It’s up to the players on the side of good to find & stop the sorcerer Modred’s various allies and minions from causing the downfall of the kingdom.

Though all players may present themselves as being noble knights of valour, at least some of these people will be lying about their real identities. Whilst players on the side of good will be attempting to carry out King Arthur’s requests, the traitors will be attempting to sabotage their opponents in secret. Each round of Avalon sees players voting on the current leader’s choice of companions, with the chosen team deciding whether the task at h& will succeed or fail. If the majority agrees with the leader’s choices, the participating players secretly choose to play a succeed or fail thẻ, with the fate of the mission resting on the shoulders of the group.

Three successes and the good side win. Three failures & the evil side is victorious. Each side has a selection of role cards with quality powers, such as Merlin - who has the ability to correctly identify Modred’s agent, but is forced lớn speak in riddles throughout the whole game. What makes Avalon work really well as a social deduction game is that it doesn’t drag because players have a phối chiến thắng to lớn vote on - who’s going on the mission - và can acquire information through the result of these missions, making it an igiảm giá piông chồng for large groups with little patience.

Buy The Resistance: Avalon from Amazon US và Amazon UK.

10. Eldritch Horror

Embark on an epic journey as a group of investigators intent on saving the world
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The world of Eldritch Horror is as fascinating as it is disgusting và terrifying.

There are a lot of board games inspired by the Cthulhu Mythos, but Eldritch Horror stands out as one of the best. A co-op game for one to lớn eight players, Eldritch Horror provides its players with a truly epic experience as they globetrot their way across the world - and beyond - in search of clues lớn solve a series of mysteries. Players in Eldritch Horror can choose between a host of different characters, each with their own quality set of skills & backstories, whom they’ll pilot through seedy backend streets, freezing tundras, hidden temples and alternative dimensions.

Depending on which Old One you decide lớn face, you’ll have sầu lớn solve sầu a number of mysteries before the game’s doom track reaches zero & the god awakens - with apocalyptic results. Mysteries are solved by collecting a certain number of clues, before successfully completing a quality event. At the kết thúc of each player’s turn, the group must carry out the mythos stage - which sees the Old One spreading chaos across the world by spawning monster-spewing gates, recruiting cultists or enacting its will in equally awful ways. Take too many hits or fail too many skill checks, and players can expect to see their characters suffer or even be removed from the game entirely.

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Eldritch Horror draws its players in by making them feel lượt thích the plucky underdogs who continue khổng lồ chase a seemingly small speông xã of hope. Despite the threat of beasts, cultists và incomprehensible beings, the players’ characters continue to struggle on to lớn find that next clue or acquire that next valuable piece of equipment. This feeling does a lot lớn help keep players invested in a game of Eldritch Horror - ensuring that they won’t forget their experience with it anytime soon.