If your game night rotation is getting stale, and you just can’t play Apples To Apples again, I have just the thing for you. Taking the leap and buying a new game before playing it is risky, but this list features the best four player board games that are strategic, creative, and will keep you and your friends entertained for hours. Best of all: they can be played with four players, and sometimes more, so gather your best game night crew.
It can be difficult to gauge whether a popular board game is appropriate for your group, both in material and difficulty levels. As always, look for age recommendations on the box and read reviews. It you're in search of a little heated competition, look for strategic games or that place significance on the speed at which you play. These games are often too fast-paced for kids but make party-favorites among more mature crowds.
Many games draw on inspiration from board game classics like Scrabble or Monopoly, but add fun twists or revamp the rules. Whether you're in market for an adults-only game or one that provides hours of fun for the family, this list features games that test your mind, stir up rivalries, and offer fun spin-offs on long-standing favorites. May the best player win.
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1. The Best Strategic Board Game
Take a step back in time and strategize to get your trains across the country faster than your opponent. In Ticket To Ride, players connect North American cities via train routes. Devise a plan to get from point A to point B while blocking the other player’s trains. If you prefer to challenge yourself against a computer, this one even comes with a feature that will sync the game with Alexa so you can play against her. Reviewers say it’s a game that is “quick to learn” but will take a “lifetime to master.” This one is recommended for ages 8 and up and can be played with two to five players.
Helpful Review: “It’s very simple to grasp. But there's quite a bit of complexity, as most of the tasks can be completed multiple ways, and players can actively try to block one another's routes and strategies by getting to certain areas first. With dozens of locations on the map and numerous "tickets" to play, it makes each new play through fun and unique."
2. The Best Word-Building Game
This award-winning game is a word-building game that can barely stay in stock. Bananagrams comes with letter tiles, but unlike Scrabble, it’s all about speed, not points. Each player receives tiles and must create words that build off each other. Once all of your tiles are gone, yell “peel” to grab a new tile from the center pile. Keep “peeling” until all the tiles are gone. It’s a great portable game to take with you and play anywhere, is appropriate for ages 7 and up, and works with one to eight players. This version is slightly different from the original Bananagrams in that it also features six wild tiles, which many reviewers say makes the game even better.
Helpful Review: “Classic game, good to encourage spelling while fun for adults too; basically it can be played at any level. You can create lots of easy words to make a great puzzle; or rearrange words over and over to get the best banana-gram puzzle; ultimately this game comes down to being able to add single letters to words to stay in the game — this means doing quick add-ons or doing one or two letter changes to words. WildTiles is a very small twist on the classic, it makes the game a little more interesting [...]"
3. The Best Board Game To Test Your Creativity
This brightly colored game is like Tetris come to life. In Blokus, each player gets 21 different shaped pieces in their color. The goal: fit as many as you can on the board. However, you can only connect your pieces at the corners and everyone else is trying to get as many of their pieces on the board, too. This game provides a battle over space and tests your creativity. It is recommended for adults and children ages 7 and older and can be played with a maximum of four players. Some reviewers mention that it’s an easy game for kids to play by themselves and can even be played as a team to avoid sibling scuffles.
Helpful Review: “This game is an absolute *blast*. I say that as an adult, It has a defined length (as many turns as the number of pieces) that turns out to be just about right—somewhere between 15 and 25 minutes. And it is simple and intuitive to learn, and colorful, too — great for kids. It is also very much a strategy game and also a game that relies on skill (visual and tactical)— great for adults.”
4. The Funniest Monopoly Update
There are many iterations of the classic Monopoly game, but this may be the hippest (and funniest). In Monopoly for Millennials, the goal is to collect experiences rather than cash. Players visit places like a music festival, an animal shelter, or a vegan bistro to gain points. The jabs at millennials continue in the Community Chest with cards that remind you to pay your Netflix bill. Not all millennials love the game though — some reviewers say it’s insensitive or in bad taste; but if you can find the humor it in, you’ll love playing the game whose slogan is “Forget real estate, you can’t afford it anyway.” The games is recommended for ages 8 and up and can be played with two to four players.
Helpful Review: “It’s great. The fact that it makes fun of millennial stereotypes, is why I (A millennial) wanted it. I’m not even much of a Monopoly player. But this version of it is funny, and I really enjoy it!”
5. The Best Classic Board Game With Adults-Only Flare
There are some spin-offs that probably should never have been made, but Sorry! Not Sorry is not one of them. This twist on the classic Sorry! game has been revamped for adults by mixing in “have you ever” cards. One player draws a fill-in-the-blank question card and can ask an opponent to answer it. If the other player refuses, they lose their next turn. The game takes you right to the edge of self-preservation and competition and you get to uncover fun secrets about your friends. This pick is recommended for adults only and can be played with two to four players.
Helpful Review: “Fun game. Simple and quick to learn. Plays fast but you can edit the rules the way you want. Just like original Sorry from when I was a kid but with some added adult flare.”
6. The Best Party Game
Think of this adult party game as a fun and sometimes naughty twist on Pictionary — it's also the adults-only version of the original, family-friendly Telestrations. Draw a card, draw what you see, then guess what you saw (which isn't usually what you think it is). Miscommunication makes for a seriously funny time and the game can be played in just 15 minutes, making this a great option to pull out when you're ready to close the night. It includes 100 cards (1200 words and phrases), sketch books, and dry erase markers. The game is appropriate for ages 17 and over and can be played with four to eight players.
Helpful Review: "My girlfriend and I are in our mid-late (okay, late) twenties. We like to host game nights, which has been growing rapidly since we first started. This game is by far the favorite. Everyone has a blast ... People are in tears as we go through each persons pad and reveal the journey that each word/phrase has taken ... We've also played with our families, including parents (who are in the 50-70 age range). Similar effect, albeit a bit more uncomfortable and disturbing for us at times. Use your discretion, obviously."
7. The Most Cutthroat Game
Don’t let the name fool you, this strategic card game is not all rainbows and sunshine. It is war. Admittedly not technically a board game, but this pick is too fun not to include. The goal of Unstable Unicorns is to build your unicorn army and complete it without any setbacks. One wrong draw and you could be out of the game for good. This game is one of Kickstarter’s highest backed campaigns and even won the 2019 People’s Choice Award for Toy of the Year. Reviewers say this is a game that keeps you on your toes and that you may even have to do some online research to fully understand the rules, but that the effort is well worth it. There are also several expansion packs you can buy to add new twists to the game, including Dragons Expansion Pack or the Rainbow Apocalypse Pack. It is recommended for ages 14 and up and can be played with two to eight players.
Helpful Review: “Ordered this as my housemates and I have gotten really into board games ... I had to read through the rules and cards a few times before we played and the first couple of games we had to get to grips. However, after a few we were hooked. Depending on your unicorn mastery, a game can last between 1-3 hours. I thought it was a bit corny to say it 'tests your friendships,' but my word, the backstabbing was unbelievable. I couldn't recommend this enough.”