For who amongst us doesn’t enjoy some rousing laughter?
It has been said that it’s all about neurotransmitters to the brain and the powerful adrenaline and cortisol stimulants. When those combine for super thrills on a board game, the result is funnest, as in our 11 funnest board games of all time. So here’s the thing: if you’re the reclusive type, we beseech you to come out and carpe diem (smell the roses).
Have a party –invite some friends- and indulge in a laugh or two! Research has demonstrated that the only antidote to stress that is more potent than socializing is laughter –bellow-laughter!
Here are our 11 funnest board games of all time:
# 11- Kemet
Played between 2 and 5 players, this ancient-Egypt war game starts each player with a city, a few pyramids, a 6-card deck, and the ability to buy from 48 power tiles that empower you to develop armies that are incrementally sturdier, tougher or more murderous.
From that point on, you can acquire a temporary or permanent victory point each time you defeat an enemy, mount a successful defense or accomplish other feats to further boost your powers. The first player to possess 8 victory points wins it all!
Friends, this is a total war game –no holds barred- that includes glorious attack strategies, conquering territory, appeasing the gods, tactical bluffing to bait opposition armies, riding giant creatures and teleporting your armies from one territory to another. You’ll be alternating between fun and much sweating!
You may want to watch the many available Kemet videos online.
# 10 – Rollick!
Do you reckon you know your team partners well enough to illustrate something without uttering a word? Here’s your opportunity to put your brain waves and dramatizing –quasi theatrical- skills to the ultimate test at a game that has an intriguing twist to the classic charades model.
Game buffs at a riotous gathering are grouped into two teams, each accommodating up to 10 or more players, and each pitching in to act out clues for one or more persons to divine.
With some 750 clues, no game is ever the same, whether brought out at parties, family gatherings, work events or holiday celebrations.
And each game includes words for younger players and various ideas for groups of different levels of sophistication.
ROLLICK! is a fast and furious team-competition game that’ll keep them arguing and laughing well after one team crushes the other!
You can find many tips online that will help you sharpen your Rollick! Strategies.
#9 – Wits & Wagers
Wits & Wagers is a trivia game that is played over 7 rounds, with one card asking the question in each round. It involves 4 to 18 team players, each one placing their numerical answers simultaneously on the betting mat (parts of the board that offer different odds).
For example: “how many touchdowns did Joe Montana throw in the 1989 NFL season?” If your answer is closest (but not over) the correct number, you get paid in chips by the house, multiplied by the odds you bet it at. The player with the most chips at the end of the seventh round wins it all.
For the truth-obsessed fact-pragmatist, the trivia cards are thankfully relayed with some context and background, so that everyone gets to understand the question even if unfamiliar with its subject-matter.
If your guest aficionados are well past Trivia Pursuit and want something different, Wits & Wagers never ceases to engage every participant.
Wits & Wagers has a way of making folks feel real dumb, although in the end everyone is placed under the idiot spotlight, with excitement and laughter overshadowing everything else.
Acquaint yourself online with a few of the Wits & Wagers strategies.
#8 – Pictionary
Four people in teams of two is the ideal match, although Pictionary can be played with fewer or more enthusiasts, with preferably an even number of players on each team.
To set up, the Pictionary box provides the board, a one-minute timer, up to 496 cards, up to 4 category cards and two dice. You will also need some paper and writing instruments. The goal is to guess what the “picturist” is trying to say with the pictures that they draw, and the guesses are frequently just as quirky as the sketches, so roll the dice and get the party going.
Making good guesses entitles you to roll the dice and move forward. You then draw a card, and the category you must draw must match the color square you’re on. The new picturist then gets one minute to sketch, and the first to get to the finish square wins it all.
Watch out for cheaters! Your own house rules spell out the penalties you set for those who try to circumvent what you agree upon. And we all know how much more fun a game is when the guidelines are eccentric!
# 7 – Backgammon
Backgammon is played on a board that is divided into 4 quadrants and that has 24 narrow triangles or “points”, like squares on other game boards. Each player has 15 checkers to start with, distributed on the board in a specific starting position:
5 checkers on your home quadrant, 3 on your middle quadrant, 5 on your opponent’s middle quadrant, and the last 2 on your far quadrant (or your opponent’s home quadrant).
You then move your checkers in accordance with the roll of the dice so that they all end up in your home quadrant where each further roll of the dice enables you to remove checkers. The first person to thus remove all their checkers wins it all!
In the interim, any checker that is not doubled up with other checker(s) can be removed by the opponent. A removed checker can come back into play on the opponent’s home quadrant from which point it has to make all the rounds to your home quadrant.
Although backgammon may sound complicated to the uninitiated, once you learn it, you quickly find out how addictive it gets.
# 6 – Taboo
If you haven’t yet waged war on the classic game of Taboo, consider yourself in a minority of board game aficionados. Planning a party? The fun gets totally uproarious when you set up the board and start playing (the board in Taboo is merely for score keeping).
This is a guess-the-word game whereby there are hundreds of cards to pick from, each card displaying the key guess-word, plus a number of taboo words you cannot use -usually a handful of synonyms or words with a similar meaning.
In Taboo, 4 to 10 players, in even-numbered teams, sit around in a circle. One of the players on your team (dubbed the “giver”) picks up a word-card and then attempts to prompt teammates to guess the word without using any of the taboo words. As many word-cards as possible can be used by a team within the allotted time.
The fun gets hysterical if and when the opposing team buzz you out when you come anywhere close to using a taboo word.
This is an ever-so-easy game to play that can be counted on to create a frenzied-fun party atmosphere, and if you consider yourself a board game buff, your collection is flawed if it doesn’t include Taboo!
# 5 – Spontuneous
As in all of our 11 funnest board games, and whether with family members around a kitchen table or in party settings with friends, Spontuneous is guaranteed to flush your system with adrenaline and cortisol hormones. This time though not so much with tension over armies and bloody wars, but with a heavy dose of reminiscing that takes you back to “oh, such happy times”!
The goal is to move your piece ahead of all others to the end of the board, and if you’re familiar with Encore, this is a relatively newer board game that has the same feel to it.
You start by falling back on songs you’re familiar with, and you fill out a “hitlist” with a random word derived from those songs. Players then take turns citing a trigger word from their hitlist, and the first player to start singing at least 5 words from a song that includes that word gets to roll the dice and begin moving forward on the board.
Here’s what one player had to say about her experience:
“I can’t get over Spontuneous! I played it with some friends yesterday and can’t wait to play it again with my parents and 14 year-old sister who knows so many songs. It was amazing hearing what songs we could remember and what memories they evoked.”
# 4 – Concept
Concept has the distinction of having been a winner at the French Jeu de L’année (best game of the year) for 2014. It is a quiz board game in which players have to guess a concept, whether a word, a name or a phrase.
The goal is to guess the “concept”, not by acting it out, as with other games, but through word associations. The first player to guess the concept receives 1 victory points, and the team that chose it receives another point. The player that then ends up with the most points wins it all.
Concept is played with teams of 2 players each (4 to 10 players in all), on a board that features different-colored themes/icons such as “object”, “person” and the like. It is claimed that the Concept board should contain enough concepts necessary to describe anything on these cards.
Each team is given game pieces, for example a primary one depicting a question mark, which can then be placed on “object”, followed by a secondary one (e.g. a colored cube) that may go on “food/drink”.
To start the game, the first team draws a card out of a deck, each card giving three sets of concepts in an ascending order of difficulty. “Milk” or “bicycle” might be easy concepts, whereas the name “Butch Cassidy” or the phrase “the high road” could well prove to be a game buster.
Each game typically lasts about 40 minutes and, once again, you could devise your own house rules to make it easier or more difficult depending on who you are playing against.
# 3 – Blood Rage
Ragnarök is upon us, and it’s the end of the world, Viking-style!
When played by 4, a Blood Rage game commonly takes a little over an hour. Players draw cards for force-upgrades, and the game is done with after serving three card rounds. Victory points are awarded for winning, holding territory and other feats.
You get served a quantity of rage that you swop for resources, honor for successful conquests, and the maximum number of clansmen that you can use on the field. You thus take control of this scruffy unit and wage war across a small, dense board.
And the most fun part is how you can transform your army to meet the different exigencies of war. For example, using gifts from the gods, acquiring giant creatures to throw at the enemy and onboarding additional fighters.
Battles are made all the more spellbinding because of “modifier” cards, for while victory is a factor of the number of warriors on a given battleground, these modifiers can essentially move the goalposts.
And a number of cards are associated with Norse gods, depicting the best strategy to adopt. For example, Heimdall endows you with foresight, Tyr bolsters your forces in battle, and the unpredictable Loki actually remunerates you for losing a battle by censuring the winner.
Blood Rage offers a boatload of blood-spattered fun. Even the meek get awash with pent-up exhilaration following the bloodthirsty extravaganza that Blood Rage offers.
# 2 – Battleship
After much deliberation in regard to precisely on which of the top spots in our 11 funnest board games to place Battleship, the number 2 spot was thus selected for this all-time warfare strategy board favorite.
Inspired by the game, and bearing the name Battleship as well, a military science fiction movie was released by universal Pictures in 2012.
Battleship is essentially a 2-player naval warfare game, and yet it is often played at parties or in family gatherings by larger teams siding up behind the 2 contenders.
Each player/team gets a board with two grids consisting of 10 horizontal squares (marked 1 to 10), and 10 vertical squares (marked A to J). The one grid is used to hide one’s warring ships, while the other is to mark down one’s “misses” and “hits” on the opponent’s hidden grid.
To do battle, each player gets 7 naval ships including one aircraft carrier that is 5-squares long, two battleships that are 4-squares long, a destroyer and a submarine that are 3-squares long and 2 patrol boats that are 2-squares long.
The idea is to scatter/hide your fleet on your home grid and start calling out missile shots -for example D5- to see if your opponent has parts of a vessel on D5. If your opponent says “miss”, it means there wasn’t any part of a ship on their D5, and you lose your turn. If you made a “hit”, you get to shoot another missile until you miss.
The first person to sink all of the opponent’s naval fleet wins it all.
A “house” variation that strives for more excitement stipulates that you can only have one shot per turn, even when it’s a hit. This gives the other team a chance to do some simultaneous sinking of their own, leading to an endgame full of last-minute thrills.
To borrow a phrase from Churchill, “Never in the history of mankind…” has one game been so popular for such a long time –a slight exaggeration, but only a slight one!
# 1 – Risk
In Risk, you have to summon every ounce of skill you can muster in the domains of war, probability assessments and strategizing, with rewards that border on the unthinkable –world hegemony!
Risk is played by 2 to 6 players on a board that displays the map of the world’s six continents, broken down into 42 countries.
The goal is to attack and eliminate opponents and ultimately occupy all 42 territories while defending your own territories by keeping at least one army on each.
To start with, there are 56 Risk-cards, broken into 42 cards depicting the 42 territories as well as an infantry, cavalry or artillery symbol, 12 “mission” cards that come with the Secret Mission Risk variant, and 2 wild cards.
You also get a set of tokens designating army size, including 1 infantry army, 5 cavalry armies and 10 artillery armies. The number of armies varies with the number of players: if there are only 2 players, they each get 40 armies, descending down to 20 armies each when there are 6 players.
The first to play, as determined by the dice, gets to place 1 army on a vacant territory of their choice.
The players then move in turn until all 42 territories are occupied by at least one army each. The rest of the armies are then placed by each player on territories that the player already occupies, with no limits on the number of armies you may place on a single territory.
At the beginning of each turn, you get more armies. For example, you get 3 armies for every 3 countries you occupy, and more armies if you dominate a continent. You can also turn in sets of 3 cards of the same type (e.g. infantry) for additional armies.
That’s when you may start attacking, though only territories adjacent to yours. The roll of the dice can then enable you to remove one of your opponent’s armies and ultimately colonize their countries. For each country you thus colonize, you get a Risk card, and 3 Risk cards can be exchanged for new armies.
To add spice to your strategies, you may form alliances with another player. You may for example agree not to invade a particular continent until a convened upon outcome is reached, following which all bets are off.
By then you’re approaching final victory, for by removing all of an opponent’s armies, you get all their Risk cards, and thereby more armies with which to fortify your positions and execute attacks on other opponents.
Cautionary word: wear your gym garbs when you embark on a Risk match, for a good game is reliably akin to a serious workout!