Last Updated on July 29, 2020 by Jake
Playing board games is one of the most fun ways you can possibly spend your time with family and friends. A good board game is a pleasure to play, and also a pretty cheap form of entertainment if you play a game over and over.
Strategy board games in particular are great because of how engaged and involved they keep all of the players. The term “strategy” is used because gameplay requires players to really think their way through different moves or turns as they progress through the game. In addition to being fun, a good strategy board game can develop critical thinking skills for players as well.
I’ve taken some time to compile a list of the best strategy board games. The list is in no particular order and there are definitely some good games that are not on this list!
In a Rush? Here’s a Quick Look at Our Best Strategy Board Games:
|Carcassonne Big Box||Check Price on Amazon|
|Puerto Rico Game||Check Price on Amazon|
|Avalon Hill Diplomacy||Check Price on Amazon|
|Agricola Game New Revised Edition” || Bonus 3 Gold Metallic Cloth Drawstring Storage Pouches || Bundled Items||Check Price on Amazon|
|Shogun Big Box Strategy Board Game||Check Price on Amazon|
|Chess Armory 15" Wooden Chess Set with Felted Game Board Interior for Storage||Check Price on Amazon|
|Hasbro Risk Game||Check Price on Amazon|
|Stratego Original - strategy game||Check Price on Amazon|
|Ticket To Ride - Play With Alexa||Check Price on Amazon|
|Rio Grande Games Power Grid Deluxe||Check Price on Amazon|
Best Strategy Board Games Reviews
Carcassonne is a tile based board game designed for two to 5 players. The great thing about Carcassonne is that the rules are fairly simple to learn, but the game takes a lot of time to master.
The board is progressively built by the players throughout the game. The object of Carcassonne is to accumulate as many points as possible by strategically claiming cities, cloisters, roads, and fields with pieces called “followers”.
Since each player’s turn begins with a blind tile draw, there is an element of luck associated with Carcassonne. But, part of the strategy is having an understanding of the probabilities of drawing certain tiles. So while some luck is involved, you will drastically increase your chances of victory by having a good strategy.
Planning ahead, trapping other players, and piggybacking off of other people’s work are all skills that must be mastered to win at this game.
Carcassonne has an extensive set of expansions to compliment the base game. So, once you feel like you’ve mastered the game you can dive in to the dozen or so expansions to spice things up.
Settlers of Catan
– or just “Catan” for short – is a game designed for 2 to 6 people. The original game accommodated 3 or 4 players but they sell an expansion for 2,5, and 6 players.
The game board represents the island of Catan where players build settlements, cities, and roads and connect them as the island is settled.
Players can build by collecting resources such as brick, wood, sheep, wheat, and ore. Resources are collected by strategically building settlements next to certain hexagons associated with an individual resource.
The object of Catan is to score 10 Victory Points. Victory Points are obtained by building settlements, cities, having the longest road, and the largest army.
Catan is so popular because of how dynamic the game is. Resource management, strategy, and chance all play a role in the game. Catan is a great social game for lighthearted gamers and a deep, fulfilling game for hardcore gamers alike.
Puerto Rico is an acclaimed board game that has been around for almost 20 years now. Part of why the game is so popular for hardcore board game players is because chance and randomness, while present in the game, play a relatively small role in the outcome of the game. So if you have a rock solid strategy, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.
Puerto Rico is a game for 3 to 5 players and typically takes about an hour and a half to two hours to finish a game. As such, it’s a game probably best suited for hardcore gamers who are ok committing that amount of time to the game. Economic management and strategic thought must be emphasized if you want to win!
- For 2-7 Players
- The Classic Game of Intrigue, Trust, and Treachery
- European political theme
- 2 to 7 player game
- 360 minutes to play
Diplomacy is a classic strategy board game that was invented back in the 1950’s. The game is unique in that dice and other elements which produce random outcomes are not in the game. Strategy wise, players spend most of their time forming and/or betraying alliances with other players that are beneficial to them.
Diplomacy is played by 2 to 7 players and takes place in Europe. Each player controls the armed forces of a Euro power and tries to gain strategic cities and supply centers.
Fun fact: Diplomacy was the first widespread game to be played by mail. It was also the first game to gain a truly hardcore fanbase. What makes the game truly great is the skill set one can develop when playing the game. You learn history, geography, negotiation, cunning, and you also have to develop a b******t detector!
Agricola was released in 2007 and gained fairly widespread popularity fairly quickly. In 2008, it ended Puerto Rico’s 5+ year reign from as the highest rated game according to Board Game Geek.
The game begins with each player controlling a couple in a small hut. With each turn, family members can be placed strategically to obtain resources to grow their household. Players must be thoughtful about their actions, balancing their own progression while also attempting to deny opponent’s progression.
Similar to Puerto Rico, random chance doesn’t play a super big role in the outcome of the game. Cards provide a small element of chance but by and large resource management and strategic planning contribute most to the outcome.
- For 3 to 5 players: 90 to 120 minute playing time
- Unique battle system : Eric m. Lang has developed a completely innovative battle system that forces players to bluff their intentions and outthink the competition
- Fantasy art : Artwork by the legendary Adrian Smith Will transport players to a fantastical version of feudal Japan that retains all of the beauty of traditional legends
- Breathtaking MINIS : The miniatures in rising Sun are some of the most intricate and highly detailed that have ever been produced
- Eric m. Lang has developed an innovative battle system that forces players to bluff their intentions and outhink the competition
Rising Sun is the new kid on the block when it comes to the best strategy board games. Commercially published in only 2018, the game has exploded in popularity. CMON games raised over $4.2 million in one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns for board games to date.
The hype around Rising Sun was well justified, as game geeks and critics have given the game universal acclaim. In addition to robust gameplay, Rising Sun knocks it out of the park with intricate game artwork, game pieces, and accessories. Players truly feel like they are stepping back in time to a mythical, feudal Japan.
Rising Sun is played in multiple phases, where players can take various actions in order to lead their clan to victory. Like many of the best strategy board games, strategic thinking, resource management, and diplomacy are key skills required in order to win the game.
Shogun is another great game that takes place in mythical Japan. Each player assumes control of troops and must use the 10 possible actions in the game to develop their kingdom and obtain points.
The gamplay of Shogun revolves around various types of cards, of which there are 6. Compared to other popular strategy board games, chance and randomness play a slightly bigger role in the outcome of the game. That’s not to say that there isn’t a premium on strategy though.
The object of the game is to become the Shogun at the end of the game by owning as many provinces, temples, theaters and castles as possible.
What to say about Chess that hasn’t already been said? Chess is played by millions world wide, is easy to pick up but takes many years of study to truly master.
The origins of Chess aren’t 100% clear, but most believe the game originated sometime before the 7th century in India.
There is no hidden information in Chess. Each player can see the entire board and surmise the probability of their opponent’s next moves based on the available information. Chance doesn’t play a role in the game, and strategies can get extremely intricate. Often times players will make moves where the strategy doesn’t play out for 5 or more turns.
Chess’ popularity has also let it to be the focal point of many mathematical and game theory studies. Don’t let that scare you off though, it can be a great game for beginners and experts alike!
Risk is another classic strategy board game that has been around since the 1950’s. Players try to obtain control of territories, continents, and build armies in order to better their chances of winning the game.
The object of the game is to control all territories and eliminate other players from the game. Compared to the other strategy board games on this list, randomness plays a fairly high role in the outcome of the games mostly due to the element of dice rolls being heavily used to determine the outcome of in game battles.
All of that said, Risk is an extremely popular game that is well worth playing. Risk has been recreated into many different versions, including Star Wars and Marvel versions, to name a few.
Stratego is one of the best strategy board games for 2 players. The game is played on a 10 x 10 grid where each player controls an army of 40 pieces. The object of the game is to capture the opponent’s flag or all of their moving pieces.
The nice thing about Stratego is that the rules are simple, so it’s also one of the best strategy board games for kids. Even though the premise of the game is simple, you will never have the same game twice. There are countless different ways to set up your army and in game strategy always unfolds in a unique way.
Similar to Risk, Stratego has garnered enough popularity to justify the creation of a few different variants and versions of the game. If you’re into it, you can pick up a Lord of the Rings Stratego or any of the other game variants they have available.
Ticket to Ride
Ticket to Ride is a railway themed board game created in the 2000’s for 2 to 5 players. Players secretly attempt to connect destinations via routes.
Ticket to Ride is the sort of game that one never gets tired of due to the many different ways a game can unfold.
There are also a bunch of themed expansions that are intriguing and fun to play. Ticket to Ride is one of the best strategy board games for families because the rules are fairly easy to learn and the gameplay supports up to 5 players.
Power Grid is an acclaimed strategy board game that really tests players auction and resource management skills. Each player represents a company that owns power plants and tries to supply power to cities.
Over time, as players electricity networks expand, players must bid on new power plants and buy resources to be able to meet the increasing electricity demand in their network.
Power Grid is also a great game to help players learn how real life economics work. The supply and demand principles at play in the game are pretty similar to how the supply and demand of power works in real life!
Best Strategy Board Games – Wrap Up
We hope you’ve enjoyed our list of the best strategy board games. If there are some you think we’ve left out, please let us know in the comments section!
Need some ideas for your game room? Check out our post on game room ideas to get inspired!
Last update on 2022-06-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API