Do you hate small chitchats at house parties? Board games can bring the crowd together for some exciting group fun. Before you wonder how Monopoly can stir up a party, know that board games have come a long way since these classic games. Whether you are into horror stories, adult humor, role-playing, or educational games, there will be a game to cater to your interests. To give you a better idea of the games available on the market, here is a list of 10 best tabletop games in 2020.
What Is The Best Tabletop Games in 2020?
Extremely easy to learn
Shorter playing time that serves as a good filler game
Complete with many scenarios and cards to ensure a unique game every single play
Integration of smart device as moderator makes the game more entertaining
Betrayal at House on the Hill – Best Tabletop Skirmish Game
- Tile by tile, terror by terror, build your own haunted mansion – then try to escape it alive.
- With 50 blood-curdling scenarios, each trip to the House on the Hill promises fresh horrors.
- Players must work together to survive the nightmare. . .
- . . . except for one player who becomes the traitor.
- 3–6 players, Ages 12+, 60 min per game (high replayability)
Award: 2004 Origins Gamers’ Choice Award Winner
Betrayal at House on the Hill is never the same game. With moveable tile boards, it allows players to customize the haunted house for new scenarios and challenges. The game has two parts. The first stage allows players to explore the haunted house together. But once a player becomes the secret traitor, the second stage begins where other players must defeat the betrayer before the game ends.
Unlike other miniature games, the setup process is extremely amusing. It allows each player to contribute to the customization of the haunted mansion layout. Also, it is easy to learn for both beginners and experienced gamers. If in doubt, there is the heft manual book for reference.
In terms of gameplay, with more players, the pacing may become slower. However, it allows for more unexpected plot twists and tension. We find that the game becomes even more exciting when the Betrayer leaves the room after the reveal. This gives a chance for other players to plot against the attack plan.
If you are into Stranger Things, 80s nostalgia horror movies, and D&D type of role-playing games, you will love this game. Although it requires quite a bit of reading, it allows all players to dig into their inner actors.
- Highly customizable game board
- Topic less friendly to younger players
If you love the game format, please consider the new Scooby-Doo spinoff and the Dungeons and Dragons Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate spinoff.
King of Tokyo – Best Tabletop Game for Beginners
- For 2 6 players
- 30 minute playing time
- New artwork by Regis Torres, illustrator of King of new York
- Space penguin included in the box
- Clearer rules and card text for a better gaming experience
Award: 2012 Best Children Game, Best Family Board Game, Best Party Game from Golden Geek
Fans of King Kong, giant robots, and Godzilla? King of Tokyo allows you to play as various monsters out to destroy Tokyo and battle against other players. Whoever scores 20 points first or remains as the last survivor of the game wins.
This game works like Yahtzee when it comes to dice rolling rules. The setup is minimal, and it is effortless to learn the rules. It is a wonderful entry-level game for everyone new to tabletop games.
The playing time of King of Tokyo can be short when played as a two-player game. As a result, we highly encourage more players. One problem is that the rules are too easy to beat where some cards become useless for their purposes. Another problem is that the game becomes too tedious for experienced players. After several games, most advanced players can beat the game within ten moves.
King of Tokyo is an excellent option for bigger crowds as everyone can take turns playing these short games. It is the perfect game for younger players as there is very little reading involved. It is an excellent chance for families to switch off their electronic devices for some family fun time.
- Extremely easy to learn
- Shorter playing time that serves as a good filler game
- Too easy for experienced gamers
If you love King of Tokyo, please look into its expansion King of Tokyo: Power Up. There is also King of Tokyo: Dark Edition and its King of New York spin-off to consider.
One Night Ultimate Werewolf – Best Tabletop Card Game
- Each player gets a unique role: A Werewolf, Seer, Troublemaker, or another, all with special abilities
- After a secret night phase that includes changing roles, players have just 5 minutes to find a Werewolf
- Includes a free iOS/Android app that makes playing incredibly engaging and addictive
- May be combined with One Night Ultimate Werewolf Daybreak and One Night Ultimate Vampire for epic battles
- 3 10 players, Ages 8 and up
Award: 2015 Spiel de Jahres Recommended
One Night Ultimate Werewolf is a fast-paced party card game. The premise is that each player picks a unique role in a town, and everyone has to find out who the werewolf is after a 5-minute debate after the story plays out. Whoever can find the beast wins the game. If no one can make the right guess, the werewolf wins.
As a card game, it has minimal setup. The instruction is straightforward and easy to learn. What makes this game unique is that you can use a person as the game moderator or use the free smart device app for the job. It allows your device to recite all the narration.
For board game newbies, the lively app narration makes it easier for players to get involved and navigate the game. It also makes the game progress smoothly without the constant need for the moderator to search for narration. Because this is such a short game, more players makes it more challenging.
One Night Ultimate Werewolf is one of the best tabletop card games that are both entertaining to play and watch. With so many cards and scenarios to choose from, the game creator promise that no game ever repeats.
- Complete with many scenarios and cards to ensure a unique game every single play
- Integration of smart device as moderator makes the game more entertaining
- Ends too quickly for small group play
If you love this game, you may also enjoy their other series: One Night Ultimate Alien, One Night Super Heroes, One Night Super Villains, One Night Ultimate Werewolf Daybreak, and One Night Ultimate Vampire.
Gloomhaven – Best Single Player Tabletop Game/ Best Miniature Tabletop Game
- For 1-4 players; ages 12+; 60-120 minute playing time
- A game of Euro-inspired tactical Combat in a persistent world of shifting motive
- A game with a persistent and changing world that is ideally played over many game sessions
Award: 2018 Origins Awards Best Board Game of the Year, 2017 Golden Geek Most Innovative Board Game Winner, 2017 Golden Geek Best Solo Board Game Winner
Gloomhaven is an extraordinary fantasy miniature game that allows players to excavate dungeons and ruins as a team. The goal of this game is to clear a dungeon without depleting their resources or forced to withdraw.
This game is INTENSE. Weighing over 20 pounds, it contains over 1,500 cards, 17 classes, and 95 scenarios. Along with the instruction manual are many expansions and bonuses. It is truly a wonderful treat for all experienced players who love dungeon crawls. It is not a beginner-friendly game; it involves a lot of reading and set up to get the game running when you first take it out of the box.
What unique about Gloomhaven is that it can work as a solo adventure. Don’t think for a second that it will be boring. Playing solo is extra challenging but rewarding at the same time because you need to control two characters throughout gameplay. Many fans compare Gloomhaven as a “choose-your-adventure” book coming to life. And please take our playing time estimation with a grain of salt. With so many side quests available, a game can easily take more than two hours to complete. Adding more players can further stretch the game time to three or four hours.
This game is easily the best tabletop war game that has emerged for the last several years. With their recent Kickstarter campaign to further expand the game, it has risen to another whole level of awesomeness. Although the price may be steep, it promises hours of entertainment.
- Endless possibilities of dungeon crawl fun
- A massive hit for solo gamers
- Not beginner-friendly
If you cannot afford the game in the tabletop version, you can purchase a digital copy of Gloomhaven on Steam. If you can’t get enough of it, there is the newest expansion Gloomhaven: Forgotten Circles and Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion available in 2020 fall.
Settlers of Catan – Best Tabletop RPG Game
- The incredibly popular, multi award winning civilization building board game of harvesting and trading resources
- Players control their own civilization and look to spread across a modular hex board in a competition for victory points
- Beware the robber’s nefarious plans as he steals resources and plunders the wealthy
- 3 to 4 players, 60 minutes, ages over 10
Award: 2005 Gra Roku Game of the Year, 2011 Ludo Award Best Board Game Editor’s Choice Winner
You may remember the Settlers of Catan from the hit TV show “The Big Bang Theory” when Sheldon asks Raj how to trade sheep for wood. If those brilliant scientists are playing this game, it has to be an excellent game. But what is this game really about? It is a game where you play as a settler trying to build and expand their home territory. Throughout the game, you and other players compete to score the most victory points.
Catan is a fantastic strategy game suitable for family and young players. It is a breeze to set up, and the instructions are relatively easy to follow. It is rare to find a game that appeals to both beginners and experienced board gamers.
Although the game works well with three players, it adds more excitement at maximum player capacity. One thing we have noticed that will help the game run more smoothly is that everyone should have a crib sheet for jotting down some reminders. Without it, someone will be doomed to throw their hands up and moan about a sweeping win move they have missed.
By far, Settlers of Catan is one of the most stimulating games that challenge your trading skills. The haggling is addictive and keeps drawing players back for another game. The downside is that players may take too much time bargaining and extend the game to several hours. As one of the best tabletop games of all time, Catan has received many awards and reprints over the years. Although there are many other versions available, none of them compares to the original edition.
- The instructions are thorough and straightforward
- Highly appeal to both beginners and experienced players
- Bargaining may result in tension among players
- Many factors to remember
Secret Hitler – Best Tabletop Game for Adults
- A fast-paced game of deception and betrayal
- Beautiful wooden components
- Solid game boards with foil inlay
- Hidden roles and secret envelopes for five to ten players
Award: 2016 Golden Geek Best Party Game Nominee
If you enjoy secret identity games that pit players against each other, Secret Hitler will be an exciting game for you. Throughout the game, players are randomly put into two opposing teams: the fascists and the liberals. Only one person is selected as the secret Hitler. The twist is that all fascists know the identity of Hitler, while Hitler does not know who are his allies. Throughout the game, each team tries to control the government and sets their policies into action. If the liberal group passes five policies or successfully kills Secret Hitler, they win the game. But if the fascist team passes six policies or make Hitler as the chancellor, they win the game.
As a card game, there is no setup needed. The rules are straightforward, and the game is easy to follow. Note that it is a game that requires a lot of talking. It is a game where extroverts can shine.
It is an addictive, adult dark humor game. It allows everyone to dig deep into their dark side as it is all about bluffing, infiltration, persuasion, and deflection. And because the liberal teammates are unaware of the identities of their allies and the enemies, it turns into a huge ball of scheme and mystery. In smallest player capacity mode, the mystery can be too easy to unfold. It escalates into a snowball of deceit and bluff at largest player capacity.
Secret Hilter is a crowd-pleaser that allows all players and spectators to have equal fun witnessing the mystery unfolds. Keep in mind that this is a party game, and individuals who love to showcase their talent of chaos will genuinely bring this game to life.
- An entertaining party game that allows players to bluff like crazy
- This dark humor game is not for everyone as some people may find the fascist policies offending
Tokaido – Best 2 Player Tabletop Game
- For 2 to 5 Players, 45 minute playing time
- Standalone game from the designer of 7 Wonders, Antoine Bauza. Continues the tradition of elegance that is expected from the Tokaido brand
- 5th Anniversary Edition updates the base game of Tokaido with all NEW Artwork and Components. Existing expansions (Crossroads and Matsuri) are fully compatible with this new version
- Point to point movement, set collection mechanic. Easy to learn, but full of strategic choices
- Digital edition of Tokaido on the iOS App Store & Google Play, for both smartphones and tablets is available
Awards: 2013 Golden Geek Best Family Board Game Nominee and Best Board Game Artwork/ Presentation Nominee
Tokaido takes the shape of a classic board template with a linear track path. Throughout the game, each player must travel through the Tokaido (East Sea Road) across Japan. When everyone arrives at the final destination, the winner will be whoever that scored the most discoveries.
This game is simple in structure and design. The instruction is rather basic. The goal of this game is to provide an easy-going Zen-like atmosphere for the players. So the simplicity adds to the experience.
Unlike other board games, there is no race against time or other players. It teaches players the idea of “being in the moment”. It is a terrific rainy day game as it transforms into a mental journey where you learn about the local Japanese cuisine.
Overall, Tokaido is a beautiful tabletop game for anyone who has an interest in exploring Japan’s culture. It is an excellent way for friends and families to de-stress and spend some quality time together.
- Elegant and makes a perfect game to de-stress
- Easy-going game that allows players to explore the Japan culture
- Not enough plot twists
For anyone who wants to help the environment, Tokaido is also available in digital format on the Steam platform. The publishing company has updated the artwork since the initial box print, and the graphics are equally breathtaking.
Pandemic – Best Coop Tabletop Game
- As skilled members of a disease fighting team, you and the other players work together to keep the world safe from outbreaks and epidemics
- Pandemic is a cooperative board game in which players work as a team to treat infections around the world while gathering resources for cures
- 2 – 4 players
- 45 mins
Award: 2010 Australian Games Association Game of the Year
This game may hit a little close to home these days, but it is a fun way for players to deal with their current situation with this tabletop game. Randomly assigned as one of the skilled professionals of the disease control squad, all the players must collaborate to stop the pandemic spread across the world.
This game setup is similar to classic games such as Risk in which the board shows a world map. In various large cities are hot spots where players must locate the problem, treat the population, and find a cure. The instruction manual is relatively easy to understand, and it is a great option for beginner to indeterminate gamers.
Although Pandemic can be played as a two-person game, we have noticed that two characters can limit the specialized skills and make it more difficult to travel between cities and solution sets. However, for four players, we notice that the card deck runs out too quickly. After testing the minimum and maximum player capacities, we suggest three players as the optimal situation. The other option is to get the 5-players expansion kit to increase the card quantity and work around the card sharing issue. If you want a challenge, you can always play solo mode operating multiple characters.
Even though Pandemic is a collaborative game, it can make or break friendships. There will be two scenarios: 1) everyone will band together to solve the problem, or 2) players evolve into power-hungry monsters and rather see the world disintegrate than to cooperate. One thing for sure, winning the game will give you that Hollywood movie “we saved the world” hurrah satisfaction.
- A marvelous educational game that teaches players the importance of collaborating to create a solution
- Expansion kit allows extra players
- Not enough cards to finish the game at maximum player capacity
- May lead to arguments over the plan of action
If you love this game, you will also love their other spin-off series, such as Pandemic Legacy Season 1 and Season 2.
Ticket to Ride – Best Tabletop Simulator Game
- A fast-paced, award-winning board game
- Connect iconic North American cities and build your train routes to earn points
- Players must compete to grab the best train cards and routes before their opponents
- Ticket cards challenge you to plan ahead and connect two faraway cities for additional points
- 2 to 5 players, 60 minutes, 8+
Award: 2005 Diana Jones Award for Excellence in Gaming Winner, 2004 Spiel des Jahres Award, 2004 Origins Award for Best Board Game
Ticket to Ride is a dream come true for all the train lovers who fascinate about being a train conductor. In the game, every player controls a four-car train. They are randomly assigned with a starting point and destination somewhere in Southern Canada and the United States areas. The goal of the game is for each player to connect these two locations. Whoever successfully connect their assigned locations and score the most points will win the game.
Following the footsteps of giant classic game boards, Ticket to Ride features a huge game board. Once set up, the rules can be learned exceptionally quickly, and it is suitable for younger players.
There is more to this game than meets the eye because it allows players to compete with each other and themselves. It is a constant juggle whether you should be more ambitious to rake in a longer route or settle for just enough points to win the game. For experienced players, it is an addictive game to see if you can beat your last record.
Ticket to Ride is an enjoyable game for all ages. Many experienced gamers have called it the “gateway game” that is easy to pick up and will get anyone hooked on board games for life. A word of warning, you will need a big surface to play this game as the board size is enormous. Fear not if you are debating on this issue. The company has created a mini-size version and an electronic version on the game available on Steam.
- It takes less than 15 minutes to learn the game
- A brilliant strategy game for younger beginner players
- Integrates with Amazon Alexa
- The game board is too big for some household
Jaws: The Game – Best Tabletop Role Playing Game
- What you get – 1 double-sided game board, 3 human movers, 1 Shark mover, 2 boat movers, 5 dice, 1 paper pad, 4 character boards, 8 boat pieces, 1 beach closed token, 3 resurface tokens, 3 target tokens, 5 barrel tokens, 16 swimmer tokens, and instructions
- Perfect for universal fans and families – Whether you’re playing with a group of devoted jaws fans, classic strategy gamers, or with your family, jaws is perfect for any game night occasion and makes a great gift for Shark lovers!
- Clear instructions – high quality, Easy to understand instructions make it easy to start playing right away.
- Great replay value – in this asymmetric style of game play you can either play as the Shark or cooperatively as a member of the crew. Each game will be different as the results of act 1 will affect act 2 either in the crews favor or the Shark. This…
- Long term quality – Ravensburger has been making products for the hand, head, and heart for over 130 years.
Jaws: The Game has always been one of the best-selling tabletop games of all time. Based on the Hollywood blockbuster, it allows players to take on the characters Quint, Brody, and Hooper on a mission to kill the giant shark. One player will have the pleasure of playing as the bloodthirsty monster.
The interesting thing about this game is that it splits into two parts: the Amity Island act and the Orca act. In the first phase, players have to locate the shark and rescue swimmers while the shark player has their fun chomping at victims. Flip on the other side of the board is the second phase. In the Orca, three players are stranded on the sinking ship to battle the shark. They have to work together to defeat the shark before it clamps its teeth on them.
Even though the instructions are simple, the game is a joy to play. Especially whoever that gets the lucky draw to become the three-ton killer shark! Insert the over-the-top reenactment of the famous lines, and it is highly addictive and hilarious. It is most entertaining when you enjoy the game with all four players. We highly recommend having one person take over multiple characters if you do not have enough players.
Jaws: The Game lives up to the hype in every way. Who can resist that old movie charm and singing its “Du-Da” theme song? If you are up for a challenge, make it a side dare to see who can resist singing the theme throughout the whole game.
- One of the most delightful one-vs-all-players games where it is amusing when the shark attacks
- Slightly confusing to understand the rules for first-time beginner players
How We Tested
We went through the most popular board games list and selected the ten top-selling titles. For each game, we had three testing stages.
- First, we read through the instruction manual and set up the game accordingly. This process allows us to judge whether the game is easy to learn and whether it is appropriate for various age groups.
- Second, we played the game with suggested minimum players. In this process, we recorded the game playing time and rated the game based on challenging and engaging scores.
- Third, we played the game again with suggested maximum players. Once again, we recorded the game playing time and rated the game. After all the testing process, we gave our overall impression of the games.
We understand that sometimes it is difficult to gather in the same room to play a board game. If you wish to play these games online with your friends, there is a Tabletop Simulator PC app available. It allows you to play these games for the tabletop simulator. Catan, Gloomhaven, Secret Hitler, King of Tokyo, and Betrayal at House on the Hill are all available on the app.
And if you are hooked onto our list of tabletop board games, please check out the upcoming games in 2020 and 2021. If you are into war/fantasy-world type of games like Gloomhaven, you will look forward to its sequel Frosthaven. Return to Dark Tower (by the creator of Gloomhaven) and Oath are also worthy candidates to compete as the best new tabletop game. Other noteworthy upcoming titles are Sleeping Gods, Wingspan, Mariposas, and Third Season of the Pandemic Series. Please visit their official website to learn more information regarding their drop dates.