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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 sầu curated a list of the best board games available lớn buy & play right now. Regardless of genre, player count, theme or mechanics, these are the best board games in 2021 that we think deserve a spot on anyone’s shelf.

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Read our danh mục to find some of the best board games for sale right now, of all genres, types and lengths. Whatever you"re looking for, you"re bound to lớn find something you can enjoy.

Best board games 2021

With the number of unique tabletop tiles increasing year by year, this danh mục will be periodically updated khổng lồ 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 and a healthy amount of stoông chồng 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 & score the largest amount of points?
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Players use solid plastic tiles of different patterns lớn make their mosiacs.

If you’re new to lớn board games, sometimes the best place lớn 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 players an awfully large amount of elements khổng lồ 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 to lớn choose tiles from a shared pool before placing them onkhổng lồ their mosaic. Each round, tiles are taken from the bag & randomly distributed onkhổng lồ factory boards. Whenever a player wants khổng lồ 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 khổng lồ their mosaic, with the aim being khổng lồ completely fill the row và add the matching tile to 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 end of the final round is the game’s winner. Azul moves really quickly, has a very accessible mix of rules và yet still has the potential to 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 và break alliances to lớn dominate the galaxy in this weird & wonderful sci-fi game
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Cosmic Encounter"s universe is filled with fascinating species.

Originally created way back in 1977, Cosmic Encounter has since been revitalised for the modern era - và it’s not hard khổng lồ see why. In a similar fashion to fellow classic Diplomacy, Cosmic Encounter sees players making temporary alliances to lớn further their own ambitions, with the ayên ổn of the game being to control as much territory as possible. However, Cosmic Encounter provides a much more exciting experience than Diplomacy ever could, thanks to lớn its collection of weird and 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 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 sover some of their own spaceships to lớn help you attack or defend can give you a significant advantage during the game. However, the different powers held by each species means that players might give sầu certain alliances a second thought. There are a huge variety of species in Cosmic Encounter và, whilst some have fairly unremarkable abilities, others are decidedly more wild. (For example, the Loser species needs khổng lồ thua trận the entire game in order khổng lồ win.)

This is exactly what makes Cosmic Encounter so special. If you’re not a người 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 và a taste for chaos.

Buy Cosmic Encounter from Amazon US and 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 card game
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Cards need khổng lồ be played at the right times for players khổng lồ pass each mission successfully.

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

The Crew goes one step further and 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 thẻ or playing cards in a particular order. A little like that other co-op card game, The Mind, players in The Crew must use their natural intuition to judge the right time to lớn play certain cards.

Unlượt thích in The Mind, luchồng is less of a factor in The Crew. With fewer cards in play, players can better judge the best time lớn play by observing what’s in the discard pile và what’s currently in their hvà. Successfully completing a mission in The Crew is a beautiful thing, and 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 to lớn feature thrilling chases, epic shootouts or tense stand-offs. Sometimes, there’s nothing better than kicking baông xã & 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 to coax a litany of feathered friends inlớn their chosen habitats. Known as an engine-building game - in which players gain và nâng cấp actions designed lớn combo with one another - Wingspan is an especially satisfying game lớn play thanks lớn its accessible but deep gameplay mechanics.

Players have three habitats they can place birds into, with each habitat having its own associated action. In order khổng lồ 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 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 inkhổng lồ the flow of playing Wingspan, there’s nothing better than taking an action và having that action lead perfectly inlớn the next action - which is the true joy of engine-building games. Wingspan isn’t just a delight to lớn look at, it’s a pleasure to lớn play, making it one of the best board games out there regardless of your ornithological knowledge .

Buy Wingspan from Amazon US & Amazon UK.

5. Gloomhaven

Become immersed in an epic world filled with quests, danger và 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 & board game? Or maybe it’s the ability khổng lồ take on a variety of different quests at any one time? It could even be the world’s dark tone and oppressive sầu atmosphere. For these reasons & more, Gloomhaven instantly captured the hearts and minds of the tabletop gaming community when it released in 2017, and it continues lớn 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 lớn dungeons invested with - what else? - hordes of monsters. As players explore the game’s world they’ll encounter scenarquả táo where they’ll have to lớn make narrative sầu decisions as a group, with the potential khổng lồ change the direction of the story. When talking isn’t an option, players will have to lớn work together to fight whatever enemies bloông xã their path. Gloomhaven’s combat has players taking turns to play cards lớn perkhung their character’s actions, with each character having their own chất lượng mix of abilities and playstyle.

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

Xem thêm:

Buy Gloomhaven from Amazon US & Amazon UK.

6. Codenames

Clue your teammates inlớn picking the right words in this beloved các buổi party game
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The clue-giver should help their teammates khổng lồ avoid picking cards that aren"t theirs.

Combine espionage with word interpretation & you get Codenames, a buổi tiệc ngọt board game that sees players becoming spies attempting khổng lồ secretly communicate with their fellow agents. Codenames works because it’s incredibly simple on the surface, but there’s plenty of potential lớn get really clever with it. Players are split into 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 lớn the word cards laid out on the table.

These word cards are arranged in a grid, with both clue-givers having access lớn a card that shows which of the word cards each team needs to guess correctly in order to win. The clue-givers can attempt to 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 lớn the clue one at a time. If a team ever guesses a word card 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 & there are no challenging barriers for less experienced players. However, it’s definitely a game that’s more enjoyable lớn play with people you know. Giving what should be a nonsense clue, only to nói qua 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 & 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 sầu made deep strategy more approachable than their predecessors. It’s far from the simplest tabletop experience out there, taking a few playthroughs khổng lồ really get khổng lồ grips with. However, Root’s unusual theme, surprisingly engaging lore and variety of gameplay styles has made it a very popular board game for people who lượt thích lớn thử nghiệm their minds - và rivalries.

Root presents a world in which four factions - the Marquise de Cat, Eyrie, Woodl& Alliance và 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 & gameplay-wise. For example, the Marquise de Cat is all about mass production & dominance, meaning that whichever player takes control of the faction can expect to be tackling resource management và 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 and building toward crucial board actions.

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

Buy Root from Amazon US và Amazon UK.

8. Pandemic Legacy: Season 0

Experience the finale - and 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 lớn 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 & 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 & cards, are now considered defining aspects of legacy board games. Season 0 is the last entry in the trilogy & despite staying true to the fundamentals of the series - travel around the world khổng lồ complete objectives before too many outbreaks or an empty player deông xã cause the game khổng lồ kết thúc - it manages to lớn introduce plenty of new aspects, particularly when it comes lớn theme & story. Season 1 và 2 both had elements of storytelling to them, but they weren’t the primary focus of the experience. In his nhận xét 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 to the game and make it incredibly easy to lớn 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 to 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 to 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 & Amazon UK.

9. The Resistance: Avalon

Root out the traitors in your midst & save 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 chất lượng ability lớn use.

Inspired by Arthurian myths & legends, The Resistance: Avalon is a social deduction game phối 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 và stop the sorcerer Modred’s various allies & 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 lớn 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 lớn play a succeed or fail card, 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 chất lượng powers, such as Merlin - who has the ability lớn correctly identify Modred’s agent, but is forced to 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 mix chiến thắng to vote on - who’s going on the mission - và can acquire information through the result of these missions, making it an ideal pick for large groups with little patience.

Buy The Resistance: Avalon from Amazon US & 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 & 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 eight players, Eldritch Horror provides its players with a truly epic experience as they globetrot their way across the world - và beyond - in tìm kiếm of clues to solve a series of mysteries. Players in Eldritch Horror can choose between a host of different characters, each with their own chất lượng phối of skills và backstories, whom they’ll pilot through seedy backend streets, freezing tundras, hidden temples và alternative dimensions.

Depending on which Old One you decide khổng lồ face, you’ll have sầu khổng lồ solve sầu a number of mysteries before the game’s doom traông xã reaches zero and the god awakens - with apocalyptic results. Mysteries are solved by collecting a certain number of clues, before successfully completing a chất lượng sự kiện. 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, & players can expect lớn see their characters suffer or even be removed from the game entirely.

Eldritch Horror draws its players in by making them feel like the plucky underdogs who continue khổng lồ chase a seemingly small speck of hope. Despite the threat of beasts, cultists và incomprehensible beings, the players’ characters continue lớn struggle on 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.

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