For adults seeking engaging and entertaining pastimes, the world of board games offers an array of captivating options. These games provide a perfect blend of strategic depth, social interaction, and endless fun. Whether you’re into wordplay, deduction, or world-building, there’s a board game out there to suit your taste and keep your evenings filled with laughter and friendly competition. They help to reduce stress, promote social interaction, and develop the interests of individuals. So, which are the best board games for adults, according to expert reviewers?
First, let’s dive deeper into those benefits you may not realize you’re getting. If you’re looking to reconnect with your partner, one study finds that all you may need to do is dust off your favorite board games sitting in the closet or take an art class together. In fact, scientists at Baylor University say couples experience a high from oxytocin, the so-called “love hormone,” when playing board games and painting.
There are also incredible brain benefits that come from avoiding screens and turning to the old school activities. A study by researchers at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland concludes that people who reported routinely playing non-digital games performed better on thinking and memory tests in their 70s. Moreover, study authors also report that even participants who only started playing more board games during their 70s were still more likely to score higher in cognitive assessments than adults who rarely played non-digital games.
All in all, board games are simply great way to connect with friends and family. In our search for the best board games for adults, we examined 10 expert websites and evaluated their popularity, value, and difficulty level to find the most suggested games across reviews. We also considered where these games ranked on their list. Of course, you may entirely disagree with this — and that’s fine! Let us know which one is your favorite game in the comments below.
The List: Best Board Games for Adults, According to Experts
“Catan is an absorbing and engaging game for teens and adults alike. Plus, players unknowingly learn lessons about the importance and consequences of access to resources, odds, the snowballing effect of luck (or lack thereof) on human success, migration, bartering, and other economic issues, says our tester. Players of all ages also hone their critical thinking and strategic skills with every game. The only downside is that the world-building game may take a bit of time to fully understand. Once you’ve mastered the rules, it is sure to take over your next game night,” writes The Spruce.
Games Radar mentions, “Catan whisks you back to the days of settling wild frontiers. There’s an uninhabited island to claim and kingdoms to build on it, so trading and expanding your civilization is top priority. It really is one of the best classic board games around.”
“An ideal game for history buffs, art enthusiasts, and designers, adults will appreciate this game more than younger people. Azul is inspired by the ancient practice of azulejo, decorative ceramic art that dates from the medieval period in Spain and Portugal. Each player is the designer of King Manuel’s royal palace, and the pattern that scores the most points wins the game. Completing specific patterns and sets with the tiles means a higher score and everyone has a beautiful pattern that they can admire at the end,” says Game Rant.
Games Radar explains, “Azul is downright beautiful, and its mechanics are just as enchanting. For those who prefer more relaxed tabletop experiences, we’d highly recommend this one – it’s amongst the best puzzle board games for adults by a long shot.”
“The work of an interior decorator may not strike you as the most exciting premise for a board game, but Azul makes for a soothing puzzle experience, as you arrange colourful tiles into pretty mosaics,” certifies War Gamer.
The Spruce says players should be prepared for hours of laughter when playing What Do You Meme? “If you like match games like Apple to Apples and Cards Against Humanity, and you spend a fair amount of time online, then you’re the ideal audience for What Do You Meme? It has a similar premise to those beloved games, but with an internet-y twist…Answers tend to be as outrageous and silly as the people you’re playing with, so clear your schedule and grab your funniest, most web-savvy friends. A previous tester had a blast playing this with her friends, noting, ‘Most of the memes were hilarious and the crazy combinations had us laughing hysterically.'”
“What Do You Meme? instructs players to match one of the caption cards in their hand with the photo card in play to come up with the funniest meme. The photo cards are taken directly from some of the biggest memes of the moment, from Gunshow’s ‘This Is Fine’ to side-eye Chloe. If you start to feel like you want more photos and captions to choose from, there are several expansion packs, including a Game of Thrones Expansion Pack and an NSFW Expansion Deck. What Do You Meme? Holds a 4.7-star average rating from more than 32,000 Amazon reviews,” notes NBC News.
Hip 2 Save adds, “Ever seen a funny meme that brought you to your knees? This game is packed full of every one of them and then some. Similar to Cards Against Humanity, you’ll choose a card to go with so the more memes you know, the more you’ll appreciate every round. Even better, they make different editions of What Do You Meme? so depending on what you find funny, you can choose the game that’ll be the most fitting for you and your crowd of friends.”
NBC News writes, “The game caters to bird enthusiasts and nature lovers alike as players must attract and hatch the most diverse bird collection. It has a 4.8-star rating from almost 8,300 Amazon reviewers.”
“Wingspan is a surprise favorite when it comes to adult board games. Besides being the winner of the well-respected Spiel des Jahres award, it’s popular enough that some cheeky retailers charged triple its list price when it went out of print a few years ago. That tells you more than enough about its quality,” says Games Radar.
Game Rant explains, “Wingspan is slow-paced, relaxing, and beautiful, the kind of game a group of people can play on a quiet, leafy patio while enjoying a round of cold drinks. The polar opposite of the kind of competitive, ruthless game that breaks friendships, this board game for adults is fun no matter who wins or loses.”
“There’s no better place to start this list than with one of the most popular and engaging games of the last few years. Wingspan is often sold as a family board game but in truth, it’s a little too complex and challenging for kids. It is pitch-perfect for adults, though, with a perfect weave of tactics and strategy together with a winning theme as you try to attract birds to a nature reserve. Different birds need different foods and habitats but will contribute to your growing ecosystem which becomes a kind of engine, generating resources to allow you to play bigger and more beautiful birds,” writes IGN.
Apartment Therapy says Jaipur is a great game for a couple having a home date night or for friends looking for a fun challenge. “In Jaipur, players take on the roles of two of the city’s most powerful traders seeking to earn their invitation to the maharaja’s court. A blend of strategy and luck, Jaipur is a fast-paced card game that’s equally deep and easy to learn.”
“Its focus on staying flexible is another feather in the game’s cap – the faster you sell an item, the more points you’ll earn. What we’re left with is a masterful balancing act of waiting for your chance while trying to beat your opponent to the punch. It makes Jaipur one of the best card games we’ve ever gotten our hands on,” states Games Radar.
You might also be interested in:
- The Spruce
- Games Radar
- NY Times
- Game Rant
- War Gamer
- NBC News
- Hip 2 Save
- Apartment Therapy
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.