The Best Board Games

Back To The Future: Dice Through Time

by William Lobley |

If you're looking for a new fun hobby, and Netflix and video games just aren't cutting it, then consider purchasing a board game. They are an excellent and entertaining way of mixing things up.

Grab your housemates or select family members, now we're able to mix households once more, and get them involved in a good old-fashioned tabletop game, from something casual and drink-along-able to one that provides multiple-hour sit-down sessions. If you’ve done the likes of Scrabble and Cluedo to death (in the lounge, with the well-worn set of dice), we’ve gathered together a range of exciting games sure to unite (and divide) your household.

From movie-themed blockbusters to card-flipping quiz games, advanced strategy titles to all-ages entertainment, Empire’s pick of the best board games is guaranteed to bring fun and furious arguments in equal measure. Check out our selection below.

The best deals on board games

It's November, which means it's the month for sales and discounts. With Black Friday and many adjacent early sales, it's the perfect time to pick up a new board game for yourself, or as a gift ready for Christmas. Below, you'll find a roundup of our favourite board game discounts and retailers that will guarantee a great deal.

The best retailers for board game discounts

Please note: The Black Friday sales move quickly and prices are liable to change without notice. All prices correct at the time of writing.


Empire's Best Board Games

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CREDIT: Amazon

If there's a board game equivalent to a modern classic blockbuster, Pandemic is it. Players assemble as a team of military, medical and logistical minds to find a cure for four deadly viruses plaguing the global population. Let's call it catharsis. Players: 2-4 | Playtime: 45 mins

Ticket To Ride: Europe, £32
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CREDIT: Amazon

In Ticket To Ride: Europe, players race to establish their place in the competitive world of European steam locomotion at the turn of the century. The goal is to establish the most comprehensive train line with the most connected routes. It's easy to pick up and hard to put down. Players: 2-5 | Playtime: 30-60 mins

Back To The Future – Dice Through Time
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CREDIT: Amazon

Great Scott! Time is a mess thanks to the meddling of Biff Tannen (who else?) and it's up to you to sort it out with Doc Brown and Marty McFly in this timeline-hopping adventure game. Fire up the DeLorean! Players: 2-4 | Playtime: 45-60 mins

The Mandalorian Monopoly
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CREDIT: Amazon

Do you know what Monopoly has always needed more of? Baby Yoda. Pick up property across the Outer Rim, with player tokens including Mando himself, Moff Gideon, and – yes – The Child. A classic board game with a Star Wars twist? This is the way. Players: 2-4 | Playtime: 60 mins

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CREDIT: Amazon

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the tabletop. Ravensburger's loving homage to Steven Spielberg's toothy classic is, like the film, a game of two halves – beginning on the shores of Amity Island, before heading out into open water aboard The Orca. Players: 2-4 | Playtime: 60 mins

A Game Of Thrones Catan: Brotherhood Of The Watch
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CREDIT: Amazon

You've watched all eight seasons of Game Of Thrones. You've spent hours harvesting resources in Settlers Of Catan. Now combine the two in a version of the beloved game themed around George RR Martin's fantasy novels (yes, this is book-centric – note the indefinite article in A Game Of Thrones). Join the Night's Watch, prepare for the invasion of the Wildlings, and beware: winter is coming. Players: 3-4 | Playtime: 45 mins

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CREDIT: Amazon

Welcome to Gloomhaven, home to society's outcasts, rejects and ne'er-do-wells. Taking up the role of a mercenary, players will trek outside of this settlement wall to discover the secrets and treasures in the surrounding forests and dungeons. There's danger and loot a-plenty to be found, as each unique scenario unfolds an ever-developing narrative. With 17 playable classes, 47 enemy types, and 1,700 cards to hand, Gloomhaven isn't for the faint of heart, but the rewards for mastering its world are great. Players: 1-4 | Playtime: 60-120 mins

Rivals for Catan: Deluxe
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CREDIT: Zatu Games

In this two-player adaptation of the original Catan game, players work for supremacy by gathering resources, building towns and settlements, attracting local heroes, and bartering with their rivals. This Deluxe edition includes three expansions, The Era of Gold, The Era of Turmoil and the Era of Progress, which introduce additional buildings and hero types to develop the story of Catan with every play-through. Players: 2 | Playtime: 45-60 mins

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CREDIT: Amazon

Set in an alternate-1920s landscape, this handsomely illustrated game has players take on the role of fallen faction leaders, attempting to rebuild their forces. Scythe is an engine-building game and involves conquering territories, enlisting recruits, building structures and activating dormant mechs in the struggle to gain the upper hand and dominate the board. Players: 1-5 | Playtime: 90-115 mins

Star Wars: Outer Rim
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CREDIT: Zatu Games

For more experienced gamers, head out to the fringes of the Star Wars universe and channel your inner scoundrel in a world of bounty hunters and smugglers. And yes, you can play as Han Solo (or Lando Calrissian, if that's more your style). Don't get cocky, kid – and remember to shoot first. Players: 1-4 | Playtime: 120-180 mins

Shot in the Dark - The Ultimate Unorthodox Quiz Game
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CREDIT: Amazon

How many litres of Vodka does the average Russian person drink each year? Out of every 100 babies born in Europe, how many are conceived in an Ikea bed? It's time for some lateral thinking and some educated guesstimation with Shot In The Dark, the unorthodox quiz. Critical mind: engage. Players: 2+ | Playtime: 10 mins +

Disney Villainous
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CREDIT: Amazon

Being bad feels pretty good. Channel your favourite fairytale villains in a game that references a bunch of Disney classics, letting players strive for evil deeds as the likes of Ursula, Captain Hook, Maleficent and Jafar. Look out for expansion packs 'Evil Comes Prepared' and 'Wicked To The Core' to add extra characters. Players: 2-6 | Playtime: 50 min

Jumanji: The Board Game
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CREDIT: Amazon

Fun fact: nothing bad has ever happened as a result of people playing Jumanji. No sir-ee! Enjoy consequence-free dice rolls in this jungle adventure that absolute will not devour decades of your life if you make any wrong moves. Does anyone else hear those ominous drums? Just us? Players: 2-4 | Playtime: 45 mins

Forbidden Sky
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CREDIT: Amazon

Facing off against high winds and deadly lightning strikes, players must locate and wire electrical junctions to power their only means of escape, an abandoned rocket. It seems simple enough, but as provisions run low and the gathering storm nears, you'll have to rely on cooperation and decisive communication to make it out alive. The third instalment of the Forbidden series, Forbidden Sky is arguably the most-accomplished outing yet. Players: 2-5 | Playtime: 45-60 mins

Jurassic Park – Danger!
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CREDIT: John Lewis

Hold onto your butts! Bring Isla Nublar into your living room in a game that tasks players with legging it across the island to restore power and survive the dinosaur outbreak – and lets one lucky player control the prehistoric predators themselves. Now that's chaos theory. Players: 3-5 | Playtime: 50 mins

Escape The Dark Sector
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CREDIT: Zatu Games

Escape The Dark Sector has players confined to the detention block of a deep-space station. But not for long, for there's a breakout afoot. You'll have to make the most of the tools, weaponry and gadgetry found along the way, using them and your wits to avert detection, confrontation and untimely death. The game mixes traditional tabletop gameplay with chapter cards to ensure that play is always fresh and diverse. It's a masterwork of atmosphere and storytelling. Players: 1-4 | Playtime: 20-60 mins

Mountains Of Madness
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CREDIT: Amazon

Guillermo del Toro has never been able to make his adaptation of HP Lovecraft's At The Mountains Of Madness, you can at least play this beautifully-designed game themed around the chilly horror novella. Just try to retain your sanity as you ascend the titular summit. Players: 3-5 | Playtime: 60-90 mins


More of the best board games

Some of the best board games are made for two. That's why Empire has rounded up the very best 2-player board games. Read the definitive list here for all the finest sci-fi adventuring, world-saving and feud-inducing 2-player games around.

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