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Best Board Games for Adults – Strategy

The best list of board games for adults that take strategy. I love board games! All types but want to dive into games about strategy today.

I will tell you right now that this list is based off o me liking games like Risk, Catan, and Ticket to Ride. If you like these games then keep reading.

I gathered this list of games that are similar and you may not have heard about yet. Some are card games and some are the best board games I have ever played. Games for everyone!

I include an Amazon review of each game mentioned as well. So you can hear another person’s perspective too!

This post does contain affiliate links and I may earn a small commission if you choose to make a purchase. I promise to put it towards a fun new game to review for you though!

Best Board Games for Adults

best board games box

I am going to start off the list with Puerto Rico. The game that has won the most awards and has the best reviews. Giving you hours and hours of fun and each game played is different. They say it is one of the best board games for adults.

Product Description

The most critically acclaimed board game of the last twenty years, Puerto Rico continues to wow people with its brilliant mechanics. Each player utilizes different roles -mayor, captain, settler, trader, prospector, craftsman, or builder to score the most victory points with their colony. Players can act on every turn of the game, allowing them to choose between shipping goods for points or building an impressive city. Players must manage their colonists, erect a variety of buildings, build up their plantation, and sell or ship goods. With dozens of options, Puerto Rico is a streamlined game that can be played in about an hour and handles up to five players.

From the Manufacturer

The most critically acclaimed board game of the last twenty years, Puerto Rico continues to wow people with its brilliant mechanics. Each player utilizes different roles -mayor, captain, settler, trader, prospector, craftsman, or builder to score the most victory points with their colony. Players can act on every turn of the game, allowing them to choose between shipping goods for points or building an impressive city. Players must manage their colonists, erect a variety of buildings, build up their plantation, and sell or ship goods. With dozens of options, Puerto Rico is a streamlined game that can be played in about an hour and handles up to five players.

Take a look at this review from Amazon. I think it sums it up perfectly!

Being fans of The Settlers of Catan, Power Grid, and Ticket to Ride, we enjoy this game as well. However, this is a game with far more intricate strategy. It’s also a game requiring more time, both to play and to set up.

Puerto Rico has a variety of ways in which to play. You can produce a lot of goods, build a lot of buildings, etc. Each way provides a different tactic to victory. It will take several tries before you find a tactic that works to your liking. And much of you choice of path will be dictated by your opponents’ paths. Not every building, for example, is available in sufficient quantity for everyone to buy.

Puerto Rico also has far more pieces than other similar titles. Lots of setup is required, probably about twice what a game of Settlers requires, and far more than for a game of Ticket.

Puerto Rico, for good or bad depending on your preferences, is also a fairly long game to play. As part of the variety of strategies I mentioned above, each round and player’s turn tends to involve some thought. As such, particularly if you play with people who like to take their time, this can extend a single game well past the hour mark. I think we typically run about an hour and a half. So if you like a more involved game, this is good, if you like a quick game (like I think Ticket is), then Puerto Rico (with its set up and play time) might be too long.

M.Barland review on Amazon

List of Strategy Games

It boggles me that after reading a ton of blogs and trying to find new games to play all the time that people do not include this on their lists. The Farming Game is one of my favorites!

This game is not the most complicated strategy game but there is a bit of strategy to it.

Which crops should you buy first? Or should you buy cattle? But be careful you may end up killing all of your cows on your ranch.

Product description

Whether you’re a real farmer or an urban dweller, you’ll find The Farming Game is an accurate description of the business risks and gambles of farming. Players begin the game with 5,000 money in debt with 20 acres of inherited farmland. As players plant crops and sell livestock, they slowly work their way to success…that is if the elements cooperate. Farming has never been this much fun. For 2 to 6 players ages 10 and up.

Amazon.com
More than 350,000 copies of The Farming Game (“The Game Invented on the Seat of a Tractor”) have been sold, and this 20th-anniversary edition introduces a new generation to the joys of muck and milking. Every player starts the game with 20 inherited acres and moves through the months (i.e., around the board) trying to build the farm into an independent, successful concern that will feed the whole family. A fun game, it also has a serious, educational side–having been invented by George Rohrbacher, a farmer in Washington State’s Yakima Valley, who thought it up while trying to figure out how to make enough cash to hang on to his family farm. Up to six players, ages 10 to adult. –Richard Farr

Review from Amazon that helps showcase the game a bit more. He loves the game as much as I do!

When a friend introduced me to The Farming Game, I was tickled to see all of the names on the board came from the area of Washington State where I raised my kids. (Too bad they don’t provide a pronunciation guide! But then, it was fun teaching folks who had played the game for years how to say the town and mountain names properly.)

Imagine playing monopoly where you’re not aiming to own the bank; instead you’re shooting for a successful planting or cattle season. It’s a lot of fun, and the obstacles and issues you have to deal with in the play are very, very real for farmers in that part of the country. It’s not easy to fight the weather, the bugs, the diseases, the market crashes and more and come out on top. Sometimes you win by investing in cattle, sometimes fruit, sometimes ground crops. Often you just learn why farmers say they are “land rich and dirt poor.”

At first glance, the rules are rather daunting, but if you just start playing, you get the swing of it quickly enough. I’d say it takes a little more thought than monopoly, but not much.

My wife and I played the game recently with some friends. The male half of this couple told us he doesn’t particularly like board games. But after one evening of play (he was the cattle baron in the group… risky, but he pulled it off), they ordered FOUR games to hand out to family and friends as Christmas gifts. I sent one off to my daughter and her family, too.

Spencer Thomas Review on Amazon

If you love Catan you will love this version. A Game of Thrones Catan. It is the same concept but the board and pieces are all different. This is a super fun game even if you aren’t into Game of Thornes.

Part of it is different from the regular game because all players must guard the wall from the wildlings. And if you dont they will breach the wall and you can lose the whole game.

Giants, climbers, and ax men oh my!

Product Description

The Brothers of the Night’s Watch recognize you as a natural leader as you struggle for promotion within their ranks. You hope to gain recognition by improving infrastructure in the area south of the Wall known as the Gift. Drawing sustenance from this unforgiving landscape offers enough challenges, but you must also man and defend the Wall against the onslaught of Wildlings fighting their way into Westeros to escape the horrors that awaken in the North. Build, defend, and rise above your brothers to become the new Lord Commander. But be wary—the north holds many dangers, and winter is coming.

Review of the game from Amazon:

The new game play is a really fun twist on classic Catan. It has some similarities to Cities and Knights, but in my opinion Game of Thrones is a better, faster game. It requires zero knowledge of the books or the show to play, but fans of the franchise will have a little better understanding of the context behind the gameplay. There a few little tweaks I’d like to see in future iterations, but overall it’s an awesome game. It’s definitely replaced regular Catan in our house.

Pros: The new board and pieces look amazing (you can use the board to play regular Catan too, which I love). Also, the full-size resource and development cards are a huge improvement over the smaller cards of regular Catan. The addition of character cards also adds a fun new angle, and there are many more strategies to win as a result.

Things to tweak: There’s a typo on the cards each player uses to organize pieces (it says “Keep” twice, in two places, where one should say “Guard”). Not a dealbreaker, I hope they issue replacements or something. I also hope they add more character cards or change the rules around a few of them. We’ve played more than a dozen games, and several characters are just too low-value to ever use / some are a little too powerful and get snatched up a little too quickly. Also, the blue and the black pieces are just a little too close; it would help if the blue was lighter or some other color altogether. Last, if the Wall were clear plastic instead of grey, it would help all players be able to see the Wildlings adding up on the other side. None of these are major issues, though–just things that I hope get improved over time.

Final verdict: SO MUCH FUN! A must-have for any fan of Catan.

Review from Josh W on Amazon

Speaking of Game of Thrones they have a great Game of Thrones board game as well. This is a must if you area fan of the show!

Product Description

King Robert Baratheon is dead, and the lands of Westeros brace for battle. Can you claim the Iron Throne? Designed for ages 14 and up, A Game of Thrones: The Board Game Second Edition is a classic game of warfare, diplomacy, and intrigue for three to six players. Taking control of the well-known characters from George R.R. Martin’s beloved fantasy series, players must fight for dominance of the realm. Will you take power through force, coerce your way onto the throne with persuasive speeches, or rally the townsfolk to your side? With opportunities for strategic planning, masterful diplomacy, and clever card play, this game gives you a host of ways to spread your influence over Westeros.

Claim the Iron Throne

Based on the bestselling fantasy novels by George R.R. Martin (now a hit HBO series), A Game of Thrones: The Board Game draws players into a war-torn world of sun-scorched sands, lush forests, and chilling northlands. Each player takes control of one of six Great Houses of Westeros, then sets out on an epic campaign of combat and politics to secure total dominance.

This board game includes clear, detailed rules to guide you through setup and gameplay. Play begins when each person receives an army of footmen, knights, siege engines and ship units as well as a set of order tokens and other necessary components. Each player also receives a deck of unique house cards, which represent important characters from A Song of Ice and Fire and are used as leaders in battles against rival houses.

Vibrant Art and Intricate Detailing

A Game of Thrones: The Board Game captures the most memorable elements of George R.R. Martin’s popular series. The detailed board represents an accurate map of Westeros, and the tokens and cards convey many of its most significant locations and characters. Attractive marbled plastic figures shaped as footmen, knights, ships, and siege engines display your military might to the realm while contributing to the game’s overall medieval aesthetic.

The game board is enhanced with figures, battle cards, tokens, and overlays.

Raise Your House to Dominance

Gameplay proceeds over the course of ten rounds, after which the player who has claimed the most areas containing castles or strongholds is declared the winner. If at any time throughout the game a player controls seven such areas, that player may immediately claim victory.

Each round in the game is made up of three phases: the Westeros Phase, the Planning Phase, and the Action Phase. The Westeros Phase represents special events and the day-to-day activities in Westeros. In the Planning Phase, players secretly assign orders to all of their units. This portion of the game emphasizes diplomacy and deduction. Can players trust their so-called allies, or is a timely betrayal in the making? Finally, during the Action Phase, orders are revealed, alliances crumble, and fierce battles decide the players’ fates.

The reviews on this game are very interesting. Definitely a tougher game but well worth it!

This was a fantastic board game but be warned… it is a very in-depth board game as well. I love complex and strategic games where players have to think through all their options and adjust their strategies as the game changes. This game definitely delivers on that!

As warned above, this game is very in-depth and complex. The rule book can appear very scary and large compared to most other games. Do not expect this game to be a quick or simple game. My recommendation would be to read the rule book thoroughly and watch the video on Youtube by Fantasy Flight Games on how to play. Teaching the game to new people is always the hardest part.

But, once you start to play the game flows very smoothly. The first few turns may be a bit rough but once everyone understands the mechanics, the game really picks up and becomes a ton of fun. Alliances are made, bets are cast, and battles are fought.

However, I will have to say that the game plays best with 5 to 6 players. With 5 to 6 people, there are less advantages for the south players and the game really becomes a game of diplomacy, strategy, and deal-making/breaking. I have played two games (one with 4 players and one with 5 players) and the 5 player game was the most enjoyable. The most fun is going into a backroom with a potential ally and planning out your intricate strategy and hoping your opponents can’t counter. Additionally, no prior knowledge of Game of Thrones is needed. Reading the books or watching the show certainly adds flavor to the game but is not needed.

Although there are some minor flaws, the game is by far one of the best I’ve ever played. It is deep, complex, strategical, and very fun. I would definitely recommend!

Ed Wu on Amazon

Classic Games Too

Since that game is a little bit trickier here’s a fun card game that is an easy game to play but hours of fun! Not technically best board games because it’s a card game. Mille Bornes or Mille Bournes (French) was originally printed in french and there are multiple versions to play. You can play single player or with teams, you can choose.
Product description

Mille Bornes is the classic French auto racing game. Be the first player to reach 1000 miles! But lookout for the road hazards! This edition comes in a nice storage/collectors tin.


Rio Grande Games Dominion game is just one of the many versions of this game. It will instantly be a favorite and you will want all of the other versions.

Product Description

Dominion is a deck-building card game created by Donald X. Vaccarino and published by Rio Grande Games. Each player uses a separate deck of cards and draw their hands from their own decks, not others’. Players use the cards in their hands to either perform actions or buy select cards from a common pool of card stacks.

If you are into any sort of card or board games at all (and even if you are not), this is a game to add to the collection! This game is simply addicting! I first found out about this game by going to a friend’s house and just had to have a set of my own. With all of the expansions this game has, there is no end to the replay value of this game. This game is the BASIC set and only comes with the basic 25 kingdom cards and the other required cards (treasure cards and victory cards). This set alone is a great way to get introduced to the game and there are no difficult mechanics to learn with this set. This game is a deck building game. This means that each player (2-4 for just this set) starts with the same 10 cards and buys cards to build their deck. Each player then uses their deck to purchase victory cards that give them victory points. The player with the most victory points at the end of the game wins. This game has a small learning curve, but once players understand how to play, the confusion will only come from some cards in expansions. Dominion makes it easy to understand the cards as you just follow their instructions from top to bottom when the card is played. If there is any confusion on a card, the instruction manuals explain very well how each card functions. This base set is a great starting point for those wanting to get into the game and the possibilities are endless when expansions are purchased. I would recommend this to anyone willing to learn a game and warn those of you that do: you will purchase all of the expansions before long.


Paperback. This game is pretty cool. It’s not a game that has a ton of pieces and a lot of set up unlike some of the ones I mentioned above. This one is all about using your brain but there’s a strategy to it too.

How big of a word can you spell?

Product Description

Paperback is a card game where players create words using individual letters. The gameplay is for 2-5 players and typically takes 45 minutes. To play, you score words in order to buy better letters with cool abilities. But scoring won’t win the game – you must finish novels to make it as a paperback writer!

Loooooooooove it!! My husband and I like to play board games but we are a bit particular/picky about what we play. We like to invest in a game we know will be worth the money to play over and over and not just sit collecting dust on a shelf. THIS GAME ROCKS and is def. worth the money if you love playing word games/solving puzzles/riddles.

We have played it 5 times already and we just got it in the mail a couple of days ago. We played some relatively short games but haha, we had one game last a couple of hours. There are many ways you can play it and strategies you can use/aim for that can either shorten or extend the play, you can make it simple or complex, lots of options. We used a dictionary to look up words that popped to our minds just to double-check our selves. Having a calculator/notepad on hand to add up your totals at the end is good if you suck at math as I do.

There are different variations/cards you get to add into the game or not and so we haven’t played it yet all the possible ways you can but are looking forward to doing so. And just a note as well, we have one of those roll-up neoprene like game mats that’s about 12″ x 24″ and the set up of all the cards fits perfectly on it!

We are getting wood cardholders as well to hold our cards in to make it easier to look at all the cards in your hand and move them around to find possible words. So if you really get into this game you may be like us and want to get something like that too.

The end result though is this game is fun, different, has a lot of variety of ways of playing it and the duration of play can go from short to long. And even better, comes in a nice sturdy compact box that doesn’t take up a lot of space!

Review from Amazon page.

There is another version that is said to be even better too! Hardback. Make sure to check them both out!


Leder Games Root is probably one of the most linked games I could find out there. So I wanted to try it so bad!

It is not an easy game. The set up takes a while too. But doesn’t it make the game even more rewarding?

Product Description

Find adventure in a marvelous asymmetric game. Root provides limitless replay value as you and your friends explore the unique factions all wanting to rule a fantastic forest kingdom. Play as the: Marquise de-cat: dominate the woods, extracting its riches and policing its inhabitants. Woodland Alliance: gather supporters and coordinate revolts against the ruling regime. Eyrie dynasties: regain control of the woods while keeping your squabbling court at bay. Vagabond: seek fame and fortune as you forge alliances and rivalries with the other players. Each faction has its own play style and paths to victory, providing an immersive Game experience you will want to play again and again.

Review on Amazon

It’s about the empire of the Marquess de Cat, which has just taken over the forest, doing battle with the Eyrie Clans of birds who’re trying to restore their power while facing internal collapse. Except it’s also about the Woodland Alliance which is starting a revolution against them both. And about the Vagabond who’s wandering around doing odd jobs and helping the other factions. And with the (first) expansion, it’s also about a Lizard Cult and the capitalist otters of the River Company. It’s Gambit Pileup, the Game, where everybody’s schemes collide.

Every faction plays differently and has different ways to get victory points, and it’s possible to claim certain special goals. I did pretty badly as the Alliance, spreading unrest throughout the forest and launching one successful uprising and a raid but never establishing a second base or building items besides a crossbow. Meanwhile there were giant armies of cats and birds fighting each other. The Vagabond was absent (3-player game), so we didn’t get to see his gameplay, but it involves collecting items made by the other players and then using them to complete quests like “give a speech” or “fight some bandits”. The cats rely on building structures to get more stuff, while the birds make increasingly bold Decrees to take more and more actions but inevitably crash at some point. In a second playthrough I was the Vagabond playing against the cats and birds, finding myself playing kingmaker and attacking both to stop either from winning. I finally gained enough gadgets to invoke a devastating one-beaver uprising that someone on BoardGameGeek compared to that supervillain with the doom gauntlet. So I’ve had two very different experiences already, and bought the game.

It’s a little intimidating to get started, but the current edition comes with not just a rulebook and a How To Play booklet but an extra sheet that walks you through two full turns. I see that BGG has a printable rulesheet to let you play solo against the cats even without owning the expansion.

Seemed like fun despite the tricky intro process. Because there are asymmetric goals, I don’t greatly mind that it’s focused on an abstract notion of VPs. I can kind of feel like I’m doing something interesting and creating some sort of story, even if I’m not winning. The fact that each side has different rules isn’t too hard to understand, because there are common features like crafting and movement that can help you understand other factions, and cards to remind you what the others are trying to do.

The board and pieces are well made and pleasant, I should add. Deceptively cute for what is potentially a brutal game.

Would I recommend this to people new to modern board games, ie. people who’ve never heard of Settlers or Pandemic or Dominion or Splendor? No, I’d probably start them off with something a bit simpler. If someone like that does want to play, I suggest starting them off with the cats. It’s definitely worth playing if you’re familiar with modern gaming though!

Review from Amazon

Another really fun but intense game is Scythe. I dare you to try it!

It is a time of unrest in 1920S Europa. The ashes from the first great war still darken the snow. The capitalistic city-state known simply as “the factory,” which fueled the war with heavily armored Mechs, has closed its doors, drawing the attention of several nearby countries. Scythe is a board game set in an alternate-history 1920S period. It is a time of farming and war, broken hearts and rusted gears, innovation, and Valor. In scythe, each player represents a fallen leader attempting to restore their honor and lead their faction to power in Eastern Europa. Players conquer territory, enlist new recruits, reap resources, gain villagers, build structures, and activate monstrous Mech.

A time of farming and war, broken hearts and rusted gears, innovation, and valor.

It is a time of unrest in 1920s Europa. The ashes from the first great war still darken the snow. The capitalistic city-state known simply as ‘The Factory,’ which fueled the war with heavily armored mechs, has closed its doors, drawing the attention of several nearby countries.

Other than each player’s individual hidden objective cards, the only elements of luck are encounter cards that players will draw as they interact with the citizens of newly explored lands and combat cards that give you a temporary boost in combat. Combat is also driven by choices, not luck or randomness.

The longest review ever but it really showcases the game:

Behold!! Gaze in amazement, as you have stumbled upon the greatest board game, in all the ages! Prepare yourself to be immersed in a glorious steam-punk reality of endless wonder! You my friend, are about to embark on the intrepid journey that is…. Scythe!! With the expansion pack, choose from 7 different factions, and 7 different game boards to set forth on your quest of glory! Boost your defenses, conquer your surrounding land, and take no prisoners from your enemies!

I’ve currently played well over 100 games of scythe, which probably clocks in close to 150 hours of total game time. I can honestly say it is THE most fun board game I’ve played, and I’m still not tired of it. Many other board games I will vouch for as being amazing, and I’ve played them several times over, but at some point, even those games become a little stale, and the gameplay itself becomes boiled down to a science. Such is not the case with scythe. It’s got just enough random elements to keep it fresh and new every time you play it, without making it so random that you have no control over the outcome. It’s the perfect blend. And now with its most recent expansion “Wind Gambits” the game has evolved anymore. But for newcomers, don’t let the expansion intimidate you. I highly recommend playing the base game of Scythe for all it’s worth (which is a TON) before worrying about playing with the expansion. I am an avid board gamer, and this is truly a one of a kind game that I have yet to become bored with, and I have yet to dice up into a science. Every single game will have you attempting new strategies, and exploring new options to declare yourself the victor. One of the most exciting parts of Scythe is that when the game ends, rarely will there ever be a distinct winner before the final points have been carefully calculated. There is a Scythe app on iOS and Android that I highly recommend downloading for deciding factions at the beginning of the game, and tallying score at the end.

Without going into game play detail (I’ll leave that to the rulebook) What I can say is that Scythe is, on the surface, a very complex game, but once you get your feet wet and play it, it really isn’t too terrifying to learn. There’s only so much you can do per turn, and once you run through it a few times, you begin to see the gears of the game click and turn, and you’ll have a well running engine of a faction in no time! If you’re just starting out with a group of people who are also new to the game, you’re going to have your questions and missteps along the way where you might find you weren’t playing certain rules down to their very exact intent, but this is perfectly fine. A lot of the fun in Scythe is discovering all the things you missed, or even may have been doing incorrectly, and changing up your game for the next time.

For the most part, Scythe is an incredibly balanced game. If you get into a rhythm of playing with a core group of people, you’ll start to realize the few imbalances it has *cough* Industrial Rusviet *cough* and learn to play around them. Again, figuring out what each faction is good at, how to make it work with your unique play mat, and formulate the best plan of attack, are just a few of the things that make Scythe such an immersive and brilliant game that will have you wanting to re-rack the game again and again. Hour and half to two-hour sessions seem like mere minutes when you really start grasp how fun the game is.

If I had one gripe about the game, it would be the amount of players that can play. It’s nice that Scythe can include 7 players, especially if you have a lot of board-game savvy friends who all want to be included. But be warned! 6 or 7-player games of Scythe tend to drag on, and when that happens, more often than not, one if not more people will lose interest, and thus become unenthused with the game. And nothing kills the fun of a game, like some one who is currently playing the game and not giving a crap about it. So if you have 6 or 7 brave souls willing to stick it out, it’s best that all parties involved have a vast knowledge of the game, and indeed the actually WANT to play, knowing full well what they are signing up for. The sweet spot for Scythe, seems to be around the 4-5 player mark. The games are long enough that you don’t feel cheated out of an epic board game experience, but short enough that the ADD in your friends doesn’t start to show itself, and manifest into playing candy crush on their phones in between turns.

Scythe is a massively wonderful game of strategy that I would absolutely suggest to any board game enthusiast looking to play one of the greatest games of all time. If new to board games, I would suggest watching several Scythe tutorials on the internet or playing with some one who has played before and has a good concept of the game. Again, it’s complex, but not so much that I would say anyone wanting to learn the game, wouldn’t be able to, regardless of their prior knowledge of board games. If you’re willing to invest a little time to learn this game, you won’t be disappointed!!

Luke Marrs review on Amazon


I hope this set of games will supply you will hours and hours of fun with your friends and family. Please please please comment with any other cool games I need to try. I love trying new games and want to hear your thoughts on them as well!

If you’re up for it I would love for you to pin this post for later too by hovering over an image and clicking the icon or sharing it below. Thanks so much! Happy gaming!

Check out this video from Youtube playing Catan Brotherhood of the Knights linked above!

strategy games for adults

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