Getting sucked into a really great video game is all well and good, but sometimes it’s wise to break this up by socialising with friendship groups in person. And what better way to do this than with any one of the best classic board games out there? After all, they’ve earned the ‘classic’ moniker for a reason. You might think you’ve already played most of these tabletop gems, but just in case, we’ve outlined eight of the very best classic board games. These have aged well, and are as playable today as they were whenever they were first invented, making them some of the best board games overall.
Not only that, but here you’ll find each of the best classic board games at the very lowest price from around the internet, thanks to our price checking software. Whether you’re looking for a classic board game suited to just you and one other person or as many as eight players, there’s sure to be something to meet your specific board game needs. Forget having to roll the dice when you buy (see what we did there?), each one of the following is a bona fide classic. And if you need more, we've also got the best card games for adults too.
Now up to its 5th edition, Catan places you and up to three other players firmly in the era of discoveries. Your job is to build roads and camps ready for the arrival of new settlers, bartering with other players for resources like ore, wool and brick that you can then use for your building projects. The more your settlements grow, the more points you earn. The first player to reach ten points wins. While the rules of Catan might sound simple, there’s an incredible amount of strategy required.
Catan is primarily a resource management game, meaning that it’s incredibly important to not leave yourself short while trying to make as much progress as possible. Dice rolls and card draws does see an element of chance dictate the success of players, but other aspects like intuition and strategic skill equally comes into play. All this feeds into why Catan is quite rightly considered to be a classic board game, only made better with the extension pack that ups the player count to 6.
Now here’s a classic board game that’s gone through many an iteration, releasing versions based on popular brands such as Game of Thrones and Metal Gear Solid – even managing to have a pretty decent video game adaptation way back on the Xbox 360. However way you prefer to play it, though, you’re always guaranteed a game filled with political intrigue and in-depth strategy with Risk. The end goal is to occupy every bit of territory present on the board’s map, elbowing out other players to become the ultimate conqueror.
Doing this involves invading territories that are occupied by other people, testing your luck with the roll of the dice to wager how successful you’ll likely be. It’s all about being willing to take the biggest risk; you won’t get anywhere by holding back. The base version of Risk actually comes with three additional game set rules in addition to this traditional style of play. However, all place emphasis on engaging battles that’s sure to test your real-life friendships.
Fancy yourself to be a good detective? It doesn’t matter how many episodes of Sherlock or Line of Duty you’ve watched, a classic board game worthy of testing this theory is the interminable Clue. As its name suggests, this original murder mystery game is all about collecting as many clues as possible, taking note of other player’s actions and responses to determine who killed the victim in what room and with which instrument.
This is one of the few classic board games made even better by the more players you have, as it suddenly forces everyone to be much more alert and up their game. If iconic characters like Colonel Mustard, Mrs. White and Reverend Green are all adopted, the pressure is on to see which one of your friends is the real killer. You’re free to take as many notes as possible while playing, dishing out the facts when the time comes to reveal the true culprit.
4. Trivial Pursuit
If general knowledge and quizzing is your thing, classic board games don’t get any better than Trivial Pursuit. Now, of course, this is absolutely one of those cases where there’s been so many different versions each based around a different movie series or TV show, but for this list we’ve stuck to the classic edition. As such, players can expect questions in six major categories: Geography, Entertainment, History, Arts & literature, Science & Nature and Sports & Leisure.
The rules are that each player must move around the board, answering questions they land on and collecting wedges to fill up their wheel. Once done players can move to the centre hub, all in the hopes of winning by answering one final question. Trivial Pursuit is simply the best classic board game to play if you’re a quiz show addict.
You should never underestimate the power of words. And proving this more so than any other classic board game is Boggle. It works primarily due to how simple it is, tasking players to make out as many words as possible from a jumbled-up 4x4 tray of 16 letters. You only have three minutes to search for any words, with those featuring the most letters rewarding players with the most points. It isn’t hard to quickly descent into mind games when playing Boggle, though, as if more than one player jots down the same word it’s immediately discredited.
Boggle has proven so popular over the years that the creators later introduced Junior and Travel versions suited to different player bases or styles of play. However, only in the classic version may you spot words as impressive as ‘inconsequentially’, ‘quadricentennials’, and ‘sesquicentennials’ during a game, helping you breeze past all other players on slim occasion.
6. Dungeons and Dragons
One of the more elaborate but infinitely fulfilling classic board game options on this list, Dungeons and Dragons has undergone a bit of a resurgence as of late. The one drawback of stepping into this world of wizards and witchcraft, however, is that it can require a lot of time to prep, so we’d recommend picking up the 5th edition starter set of Dungeons and Dragons which should help you avoid any unnecessary teething issues.
Included is everything you need to get started with your own tabletop RPG fantasy, such as specific adventures of varying lengths to suit either experienced players or first-timers. This robust starter set not only comes with character figures, a complete set of 42 dice and rulebook, but also the means to print off your own extras like character sheets, grid maps and dice roll e-book. There’s no excuse to miss out on this adventure.
Who would we be if we didn’t mention what many consider to be the best classic board game on this list? Monopoly has stood the test of time because it’s easy to learn yet also incredibly punishing at times – to the point that it’s become infamous for households to incorporate their own rules and quirks. Either way, hoovering up as many properties placed around the board as possible the bid to become the most profitable never ceases to be fun, both when played in any of the licenced versions or the classic original.
The latest edition of classic Monopoly features an all-new token line-up, letting you play as a rubber duck or T-rex in addition to traditional mainstays like the top hat. Making fast-paced property deals still remains as fun as it’s always been, even if you are at risk of being sent to jail if you throw three consecutive doubles in only one turn. Monopoly has almost been around for 100 years now, and we’re pretty sure it’ll stick around for 100 more.
The ultimate game of wits when it comes to board games might be Chess but coming in at a close second is Hasbro’s timeless Battleship. This is because Battleship is also all about thinking multiple steps ahead, trying to outsmart your opponent by guessing where they would have placed their fleet. Battleship has received multiple tie-in and licensed editions over the years, but you can’t go wrong with the classic vanilla version.
If you can forgive the awful 2012 movie version of Battleship starring Rhianna and Taylor Kitsch, it’s easy to pick up and play the modern carry-case version that makes it easy to take with you anywhere. Each game begins by having two players set up their fleet on an ocean grid, doing their best to hit every carrier, destroyer, submarine and patrol boat sitting on the opposing side. It’s the ultimate classic board for those craving stealth and suspense.