22 Best Board Games for Adults

Mychelle Blake
A group of friends play board games on the floor indoors

When you're looking for a fun and interesting activity for a grown-up get together, consider planning an evening of playing board games for adults. Playing board games is a popular pastime for many adults, for both quiet evenings and home and party activities.

Favorite Board Games for Adults

There are many board games that adults can enjoy. Some of the most popular choices are detailed below.

Guesstures

Described as a game of split-second charades, Guesstures players select cards that have words written on them and then try to convey the term to the other players strictly through gestures. The whole thing is timed, which adds extra excitement to the game. Players attempt to mime and guess four words in just a few seconds. The action is timed with the "mimer-timer" that is included with the game. The game gets 4.3 out of 5 stars from Amazon reviewers and is an Amazon's Choice product.

Guesstures Game Specifics

  • This game works for groups of all sizes and is ideal for large gatherings with at least four or more people.
  • It's well suited to teams of several players.
  • A game takes about 30 to 45 minutes to play.
  • It's very easy to learn so is accessible to people who don't regularly play board games.

Pictionary

Pictionary can be great fun for family game night, as well as for a grown-ups only occasion. Board Game Geek notes that Pictionary is now considered a "classic on the party game scene." Players pull cards that have words or phrases on them and then attempt to draw pictures that represent what is on the card. The other players attempt to guess what the image represents.

Pictionary Game Specifics

  • The game is designed to be played with teams and you'll have more fun setting up fewer teams with more players compared to many, smaller-size teams.
  • A game of Pictionary takes about an hour to play, though it may take longer with more players involved.
  • For a video of how fun a game of Pictionary can be, check out the great scene in the 1989 movie When Harry Met Sally starring Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal. The scene depicts a group of thirty-something New Yorkers passing an afternoon playing the game.

Scattergories

Scattergories is a fast-paced thinking game that can be great fun for adults. Players roll a die that has 20 sides, each one featuring a different letter. If you roll a "G," you have to come up with a word that starts with the letter "G" for as many of the game's twelve different categories as you can within three minutes. The game is an Amazon's Choice product with an average reviewer score of 4.7 out of 5, which is impressive considering the game has over 1,400 reviews.

Scattergories Game Specifics

  • The ideal number of players is between two and six, although larger groups can play.
  • It's designed to be played with teams.
  • An average round lasts three minutes and a full game can last as long as your group wants to keep playing.

Trivial Pursuit Master Edition

The Master Edition of Trivial Pursuit is great fun for the generation of grownups who love to display their trivia chops. This is a super choice for get-togethers for groups of adult friends. It's an Amazon Choice product with an average review of 4.1 out of 5 stars.

Trivial Pursuit Game Specifics

  • The game is designed for up to six players with only pieces for six people. If you have more, you can set up teams to share a piece on the game board.
  • A typical game takes about 90 minutes, but if you are short on time, you can use the "fast" version of the rules. In this case rather than waiting to land on a category to win that piece, you can win a piece on for any category on any category.
  • You also have the choice to use the timer or not based on how quickly you want to play and how much you want to up the challenge.
  • If you love the game and want more, Trivial Pursuit comes in several other "specific editions" such as Trivial Pursuit Harry Potter and Trivial Pursuit 2000s.

Ticket to Ride

This is a popular game based on the book Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne. Gear Hungry calls it on their number one choice of best games for adults. The game involves building railway routes across the country and the person who builds the longest continuous track is the winner. It also gets a high rating of 9.5 out of 10 from Board Game Geek.

Ticket to Ride Game Specifics

  • The game is designed for between two and five players
  • A typical game takes between a half hour to a full hour to play.
  • If you enjoy the game, you can also by one of several expansion packs such as USA 1910, Nordic Countries, and The Heart of Africa.

Monopoly Games of Thrones

New York Magazine picks the Game of Thrones version of Monopoly as the best themed board game for adults. Any adult who loves the books and television show will recognize the names of familiar places replacing the traditional game board spots for Monopoly. The game cards also have a twist and involve more nefarious activities toward other players, exemplifying the political intrigue of the show.

Monopoly Game of Thrones Game Specifics

  • One of the unique features of the game is that the popular show theme song plays in the packaging.
  • Like traditional Monopoly, it's designed for two to eight players. The more players the harder the game will be.
  • Monopoly tends to be a longer game to play, with the average time lasting about two hours. It can take much longer though depending on how you play and the number of players.

Cards Against Humanity

Bustle adds the game Card Against Humanity to their list of the most popular adult board games. They note that is has received over 36,000 reviews on Amazon which speaks to the enthusiasm for the game. Cards Against Humanity describes itself as a game for "horrible people" where players must answer a series of hilarious and often crude questions.

Cards Against Humanity Game Specifics

  • If you enjoy the base game, there are many expansion packs available, all of which are of an adult nature. These include the Period Pack, Weed Pack and the Geek Pack.
  • There's no set amount of people who can play the game, but it's recommended for about six to eight players for the best experience.
  • A round can last about half an hour so it's a good choice if your group is short on time.

Azul

This beautiful game features colorfully patterned Portuguese tiles which must be placed to gather duplicates while keeping other players from doing the same. Popular Mechanics noted Azul as one of its best new board games of the year. Board Game Geek also gives it a high 7.9 rating, and it's won a long list of game awards.

Azul Game Specifics

  • The game is made for two to four players
  • You can expect Azul to take about 30 to 45 minutes to play.
  • It's a game with very simple rules so it's a good choice for someone not used to more elaborate games.

Exploding Kittens

The party information site Play Party Plan picks Exploding Kittens as one of their top board games for adult parties. The game uses a deck of silly cards sure to amuse the players and moves quickly. The game has simple rules where players keep pulling cards until you pull the exploding kitten card and are eliminated. The winner is the last person who hasn't exploded.

Exploding Kittens Game Specifics

  • Exploding Kittens is meant for two to five players but there's an expansion pack called Imploding Kittens that's designed to add more players.
  • You can also buy an extra deck and play with up to nine people comfortably.
  • The game moves quickly and you can play a round in about 15 minutes.
  • There's a NSFW version for a definite adults-only game.
  • Exploding Kittens is so popular, it has the distinction of being the project that received the most support by Kickstarter.

Fallout

Not everyone wants to play their board games with other people. If you're looking to enjoy some quiet time stretching your brain. Games Radar recommends the Fallout game. Based on the popular video game series, players move through the country after a nuclear apocalypse and gain points through quests.

Fallout Game Specifics

  • You enjoy the game as a single player, but if you prefer to play with friends, the game can easily accommodate up to four players.
  • A game of Fallout can take some time with a typical round lasting about two hours or more.

Settlers of Catan

Good Housekeeping included Settlers of Catan as their first choice of the best board games for adults. The game has won numerous awards and is very popular with board game enthusiasts. Board Game Quest gave it a five out of five review for its strategic gameplay, simple rules and great replay value. It also gets five out of five stars from over 200 reviews on Target. The object of the game is to settle an island through strategically trading and using resources.

Settlers of Catan Game Specifics

Scythe

Scythe has received numerous international awards and a high 8.3 rating from Board Game Geek. Players must navigate their way through an alternate history scenario with a steampunk theme. The game features beautifully designed cards that any adult will appreciate. It's not a good entry into board games for the casual player has the rules are extensive and it requires a love of strategic thinking.

Scythe Game Specifics

Red Dragon Inn

This is a fun game set in a fantasy setting. The game centers around an inn where players gamble, drink and have a fun time. The winner is the last person to stay sober. Adults can drink along with the game to add some extra party fun to the gameplay. The Improb website includes Red Dragon Inn in its list to top board games for adults.

Red Dragon Inn Game Specifics

Scrabble

One of the most enduring and popular games of all times, Scrabble is a flexible game that can increase with complexity depending on the age range of the players. While it's a great game to teach children word skills, adults can really test the boundaries of their vocabulary knowledge. Scrabble is so popular that it's been sold in over 120 countries and is available in 29 languages.

Scrabble Game Specifics

  • The game can be played by two to four players, although you can certainly play in teams if you have more than four players.
  • A game can take about an hour to play.
  • There are many variations of the game such as Scrabble Blast and Scrabble Slam.

Codenames

Codenames is one of the best board games for adults according to Heavy.com. It also gets a five star rating from over 350 reviewers on Target.com. It's a great party games using three set of cards. Two teams of players follow a spy theme where they compete to find their spy agent contact.

Codenames Game Specifics

  • The game is set up for two to eight players.
  • Gameplay is short, with an average game taking about 15 to 20 minutes.

Loaded Questions

If you're looking for a great grown-up party game, Loaded Questions may be the perfect solution. With this game, you'll have a great time finding out how well you know your friends, family, and party guests. Each player writes down answers to the same question, and the player whose turn it is gets to advance based on correctly guessing who gave each response.

Loaded Questions Game Specifics

  • The game is best played by four to six players although you can play with more if you have a larger group.
  • It's a good choice for immediate play as the rules are very simple.
  • The average game takes about 45 minutes to play.

Carcassonne

Carcassonne is one of Digital Trends' picks for one of the best adult board games. The game involves placing tiles down to develop a town in a medieval setting. The game rules are relatively easy so beginning players can enjoy it right away along with experienced ones.

Carcassonne Game Specifics

  • The game is designed for two to five players.
  • A round of gameplay takes about 35 to 45 minutes.
  • The game has two expansions, The River and The Abbott, which now come bundled with the base version.

Apples to Apples

This is a fun game for parties that adults will love. Better Homes and Gardens includes it on their list of the best board game choices for adults. Players use a deck of 500 cards with nouns and adjectives on them. Players have to pick one of their cards that best matches a "judge" card. The more people play, the more fun Apples to Apples can be.

Apples to Apples Game Specifics

Telestrations After Dark

Telestrations is a popular party game and "After Dark" is the adults-only version. The base game is one of the most popular party games and it's on Hobby Lark's list of the best adult board games. Each player gets a small sketchbook and players need to draw as part of the game play. It's a very funny game that is a hit with parties and the larger the group the better.

Telestrations Game Specifics

  • The game is designed for four to eight players and the more players you have the more fun the game will be.
  • Rounds are short, running about 15 minutes each.
  • If you love the adult version, you can also buy the family friendly original game.

Pandemic

Wirecutter includes Pandemic on its list of best games for adults who are just starting to get involved with board games. The theme of the game is a race to stop a global pandemic. The game involves decks of cards which can help or harm the efforts to end the epidemics. The first player to successfully end the pandemic wins. The unique difference about Pandemic compared to other board games is the focus on player cooperation rather than competition. Pandemic gets a 7.6 out of 10 rating from Board Game Geek and has also won numerous awards.

Pandemic Game Specifics

  • The game is made for two to four players.
  • A game can last between 45 minutes to an hour.
  • There are different levels of difficulty so experienced players can make the gameplay more challenging.
  • There are several expansions as well as additional scenarios that you can download from the game manufacturer's website.

Disturbed Friends

Billed the "worst game ever made" by the manufacturer, this is a very funny party card game that's made for people who enjoy offensive humor. Players are given scenarios and need to decide how their friends would handle them. It's a silly game made for parties and it's definitely a mature, adults-only game. It's an Amazon's Choice product and gets a 4.1 out of 5 star rating on Amazon from over 1,400 reviewers.

Disturbed Friends Game Specifics

  • The game is designed for at least four or more players.
  • A round of the game can take between 20 and 4 minutes.
  • There are several expansion packs and one, the Suicide Pack, is available from the manufacturer's website as retailer Amazon.com won't carry it.
  • For a rowdy party option, the Backyard Games site includes a drinking game version of Disturbed Friends.

Fun With Board Games for Adults

Each of these games, along with many others, can provide hours of fun and entertainment for grown-ups. The next time you're selecting a party theme, give some thought to planning an evening of fun and board games for you and your friends. You just might start a new tradition for your social circle.

22 Best Board Games for Adults