Top 5 Board Games to Stay Up All Night With

Board games are probably one of my favorite ways to connect with my friends. However, board games are a bit expensive, and getting the right one can be daunting. Should I pay $40 for the card building game or should I pay $20 for the social deduction game?

I am hoping this brief list will give you some help when deciding your next board game.

5. Fluxx

box sets of the card game Fluxx

Difficulty: Easy

Players: 2-6

Time: Short (3-20 Minutes)

Type: Card game, competitive

This is a simple and fun card game. The rules are so simple that game instructions suggest you just start playing the game (if there is someone else in the group has played) instead of reading through the rules. This game has a ton of different versions, and the base game is not necessary, as each deck is a full game and the game decks aren’t designed to mix. Each game deck is essentially the same game with a different theme and sometimes special card types. I, personally, recommend the Pirate Fluxxdeck or the Monty Python Fluxx deck.

The game rules and objectives not only change every game, but they can change just about any turn. However, no matter the rules or the objective of the game, there are always 5 main types of cards (and sometimes special cards depending on the deck):

  1. Rule cards

  2. Goal cards

  3. Action cards

  4. Keeper cards

  5. Creeper cards

At the beginning, the rules always start as draw one card and play one card, and you start with a hand of three cards. Depending on what you play each turn, you can change the rules of the game (sometimes to make it so you can draw more cards each turn or play more cards each turn), change or establish the goal of the game, play a keeper card (which combinations of these are what is listed on the goal card), or play a creeper card (which keeps you from winning the game).

This game is sure to create laughs, and is super quick! Though, it doesn’t quite have the same addictive qualities as some of the games below

4. Forbidden Island

cover of the board game Forbidden Island

Difficulty: Easy

Players: 2-4

Time: Short (15-20 minutes)

Type: Treasure hunt, board (kind of), cooperative

This is a great introduction to cooperative games. Not a lot of people have played cooperative board games before, as there aren’t many classic games that are cooperative, but this is really easy to understand.

Essentially your board is a collection of cards that represent different areas on an island. The island is slowly flooding, and you and your friends need to collect all the treasure on the island before it floods. To do this, you collect cards throughout the game that help you unlock the treasures.

It is good to start this game at a low difficulty just to understand the ropes, however in order for the game to be repayable you will most likely need to increase the difficulty of the game, otherwise it will get far too easy.

There is also other expansions for this game, like Forbidden Desert. Forbidden Desert is a little bit more complicated than Forbidden Island, however I think they have about the same entertainment value. Great to go round after round with the friends and fine tune your perfect strategy!

3. Small World

board for the game Small World

Difficulty: Moderate

Players: 2-5

Time: Depends on the group size. Ranges from 25 to 45 minutes.

Type: Board, land conquest, competitive

This game is never not a blast. Imagine Risk, but quicker, more light-hearted, and not about to destroy lifelong friendships. The setting of small world is a small ass world where you are competing with a number of races for the most territory. At the end of each turn, your territories are counted and you receive that number of victory tokens (race buffs can give you more). The goal of the game is to get the most victory tokens.

The weird twist of this game is that you don’t only play one race. Your race will explode out into the world, but, at some point, due to lack of forces you will be unable to spread out your race any further. At this point, you will have to put your race into decline in which you cannot control them anymore, and you choose a new race to explode into the world! Sometimes you can control a race for one turn, sometimes you can control a race for 4 turns. It just depends what your strategy is!

I have not found someone that doesn’t fall in love with this game. The last time I played this with someone, they immediately went out to buy the game the next day.

You can also play Small World on Steam!

2. Dominion

cover for the board game Dominion

Difficulty: Moderate-Hard

Players: 2-4 (can get more with expansions. Plus I find that the you can easily just add in players to this game with a few tweaks to rules)

Time: Long (30-60 minutes)

Type: Deck building, competitive

I feel for this game what many people seem to feel for Settlers of Catan. This is without a doubt my bread and butter game. In this game, you slowly build a deck from a selection of power up cards, victory cards, and money. With the deck you build, you can do bad ass combinations that are sure to devastate your opponents.

Though, this game is a little bit complex, hence why I am not even attempting to get into the rules of this game. However, the rules are logical and the cards themselves guide you through the game quite a bit.

This game has a ton of expansions, and I would be lying if I said I even knew what all of them are. Out of them, I have played the base game, Intrigue, Empires, and Seaside. I wasn’t a big fan of Seaside when I played it, but I love Intrigue and Empires! You can combine the expansion decks however you like, however the rules come with some recommendations for card combinations for newer players.

You can try out the base game for free online!

1. Secret Hitler

card from the social deduction game Secret Hitler

Difficulty: Super easy

Players: 5-10

Time: 10-30 minutes (really just depends how much you and your friends want to talk)

Type: Social deduction, teams (competitive and cooperative)

Imagine mafia, like the game you play around a campfire, but simpler. This is easily my favorite game to play with my friends. It is a social deduction game so the most important aspect of the game is how you interact with the people you are playing with. At the beginning of the game, everyone is assigned a party affiliation (either fascist or liberal), and one of the fascists is also Hitler. At no point in the game are you allowed to show people the cards you were assigned, but you can tell them anything you want. However, fascists know who the other fascists are.

You are not disallowed from sharing any kind of information you may know with other players, but at no point could you ever fully know if a person is lying or not. The game progresses by the President (goes around the table one by one) and the Chancellor (nominated by the president and then voted on by everyone at the table) choosing policy cards. There are only two types of policy cards: fascist or liberal. There are a few ways teams can win, but the objective of the game is to get as many of your alignment policy cards enacted as possible.

Essentially everyone poses as a liberal and you try to figure out who the fascists are based on cards that are being played and what the characters are saying.

You can play for free by getting the game rules and printing out these cards on the game creators website. Thank you, Goat, Wolf, and Cabbage!

Like this post? Check out what my top favorite pinball games are!

Meet the Author : John Knetemann

John Knetemann smiling in a suit

From Denver, Colorado. Educated in Rapid City, South Dakota. Living in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

The most epic and daring content writer you will find on the east side of the Amstel... And sometimes the west side too. I am from the land of mountains, but now live in the land of very small hills and canals. Truly a native of the internet, I work with companies to build adventurous content, engaging social media identities, and addictively informative email campaigns.

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