The 8 Best Board Games for Adults to Buy in 2018

Break one of these out for a competitive night of fun

Happy friends playing cross and section game in a cafe.
BraunS / Getty Images

Board games aren't just for kids, these classics are must for any household to bust out when the mood strikes — perhaps for game night with friends or something else besides binge-watching a new show with your sweetie. 

With so many new and old options out there it is hard to know where to start when making a collection to call your own. You can opt for classic board games or try your hand at a new strategic or cooperative games. Whether you have two players or a large party, there’s a board...MORE game on this list that will provide endless entertainment and memories. Here, the best board games for adults to help get the party started. 

  • Best Classic: Hasbro Scrabble Crossword Game

    Certain board games never get old, and Scrabble is definitely on that list! This classic board game for adults is a must-have for every household, as it will provide hours of fun as you compete to create the best high-scoring words.

    In the Scrabble box, you’ll find the game board, 100 wooden letter tiles, four tile racks, a drawstring letter bag and the game guide. You can play with two to four players, and the game is recommended for anyone over 8.

    To play, every person randomly draws letter...MORE tiles, then you take turns building crossword-style words on the game board. You score points by playing long words, using difficult letters, and/or landing on special spaces for double/triple letter or word scores. This is the classic gameplay, but there are also several other ways to play outlined in the game guide.

    No two games of Scrabble are ever alike, which is why this board game is a classic for many families. It’s a great adult game that you’ll reach for again and again, so it’s well worth the investment.

  • Best Strategy: Sequence Game

    Ready to put your strategy skills to the test? Pick up the highly rated Sequence Game, which combines a board game and card game in its uniquely challenging gameplay.

    This board game for adults comes with a folding game board, Sequence playing cards, 135 playing chips and game instructions. You can play Sequence with 2 or more people, and it’s recommended for children 7 and up.

    The game board has spaces for every playing card, and on each turn, players put down cards from their hand, trying ​to...MORE create rows, columns or diagonals of five connected checkers. However, pay careful attention, as you may need to block other players to win the game for yourself!

    Reviewers love the Sequence Game, writing that it’s easy enough for kids to learn yet still challenging for adults. This strategy-based game is ideal if you want to hone your critical thinking skills as you compete with friends.

  • Best Fast-Paced: Smart Ass

    Some board games can drag on as you wait for other players to take their turn, but that’s not the case with Smart Ass. This fast-paced game will keep everyone on their toes, as you’re allowed to yell out answers even when it’s not your turn.

    Smart Ass comes with a game board, six playing pieces and stands, 411 question cards, two jumbo dice and instructions. You can play with two to six people, and it’s best for players ages 12 and up.

    The objective of Smart Ass is to advance around the game board...MORE by answering questions, but it’s not as straightforward as you might think. When a clue is read, it’s a race to figure out the answer and yell it — no need to wait your turn. Your whole group will be in hysterics as you yell over each other, trying to prove you’re the ultimate “Smart Ass.”

    This fast-paced game gets top marks from reviewers thanks to its laugh-inducing gameplay and fun trivia questions. There’s never a dull moment when you’re playing Smart Ass!

  • Best Cooperative: Betrayal At House On The Hill

    Why compete against your friends when you can all work together instead? For a cooperative board game, you have to try Betrayal At House On The Hill, a suspenseful game where players work together to explore a creepy haunted house.

    Betrayal At House On The Hill is designed for three to six players ages 12 and up, and each game typically lasts around an hour. During gameplay, players get to explore “that creepy old place on the hill,” triggering different scenarios as they go and working together...MORE to complete a mission. While the game starts out collaborative, there’s also a betrayal phase at the end — you never know who’s going to turn on you!

    Reviewers love that this game is constantly new and exciting thanks to the various scenarios and haunts. However, several note the rules can be tricky to pick up, which is why this game is best for adults and older kids.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • Best Two Player: Kahuna Board Game

    Just two of you on game night? Don’t worry! There are ample 2-player board games to keep you busy, including the Kahuna Board Game, where you’ll race to conquer a series of islands with a mixture of strategy and luck.

    Kahuna comes with the game board, 50 Kahuna bridges (25 black and 25 white), 20 Kahuna tokens (10 black and 10 white), 24 island cards and, of course, the rule booklet. It’s designed for two players ages 10 and up, and each game takes about 30 minutes.

    During gameplay, each player...MORE works to build bridges between the 12 islands on the board, aiming to capture as many as possible by having more bridges than your opponent. There’s strategy involved, but a lot is also the luck of which island cards you draw.

    Reviewers say the game is simple and straightforward, yet fun to play and extremely competitive! This 2-player board game is easy to pick up and sure to spur plenty of rematches.

  • Best for Family Game Night: Ravensburger Labyrinth

    For a game that’s fun for adults and children alike, look into Ravensburger Labyrinth, a strategy-based board game that will keep players of all ages entertained. In the fantasy maze, you’ll work to collect treasures as other players shift the walls and paths around you, trying to block your way.

    With this game, you get the playing board, 34 maze cards, 24 treasure cards and four playing pieces. Each game lasts around 30 minutes, and it’s best played with two to four players over age 8. However,...MORE reviewers note that Ravensburger Labyrinth is just as fun for the adults as it is for kids!

    During the game, you can make your own path (and block the paths of others) by inserting extra tiles on the board to move walls and open passages of the Labyrinth. The goal is to navigate through the maze to your character’s treasures, then make it back to the starting square. However, with the labyrinth constantly shifting, it’s easier said than done!

    Reviewers say Ravensburger Labyrinth is a favorite at their family game night, as it’s easy enough for kids to pick up, but challenging for players of all ages. This board game very well might become a new family favorite!

  • Best Party Game: Spontuneous

    Spontuneous is a must-have adult board game for your next party. This game is simple to pick up, yet it will provide hours of fun as you belt out songs based on the given trigger words.

    Spontuneous can be played by 4 to 10 participants (teams are recommended), and it’s best for players ages 8 and up. The premise is simple: One player says a trigger word, and everyone else has to come up with a song that contains it. The first person to sing a verse containing the trigger word gets to advance...MORE along the board.

    This board game has hundreds of 5-star reviews from players of all ages. Many people note this is a great party game, no matter the crowd, and it will surely keep everyone laughing. It can even be turned into a drinking game for your adult parties!

  • Best Storytelling: Above and Below Game

    If you’re looking for a complex board game where you create exciting, memorable stories, the Above and Below Game fits the bill. This game is a mashup of town-building and storytelling, allowing you to build a settlement while exploring the world around you.

    Above and Below is designed for two to four players, ages 12 and up. Gameplay is on the longer side, lasting 90 minutes or more, so be sure you have ample time when you sit down to play.

    As you build your village in Above and Below, you will...MORE gain villagers, who you can then assign jobs, such as harvesting resources, building homes or exploring. There’s a lot of strategy involved as you decide how best to put your villagers’ talents to use and how to expand your settlement. You can also go out exploring, figuring out different ways to earn the Victory Points that will help you win the game.

    Reviewers love this game, saying it’s become a go-to for game night. Many enjoy the build-your-own-adventure aspect of Above and Below, and several note that it’s less competitive than many other board games, which makes for a more low-key atmosphere.

Sign up for our daily deals newsletter

At The Spruce, our Expert writers are committed to researching and writing thoughtful and editorially independent reviews of the best products for your life and your family. If you like what we do, you can support us through our chosen links, which earn us a commission. Learn more about our review process.