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    20 Best Board Games Of 2020

    No better time to engage in some wholesome (well, mostly) fun.

    We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    1. Pandemic, a board game from 2008 that just hits a bit different in 2020 — it's up to you to cure the world of four deadly diseases all in an hour's work. Low stakes, really!

    Pandemic board game box with characters featured prominently
    Amazon

    How to play: As a group, you'll rely on the specialized skills of your given deck (medic, scientist, dispatcher, quarantine specialist, researcher, etc.) to save humanity from four diseases threatening the world. You'll travel the world collecting cards to help you in your research. Too many outbreaks? You're out.

    Number of players: 2–4

    Recommended age: 13+

    Promising review: "This is a very smart, very well-thought out-cooperative game that can be adjusted in difficulty level. I highly recommend it, despite the current circumstances, or perhaps especially *because* of current circumstances. My kids conquered their fears about our pandemic when we played this game, and learned that many different professionals work together in cooperation to combat a virus. They wanted to play it again and again, each time gaining confidence from beating the pandemic. As an added plus, kids also learn the location and population density of many cities around the world. Highly recommend!" —SweetLife

    Get it from Amazon for $35.94.

    2. Trekking The National Parks, for when actual travel isn't in the cards, so to speak. This fun-for-the-whole-family event will have everyone reminiscing about visits to the natural wonders or, at the very least, penciling in some new bucket list items.

    United States board with Nation Parks cards laid out against wooden surface
    Amazon

    How to play: Players get points by claiming Park Cards and collecting trail stones as they move their way across the board (read: country). Trivia and fond memories to follow!

    Number of players: 2–5

    Recommended age: 10+

    Promising review: "Trekking is great! The second edition is easier to teach, shorter to play, and more satisfying to play. The game has gone from 'I think i can teach this to my mom' to 'grandma is going to love this!'. Components and pieces are top notch." —Ally

    Get it from Amazon for $50.

    3. Hella 90s, because I'm a millennial employee at BuzzFeed and am legally required to share this Nostalgia Content with you.

    Hella 90s game box with cards displayed
    Amazon

    How to play: Teams will take turns answering '90s-related trivia in less than 30 seconds. The first to seven points will "bask in the '90s glory." Does that mean thrown in a tub of Nickelodeon Slime? Only one way to find out.

    Number of players: 3+

    Recommended age: 14+

    Promising review: "If you were a child or teen of the '90s, this is nostalgia in a box. My husband and I love to play games with friends and have a hard time finding games that aren't repetitive or ornery. This is a game that we love to play when the kids are around so we don't have to worry about what we are saying and because it reminds us of what we enjoyed when we were kids. Even better is the Spotify playlist that they have to go along with the game! Put on your parachute pants and brush up on your '90s slang so you can 'Whip It' out of the park." —Christina

    Get it from Amazon for $14.99.

    4. Root, if you're an experienced gamer who prefers to show no mercy on your teammates. (And has a soft spot for cute woodland illustrations.)

    Root board game box with woodland creatures illustrated on front
    Amazon

    How to play: Each faction is fighting for control of a forest kingdom (Marquise de Cat, the Eyrie Dynasty, the Woodland Alliance, and the solo Vagabond). The first to gain 30 victory points wins. While this may sound easy, most players admit there's a pretty steep learning curve, and you'll definitely want to watch a video demo before launching into it.

    Number of players: 2–4

    Recommended age: 14+

    Promising review: "Root is a truly original game design. It's part area-control, part card/action selection and part war game with an amazing set of four totally different factions, and I do mean TOTALLY different factions! Each factions is almost playing an entirely different mini-game with the larger game! I kid you not. And as strange as that sounds, it all works...brilliantly!" —william peteresen

    Get it from Amazon for $59.99.

    5. Clue: The Office Edition for anyone who is still looking to scratch their Office itch after rewatching all nine seasons on Netflix and burning through the Office Ladies archives.

    The Office-themed Clue board with Dwight on box and cards
    Hot Topic

    How to play: Who killed Toby Flenderson? What office weapon was used? And where at Dunder Mifflin did it occur? That's up to you to decide in this pop culture spin on the cult classic.

    Number of players: 3–6

    Recommended age: 9+

    Promising review: "I bought these for my kids who are big Office fans and they love it! You could even play it with those who are not fans since it still follows all the rules of Clue." —Theresa F.

    Get it from Hot Topic for $48.90.

    6. Catan, the enduring classic that'll allow your strategic brain to really shine for your friends as you work on creating the longest continuous road or having the largest army.

    Catan board game box
    Amazon

    How to play: Players collect "resources" in order to create settlements, cities, and roads — which earn them points.

    Number of players: 3–4 (expansion packs to increase number of players also available!)

    Recommended age: 10+

    Promising review: "Beware! Don't try this unless you plan on getting addicted. Your life will forever be altered. You'll find yourself begging strangers to come over to play. Watching YouTube videos to improve your game, bribing your children.

    Your spouse will become a tricky, sneaky person you hardly recognize. While you will plot ways to take over.

    Side effects include: less TV watching, more under-the-table kicking, spontaneous maniacal laughter, snacking while plotting the demise of your friends and family. Best fun you've had in hours!" —Katie & Tyler's Mommy

    Get it from Amazon for $40.63.

    7. The Hot Seat, which'll please anyone who has ever dreamed of being a guest on a late night show, offering up their witty "off-the-cuff" remarks to an adoring studio audience.

    Hot Seat box with cards and instructions on table
    Amazon

    How to play: The group will take turns putting someone in the "hot seat." Meaning, they'll be asked to answer a question about themselves — anything from "what's the strangest thing you've ever bought online?" to "what's something about you that would surprise your grandma?" The rest of the players then have to answer as the person in the hot seat. A great (hurtful?) way to find out how your friends really think of you!

    Number of players: 4–10

    Recommended age: 17+

    Promising review: "Definitely choose who you play the Hot Seat with carefully, because this game is hilariously personal and hits home HARD!!! Brought it into the Marine Corps Barracks Lounge at 5 p.m. did not leave till after midnight! Again, choose your party members wisely!!!" —Jessie

    Get it from Amazon for $24.95.

    8. Gloomhaven, if you're not scared off by a 22-pound box and have an affinity for twisty and dark choose-your-own-adventures.

    Gloomhaven board game box with dark, red and black medieval imagery
    Amazon

    How to play: This tactical combat game requires every player to take on the role of a "wandering adventurer" with their own specialized skills. Players will also fight against monsters, determined by an innovative card system.

    Number of players: 1–4

    Recommended age: 12+

    Promising review: "Wow! What a great game! My wife and I can't get enough of it and we have only started to scratch the surface of it. After several play sessions (at least 15 hours of game play) we are still just as entranced as when we first started, and it is only getting better as we level up. We still haven't retired any characters (expect probably at least 10 dungeons before you retire, though this is just a wild guess, and depending on your personal mission, may take longer/shorter), though I am getting close. The game feels a lot like a first play through of those ‘classic’ video game RPGs (The Elder Scrolls, Dragon Age, The Witcher, etc.) There is just this massive world, all for the exploring. And you quickly find yourself with tons of choices of what to do, what story arcs to explore, etc. There are side quests, loot, leveling up, more side quests, and not to mention an interesting story with branching/intertwining story arcs. My wife and I are always eager to get off on the next mission and the 'choose your own adventure' style of play is very unique, especially when it comes to board games. The game has many unique concepts that I hope future games incorporate. Shadows of Brimstone, I absolutely LOVE YOU, but sorry, won’t be playing you for a few months while I obsess over my new found love: Gloomhaven." —Naomi K

    Get it from Amazon for $115.42.

    9. Codenames, the word association game played in the vein of Battleship, that'll have you strategically picking your words to guide your teammates to victory.

    Codename cards organized row by row with hourglass
    Amazon

    How to play: Two teams compete to figure out the assigned codenames of everyone on their teams, while avoiding guessing the names of their opponents. Or worse: guessing a name that falls on a "game over" square.

    Number of players: 2–8+

    Recommended age: 14+

    Promising review: "Codenames really is genius in its simplicity. It's a fantastic party game because it can be taught in under five minutes and provides a ton of fun. It has definitely been a hit in my gaming group and with my family over the holidays. Two players are chosen as the ones giving the rest of their team clues while the rest desperately try to make sense of what they are talking about. A 5x5 grid of word cards is laid out and then using a key card that shows what words are for each team and which ones are bystanders or an assassin, the clue givers take turns saying a clue word and a number which indicates how many of their team words are related to the clue. The team guesses and the clue giver places a token on their guesses corresponding to the red team, blue team, bystander, or assassin. The first team to cover all their words wins, though guessing the assassin automatically makes you lose. The game is surprising simple, but provides hours of entertainment, especially as everyone laughs over the connections that everyone makes. I cannot recommend it enough!" —kccayson

    Get it from Amazon for $15.39.

    Read our full review of Codenames (no longer 50% off, but still 100% worth it).

    10. Exploding Kittens, the Oatmeal-illustrated cult favorite, in which you simply have one job: Don't draw the exploding kitten card, for crying out loud!

    Exploding Kittens board game box with kitten on front
    Amazon

    How to play: A Russian roulette-style game in which players take turns drawing cards, hoping not to draw the dreaded namesake one (game over, if they do). "Defuse cards" —  laser pointers, kitten yoga, and catnip sandwiches — will allow them to offset the damages (and stay in the game).

    Number of players: 2–5

    Recommended age: 7+

    Promising review: "I got this for my teenage daughter, and it was both well-received and well-played! This is a quirky, funny and flexible game that beats the hell out of any electronic caca you might be considering as a gift. This little card game provides actual interaction in a light and funny way, plus it allows (indeed encourages) a high amount of silly randomness. Very fun, and fine for two to four people. Don't worry: no actual kittens were harmed in the making of this game. Several did barf rainbows, however." —K. Jensen

    Get the regular version from Amazon for $19.93, or the explicit version for $19.99.

    11. Superfight, perfect for anyone who'll argue about anything until they're blue in the face.

    Superfight game box with cards displayed
    Amazon

    How to play: You'll combine a character card with attribute cards to create the ultimate fighter. Think: Abraham Lincoln with long metal claws that pop out of his hands. Then: you'll go head-to-head with another player who has done the same, using your most persuasive debating skills to logically deduce why your combo would triumph in battle. Your group will vote on who has made the best, most emphatic case for the winning fighter.

    Number of players: 3–10

    Recommended age: 8+

    Promising review: "We gave this to our 16-year-old son for Christmas, but the whole family had a great time playing it. Excellent game for people who are verbally quick and witty, and maybe slightly mean. The point of the game is to argue about whose character would win in a fight to the death. One of my characters was a three-story-tall pet rock with two extra legs. it was really fun to try to think up all the reasons my character was better than my opponents. Great game for teenagers, debaters, families, and groups of friends" —Chris Berg.

    Get it from Amazon for $27.99.

    12. Similarly: I Dissent, the RBG-inspired game, that forces you to be the most compelling arguer of trivial nonsense in the "courtroom."

    I Dissent game box with cards displayed
    Amazon

    How to play: Players take turns in seven rounds choosing voting cards and opinion cards. Maybe the argument is: Cats are jerks — agree or disagree. You must persuasively argue your side and win the vote of the Chief Justice. Peggy Wang shared last year that when she played the game, her group "ended up having a 30-minute discussion about whether you're supposed to leave a tip when staying in a hotel."

    Number of players: 3–9

    Recommended age: 14+

    Promising review: "Super fun game that can be played with a variety of people. My husband and I have played this game with friends (mid-late 20s) and with family-including grandparents! The topics are not political which we appreciate, makes for no hard feeing at the end of each round." —Jordyn

    Get it from Amazon for $19.90.

    13. Scythe, a densely layered, steampunk-laden strategy game for anyone who really wants to lose themselves in another world for a few (six? seven?) hours.

    Scythe board game box with steampunk '20s-era war scene illustrated on front
    Macy's

    How to play: Each player represents a "fallen leader attempting to restore their honor and lead their faction to power in Eastern Europa." Through the course of the game, players will have the opportunity to conquer territory, enlist new recruits, reap resources, among other things.

    Number of players: 1–5

    Recommended age: 14+

    Get it from Macy's for $87.99.

    14. The Game of Things, which'll give you an occasion to pigeonhole your friends and possibly get into some low-stakes, but heated nonetheless, fights.

    Wooden Game of Things board game box with cards and pencils displayed
    Amazon

    How to play: Everybody takes turns writing down their answers to questions like "things you shouldn't do naked," and then has to guess who wrote what....based on, well, your best instincts.

    Number of players: 4+

    Recommended age: 14+

    Promising review: "Fun game for all ages. I have played it with a group of girlfriends and with family. We laughed until we cried. Good for all ages. You can control the content based on your answers. I'm very happy with this purchase." —Kelli Manford

    Get it from Amazon for $19.65+ (available in two versions).

    15. Escape Room: The Game, if you've ever thought, "wow I'd love to go to one of those Escape the Room challenges but I also don't want to....escape my room!"

    Escape The Room board game with cards and game pieces displayed
    Amazon

    How to play: You have three missions: "Secret Agent," "The Dentist," and "Space Station." Solving puzzles, finding clues, and working together you'll have 60 minutes to GTFO.

    Number of players: 3–5

    Recommended age: 16+

    Promising review: "Actually loved this. All the fun of working through the puzzles from the comfort of home. I love going to escape rooms but obviously not always feasible, and can be expensive. This was definitely challenging. I'm halfway decent in escape rooms but I most definitely didn't solve this in an hour, haha. Read instructions thoroughly first and you'll be set!" —mary

    Get it from Amazon for $28.65.

    16. 5 Second Rule, which'll be either your absolute dream or nightmare depending on how much you like being put on the spot to share your trivia knowledge.

    5 Second Rule box with prompt card and timer displayed
    Amazon

    How to play: You'll pick a card with a topic and then have five seconds to name three things that fit that topic. Might sound like a breeze....but you only have five seconds to complete each.

    Number of players: 3+

    Recommended age: 10+

    Promising review: "This game is great. We saw it in a store and bought it on Amazon since it was significantly cheaper. We have played with friends multiple times. Everyone has a great time and laughs a lot (I am 28 but have played with all age groups). A few card subjects are a bit questionable, but they are good topics for the most part. They cover a wide range of topics so that everyone can play. I am bad at actors and song artists, but only a few have had you name songs or movies so that is good for me. We generally don't keep score since we play with a big group and have more fun just playing for laughs. I love the timer. It makes a funny noise and is entertaining to watch the balls drop. It definitely adds to the stress (in a good way) of trying to come up with the answers in time! Definitely would give this gift as a present." —Jean

    Get it from Amazon for $16.43 (available in original and new edition)

    17. Betrayal At House on the Hill for fans of cheesy horror and/or Dungeons and Dragons.

    Betrayal At House on the Hill board game box with spooky haunted house on cover
    Amazon

    How to play: You build your own haunted mansion and then try to escape it alive. There are 50 "fiendish scenarios" and dangers in every room so each time you play, a new story emerges.

    Number of players: 3–6

    Recommended age: 12+

    Promising review: "This game really captures the B-movie horror/thriller/sci-fi vibe amazingly well! I love thematic games that immerse you in the game and allow you to create your own stories and Betrayal At House On The Hill definitely gives you those tools. The art and all of the components are great and add to the feel of the game." —Son of the Sea

    Get it from Amazon for $29.49.

    18. Telestrations, a game less concerned with how well you can draw and much more concerned with the hilarious trainwreck that ensues when you're tasked with interpreting someone else's drawing.

    Telestrations board game box with notepad and sketched figure on cover
    Amazon

    How to play: Each player is given an erasable sketchbook, marker, and a secret word. In 60 seconds they're tasked with drawing that word and then passing it off to the player to their left who then must write down what they believe the drawing to be of. This process of "telephone" repeats itself until the finished drawing has gone totally off the rails from the original prompt.

    Number of players: 4+

    Recommended age: 8 months+

    Promising review: "You want bonding and laughter, this is it!!! Great family and party game! Everyone had tears running down their faces from laughing. We've got a cabinet full of games, but between this and Catan, we're set for the holidays after dinner." —Jennifer Guerrero

    Get it from Amazon for $28.99.

    19. Watch Ya Mouth, the glorified "chubby bunny" challenge that'll invite all your loved ones to laugh at you without apology.

    Watch Ya Mouth board game with cards and timer displayed
    Amazon

    How to play: You must enunciate various phrases listed on a card while wearing a goofy, speech-prohibiting cheek retractor. Teammates will try to guess what you're attempting to say.

    Number of players: 3–10

    Recommended age: 8+

    Promising review: "This game is hilarious! The kids and adults were both laughing so hard I'm surprised no one peed their pants! This game is great! The only downfall is, once you've gone through the cards, you can pretty much guess what they're saying. We tried making new cards, but then one person knew all of the cards which made it no fun for them. Maybe, next time, we'll all make cards so the guessing can continue. Hopefully that will fix the ONLY issue. Have fun!!! Pro tip, floss and brush your teeth before you play! Your friends will see EVERYTHING. Oh! And bring napkins 😂." —Amazon Customer

    Get it from Amazon for $18.77 (available in three varieties).

    20. And What Do You Meme? which'll challenge you to be the best Content Creator in the room — effortlessly pairing the funniest captions with the selected meme.

    What Do You Meme? card game box with seal meme displayed on stand
    Amazon

    How to play: There are meme cards and caption cards. Each player gets seven caption cards and, much like Cards Against Humanity, must take turns pairing their caption with the card at hand. A judge will pick the "best" pairing based on an incredibly unscientific process.

    Number of players: 3+

    Recommended age: 17+

    Promising review: "The night our family played this game is the best night we've had in over ten years. We all laughed so hard we were in physical pain. I absolutely love this game and I would recommend it to anyone who loves playing games, laughing and a good time. The only slight downside the game has is that it is completely raunchy at times and people who are uncomfortable with questionable moral humor should avoid the game. If you are easily offended you shouldn't play this game. Other than that, it is the best game I have played in years and I played it with my father, a former minister who is not easily offended, and other family members." —Janet L. Cunningham

    Get it from Amazon for $29.99.

    Read our full review of What Do You Meme? here.

    Reviews have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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