bgg game reviews: The Top 10 board game reviews

Exploring the World of Board Games: Top-Rated Gems and Underrated Classics

Board games have come a long way since the days of Monopoly and Scrabble. In today’s gaming landscape, there’s a game for every taste and preference, from intricate strategy games that can consume an entire evening to quick, light-hearted diversions perfect for family gatherings. And when it comes to discovering the best (and perhaps the not-so-best) board games out there, there’s no better place to turn than BoardGameGeek, the premier online community for tabletop enthusiasts. Let’s take a journey into this vibrant world and explore some of the top-rated gems and underrated classics that have graced the platform.

Top-Rated Board Games

BoardGameGeek is a treasure trove of information and opinions, and its list of top-rated board games reflects the diverse tastes of the gaming community. Here are a few standouts that have earned their spots in the upper echelons of board game rankings:

Terraforming Mars

Terraforming Mars is a masterpiece of strategic gameplay. Set on the Red Planet, players compete to terraform Mars, transforming its hostile environment into a habitable one. The game’s depth, strategy, and replayability have catapulted it to the number 6 spot on BoardGameGeek’s rankings. With countless card combinations and a rich theme of scientific exploration, it’s a game that keeps players coming back for more.

Twilight Imperium

For those with a penchant for epic narratives and strategic depth, Twilight Imperium shines. It’s a colossal strategy game designed for 3-6 players, and its sprawling scope and complexity make it a favorite among dedicated tabletop enthusiasts. Currently ranked at number 5, it’s a game that demands an entire day for a single playthrough but rewards players with unforgettable diplomatic, strategic, and storytelling experiences.


At the top of the BoardGameGeek charts sits Gloomhaven, a cooperative dungeon crawl of epic proportions. This game immerses players in a dark and mysterious fantasy world where they take on the roles of mercenaries. Completing quests, fighting monsters, and shaping the narrative of the game make it a favorite among those who love deep, cooperative experiences.

Spirit Island

Spirit Island introduces an innovative twist to cooperative gameplay. Here, you become a powerful spirit defending your island from invading colonists. This game’s unique mechanics and strategic depth have placed it at the number 3 spot on BoardGameGeek. It’s a game that not only challenges your strategy but also prompts reflection on themes of colonization and environmentalism.

Mage Knight

Mage Knight is a solo or cooperative adventure that pits you as a mage exploring a vast fantasy realm. Currently ranked at number 8, this game is celebrated for its unique gameplay and challenging difficulty. It offers an immersive and rewarding experience that solo gamers especially appreciate.

The Lower-Rated Classics

While high-rated games often steal the spotlight, there’s also a place in the board gaming world for classics that may not receive the same accolades. These games, despite their lower rankings on BoardGameGeek, have their own charm and enduring appeal:


Monopoly is arguably the most famous board game in the world. It’s a game of buying, trading, and building properties, and it has been a staple of family game nights for generations. Despite its enduring popularity, it ranks low at #10,505 on BoardGameGeek. Critics often point to its long playtime and reliance on luck as reasons for its lower rating. Nevertheless, many cherish the nostalgia and simple fun it provides.


Operation is a dexterity game that challenges players to remove small plastic pieces from a patient’s “body” without setting off a buzzer. While it may be criticized for its frustration-inducing difficulty and repetitive gameplay, it remains a beloved game among children and those seeking a lighthearted, skill-based challenge.


Sorry! is a classic family game that combines strategy with luck. It’s a simple game that involves moving pawns around the board and trying to send opponents’ pawns back to the start. Critics argue that it lacks complexity and can become repetitive, but its accessibility and quick playtime make it a popular choice for casual gamers.


Candyland is a board game designed for young children, and it ranks low on BoardGameGeek due to its simplicity and reliance on luck. However, it serves as an introduction to board gaming for many youngsters and can be a cherished part of childhood memories.


Battleship is a classic guessing game where players attempt to sink each other’s fleets. It may not be as complex or strategic as some modern board games, but its straightforward gameplay and nostalgic value have kept it in the hearts of many.

The Subjectivity of Gaming

When it comes to board games, personal preferences play a significant role in enjoyment. What one person considers a masterpiece, another may find lacking. The diversity of ratings on BoardGameGeek reflects the vast spectrum of tastes within the gaming community.

So, whether you’re drawn to the highly-rated strategic epics or find joy in the simplicity of lower-rated classics, there’s a board game out there for everyone. BoardGameGeek provides a wealth of information, reviews, and rankings to help you discover your next gaming adventure. Ultimately, the best board game is the one that brings joy and laughter to your table, creating memorable moments with friends and family.

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The Top 10 Board Games You Should Be Playing in 2023

  • Are you ready to embark on a journey into the captivating world of board gaming? Whether you’re a seasoned tabletop veteran or a complete newcomer, there’s always something new and exciting to discover in the realm of board games. And what better way to start than with the top 10 board games on BoardGameGeek as of March 8, 2023? These games have earned their spots through years of dedication and passion from both designers and players. So, let’s dive into this list of gaming gems that are sure to provide hours of fun and strategic challenges.

1. Gloomhaven (2017)

Genre: Cooperative Dungeon Crawler
Player Count: 1-4

At the top of our list is “Gloomhaven,” a masterpiece in the world of cooperative dungeon crawling. In this game, players take on the roles of mercenaries in a dark and mysterious fantasy world. Your task is to explore dungeons, fight terrifying monsters, complete quests, and earn gold and experience points. With its rich storyline, immersive world, and challenging gameplay, “Gloomhaven” is a must-try for any board game enthusiast.

2. Terraforming Mars (2016)

Genre: Competitive Strategy
Player Count: 1-5

If you’re a fan of strategy and scientific exploration, “Terraforming Mars” is your ticket to an interplanetary adventure. In this game, you compete with other players to transform the Martian landscape by building cities, planting forests, and raising the planet’s temperature. With its deep strategy and immersive theme, “Terraforming Mars” is an absolute gem.

3. Spirit Island (2016)

Genre: Cooperative Strategy
Player Count: 1-4

Spirit Island” takes a unique approach to cooperative gameplay. Here, you play as powerful spirits of an island, defending it from invading colonists. This game offers a refreshing twist on the usual theme of colonization seen in many board games, allowing players to work together to protect the natural world.

4. Mage Knight (2014)

Genre: Solo/Cooperative Adventure
Player Count: 1-4

For those seeking an epic solo or cooperative adventure, “Mage Knight” delivers in spades. Step into the shoes of a mage exploring a vast fantasy realm, battling monsters, and completing quests. With its deep strategy and engaging narrative, “Mage Knight” offers a truly immersive experience.

5. Arkham Horror: The Card Game (2016)

Genre: Cooperative Card Game
Player Count: 1-2

H.P. Lovecraft fans, rejoice! “Arkham Horror: The Card Game” plunges you into the chilling world of Lovecraftian horror. You become an investigator, confronting eldritch terrors, solving mysteries, and battling unspeakable horrors. The cooperative card game mechanics add an extra layer of tension and camaraderie to your adventures.

6. Le Havre: The Inland Port (2012)

Genre: Worker Placement
Player Count: 1-5

Le Havre: The Inland Port” invites players to build a thriving port city through worker placement. Construct buildings, trade goods, and ship cargo to outmaneuver your opponents in this engaging economic strategy game.

7. Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization (2010)

Genre: Civilization Building
Player Count: 2-4

For those with a passion for history and civilization-building, “Through the Ages” offers an epic journey through time. Compete with other players to create the most prosperous civilization by researching technologies, managing your economy, and, when necessary, engaging in warfare.

8. Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small (2014)

Genre: Worker Placement
Player Count: 1-2

“Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small” is a delightful two-player game that puts you in the shoes of farmers. Raise animals, grow crops, and build structures to develop your farm and outscore your opponent in this charming, strategic experience.

9. Wingspan (2019)

Genre: Deck-Building
Player Count: 1-5

In “Wingspan,” your goal is to attract a diverse array of birds to your wildlife preserve. Collect cards, lay eggs, and build habitats to create the most impressive aviary. With its stunning artwork and unique gameplay, “Wingspan” has captured the hearts of bird enthusiasts and gamers alike.

10. Viticulture: Essential Edition (2016)

Genre: Worker Placement
Player Count: 1-5

Finally, we have “Viticulture: Essential Edition,” where you step into the shoes of a winemaker. Plant vines, make wine, and sell it to earn money and reputation. This game combines strategy and viticulture, offering a truly immersive experience for wine enthusiasts and strategy gamers alike.

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In the vast and diverse world of board games, where strategy meets chance, and imagination knows no bounds, the journey is as important as the destination. We’ve explored the realm of board gaming, from the highly-rated masterpieces that challenge our intellect and captivate our hearts to the beloved classics that bring smiles to our faces and a sense of nostalgia.

At the heart of it all is the undeniable truth: the enjoyment of a board game is a deeply personal and subjective experience. While ratings on platforms like BoardGameGeek provide valuable guidance, they don’t define what is fun for you. The magic of board gaming lies in discovering your own preferences, creating memories with friends and family, and forging connections that transcend the physical tabletop.

High-rated games like *Terraforming Mars* and *Gloomhaven* beckon with their intricate strategies, immersive themes, and engaging narratives. They offer challenges that stimulate the mind and stories that transport us to other worlds.

Lower-rated classics such as *Monopoly*, *Operation*, and *Candyland* offer simplicity and accessibility. They’re a welcoming entry point for newcomers and a source of nostalgia for those who remember playing them as children.

The beauty of board gaming is that there’s no one-size-fits-all definition of fun. It’s about those moments of laughter during a game of *Sorry!*, the thrill of negotiation in *Twilight Imperium*, and the satisfaction of strategizing in *Terraforming Mars*. It’s about forging connections with fellow gamers, sharing stories, and building cherished memories.

As you navigate this vibrant world of board games, remember that your journey is as important as the games themselves. Embrace the diversity of the hobby, and let your own preferences be your guide. Try out different games, explore various genres, and savor the joy of discovery.

Whether you’re rolling dice in a heated battle for control of the galaxy or sharing a simple game of chance with loved ones, the essence of board gaming remains the same: it’s a celebration of play, imagination, and the enduring power of human connection.

So, gather around the table, shuffle those cards, roll those dice, and embark on your own unique gaming adventure. Whether you’re chasing high ratings or rediscovering lower-rated classics, may your tabletop experiences be filled with laughter, camaraderie, and the sheer delight of play. In the world of board games, every roll of the die, every drawn card, and every move you make adds to a tapestry of shared moments that make this hobby truly special. Happy gaming, and may your journeys be filled with endless fun and unforgettable stories!


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