Board games are a fun activity to play with family and friends. There are many different kinds, no matter what you’re feeling like playing. From trivia games to brain teasers to who-done-it murder mysteries, there’s something for everyone.

But, have you ever wondered which are the most popular board games of all time? These are some of the most well-played and well-loved board games that are great to have in your student house. So when you fancy a night in with your pals (booze optional!), here are some of the best board games to get in.

Because, who doesn’t love a games night, right?

Ever feel the urge to take a break from the digital overload and relive some classic gaming moments? A chill evening with your uni mates, reminiscing and engaging in some healthy competition with board games, can be just the evening in you need.

It’s all about the fun and strategy they bring. Take chess, for example, it’s not just a game; it’s an intellectual battle. Whether you’re all about card games after burying yourself in the library, or you’re the type to meticulously plan your moves in strategy games, there’s a classic board game for everybody. It’s time to ditch those online games for a night, and get stuck into some of the most popular board games around.

1. Monopoly

Here are the most popular board games of all time
Source: TimeOut

It’s a classic for a reason. Monopoly is a game where you buy and trade properties with the aim of developing them into houses and hotels. The game has many different themed versions, from the TV show Friends to Animal Crossing to Arsenal Football Club to The Cotswolds. It’s a great game if you want to spend two hours arguing with people about nothing. We’ve all been there, right?

Having sold over 275 million units across the world, Monopoly is definitely doing something right. It has to be one of the few board games in the world to cause, erm, such rifts between players. Think you and your mates can handle it?

2. Scrabble

Here are the most popular board games of all time
Source: Wikipedia

One of the most popular board games of all time that also gives your brain a test. Scrabble is the classic game where you make words found in the dictionary across a 15×15 tile board. Over 150 million copies of the game have been sold worldwide, available in 30 different languages and in 2008, more than half of British homes had a Scrabble set. If that’s not the sign of a popular game, then I don’t know what is. If you’re a huge fan of Scrabble, you might love our top Scrabble jokes to reel off too. 

3. Trivial Pursuit

Here are the most popular board games of all time
Source: Britannica

Another one that tests your brain a bit. Trivial Pursuit, as the name may suggest, is a trivia game. There are six categories of questions – geography, entertainment, arts & literature, history, science & nature and sports & leisure. You have to get one question right in each category before you can finish the game. You can even play trivial pursuit online! While the questions are generally pretty easy (it’s all general knowledge), it may not be the one to play if you’ve just come back from a long day of lectures. Trust me. 

4. Pictionary

Here are the most popular board games of all time
Source: Brightful

A fun one to play with a big group of friends. You’re split into teams and must guess what your teammate is drawing. It’s a great game to play with friends because it’s fast-paced, very fun and very simple to get a hang of if you’ve never played before. Even if you don’t have the normal Pictionary board, you can use random word generators on the internet like this one

5. Cluedo

Here are the most popular board games of all time
Source: Nintendo

The classic murder mystery game is one of the most popular board games of all time. The aim of the game is simple: Who killed Mr Boddy, what room was he killed in and what was he killed with? Like with Monopoly, there are a number of different themed versions of Cluedo, from Finding Nemo to Brooklyn Nine-Nine to Harry Potter to even a chocolate-themed game where all the pieces are made of chocolate. So, no matter what your interests are, there is bound to be a version of Cluedo for you. 

6. Guess Who

Although not strictly a ‘board game’, Guess Who is a total classic. Over 40 years old, any good game night needs to involve this two-player game. While it may have always been a kids classic, adults love it too.

However, if you’re looking for a party game for you and your pals, Guess Who might not tick all the boxes, as it’s for two players only. Nevertheless, if you’re looking to add to your collection of class board games, you gotta get Guess Who.

popular board games
Source: Wikipedia

7. Boggle

If you’re a fan of modern games like Wordle, you’re gonna love Boggle. Heck, you might remember this classic game from 1972 anyway. This top selling board game will really put you and your mates under pressure as you shake up the letters and spot the words before you run out of time.

As players compete head-to-head, this classic family board game is a must-have for any uni house.

8. Sequence

There are so many classic board games out there, but there’s no denying that Sequence is one of the best. You pick cards and set a chip on the matching card on the board, aiming to create two series of five cards: sequences! The board’s cards equate to two complete card decks, but they aren’t always in a set order, and you can form sequences in any way you like.

Drawing jacks brings a twist: One-eyed jacks can remove your rival’s chips from the board, disrupting their plans at the final moment, while two-eyed jacks serve as wild cards, standing in for any card you need to secure a Sequence.

This strategy game is a total classic.

risk board game most popular board game
Source: Wikipedia

9. Risk

If you’re looking for a complex strategy game, Risk certainly ticks those boxes. While it may not be a game you and your uni mates attempt after a few beers (or shots, for that matter), this military-themed board game remains a popular game the world over.

A variety of special editions have since been created too, if you fancy something a little different – including a Europe, Captain America and Star Wards version.

classic board games battleship
Source: Wikipedia

10. Battleship

We’re not totally sure if it’s strategy or pure luck involved… Either way, winning Battleship will give you those almighty bragging victory points. While it is only two-player, if you’re having a group games night, it can be equally fun to dive into a variety of board games and split off into groups before coming together.

11. Connect Four

Get ready to play multiple rounds with this one, out of frustration if nothing else! Connect Four may be a simple two-player game, but it’s definitely a classic board game.

The premise is, well, obvious. Connect four across to scoop the victory.

classic board games
Source: Wikipedia

12. Mouse Trap

The aim of the game is simple, avoid getting trapped! Although first created in 1963, this popular board game has remained a hot favourite with kids (and adults, obvs) ever since.

Unlike many other games, you gotta build the set first. I hope you’ve got steady hands.

13. Candy Land

Remember the nostalgic game of Candy Land? If not, this might be one you gotta ask your parents about… Nevertheless, you’re gonna appreciate the quirky design of the board, marked with iconic spots like the candy cane forest and the gumdrop mountains, not to mention memorable characters like Mr. Mint and Princess Frostine.

While Candy Land’s rules are straightforward enough for the little ones (so we gotta be able to understand it, right?), there’s no denying the strategy involved. The objective? Navigate the board to locate the missing King Kandy. Players strategise by drawing from a deck, with each card dictating their next move, either by color or by showcasing a landmark. It’s a race, and the first to reach King Kandy secures the win. Perfect for a nostalgic game night, don’t you think?

14. Hungry Hungry Hippos

While it may not necessarily be considered a classic board game, Hungry Hungry Hippos is fast-paced and full of fun. The idea is simple, chomp down on the marbles as quickly as possible, and the player with the most points wins.

15. Snakes and Ladders

Snakes and Ladders, a classic board game that has been a beloved pastime for generations. The game’s board is a grid, typically 10×10, laced with ladders that represent virtues, allowing players to climb upwards, and snakes symbolising vices, causing them to slide back down.

Each roll of the dice can lead to a sudden rise or an unexpected fall. Similar to Monopoly, but nowhere near as time-consuming, you’re likely to get a little erm, annoyed at Snakes and Ladders.

16. Jenga

Sure, it’s not strictly a classic board game, but Jenga will bring you and your mates together during games night. The rules are easy, build a tower from the wooden blocks and then take it in turns to remove a block (and place it on top) without knocking the whole thing down.

Full of suspense, see how many rounds you can go before it comes tumbling down.


Our list of the best and most popular board games of all time are all great ones to play with new housemates, while on a break at uni or in common rooms. They’re fun competition and also pretty cheap, which is ideal for when you’ve been out loads and just want to stay in (and save some money).