Siblings in the '60s playing the board game Mouse Trap on their living room floor.

Popular board games released the year you were born

Written by:
September 5, 2020
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Popular board games released the year you were born

Even with the popularity of video games in the past several decades, board games maintain a strong presence in the games market: In 2017, the global board game market was worth an estimated $7.2 billion. Research before the outbreak of COVID-19 indicated the market will be valued at $12 billion by 2023—a number almost certain to climb amidst the pandemic. The internet has made it easier than ever to not only find new, creative board games but to find communities and individuals with whom to play those games.

Mainstays like Monopoly, Sorry!, and Life have stood the test of time, while new ones for virtually every niche are created every year. Now is the perfect time to revisit your old collection of classic board games, or perhaps to introduce new ones into your rotation.

With that in mind, Stacker compiled a list of some of the most popular board games, arranging them chronologically from 1930 to 2019 by the year in which they were introduced. The years 1931, 1933, 1944, 1945, and 1946 are excluded as they did not have popular board games introduced during those years. Read on for some ideas and inspiration of which games to play with your extended time at home with family.

You may also like: Best-selling fiction books from the year you were born

1930: Sannin shogi

Essentially a "three-person chess" variant, Sannin shogi is a version of a classic Japanese strategy board game. Invented by Tanigasaki Jisuke, Sannin shogi is played on a 127-cell hexagonal board. Like chess, this game involves players attempting to gridlock their opponent into a state of checkmate, but this variation is unique for having two of the three players form an alliance against the third.

1932: Finance

Based on The Landlord's Game, Finance was created by Dan Layman, eventually evolving into the familiar Monopoly game. Like its spiritual successor, Finance had players navigating through a board, purchasing and trading properties found on the board. Sometime after the introduction of Monopoly, Parker Brothers purchased Finance, changing some of its rules to distinguish it from their own game.

1934: Sorry!

Invented and patented by William Henry Storey, Sorry! has two to four players attempting to get their pawn pieces around the board and to their home space. Players draw cards, which instruct players how to move through the board, but two different players cannot occupy the same space. If one were to land on the other, the latter would be sent back to the start—hence, the Sorry!

1935: Monopoly

Perhaps the most famous board game is Monopoly, which has its origins in a game created by anti-monopolist Lizzie Magie in 1903, which eventually became The Landlord's Game in 1906. The basis of Monopoly has players go around a board, buying and trading properties and collecting rent from their opponents, driving them into bankruptcy until one player remains. With fake money bills, a mascot in Pennybags, and the Get Out of Jail Free card, Monopoly is undoubtedly an important part of the American cultural lexicon.

1936: Go to the Head of the Class

Published originally by the Milton Bradley Company, now a subsidiary of Hasbro, Go to the Head of the Class has an unmistakable classroom and school theme. The board resembles a classroom, and players move from desk to desk by answering quiz questions. Chance cards will allow players to progress, or perhaps will bring bad luck and send them back in the classroom.

1937: Stock Ticker

Now out of print, Stock Ticker from Copp-Clark Publishing has players buying and selling stock on commodities like oil and grain, attempting to accumulate more money than their opponents. Rather than depending on players going bankrupt of fake dollar bills, like in Monopoly, Stock Ticker depends on a set time limit; the player with the most money by the end of the time limit emerges victorious.

1938: Scrabble

Scrabble is the most famous word game of all, designed by architect Alfred Mosher Butts in 1938 as a variation of his word game Lexiko. Players have a number of letter tiles and must take turns forming words on a 15x15 board in order to accumulate points, with each different letter having a certain number of points attached to it. Other variations of Scrabble continued in the years that came after, including the mobile game Words With Friends.

1939: Hexagonal chess

Soviet geologist Isaak Grigorevich Shafran came up with his own variant of hexagonal chess, although it was not registered until 1956. The board is an irregular hexagon, with nine files and 10 ranks to make 70 cells. In general, chess pieces move just like they do in regular chess.

1940: Kalah

Similar to Mancala, Kalah was brought to the United States by William Julius Champion, Jr. With six pits, or "houses" on each side of the two-rank board, with each player having one big pit called the endzone. Players attempt to capture more "seeds" than their opponent.

1941: All Star Baseball

Baseball player Ethan Allen invented this baseball board game aimed at young children. Naturally, the board resembles a baseball diamond, with two spinners for the batting player and the pitching player. The spinners determine the fate of the batter and pitcher, with the player cards displaying the statistics of real baseball players.

1942: Hex

As the name implies, Hex is played on a hexagonal grid, formed into an 11x11 rhombus shape. It is a "connection game" that requires the two players to form a path with their color marker until one player is able to make an unbroken chain of markers from one of their sides of the board to the other side.

1943: Wolf chess

Dr. Arno von Wilpert invented this chess variant, which incorporates some unusual chess pieces on a 10x8 board. While the king, queen, rook, bishops, and pawns move as they do in chess, special pieces such as the wolf, the fox, the nightrider, and sergeant have their own special rules.

1947: Electric football

Tudor Metal Products president Norman Sas invented this football board game, which is played on a vibrating metal field that uses electromagnets and motors. Player pieces are moved around through controlled vibrations by the players. The game is quite noisy on account of the vibrations.

1948: Cheskers

A sort of combination of chess and checkers, Cheskers was invented by mathematician Solomon Golomb. Pawns move about as regular checkers pieces do, with the king moving diagonally forward and backward while capturing other pieces like in regular chess. The bishop acts as it does in chess, but a special piece called the camel moves similar to that of a knight in chess.

1949: Cluedo

Cluedo is the famous mystery game, better known as Clue in North America. Created by English musician Anthony E. Pratt, with the help of his wife Elva Pratt, Cluedo has players in the roles of suspects in a murder mystery; the game board is based on a mansion, with players collecting clues. Cluedo has spun off into other variations of the game, and even a few books and a feature film.

1950: So Long Sucker

Invented by John Forbes Nash, Mel Hausner, Lloyd S. Shapley, and Martin Shubik, So Long Sucker has players bargain over chips; each player starts with seven. Players strategize and make agreements with each other, ultimately having to go back on their agreements to win the game. Eventually, the last player with a stockpile of chips wins.

1951: Afrikan Tähti

Despite its name, Afrikan Tähti was actually created in Finland by Kari Mannerla. Translating to "the star of Africa," this game has at least two players using dice and play money to traverse through a game board representing Africa. The game ends once a player retrieves the star, represented by a game piece, and brings it back to Cairo or Tangier.

1952: Stadium Checkers

Also called Roller Bowl, Stadium Checkers was originally published by W.H. Schaper Manufacturing Co. Two to four players compete to move their colored marble from the outermost ring of the stadium into the very center. Players take turns rotating the rings on the stadium, as they try to get their marble to fall into the chute of their color.

1953: Y

In the same family of "connection games" as Hex, Y is played on a triangular board with hexagonal spaces. First conceptualized by John Milnor and then independently invented in 1953 by Craige Schensted and Charles Titus, Y utilizes black and white game pieces, with the goal being to connect all three sides of the board. Schensted and Titus argue that Y is better than Hex, saying that "Hex is a subset of Y."

1954: Tactics

One of the earliest examples of board wargames is Tactics, which was designed by infantryman Charles S. Roberts in 1953 before being published the next year. Tactics portrays an armed conflict between two hypothetical countries, each with several units. The board uses a square grid, but future board wargames would use a kind of hexagonal grid.

1955: Careers

Sociologist James Cooke Brown created the game Careers, which was first manufactured by Parker Brothers and sold for $2.97. The objective of the game is to complete a "Success Formula," made up of fame, happiness, and money. Navigating through a square board with a number of tracks and loops takes players through occupation paths, earning them "Victory Points" and opportunity cards.

1956: Los Alamos chess

A variation of chess created by Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory was actually a computer program, depicting a reduced version of chess. The rules are essentially the same, but on a 6x6 board, removing bishops, and with some moves such as pawn double-steps and castling removed from the ruleset. The smaller board was due to the limited power of computers during the time period.

1957: Risk

Known as a "game of strategic conquest," Risk is perhaps the most famous strategy war game, and one of the most famous board games of all time. Invented by French filmmaker Albert Lamorisse, Risk has two to six players taking turns and attempting to capture territories on a world map board, with results determined by dice rolls. This game depends not just on conquest but diplomacy, and has inspired several other games including Axis & Allies and Settlers of Catan.

1958: Gettysburg

Based on Tactics II from production company Avalon Hill Games, Gettysburg is a re-enactment of the Battle of Gettysburg from the American Civil War. Like Tactics II, Gettysburg utilizes a combat results table while differing from that game by giving each unit a directional orientation. Dungeons & Dragons creators Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson would later take inspiration from wargames like Gettysburg.

1959: Diplomacy

Diplomacy is a distinct board wargame designed by Allan B. Calhamer, the game does not use dice or random elements and has important "negotiation phases" as part of its gameplay. The game's scenario takes place during the First World War in Europe, with two to seven players each controlling one or more major European power and competing to win possession of major cities and provinces. It is cited as a favorite game of figures such as John F. Kennedy, Henry Kissinger, and Walter Cronkite.

1960: Hi Ho! Cherry-O

Initially published by Hasbro, Hi Ho! Cherry-O is a simple game that has players collect cherries, with the object of the game being to accumulate 10 in total. Players will make use of a spinner, which tells players to pick a certain number of cherries from the tree. Some other parts of the spinner, such as a bird, dog, and a spilled bucket have players put their cherries back.

1961: Stratego

The original version of war board game Stratego was invented by Jacques Johan Mogendorff in 1942, with company Hausemann and Hotte publishing the game starting in 1961. Each player controls 40 pieces, either blue or red, that represent different officer ranks. Players must capture their opponent's flag, a movable piece on the board. While the game is simple enough for children, Stratego is still popular for adults.

1962: Aggravation

Generally supporting up to four (and later six) players, Aggravation is based off the Indian game Pachisi. The action of "aggravating" comes from when one player captures an opponent's piece by landing on its space, with the overall goal to have the player's four pieces—usually in the form of marbles—reach the home section of the board. Today, Aggravation is still published by Winning Moves under their parent company Hasbro.

1963: Mouse Trap

Hank Kramer of the Ideal Toy Company initially designed this children's game, which involves building what is essentially a Rube Goldberg machine. With a 1975 update from Sid Sackson, the game of Mouse Trap had players collaborate to make a mousetrap device on a game board before the players attempt to trap each other's mouse-shaped game pieces.

1964: Probe

Introduced by Parker Brothers, Probe has some similarities to the classic word game Hangman. While players try to guess the word from one of the other players like Hangman, the word and the guesses come from letter cards drawn by the players. Points come from a fixed value assigned to each card position, not unlike Scrabble.

1965: Trouble

Developed by the Kohner Brothers, Trouble sees players attempt to move their pieces all the way around the plastic board. Featuring a "Pop-O-Matic" container for the dice, players press on the center of the board to roll. If one player's piece lands on another's, it will be sent all the way back to the start.

1966: Fight in the Skies

Mike Carr worked on board wargame Fight in the Skies after viewing the movie "The Blue Max." Based on World War I air combat, players use a grid and cardboard counters to simulate the movement and battle of airplanes. Even to this day, Fight in the Skies is featured on the schedule of Gen Con, a tabletop game convention held every year since 1968.

1967: Battleship

Popular guessing-and-strategy-game Battleship started off as a pencil-and-paper game dating back to World War I, with earlier versions even predating that conflict. Milton Bradley eventually released the game as a plastic board game, where players set up battleships on their grid and attacked their opponents by guessing the location of their ships. Battleship is still popular today, even leading to a theatrical action film in 2012.

1968: Battling Tops

First manufactured by Ideal, Battling Tops is just as the name describes. Players launch spinning tops onto a circular concave arena using a string that is vigorously pulled. The last top spinning is the victor. Decades later, Beyblade, a similar spinning top toy, would emerge.

1969: Lines of Action

Lines of Action is a strategy board game, popularized by its inclusion in a book by Sid Sackson. Played on a standard chessboard, each player has two lines of game pieces that resemble checkers, with the goal to link all game pieces of a single color into one group. For decades, Lines of Action was included in the annual Mind Sports Olympiad.

1970: Mastermind

Israeli communications expert Mordecai Meirowitz invented Mastermind, a code-breaking game. Meirowitz's version of this game, which originated from even older paper-and-pencil games, used colored pegs on a board. One player would choose a combination of four pegs, while the opposing player attempts to guess the pattern within a certain number of turns.

1971: Crossfire

Crossfire is a more action-oriented game created by Milton Bradley. Two opposing players each have a plastic gun attached to their end of the board, with the objective to shoot marbles at each other's pucks. The player to push their puck in their opponent's goal wins the game.

1972: Boggle

A word game quicker than others such as Scrabble, Boggle was designed by Bill Cooke and invented by Allan Turoff. Letter cubes are organized on a grid, traditionally 4x4, with players attempting to quickly find words on adjacent cubes within a time limit. For a brief time in 1994, Boggle was even made into a television game show.

1973: Anti-Monopoly

In response to the board game Monopoly, San Francisco State University Professor Ralph Anspach created the aptly named Anti-Monopoly. Unlike Monopoly, Anti-Monopoly begins with the board having its properties and utilities already in a monopolized state; players are federal case workers attempting to indict the businesses to bring the board back to a free market state. Unsurprisingly, the game and its name resulted in a lawsuit from Monopoly company Parker Brothers.

1974: Connect Four

Designed by Howard Wexler and Ned Strongin, this famous connection game has a 7x6 vertical grid, with two players taking turns inserting discs of their color. A player wins by lining up four of their color in a row, either vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. Connect Four is still popular today, with numerous variations since the original release.

1975: Pay Day

This money-management game was invented by Paul J. Gruen and his brother-in-law, Charles C. Bailey, with the board resembling a calendar month. Players have to pay off bills and expenses each "month," collecting a payday at the end of every month. Players set how many months the game lasts, and eventually, the player with the most amount of money by the end is the winner.

1976: TEG

Based off of Risk, TEG is an Argentine board wargame that is an acronym for "Plan Táctico y Estratégico de la Guerra." Like Risk, the board features geographical locations, with TEG having six continents for the players to try to conquer.

1977: Rummikub

Romanian-Jewish designer Ephraim Hertzano invented Rummikub, a tile game based on card game Rummy and tile-based game Mahjong. Tiles with number values from one to 13 are distributed amongst the two to four players, who organize them into a rack. Participants play their tiles and compare their total numbers to others until the person who uses up their full set of tiles wins the game.

1978: The Campaign for North Africa

This uncanny and detailed simulation of the North African Campaign of World War II was designed by Richard Berg, who is known for designing several board wargames. It is an intensely complicated game that involves many logistics and utilizes a massive board. The Campaign for North Africa is infamous for its intense detail, though it has yet to undergo a reissuing.

1979: Guess Who?

Guess Who? was co-created by Ora and Theo Coster, and is now owned by Hasbro. Two players each have a board of 24 fictional characters, taking turns asking yes-or-no questions about the appearance of their opponent's chosen character. Recent years have seen licensed special versions of Guess Who?—like one version with "Star Wars" characters.

1980: Civilization

Not to be confused with the video game of the same name, Civilization is a board game designed by Francis Tresham. With a board that depicts areas around the Mediterranean, you advance your civilization through several eras in history. Civilization is significant for its use of a "technology tree" in gameplay, a feature that would go on to be used in several other board and video games.

1981: Axis & Allies

Designed by Larry Harris, this strategy board game is a recreation of World War II, and later grew to a larger series of board games. Players take on the role of the various countries and powers, taking turns and using Industrial Production Certificates (IPCs) to improve their infrastructure and resources, with dice rolls used to determine combat outcomes. The series continued with spin-offs of the original, and eventually produced video games.

1982: Trivial Pursuit

Canadian photo editor Chris Haney created Trivial Pursuit, funnily enough after he and his brother John Haney and their friend Ed Werner were unable to find missing Scrabble pieces. They decided to make a game of their own, and an institution was born. Players travel around a board answering trivia questions about geography, entertainment, history, arts and literature, science and nature, and sports and leisure. Several subsequent editions of Trivial Pursuit have covered more specific topics aimed at certain age groups or fan bases. 

1983: Talisman

Talisman is a fantasy board game created by Robert Harris, in which players attempt to reach what the earliest versions of the game call the "Crown of Command." Players travel through three different regions: the Outer Region, the Middle Region, and the Inner Region, with the innermost areas containing the Crown of Command. Talisman has been revised to its fourth edition, with a fifth said to still be in the works.

1984: Balderdash

Meant for fans of word games such as Scrabble, Balderdash was created by Laura Robinson and Paul Toyne as an offshoot of the game Fictionary. One player chooses an obscure word and writes down its definition, while other players write down a definition of the word that they believe to either be correct or possible. Opposing players then guess which of the definitions are correct, either choosing the right one or by being tricked by the false ones.

1985: Dragonchess

Dungeons & Dragons creator Gary Gygax also created Dragonchess, a three-dimensional fantasy variant of traditional chess. Three stacked boards represent the sky, the ground, and a subterranean world, with each 12x8 board having different pieces with different rules and moves. As expected, these pieces are based on creatures and classes featured in Dungeons & Dragons.

1986: Fireball Island

Artists and toy designers Bruce Lund and Chuck Kennedy created Fireball Island, which has players take the roles of treasure hunters. A game of both luck and skill, players attempt to take the jewel of ancient idol Vul-Kar, using drawn cards to foil other players' progress. Fireballs are the biggest obstacle in the game.

1987: Arkham Horror

Richard Launius designed Arkham Horror, which was based on the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft and, more specifically, from a roleplaying game called Call of Cthulhu. Players are investigators in the city of Arkham, traveling through gates and either avoiding or fighting off monsters. Since then, Arkham Horror has received new editions and revisions, with one such release as recent as 2018.

1988: Mall Madness

Milton Bradley released shopping-themed Mall Madness in 1988, primarily marketing the game to teenage girls. With game cash and credit cards, players traverse numerous stores to buy products. The point of the game is to buy all of the items on the shopping list and return to the parking lot on the board or to spend an exact amount of money.

1989: Taboo

Similar to the game Catch Phrase, Parker Brothers' Taboo is a word guessing game. Players must help a partner successfully guess a word drawn from a card, but without using the word itself or five forbidden "taboo" words. Famously, the game features a buzzer used when a team catches their opponent using one of the taboo words.

1990: Monopoly Junior

Simplified for children, Monopoly Junior was a smaller version of the Parker Brothers' Monopoly. Using a smaller board and city amusements in lieu of street names and other properties, Monopoly Junior was designed to be more child-friendly. As with Monopoly, Junior came in variants that tied in with popular children's media.

1991: Nightmare (Atmosfear series)

Complete with a VHS cassette, Nightmare, from designers Brett Clements and Phillip Tanne, took place in a horror-themed world called "The Other Side." Up to six players compete to collect keys around the provinces on the game's board, all while working against a timer on the video cassette tape. Ultimately, players will encounter the Gatekeeper, whose job is to prevent players from escaping The Other Side.

1992: Articulate!

The game Articulate! comes from Andre Bryceson and can host between four and 20 players in teams. Under a 30-second timer, team members try to describe a word from a certain category to a designated guesser, without saying the word itself. Still held in high regard, several players achieved a record in 2017 by winning 411 cards in the game.

1993: 13 Dead End Drive

Milton Bradley published a rather morbid game in 1993 called 13 Dead End Drive, which saw players take the roles of feuding family members of a deceased wealthy woman. The family's mansion is represented by the game board, and players must set traps to kill their opponents' characters. Similar to this game is a spin-off called 1313 Dead End Drive, with some modifications and additions.

1994: RoboRally

Richard Garfield, who would later create the popular card game Magic: The Gathering, created board game RoboRally in1994. It depicts a group of working robots who must navigate through treacherous obstacles to find fun outside of work. Movement is based on drawn cards, with unpredictability a large element of the game.

1995: Catan

Better known as Settlers of Catan, this game designed by German designer Klaus Teuber has players create and grow their own settlements on a board. The board is made up of hexagonal tiles, with game pieces representing roads and resources up for grabs. Numerous spin-offs exist, including several video games.

1996: Chess960

Chess960 adds an interesting layer to traditional chess, with pieces starting at random positions. The variation isn't completely random; for example, bishops must be placed on opposite colored squares, and the king must be on a space between two rooks. This scheme of chess is still played to this day, having been advocated by former world chess champion Bobby Fischer.

1997: Twilight Imperium

Christian T. Petersen designed Twilight Imperium, a space-fantasy board game that depicts a large power grab in the wake of a dominant race declining in influence. The game's large board is built from hexagonal tiles, each featuring up to three planets, as players compete as alien races to rule the galaxy. Twilight Imperium is best known for its long gameplay that can last up to six hours, and for its intricate strategies.

1998: Cranium

Whit Alexander and Richard Tait created a party board game, one that promotes the use of the "entire brain." Four players or teams traversing a board compete in four main categories of Cranium to challenge their creativity, word knowledge, data knowledge, or performance ability. Essentially, Cranium is Pictionary, Charades, and Trivial Pursuit rolled into one.

1999: Tikal

The first game of the Mask Trilogy, Tikal sends players through Central American jungles in pursuit of forgotten treasure and lost temples. Points are scored for taking over said temples and keeping treasure in your control.

2000: Carcassonne

Named after a town in medieval France, this German tile-based game from Klaus-Jürgen Wrede uses a board depicting a growing medieval landscape. The terrain is depicted through the game tiles, which are placed until the last one has been laid. By completing cities, roads, and fields, players earn points. The player with the most points is the winner.

2001: Risk 2210 A.D.

While Risk depicted a contemporary military conflict, Risk 2210 A.D. from Rob Daviau and Craig Van Ness takes place in a futuristic world. Armies are known as "MODs," or "machines of destruction," with players attempting to devastate enemy territories in a five-turn game. Like the original Risk, this new version received its own expansions and spin-offs.

2002: Puerto Rico

German designer Andreas Seyfarth created a board game that simulates colonial Puerto Rico by asking players to export goods and construct buildings. Three to five players use their own boards, where they manage their resources, while certain ones like ships and doubloons are shared amongst players.

2003: A Game of Thrones

Based on the book series "A Song of Ice and Fire" by George R.R. Martin, and created by Christian T. Petersen, A Game of Thrones splits players among the noble houses in the continent of Westeros, as they gather support in order to claim and fight for the Iron Throne. Even with its fantasy setting, the game plays very much like Diplomacy. As more books in the series were released, more houses were added to the game.

2004: Ticket to Ride

Alan R. Moon invented the rail-themed board game Ticket to Ride, where players collect cards for various train types and claim railway routes. The longer the routes created by players, the more points they earn. The game is touted for its easy-to-learn instructions and ruleset, leading to its label as a "gateway game."

2005: Twilight Struggle

While several games before it depicted World War I or II, Twilight Struggle from designers Ananda Gupta and Jason Matthews takes place during the Cold War. One player takes the role of the United States, while the other opposes as the USSR, as players move units through a map of the world and attempt to exert influence.

2006: Bananagrams

Abraham Nathanson invented the word game Bananagrams, which was developed from his and his family's ideas. A "bunch" of letters are placed down, with players gathering these letter tiles and competing to come up with as many words as possible. It is similar in nature to both Boggle and Scrabble.

2007: Pandemic

In the scenario presented in Matt Leacock's Pandemic, four diseases have broken out in the world. Two to four players choose between five different specialists, and the goal is cooperation rather than competition. Players travel the game board, with directions provided by cards, to share knowledge, treat diseases, build research stations, and ultimately discover cures.

2008: Ultimate Werewolf

Party game Ultimate Werewolf by Ted Alspach is similar to games like Mafia, where players take on a specific role based on drawn cards. One player is the werewolf, who is then hunted by the other villagers. The werewolf must convince the other players that they aren't the werewolf while choosing players to attack in between rounds. Dozens of different roles are available to be randomly drawn by players at the beginning of a session.

2009: Small World

Small World is a fantasy board game designed by Philippe Keyaerts, a remake of his own 1999 board game called Vinci. Players select their race then attempt to capture territories making use of their special abilities. Players earn points from these captures, and the player with the most points after a certain number of turns emerges victorious.

2010: 7 Wonders

At the beginning of the decade, Antoine Bauza created 7 Wonders, a highly regarded board game that depicts ancient civilizations and the military conflicts between them. Players receive a board that represents one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, with decks of cards representing three different ages in history. Victory points are earned through a number of methods—mainly success in military conflicts with other players.

2011: Mansions of Madness

This tabletop game designed by Corey Konieczka and later iterated on by Nikki Valens has players explore a Lovecraftian locale. One player in the first edition plays as the keeper, while the others are investigators threatened by the keeper. In the second edition, the keeper takes the form of a mobile or desktop application.

2012: Lords of Waterdeep

Peter Lee and Rodney Thompson took the world of Waterdeep from a Dungeons & Dragons campaign and created Lords of Waterdeep, a 2012 board game. Players assume the role of the masked rulers of Waterdeep, exerting their influence over the city, completing quests, and drawing Intrigue Cards. These actions earn Victory Points, with the winner decided by the player with the most by the end.

2013: Axis & Allies: World War I 1914

Axis & Allies went back in time from World War II to World War I, with players filling the roles of the Central and Allied Powers. Gameplay is similar to the original game—albeit more streamlined and not meant to be an accurate reenactment of the original conflict. The ultimate goal is for one side to capture two capital cities from the other team.

2014: Eldritch Horror

In this world inspired by Cthulhu Mythos, Eldritch Horror from Fantasy Flight Games sees players solve mysteries and cooperate to battle monsters. Players go through an action phase followed by encounters after drawing cards, before finally ending with a mythos phase for "the Ancient One" to cause havoc amongst the players.

2015: Codenames

Vlaada Chvátil designed the word-focused card game Codenames, in which players split into red and blue teams. Each team uses a Spymaster and delivers one-word clues to their teammates as they try to guess which word cards to pick. Teams are assigned card positions that only the Spymasters know, leaving an element of careful strategy as they try to get their teammates to choose their own cards and not the other team's.

2016: Mechs vs. Minions

Riot Games, creators of the video game League of Legends, created a board game based on their popular MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena). It is a cooperative tabletop game for two to four players, with teammates working as the titular mechs to ward off armies of minions during a number of missions.

2017: Gloomhaven

Isaac Childres created this dungeon crawl game, which features branching narrative paths. Gloomhaven uses cards to represent player actions through combat scenarios, as they travel on the hex tile board. Backed financially through an online Kickstarter campaign, Gloomhaven was widely praised upon release.

2018: Rising Sun

Eric M. Lang designed the three-to-five-player board game Rising Sun, which takes place in a mythical interpretation of Japan. The ancient gods have returned to take the empire, and players lead clans in their attempts to conquer lands and win the favor of the gods. Similar to many other board games of its time, Rising Sun was financed through an online Kickstarter campaign.

2019: Wingspan

Wingspan is a bird-themed, engine-building game in which players progressively generate resources. They compete to lure the top birds to their sanctuary, with more than 170 types of birds to choose from in the original. Taylor Jenkins, owner of Philly Game Shop used the term "serene gaming" to describe the award-winning game.

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