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The best board games for adults to play together

We rounded up some board games you can play with just two people or as a larger group.
Illustration of five boardgames
Whether you need a board game for parties or want to play with two people, these are some of the most highly rated games for adults.Amazon

Game night has moved beyond just Monopoly or Life. While those games are timeless, there are a plethora of other options that can accommodate different numbers of players, play to different interests or skills — and keep everyone, including grown-ups, entertained. We selected a few highly rated options that we think could be fun for your next game night.

SKIP AHEAD | The best board games for adults in 2023

Our top picks

How we picked the best board games for adults

We consulted experts from the board game review site BoardGameGeek for their recommendations. We also shared recommendations from shopping experts on the Select and Shop TODAY team about the board games they love to play with their friends and family.

We also included approximate playtime and the number of players, as recommended by game manufacturers.

The best board games for adults in 2023

Here are our favorite adult board games to play with our friends and family.


A classic board game that puts your vocabulary and quick thinking to the test, Scrabble is great for spelling bee winners and fans of crossword puzzles. With just seven lettered tiles in your hand at any given time, you must work with the letters on the board to score as many points as possible by forming words from the dictionary, no proper nouns allowed. I play Scrabble with my Mom constantly and while you don’t have to be an avid reader or vocabulary enthusiast to win, it certainly helps. Our unofficial rule is that if you’re lucky enough to pull the Q or the Z tiles from the bag (each worth 10 points), you better win, or suffer severe ridicule until the next round.

Sierra Hoger, SEO editorial assistant at Shop TODAY, says it’s a great game for word-oriented roommates, too: “Between two journalists and two grad students, we love to 'best' each other and see who can come up with the 'smartest' word combinations.” For a lower-stakes vocabulary game, Bananagrams, another crossword grid game, is great practice.

Players: 2-4 | Playtime: varies.


Another fun word game, Tapple has players race against the clock to think of specific words in a category (like ‘pizza toppings’) that start with one of the available letters on the Tapple wheel. Players tap the button and have 10 seconds to come up with a word or be eliminated from the game. Shop Today SEO associate editor Kamari Stewart found the game through TikTok and has been loving playing with her friends. “The anticipation of the timer going off before you can answer keeps you on your toes,” said Stewart. The game comes with category cards, but you can always make up your own.

Players: 2-8 | Playtime: 15-20+ minutes


If you’re a big fan of Fishbowl, this board game is “the best way to not have to make up your own words,” said Monikers fan and photo editor, Kara Birnbaum, who said it's her favorite game to play at a party setting or while getting to know new people.

The game occurs over three rounds. In the first round, players give as many clues as possible to get their teammate to guess the correct answer. In the second round, players can only offer a one-word hint. Round three, where things usually go haywire, has players use charades or gesturingas a clue. Birnbaum says it “always brings out people’s competitive sides and is guaranteed to end in everyone in the room laughing.”

Players: 4-16+ | Playtime: 30 minutes


Catan, previously The Settlers of Catan, is a strategy game with a deeply dedicated fan base.Shop TODAY market assistant Audrey Ekman, a self-described “Catan nerd,” started playing five years ago and has never looked back. The game has players build settlements, cities and roads on an island (the board) with finite resources — players roll dice to collect resources like wheat, ore, brick and wool, which allows you to expand your territory and earn victory points. The first player to ten victory points wins the game. Catan is slightly more involved than some of the other board games on our list, but once you get the hang of it, it’s fairly simple. The game has several expansions, including Explorers and Pirates and Seafarers. You can also purchase a board extension for up to six players (the base game allows up to four).

“Catan is a great board game for adults and older kids looking for a slightly more strategic board game night. The best part is there are lots of different ways to win, meaning each player can have a different strategy. And the board changes with every game, so it doesn’t get stale,” said Select reporter and Catan fan, Harry Rabinowitz.

get stale,” said Select reporter and Catan fan, Harry Rabinowitz.

Players: 3-4 | Playtime: 1 hour


Birnbaum said Sequence is “perfect for a couples game night and it also makes you feel like you are using your brain.” Players play a card from their hand and place a chip on the corresponding space on the board. Five in a row makes a sequence. As you build your sequence, make sure to block others from building their own.

Players: 2-12


The goal of Splendor is simple: Become the most prestigious jeweler in Renaissance Europe. The first jeweler (player) with 15 points to their name, wins. Players vie for control of gem mines and trade routes by strategically collecting poker-style chips and using those chips to buy cards. Those cards are worth various points (and attract the attention of nobles), earning you status across Europe. Splendor is “a good intro strategy game for people who historically have not been into them (aka me),” said Francesca Sales, associate editor at Shop TODAY.

Players: 2-4 | Playtime: 30 minutes

Cards Against Humanity

Described by the brand as a “party game for horrible people,” Cards Against Humanity’s gameplay is similar to Apples to Apples — but with an adult (and potentially NSFW) twist. At each turn, one player draws a prompt (the black card) and the rest of the group plays a white card from their hand that best fits the prompt. The original set includes 500 white cards and 100 black cards — if that’s not enough for you, there are several expansion packs available too.

The game was a “college staple” for Stewart: “Even though we used the same cards every time, the combinations never failed to have us cracking up,” she said. Just be warned Shop TODAY Commerce Editor Vivien Moon, “It’s not for the faint of heart.”

Players: 4-20+ | Playtime: 30-90 minutes

What Do You Meme?

Similar to Cards Against Humanity, What Do You Meme? instructs players to match one of the caption cards in their hand with the photo card in play to come up with the funniest meme. The photo cards are taken directly from some of the biggest memes of the moment, from Gunshow’s “This Is Fine” to side-eye Chloe. If you start to feel like you want more photos and captions to choose from, there are several expansion packs, including a Game of Thrones Expansion Pack and an NSFW Expansion Deck.

Jess Bender, senior SEO editor at Shop TODAY says it’s a great game for parties: “I love how it blends the off-kilter humor that stems from Cards Against Humanity with all these memes that never cease to make me laugh (even if I’ve never seen the meme before in my life).”

Players: 3-20 | Playtime: 30-90 minutes


Codenames can accommodate any number of players, making it a great game option for parties. The players are broken down into two teams and each team has a spymaster. The goal of the game is for the spymaster to get their teammates to guess which cards on the table conceal their own agents. As players guess, they must avoid the other team’s agents, innocent bystanders or the dreaded assassin (an automatic loss). The first team to figure out which cards belong to their agents, wins.

Photo editor Vivian Le really loves the deduction game because “it forces you to really tune in with your team members,” and “tests how well you know someone since it heavily relies on players to understand their partner’s thinking with limited words.” when misunderstandings do occur, they “often result in hilarious outcomes,” added Le.

Ekman said the original version is super fun, but “the adult version is the one that has my friends rolling on the floor laughing every time.”

Players: 2-8 | Playtime: 15 minutes


I love Rummikub, but I hate it. It’s brought my family together and it’s also torn it apart. In short, I can’t imagine life (or at least family vacations) without it. Players pick numbered and colored tiles from a bag and take turns placing them in runs or groups, like 1, 2, 3, 4 in one color, or 4,4,4,4 in multiple colors (similar to Rummy). The first player to use all their tiles, or “go out,” wins.

Birnbaum, who also plays Rummikub with her family, says the game “really requires you to use your brain to strategize.” In my case, it’s both a brain test and a test of patience, considering my Dad takes forever to play.

Players: 2-4 players | Playtime: varies


A board game that needs no introduction, Clue is a classic murder mystery that defined the genre. Players aim to figure out who murdered the victim, where, and with which weapon. Each player is assigned a suspect (like Colonel Mustard or Mrs. Peacock) and follows leads by strategically moving across the game board that depicts the various rooms of a mansion. Select managing editor Leah Ginsberg played Clue for the first time since childhood recently and said it still stands up: “It was the only interesting board game our AirBnb had to play on a rainy vacation day. I had forgotten how much fun it is,” she said.

Players: 2-6 players | Playtime: varies

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Christina Colizza is an editor at Select and has been a product reviewer since 2018. She covers a range of self care and skin care topics like shampoos, eyebrow serums, body lotions and more.

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