10 Best-Selling Board Games of All Time

Are you a board game enthusiast, or maybe you’re just curious about the best-selling board games of all time? It is a good thing you found this article; however, how can you trust the credibility of this list? Well, because it is compiled from a list of the best-selling board games of all time.

10. Ticket to Ride

Game Statistics:

  • Rank: 10th
  • Copies Sold: 127,000 sold
  • Release Year: 2004
  • Players: 2 - 5 (best with 4)
  • Genre: Family
  • Playing Time: 30 - 60 minutes

Ticket to Ride is a fantastic gateway game to introduce new players to board games. It can be learned in under 20 minutes, and you play by building railroads around North America from one destination to another.

It starts with every player picking two or three destination cards; these cards are a mini version of North America and show you which two destinations your trains have to connect to. Each card has a set number of points; depending on whether you finish the card or not, you gain or lose points. 

With each round, the player has the option to either place trains, pick two color cards, or pick at least one more destination card. Once a player places enough trains to where they have two or fewer remaining, everyone, including that player, has a final turn.

Whoever ends with the most points, counting both the destination cards and the number of trains they have on the board, wins.

9. Terraforming Mars

Game Statistics:

  • Rank: 9th
  • Copies Sold: 133,000 sold
  • Release Year: 2016
  • Players: 1 - 5 (best with 3)
  • Genre: Strategy
  • Playing Time: 120 minutes

Unlike Ticket to Ride, Terraforming Mars is not a pathway game or beginner-friendly. It is quite a complex game and requires a lot of board game experience before diving into it.

To start, each player receives a player board that measures the production of each resource and a set of resource cubes that contain steel, titanium, money, energy, plants, and heat. You then place the board in the center of the table, one white cube on the bottom of the thermostat and another on the far left of the oxygen tracker above Mars.

Next, you will pick your corporation, either a beginner corporation, if this is your first time playing, or a normal corporation card. Then, take the corresponding number of resources and project cards for your corporation card. 

During the game, there are three stages: research, action, and production. Each player goes through all of these stages, and at the end of these stages, you go back to the beginning until the game ends.

The game ends when oxygen, ocean, and temperature levels reach their maximum amount or all the ocean tiles are placed. The person with the most points by the end of the game wins.

8. Wingspan

Game Statistics:

  • Rank: 8th
  • Copies Sold: 138,000 sold
  • Release Year: 2019
  • Players: 1 - 5 (best with 3)
  • Genre: Family/Strategy
  • Playing Time: 40 - 70 minutes

Wingspan is a game meant for intermediate players and is centered around birdwatching. To start the game, set up the cards and board accordingly, then give each player a player mat, eight action cubes, one food token, five bird cards, and two bonus cards.

Next, each player must choose which birds they want to keep, and for every bird they keep, they have to use a food token. Then, pick one of the bonus cards to keep and discard the other.

During a player’s turn, they have the option to do multiple actions. The first of which is playing a bird card. To do so, you must place the bird card into the appropriate habitat, forestland, grassland, or wetland, and pay for the appropriate food, which is labeled on the top left of the bird card. 

The second action a player can make is the gain food action. To do this, the player will get the bird feeder, select one die of their choice, and gain the food labeled on the dice. 

The 3rd action you can take is laying eggs. To lay an egg, you will place your action token on the lay eggs row and collect the number of eggs labeled on the spot. You will then place the eggs on your bird cards in the aviary, making sure not to exceed the number of eggs labeled on the cards. If you were to no longer have any spaces available for eggs, you would lose the extra eggs. 

The final action a player may take in their turn is to draw bird cards. To do so, you must place an action token on the next available space in the draw bird cards row and take the number of cards displayed in the space. The game ends when four rounds have been played, and the person with the most points wins. 

7. Azul

Game Statistics: 

  • Rank: 7th
  • Copies Sold: 138,500 sold
  • Release Year: 2017
  • Players: 2 - 4 (best with 3)
  • Genre: Family/Abstract
  • Playing Time: 30 - 45 minutes

Azul is a game recommended for beginners as it is quite simple and has very straightforward rules. To set up Azul, each player is given a player mat and a scoring token. Then depending on the amount of players in the game, place the according number of factories in a circle at the center of the table, for a two-player game, place five factories, for three, place seven factories, and for four, place nine factories.

Fill the Azul bag with all one hundred colored tiles; the starting player will fill each factory with four tiles from the Azul bag at random. 

Each round has a total of three phases. The first is the factory offer phase; starting from the first player, each player will select a factory in the center of the table and take all of the same colored tiles from that factory. Any leftover tiles in the factory will be placed in the center of the factory circle.

Place the tiles on your player board from right to left in any row, making sure to match the colors already in that row, if there are any. If you ever take tiles that you cannot place, they go to the bottom of your player board and make you lose points. 

This phase ends when there are no remaining tiles in the factories or the center of the factory circle. Next is the wall tiling phase, where players count up their points and move any tiles from completed rows to the corresponding spot directly to the right of the row. If you have any tiles on incomplete rows, those tiles will remain in their spot. 

The final stage, preparing for the next round, is where the player with the first player tile will fill the factories with four tiles from the bag. The game ends when a player achieves a complete horizontal row of five tiles on their wall. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins.

6. 7 Wonders

Game Statistics:

  • Rank: 6th
  • Copies Sold: 140,000 sold
  • Release Year: 2010
  • Players: 2 - 7 (best with 4 - 5)
  • Genre: Family/Strategy
  • Playing Time: 30 minutes

7 Wonders is not necessarily the best choice for beginner board game players but more for players who have three or more board games under their belt. It is fairly fast-paced, and turns are played all at once rather than in a traditional circle. To start setup, separate the age decks by the numbers on the back of the cards and remove any cards that have a number on the bottom right corner that is larger than the number of players.

Next, take all the purple cards out of the age-three deck, shuffle them, and then return the number of cards that corresponds to the current amount of players plus two. Shuffle all of the age decks and place them face down. Each player then acquires a wonder board, enough coins to add up to a value of three and seven age-one cards.

Each turn is played as follows: first, players will look at their age cards and select one to play this turn, making sure to place it face down in front of them. After everyone selects their cards, all players will use their age cards simultaneously, and then everyone will pass the other six age cards to the player on their left. This phase is repeated until only two cards are passed. Everyone will select one age from these two, choose an action for their age card, and then place the final card into a shared discard pile face down. 

After resolving military conflicts, the second age begins which is played almost entirely like the first, except players will pass their excess cards to the right. After completing age two, age three begins, where players will pass their excess cards back to the left. The game ends when age three ends and military conflicts are resolved; the player with the most points wins the game.

5. Codenames

Game Statistics:

  • Rank: 5th
  • Copies Sold: 149,000 sold
  • Release Year: 2015
  • Players: 2 - 8 (Best with 6 or 8)
  • Genre: Party
  • Playing Time: 15 minutes

Codenames is the most beginner-friendly board game out of all the games on this list. To start setup, randomly select twenty-five codename cards and place them in a five-by-five grid. All players will be put into two teams, split evenly amongst themselves. One person from each team will sit on one side of the table; they are the spymasters, and the rest will sit opposite them. 

The spymasters will select a key card, which is a mini version of the five-by-five grid, and place it in the stand in front of them, making sure only they can see it. The grid will show red squares which are the squares for the red team, and blue squares for the blue team.

Place the blue spy cards in front of the blue spymaster, the red spy cards in front of the red spymaster, and the innocent bystander cards, plus the assassin in the middle of the spymasters.

Each turn will be played with the spymasters speaking and their team members pointing at their guesses of who the agents are. The spymasters may only give one clue word to identify their agents on the board and a number for how many agents that clue word is for. Whichever team guesses all their agents first wins the game.

4. 7 Wonders Duel

Game Statistics:

  • Rank: 4th
  • Copies Sold: 151,000 sold
  • Release Year: 2015
  • Players: 2
  • Genre: Strategy
  • Playing Time: 30 minutes

Just like its counterpart 7 Wonders, 7 Wonders Duel is not necessarily for fresh beginners, but great for people who have played a few games before. To start the game, place the board between the two players and the conflict pawn on the center oval of the board. Place four military tokens face-up and five progress tokens in their corresponding places. Both players will gain enough coins to add up to seven and place four wonders in the center of the table. 

Then, each player will take two wonders, and another four wonders will be placed down, with both players taking two wonders again. Remove three cards from each age pile and place three guilds into the age three pile, shuffling all the piles. Finally, deal with the age cards according to the rule book, making sure to follow the face-up and face-down patterns.

During a turn, each player will play an accessible card from the pyramid and choose one of three actions to perform. The first action one can perform is to construct the building the card represents, to do so pay the amount shown below the banner and place the card face-up in front of you.

The second action a player can make is to discard the card for gold, if you do so you gain two coins and an additional coin for every yellow card you have in your city. The final action is to construct a wonder; instead of paying the amount on the card, you pay the amount shown on the wonder. 

Once all the age cards have been played, age two starts; after all the age two cards have been played, age three begins. The game ends when a player moves the conflict pawn to the opposing player’s base, a player collects six different scientific symbols, or if all the age three cards have been played.

The player with the most points wins if the game ends by the age ending, otherwise whoever collected six different scientific symbols or moved their conflict pawn to the other player’s base wins.

3. Carcassonne

Game Statistics: 

  • Rank: 3rd
  • Copies Sold: 190,000 sold
  • Release Year: 2000
  • Players: 2 - 5 (best with 2)
  • Genre: Family
  • Playing Time: 30 - 45 minutes

Carcassonne is a good game for beginners as it’s easy to learn. However, it does involve a lot of strategy. To start setup take out the river terrain tiles and place those in the box, then take the tile with a darkened back and place that face up in the middle of the table, the rest of the tiles will be shuffled into three piles. 

During one’s turn, you take a tile and attach it to any tile in play making sure the artwork matches up. You then have the option to place your meeple onto the tile you just placed. When placing a meeple make sure to pick one section of artwork, whether that be a section of road, field, church, or a city, to place your meeple onto. Depending on where you choose to place your meeple changes what your meeple is. 

If you were to place your meeple on a road it becomes a highway patrolman, if you place it onto a field, it becomes a farmer, if you place it onto a church, it becomes a monk, and if you were to place it on a city, it becomes a knight. When placing a meeple, you may not place it onto a feature that is connecting to another meeple. 

Whenever a road, church, or city is completed, the meeple on that feature is taken back, and the player receives points. For roads, you receive points once both ends of the road are closed off. For churches, you receive points once the church is completely surrounded by other tiles.

For cities, you receive points once the city is not able to be expanded any further and is closed off. The game ends when there are no more tiles to place. Scoring is commenced for incomplete features, and the player with the most points wins.

2. Pandemic

Game Statistics:

  • Rank: 2nd
  • Copies Sold: 198,000 sold
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Players: 2 - 4 (best with 4)
  • Genre: Family/Strategy
  • Playing Time: 45 minutes

Pandemic is good for players who have played one or two games before but not necessarily for fresh beginners. It is a game based around teamwork and strategic planning, and it can be difficult to grasp if you have never played a board game before. To start setup, place the board in the middle of the table and make piles of the four different disease cubes and research stations, then place one of the research stations in Atlanta, as this is where the CDC is located. 

Place an outbreak marker on the zero space in the outbreaks tracker, then place the corresponding infections token blank side-up into the infections rectangle at the bottom of the board. Place the infection rate tracker token onto the left-most spot in the infection rate circle, shuffle the infection cards, and place them in the corresponding location, flipping over the top card and placing it face-up in the discard pile. 

This card will show an infection and the location of the infection. Place three disease cubes corresponding to the infection and place them in the location that the infection card states; repeat this step eight more times. For every three cards you place, reduce the number of cubes you place by one until you reach zero. Shuffle the player deck, making sure to remove the epidemic cards and deal the appropriate amount for the number of players in the game. 

During a turn, you have the option to make four out of eight actions shown on your action card. These are drive/ferry, directing a flight, chartering a flight, shuttleing a flight, building a research station, treating disease, sharing knowledge, or discovering a cure. The game will end with a loss when either the outbreak marker reaches the final space, there aren’t enough disease cubes to place, or you can’t draw two player cards. However, if all four diseases are cured, then you have won the game.

1. Catan

Game Statistics:

  • Rank: 1st
  • Copies Sold: 202,000 sold
  • Release Year: 1995
  • Players: 3 - 4 (best with 4)
  • Genre: Family/Strategy
  • Playing Time: 60 - 120 minutes

I wouldn’t recommend this game for beginners or people who are trying to get into board games, as it becomes complicated very quickly. Catan is a strategy game where your goal is to be the first person to reach ten victory points. To set up the board, you randomly place the board tiles and numbers while making sure to leave the desert open for the robber. 

You start the game by placing a settlement down on an intersection and then a road connecting to your settlement in any direction the next person places, and when the last person goes, they place two settlements and two roads. 

The only rule in this part of the game is to make sure that the settlements placed are at least two intersections away from each other. After the final person places their two settlements, you go clockwise back to the first person, where everyone finishes their settlement and road placement. Each settlement is worth one point, so everyone starts with two points.

You start your turn by rolling the die, and whatever number you roll is whichever tiles will receive resources only if anybody’s settlements or cities are connected to this tile. You can either get wool, brick, ore, wood, or wheat. If you roll a seven, however, then the robber comes into play. 

Anybody who has a hand of seven or more cards has to lose half of them rounded up. The player who initiated the robber gets to place it on a plot and steals one card from anybody on that plot at random. After you either gain resources or move the robber, you can then build or get a development card. You can build a road for one brick and one wood, a settlement for one wheat, wood, brick, and wool, or upgrade a settlement to a city for three ore and two wheat. 

If you don’t have enough resources for any of these or you have too many cards and want to reduce your hand, you can buy a development card for one wool, wheat, and ore. Development cards can give you a victory point (which you must reveal if it brings you to ten points), a knight card (which allows you to move the robber), or a progress card (which allows you to progress quicker than normal). 

Along with settlements, cities, and development cards, there are two more ways to get closer to ten points. If you have the most knights, you can get the largest army card, which gives you two more points and can be stolen at any time if someone has more knights than you. You can also get the longest road card for having the longest road, which gives you two points as well, and can be stolen at any time if someone builds a longer road than you. The game ends once a player reaches ten points, and that player wins the game.


Written by joao-q

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