5 Must-Have Board Games for Your Next Game Night

Game nights are a fantastic way to bond with friends and family, offering a break from digital screens and an opportunity to engage in laughter, competition, and strategic thinking. With a plethora of board games available, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one for your group. To help you out, we’ve curated a list of 5 must-have board games that promise to elevate your next game night. These games range from cooperative efforts to test your teamwork to competitive battles that will have you plotting your next move. So, gather your loved ones, clear the table, and get ready for an evening filled with excitement and memorable moments.

Key Takeaways

  • Betrayal at House on the Hill offers a unique experience with a haunted house theme and a twist of betrayal that adds suspense and surprise to the game.
  • Pandemic is a cooperative game that challenges players to work together to save the world from outbreaks and epidemics, perfect for those who enjoy strategy and teamwork.
  • Disney Villainous allows players to step into the shoes of iconic Disney villains, each with their own objectives, providing a fresh and thematic experience for Disney fans and strategy lovers alike.
  • Jaipur is an excellent choice for a two-player game night, offering a fast-paced trading and strategy game that is easy to learn but hard to master.
  • Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion is a campaign-driven game that combines role-playing elements with tactical combat, ideal for those seeking a deep and immersive board game experience.

1. Betrayal at House on the Hill

1. Betrayal at House on the Hill

Dive into the eerie corridors of Betrayal at House on the Hill, where each game unfolds with its own unique narrative. This board game is a blend of cooperative strategy and a dash of luck, as players explore a haunted mansion with a twist lurking around every corner.

With a variety of scenarios and a vivid setting, the replayability of Betrayal at House on the Hill is immense. It’s a game that keeps you on the edge of your seat, wondering what horrors the next room holds.

The game accommodates 3 to 6 players and is suitable for ages 12 and up. Despite the occasional confusion over rules and some missions being less balanced, the game’s complexity and the thrill of the unknown make it a standout choice for game night.

Game Details:

  • Players: 3 – 6
  • Ages: 12+
  • Genre: Horror
  • Complexity: Moderate
  • Duration: 60 mins

Customer reviews highlight the game’s luck intensive nature and the fun derived from the ever-changing maps and scenarios. If you’re looking for a game that offers a new experience every time you play, Betrayal at House on the Hill is a must-have for your collection.

2. Pandemic

2. Pandemic

In the world of cooperative board games, Pandemic stands out as a beacon of teamwork and strategy. Players unite as specialists with unique abilities, racing against time to contain and cure four rampant diseases threatening the globe. The game’s intensity escalates with each turn as new infections appear and the risk of outbreaks increases.

How to play:

  • Each player assumes the role of a specialist.
  • Work together to treat infections and research cures.
  • Prevent outbreaks and epidemics from spreading.

The beauty of Pandemic lies in its ability to simulate a global crisis, demanding cooperation and cool-headed strategy to avert disaster.

With sessions averaging around 45 to 60 minutes, Pandemic is perfect for game nights, offering a challenging yet rewarding experience. The game’s design ensures that no two sessions are alike, providing endless replayability. Embrace the challenge and save humanity before it’s too late.

3. Disney Villainous

3. Disney Villainous

In the world of Disney Villainous, embracing your inner antagonist is not just allowed, it’s the whole point. Players take on the roles of iconic Disney villains, each with their own dark aspirations. Whether it’s Jafar seizing control of the Genie or Prince John hoarding riches, the game unfolds as a series of ‘what if’ scenarios where the bad guys might just win.

The game’s complexity and unique mechanics tailored to each character make for a deeply strategic experience. It’s a game that rewards cunning and adaptability, with a high replay value due to the distinct strategies required for each villain.

Here’s a quick glance at what to expect:

  • Players: 2 – 6
  • Ages: 10+
  • Game Type: Strategy
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Complexity: High
  • Average Playtime: 60 mins

While the game is a celebration of villainy, it’s also a testament to the enduring appeal of Disney’s stories. Fans of the House of Mouse will find a lot to love, with each villain’s narrative woven into their gameplay. However, be prepared for a challenge; the game’s depth can make it tricky to explain to newcomers, and its intricacies may initially confuse. But for those willing to delve into its wicked depths, Disney Villainous offers a satisfyingly tactical and visually stunning board game experience.

4. Jaipur

4. Jaipur

Unusual, accessible, and delightfully compelling, Jaipur is a must-have for any game night. Often hailed as one of the best card games ever made, it’s a testament to how a simple concept can be so engaging. The game casts you as a trader in the vibrant city of Jaipur, competing to earn an invitation to the maharaja’s court. With its blend of strategy and luck, Jaipur is a fast-paced card game that is easy to learn and offers plenty of depth for dedicated players.

Jaipur’s charm lies in its balance of simplicity and strategic possibilities. It’s a game that invites you to experiment with different tactics each time you play.

Here’s what you need to know about Jaipur:

  • Players: 2
  • Ages: 10+
  • Game Type: Strategy
  • Genre: Historical
  • Complexity: Low
  • Duration: Approximately 30 minutes

While the game is inherently competitive, it’s not bogged down by complexity, making it an excellent choice for both newcomers and seasoned gamers. However, it’s worth noting that Jaipur is designed for two players and may not offer the same depth as some more complex board games. But if you’re looking for a game that’s easy to pick up, offers moreish gameplay, and has compelling push-your-luck mechanics, Jaipur should be on your list.

5. Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion

5. Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion

Embark on a gripping fantasy adventure with Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion. This game offers a rich narrative experience, where your choices have lasting consequences, making each decision a critical part of your journey. The game’s complexity is high, but it’s designed to be more accessible than the original Gloomhaven, providing a deep yet approachable challenge.

With a focus on skill-based combat and character upgrades, victories in Jaws of the Lion feel earned, not given. The absence of dice rolls means your tactics and decisions lead you to triumph.

If you’re a fan of fantasy and crave an epic adventure, this game will satisfy your desire to explore, battle, and strategize. The legacy mechanics ensure that your actions have a meaningful impact across sessions, adding a thrilling layer of depth to your game nights.

Here’s what you need to know before you dive in:

  • Players: 1 – 4
  • Ages: 14+
  • Game type: Adventure
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Complexity: High
  • Duration: 60+ mins

Reasons to buy include the game’s deep yet accessible gameplay and the non-random combat system. However, be aware that it’s still quite dense and may be considered lightweight compared to the original Gloomhaven.


As we wrap up our exploration of must-have board games for your next game night, it’s clear that the world of tabletop gaming offers an incredible variety of experiences. From strategic challenges to lighthearted fun, there’s a game out there to suit every group and occasion. Whether you’re a seasoned gamer or new to the scene, these five games are sure to bring laughter, competition, and memorable moments to your table. Don’t forget to check out other lists for more options, especially if you have a larger group or are looking for specific types of games. So gather your friends and family, choose your adventure, and let the dice roll where they may!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some good board games for 5 players?

Games like Betrayal at House on the Hill and Pandemic can be great for groups of five, offering engaging gameplay for larger parties.

What should I consider when choosing a board game for game night?

Consider the number of players, the interests and skill levels of the group, and whether you’re looking for something strategic, cooperative, or lighthearted.

Are there any new board games for 2024 that are must-haves?

While classics remain popular, 2024 has introduced innovative games like Disney Villainous and Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion that are quickly becoming favorites.

Can board games be a good option for family gatherings?

Absolutely! Board games like Jaipur and Disney Villainous are perfect for family get-togethers, offering fun and bonding experiences across generations.

What are some top classic board games that are still popular?

Classics such as Monopoly and Life continue to be beloved, but many are turning to modern classics like Pandemic and Betrayal at House on the Hill for a fresh experience.

Where can I find deals on popular board games?

Keep an eye out for online retailers and local game shops, as they often have sales or discounts on popular titles like Pandemic and Disney Villainous.