The 10 Most Popular Modern Board Games

Many different tabletop games come out every year and most of them go unnoticed and don’t get the love that many gamers feel they deserve. However, there are a few new board games that are getting a ton of attention and becoming industry staples.

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Modern classics are great games for families and newcomers to the hobby, but really popular modern games tend to be a bit more complex and appeal to hardcore fans. Popular modern games usually have good components and a theme that speaks to many different people and the gameplay should also be excellent most of the time.

ten Terraforming Mars is sci-fi corporate greed


Terraforming Mars board game tiles with cubes

In Terraform Mars, players compete to terraform the planet by using cards, spending resources, and triggering special abilities in an effort to score the most points. Each player takes on the role of a greedy corporation trying to use Mars in a way to make as much money as possible. Terraform Mars has tons of cards and each one is unique, which gives the game a high level of replayability and keeps the tabletop gaming community coming back again and again.

9 Dominion Defined Deck Building


Dominion board game components on table in box

Domination is considered a modern classic for many reasons. Fans around the world praised Domination for its clever card combinations, fast-paced gameplay, and ability to really improve your in-game skills with every playthrough.

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Domination is also often considered the premier deck-building game. Other games had aspects of the idea, but none centered the entire gameplay around this core mechanic. Domination took the idea of ​​many collectible card games, but instead of building a game in advance, building the game is the game itself.


8 Carcassonne is a beloved classic


Carcassonne board game being played and box

Carcassonne really showed players what tile-laying games were all about. However, Carcassonne didn’t just lay tiles. It also put an entire game on top, where players felt like they were building the game board as they played. Carcassonne laid the foundation for many games that followed it and even after twenty years the game still sells well and is played by millions of people. Carcassonne also spawned numerous expansions, spinoffs, and games based on the same gameplay mechanics.


7 Splendor Made A Simple Card Game Feel Premium


Splendor board game components and box cover art

Splendor is one of the most popular games to release for several years for two very important reasons: simple gameplay and poker chips. While the gameplay of Splendor done a lot for its success, the main attractor is still the beautiful poker chips that come with the game. As silly as it may sound to a non-gaming audience, the components are very important to gamblers, especially amateurs. While Splendor tended to appeal to the mainstream, the tabletop gaming community gave it fame for having some of the best components in any card game at the time.


6 Azul is an abstract game with a beautiful look


Azul board game played on table

Azul is a game that took the hobby by storm when it was released. Azul combines many things players love, like the design, beautiful components, and challenging choices. Azul quickly became one of the most beloved modern games to release and for good reason. Azul showed gamers that abstract games can be something millions of people enjoy as long as the proper care is taken in the finished product. Azul also spawned three sequels that retain the same feel of the game but drastically alter it in different ways.


5 Wingspan brought new players to the hobby


wingspan was a surprise hit when it was first released in 2019. wingspan The designer showed gamers that a theme for a board game doesn’t have to fit the mold or be something everyone has seen before. In this state of mind, the designer chose an ornithological reserve as the theme of wingspan.

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The most shocking thing is that the players loved it. Dragon battles, the Wild West, and spaceship battles are great fun and excitement, but sometimes a more realistic approach can connect with a lot more people and feel inviting to new players and enthusiasts.


4 Codenames are great for game night


Board Game Setup and Game Ready

Code names exploded onto the board game scene, receiving numerous accolades and selling tons of copies. Code names revolves around a word grid and players are divided into two teams. On each team, one player gives one-word clues to their teammates in an attempt to get them to guess words on the grid. The game of Code names is simple but it sparks fun conversations, disagreements, and sometimes it can be hilarious and frustrating for the clue giver. Code names continues to be popular with families and enthusiasts who enjoy its code-breaking feel.




3 Ticket To Ride is elegantly simple


Ticket To Ride board game being played

Ticket to ride is by far one of the most popular modern games to date. the Ticket to ride The series has sold over ten million copies and continues to release new expansions with more and more players buying the game every year. In Ticket to ride, players collect cards and then spend them to place trains on a board to establish connections between cities. the original Ticket to ride plays on a map of the United States, but many expansion maps and versions exist, including Europe, Japan, and Switzerland, to name a few.


2 Catan was a revolution in the hobby


Settlers of Catan Trading Resource Cards

Catania is what introduced many modern board gamers to the hobby. In 1995, many people were unaware that the board game market was exploding in countries like Germany. Board games were mainly sold in specialty stores and played by a much smaller number of people than today.

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However, Catania quickly outgrew the small market and into the mainstream where it became one of the most discussed and most played board games of all time. Catania is often credited with attracting more people to the hobby than any other game.


1 The pandemic has spawned a whole genre


Pandemic board game played on table

Pandemic is a cooperative game where all players work together to beat the game itself instead of competing against each other. While Pandemic isn’t the first to do so, it’s responsible for bringing the idea to the masses and is often touted as the game that started the co-op gaming craze that the industry remains today. A board game these days will often be fully cooperative or even have a cooperative option but before Pandemicthe options were very limited. Pandemic is also the most reviewed board game on the amateur website Board Game Geek.

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