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The titles in this list of top 10 strategy board game for adults is perfect if you want to play a board game where your decision-making skills have a big impact in determining the outcome of the game.
Strategy games generally require analysis and some form of probabilistic thinking when it comes to chance outcomes. Even if the games on this list are not very random when it comes to the outcome of the game, there are still some elements of luck involved, such as drafting cards.
Strategy board game for adults, advanced by design, require that the people you play with know what they are in for. That they are going to play a board game that requires thought, effort and time. Otherwise, you risk someone losing interest and start messing around, and we don’t want that in our game!
Top 10 Strategy Board Games for Adults
Scythe takes place in alternate 1920s Europa.
Each player takes up the role as the leader of one of five different factions. The game is played out on board around a mysterious capitalistic city-state referred to as “The Factory” which draws the attention of the different factions.
Players controlling each faction tries to conquer territory, get new recruits, gain resources, villages and build structures and gradually develop better and better-armored mechs which are used to battle with.
Scythe is a great example of a strategy board game for adults as each player has close to complete control of the outcome of their play. There are still some factors of luck involved, namely “encounter” cards that are drawn as the game goes along. The luck factor can be minimized however since “encounter” cards have several options allowing players to opt for the optimal choice given the situation.
All players participate until the end, no player elimination involved in the gameplay. There are no rounds or phases in Scythe as the board game utilizes action-selection mechanisms.
Scythe offers a lot of replayability. Every part of the game involved engine-building where players upgrade to become more efficient. It could get new recruits, improve character abilities, gain new resources, build structures, improve strategic positioning, expand borders on the map or activate mechs. The choices made in regards to engine-building are what drives the game – progress, and momentum. The replayability of Scythe comes from this massive amount of choices on each turn and sequence your choose to build.
9. Gaia Project
Gaia Project project is a science fiction/space exploration board game. It takes place in the universe of Terra Mystica. There are 14 different factions on seven different planets where each faction has a home planet and then terraforms close by planets as the game progresses. New planets are terraformed in competition with other factions. Besides the neighboring planets, there are Gaia planets and Transdimensional planets.
Each player can improve in different strategic areas such as Economy, Navigation, Artificial Intelligence, Terraforming, Gaiaforming and Research which enables more advanced technology and bonuses. All factions differ in special traits like skills and abilities.
Due to the many various factions and options, the game has high replayability. Another factor that makes this board game fun to play again and again is the variable set-up of the playing area.
8. Star Wars: Rebellion
Star Wars: Rebellion is a strategy board game for adults of epic proportions. Experience the civil war between the Galactic Empire and the Rebel Alliance in a galaxy far, far away.
This board game is for 2 to 4 players where each player command starships, ground troops, and recruit systems to join your ranks.
- If you play as the Galactic Empire you command epic Star Destroyers, TIE fighters and Stormtroopers, and.. the Death Star! Obviously, as the Galactic Empire, you rule the galaxy by fear and military force. To win you need to annihilate the Rebel Alliance. You can also wipe out other systems along the way.
- If you play as the Rebel Alliance you command T47’s, Airspeeders, Corellian Corvettes, Fighter Squadrons, and Troops. As a Rebel, you need to build alliances with other systems and perform military strikes and conduct elaborate sabotage in order to steal useful intelligence (think Death Star blueprints). In order to win you need to rally the other systems to the rebel cause – instigating a full-blown revolt, overthrowing the Empire and win.
If you are a Star Wars fan then this is a most strategy board game, it contains all the elements of the Star Wars saga; myth, heroes and feelings.
7. Twilight Imperium (Fourth Edition)
Yet another strategy board game for adults in the science fiction category. This one has stood the test of time, the first edition of Twilight Imperium was released in 1997.
Twilight Imperium, a galaxy of eternal conflict for 3 to 6 players. Each player takes on the role of one of 17 different factions fighting for galactic supremacy. It is a strategic board game where victory is achieved by military force, cunning politics and slick financial decisions.
This board game has loads of depth and no round of Twilight Imperium is said to be the same. Each of the 17 factions offers a different play experience. Each round taking place during the gameplay begins with each player drawing a strategy card determining the order of player and unique strategic actions.
6. Brass: Birmingham
The next strategy board game of adults on our list is more recent dating to 2018.
Set during the industrial revolution, Brass: Birmingham is a strategy board game for adults built on economical aspects where 2 to 4 players each take the role of competing entrepreneurs in Birmingham between the years of 1770 to 1870.
Each round a player develop, build, establish more business activity and network to gain insights and deals.
Brass: Birmingham was nominated and won many prestigious awards during 2018 and 2019 including:
- 2019: Origins Awards Best Board Game Nominee
- 2019: International Gamers Award – General Strategy: Multiplayer Nominee
- 2018: Golden Geek Board Game of the Year Nominee
- 2018: Golden Geek Best Strategy Board Game Winner
- 2018: Golden Geek Best Board Game Artwork and Presentation Nominee
5. Twilight Struggle
Twilight Struggle is a 2-player card-driven strategy board game for adults. Each game lasts 10 rounds covering the whole Cold War period.
Each player represents a superpower, the United States of America or the Soviet Union. You need to elaborate on strategic approaches improvised tactical solutions in order to gain control over countries and to play action cards.
45 years of warfare, intrigue, deception, and prestige covering the Arab-Israeli conflicts, the Vietnam War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Space Race all while threading the lines of full-blown nuclear war.
4. Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization
Build a great civilization in Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization. 2 to 4 players compete in this civilization-building board game.
Technological advancements, sophisticated governments, and great wonders. Start out by expanding farms and mines to collect resources in order to build cities. The focus in this strategy board game for adults is to build and become more sophisticated and cultural as you move through the ages of civilization – from simple farmers to Einstein.
Your civilization needs to do well in all areas of necessary growth – happy citizens, a refined government, a powerful military, a strong economy, and advanced technology. In order to win you need to outdo the other players in some areas and make sure to not be too far behind in other areas.
The player with the most refined culture at the end of the modern age is declared the winner.
3. Terraforming Mars
In the future 400 years from now, like the title suggest, mankind is terraforming Mars.
Corporations are competing to transforming Mars into a habitable planet by raising the temperature, oxygen level and establishing and increasing ocean coverage.
This strategy board game of adults is played by 1 to 5 players where each player represents a corporation. All players are collaborating in the terraforming process but compete for getting VP’s (Victory Points) which are awarded based on contribution to the terraforming, advancing technology and infrastructure and doing other exemplary tasks through the game.
Each corporation has a particular profile, play project cards (there’s over 200!), build up production, gather resources and build habitable areas and cities.
2. Pandemic Legacy: Season 1
Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 is an immensely popular installment from the Pandemic series.
It’s a co-operative campaign strategy board game for adults. Season 1 has an overarching story-arc divided into 12 to 24 sessions which are played through with 2 to 4 players.
If you have played any earlier Pandemic board games you will recognize a lot of similarities with the previous games. At least at the beginning of the game.
For those who are not familiar with Pandemic, the basics of the games are that you and your team strive to counter global disaster by traveling around the globe, treating disease hotspots, researching cures for all diseases while racing against the clock with global disaster looming over your heads.
The story arc in Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 spans over 12 months with each new month bringing new tasks, challenges and new rules. Unlock tools to deal with new problems. There are loads of actions to take and all choices you make during each month will have a permanent impact, positive or negative, on the story as it continues to evolve.
Save the world with your family or friends!
1. The Best Strategy Board Game for Adults: Gloomhaven
Gloomhaven is a cooperate tactical combat strategy board game for adults, played by 1 to 4 players. Since it’s inception the game has sold over 120,000 copies.
Gloomhaven is a game of exploration and fighting, clearing out dungeons and forgotten places. Each player takes on the role of a mysterious mercenary. Each mercenary has a special set of skills and motives. During this process, each player will enhance their mercenaries ability, equipment, discover new locations to fight through and plunder.
The story is seemingly always evolving and fueled by decisions being made as the game is played.
This game is amazing, has fantastic miniatures and will give you and your playing group loads of playing hours and cooperative fun.
You can also play Gloomhaven as a single player where you control more than one mercenary and fight against automated monsters where actions are determined by an innovative card system determining the order of play and what options are available to each mercenary on their turn.