Best RPG Board Games
Whether you’re a diehard Dungeons and Dragons aficionado or just looking for something new on game night, there’s nothing quite like a good RPG (role player game) to open up new vistas of the imagination.
Immerse yourself in legendary adventures, combat fearsome foes and discover whole new worlds as you craft your own character and spin the yarn of your dreams.
However, with so many RPG board games to choose from, it’s not always easy to navigate your way to the ones that best suit your needs. In this buyer’s guide, you can find ten of the best RPG board games on the market sorted according to game expandability, creative freedom, number of possible players, and accessories that bring the games to life.
Embarking on your latest epic adventure begins with finding the right RPG board game.
- 1 Best RPG Board Game of 2020
- 2 Gloomhaven
- 3 Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle Earth
- 4 Mansions of Madness, 2nd Edition
- 5 Dungeons & Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt
- 6 Mice & Mystics
- 7 Call to Adventure
- 8 Lords of Waterdeep: A Dungeons & Dragons Board Game
- 9 Star Wars: Outer Rim
- 10 Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of Ashardalon
- 11 Fiasco Role Playing Game
- 12 Best RPG Board Games Buying Guide
- 13 Frequently Asked Questions
Best RPG Board Game of 2020
Top of the list is Gloomhaven, a tactical combat role playing game. The game takes place in an ever-changing world of shifting motives and fluctuating ambitions.
Players perform the role of wandering adventurers who work together exploring and conquering this fantasy land. Each character has their own unique back-story and skill-set which develops as they discover new locations, acquire possessions and experience, and penetrate deeper into this ever-evolving story.
Try out the innovative card system that allows you to battle villainous foes and confront your fate in this immersive role playing board game.
Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle Earth
In this imaginative tour-de-force you can travel through the hallowed halls and eerie forests of Tolkien’s celebrated world of Middle-earth.
Embark on your own personal quests as you conquer the evil forces looming throughout the land, and explore the vast landscapes with their hidden treasures that unfold before your eyes. The game features a companion app that brings the board to life, and can guide solo missions or a fellowship of up to five players.
Throw yourself into this fantastic realm and craft your own legend that will be sung about for generations.
Mansions of Madness, 2nd Edition
Set in the murky world of Lovecraft, this hair-raising extravaganza will have you poised on the edge of your seat.
With over 500 detailed components, 32 plastic figures and four killer campaigns, this fully cooperative campaign plunges you into morbid mystery as you seek answers in the haunts of Innmouth.
The game has a required app that operates on iOS, Android, Windows and Mac, conjuring up paranoid puzzles and slimy scenarios that take you to the edge of sanity and death. Chase the thrills in this mind-bending horror.
Dungeons & Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt
Set in the world of the Forgotten Realms novels by R. A. Salvatore, this powerful game follows the adventures of Drizzt Do’Urden.
Achieve glory by battling villainous foes, amassing plundered treasure and conquering your enemies.
Designed for 1 to 5 players, this board game features 42 heroes and monsters, 13 sheets of interlocking cardstock Dungeons tiles, 200 encounter and treasure cards, a scenario book and a 20-sided die that enable you to confront challenging quests and various cooperative scenarios.
Mice & Mystics
Undertake the adventure of a lifetime in the ever-changing, interactive world of Owendale in Mice & Mystics.
Following the king’s marriage to the evil queen Vanestra, the king’s allies have been transformed into mice so that they can try to sneak through the castle and warn the king. But passing through the world the size of mice is not so easy.
Tackle diverse opponents such as rats, spiders, cockroaches, and Brody the housecat as players work together to achieve their goal and save the kingdom.
The game features an immersive storyline that each player helps to create as they make their own way in the world.
Call to Adventure
Build your own character in this infinitely expandable fantasy adventure.
In this role play board game you can weave the story and develop the hero that you want while questing through an exciting world of chance, fate and destiny.
Defeat adversaries, acquire skills and experience, and gain allies as you make your own way in the world and try to be victorious by amassing the most destiny points.
The game contains over 150 illustrated cards and 24 custom runes for use in crafting an epic adventure. This game transforms each player into a legendary bard constructing a life out of the raw materials available to him.
Lords of Waterdeep: A Dungeons & Dragons Board Game
Lords of Waterdeep is a strategy game for 2-5 players that takes place in Waterdeep, the City of Splendors – the most sparkling jewel in the Forgotten Realms. The city is rife with political intrigue and dodgy dealings as its lords compete for control of its vast treasure and resources.
You play the role of a lord of the city. The aim of the game is to struggle against your opponents through wit, negotiation and force to become the supreme master of Waterdeep.
Each lord hires adventurers to complete quests on their behalf, and can purchase new properties that expand the board and reveal new actions.
With a projected game time of 1 hour, this is a good choice if you need to play a quick game.
Star Wars: Outer Rim
Explore the iconic Star Wars galaxy and forge your own epic story in Star Wars: Outer Rim.
In this game you will play as one of eight Star Wars characters that inhabit the seedy underworld of the galaxy’s outer rim. Take on the role of smuggler, mercenary or bounty hunter as you try to negotiate your way as an outlaw in the galaxy’s wild underbelly.
Tell your own story as you delve ever deeper into this network of warring factions, bounty collection and illegal cargos.
Designed for 1-4 players, you can adventure through the stars with friends or on your own with the game’s unique solo mode.
Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of Ashardalon
Set in the fantastical imaginative world of dungeons and dragons, this game features interactive, cooperative game play for 1-5 players.
A dark, terrifying spire of fiery lava and spluttering smoke casts a heavy shadow over the land. Steal away through a cave mouth into the bowels of the earth in search of answers and adventure.
Work together with your fellow adventurers through a labyrinth of murky tunnels, damp chambers filled with monsters and the terrifying red dragon.
Play multiple scenarios and overcome breath-taking obstacles in this imaginative tour-de-force.
Fiasco Role Playing Game
An award winning role playing game, Fiasco follows the disastrous lives of the ordinary and unlucky. Inspired by cinematic portrayals of down-and-out small-timers who are down on their luck, lives and reputations will be ruined and you will have to try and pick up the pieces.
In this game you will be the storytellers. You can engineer and play out your own tragic tale of hubris, greedy ambition and deceitful lust. You are the actors and stage directors of your very own soap opera.
This is a game for 3-5 players and is designed to take a few hours: about the same amount of time as some of your favorite movies. You do not need to prepare for the game: you only need a six sided dice and a couple of free hours.
Best RPG Board Games Buying Guide
While RPG board games can be a lot of fun to play, with so many new options flooding the market it is not always easy to find the right game that suits you. Not all games are alike and they are often devised with different audiences in mind. When trying to navigate the board games market, it can be useful to be aware of how they may differ and what to look out for..
The first thing to be aware of is that the complexity of RPG board games varies widely. Some require a lot of skill, strategy and acquaintance with the imaginative worlds they inhabit.
These games are of course not so well suited to children, families or newcomers to the RPG genre. For these gamers, it is advisable to make sure you buy a game with simple rules, an accessible world that is suitable for any age group, and that doesn’t have too many cards or pieces.
The second feature to look out for is game time. RPG board games can take anything from around one hour to several days to play. Much of this game time is down to the players themselves – the decisions they make, the complexity of the story they develop, and how much fun they’re having.
However, each game does have a general time-scale built into it. If you expect to have limited time for play or are looking to have a long, immersive experience, pay attention to the game’s estimated time before you buy.
And third, check the game accessories. The number and kinds of accessories required to play the games vary widely. Games with a lot of pieces and card systems can make for a very complex and entertaining game, but they are easily lost, broken or can be heavy to transport.
If you expect to be playing with children or to be traveling, then simple games with fewer models are advisable.
You should also be aware that some RPG board games come with companion apps or computer programs that are sometimes necessary to play the game.
You should try to make sure that you have the right platforms to run these features before purchasing the product.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does an RPG board game take to play?
The time it takes to play an RPG board game varies widely, ranging from about one hour to several days. Much of this is down to the players themselves as the games are often determined by creative choices while the games are being played.
However, each game does have a built in “clock” which determines the projected length of time. RPG board games typically take around 2-3 hours.
Do you already need experience of playing RPG board games to have fun?
RPG board games often have a reputation for being long, complicated and requiring special knowledge of how the game works. While this is true of some of the more complex games, there are a lot out there that are designed for a simpler game that it is easy to get into right away.
Every game comes with a rule book and suggestions for how to navigate the game-world, so if you fancy trying your hand at the harder games the resources are there.
Do I need to bring anything with me to play RPG board games?
You do not need to bring accessories to RPG board games as each game already comes with necessary figures, cards or companion apps. Some people like to dress up to get into character and immerse themselves in their worlds, but this is not obligatory.
Players can decide between themselves if they want to bring additional props.
Are RPG board games chance or strategy based?
The short answer is a bit of both. RPG board games grow as the game develops. Players make decisions and forge the stories for themselves. Most games have built-in systems that determine the outcome of particular moves or specific decisions, and these vary in complexity.
Some require a lot of skill and strategic thinking while others depend more on chance. Before buying a game, make sure that the complexity of its gameplay suits your needs.