Many board games have an element of war. Even the classic game of chess is about trying to take someone’s king. There are many brilliant board games out there that have a war theme and will provide you with countless hours of entertainment.
We’ve looked high and low to find the 10 best war board games available today. To help you make a perfect choice, we’ve completed our in-depth reviews and have also created a buying guide to give you all the info you need.
Let’s find your perfect war board game!
- 1 Best War Board Games
- 1.1 Risk by Hasbro Gaming
- 1.2 Axis and Allies 1941 by Avalon Hill
- 1.3 Twilight Struggle by GMT Games
- 1.4 B-17 Flying Fortress Leader by DVG
- 1.5 1775 – Rebellion by Academy Games
- 1.6 Inis by Asmodee
- 1.7 Memoir ’44 by Days of Wonder
- 1.8 A Game of Thrones by Fantasy Flight Games
- 1.9 Battle of Five Armies by Ares Games
- 1.10 Twilight Imperium by Fantasy Flight Games
- 2 Best War Board Games – Buying Guide
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions
Best War Board Games
Risk by Hasbro Gaming
Risk is one of the most famous war board games there is. It’s a game of world domination where you’ll be trying to control as much territory as you can. It can be played between 2-5 players and you’ll be able to go to war with your friends and use your power.
It works via the roll of a dice and a wide selection of cards. Each player will get their own troops that they’ll try to move around the board. The game is able can be played by ages of 10+ with engaging gameplay that will keep everyone hooked.
You’ll have a lot of fun playing the game as you can form alliances with other armies, betray them at the crucial moment or even launch surprise attacks. There are also a few different ways to play the game which will keep you coming back for more.
Axis and Allies 1941 by Avalon Hill
This is a war game that takes you back to the depths of WWII. There have been quite a few different versions of the game but they all have the same exceptional gameplay. The artwork is great and you immediately get that war feel.
You’ll take on the role of one of the superpowers and try and fight your way to supremacy. The game has excellent depth with each turn consisting of several phases of gameplay. The level of detail has always helped this game to stand out.
There is a reason that it’s been around for so long and the games always represent excellent value for money. It can take quite a long time to play so you have to bear that in mind. The board has an epic size and you’ll be engaged in this game throughout.
Twilight Struggle by GMT Games
This game is less about battles and more about strategy. That’s because it takes place during the Cold War from 1946 through to 1989. The game is split up into 10 different rounds with each of them looking at a different time period.
As you go through the game, you want to be able to increase your influence to become the dominant superpower in the world. It can take up to three hours but you’ll find it to be an absorbing experience as you make your way through it.
The gameplay is fairly straightforward which makes the game easy to pick but you’ll soon be taken in my the deep strategy of the game.
B-17 Flying Fortress Leader by DVG
If you were looking for a fantastic solo war game then this would be it. It’s another game set in WWII and focused on the air battles of the time. Your main missions will be to destroy the Luftwaffe and enable a successful D-Day.
The game is all about strategic bombing as you’ll buy and take control over bombers and have them in your command. For a solo game, it takes up plenty of table space and you’ll love how in-depth it is.
A great aspect of this game is that there are multiple campaigns available and the game has excellent replayability. You’ll battle against Luftwaffe squadrons which are controlled by dice and a lot of planning is require and the game has immense detail. It can be hard to get to grips with at first but you’ll find the game deep and engaging.
1775 – Rebellion by Academy Games
As with Risk, 1775 is an area control game that is perfect for 2 or 4 players. It’s set at the time of the American revolution where the American armies are fighting against the British forces. It’s a fight for dominance over the American territory.
There are various factions in the battles and you need to choose one. Once you do, you’ll take your units and unique battle dice and cards. It’s unique in that respect of having a different set of dice for each player.
Each turn has four different phases and the winner is declared once truce cards have been played. The person with the most colonies wins and you need plenty of strategies to get there. The game is fairly simple to learn but still has enough complexity.
Inis by Asmodee
Ideal for 2-4 and with a game time of 60-90 minutes, Inis is another fantastic war board game. It has a Celtic theme and requires strategy to win. It’s a deep game that will constantly engage all the players as you try and become Ireland’s King.
It’s perhaps the simplest war game and doesn’t take long to learn. While that may be true, it still has plenty of depth and will keep everyone entertained. It starts out with being dealt with a series of action cards and then the game develops from there.
The fast-paced tactical approach is going to appeal to many users and so will the impressive artwork. It’s very impressive and you’ll love the draft mechanic, along with the gameplay.
Memoir ’44 by Days of Wonder
Memoir ’44 also takes place during WWII. It’s ideal for between 2-8 players and will take around 30-60 minutes, making it ideal for large groups. The game has 15 different scenarios that all take place at different times and settings of the war.
It’s a game that is very easy to learn and great for those who aren’t looking to have a marathon gaming session. The scenarios differ in terms of quality but many of them are very fun together. For a war game, a lot of it also simply comes down to luck.
It’s played with command cards that will allow you to control your troops. You’ll also roll the dice and eventually collect medals to try and win the game. It’s a fun game and a good first step into the world of the more complicated war board games.
A Game of Thrones by Fantasy Flight Games
Many people loved the books and the following TV show but the board game is epic too. It can take up to three hours to play but they will fly by with the level of intensity. It’s a perfect game for 3-6 players as you’ll all take control of a different house of Westeros as you fight for the iron throne.
The game has an incredible range of components as it contains 138 plastic pieces and 105 cards. Those cares will be used for events while also having all of your favorite characters. As you go through the game you’ll be involved with battles, trade, and politics while making alliances and dealing with betrayal.
If that sounds exciting, it’s because it is. It captures the magic of George R. Martin’s work while being one of the best war board games ever made. While it is a great idea for a fan of Game of Thrones, this would be highly enjoyable by someone who’d never even heard of it.
Battle of Five Armies by Ares Games
Battle of Five Armies is another brilliant story based on a book. This time it’s “The Hobbit” by J. R. R. Tolkien. It focuses on the final battle in that book and is made for two players with a playing time of anywhere up to four hours.
The gameplay is highly engaging where one player will control the shadow armies and the other will take on the role of the free people. It’s played in a series of rounds with each round having six phases.
It’s a high-quality game and that is shown by the excellent components and board. The action comes at you fast which makes the time fly by. It’s another great choice, especially for those that love the genre.
Twilight Imperium by Fantasy Flight Games
Like complex sci-fi games? If so, you’ll love this. Not a serious board gamer? Then this may be a little too much. It’s a deeply complex game that can take up to 8 hours to play with 3-6 players.
The replay factor here is exceptional with 17 unique factions to choose from and a board that can be differently constructed for each game.
Along with the complex gameplay, the artwork and components also make this a favorite for enthusiasts. You’ll win the game by gaining victory points which can be achieved in a wide variety of different ways.
Best War Board Games – Buying Guide
Some of these games use real-life wars for their setting (Memoir ’44), some are totally fictional (Inis) and others more specifically use their own fantasy world (A Game of Thrones). Everyone will have their preference and most people will choose a board game that matches that. Sometimes, however, it’s great to look beyond the games you usually play.
Number of players
This is always a vital factor when choosing any board game. Every board game will state how many players it’s suitable for. Some of these are quite narrow, such as the 2-4 players that can play 1775 – Rebellion, whereas others like Memoir ’44 are wide with up to 8 players being able to play. Always get a board game that is suitable for your group.
What level of complexity are you looking for? Are you a casual gamer who wants something a little light or a hobbyist who enjoys complex war games? For some groups, the likes of Twilight Imperium would be too in-depth whereas others will love it. You want everyone to be interested and engaged throughout the game.
The game length often goes hand-in-hand with complexity but not always. We mentioned Twilight Imperium and this game can take up to 8 hours to play.
For a game like that, you need to have a group that is prepared for an epic gaming session. If they aren’t then the likes of Inis can be better with its maximum game time of 90 minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a war board game?
A war board game is any game at simulates warfare and will involve strategy in trying to win your battles. We’ve chosen games here that specifically recreate a war scenario rather than a more abstract version of war such as chess or battleship.
What is the best war board game?
Different gamers will always give you a different answer to this question. While other games may be more famous, we love Axis and Allies with all its different versions as it captures the true essence of a war board game. That being said, we could have easily picked any board game on this list.
How to choose the best war board game?
As with any game, the right one for you will depend on a combination of different factors. If you’re unsure then it’s best to go through the buying guide and check off which factors are the most important for you. All of the games we’ve looked at here are brilliant and you can’t go wrong with any of them.
What are the most popular tabletop wargames?
The most popular tabletop war game is probably Risk which also has a few different versions of the game aside from the original. Many of the games we’ve looked at here have immense popularity such as Axis and Allies, A Game of Thrones, and Memoir ’44.
The 10 games we’ve selected here are all highly rated not only by us but also by the thousands of gamers that have played them.