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10 Best RPG Board Games – A Complete Guide (2021)

Board games come in many different forms, but there is nothing quite like an RPG board game. RPGs or role-playing games to give you the full title, are often more in-depth and intensive games that play quite differently from games like Monopoly

RPG board games are usually strategic in nature, and the rules can be a little more tricky to learn. But this extra work comes with great rewards! Because there is nothing quite like playing an RPG board game.  

They make excellent board games for friends and family game nights, and while you might be a little intimidated at first, you can go at your own pace.

With many RPG board games, the end goal can vary or players might even have to come up with it themselves. 

Some famous names in the genre like Dungeons and Dragons, for example, can be played over numerous sessions.

So, are you ready to let your imagination run wild and try some RPG board games? 

Then we have great news for you because we are counting down our picks for the 10 best RPG board games to play this year!

Like always, we’ve made our choices based on numerous factors including popularity, strategy, and uniqueness. So, without further ado here are our picks:

10 Best RPG Board Games

1.Carcassonne 
2.Catan The Board Game
3.Dungeons and Dragons 
4.Gloomhaven 
5.Mysterium 
6.Dead of Winter 
7.Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-Earth 
8.Mice & Mystics 
9.One Deck Dungeon 
10.Scythe 

1. Carcassonne   

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When a game is based on a medieval French fortress, you know you are in for something different! Carcassonne takes the fantasy RPG approach by allowing up to 5 players to build followers of different classes including knights, monks, farmers and thieves. 

Each class plays differently, but followers alone won’t allow you to win in Carcassonne. You will also need to expand your land using different types of terrain. The map grows as each player makes their moves and works on building a higher score.  

While RPG games don’t always involve points or building scores, Carcassonne does and it incorporates classic tile-building gameplay as well.

These familiar gameplay elements make Carcassonne an excellent RPG board game for beginners to try. 

But don’t worry even veteran RPG players will find this empire expanding game thrilling with plenty of room for tactical gameplay.

This set includes everything you need to get started with Carcassonne so if you want to add some RPG gaming to your next game night give this historical, adventure RPG a go! 

2. Catan The Board Game

On Sale Catan The Board Game

Catan is probably one of the most well-known RPG board games on this list. Rather than exploring dangerous dungeons or journeying across great lands, Catan focuses on the smaller scale moments. 

It’s an RPG all about resource building and you’ll need to harvest and trade all kinds of resources if you want to win.

With room for up to 4 players, you’ll soon be warring with friends as you engage in sneaky strategic gameplay to get the best deal to build up your forces. 

The board itself fights against you in Catan as it is made of many different terrains, which will change during each new game.

The robber is a unique aspect in Catan as well, it moves across the board stealing resources from other players. 

So, you won’t need to just work against other players but also outwit the robber as well.  Strategic gameplay is what Catan is known for and while it might seem a little intimidating at first, it’s a very accessible RPG and this great value set holds everything you could need. 

3. Dungeons and Dragons: Castle Ravenloft 

On Sale Dungeons and Dragons: Castle Ravenloft

Well in a guide about RPG games Dungeons and Dragons was bound to show up eventually, wasn’t it? Like Catan, this is another famous RPG, but the Castle Ravenloft game is a little different. 

In Dungeons and Dragons, you make your character, building their stats, complete quests, and much more.

Now while Dungeons and Dragons is a game all about using your imagination to decide the rules, gameplay items and more you don’t have to do this alone. 

With the Castle Ravenloft set, you’ll be able to utilize the included guide to get your adventure started!

This set is based around the mysterious Castle Ravenloft and its enigmatic master. Players are called to a strange banquet at the castle but what dangers await? 

With this great RPG, you’ll get everything you need for hours of adventure! Dungeons and Dragons is the classic RPG board game experience. There is no right or wrong way to play and you’ll be sure to have tonnes of fun. 

4. Gloomhaven 

On Sale Gloomhaven

Gloomhaven was the RPG board game of choice in 2017 and it’s still sure to be a great experience today. What we love about this innovative RPG board game is that it really prioritizes combat! 

Now while combat (in some form) is commonly part of the RPG board game experience few games utilize it as well as Gloomhaven.

You start the game as a lone adventurer struggling to survive the dark world they live in. 

Each player will be unique and have their own set of skills and while you won’t always be working together, players will usually need to band together to survive and complete quests.

Designed to follow in-depth scenarios that can be completed over numerous sessions, Gloomhaven is an excellent game for RPG veterans. 

But the good news is up to 4 players can enjoy this game together and in this excellent board game set over 90 different quests are compiled.

There are even dedicated quests designed to help new players ease into the game too! 

5. Mysterium

On Sale Mysterium

Have you ever wondered what Clue would be like with more RPG-style gameplay? If so then Mysterium is the game for you! In Mysterium, up to 6 players take on the role of psychic detectives looking to solve a terrible murder. 

The weapon, location, and, of course, the killer’s identity all need to be uncovered. However, uncovering this isn’t easy, but it can be done with the ghost’s help. The ghost is a role taken by the final player who uses surreal picture cards to give players hints. 

The RPG elements come into play as players discuss the case, interrogate each other and there is even an ambient clairvoyance track which can help improve the atmosphere.

A good RPG game is all about losing yourself in the setting so if you want an RPG with a more murder mystery vibe Mysterium is a great choice. 

6. Dead of Winter 

On Sale Dead of Winter

Dead of Winter is a zombie apocalypse-themed RPG board game that puts you and other players in the role of struggling survivors.

Suitable for 2 to 5 players Dead of Winter takes a more unusual approach as each player will need to work together to survive. 

However, in true RPG style, there is a twist to this because players will need to complete their own individual secret objectives to win the game.

Each player will be in charge of their own colony of survivors and the game includes resource management, combat, trading and more. 

While each player will need to work together at some point, completing your secretive object will often require some sneaky tactics. You might need to sabotage another colony or even get another player killed! 

With Dead of Winter, you’ll need to juggle your own individual goal while working together with other players until the time is right.

Games can end with one winner, several or with everyone dying, and like any good RPG board game, no two games are the same. 

7. Lord of the Rings: Journeys In Middle-Earth 

On Sale Lord of the Rings: Journeys In Middle-Earth

Since many RPG board games are all about exploring distant fantasy lands who wouldn’t want to visit the world created by J.R.R Tolkien? Lord of the Rings: Journeys In Middle-Earth is just the game to do this and will provide hours of entertainment. 

Suitable for up to 5 players Journeys in Middle-Earth will see players battling against orcs, goblins, trolls and more.

Each player will take on the role of one of the famous heroes of the Lord of the Rings and have to use their unique skills to win the game. 

Like many RPG games, Journeys in Middle-Earth uses a quest, scenario style gameplay loop so you can continue your game amongst numerous sessions. You can also partake in side-quests to find gold, treasures and more.  

If you are a fan of Lord of the Rings, then this RPG board game is a must-play. But it would also be a great beginner RPG game as well. The famous characters and popular setting will make it easier for people new to RPGs to understand. 

8. Mice & Mystics 

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Mice & Mystics is a Dungeon and Dragons game like no other! After being turned into a mouse, you will need to journey through the castle and save the king in this exciting RPG board game.

If you are looking for a beginner-friendly game, then Mice & Mystics could be for you. 

Character cards each with their own special characteristics and skills allow each player to utilize unique gameplay elements.

There are numerous different enemies to battle throughout the game as well including rats, insects, cats and much more. 

Each player will need to collect cheese as well to help strengthen their gameplay and overcome difficult challenges.

Best of all, each mice character comes with its own unique character token as well, so each of the 1 – 4 players can see their character represented in real-time. 

Mice & Mystics offers a lighter, simpler RPG board game experience which makes it the ideal choice for people new to RPGs.

RPG board games can often be a little overwhelming for people at first, so Mice & Mystics makes a great entry point. 

9. One Deck Dungeon 

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Time is an issue for many RPG board games, which is why many use the quest or scenario structure. However, One Deck Dungeon nicely tackles this issue by offering a speedier gameplay experience. 

But like any good RPG game, you’ll still need to develop a strategy and employ tactical play in order to succeed and traverse the dungeons.

One Deck Dungeon is designed for 1 – 2 players and you’ll be able to develop your own hero while also utilizing character cards to help give you a base to get started. 

There are dozens of different monsters to fight in One Deck Dungeon and while the gameplay may seem simple, there is some deep strategy involved.

Every time you beat a monster you’ll need to decide whether to use stat-boosting items, take a potion, or build your experience. 

Making the wrong decision could end up costing you as you go further into the dungeon because the journey will always get more difficult! If you want a simple, easy and fast RPG board game One Deck Dungeon is the perfect choice. 

10. Scythe 

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You’ll be exploring a very different take on 1920s Europe with Scythe in which you’ll need to control your faction while battling other players. Scythe is suitable for up to 5 players and combat is done using specially built mechas. 

Mech combat isn’t the only thing you’ll need to do in this in-depth RPG game. You’ll also need to explore the land carefully, build up your resources, meet hidden goals, and much more.

Scythe isn’t a very beginner-friendly RPG board game but it offers plenty of room for strategy for veteran RPG players. 

This high-quality RPG board game includes numerous expansions and maps, so no two games will ever be the same. Like all good RPG board games, much of the gameplay comes down to careful strategy.

Forge alliances and utilize clever tactics to win but be careful because you don’t know what your opponent is planning. 

10 Best RPG Board Games Buyers Guide

So, that completes our picks for the 10 best RPG board games. Many of these board games will require a bit more research to play properly.

Things aren’t quite as simple as a game of cards or something like snakes and ladders, but that’s the joy of RPG board games; they offer something unique and thrilling.

But before you choose a game, let’s look at some important factors you need to consider. 

How Much Time Do You Have?

There really is no way to say it. RPG board games will often require a lot of time to play, which is why many have a quest or scenario layout.

If you have a lot of time, then a classic like Dungeons and Dragons or Gloomhaven could be a good choice. But if you want a shorter experience, something like One Deck Dungeon might be the better choice. 

Casual or Experienced? 

Another thing you’ll learn quickly is that many RPG board games seem quite intimidating.

Some are very complex like Scythe, but even games that seem hard to understand often have quests and stories designed to ease players into the experience like Dungeons and Dragons. 

If you are thinking of adding an RPG board game to your next game night, make sure you take the players’ experience into account. 

How Much Space Do You Have?

Finally, you need to think about your gaming space. RPG board games can take up a lot of room Catan for example includes many different pieces.

But not every RPG game is like this One Deck Dungeon for example doesn’t require much space at all to set up and play. 

What’s the Best RPG Board Game To Buy?

So, what is the best RPG board game to play? Well, the answer will be different for everyone, but taking everything into account we don’t think you can go wrong with the classic game of Catan if you want to experience classic RPG elements like trading and building resources. 

But if you want a more classic RPG board game experience, then you really can’t go wrong with Dungeons and Dragons.

Whatever you decide, if you’re new to RPG board games, go in with an open mind because you might be surprised by just how much fun they can be!

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