10 Best Board Games Online

Board games have been around since ancient times, but they continue to find new audiences. In the digital age, if a tabletop game is a hit, an online version is sure to follow. Research company GWI reports that interest in online board games has grown by 29% since 2020, and the market for these products grew from about $7 billion in 2017 to an estimated $12 billion in 2023. In the fourth quarter of that year alone, there were some 134 million total views of board game-themed videos on TikTok.

Whether played via web, console or handheld device, online board games connect friends and strangers from around the world with the added bonuses of no setup, no cleanup and no board-flipping.

Here are some of the most popular titles.

1. Dune: Imperium Digital (2024)

Hot on the heels of the theatrical release of Dune: Part Two comes Dune: Imperium Digital. The online version of Dire Wolf’s 2020 tabletop game recently went live on digital distributor Steam® and in the Microsoft Xbox®, Google Play (Android) and Apple App (iOS) stores. Imperium takes players to the desert planet of Arrakis, where various factions fight to control the flow of “spice,” a rare and invaluable substance. Players must balance political and military gains to emerge victorious after 10 rounds of solo or multiplayer gameplay. Preview it here.

2. Monopoly Plus (2014)

Monopoly Plus is one of many digital adaptations of Hasbro’s classic board game, but Plus is the latest major cross-platform release in the series, which originally debuted for Windows, Xbox and Sony PlayStation® in 2014 and was later ported to Nintendo Switch™. The Asobo Studio production offers both online and offline modes and brings the Monopoly board to life with animations depicting the development of acquired properties. It received generally favorable reviews with one oft-cited gripe: In online multiplayer mode, if the host player rage-quits, the game is over. Preview it here.

3. Codenames Online (2020)

In mid-2020, the developer of this title, Czech Games Edition, quietly added a free digital version of its hit party card game, Codenames, to its website. Word spread quickly. Codenames Online attracted more than 1.6 million players in its first six months and remains popular today. As in the original, teams attempt to guess hidden words related to revealed words — but only their team’s words, not their opponents’. It’s more straightforward than it sounds and twice as fun. Play it here.

4. Ticket to Ride: The Computer Game (2023)

Aspiring railroad barons have flocked to the board game Ticket to Ride since was introduced in 2004. Little wonder: Players compete to lay tracks and connect cities, earning points along the way and bonuses for the longest contiguous routes. The franchise has been digitized several times, starting with Ticket to Ride (2008), a video game for Windows and MacOS, Xbox and PlayStation, followed by two iterations of Ticket to Ride: The Computer Game: A 2012 Twin Sails Interactive production was later sunsetted in favor of a 2023 successor developed by Marmalade Game Studio. Preview it here.

5. Gloomhaven (2021)

The original Gloomhaven was an instant classic. Released by Cephalofair Games in 2017 and set in a dark, forbidding fantasy world, the board game combined many of the best aspects of card- and dice-driven play. Flaming Owl Studios rolled out the digital adaptation of Gloomhaven for Windows and MacOS, Xbox, PlayStation and Switch starting in 2021. Players around the world have been forming bands of mercenaries to fulfill quests and vanquish monsters ever since. Preview it here.

6. Clue (2023)

No list of online board games would be complete without Clue, the culmination of a decades-long effort to create a definitive online version of the Hasbro murder mystery puzzler that debuted way back in 1945. Just like the original, the digital rendition gives players the evidence they need to determine which of six suspects did the deed, in what room, and by what means. Developed and produced by Marmalade Game Studio, it’s available on Steam and for Xbox, PlayStation, Switch, Android and iOS. Preview it here.

7. Terraforming Mars (2018)

To make Mars habitable, we have to raise its air temperature and oxygen level and build a self-sustaining ecosystem. Those are the three core objectives to Terraforming Mars, available as 2016 tabletop and 2018 Steam, Android and iOS game published by FryxGames and Twin Sails, respectively. Following the premise established by the board game, players take on the roles of corporations sponsored by a unified Earth government. They must work together to succeed, but only one can claim to have contributed the most to the Red Planet’s cause. Preview it here.

8. Carcassonne – Tiles & Tactics (2017)

Carcassonne is a series of tile-based board and electronic games named for a walled city in Southern France. Two to five players draw and place tiles to complete a medieval landscape filled with cities, fields, roads and rivers and populated with each player’s “followers.” The tabletop game made its debut in 2000, initially published by Rio Grande Games and, since 2012, Z-Man Games. Among the franchise’s digital adaptations is Carcassonne – Tiles & Tactics, a 2017 hit for Frima Studios and Twin Sails on Windows, Switch and Android/iOS. Preview it here.

9. Pandemic: The Board Game (2013)

Inspired by the 2002 SARS outbreak, Matt Leacock created Pandemic, a board game in which players must work together to contain and find cures for four deadly diseases cropping up around the globe. Published by Z-Man Games in 2008, its success would inspire Pandemic: The Board Game, an online version released by Twin Sails for Android/iOS in 2013, followed by versions for Windows and Steam in 2018, then Xbox and Switch in 2019. Pandemic remains playable but was delisted by Twin Sails in 2022, purportedly to clear the digital decks for a new and improved game. Preview the Xbox/Switch version here.

10. Wingspan (2020)

Birdwatcher Elizabeth Hargrave wanted to play a board game based on her hobby, so she designed one. She pitched the concept to Stonemaier Games, which in 2019 released Wingspan, a card-driven, water colored, nature-themed tabletop that stood out — critically and commercially — from its sci-fi and fantasy counterparts. Players manage resources, build sanctuaries, accomplish in-game objectives and learn a lot about birds. Monster Couch released a highly faithful online adaptation for Windows/MacOS, Xbox, Switch and Android/iOS in 2020. Preview it here.

 

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