Classic Board Games in 2024: Still Worth Playing?

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Hear ye, hear ye! Step into the world of classic board games, where endless hours of laughter, dice rolling, and waiting on your turn await you. These timeless gems have entertained generations of players, standing the test of time like ancient dinosaurs of the gaming industry. Even now you can find fossil remains of these games on some board gaming shelves. 

While new and modern titles may have taken center stage, these classic board games remain as present as ever, especially since they can be found on shelves of well-stocked supermarkets. These classics offer a nostalgic journey back to simpler times. Let’s dust off the box lids, roll the dice, and take a trip down memory lane with these prehistoric yet evergreen classics!

Best Classic Board Games

  1. Monopoly
  2. Chess
  3. Risk
  4. Scrabble
  5. Clue
  6. Backgammon 
  7. Uno
  8. Stratego
  9. Pictionary
  10. Battleship

Why Pick a Classic Board Game?

If you are looking into playing the best classic board game, you might need to temper your expectations first. Playing games like these in our childhood has brought us into this hobby of accumulating victory, points, strategizing, and having a disturbing amount of furniture just for storing collections of board games. There’s no denying that these timeless classic games were great in our childhood, but how do they stack up these days?

If you’re used to modern board games, many of these might feel archaic, slow to play, strangely balanced, or just not all that engaging. Even so, they are classics for a reason, and many of them are still fun if assessed on their merits and looked at as the giants whose shoulders modern board games stand on. 

1. Monopoly

Monopoly board game
Number of players:2 to 8
Playing time:60 – 180 minutes

Monopoly is the iconic board game about capitalism, where the player with the most money wins. Sounds familiar? While we’re not talking about real life, but a board game, Monopoly holds a special place in the hearts of many worldwide. For most, it was a gateway into the world of board gaming one of the primary reasons why is its widespread recognition and accessibility. With more than 1,500 different versions of Monopoly, it’s no wonder.

The game’s enduring popularity can be attributed to its simple yet engaging gameplay. Most people are at least aware of the basic rules of the game. Buying, trading, and upgrading properties while bankrupting opponents are appealing (I guess) to aspiring venture capitalists and investors in all of us. 

Kids playing Monopoly
Apparently, the board suffered from a: “I’m not playing this game ever again” moment.

However, as the board gaming landscape evolved, Monopoly, despite its commercial success, started showing signs of age. Its lengthy playtime and high luck-to-strategy ratio lead to prolonged sessions with predictable outcomes. Nonetheless, Monopoly’s status as a classic and its role as a nostalgic touchstone remains unshaken. For many, it’s still a cherished part of their gaming journey, while for others, it was a push they needed to explore newer and perhaps better-balanced games.


  • There are Monopoly games with a theme for anyone (Iron Maiden anyone?)
  • Great for kids to start learning to add and subtract
  • Easy to learn


  • Luck-dependant
  • Takes too long to play

Games To Play If You Like Monopoly

  • Concordia
  • Small World
  • Brass Birmingham

2. Chess

chess set
Number of players:2
Playing time:Depends on players

Chess, or the game of kings, has stood the test of time as one of the oldest and most revered board games in history. With its origins dating back over a millennium, chess carries a rich historical significance. Its allure extends far beyond its historical roots, captivating players with its competitive nature and intellectual challenges.

At its core, chess is a battle of wits, requiring players to anticipate their opponent’s moves while carefully planning their own. The skill gap between players can be vast, as mastering chess demands a deep understanding of tactics, positional play, and being able to plan moves several turns ahead.

White king attacking
Leading from the front is not a viable strategy in chess.

In the modern era of board gaming, chess maintains its relevance and prominence, especially as a competitive game. For example, the Chess Olympiad is a biennial chess tournament that attracts thousands of players worldwide.

While the basic rules of chess are easy to learn, it’s also famous for its steep learning curve. The array of possible moves and strategies is overwhelming, taking a lot of time to learn and master.


  • Easy to learn, but challenging to master
  • Great for improving memory and focus
  • Availability 


  • Learning curve
  • Time-consuming

Games To Play If You Like Chess

  • Hive
  • Onitama
  • Patchwork

3. Risk

Risk board game
Number of players:2 to 6
Playing time:120 minutes

Risk was released a decade after World War II and was originally titled “La Conquête du Monde” (“The Conquest of the World”). It’s understandable how the grand scale of the game and global warfare presented on a board was a revolutionary concept at the time. Unfortunately, the gameplay mostly revolves around having more luck when you draw cards and roll dice than your opponent, and less on some masterful strategy the game would imply.

Risk board game rules
When I conquer the world there won’t be any rules on how to conquer it again!

Still, Risk’s relatively simple rules made it accessible to a wide audience, drawing many into the world of board games for the first time. The figures that originally came with the game were great for the time period. Infantrymen, cavalry, and cannons were used to mark out your military strength. Nowadays, much like Monopoly, there are plenty of variations you can find (Star Wars or Warhammer 40k anyone?). 

Risk can last for hours on end. If you get eliminated early, your family game night is already over as player elimination game mechanics are not forgiving in this classic game. Thankfully, there are plenty of other board games if you like such strategic play, so you can consider Risk a gateway title to them. 


  • Massive scale
  • Diplomacy factor
  • Easy to pick up rules


  • Takes too long 
  • Too much randomness in each encounter

Games To Play If You Like Risk

  • Spirit Island
  • Blood Rage
  • Twilight Imperium: Fourth Edition

4. Scrabble

Scrabble board game
Number of players:2 to 4
Playing time:90 minutes

As we are exploring the diverse landscapes of modern titles, Scrabble’s enduring appeal is not lost on us. Some Boar Gamers still like to finish a crossword puzzle or Wordle, so we can understand why word games have kept their popularity over the years.

Scrabble’s educational value is undeniable, making it an excellent choice among board games for kids. Parents seeking to enhance the vocabulary and language skills of their children (even their older kids) won’t make a mistake with this game. Crafting words from a jumble of letter tiles fosters critical thinking and linguistic creativity. The game acts as a teacher in disguise of entertainment, encouraging players to discover new words in the English language along the way.

Playing scrabble
This is -50 emotional damage points.

Thankfully, there’s more to Scrabble than just piecing words together. To succeed at Scrabble you need a mix of careful tile placement, use of limited high-scoring letters, and the ability to capitalize on multipliers by planning in advance. Family night becomes a mental tug-of-war between maximizing your own score and preventing opponents from unleashing their linguistic prowess.

Scrabble has easy-to-grasp rules, but experienced wordsmiths will have a clear advantage from the get-go. Moreover, the luck involved in drawing tiles can occasionally disrupt even the most well-laid plans, leading to moments of frustration. Even so, these are rare and pass quickly.


  • You’re actually learning while playing
  • Simple to learn
  • A classic that aged well and inspired many other games


  • The randomness of drawing letters
  • Replayability may vary

Games To Play If You Like Scrabble

  • Just One
  • Codenames
  • Paperback

5. Clue (Cluedo)

Clue board game
Number of players:2 to 6
Playing time:45 minutes

Clue was an inspiration for some of the games we at Boar Gamer really love playing. However, the older cousin of these modern board games now lacks, for us, the certain flair that these modern titles offer. Still, it remains a unique game for players who like mystery and intrigue. The classic trope of solving a murder that occurred in a mansion, by finding the culprit, murder weapon, and exact location where the crime occurred has something uniquely appealing to it. 

If you lived under a rock since 1949 when the game was initially released, here are the basic rules of Clue. Players take on the roles of different characters, each with unique personalities, as they try to solve a murder mystery. 

The game board represents the mansion and is divided into rooms, hallways, and passages. Each player collects clues by moving around the mansion, making suggestions about the murder, and trying to eliminate possibilities based on the responses from other players. Sounds simple?

Clue board game opened
I don’t know who the murderer is but this interior design is killing me.

The game first introduced deduction as a mechanic and the process of narrowing down clues is a fun and engaging process. There’s plenty of social interaction, with information sharing, misleading, and guessing. Unfortunately, Clue suffers from the same pitfalls that almost all classic board games have: player elimination, waiting for your turn, and random movement determined by dice.


  • Introduced the deduction mechanic to board games
  • Replayability
  • Plenty of interaction with other players


  • Random movement
  • Player elimination

Games To Play If You Like Scrabble

  • Mysterium
  • Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective
  • Chronicles of Crime

6. Backgammon 

backgammon board game
Number of players:2
Playing time:30 minutes

Backgammon is a board game with ancient origins still played today. If you haven’t tried it before, we’re sure that you have at least seen it somewhere (at least in a movie). 

The game is played on a board divided into 24 narrow triangles called points, with alternating colors. Each player has 15 checkers of their own color, arranged in a specific pattern on the board. The board is divided into four quadrants with six points (spots where you set your checkers) each, and the players’ checkers move in opposite directions around the board.

The rules of Backgammon are simple. The objective is to move all of your checkers around the board and get them off the board before your opponent does. Movement is determined by the roll of two six-sided dice. Players take turns rolling the dice and moving their checkers. It may sound simple, but like other old-timers on our list such as chess, there is more complexity and depth to the game than it may appear at first. 

While this game won’t waste your time as the matches are usually quick, it relies on luck a bit much for our liking. It’s one of those games for 19th-century sailors to play when resting with a mug of Grog, but there are better options for modern board gamers these days.


  • Fast-paced game
  • Great game to go along with a casual conversation
  • Historical appeal


  • The abstract aspect of the game is not for everyone
  • If dice gods aren’t on your side, better try something else

Games To Play If You Like Backgammon 

  • Photosynthesis
  • Azul
  • Sagrada

7. Uno

Uno card box
Number of players:2 to 10
Playing time:30 minutes

Uno is the ultimate card game bonanza that’s been delighting friends and families and causing table flips in households for years. This game is a delightful dash of chaos with cards – a simple and fun game that doesn’t bog you down with a ton of rules.

What’s so cool about Uno? Well, picture this: one moment a player is confidently winning, and the next, they are drowning in a sea of Draw Twos and Wild Draw Fours. If taken for what it is, it’s a rollercoaster of emotions, and you’ll be laughing your way through the ride.

People adore Uno for its sheer simplicity and unpredictability. It’s that marvelous mix of strategy and luck, wrapped up in a deck of colorful cards. Plus, anyone – yes, even your Great Aunt can join the fun without breaking a sweat.

However, in the modern landscape of board games, variety is the spice of life. While Uno remains a classic staple, modern alternatives are sprouting like crazy, offering fresh twists and challenges for those who want to try new ideas and takes on card games. Still, amidst all the new contenders, Uno remains a great gateway game for those who are still beginners in the board gaming hobby, and for that, it deserves recognition as one of our favorite oldies on this list.


  • Rules for Uno are easy to pick up on
  • Fast and suitable for large groups
  • Portable and great for travel 


  • The initial hand may determine your game
  • Potential for players to pile on someone, absolutely destroying their chances of winning

Games To Play If You Like Uno

  • 6 nimmt!
  • Spicy
  • Cockroach Poker

8. Stratego

stratego board game
Number of players:2
Playing time:45 minutes

Stratego, a game that once charmed young strategists, holds a historical allure as one of the pioneers in the world of board games. Dating back to 1947, this strategic masterpiece is still available on shelves everywhere, introducing new players to this amazing hobby.

While it was undoubtedly innovative for its era, some might argue that in the vast landscape of modern board games, Stratego’s charm has dimmed significantly. Most tabletop strategists prefer far more complexity which is not present with Stratego’s simple rules. With the ever-evolving world of tabletop gaming, new contenders have emerged, offering more complex mechanics, more engaging themes, and overall better gameplay experiences.

Yet, there is still appeal in the simple gameplay that Stratego has. The thrill of maneuvering pieces while guarding the coveted flag remains a delightful challenge. The game’s simplicity and hidden information (an innovative mechanic in itself), still bring joy to those who appreciate classic strategy games with a touch of nostalgia.

For players seeking a taste of tradition, Stratego’s magnetic charm endures. However, those on the hunt for a more engrossing and contemporary strategic adventure can enjoy plenty of modern alternatives on the tabletop.


  • Hidden information mechanic
  • Strategic planning of a perfect deployment
  • Accessible for beginners 


  • Relies on luck too much
  • Limited piece movement

Games To Play If You Like Stratego

  • A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (2nd Edition)
  • Rising Sun
  • Black Powder (tabletop wargame)

9. Pictionary

pictionary logo
Number of players:3 to 16
Playing time:90 minutes

Pictionary was and still is the ultimate drawing and guessing party game that has been delighting folks since the 1980s. You better get your creative juices flowing and showcase your sketching skills if you plan to play this game and mentally prepare to decipher your friend’s chaotic scribbling.

The best thing about Pictionary is seeing people struggle to draw while trying to explain their mystery words. While the game might not unleash everyone’s inner Picasso, it’s still great for a party and family-friendly board game. Laughter is 100% guaranteed as masterpieces often take unexpected and hilarious turns.

The charm of Pictionary lies in its simplicity; it’s even better to enjoy if you are not a professional artist! Pictionary levels the playing field and ensures everyone has a fabulous time since you’ll have special conditions when trying to draw your masterpiece.

While the classic board game never goes out of style, the digital age has also brought us modern alternatives based on it. From virtual versions to interactive apps, you can now embrace your inner artist on various devices and play with friends all over the world.


  • Hilarious and engaging
  • Creative
  • Great for larger groups


  • Requires ample space
  • Not everyone may feel confident to play it at first

Games To Play If You Like Pictionary

  • Codenames
  • Pictomania
  • Doodle Dash

10. Battleship

battleship board game
Number of players:2
Playing time:30 minutes

Battleship is a game that has been successfully navigating the tables and free time of many generations of board gamers. With its 10×10 grid and hidden ships, this game wanted to bring out a merciless naval commander in all of us.

What made Battleship a unique game at its time was the hidden position of the player ships. And the cheating of course, but that’s another story. Each player calls out coordinates, hoping to score a satisfying “hit,” on the enemy forces while hoping their opponent doesn’t do the same to them.

Battleship is a classic, with simple rules, that still endures to this day. There’s some charm in pretending to be a sea captain, commanding battleships, carriers, submarines, and destroyers from the comfort of your living room.

That said, as much as we love the classic, there are better alternatives among modern classic board games. In the vast ocean of today’s board games, there are better and more advanced options available for those who enjoy this sort of gameplay.


  • Nostalgia
  • Minimal setup
  • Basic set of rules


  • Basic set of rules is also its downside
  • Repetitive

Games to Play If You Like Battleship

  • Captain Sonar
  • Decrypto
  • The Search for Planet X

Final Thoughts on a Classic Game Night

Is a classic game necessarily a fun game? As you can expect the answer is “it depends.” A classic party game like Pictionary may have survived the test of time. However, there are many titles that have been considered the best board games around in their day but are now just called classic games or games that people used to play. There’s no denying that classic family board games have introduced plenty of people to our fantastic hobby. 

They are, after all, the inspiration for all modern board games. Whether you enjoy playing games solo or prefer a party game like Exploding Kittens on your family game night, remember that all these titles were built on the foundations set by the classics we’ve talked about in this article. 


What is a classic board game?

A classic board game is a traditional board game that has been popular for many years (in this case more than a century for some) and has stood the test of time. These popular board games have simple rules and are designed to be played by two players or more.

Which board game is the most popular?

The most popular game in the world is Monopoly. You could say that this game has lived up to its name and even holds a Guinness world record for being played by more than 500 million people worldwide.

What is the most challenging board game in the world?

While the answer to what’s the most challenging board game in the world is subjective, there’s a wide consensus that Go is one of the most challenging board games out there.

Dusan Vasic

Dusan Vasic

Dusan is a veteran Game Master and Warhammer player. If he isn’t painting miniatures for himself or others, he’s making plans to collect more tabletop minis or expand his evergrowing collection of board games. He’s fast running out of living space, but he doesn’t plan to stop adding to his collection anytime soon.