Want to learn everything there is to know about board games? You have come to the right place!

Here at Game Rules, we strive to be the world’s #1 resource for all of your gaming desires. Our team of writers and editors are board game fanatics, constantly testing new games, reading through manuals, and researching games that you need to know about!  

Board games can be complicated and the honest truth is that most of the rules that come with games are difficult to understand. This is why our mission is to provide you with detailed and readable guides to every game you can possibly imagine!

We love board games, and we hope that after reading this guide, you will share in our passion! Let’s start off by going over the history of board games.

Brief History of Board Games

Old board game

Board games have been around for a lot longer than you might think. In fact, some games that we still play today date back thousands of years. So, if there is one thing we can take away from human history, it is that WE LIKE TO PLAY! 


The oldest evidence of humans playing board games dates back to 3,100 BC in ancient Egypt. Archeologists have discovered fragments and hieroglyphic evidence of a board game called Senet, which contains pawns and a 30-square surface. Unfortunately, we don’t know the exact rules for this game, but it is pretty cool to know that we have been playing board games for so long!

While we don’t know the rules of Senet, there are several ancient board games that are still very popular today. For example, checkers and backgammon originated in ancient Mesopatamia more than 4,000 years! 

Historically, China has has been a melting pot of culture and innovation and this stays true when it comes to board games. One of China’s oldest games, Go (Weiqi) has been around for millenia and remains and incredibly popular and competitive board game.


While you may think of chess as one of the most archaic games, the game is comparatively new when compared to some of the already mentioned games. That said, chess is by no means a new game. It was invented in India in the 7th century.

In the 1600s, board and card games started to take off, and we saw the massive variety that we have today start to take root. It was in the 1600s that the Qing dynasty first started playing mahjong, and Nine Mens Morris was played by the Tudors in England.

Throughout the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s, companies started to understand the value of board games and began marketing them. This was also when mass production started to take hold, with companies taking traditional games and modernizing them. Ludo is an excellent example of this. The 19th-century game is modeled after pachisi, an ancient Indian board game.

The late 1800s and early 1900s are the “Golden Age of Board Games”. Due to the great manufacturing improvements of the industrial revolution, more games were being produced than ever before. This created a much bigger demand for board games which inspired more companies to join the frenzy! This period alone is responsible for many of the classic board games of the modern era.

Quintessential Board Games

Now that you know some basic history behind board games, let’s dive into some of the most popular and iconic games of all time.


The game that can end friendships in a heartbeat. Monopoly is one of the most iconic board games of all time. The original game was created in 1903 and was initially called “The Landlord’s Game.”  The game was designed to demonstrate “the evils of capitalism” and give players a visualization of how dangerous a high concentration of wealth can be for the economy. Contrary to the game’s anti-capitalist sentiments, Monopoly, now owned by Hasbro, is the best-selling board game of all time, selling more than 250 million copies since it was released!


Did you know that around a third of all American families own a Scrabble set? In the United Kingdom, this percentage is closer to half! Scrabble is the most famous word game out there. The simple board game has become a household classic since it was released in 1938. The game consists of 100 letter tiles, each with different point values. The goal of Scrabble is to form high-point value words on the Scrabble board and have a higher score than your opponents once all tiles have been played.


First published in 1949, Clue is a board game that has players solving murder mysteries! In this game, players are free to roam around the game board, collecting clues and making inquiries to determine who killed the victim. The aim of the game is to figure out the following:

  • Who was the murderer
  • What room the murder took place in
  • What murder weapon was used

The first player to correctly solve the murder wins!


Another game that can destroy friendships is Risk. In this classic game, players control armies on a map with the goal of world domination. The game is very strategic and complex and can take several hours. In fact, some games of Risk can surpass 4 hours! 

After Risk was first published in 1957, it quickly became one of the most popular board games and has continued to be widely successful. There are now many different variations and editions of the game, so true fans of the game will never get bored of it.


Battleship is the quintessential two-player board game. It is super simple but still leaves room for strategy, making it perfect for both kids and adults. Battleship was originally a paper and pencil game. And it wasn’t until Milton Bradley published the official plastic board game in 1967 that it really took off in popularity. To start off the game, each player places their battleships randomly in the coordinates around the board. Then, players take turns attempting to guess the location of the other player’s ships by announcing a coordinate, for example, “A-5”.

If your guess is correct, the other player must say “hit”; if it is incorrect, they will say “miss”. The first player to sink all of their opponent’s ships wins!

Easy Board Games for Beginners

If you are playing with kids or simply want to play a mindless board game, we have you covered. Here are some of the simplest, family-friendly board games out there.


Likely one of the first board games you played as a child, Candyland is a typical children’s game that is super easy to play. In fact, this game is rated for kids as young as 3 years old! The goal of the game is to travel across the gameboard and reach the Candy Castle before the other players. Candyland was created in 1949 by Eleanor Abbott. Abbott wanted to create the perfect children’s board game, and in order to do so, she had actual children test the game throughout the process.


While technically a simple game with pretty basic rules, playing Codenames takes some skill. In this team game, one player from each team will act as the “Spymaster”. The Spymaster must give clues to their team, attempting to get their team to guess the correct tiles on the game board. This game is a bit like Taboo, but instead of guessing a word, players attempt to match the spymaster’s clues with the words on the gameboard.


Rummikub has become a massive sensation since its initial release. The game was invented by a Jewish-Romanian man named Ephraim Hertzano in the 1940s. The communist government in Romania outlawed playing cards in the 40s, so Hertzano decided to create a game that used tiles instead of cards to play classic Rummy-style card games. The game is very easy to play, with simple and clear rules. That said, there is also a lot of strategy involved in Rummikub.

After moving to Israel, Hertzano and his family hand-made Rummikub sets in their backyard, and he began selling them door-to-door. In 1977, it was the best-selling board game in the USA!


Sorry! is one of the oldest mass-produced board games, with its first publication in 1934. But, interestingly, the game format for Sorry! has been around for MUCH longer. Sorry! is essentially the same game as Ludo or Pachisi, the latter of which has been around since the 6th century AD!  This incredibly easy and fun game is perfect for a family game night!


If we had to give one board game the title of “most simple”, Jenga would likely take the crown. This block-based tabled game is super easy: simply build the tower and then take turns removing one block at a time until the tower falls. Simple right? However, if you want to put a fun twist on this classic game, you can play the drinking game version, which is a surefire way to have a good time!

Complex and Strategic Board Games

Board games have come a VERY long way, especially in the past few decades. There are now board games so complicated that you’ll need to essentially read an entire book to fully understand the rules! Each year more and more amazing new board games are released, but here are a few of our top choices if you are looking for something complex and strategic.


This board game has become a bit too familiar in the past few years. Pandemic is a cooperative board game in which players work together to find and distribute a cures to deadly viruses that are spreading. Each player takes on a unique role with specific abilities. The game inspires cooperation and teamwork and will have you really thinking outside of the box. Pandemic is a pretty challenging game with a lot of moving parts, but once you nail down the basics it is incredibly fun! 


Scythe is one of the most underrated board games out there. In our opinion, Scythe should be on the radar of all gaming enthusiasts. This steampunk game is filled with lore and has a fascinating and in-depth backstory. Scythe takes place in the 1920s in an alternate timeline to our own. Players compete to control their factions, build advanced machines, and win battles. We aren’t gonna lie, this is a SUPER dense board game, so take it slow, read the rules thoroughly, and have fun with it!


An epic horror game that can several hours to complete, Nemesis is one of our absolute favorites! This semi-cooperative board game takes players on a terrifying adventure to fight monsters with the ultimate goal of surviving the longest. Players are not outright competing with eachother, but each player has secret individual goals on top of the standard team goals, which adds a layer of complexity to the game. Nemesis is truly one of the best board games ever made and a must-have for any board game collector.


Are you a Marvel fan? Let’s be honest, who isn’t? Marvel Legendary is the culmination of all things Marvel into a single amazing board game. This is a cooperative deck building board game in which you play as a Sheild, recruiting agents and super heroes to defeat super villains. There are a ton of different hero and villain cards in the game, so there are seemingly endless combinations and possible scenarios. This means you’ll essentially never get bored with Marvel Legendary!


Arkham Horror is another epic coop horror game. This game is based on the Cthulu mythos by H.P. Lovecraft. The objective of the players is to move around the game board, complete tasks and eventually close the gates to the other world. This game is really unique because it centers around a deep sci-fi story and universe. Arkham Horror is definitely a complicated board game that will take time to learn and master, but once you have learned the basic rules it is extraordinarily fun! 

Solo Board Games

While most board games are designed to be played with a group of people there are some awesome games made for solo players. Several of the games we have already mentioned in this post also have specific single player rule variations. Here are a few of our top picks for solo board games.

  • Dune Imperium
  • Final Girl
  • Spirit Island
  • Mage Knight
  • Cartographers

Online Board Games

Physical board games have been a integral part of human entertainment for thousands of years. But as the digital age progresses we have also moved many of the classics you know and love online. 

Don’t want to buy a brand new board game? Don’t worry! There are now apps where you can play games like Risk, Monopoly, Codenames and just about any classic board game you can think of!

We still think that there is something magical about an “old school” physical board game, but online board games are a great alternative, especially if you want to play with friends and family that are not in your area.

If you are looking to try your luck at some online casino games, check out our comprehensive guide to the best new online casinos!

Where Would We Be Without Board Games?

In an era where most of us are glued to our screens almost 24/7, board games can give us a break as well as an opportunity to interact with friends and family. There are thousands of different types of board games out there ranging from simple and mindless to extremely complicated and strategic. While video games have become the preferred gaming style, board games give us a lesson in patience and steer us away from the LED displays we are constantly looking at. Moral of the story? Play more board games!