The best board games for beginners are difficult to find. Beginner tabletop games and card games are routinely overlooked by the tabletop community, in favor of games with a little more “weight” to them that can be completely alienating for those looking to get into the hobby. While these more substantial games can offer higher replayability, they don’t exactly present an accessible entry point for newcomers.
With that being said, we’ve compiled a rundown of the very best board games and card games for those looking to get into the hobby. The following entries run the gamut from strategic but comprehensible tabletop games to hilarious party games, but each will get you accustomed to various mechanics that are applied in other, more complex games.
Here are the best board games for beginners:
1. Two Rooms and a Boom
- Players: 6 – 30
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How to Play Two Rooms and a Boom
Two Rooms and a Boom is an excellent choice for noobs if you’re playing in a sizeable group. Alan Gerding and Sean McCoy’s large-scale bluffing game sees a Blue Team and a Red Team square off in order to protect/assassinate the President, with the Reds trying to discreetly let their Bomber infiltrate the room in which the Blue Team’s President is hiding. The end result can swiftly descend into chaos.
Taking place across a series of rounds, teams must move hostages between two rooms while the Blues try to ensure that the President and Bomber do not collide in the final round, while the Reds aim for the exact opposite. This leads to a tense stand-off between the two teams, where no one truly knows what’s going to happen next, and almost everyone is lying to try to save their own skin. Certain special cards add an extra layer of unpredictability to proceedings, with the likes of the Devil being unable to tell the truth in any situation, while the Shy Guy is incapable of showing their card to any other player.
Why Two Rooms and a Boom is a Great Card Game for Beginners
Two Rooms and a Boom is best played with a whole bunch of people, with it allowing for 6–30 players. As such, it’s tailor-made for big groups with players of varying experience levels, allowing your more introverted guests to sit back and watch the chaos unfold while your extroverts take the lead. Not only does it serve as a great ice-breaker if you
2. One Night Ultimate Werewolf
- Players: 3 – 10
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How to Play One Night Ultimate Werewolf
One Night Ultimate Werewolf is a personal favorite of mine, and I’ve yet to play with a group that hasn’t had a great time with it. Another bluffing game, One Night Ultimate Werewolf tasks up to two werewolves with evading the suspicions of the local villagers. Divided between two phases, unique role cards allow players to perform an action during the night phase such as switching or peeking at their rivals’ cards, before they try to convince other players that they aren’t a werewolf in the day phase. At the end of the day phase, a vote must be carried out by the players, with the werewolves winning if an innocent villager is placed on the chopping block and vice versa.
Why One Night Ultimate Werewolf is a Great Card Game for Beginners
Making use of an app to guide players through their individual roles with each new day and night cycle, you won’t need to spend much time outlining the rules to inexperienced players. This means that you can focus on having fun, with its short rounds ensuring that it won’t take long before everyone at the table has got into the swing of things.
- Players: 2 – 8
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How to Play Codenames
Two spymasters try to lead their respective team to success by way of pointing them in the direction of their assigned codewords. With these unique codewords spread out in a 5 x 5 grid of 25 different options, each turn will see a spymaster give a verbal hint consisting of one word and a number.
This word relates to their team’s secret codewords, while the number represents how many codewords the hint is applicable to. For instance, if a spymaster needs their team to pick the codewords ‘Cat,’ ‘Dog,’ and ‘Bird,’ the clue they give could be “animal.” However, the game never winds up being this simple, as the real challenge lies in coming up with clues that won’t lead your team in the right direction, despite many codewords sharing similarities.
Why Codenames is a Great Card Game for Beginners
Codenames is simple to play, though requires no small amount of brainwork from spymasters in order to guide their teams to the correct codewords. As it also favors teams that are on the same wavelength as their spymaster, with in-jokes becoming a means of whittling out codewords, it can become a personal experience for players who utilize their long-standing relationships in order to triumph over their competitors.
- Players: 3 – 20
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How to Play Funemployed
Job interviews are a drag. You sit down opposite someone paid to analyze your every move, explain to them why you wouldn’t set their company on fire, then wait a couple of weeks before you find that you were beaten to the punch by the CEO’s second cousin twice removed. Fortunately, Funemployed isn’t anything like a real interview, aside from the parts where you lie and also the crippling anxiety that comes with having to present in front of people.
In Funemployed you’re tasked with making a fake resume out of a series of weird, Cards Against Humanity-esque cards. You then use this fake resume in order to apply for a fake job, such as a funeral director or a fortune cookie writer. You then have to explain why qualifications such as your exposed butt crack, your deafness in one ear, or your hobby as a furry make you an ideal candidate for the role. One player acts as your employer, and they will award a point to the player who holds the best interview.
Why Funemployed is a Great Card Game for Beginners
Funemployed effectively transforms your friends into improvisational comedians. It’s not much of a competitive game, with points often flying out the window in favor of enjoying watching your pals try to explain why uncontrollable gas makes them a perfect fit to be a priest.
Most Cards Against Humanity-esque games leave me cold, as after you’ve run through the pack there isn’t much scope there for repeated plays. However, with Funemployed completely reliant on the players to make it entertaining, as long as you have a group of friends with a sense of humor then you’re likely going to get a lot out of this.
- Players: 3 – 6
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How to Play Dixit
Dixit is a game about storytelling. Guiding a rabbit through a dreamy garden, you’ll be tasked with offering a sentence or a phrase that helps describe a card in your hand. The other players then offer up cards that could also align with your sentences, with them then having to guess which card you were describing over your rivals’ cards. You lose points if no players guess correctly or all players guess correctly, meaning you’re going to need to retain some ambiguity in your clue.
Why Dixit is a Great Board Game for Beginners
Dixit is a thoughtful game that rewards creativity over everything else. The beautiful artwork on each card is packed with various talking points you could use for your clue, but trying to point players in the right direction while not giving away too much can be a challenge. However, this difficulty does not lie in the mechanics of the game, but rather its players having to be imaginative in order to come out on top.