The Best 4 Player Board Games

Best 4 Player Board Games

Whether you’re a fan of long-term strategy games that keep you engaged and entertained for hours at a time, or something a little more lighthearted, we can almost guarantee that you’ll find something to enjoy in this guide to the 15 Best 4 Player Board Games currently around. 

To come up with our picks, we tried and tested dozens of the market’s best-selling 4 player games and came up with our top 15 based on criteria such as their level of complexity, replayability, and, of course, how enjoyable they are.

15 Best 4 Player Board Games

1.Pandemic: Legacy Season 1Best Co-Op Game
2.CatanBest Beginner-Friendly Game
3.Ticket to RideBest Strategy Game
4.Sheriff of NottinghamBest Card-Based Game
5.TakenokoBest Designed Game
6.Scythe Best Alternate History Game
7.ConcordiaBest Historical Strategy Game
8.Cover Your KingdomBest Party Game
9.Space BaseBest Sci-Fi Game
10.Isle of SkyeBest Replay Value
11.CarcassonneBest Classic Game
12.Eldritch HorrorBest Horror Game
13.AzulBest for Quick Gameplay
14.GloomhavenBest RPG
15.Star Wars: RebellionBest War-Themed Game

1. Pandemic: Legacy Season 1 – Best Co-Op Game

The original classic version of Pandemic was a huge hit when it first burst onto the board game scene back in 2008, challenging players to work together to save the world from four different global pandemics. The new Pandemic: Legacy Season 1 takes this to a whole new level with thrilling twists and turns that make you feel as though you’ve been thrust deep into the heart of a blockbuster TV series. 

Gameplay:

Driven by an utterly compelling storyline, Pandemic: Legacy Season 1 covers a period of 12 – 24 months on a crisis-hit Earth, with each session (lasting roughly an hour) counting as one month. In other words, you’ll need to play the game all the way through some 12 or 24 times to complete it, but that’s all part of what makes this one so engrossing.

Working in a team of 4, you take turns to complete certain actions such as traveling to another country, curing a region of a disease, or building a research center. After each turn, cards are drawn. Some will bring success while others will bring another epidemic that completely alters the game.

What We Like:

Unlike other games that remain pretty much the same no matter how much you change them, Pandemic: Legacy Season 1 continually changes not only from month to month but even within a single gameplay session. Each player’s actions affect the whole game, meaning you’ll sometimes have to rip up the rules completely, destroy certain game cards or alter others. 

What We Don’t Like:

If you’re going to play Pandemic, it really helps to have the same 4 players for every session.

Things change so rapidly that a player who plays months 1, skips month 2, and rejoins month 3 will find themselves playing what seems like an entirely different game and it may take some time to bring them up to speed. 

2. Catan The Board Game – Best Beginner-Friendly Game

Once known as Settlers of Catan until a 2015 rebranding, Catan is one of those rare games that appeal to both die-hard gamers and casual players alike and is often praised for combining a rich and detailed game world with beginner-friendly simplicity.

Gameplay: 

Harkening back to the game’s original title, each player takes on the role of a settler establishing a new settlement on the island of Catan, with the game board representing the island.

The more your settlement grows, the more points you gain. Usually, the first player to reach 10 points wins the game, though this point target can be extended.

As simple as it may be, Catan does require some level of strategy as you look to make the most efficient use of your resources while at the same time trading, bartering, and occasionally even stealing from your fellow players en route to victory.

What We Like: 

Catan‘s simplicity makes it a great gateway game for introducing casual board-gamers to more in-depth games than the standard roll-and-move titles they probably play once a year at Chrismas. That said, it’s got enough detail and strategy to keep serious players interested too.

What We Don’t Like:

Catan may be a great starter game, and it may even be a great game for diehards to dig out once in a blue moon, but it’s not the kind of game you’ll be itching to play every weekend. It’s perfect as a gateway game, but after that, you’ll find yourself eager to move on. 

3. Ticket to Ride – Best Strategy Game 

“It takes minutes to learn but a lifetime to master.” Over the years, that line has been applied to everything from darts and pool to classic board games. While it may be a tad over-used, we definitely think it applies to Ticket to Ride, a game with a simple premise which belies a wealth of complex strategy.

Gameplay:

With the board representing North America, your goal is to build certain routes across the country that your trains can travel across. Complete more journeys from A-B than your opponents, and you win the game.

On each turn, you can either claim a new route on the board to one of your existing destinations, draw a new card, or pick up a Destination Ticket which means you’ll have to start building a new route to reach it. 

Once the game reaches its conclusion, points are awarded for each successfully completed journey and the winner, naturally, is the player with the most points.

What We Like:

Ticket to Ride is one of the best 4 player board games for family game nights, with an added strategy component that ensures hours of fun for kids and grown-ups of all ages. 

The best part is that it really can be as simple or as complex as you decide to make it. For younger children, simply racing to be the first player to complete a route can be hugely enjoyable, while adults and older kids will love coming up with clever strategies to block their opponents and race home to victory.

What We Don’t Like:

For all its good points, Ticket to Ride is a pretty big game with a large board and lots of components, so you’re going to need a lot of room to play it comfortably.

4. Sheriff of Nottingham – Best Card-Based Game 

Looks really can be deceiving. At first glance, we almost expected this to be an old-school strategy game set in the days of Robin Hood. Once we lifted the lid, however, we soon discovered an entertaining and often hilarious card-based game with lots of comical role-playing and a lot of Pokerface.

Gameplay:

Sheriff of Nottingham describes itself as a game of “bluffing, bribery, and negotiation,” and we’d say that’s a pretty good summary. Each player takes a turn at being the sheriff, while the other players are merchants who must decide (by using the cards) what items they want to take to market.

Players must then convince the sheriff to let them through the market by telling him what goods they have, though there’s no reason why they have to tell him the truth. This means that players could bluff about having benign, legal items like apples and cheese while actually trying to smuggle in higher-point-scoring contraband items such as silk and crossbows.

The sheriff’s job is to determine who is telling the truth and let them through. The player who gets the most points (by successfully getting the highest scoring items to market) wins the game.

What We Like:

As you get into the Sheriff of Nottingham, each player will come up with their own strategy for trying to pull a fast one on the sheriff. Some will go with the straight, emotionless poker face while others will crack wise and others still will get deeply into roleplaying as their merchant character.

Either way, the results are often hysterical, making this a great lighthearted game if you’re looking for a really good laugh.

What We Don’t Like:

There’s a lot of counting involved. Each item comes with both market value and a penalty value. So if you successfully get your items past the sheriff, you get the market value, but if you get busted for telling porkies, you’ll get the penalty value knocked off your score. It can be a bit cumbersome, but not enough to detract from an otherwise enjoyable game.

5. Takenoko – Best Designed Game

By far the cutest game in this guide, Takenoko is a fun, friendly, and effortlessly adorable game that combines the luck of the die with an exciting strategy component.

Gameplay: 

Takenoko has 2 overall objectives:

Build up your bamboo garden and keep the Emporer’s panda bear fed and happy. 

To do this, each player takes 2 specific actions such as placing a garden plot, collecting a token, moving the panda, or drawing a new objective card, with the actions they take in subsequent turns helping them to achieve those objectives. 

Prior to these actions, players roll the weather dice which rewards certain bonuses designed to help the player move along. 

Meeting the objectives on the cards earns players points, and at the end of the game, the player with the most points wins. 

What We Like:

Takenoko’s gorgeous aesthetic appeal would make it a clear contender for any list of the best 4 player board games around.

The set comes with two gorgeous miniature figures, one of the panda and one of the gardner. Both look amazing, but then so too does everything else. The board and objective cards are all works of art in their own right, and even the instruction manual comes with a wonderful comic strip to kick things off. 

What We Don’t Like: 

Playing Takenoko from beginning to end only takes around 45 minutes. While that might be great for some casual players, it’s not so good if you’re looking for a game with serious longevity that you can really sink your teeth into.

6. Scythe – Best Alternate History Game

Set in an alternate, post-WW1 Europe where large mechanoid machines and poverty-stricken farmers co-exist, Scythe is a compelling, complex civilization-building that offers hours of engaging fun.

Gameplay:

Scythe positions each player as the fallen leader of a once-prosperous nation that was destroyed in the throes of the first great war. 

Each player looks to restore their land (and with it, their honor) while gathering resources and building a huge mechanoid monster that they can then use to dominate other territories and take over the world.

What We Like About

Scythe is one of the most unique games we’ve played. The mechs are -let’s face it- pretty darn cool, and the whole thing has a certain steam-punk quality to it that will no doubt appeal to fans of that genre. 

What We Don’t Like:

There’s a lot of rules to this game. So much so that playing the game for the first time can take hours as you find yourself pausing play to figure out what to do next.

If you love deeply-complex civilization builders, you’ll love Scythe. Otherwise, you might be better off with something a little simpler.

7. Concordia – Best Historical Strategy

An enjoyable worker placement game set at the height of the Roman Empire’s reign of supremacy, Concordia is a simple game with a surprising amount of depth.

Gameplay: 

In Concordia, players serve as the leader of their own Roman dynasties and strive to make their dynasty the most prosperous of all.

Moving around the board, you use careful decision making and strategic thinking to develop a trade network, claim cities, and acquire wealth, all while winning favor with ancient gods.

The game ends either when all cards have been sold or one player builds their 15th house. At that point, the player who has best pleased the Roman gods wins the game.

What We Like:

Concordia is another game with simplicity as its biggest selling point. On each turn, all you need to do is draw a single card and carry out the action associated with that card. Yet the sheer number of options and possibilities can require some serious thought. If you love games that really challenge you, you’ll love this one.

What We Don’t Like:

Concordia can take some getting used to and may require a good deal of time to fully explain to new players. If you’re looking for something quick and easy to pass away an hour without much thinking involved, this isn’t the game for you.

8. Cover Your Kingdom – Best Party Game

A magical revamp of the classic Cover Your Assets, Cover Your Kingdom is a fun, frivolous, and often ridiculous card game that guarantees lots of laughs and hours of entertainment.

Gameplay:

Set in a magical land where all of the magic has mysteriously vanished, the goal of Cover Your Kingdom is to convince a range of ridiculous fantasy creatures to join your kingdom.

To do this, you’ll have to uncover pairs of cards in much the same way that you would in other card-matching games. 

At the end of the game, the player who successfully matches the most cards wins.

What We Like: 

The sheer silliness of the creature names is guaranteed to get you laughing no matter how old you are. Characters like Pigxies (literally a pig/pixie hybrid), SighClops (a sad cyclops), and the hilarious Peglegasus (a pegasus with a gammy leg) all had us in stitches.

What We Don’t Like:

Honestly, it’s hard not to love everything about this adorably absurd game, but if we have one complaint, it’s that the pun-laden rules can be a little confusing. 

9. Space Base – Best Sci-Fi Game

An entertaining dice game set in the furthest regions of the galaxy, Space Base is a highly engaging game in which players reap rewards on practically every turn, keeping it fun for all concerned.

Gameplay:

Space Base is a basic fleet management game with a sci-fi twist that puts you and your fellow players as the commodore of your own individual space fleet. On each roll of the dice, you can use cargo vessels, mining ships, and carriers to increase your wealth and influence as you strive to become the build the most prominent fleet in the space force.

At the end of the game, the player who has amassed the most influence is promoted to Admiral and wins the game. 

What We Like:

Every turn brings something new for every player of the game, even if it’s not your turn. One player’s turn could see other players increasing their income, gaining credits to be used on their next turn, or increasing their influence score, meaning there’s never a dull moment.

What We Don’t Like:

Space Base is a game where luck triumphs over strategy every time. If you prefer games where you’re in full control of the outcome, this might not be the one for you.

10. Isle of Skye – Best Replay Value 

Set among the rolling hills and impressive vistas of the real-life island of the same name, Isle of Skye is an addictive tile-laying game that only takes 45 minutes to complete but will have you eager to start a new game over and over again.

Gameplay:

The game pits players as Isle of Skye chieftains with the goal of working your way up to becoming the wealthiest king in the realm. 

On each turn, you get three tiles and decide to keep one and auction off the other two. As you play, you’re aiming to find four scoring tiles that match together to build your landscape. More points can be scored by raising livestock, connecting roads, and erecting buildings.

What We Like:

The random nature of the tile-drawing part of the Isle of Skye means that no two games are ever the same. You’ll find yourself drawn back to it time and time again in search of different winning combinations.

What We Don’t Like:

Isle of Skye looks as though it contains more depth than it really does, which can be disappointing for experienced players. 

11. Carcassonne – Best Classic Board Game

Carcassonne has been around for 20 years now and is widely regarded as an all-time classic. That said, this medieval-themed game more than holds its own when compared to more modern games.

Gameplay:

Like Ilse of Skye, Carcassonne is a tile-laying game in which the board is created as you go along. Each time you successfully build a new city, road, or landscape, you earn points and, as always, the most points wins.

What We Like:

There’s a surprising amount of strategy involved in Carcassonne. Though the random drawing of the tiles can make it seem as though it’s all down to luck, you’ll really need to think carefully about where to place those tiles to build points and block your opponents’ progress.

What We Don’t Like:

Counting up the points in Carcassonne can often feel like a chore. Even if you keep tabs as you go along, it’s far from the most fun part of the game. 

12. Eldritch Horror – Best Horror Game 

Eldritch Horror is a narrative-driven, co-op adventure game that expands and improves on many of the aspects of the classic Arkham Horror game which originally inspired its creation.

Gameplay:

Eldritch Horror‘s elaborate backstory sends you and your trusted team of supernatural investigators on a global adventure as you work together to solve chilling mysteries and save the world from a terrifying, ancient evil. En route, you’ll battle mythical creatures like Cthulhu and come face to face with the kind of brooding evil that nightmares are made of. 

What We Like:

Since Eldritch Horror is unashamedly inspired by Arkham Horror, it’s hard not to compare the two. In our opinion, Eldritch is actually the better of the two horror tiles. It’s more detailed, more action-packed, and, honestly, much scarier. 

What We Don’t Like:

Eldritch Horror takes a long time to play through to the finish which can be off-putting to time-starved gamers.

13. Azul – Best For Quick Gameplay

Eager to get into some board-gaming but don’t have much time to spare? Azul might be the one for you. This short and sweet tile-laying game only takes around 30 minutes to complete but doesn’t skimp on the enjoyment factor.

Gameplay:

In Azul, you and your fellow players have been tasked by the king to decorate his royal palace using a series of beautiful tiles. Your job is to collect these tiles into sets arranged by color or design. Alternatively, you can create specific patterns to score more points.

Be careful though, if you take a tile you can’t use, you’ll be deducted points. 

Once all tiles are played, the player with the most points wins the game.

What We Like:

The short nature of Azul isn’t the only thing we love about it. There’s something about the eye-catching design of the tiles and the easy gameplay that makes it one of the more relaxing games we’ve come across.

What We Don’t Like:

If there’s one criticism of this game, it’s that it doesn’t have a lot of replayability. After playing a few quick games, it’s likely to spend more time on your shelf than on your gaming table.

14. Gloomhaven – Best Roleplaying Game

If you’re a fan of Dungeons & Dragons and similar RPGs, you’ll find a lot to like about Gloomhaven, an immersive co-op adventure game that will provide literally hours of character-based entertainment.

Gameplay: 

In Gloomhaven, each player takes on a specific character with their own special skills, personality traits, and backstory. These characters must work together to complete different scenarios and play through the ever-expanding story. 

Each scenario can take hours to complete, as you encounter all kinds of monsters and vile enemies and use the card-based system to destroy them. Get past those monsters, and you can upgrade your character and make key decisions that can totally transform the story of the game.

What We Like:

As story-driven games go, Gloomhaven is up there with the best of the best. The game-world is so vast that you’ll find yourself fully absorbed by the game for hours at a time.

What We Don’t Like:

Gloomhaven is an expensive game, costing several times more than most options on this list. That’s because it comes with a nice, thick book containing the rules and story arch, as well as a huge gaming set weighing over 20 lbs. So, while it certainly delivers value for money, the price-tag can be off-putting.

15. Star Wars: Rebellion – Best War-Themed Game

Tempting though it may be to think of Star Wars: Rebellion as being Risk with Jedis, to label it as such would be to do a huge disservice to an utterly compelling, long-play war strategy game.

Gameplay:

The similarities to Risk are pretty apparent. Playing as either the Empire or the Rebellion, you build up your units and move them around to different planets to claim them as your own.

However, there’s more to it than that. You’ll also control the destiny of all your favorite Star Wars characters, guiding them towards completing certain mission-critical objectives.

What We Like:

The ever-looming Death Star and the secret location of the Rebel base lend the game an element of surprise that keeps it entertaining long after that first game is over.

What We Don’t Like:

While the game will no doubt be a hit with Star Wars fans, there just isn’t enough here to appeal to those who can’t tell their Yoda from their Chewie.

Final Thought 

If you’ve read this far, we hope you’ll agree that what  makes these the best 4 player board games around is that they really do offer something for everyone.

Looking for excitement and adventure? Anything from Star Wars: Rebellion to the utterly thrilling Pandemic: Legacy Season 1 will be right up your street. Prefer something a little more peaceful? Isle of Skye or even Azul might be just the game for you. 

That’s not to mention the frights and delights of Eldritch Horror or the laugh-out-loud moments of Cover Your Kingdom. In other words, whatever you’re in the mood for, you’ll find something to enjoy among the 15 games we’ve covered today.

And if you’ve got more than 4 people involved in your game night? We’ve got you covered there too. Just check out our guide to the best 6-player board games

Best 6 Player Board Games Related

Similar Posts