12 Best Adult Board Games of 2017

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There's only so many rounds of Elder Scrolls: Legends to play or so many Destiny 2 raids you can embark on before you have to actually sit face to face with your friends for a game night!

For the hardcore gamers, there's no shortage of epic board games that are every bit as fun as their digital counterparts, with some actually ending up considerably more in-depth than anything on console or PC.

If your group consists solely of adults, then all the better, because these games take strategy and frequently include themes that aren't for the little ones. Sadly, there was no new Drinking Quest entry this year, although new edition Liquor Before Honor will hit next summer (so keep your beer nice and cold while you wait).

The sting of that missing franchise can be soothed somewhat by the slew of high-quality games that landed in 2017, with 12 in particular that are well worth playing.

Although the focus is on "board" games, here we're going to go ahead and include card games as well, since the line between them frequently gets blurred, and some of the raunchiest fun for adult games will always come from the card-based entries.

Le Neckbeard

Price: $20
Buy It On: Jason Anarchy Games
Number of Players: 2 - 4

A perfect card game for video gamers, Le Neckbeard is a wonderfully self-aware and hilariously NSFW game that celebrates (and skewers) the social awkwardness of the gaming crowd.

Your goal is to save some beautiful Waifus (from Japanese body pillows and booby mouse pads to the killer high school girl from Yandere Simulator) from the greasy hands of your rivals. Along the way, your neckbeard will have to summon sodas and deal with dreaded real-life responsibilities, like doing the laundry or talking to your actual girlfriend.

If your group can take a little good-natured self-criticism, they'll love this tongue-in-cheek game. Le Neckbeard was originally only available for Kickstarter backers, but a limited run of new decks is now up at the Jason Anarchy Games site.

Fallout

Price: $69.99 
Buy It On: Amazon
Number of Players: 1 - 4

Featuring scenarios based around both Fallout 3 and 4, Fantasy Flight is translating the beloved post-apocalyptic franchise to a tabletop setting for your gaming group. Players build their own survivors based around the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. ruleset we all know and love, then go out and explore the wasteland, with solo play possible.

This one is just now shipping to pre-order buyers after Thanksgiving, so all we have to judge at the moment is some unboxing videos and clips from people who played demos at Gen Con, but it looks to be very high quality. Expect this one to deliver the Fallout experience to your weekend gaming group, with all the free roaming and raider-slaying you could want.

Besides this entry from Fantasy Flight, board game developer Modiphus also has a totally different take on the tabletop Fallout experience coming next year under the title Fallout: Wasteland Warfare.

Bears Vs. Babies

Price: $29.99
Buy It On: Amazon
Number of Players: 2 - 5

We all know that Cards Against Humanity set the gold standard for card games to keep adults interested while drinking around the gaming table, but it also gets old fairly quickly as the same card combos keep coming up.

That's where a host of other amusingly offensive card/board mashup games come in, offering a different take on the NSFW style with games like Joking Hazard or Exploding Kittens. From the fine folks at The Oatmeal behind Exploding Kittens now comes an even more baffling mashup: Bears Vs. Babies!

The goal here is to build horrifying monstrosities that can take on an army of evil killer babies, so basically, a good time will be had by all. Don't forget to pick up the NSFW expansion pack to add in all the jibbly bits and various other offensive cards that will make grandma blush.

Red Dragon Inn 6: Villains

Price: $39.95
Buy It On: Amazon
Number of Players: 2 - 4 (or up to 6 with the other base games and expansions)

It's sort of hard to believe just how many Red Dragon Inn base box sets and character expansion cards have come out at this point. That first game was an absolute breath of fresh air in the tabletop scene, and now years later, they are still just as fun.

Part 6 puts you in the role of the villains instead of the heroes, but don't worry, the base gameplay remains the same: buy drinks for your friends to make them pass out, gamble until you've won the whole treasure horde, and try to remain conscious long enough that the inn doesn't get all the gold!

Too Many Bones

Price: $124.95
Buy It On: Chip Theory Games
Number of Players: 1 - 4

If you haven't played a dice building game before, this is a crazy fun one to jump into with your friends. Rather than building decks of cards, you put together pools of dice, with 136 custom dice included in this game as your goblin-like gearlocs embark on misadventures. 

While it takes a bit of effort to learn, you can have a blast building up your dice pools for your gearloc character and taking on bigger challenges. If you can't get enough of this style, a successful Kickstarter campaign just wrapped up for follow-up game Undertow, which is slated to land next year.

Gloom In Space

Price: $21.00
Buy It On: Amazon
Number of Players: 2 - 5

The original Gloom and its Cthulhu expansion let the goth gamers have fun killing off family members in horrible ways, and now you can die terribly in space as well!

Notice the red shirt on that character on the box? That's you -- a group of space explorers who aren't destined to live long while exploring the galaxy. Your job is to come up with hilariously entertaining stories of how your red shirts die while your opponents try to keep your hapless explorers alive and happy instead.

It's a race to the bottom, but with tribbles and alien princesses this time around instead of Poe and Lovecraft. For a fun game night with the adult friends, you can't go wrong with Gloom or its various spin offs.

Gloomhaven

Price: $219.99
Buy It On: Amazon
Number of Players: 1 - 4

There are times where it feels like board game designers are competing for who can build the most absurdly oversized box with the most game pieces. They can all stop trying now, because Gloomhaven wins.

This box weighs more than 20 pounds, and there's a whole lot of content to justify all that weight. What you have here is essentially a dungeon crawling game, but with a bunch of twists to keep players on their toes that will delight anyone used to the standard formula.

There's seriously more than 100 hours of play you can get out of Gloomhaven while the campaign unfolds, with each successive game building upon the last rather than everything resetting each time you play. Just make sure you've got the room to play and the time to paint the minis!

Dark Souls

Price: $120.00
Buy It On: Amazon
Number of Players: 1 - 4

This one was in limbo for a long time but finally saw official wide release in 2017. A devastatingly hard single-player experience like Dark Souls might seem like an odd game to translate into a co-operative multiplayer board game, but it works.

Like the video game, you've got to figure out the right attack patterns to use while trying to gain souls, and if you die, you respawn back at the bonfire. The flavor of the game is translated surprisingly well into the tabletop medium, and it really forces tactical cooperation between players.

Rick and Morty: Total Rickall Card Game

Price: $15.00
Buy It On: Amazon
Number of Players: 2 - 5

With far less complexity than many other games on this list, Total Rickall is a fun diversion to pull out every now and again between bigger games. Essentially, it's the episode of the same name from Rick And Morty, with the goal of figuring out who is real and who is an alien parasite.

You can get through a game in about 20 minutes, but since the parasites are randomized, it's worthwhile to play several times in a row. If you like a little more complexity, there's an advanced rule set that expands the game out to six players and has two people at the table take the role of secret parasites.

5-Minute Dungeon

Price: $19.99
Buy It On: Amazon
Number of Players: 2 - 5

The title isn't being facetious -- there's a downloadable timer app for the game, so every game is actually five minutes.

It's a fast and fun game where you and a few companions try to tackle the dungeon boss within the time frame allotted. Things get frantic and frenzied as the timer ticks down and you work hard as a team to reach the end. 

First Martians

Price: $49.99
Buy It On: Amazon
Number of Players: 1 - 4

This game definitely won't be for everyone (if you want fast-paced fantasy, look elsewhere), but if you liked the desert island survival scenarios of Robinson Crusoe, you'll know exactly what to expect from First Martians.

The point of the game is to survive the harsh Martian environment, with several different game modes available, including a linked campaign that must be tracked with a companion app.

Survival is key, with players deciding whether to take risky actions that could have good rewards or instead play it safe and conserve resources. Life on Mars is brutal, and so is this game!

Santorini

Price: $49.99
Buy It On: Amazon
Number of Players: 2 - 4

This three-dimensional game can be for the whole family, but more of the strategy will be geared towards the adults. "Strategy" is the key word here, as each player races to build to the top of a tower while trying to hinder their opponents from doing the same. Each player has a unique way to break the rules a little, and things can get seriously competitive as the game progresses towards the end.

With these 12 excellent 2017 board and card games, you'd probably never run out of Saturday night gaming fodder. That being said, there were a whole lot more that released this year besides what we listed in the preceding slides!

There were several expansions for the various Fantasy Flight Cthulhu Mythos games, as well as plenty of other sci-fi, horror, and resource management board games.

What did you think of our picks for the best board games of 2017, and what titles did we miss that should have been included? Let us know in the comments below!

Published Nov. 21st 2017

Featured Contributor

Ty splits his time between writing horror fiction, covering underground black metal bands, and bringing you the latest gaming news. As much as digs the latest shooters, he thinks gaming peaked with Planescape: Torment.


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