There’s just something special about getting everyone together to play games. Sure you can always bust out your Switch and play some Smash Bros. Maybe even have everyone drag over their PC or Xbox for some classic LAN party action with the Master Chief Collection. Or you can go old-school and bring out the board games.
Now I’m not talking about Uno or Yahtzee here, although those can be fun if you throw down some bets. No, I’m talking about some serious, hardcore, next-level experiences that challenge you and your friends to level up. The type of games that are played best with at least five people.
Now, you may be wondering, what kinds of games fit that description? Well, we’ve rounded up 15 of the best 5-player board games to answer that question.
The 15 Best 5-Player Board Games for 2021
It’s worth noting that all of the games on this list are excellent options. They also come from different genres making them difficult to really compare. So while this is a numbered list, think of it more as a rundown of equally incredible experiences worth exploring. It really just depends on your taste in games.
The best 5-player board game overall
Publisher: Catan Studio | Players: 3-6 | Duration: 1-2 hours | Difficulty: 2/5
The recent version of Catan has expanded the player count, and honestly, it’s about time. This game plays like it was designed for a ton of people and now it finally can be used that way. It really is the simplest model for a Eurogame, where you’re tasked with accumulating and building resources in order to claim land.
You can also trade, have to avoid robbers and the extended version does require players to build at the end of every turn. Other than that, it’s a straightforward, strategic, and fun game that’s widely considered to be among the very best board games for 5 players.
The best 5-player deck-building game
Publisher: Steve Jackson Games | Players: 3-6 | Duration: 1-2 hours | Difficulty: 2/5
Munchkin is a light-RPG-inspired deck-building game where you compete against other players to defeat monsters and level up. Throughout the game, you can equip armor, weapons, and items to help you on your journey or screw over other players. You can also decide to help someone out in exchange for a treasure or two.
This is a simple game, with deep randomized mechanics that fuel overwhelming discussions of betrayal and assistance. It’s easy to learn, extremely addicting and there’s likely a version with your favorite IP somewhere out there. (Check out the Marvel edition where if you collect all the Infinity Stones and the Infinity Gauntlet you instantly win!)
3. 7 Wonders
The best 5-player strategy game
Publisher: Repos Production | Players: 2-7 | Duration: 30 minutes | Difficulty: 2/5
7 Wonders is one of the most complex yet approachable titles on this list of best 5-player board games. It’s a great introduction to the Eurogame genre but takes time to master. The basic premise involves you building up your civilization by gaining resources, specializing in specific trades, and a number of other methods.
The initial wave of resources is completely randomized, which can dictate, change or boost your underlying strategy. This is really a game about reading the room, making decisions and determining when to pivot if things aren’t working out.
4. Oregon Trail Card Game
The best educational board game for 5 players
Publisher: Pressman Toy Corp | Players: 2-6 | Time to Play: 30-45 minutes | Difficulty: 1/5
Next on our list of best 5-player board games? The Oregon Trail — adapted to the game board!
Hit the open road with your friends all filled with wide-eyed hope and dreams of a better life. Only for that to be shattered by a broken axle, a snake bite, dysentery, and hypothermia all before you ford the first river. This all probably sounds pretty familiar, and it should if you’ve ever played the classic Oregon Trail game on PC.
This cooperative card game replicates that experience incredibly well. Just like the original, you form a wagon party and head out on the trail facing calamities, collecting resources and trying to survive. In this case, you randomly draw cards to build your trail and have to deal with potential deathly problems like everything we mentioned above. But with a well-conditioned and strategic team, you can work to keep the right resources on hand to all make it safely to Oregon.
5. Pandemic Legacy: Season 1
The best co-op 5-player board game
Publisher: Z-Man Games | Players: 2-4 | Duration: 1 hour | Difficulty: 3/5
The original Pandemic is a fun cooperative title that almost feels like backward Classic Risk. Legacy takes that a step further, adapting the game as you play and after. That’s right, the effects of one game can have permanent benefits or drawbacks through specific cards, locations, and other in-game elements.
This continuity makes for a unique, and increasingly challenging experience every time. It’s designed to take place over the course of a year, having you unlock secret strategies and tools or unleashing more difficult encounters for future sessions.
Do note that you’ll need the On the Brink expansion set to play with 5 players.
6. Eldritch Horror
The best horror-themed board game for 5 players
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games | Players: 1-8 | Duration: 2-4 hours | Difficulty: 3/5
Eldritch Horror is the type of game where it seems like you just can’t win. Going up against horrific cosmic Lovecraftian entities sure does put you at a disadvantage, even with a large team. However, the dire situation just adds to the excitement, strategy, and action of this game where every decision can be your last.
Starting with a scenario leads to randomized encounters, monster battles, and the need to strategize with your team to use your moves effectively. It’s a challenging game, and you’re always on your heels, but nothing feels quite as sweet when you finally win.
The best historical 5-player board game
Publisher: Stonemaier Games | Players: 1-5 | Duration: 90-120 minutes | Difficulty: 4/5
To start, Scythe has an incredibly gorgeous art style. It’s set in an alternate history take on post-WW1 Europe and involves you and the other players trying to expand their factories. The interesting twist on this general land grab task is that you can actually create steam-powered mechs to help your cause.
Of course, this requires you to develop various technologies, cultivate agricultural ventures, and stimulate the overall economy to make it happen. So, this game is just as much about the race to creating a weapon as it is building up your resources. It’s a fun balancing act that can help you go on the offensive or stay on your heels playing defense.
The best mystery game for 5 players
Publisher: Libellud | Players: 2-7 | Duration: 45 minutes | Difficulty: 2/5
Think Clue, but one player plays as the ghost of the deceased and everyone else plays as psychics and can communicate with them. This simple adjustment makes for a far more engaging experience where the ghost player actively tries to lead you to the correct culprit. The only issue is that each player has their own unique mystery to solve in order to find out who the killer is.
Throughout the game, you can attempt a limited number of guesses based on what you’ve uncovered. This will tell you if you have anything right or wrong, while also shifting the clock away from your favor. It’s a fun twist on a classic title that simply improves it in every way.
9. Power Grid
The best economy-building board game for 5 players
Publisher: 2-F Spiele | Players: 2-6 | Duration: 2 hours | Difficulty: 3/5
Power Grid is a classic economic building game and one of the best 5-player board games around. The goal is to have the most cities connected to a viable power grid by the end of the game. This involves players building power plants, upgrading to superplants, and managing the byproducts of producing energy.
This game is a bit old school and actually does require a lot of math to play well. However, once you get the hang of it, it’s an easy game to fall back into especially when facing down four other players.
10. Star Wars: Imperial Assault
The best dungeon-crawling board game for 5 players
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games | Players: 1-5 | Duration: 1-2 hours | Difficulty: 3/5
Wrapping a dungeon-crawling campaign-style game in Star Wars sure makes for a stylish experience. In this RPG-light, you take on a role as either the Rebels or the Imperials and are tasked with accomplishing a specific goal or taking out the enemy team. One player will be tasked to play as the Imperials, but the game does an excellent job balancing the abilities of solo and cooperative players.
Throw in a quick 2-player skirmish mode for good measure and you have a game with various levels of replayability.
11. Lord of the Rings Journeys in Middle Earth
The best fantasy board game for 5 players
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games | Players: 1-5 | Duration: 1-2 hours | Difficulty: 3/5
Grab your fellowship, it’s time to go on an adventure. In this dual-media cooperative title, you choose your character class, grab a few pieces of gear and pull up your laptop. That’s right, the actions, narrative, and even the character customization and upgrades are all digital.
This makes for a unique experience that is easy to pause after a chapter and ensures that your game never becomes overly bloated. The mechanics are fluid, easy to digest, but complicated enough to warrant discussions between you and your party. It’s one of the first games I’ve seen that does the physical board game/video game hybrid mechanic right and is well worth playing.
12. Rising Sun
The best 5-person board game for negotiation
Publisher: CMON | Players: 3-5 | Duration: 90-120 minutes | Difficulty: 3/5
You’ll need to set half the day aside just to set up this intricate venture into Feudal Japan. However, it’s worth the setup time in order to immerse yourself in the deep mechanics and combative structure of Rising Sun. At its simplest, you’re really just trying to claim land and gain the gods’ favor.
This relatively minimal setting is bolstered by complex negotiation systems, monster recruitment, worshiping to gain favor, and a resource management system while in combat. There’s a lot to manage, a lot to think through and strategize around and it’s a blast.
13. Century: Spice Road
The best trading-based 5-player board game
Publisher: Plan B Games | Players: 2-5 | Duration: 30-45 minutes | Difficulty: 2/5
The Century games are really interesting explorations of different time periods. All three of the games have unique mechanics referencing the technology, customs, and trade practices that make them unique. The first in the series, Spice Road, is fully based on the trade system of the 15th century.
It ultimately boils down to card collecting and playing mechanics where you attempt to take on trade routes and resources in order to make the most profit. It’s simple in practice but requires a lot of thinking 1-2 steps forward to stay ahead of your opponents.
14. Betrayal at House on the Hill
The best 5-player board game for parties
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast | Players: 3-6 | Duration: 1 hour | Difficulty: 2/5
Who doesn’t love a spooky ghost story? How about a randomly generated one in a haunted house that will eventually turn one or many of your friends into some unsightly ghoul? Sounds fun right, and that’s exactly what happens in this multi-phase game.
You start by exploring the house, strengthening skills, acquiring items, and trying not to die. Eventually, the haunting starts and whoever triggers it, likely becomes the killer for the remainder of the game. The best part is the scenario is totally random and depends on the room and what triggered the haunt for you to dive in and kick off the actual ghost story.
It’s a devilishly fun time that never gets old thanks to the randomized scenarios and build of the game.
15. Terraforming Mars
The best sci-fi board game for 5 players
Publisher: FryxGames | Players: 1-5 | Duration: 120 minutes | Difficulty: 3/5
Terraforming Mars takes everyone’s favorite pass time, capitalism, and turns it into a cooperative and backstabbing race to turn Mars into a beautiful paradise. Helming your own corporation, you’ll work to claim victory points by advancing human infrastructure, advancing the terraforming process, and other commendable deeds. Of course, it is a competition, meaning any other player can quickly destroy your progress for resources or other benefits.
With an accurate map of Mars, over 200 different potential projects to cover, and a unified goal of sprucing up Mars, it’s just a fun time. It forces you to be competitive while balancing dirty deeds and the need to keep making progress. Even among this list, not many of the best 5-player board games hit that competitive/cooperative mark so well.
Join the High Ground
We hope that this list of the best 5-player board games has helped you find a few new options to try with your friends and family. If you like this rundown, be sure to share this article on your favorite social channels and let us know what your favorite 5 player games are in the comments below. And to stay up to date with more ‘best of’ lists like this one, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.