The 10 best tabletop games to play with four people or more
GameCentral recommends the best games to play in a crowd, from the Game of Thrones board game to the epic sci-fi of Twilight Imperium.
Tabletop gaming is one of the best ways to reintroduce yourself to family and friends after a couple of years of lockdown and while solo gaming has become very fashionable of late, as summer nights set in there’s now nothing to stop you meeting in larger groups to play in your local game cafe.
The UK Games Expo is going ahead next month, which means things are back to normal in the UK’s tabletop community, and we’re already keen to check out the range of tournaments on offer. But what if you can’t make it to a large tabletop convention but need a game where no one gets left out?
Games with more than two or three players have their own challenges and you’ll need to pick a game that keeps everyone engaged and where less experienced players can quickly learn the rules, while making sure there’s not too much downtime so everyone stays on task. So here’s a look at the best board games for four or more players…
King of Tokyo Monster Box
We love King of Tokyo for its fun, fast-paced gameplay and now you can get the core game and expansions – Halloween and Power Up! – in one Monster Box. Players roll dice with claw symbols to attack your opponent’s health and dominate the city of Tokyo, in this super competitive game that includes legally distinct versions of Godzilla and King Kong.
Each monster has a health and victory point dial, and the idea is that you can only gain points whilst occupying Tokyo. That’s also the only place where you can be hurt, as every other player will be attacking you to stop you gaining points and winning.
Using your monster’s evolution cards, you can give your creature special abilities or… dress them up Barbie style, with costume cards giving your monster a permanent bonus while they’re being used. The Monster Box also comes with exclusive cards and a very useful cardboard dice tray, which makes this excellent value for money and the perfect starting place for new players.
ILLEO – £55.99
The Quacks of Quedlinburg: Big-Box
This is another great value box set, but this time for a bag building game… and yes, there are enough of them for that to be a concept that already exists. In The Quacks of Quedlinburg, you play quack doctors each making their own secret brew by adding ingredients to your pot, as you try to heal citizens’ ailments during Quedlinburg’s annual nine-day bazaar.
You showcase your skills by brewing potions using ingredients from your personal bag of ingredients. The better the potion, the more money you receive to buy fancy, more advanced ingredients for your bag. If you’re lucky, you can also earn victory points for the brews; but as a quack you might not have sufficient skill to know when to stop adding ingredients.
If you push your luck, get greedy, or are just too unlucky, then your pot might explode. The Big Box also includes The Herb Witches expansion and the mini-expansion Wolfgang’s Exchange Office, which were previously sold separately.
Schmidt – £54.99
Who’s looking forward to summer? Us too… but what we are really looking forward to is Skate Summer! Great for a group of friends as you play a rad skate cru who are renowned for riding the half-pipes of Pelican Park. You all compete to score the most points by doing trick combos, collecting goal tokens, and visiting S-K-A-T-E-R locations.
The game is played in rounds, starting with combos where you have to check your balance, which is needed to play trick cards and earn rewards. Then you have to check your skatr skillz, which can be improved as you play and are needed to score points for combos. Navigate the park and pick up goals and gnarly gear dude to win.
By the end of your first play through you’ll have set your squad goals and have proven that there’s no ledge too high, no rail too long, and no ramp too dangerous for you to conquer. Assuming the die rolls go your way that is.
Pandasaurus Games – £49.99 (due August 2022)
Dungeons & Dragons: The Radiant Citadel
There’s no better game to play in a dedicated group than D&D and this inclusive anthology of 13 standalone adventures takes your party through the mists of the ethereal plane to the Radiant Citadel.
A crossroads of wonders and adventures, the Radiant Citadel adventures features challenges for character levels 1 to 14. It will be the first book written entirely by people of colour, in the nearly 50-year history of Dungeons & Dragons. As such, it promises a very different take on the classic adventures with writers drawing inspiration from their connections to various real-world cultures and mythologies.
For example, the Level 1 adventure is inspired by writer Surena Marie’s Thai heritage; Salted Legacy is the story of two rival families, the gnomes of the Tyenmo family and the kobold family of Xungoon, who make their living in the vibrant Dyn Singh night market, where you might end up fighting giant prawns, entering cooking competitions, and/or taking part in a spicy pepper eating show down.
Level 11 adventure, Shadow of the Sun, sees players choosing sides in the face of political tensions around the city-state of Akharin Sangar. Will you play as a peacekeeper for the mighty angel Atash, who currently rules the area, or join the resistance in a territory inspired by Ancient Persia? Each adventure also comes with its own tailor-made pronunciation guide.
Wizards of the Coast – £38.22 (due 21st June 2022)
If you and your friends bonded over Peaky Blinders then you should be able to convince them to play a game of Wise Guys. In this quick-to-learn, area control board game those friends might not stay that way for long, as you play as one of four rival gangs seeking fame and fortune as rum runners during Prohibition America, on the seemingly teetotal streets of Chicago.
The gang with the most money at the end of the game wins and the way you make money is by wheeling and dealing and asserting influence by threats or actual violence. There’s always a double cross in the works, so trust no one and watch out for a knife in the back.
The board is split into six locations that you can travel to, collecting materials, cash, and clout – but be careful not to get too greedy and draw the attention of rival gangs or the cops, as you compete over six rounds. As Tommy Shelby would say: ‘You have to get what you want your own way’.
Gale Force Nine – £40.00
Twilight Imperium Fourth Edition
Looking for a way to spend your summer holidays in style? Twilight Imperium is a huge game of galaxy crafting and galactic conquest, in which up to six players take on the role of 17 (yes, 17) factions vying for galactic domination through military might, political manoeuvring, and economic bargaining to gain the throne of Mecatol Rex and become masters of the galaxy.
Like a sci-fi Settlers of Catan, the game board is uniquely and tactically constructed each time you play, using 51 galaxy tiles that feature everything from new planets with abundant vegetation to asteroid fields and ion storms that can hamper your progress on the victory track. Players are dealt a hand of these tiles and take turns creating the galaxy around Mecatol Rex, the capital planet at the centre of the board.
Players select strategy cards that will lead to the acquisition of command tokens, allowing them to control trade as they move from system to system across the galaxy. However, trade means politics and as there are plenty of hidden agendas to address, at the end of a turn players gather in a grand council to pass new legislation to help fulfil their objectives.
Objectives are the core of the game and can be anything from researching new technologies to annexing territory. Secret objectives are revealed and dealt out as the game progresses, changing goals throughout the game and keeping players on their toes in what is one of the most epic sci-fi board games ever created.
Fantasy Flight Games – £164.99
Marvel Zombies – A Zombicide Game
We love Zombicide for its wonderful comic aesthetic and nicely modelled miniatures, it’s an easy to learn and fast-paced collaborative game which plays well with up to six players. Each person takes on the role of a survivor who has their own unique abilities, as you team up with others to take on the hordes of the undead. Find weapons, kill zombies. The more zombies you kill, the more skilled you get and the more weapons you’ll have to upgrade.
There are already a number of licensed crossovers with Zombicide, including Ghostbusters and Night of the Living Dead, and coming next year is the eagerly awaited Marvel Zombies. The Kickstarter originally only asked for $500,000 and ended up with 18 times that, allowing the designers to expand the concept with even more cards and pieces.
CMON – £TBA (due 2023)
Death in Space
Can’t wait for Starfield? Well, your party is in luck as there’s a horrifying new role-playing game set in the dead of space (hence the name). Taking place in a desperate future, that seems worryingly familiar, you create a spaceship in the asset stripped Tenebris system. You’re not sure it was worth surviving The Gem War though, as now the universe is collapsing and you don’t want to live on The Iron Ring any more. But you struggle on anyway, through one more day of scrap salvage with your crew, while trying to ignore the sinister supernatural hisses of subspace static.
This role-player is light on rules, which saves a lot of time spent pouring over tables of stats, and instead it just tries to draw you into its immersive storytelling, where you’ll spend most of your time repairing your ship after spacecraft confrontations with Oort Flies and Neon Harpys, and narrowly averted boardings by sinister cults such as the T.T.O. Death in Space even has an online character generator for those thin on not just oxygen but time.
Free League – ~£24 (release date TBA)
A Game of Thrones: The Board Game – Second Edition
Are you hoping against hope that House of the Dragon, HBO’s much-anticipated prequel series to Game of Thrones, redeems the franchise, but don’t want to wait to August? Why not take Westeros’ fate into your own hands in A Game of Thrones: The Board Game.
It’s great to play with six players, with the large number of competitors meaning a more complex and strategic (i.e. nasty) game, but there’s also plenty of room for alliances with other houses, which helps to make the game easier for newbies. Players take on the roles of the great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, who are vying for control of the Iron Throne. Naturally, this involves not just diplomacy but siege towers and navies as well.
We love this game for its sense of common purpose, often quickly followed by a terrible betrayal. The more players you can get involved the better, even though it will make for a day long gaming session.
Fantasy Flight Games – £64.99
Great with a group of seven (obviously) players, 7 Wonders is very easy to learn and play, making it super accessible for first time gamers and families. You are given a double-sided wonder board depicting one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, such as the Great Pyramid of Giza
and the Colossus of Rhodes. You’ll need to gather cards that give you resources, develop commercial routes, and attain military supremacy to build your civilisation over three ages; at the end of the third age the player with the most victory points is the winner.
What makes 7 Wonders uniquely fast paced is how the hand management mechanic works. Every round, each player plays one card and then they pass the rest of their hand to the player next to them. This mechanic forces you to balance what card you want to play with what cards you don’t want to give your opponent access to, forcing you to think about what their strategy is as well as your own.
Repos Production – £44.99
By Lucy Orr
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