Best Board Game Layouts of 2024: Top 6 Picks

In Ticket to Ride, the board game layout makes building train routes across America engaging and strategic for new players.
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Ticket to Ride coverCatan coverCarcassonne cover

The 6 Best ‘Board Game Layout’ Based Games

On this list:

6 Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride cover

  • Age Range: 8+
  • Players: 2-5
  • Play Time: 30-60 minutes

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Ticket to Ride is a fantastic introduction to games with a strong board game layout. We love how it combines strategy with simplicity. The map of train routes across various countries makes it visually appealing and easy to track progress. Perfect for both newbies and seasoned players. The game’s layout makes it easy to pick up, yet still offers depth for strategic planning. The competition for routes can get pretty intense, leading to laughs and some light-hearted rivalries.

5 Catan

Catan cover

  • Age Range: 10+
  • Players: 3-4
  • Play Time: 60-120 minutes

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Catan’s hexagonal board game layout is a classic. Its modular nature keeps the game fresh and exciting, even after many plays. Trading and building settlements on this island of variable terrain offers a fantastic blend of strategy and luck. We recall intense bartering moments and strategic road-building that kept us hooked. The layout helps bring the island to life and keeps the game engaging. You’ll want to play over and over to experience different board setups.

4 Carcassonne

Carcassonne cover

  • Age Range: 7+
  • Players: 2-5
  • Play Time: 30-45 minutes

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Carcassonne’s tile-laying board game layout makes it unique and highly interactive. Each playthrough results in a different landscape of cities and roads being built. The game’s simplicity is deceptive, as we’ve realized the depth of strategy once you start aiming for the largest cities and longest roads. Laying down tiles to create a bustling medieval territory is deeply satisfying, and the game’s dynamic layout keeps everyone engaged right until the last piece is placed.

3 Power Grid

Power Grid cover

  • Age Range: 12+
  • Players: 2-6
  • Play Time: 120 minutes

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Power Grid offers an elaborate board game layout representing different regions with its unique electricity network building theme. The game balances resource management and economic strategy quite well. We’ve had some nail-biting moments trying to outbid each other for critical power plants and resources. The map layout plays a critical role in strategic decisions, making it a deep and engaging experience. This game is ideal for those who love a bit of industrial strategy.

2 Pandemic

Pandemic cover

  • Age Range: 8+
  • Players: 2-4
  • Play Time: 45 minutes

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Pandemic’s global board game layout is both its strength and the player’s challenge. The world map offers a clear view of how disease spreads, which adds to the game’s cooperative nature. We loved coordinating strategies to save humanity, which often led to tense but rewarding sessions. The layout helps players understand the urgency of their actions and fosters a strong sense of teamwork. This is a great choice for players who enjoy collaborative problem-solving.

1 Gloomhaven

Gloomhaven cover

  • Age Range: 14+
  • Players: 1-4
  • Play Time: 60-120 minutes per scenario

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Gloomhaven stands out due to its deep and rich board game layout. We consider it the best because of its dynamic, branching storyline and modular board which offers endless replayability. Each session feels like a unique adventure, with complex scenarios playing out on a beautifully designed map. The setup fosters immersion and strategic planning, making every decision impactful. This is the ultimate pick for those who crave epic, long-term campaigns.

Jamie in his proper element: With all of his board games
Jamie Hopkins

With years of dice-rolling, card-flipping, and strategic planning under my belt, I've transformed my passion into expertise. I thrive on dissecting the mechanics and social dynamics of board games, sharing insights from countless game nights with friends. I dive deep into gameplay mechanics, while emphasizing the social joys of gaming. While I appreciate themes and visuals, it's the strategy and camaraderie that truly capture my heart.