Best 9 Fantasy Board Games of 2024 Reviewed

Explore the magical realm of fantasy with these 9 top-rated board games perfect for new and seasoned players alike.
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Gloomhaven coverMage Knight coverDescent: Journeys in the Dark cover

9 Best Fantasy Board Games for New Players! Love fantasy? So do we! When picking the best fantasy board games for our list, we focus on epic storytelling, cool mechanics, and player fun. We’ve battled dragons, cast spells, and embarked on grand adventures. Each of these games brings a unique fantasy experience to the table. Whether you’re new to the genre or a seasoned adventurer, our top picks will transport you to magical worlds and thrilling quests. Get ready to gather your friends, shuffle those decks, and embark on an unforgettable journey!

On this list:

9 Gloomhaven

Gloomhaven cover

  • Age Range: 14+
  • Players: 1-4
  • Play Time: 60-120 minutes per session, but campaigns last much longer

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Gloomhaven is a giant among fantasy games. It’s a campaign-based game where you manage characters through a series of tactical battles. The storyline sucks you in, and the choices you make affect the world and your characters profoundly. It’s a bit of a time commitment but well worth it for the deep and rewarding experience.

8 Mage Knight

Mage Knight cover

  • Age Range: 14+
  • Players: 1-4
  • Play Time: 150-240 minutes

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Mage Knight combines deck-building with exploration and conquest. The game has a ton of content and offers a lot of depth. Each scenario you play can be tuned to your liking, and you can go solo or team up with friends. The rulebook is a bit thick, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a blast.

7 Descent: Journeys in the Dark

Descent: Journeys in the Dark cover

  • Age Range: 14+
  • Players: 2-5
  • Play Time: 120-180 minutes

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Descent is like playing D&D without the need for a Dungeon Master. One player takes on the Overlord role, while others are the heroes. The game offers tons of expansions, so you’ll always find something new to add to your adventures. It’s great fun to tackle the different quests and missions.

6 Lords of Waterdeep

Lords of Waterdeep cover

  • Age Range: 12+
  • Players: 2-5
  • Play Time: 60-120 minutes

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Lords of Waterdeep is a worker placement game with a D&D twist. You play as one of the masked Lords, and your goal is to complete quests by sending agents around the city. It’s easy to learn but offers plenty of strategy. Plus, the expansions add even more depth and replayability.

5 Small World

Small World cover

  • Age Range: 8+
  • Players: 2-5
  • Play Time: 40-80 minutes

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Small World is a light-hearted fantasy game where you control different races vying for conquest. Each race has unique abilities, and the game is full of humor and whimsy. It’s easy to pick up, making it great for newcomers, but it also offers enough strategy to keep seasoned gamers engaged.

4 Terraforming Mars: Prelude

Terraforming Mars: Prelude cover

  • Age Range: 12+
  • Players: 1-5
  • Play Time: 90-120 minutes

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This isn’t classic sword-and-sorcery fantasy, but it’s a fantastic game that lets you explore a different kind of fantasy – the colonization and transformation of Mars. You play as corporations working to make Mars habitable, and the game involves a great balance of strategy, luck, and interaction. The Prelude expansion is a must-have, speeding up the game and adding even more depth.

3 Scythe

Scythe cover

  • Age Range: 14+
  • Players: 1-7
  • Play Time: 90-115 minutes

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Scythe is set in an alternate-history 1920s Europe. While it’s more steampunk than traditional fantasy, it offers rich storytelling and deep strategy. You control factions aiming to build their empire in a war-torn landscape. The game’s stunning artwork and minis make you feel immersed in its world.

2 The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth

The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth cover

  • Age Range: 14+
  • Players: 1-5
  • Play Time: 60-120 minutes

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Based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium, this cooperative game lets you explore Middle-earth with iconic characters like Aragorn and Legolas. The app-driven gameplay adds a layer of immersion, and each quest feels fresh, offering hours of adventure. It’s fantastic for fans of the books and movies.

1 The Castles of Burgundy

The Castles of Burgundy cover

  • Age Range: 12+
  • Players: 2-4
  • Play Time: 30-90 minutes

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And here we go, saving the best for last! The Castles of Burgundy is a classic tile-placement game set in medieval France. It’s not your typical magic-and-dragons fantasy, but it lets you build and develop a prosperous estate, which can feel like fulfilling a fantasy of strategic success. The game’s depth and replayability are unmatched, making it our top pick.

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.