8 Best Grid Movement Board Games for Top Players

Explore a list chock-full of strategy and adventure with our top 8 grid movement board games.
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Forbidden Desert coverTsuro coverStar Wars: Imperial Assault cover

When venturing into the terrain of Grid Movement board games, our selection emphasizes diversity and engaging mechanics that capture the essence of strategic placement and movement. Whether you’re plotting a course through the cavernous desert, gliding through mystical paths, commanding galactic troops, programming whimsical robots, harnessing arcane powers, defending against supernatural forces, transforming distant planets, or embarking on epic quests, there’s a game on our list ready to transport you and your friends to another world. It’s the combination of thematic depth, flexibility in player count, and captivating gameplay that guided us in choosing the best contenders for our list of the 8 best Grid Movement board games.

Games on this list:

8 Forbidden Desert

Forbidden Desert cover

  • Age Range: 10+
  • Players: 2-5
  • Play Time: 45 minutes

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This gem by Gamewright made it to our list because it’s not just about moving on a grid; it’s about surviving an ever-shifting desert landscape. The swirling sand tiles that change the grid’s layout mid-game entirely doubles the fun and strategy. We found ourselves truly engaged as we coordinated with each other to find the flying machine parts and escape.

7 Tsuro

Tsuro cover

  • Age Range: 8+
  • Players: 2-8
  • Play Time: 15-20 minutes

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Calliope Games’ Tsuro stands out for its simplicity and elegance. It involves players laying tiles to continue their path on the grid while trying to keep their dragon token on the board longest. We had great laughs as we inadvertently (or strategically) steered our friends’ dragons off the board. The accessibility of this game makes it a favorite for quick, light gaming sessions.

6 Star Wars: Imperial Assault

Star Wars: Imperial Assault cover

  • Age Range: 14+
  • Players: 2-5
  • Play Time: 1-2 hours

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This Fantasy Flight Games pick was a no-brainer for our grid movement list. The combination of its thematic Star Wars story and tactical skirmish gameplays kept us at the edge of our seats. The attention to detail in character abilities and the modular board pieces provide deep and satisfying strategy opportunities that fantastically mirror the lore.

5 RoboRally

RoboRally cover

  • Age Range: 12+
  • Players: 2-6
  • Play Time: 30-120 minutes

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Designed by Richard Garfield, Avalon Hill’s RoboRally is chaos incarnate: programming robots to race around a factory filled with hazards. The consummate blend of planning and mayhem tickled our strategic funny bone while friend’s robots pushing ours into pits had us in stitches. Patience with the programmable chaos is rewarded with ridiculously delightful outcomes.

4 Mage Knight Board Game

Mage Knight Board Game cover

  • Age Range: 14+
  • Players: 1-4
  • Play Time: 1-4 hours

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What makes WizKids’ Mage Knight Board Game a compelling entry is its depth. The game intricately combines grid movement with deck-building, role-playing, and strategy. As we conquered territories and gathered our forces, each move was laden with importance. The complexity might not cater to everyone, but we agreed the grand sense of adventure and mastery over one’s knight is unmatched.

3 Ghost Stories

Ghost Stories cover

  • Age Range: 12+
  • Players: 1-4
  • Play Time: 60 minutes

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Repartee Games’ Ghost Stories won us over with its cooperative play; it is a hauntingly beautiful test against demonic spirits. The tactical decisions on the grid coupled with resource management provided a taut experience. We were completely immersed while protecting the village and battling Wu-Feng, creating a narrative that’s a horror-thriller with every play.

2 Terraforming Mars

Terraforming Mars cover

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

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Stronghold Games packs a punch with Terraforming Mars. This is not just about the gripping theme but also how players literally alter the Martian landscape tile by tile, creating a complex grid of economic development and environmental change. We reveled in the dynamic play, where every turn forms a new strategy, turning the game into an evolving puzzle.

1 Gloomhaven

Gloomhaven cover

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

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Why does Gloomhaven top our list of The 8 best Grid Movement board games? It’s more than a game; it’s an unfolding tale where each square can be the difference between glory and demise. The level of character customization, the harrowing decisions we had to make on the grid, and the engaging narrative-driven scenarios gave us a tabletop experience of epic proportions. Isaac Childres’ design distinctly shines, captivating us with clever mechanics while pushing us to think strategically about each move we make on the grid.

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.