Best 6 Narrative Board Games of 2024: Top Picks

Dive into our list of board games rich in narratives, perfect for anyone eager to embark on unforgettable storytelling adventures.
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Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective coverBetrayal at House on the Hill coverGloomhaven cover

Gather around, board game lovers! We’ve scoured the shelves and tables to bring you the top 6 narratives-based board games out there. When diving into this quest, we didn’t just look for games; we searched for stories. These adventures on cardboard promise not only to challenge your strategic skills but to immerse you in tales so captivating, you’ll feel part of the narrative itself. From solving mysteries to exploring haunted houses, from epic quests to building new worlds, each game we picked offers a unique journey. Ready to be the hero of your own story? Let’s dive in!

On this list:

6 Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective cover

  • Age Range: 14+
  • Players: 1-8
  • Play Time: 60-120 minutes

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First up, we dived headfirst into the foggy streets of London with Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective. This game is a blend of narrative mystery and deduction, perfect for those who love to solve puzzles. We spent nights pouring over the clues, trying to outsmart the master detective himself. It’s like being in a Sherlock novel!

5 Betrayal at House on the Hill

Betrayal at House on the Hill cover

  • Age Range: 12+
  • Players: 3-6
  • Play Time: 60 minutes

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Then, we got our scare on with Betrayal at House on the Hill. Halfway through the game, it flips on its head with one player betraying the rest. The narratives unfold differently each time, with 50 unique scenarios. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions and strategies, making each game night unpredictable.

4 Gloomhaven

Gloomhaven cover

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

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Next, we tackled Gloomhaven, a massive beast of a game. It’s an epic RPG in a box, where your decisions shape the narrative and the world around you. The stories we created as we battled through dungeons and made allies were simply unforgettable. Each session felt like a new episode in our adventure series.

3 Pandemic Legacy: Season 1

Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 cover

  • Age Range: 13+
  • Players: 2-4
  • Play Time: 60 minutes

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We then faced the global crisis in Pandemic Legacy: Season 1. Unlike the original Pandemic, this game evolves over time. The decisions we made in one game affected the next, creating a thrilling narrative of survival and strategy. It was like living through our blockbuster pandemic movie, minus the actual danger.

2 Above and Below

Above and Below cover

  • Age Range: 13+
  • Players: 2-4
  • Play Time: 60-120 minutes

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Above and Below caught our fancy for its unique mix of village-building and story-telling. We crafted our villages and explored mysterious caves, encountering different narrative events along the way. The stories added depth to the strategy, making us care not just about winning but about our villagers’ adventures too.

1 Tales of the Arabian Nights

Tales of the Arabian Nights cover

  • Age Range: 14+
  • Players: 1-6
  • Play Time: 120 minutes

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Our top pick, Tales of the Arabian Nights, blew us away with its rich narratives and freedom of choice. It’s like stepping into your Arabian adventure, where your decisions lead to fame, fortune, or folly. The stories are enchanting, filled with magic, mystery, and memorable characters. It stood out as the best because it truly lets you shape your narrative, immersing us in a way no other game did.

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.