If you’ve ever listened to people talk about their Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) campaigns and wondered, “What is that all about?” welcome to this post.
This article is where you’ll learn what role player board games are all about. And you’ll learn more about 11 of the best RPG board games in particular.
Because there’s something to be said for setting the scene for an epic adventure.
It also helps to have physical materials to represent heroes, villains, monsters, and all the natural and unnatural challenges you’ll face.
Enjoy our list of 11 top RPG board games.
What Are Role Player Board Games?
In a role-playing game, the players assume the roles of characters and collaboratively create stories.
Each participant determines the actions of their character based on their unique positions, talents, weapons, or responsibilities.
Role-playing board games apply the same principle to a tabletop game, usually with a board and pieces representing characters, tools, weapons, etc. Sure, you could play an RPG video game, but role player board games have advantages worth considering:
- What Are Role Player Board Games?
- 11 Of The Best RPG Board Games
- LOTR: Journeys in Middle-Earth
- Gloomhaven — Cephalofair Games
- Mice & Mystics — Plaid Hat Games
- Descent Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition) — Fantasy Flight Games
- Legends of Andor Board Game / Cooperative Strategy Adventure Game — Thames & Kosmos
- Dungeons and Dragons: Castle Ravenloft Board Game — Wizards of the Coast
- Mage Knight Board Game — NECA
- Eldritch Horror — Fantasy Flight Games
- Dark Souls: The Board Game — Steamforged Games
- Mansions of Madness Board Game (2nd Edition) — Fantasy Flight Games
- Sherlock Holmes: The Thames Murder & Other Cases
11 Of The Best RPG Board Games
The best role-playing board games draw you right into the adventure with the details, the storytelling, and personal investment in the outcome. Look over the details for the following options and go with your gut.
Use the companion app to track each campaign and guide you along the way. The app varies each adventure with content from one of many unique scenarios to ensure each game offers different and exciting challenges.
Play alone or with up to four companions and form your own fellowship to defend Middle-Earth. Choose from six heroes, journey across 22 map tiles, and develop your hero skills as you battle with 25 detailed enemy miniatures.
Take on the role of a wandering adventurer with a unique skill set and your reason for traveling to the dark corner of the world known as Gloomhaven. Work together with your companions to clear dungeons and ruins of their lingering threats.
Build a fortune as you build your story by facing challenges in a changing world. Play over multiple game sessions to make the most of each campaign. Collaborate with your fellows using the innovative card system to defeat each new adversary and accomplish your goals.
Punished for your loyalty to the king with the loss of your human form, now you and your companions must race through a castle as mice to find and rescue the king from the scheming Vanestra.
Play alone or with up to three companions (aged 7+) to find and exploit Vanestra’s weaknesses while avoiding the castle’s housecat and other threats. Each game lasts 60 to 90 minutes and requires close collaboration with your fellow mice.
In this game, one player takes on the role of a treacherous overlord. Other players collaborate as heroes — embarking on quests, venturing into dangerous territory, and battling monsters to set things right and thwart the overlord’s evil plan.
You’ll need at least two players for this (one overlord and one hero), and be prepared to play for 1 to 2 hours at a time. The story is based in the vibrant fantasy world of Terrinoth, where the heroes must complete a range of scenario-specific challenges.
Enemies are advancing toward the castle of Andor, and only your small band of warriors can defeat those enemies and protect old King Brandur. Each hero and heroine (one on each side of the hero cards) has unique abilities. And each will journey through five different legends to protect the land of Andor.
Strategy and luck are only part of the game; thoughtful collaboration is a must to achieve victory. Play with one to three companions and expect each game to last around 60 to 90 minutes. The QuickStart guide introduces you to the first legend, “Arrival of the Heroes.”
The master of Ravenloft has invited you (along with other carefully chosen guests) to dinner. But with the evil lurking in the tower and dungeon, only the bravest and most cunning of guests will survive the horrors.
Play alone or collaborate with up to four more players — five if you want a dungeon master (DM). Made with a generous supply of well-crafted components, this game will keep you occupied for at least half an hour at a time and quite a bit longer if you’re inclined.
As a mage knight in this game of epic exploration and conquest, you have the option of playing competitively or collaboratively with up to 3 other players. Or play alone to determine the outcome for your character.
Acquire powerful spells and abilities to press your advantage and conquer the Atlantean cities. By the end of your first victorious game, whatever role you’ve chosen, you’ll feel like a warrior with a sixth sense for making the right decisions.
Inspired by the best-selling board game, Arkham Horror, Eldritch Horror accommodates up to eight players for a collaborative quest to protect Earth from the Ancient One — an elder bent on its destruction.
With four different Ancient Ones (including Cthulu and Azathoth), twelve investigators, plenty of monsters, and hundreds of possible scenarios, you’re guaranteed a unique adventure with every game. Play alone or with up to seven intrepid companions.
As one of the Chosen Undead and Bearers of the Curse, the fate of this world rests on you. Will you join the Soul of Cinder and prolong the curse of undeath, or will you fight your way to the top to usher in a new Age of Humanity and lift the curse? You’ll meet a variety of challenges and collect strength as you search for the Boss.
Play alone or with up to three companions. If even one of you falls in combat, the game doesn’t end, but the whole party returns to the bonfire, and all enemies reset, costing you time as well as any “souls” you use up to regain your strength.
This Lovecraft-inspired narrative board game — from the makers of Eldritch Horror — takes you and up to four companions on an adventure through the misty streets of Innsmouth and the cursed Arkham mansions. Use the required app to collect weapons and tools, solve puzzles, and fight monsters, insanity, and Death.
Enjoy the well-crafted stories and the varied scenarios and outcomes for each campaign. Play an entire campaign in one go or use the app to save your progress and continue another day.
You’re ready to dig into a 90+ minute game to solve a murder mystery (and other cases) as Sherlock Holmes would. So, dig into a game that gives you the tools and a variety of challenging cases to work with.
Work alone or with a trusty sidekick. Or solve a case with a group of mystery-loving friends or relatives. Just make sure you pay attention to the clues. This is a game to play when you have loads of mental energy, and you’re up to the challenge.
Did you find your next RPG board game?
Now that you know what RPG board games are and you’ve had a chance to look over some of the best available, which ones stood out for you the most?
There are no wrong answers. So, while it never hurts to browse the product reviews, go with what honestly appeals to you. You’re more likely to open the box and get acquainted.
May your first game be the first of many.