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20 Best 4 Player Board Games

20 Best 4 Player Board Games

Whether you’re looking for a fun four player board game to play with your kids or new board gamers, are looking for a new challenge or need a challenging game for your board gaming group, we’ve got your back! Here is our list of the 20 best 4 player board games, presented in the following categories: family-friendly games, fun and easy games, medium games and advanced games. Read on!

Our Top Picks- Best 4 Player Board Games

Best 4 Player Game for Players of All Ages: The Isle of Cats

If you’re looking for fun, thematic and versatile board game to play with your kids or your gaming group, The Isle of Cats is up your alley! Simply switch from the simplified rules in family mode to the full game and you’re set!

Best 4 Player Budget Pick: The Crew: Quest for Planet Nine

This game is the 2020 winner of the prestigious Kennerspiel des Jahres award, yet is compact and falls under the $20 mark. Introduce your favorite people to this trick-taking, cooperative campaign game that plays over 50 tense missions.

Best 4 Player Board Game for Newbies: Azul

Best 4 Player Game to Introduce to Newbies: Azul

Azul is a great gateway game. Decorate the walls of your king with beautifully colored tile, scoring extra points for achieving specific patterns or sets. Azul is easy to learn and teach, yet features puzzles that is sure to get your thinking cap on!

Best Next-Step 4 Player Board Game: Wingspan

Best Next-Step 4 Player Board Game: Wingspan

Are you looking to move beyond your favorite classic gateway games? Wingspan is a great choice! The theme and artwork are attractive and appeal to a wide range of people, and you’ll have fun learning about birds as you recruit birds, build habitats and much more!

Best 4 Player Game for Multiple Sessions: Gloomhaven

Best 4 Player Board Game to Play Over Multiple Sessions: Gloomhaven

Gloomhaven is a great game to play over multiple play sessions with your favorite people or your board gaming group. With over 95+ scenarios in the campaign, the world is your oyster!

Best 4 Player Board Games

Family-Friendly Board Games

Many of our family-friendly picks are great for kids ages 8 and up, but will also appeal to adult players of all skill levels!

The Crew: Quest for Planet Nine

The Crew: Quest for Planet Nine

Trick-Taking Space Adventure

Players: 2-5 // Game time: 20 minutes // Age: 10+ // Difficulty: Medium

Publisher: KOSMOS

You are an astronaut about to set out on an adventure in space, the final frontier! The Crew: Quest for Planet Nine is an innovative cooperative trick-taking game that took the board game community by storm in 2020. A loose narrative unfolds as your journey extends through 50+ missions.

So what’s all the buzz about?

Each mission has tasks and a specific objective you need to meet to win the mission. You’ve completed your mission once you’ve: a) accomplished all of the tasks, or b) failed a task (ouch).

If you have the Rocket card with the number four on it, you’re the commander for this mission! Randomly-drawn task cards determine what tasks you need to complete, and in what order you need to complete them, to win the mission. 

As in any trick-taking game, each player attempts to play a card of the leading suit if they have one! The highest value card wins the suit, unless you play Rocket cards- they’re wild cards. Unlike most trick-taking games, you’re working together. Everyone wants the mission to go smoothly –  Liam needs to win the yellow 6 first and Felicity needs to win the yellow 5 next. Every crew member pitches in to help!

Okay. That seems simple enough. Let’s go!

Not quite. The game’s communication limits create a tense collaborative experience like no other. It’s unusually difficult to communicate in space, so each crew member only has the ability to use the radio communication token once per game. Don’t despair, though! If a mission looks near impossible to achieve, you can send a distress signal before the mission gets underway. Crew members then get to pass one card to another player to make the mission more attainable.  

Who This Game is For

The Crew: Quest for Planet Nine is a must-have for folks who like cooperative games, and trick taking games! This is also a great game for trick-taking lovers to introduce the mechanic to their favorite people. Bonus – this game is fun for multi-generational family gatherings – bridge lovers will catch on quickly!

Buy The Crew: Quest for Planet Nine on Amazon

The Quacks of Quedlinburg

Play as wacky quack doctors

Players: 2-4 // Game time: 45 minutes // Age: 10+ // Difficulty: Easy

Publisher: North Star Games

In The Quacks of Quedlinburg, you are a quack doctor building your very own secret brew! Build up your pot with ingredient chips. Approach with caution, though! Add too much of the wrong ingredients, and your pot can explode!

The Quacks of Quedlinburg is a competitive game all in good fun and is never too mean. It’s a great way to introduce your kids to deck-building games. Instead of cards, you’ll build your bag by attaining ingredient chips. You’ll go through nine quick rounds. At the end of each round, each player tallies up the victory points and coins they’ve earned. If your pot exploded, no dice – you have to pick one of the other!

You’ll find yourself pushing your luck to get the best ingredients, and even if your cauldron explodes, you may still have accumulated a lot of victory points or coins. With the catch-up mechanism in the game, no one falls too far behind. And if you’re in the lead, don’t get too comfortable! This quirky fast-paced game can be a lot of fun, for adults and kids alike!

Who This Game is For

The Quacks of Quedlinburg is a one of the best four player board games for families or kids at heart who want a friendly competitive and super fun game. It has a great table presence and is a game you’ll want to take out and enjoy!

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The Herb Witches expansion provides the components you need to add a 5th player. You also get ingredient books, the ability to solicit help from 3 herb witches, two new ingredients (a super pumpkin and a fool’s herb) and additional components. The expansion adds variety and new ways to up the difficulty (if you want).

Forbidden Desert

Forbidden Desert

Can You Survive in the Desert?

Players: 2-5 // Game time: 45 minutes // Age: 10+ // Difficulty: Easy

Publisher: Gamewright

Forbidden Desert is an epic adventure into the heart of an ancient desert city. You and your fellow adventurers have crashed in the desert and have to work cooperatively to get out alive. 

But it’s not going to be easy.

You need to recover the stuff of legends to get out – specifically, a much-heralded flying machine! You’ll brave extreme temperatures and blustering sandstorms in your search for a needle in a haystack as you navigate a shifting board through your increasing thirst. Will you survive?

Each game is different, as the board is created randomly with face-down tiles. Other tiles represent sand. You can lose the game if any player runs out of water, or a storm becomes too intense. Each character has unique abilities that will help you navigate the game.

Gameplay is simple – you’ll 1) move; 2) remove sand; 3) excavate (flip tiles) to reveal water, clues, tunnels and equipment; and/or 4) recover machine parts. Easy, peasy, right? 

Not so fast. You can’t recover machine parts until you have the location of all four parts, while trying to stay hydrated, cool and search for the machine parts themselves!

Who This Game is For

Forbidden Desert is quick, easy to learn and teach, and cooperative. Families and light gamers looking will love the theme and immersive (and friendly) gameplay.

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Forbidden Desert is a newer implementation of Forbidden Island, where players work together to survive on an island before it sinks. Both games feature different gameplay and thematic elements.

The Isle of Cats

The Isle of Cats

How Many Cats Can You Save From Evil Lord Vesh?

Players: 1-4 // Game time: // Age: 8+ // Difficulty: Easy Publisher: The City of Games

You are on a mission to The Isle of Cats. The goal? To rescue as many cats as possible before the evil Lord Vesh’s impending arrival. The winner is the rescuer who scores the most when the game’s five rounds are over.

You can play this game solo, in family mode, or with the full game. In family mode, gameplay is more straightforward – perfect for playing with kids or casual gamers!

Each player has a boat they need to fill with cats of different colors. Three or more cats of a single color that are located adjacent to each other are a “family,” which earns you the most points. If you have empty rooms, you’ll lose points – an important strategic detail in the full game. The Isle of Cats features cats in the form of polyominoes, which gives you Tetris-like gameplay as you work to strategically place cats on your boat after successfully recruiting them with tasty fish.

Aside from rescuing cats, you’ll also explore the island via card drafting (not in family mode), find treasures, study ancient lessons and befriend rare Oshax cats. In short, The Isle of Cats is super fun, quick, scales well at different player counts and isn’t too competitive. 

Who This Game is For

The Isle of Cats is a rare breed – a board game that is easy to learn and pick up, but also allows for good strategic depth and interesting decisions each turn. As it has three playing modes – solo, family and the full game –  kids, light board gamers and experienced board gamers alike can enjoy this game! Note that this game is one of the best 4 player board games for all ages – it’s not super competitive, because everyone is doing their own thing collecting cats.

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The Late Arrivals expansion for The Isle of Cats allows for play at 5 and 6 player counts, bringing even more cats to the table!

Stuffed Fables

Stuffed Fables

Storybook Adventure

Players: 2-4 // Game time: 60-90 minutes // Age: 7+ // Difficulty: Medium

Publisher: Plaid Hat Games

A young girl is in danger. An evil mastermind cackles in a dark tunnel Players take on the role of the child’s stuffed animals as they work together to save her. 

Stuffed Fables is a narrative choose-your-own adventure where you’ll combine game night with story time! You’ll explore a thrilling (but dangerous) world, navigate the child’s milestones and unlock mysteries in your journey. There are seven stories in your journey, each of which represents one game session. Stuffed Fables is a campaign game, which means that you’ll journey through multiple chapters as the story unfolds.

The game’s storybook is your game board, story guide, and rules reference. Players will roll dice to attack, take special actions, move, use items or help with group tasks. Dice are central to the easy-to-pick-up gameplay, and you can share dice with other players, store dice for later use, combine or use individually to activate multiple actions. 

Who This Game is For

Stuffed Fables is a great game if you love Gloomhaven and want to play a family version with your kids. Keep in mind that there is a lot more emphasis on the story in Stuffed Fables, and the theme can be scary for some kids. 

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Fun and Easy Games

Our fun and easy game picks are easy to learn and teach. For the most part, these games are kid-friendly and great to play with the family. So what sets them apart from our family-friendly picks above? These light and quick board games are ones that adults will often gladly pick up and play, with or without the family. They are games that are easy to pick up but offer real strategy for four players.

7 Wonders

7 Wonders

Quick Civilization Building

Players: 2-7 // Game time: 30 minutes // Age: 10+ // Difficulty: Easy

Publisher: Asmodee

As the leader of one of the great cities of the Ancient World, it’s your job to build your city over three ages. The available resources evolve throughout the ages, so it’s critical to get the raw materials you need early. By Age III, you can no longer get any new  raw materials! This is just one of the many strategic variables you need to keep track of. There are many ways to score and win. You can focus on military dominance, developing commercial routes or harvesting victory points through card selection. 

In 7 Wonders, the rules are straightforward and easy to pick up. But this game is far from easy. It takes time and multiple plays to master the various strategies in the game. However, it’s well worth it, as you get to play an excellent civilization-building game for your four-player group in just half an hour!

Who This Game is For

If you’re looking for a game that works with folks of all skill levels, is quick, and has good strategic depth, 7 Wonders is the game for you!

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Expansions are not a necessity, as the 7 Wonders base game is a complete game with plenty of replayability. If the game is something you truly enjoy and want more depth, then the expansions are totally worth it!

In our opinion, the Cities and Leaders expansions are well-designed expansions you will want to play with every game. They add team-based play, new elements and new dimensions that keep 7 Wonders fresh. If you love a good nautical theme, we heartily recommend the naval elements and strategy featured in the Armada expansion.


Abstract Tile-Laying Puzzle

Players: 2-4 // Game time: 30-45 minutes // Age: 8+ // Difficulty: Easy

Publisher: Plan B Games

Welcome to Azul, an abstract tile-laying game that’s all about the ceramic tiles. This game is actually rooted in history – Portuguese King Manuel I fell in love with the Moorish azulejos (or ceramic tiles) on display in the Spanish Alhambra Palace.

In Azul, you are a tile-layer tasked with decorating the walls of the Portuguese Royal Palace of Evora. You’ll take turns drafting various colored tiles to your player board. The game is deceptively challenging – you score extra points for specific patterns and sets, and lose points when you waste supplies. This makes for a cerebral puzzle that’s sure to get your thinking cap on!

Every choice you make matters – any cascading issues can’t be blamed entirely on luck. Rather, any outcomes are largely a consequence of your choices. While Azul features very little player interaction, it’s important to pay attention to what other players are drawing and what they seem to need.

The game ends as soon as a player completes one row, so you can try to control when the game ends by preventing other players from doing this. If a game ends before you’re ready, you may end with a lot of waste, which is costly!

Pro tip – if you’re playing a game of Azul with players of different skill levels, just set casual or new gamers with some points to start with. This ups the difficulty level for the other players at the table.

Who This Game is For

Azul ticks off all the boxes for a great game for players of all skill levels – easy to learn and teach (check!), straightforward gameplay (check!) and strategic depth without triggering analysis paralysis (check!).

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The Azul: Crystal Mosaic expansion includes double-sided player boards that present new challenges and strategy, as well as a plastic overlay to stabilize the four player boards.



Tile-Laying City Building

Players: 2-5 // Game time: 30-45 minutes // Age: 7+ // Difficulty: Easy

Publisher: Z-Man Games

Carcassonne is a classic tile-placement game that is considered a quintessential gateway game. The game toes the line between providing strategic depth while keeping it simple (your noggin won’t ache!). 

The gameplay in Carcassonne is straightforward. In a nutshell, during each turn you have two decisions to make: 1) where to place your tile; and 2) if you want to put a follower on it. When you place a tile, you are shaping the landscape in a medieval city in southern France. Each tile can consist of a field, city, road segment, and/or structures.

You can help or hinder your fellow builders with each tile placement. The game vacillates between almost mindless tile placement to difficult decisions. Take it from us – everyone experiences at least one turn of analysis paralysis as you figure out your next steps.

Player interaction and competition depends on the group – you can take a hands-off approach while everyone else does their own thing, or everyone just might work together to build a structure! You can be ruthless and place tiles that make life difficult for the other players. In the end, one of the best parts of the game is to sit back and admire what you’ve created. A completed Carcassonne board is a beautiful sight!

Who This Game is For

Carcassonne is a classic gateway game that is the perfect start to your journey into board gaming, whether for yourselves or your favorite people! The game features simple rules but enough strategic depth for players of all skill levels to get to the table together! It’s absolutely one of the best 4 player board games for players of all levels.

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Carcassonne is a game that has stood the test of time and is still something that regularly hits the table all over the world. One of the reasons for that is the plethora of expansions available, which keeps the game fresh. On the flip side, though, the expansions often add a more “take-that” approach, and deviate from the game’s refreshing simplicity by adding more rules and complexity.

Carcassonne now comes with two mini expansions – the River II and Abbot expansions. If you suspect you will love Carcassonne and play it for years to come, then the 2017 Carcassonne Big Box is a must-have buy (and space-saver!). You’ll get the base game and included mini expansions, the Inns & Cathedrals and Traders & Builders expansions along with six mini-expansions not included with the base game.

In our opinion, the Inns & Cathedrals expansion is well worth it, as it allows for 5 players and adds strategic layers. The Traders & Builders expansion can also be a fun addition, as it adds traders and pigs for some fun gameplay.

We put together a guide to the best Carcassonne expansions– you’ll find the play style you’re looking for in our guide!

Clank! A Deck-Building Adventure

Clank! A Deck-Building Adventure

Renegade Game Studios

Players: 2-4 // Game time: 30-60 minutes // Age: 12+ // Difficulty: Easy

Publisher: Loot Treasure Without Waking the Dragon!

You are a treasure hunter who specializes in burgling treasure from the dragon. For each artifact that is stolen, the dragon becomes increasingly angry. One false move can draw the dragon’s attention with the dreaded CLANK! noise. Will your legacy be lost forever in the dungeon, or will you win the title of Greatest Thief of the Realm?

Clank! A Deck-Building Adventure is a fun fantasy deck-building game that pits burglars head-to-head. Each player will build their deck throughout the game. Most cards obtained generate resources like skills, swords and boots. These allow you to buy new cards, fight monsters and/or move around. There are many ways to earn points, but it’s all moot if you don’t survive!

Who This Game is For

Anyone looking for a fun deck-builder that doesn’t take itself seriously. Clank! A Deck-Building Adventure is great for board gamers of all skill levels. Even kids will enjoy this, if direct competition isn’t an issue. 

Buy Clank! A Deck-Building Adventure on Amazon

A number of expansions have been published since this game took the board game community by storm in 2016. Some of the more popular ones are:

Clank! The Mummy’s Curse adds a mummy that can curse you, and cards that you can use to get rid of curses.

Clank! Expeditions: Gold and Silk adds two new boards, one that features dwarf gold and the other with spider webs.

There are a number of standalone variations of the original Clank! A Deck-Building Adventure. If you’re interested in legacy games, the highly rated Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated may be right for you! Though pricey, you’ll play through a campaign of 10+ individual games in your journey, making permanent changes as you go.

Claim your treasure and escape pod in the highly popular futuristic space-themed Clank! In! Space!: A Deck-Building Adventure.



City Building for Cute Critters

Players: 1-4 // Game time: 40-80 minutes // Age: 13+ // Difficulty: Medium

Publisher: Starling Games

Welcome to the bustling valley of Everdell, where you are the leader of a group of adorable but hardy critters. Your mission? Explore and settle new territories. Basically, you want to build your own little slice of woodland utopia.

Throughout the game, you will build your hand of cards to expand your civilization with new critters and structures. Player turns are simple – you take one of three possible actions: a) play a card; b) play one of your adorable woodland animal meeples; c) prepare for the next season. As you move through the game, you’ll play through different seasons.

Players can choose to move on to the next season by opting for the “prepare for next season action.” Multiple players can be on different seasons during the game. The game ends when everyone is on the last season

Everdell is a competitive game, in the sense that the player with the most points at the end of the game wins. However, the game plays out as a beautiful solitaire game, where everyone plays their own strategy and there isn’t a ton of player interaction (or cutthroat competition). The game is fun and rewarding, even if you’re losing. 

Who This Game is For

Folks who love thematic games and woodland animals will love Everdell. The mechanics and rules are simple enough for kids or very casual gamers, but there’s also enough depth for more experienced gamers to have fun.

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Everdell is a game that is better with expansions, which improve replayability and longevity, and add variety. The world that you experience with Everdell expands and adds new areas to explore and new stories to tell.

The Everdell Pearlbrook expansion adds new worker placement areas, in the underwater kingdom. You also get a new woodland character – the frog, and a new special resource (pearls). If you want an upgrade, the Pearlbrook Collector’s Edition is what you’re looking for. 

The Everdell Bellfaire expansion adds new cards, new areas to visit, and a method to swap resources. Essentially, this expansion adds depth. 

The Everdell Spirecrest expansion adds new elements and rules that add more meaning to the last phase of the game, bringing more depth to the endgame.

Medium Games

Our medium game picks for 5 players are a little more complex than our family-friendly and fun and easy game picks. These games have more strategic depth and complexity than our light game picks, but aren’t so complex that you need to spend hours learning the rules and setting up the game. They’re a great step up from your favorite light game, especially if you have limited time and headspace to learn new games.


Dominion 2nd Edition

A Deck-Building Classic

Players: 2-4 // Game time: 30 minutes // Age: 13+ // Difficulty: Medium

Publisher: Rio Grande Games

Dominion was the original deck builder that basically opened the door for a massive amount of great deck building games that have been published since then. Even with so many other deck builders on the market, Dominion is still one of the best gateway deck building games out there!

In the base game of Dominion, your starting deck consists of 5 cards. Each turn consists of 1) Taking an Action, 2) Buying cards and 3) Cleaning up. Your objective is to acquire cards and expand your kingdom’s influence. The catch? Everyone else is doing the same thing as you jostle to become the biggest and best kingdom, by earning the most victory points.

Who This Game is For

Dominion is a great gateway game to bring your non-gaming family members to the table game nights. Once you get the hang of it, Dominion is seriously addictive and a lot of fun!

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Dominion is another game that is best with at least one expansion, which will add more depth and interest to your gameplay.  For the full scoop on what each expansion offers (and their pros and cons), check out our guide to the best Dominion expansions.

We recommend the Seaside expansion for your very first expansion. This expansion introduces interesting mechanics that provide a different gameplay experience. If you like cutthroat competition, you’ll love the powerful attacks in this expansion.

Pandemic Legacy: Season 1

Pandemic Legacy: Season 1

Cooperative Legacy Game

Players: 2-4 // Game time: 60 minutes // Age: 13+ // Difficulty: Medium

Publisher: Z-Man Games

Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 is a cooperative game where all players work together to eradicate a disease that has spread to every corner of the world. It is also a legacy game, where you make permanent and irreversible changes to the game that carry over to multiple future plays. Legacy games are a relatively new genre in board games – for an in-depth definition and a list of the best legacy games, check out our article on the best legacy board games

Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 is set in the middle of a pandemic, where several virulent diseases are wreaking havoc across the world. Each player has a unique role and special abilities that make them an invaluable part of the team. You have twelve months to get the pandemic in control, each of which represents a scenario. The game unfolds over 12-24 gaming sessions, depending on how you decide to handle the pandemic! Each scenario has a primary objective, often revolving around preventing outbreaks or developing cures. 

As you move through the game, the rules change and evolve as a result of the decisions that you make. This is a story-driven game, so there are secrets and plot twists that will keep you awake at night! Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 is a nail-biter – the tension is palpable as you work through each month to try to save humanity. The gaming experience is so unique and memorable that we still talk about the crazy things that happened when we played two years ago.

Who This Game is For

Players who enjoy story-driven games and choice-and-consequence scenarios will love Pandemic Legacy: Season 1! Anyone looking for a unique gaming experience to share with their favorite people.

Buy Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 on Amazon

Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 was designed on the backbone of the classic Pandemic board game. Pandemic Legacy: Season 2, a sequel, and Pandemic Legacy: Season 0, a sequel, are both highly rated and well worth playing as well.



Gorgeous Bird-Themed Game

Players: 1-5 // Game time: 40-70 minutes // Age: 10+ // Difficulty: Medium

Publisher: Stonemaier Games

In Wingspan, each player takes on the role of bird enthusiasts with their own wildlife preserves. Your goal is to find and attract notable birds to your aviary. 

Wingspan is a card-driven engine building-game with over 170 beautifully illustrated bird cards with some fun bird facts and a map showing where the bird can be found. Each card includes information on the suitable habitat, food cost, type of nest used, number of eggs, wingspan, the bird’s power and how many points the bird is worth when the game ends. You also get a lot of neat components like various food tokens, egg miniatures, custom dice and a kawaii birdfeeder dice tower. 

In your efforts to recruit the best birds, you can take only one of four actions: a) gain food; b) lay eggs; c) draw birds; or d) play birds. The game ends at the completion of round 4, and points for each bird in play, bonus cards, end of round goals, eggs, and more are tallied up. Wingspan is a multiplayer solitaire game, an approach where there isn’t a whole lot of player interaction. Rather, everyone is working individually to build up their preserves and get the most points.

Who This Game is For

Wingspan is beautiful, has a great theme, includes fun bird-related components and is easy to learn and teach. This game has enough strategy for gamers who love birds or a good theme, but is also perfect for introducing non-gamers, birdwatchers or animal lovers to the whole wide world of birds!

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Wingspan: The European Expansion is the very first expansion for Wingspan. Your wingspan world gets bigger with this expansion, which includes the birds of Europe and new components. The birds of Europe include new abilities that increase player interaction, activate at the end of the round or benefit from extra cards or food.

Wingspan: Oceania Expansion adds gorgeous, colorful birds from Oceania. You get a number of new additions to Wingspan, including game end powers, the ability to pick new bonus cards, flightless birds, awesome new game mats and new round end goals.

Dune: Imperium

Dune: Imperium

Spice. War. Dune.

Players: 1-4 // Game time: 60-120 minutes // Age: 14+ // Difficulty: Medium

Publisher: Dire Wolf

In Dune: Imperium, You are a leader of one of the four Great Houses of Landsraad, navigating the political climate and battling to claim control of the resources on Dune.

There’s a healthy helping of player interaction when playing with four players, creating an engaging player experience. Although the game’s take-that mechanics are limited, the game is still cutthroat – every time you go to battle, you have the potential to lose significant troops and resources.  

Dune: Imperium is worker placement – deck building hybrid. Keep in mind that the game feels primarily like a worker placement game that features a deck-building component. The game unfolds over 10 rounds. Each round, you’ll reveal a new conflict card for the game. Each player will draw five cards. As a twist, you won’t play your entire hand each turn – you’ll have to carefully plan the use of your cards over the entire round. Every turn, the player has a choice to deploy an agent or reveal cards. As you accrue influence cards, you’ll be able to buy stronger cards to improve your deck.

Who This Game is For

Dune: Imperium will especially appeal to fans of Frank Herbert’s Dune series. While the game has received criticism for its’ lack of theme, we believe the artwork, game mechanics and round structure convey an authentic thematic feel of the Dune landscape. Fans of worker placement and hybrid games will also enjoy this. Last, but not least, Dune: Imperium is easy to learn and teach (but not so easy to master strategically), and features a good balance of luck and skill. This makes Dune: Imperium a great game to play with players of all skill levels.

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Dune: Imperium is the first Dune board game in 40 years. In its predecessor Dune, you play one of six factions, navigating the political landscape as you literally move around the planet Dune.

Raiders of the North Sea

Raiders of the North Sea

Raid and Plunder Your Way to Victory as Viking Warriors

Players: 2-4 // Game time: 60-80 minutes // Age: 12+ // Difficulty: Medium

Publisher: Renegade Game Studios

Welcome to the era of the Vikings! You are a viking warrior who sets out to impress the Chieftain. Your goal? To raid settlements and find glory in battle while racking up victory points. 

Seems simple. But you’ll have to assemble a crew and supplies, battle and plunder resources before you can make an offering to the Chieftain. 

Raiders of the North Sea is a worker placement game with a twist. During the initial phase, you’ll gather your motley crew and prepare your supplies in the village, where eight buildings provide various actions. When you place a worker in an available space, you take the action from that building. Then you take a worker from the board, taking the action from that building as well. 

Once a player meets the requirements, they can choose to raid a settlement. Being strategic with whom to include in your crew matters. For instance, warriors have fighting strength but don’t bring you resources, while crafters have no fighting strength but get you resource bonuses.

Who This Game is For

Raiders of the North Sea is a great next-step game for players who have mastered classic gateway games (like Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne) and are ready to delve into the world of worker placement games. Players looking for one of the best 4 player board games with good female representation should definitely check out Raiders of the North Sea.

Keep in mind that the game limits your ability to plan out your strategy and plays out like a multi-player solitaire game, so if you are looking for strategic planning and interactive gameplay, this may not be the game for you.

On the other side of the coin, if you don’t like direct competition and take-that mechanics, the game’s Viking cards can be mean-spirited and really set back players in their quest to get enough workers and resources to raid.

Buy Raiders of the North Sea on Amazon

Raiders of the North Sea is the second game in the North Sea Trilogy and takes place in the middle of the Viking Age. Shipwrights of the North Sea, which takes place in the early years of the Viking Age and Explorers of the North Sea, which explores the later years of the Viking Age, are the first and third installments in the trilogy, respectively.

There are two Raiders of the North Sea expansions:

In the Hall of Heroes expansion, you gain a number of new elements, including the ability to play a 5 player game, a Mead Hall board, new quests, strategies and ways to score victory points, a new mead resource that gives you more strength in battle and large player boards to store your elements.

The Fields of Fame expansion also gives you the ability to play a 5 player game. This expansion provides a township board with 3 new raids, new strategies / ways to score victory points with Jarls, the ability for crew members to become wounded in battle, and the addition of fame in battle as a way to earn victory points.

Advanced Games

If you’ve cut your teeth on light games, then moved onto medium games and are looking for more of a challenge, then advanced board games might be the ticket for you!



Woodland Animal Wargame

Players: 2-4 // Game time: 60-90 minutes // Age: 10+ // Difficulty: Advanced

Publisher: Leder Games

Welcome to the great wilderness! Don’t let the scenic environs and cute woodland animals fool you. Serious things are happening in the wilderness as said woodland animals battle for their claim to the land! 

What makes Root unique is the fact that it features asymmetrical play. Each player takes on the role of a faction, each of which has unique skills, strengths, rules and victory conditions. There are four factions in the base game of Root:

The Marquis – Ruled by the Marquise de Cat

The Eyrie Dynasty – A brutal warring empire that ruled the forest long ago

The Woodland Alliance – A group of rebels short on resources but big on heart, ready to revolt against their rulers

The Vagabond – A rogue with a secret objective and no alliances

You’ll roll two twelve-sided dice to determine your fate (i.e. how many hits each side of the conflict sustains). You’ll also draw cards to develop abilities and gather items. Even with the luck of the roll and the card draw, the game features a good balance of luck and skill. Luck won’t overshadow your skill and tactics in the game as you work towards world domination.

Who This Game is For

With its cutesy woodland fantasy world and interesting asymmetrical play, Root brings a lot to the table that can appeal to a wide group of people. Board gaming families who want to play with their children, serious gaming groups, RPGers and wargamers, among other players, will all enjoy Root

Just be aware that Root is a combat-driven game at its core. In addition, the asymmetrical play and need to learn new rules for each faction can make Root challenging to learn and teach, especially to newbie and light / casual board gamers.

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There are a number of fun expansions and extras for Root, with more on the way! You can get seven custom Vagabond meeples with The Vagabond Pack. The Underworld Expansion brings two new factions and a new double-sided board to the table. With The Riverfolk Expansion, you gain two new factions and the ability to play solo or cooperatively with up to six players.

Brass: Birmingham

Brass: Birmingham

Build Networks and Industry in the Industrial Revolution

Players: 2-4 // Game time: 60-120 minutes // Age: 14+ // Difficulty: Advanced

Publisher: Roxley Games

Brass: Birmingham is a game for 4 players set in 1770-1870 during the British Industrial Revolution. In this economic masterpiece, you are an entrepreneur in Birmingham navigating two eras: the canal era (1770-1830) and the rail era (1830-1870). You will develop your networks and industries to capitalize on the market. Your objective? To earn the most victory points. The catch? Brass: Birmingham features a hidden scoring system. You won’t know who is leading until the end of each era, which brings a nice incentive for each player to be invested throughout the whole game.

Every turn, players can choose to take any two actions out of six possible actions: 1) Build an industry tile; 2) Expand your rail / canal network; 3) Develop your industry (iron, coal, cotton, beer, manufactured goods, pottery); 4) Sell your goods; 5) Take out a loan; and 6) Scout. 

Brass: Birmingham is fun because it gives players a number of routes to victory. One player may focus on building their rail / canal network while another zeroes in on selling cotton. Both strategies are valid and can win the game. There are a number of intricacies in the rules that really make the game fun, from a turn order mechanic that rewards players that are less successful in a turn to how other players’ resources and connectivity help or hinder your progress. 

Who This Game is For

Brass: Birmingham is great for intermediate to advanced players who love economic games. Although it is definitely possible to bring in less experienced players, we recommend cutting their teeth on less complex economic games like London (which was created by the same designer as Brass: Birmingham) before moving on to this game.

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Birmingham or Lancashire?

Although Brass: Birmingham is based on its predecessor Brass: Lancashire, it features a new action (scout), new industries (beer, manufactured goods, potter), and other modifications to the game. 

While Brass: Birmingham is widely considered the superior game, we believe that Brass: Lancashire (the original Brass masterpiece) is also a stellar game that offers a very different game experience. We love our copy of Brass: Lancashire and expect to keep enjoying this game for years to come.


Gaia Project

Gaia Project

Explore and Expand in Space!

Players: 1-4 // Game time: 60-150 minutes // Age: 12+ // Difficulty: Advanced

Publisher: Capstone Games

In this epic space game, you are a galactic leader of one of fourteen factions. As each faction develops and grows, they need to expand beyond their own borders. The name Gaia Project comes from the existence of Gaia planets, which are planets that have a similar environment to your home planet. 

There are a number of actions available in the Gaia Project, from exploring 10 space sectors, jockeying over a planet or tile, upgrading or building facilities that produce resources (e.g. mines), terraforming planets, colonizing planets, to discovering advanced technology. And this is just scratching the surface. You have satellites, mines, trading stations, research labs, “gaiaformers”, and a planetary institute to play with!

The Gaia Project is one of the best four player board games available because there are so many things to do and a number of ways to earn victory points. This is the type of the game where you’re focused more on the game experience than winning (though that’s nice too!).

Who This Game is For

The Gaia Project is perfect for people who love space, exploration and / or territory building! Although there’s a lot going on, it’s still simple enough for casual / light board gamers who are ready for the next step. Keep in mind that this game is heavy on strategy and light on luck, meaning you’ll have to rely on your smarts and strategy to get you through the game.

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Stonemaier Games

Players: 1-5 // Game time: 90-115 minutes // Age: 14+ // Difficulty: Advanced

Publisher: Stonemaier Games

You are part of one of five Eastern European factions. It’s the 1920s in a dystopian alternate history timeline. At the center of it all is “The Factory,” the city-state that has closed its doors to the outside world and fortified them with heavily armored mechs. In this period of unrest and rebuilding, beneath the shadow of World War I, you navigate the complex landscape to earn your fortune and get your faction a claim to nearby territory. 

Scythe is an intense Euro style game that features a unique mix of game mechanics. It’s a wargame, economic, area control and engine building game, and much more. As a wargame, Scythe is subtle – while you may not experience direct combat in every game, the possibility of war is always there, as nations invest in defense systems to deter other nations from declaring all-out war.

You could also call it a farming game, as residents work to clean up and build up their economies. But both of these terms don’t do this game justice. In a nutshell, Scythe approaches this dystopian landscape in a way that blends conquest, war and rebuilding in a way that captures the region’s humanity and reminds you of the complex world we live in.

Who This Game is For

Scythe is like a beautiful, thematic game of chess. There are very few elements of luck, so you’ll rely on your strategy on your quest to win the game. If you dislike losing a game due to a lousy card draw or a roll of the dice, Scythe is going to be a great choice for you.

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With the Scythe: Modular Board expansion, you gain a drafting element, a new variant and board components that allow you to adjust the landscape for every game.

The Scythe: The Rise of Fenris expansion gives you the ability to play Scythe as a campaign that unfolds over 8 games. You also gain new modules, including a fully cooperative module, that you can use after you complete the campaign.

With the Scythe: Invaders from Afar expansion, players gain a number of new components and most notably, two new factions.

The Scythe: The Wind Gambit expansion adds two new modules and a new type of unit – the airship.

Scythe Encounters is a boxed set of 32 fan-designed encounter cards, which add elements to the encounter system.



Cooperative Campaign Dungeon Crawler

Players: 1-4 // Game time: 60-120 minutes // Age: 14+ // Difficulty: Advanced

Publisher: Cephalofair Games

You are a member of a rag-tag group of adventurers working together as you navigate quests and dungeons in the city of Gloomhaven and vicinity. Gloomhaven is a semi-cooperative game that consistently ends up on lists of the best 4 player board games out there. While players need to work together to defeat monsters and clear dungeons, each player also has a hidden objective that may conflict with the group’s overall objective. In addition, there is limited communication during battles so you may find that the perfect spot for your selected card may be taken by another card, foiling your plans. This adds another layer of complexity, as you need to strategize on the go based on other players’ moves.

Gloomhaven is a massive game, with over 95+ possible scenarios that can unfold over a branching storyline (hint: you won’t see them all in your first or even second playthrough). While the tactics and strategy involved in defeating each dungeon is a lot of fun, our favorite part of the Gloomhaven experience is leveling up, retiring and unlocking characters. If you like dungeon crawlers or legacy games (hint: Gloomhaven ranks high on both of our lists), check out our Best Dungeon Crawl Board Games and Best Legacy Board Games guides.

Who This Game is For

Gloomhaven is for anyone looking for a strategic and tactical dungeon crawler campaign board game. Folks looking for a good story-based game or an combat-heavy fighting game should look elsewhere. Gloomhaven features branching storylines with adequate flavor text but not completely immersive ones, and it is a definitive Euro style board game, which is a plus for many that consistently lands at the top of the best 4 player board game lists.

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Many of the strengths of Gloomhaven also dictate its weaknesses – the game can be fiddly, there are a lot of things to keep track of, and it can take some time to really get a grasp of the rules. All this is solved with Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion. This standalone game is a prequel to the events in Gloomhaven and provides tutorial scenarios that do a good job of introducing you to Gloomhaven’s rules and mechanics (minus the head scratching).

If you can’t get enough of Gloomhaven, Frosthaven is a standalone game with a new 100-scenario campaign.

Founders of Gloomhaven is a city-building prequel to Gloomhaven.

Gloomhaven: Forgotten Circles is the first expansion for Gloomhaven, which includes 20 scenarios.

That’s A Wrap!

Our top twenty picks of the Best Board Games for 4 Players include family-friendly, easy, medium and advanced picks. Whether you want to play a thematic story-based four-player game with the family (Stuffed Fables), introduce your favorite people to board games (Carcassonne), find a beautiful thematic medium-difficulty next level game (Raiders of the North Sea) or want complete strategic control in your board games (Gaia Project), you’ll find the game you’re looking for here!

Every group and individual has different preferences. When looking for the right game, we encourage you to think about the age, experience level and attention span of your group. It’s also helpful to figure out if a) theme + attractiveness is important; b) your group can handle direct competition and take-that actions; and c) how long your ideal gaming sessions should be. Choose some yummy snacks and you’re off to the races!

Good luck, and have fun!

Header photo credit: Thanks, Adam Foster! cc

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