There’s nothing quite like getting the gang together for a big ol’ tabletop gaming session. It’s great having a group of 5 or 6 players ready for board games but 5 players are just enough to have an awesome gaming session without waiting ages for your next turn to start. So buckle-up, because today we’re sharing our picks for the best 5-player board games out there.
🏆 Our Top Picks for Best 5-Player Board Games
Best 4 vs. 1
Top 5 Best 5-Player Eurogames
#1. Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico may be an older game but it’s a classic and still holds its own against some of the other bigger boxes that have come after it.
Puerto Rico is an engine-building Eurogame. Everyone starts out with the same junky plot of land and the same cheap crop but as players build up their industry, they’ll be able to cash in on the victory points by extending the production chain and shipping out the higher quality cash crops.
Okay, so maybe base Catan only allows 4 players straight out of the box, but there is a handy 5-6 player extension that’s sold separately. I wouldn’t normally add games that can’t be played with 5 players without an expansion, but Catan is such a classic, I just had to do it.
The rules for 5 players are basically unchanged, except that players get an option to build outside of their turns to accommodate the larger group of 5 to 6 players.
It’s still the Catan you know and love. The more the merrier, right?
#3. Power Grid
Power Grid is one of the quintessential Eurogames and one of my favorites. It’s a massive economic strategy game in which players try to connect the most cities to a viable power grid.
To that end, players bet on what kind of power plants to build but the fancy super-powered plants won’t be available until the earlier junkier plants are purchased. There’s also the matter of byproducts like nuclear waste and what the power plants need in order to function.
It’s an incredibly impressive game that’s been around for years now and it just gets better and better with more players… like 5 players, for example.
There have been multiple iterations of this period in pop culture that include movies, video games, and, of course, board games.
Shogun is a majority control board game in which players take on the role of a Daimyo and attempt to wrest control of the land from their rival warlords. It’s not easy. Players need to expand their influence and gain territory but they need to feed those territories, and then they need to pay for their military actions. It’s a lot of resources to juggle and there’s a bit of luck involved as well.
It’s not a matter of simply rolling the dice and the higher number wins, either. There’s a tower that randomly resolves conflicts depending upon the number of resources put into it, so even the mightiest of armies have a chance of failure.
#5. El Grande
El Grande is probably the best example of an area control board game. It defines the mechanic and genre. It’s very easy to learn and teach and the game itself is incredibly well designed. In addition to that incredible design comes fantastic scaling where El Grande plays just as well with 3 players as it does with 5.
There’s not much else to say here. If you’re looking for an area control 5-player game, this is it.
- A simple rule set that allows for surprising depth
- An action selection system that ensures a different experience...
- Six included expansions promise extraordinary replay ability
Top 3 Best Team-Based 5-Player Board Games
Nothing like a little competition in these 4-vs-1 games.
#1. Fury of Dracula
Fury of Dracula pits a team of vampire hunters in pursuit of the elusive Dracula against the lord of vampires himself. It’ll take all 4 hunters’ skills and equipment to find him and take him down.
It may seem like ganging up on one of your buddies, but Dracula’s movements are hidden throughout the game, and they’ll have a host of supernatural powers to fight and escape into the night. It’s great for larger groups as there’s always excitement happening around the table regardless of whose turn it is.
- A Game of deduction and Gothic horror
- The count returns with 5 new fully painted figures for Dracula...
- 2-5 players where one is Dracula being tracked by the hunters....
#2. Star Wars: Imperial Assault
There is always going to be an odd player out that runs the game but that doesn’t mean they just get to watch. One player controls the empire’s troops and gets to duke it out with the rebel scum.
#3. Descent: Journeys In The Dark (Second Edition)
If you’re a fan of tabletop games and have even the slightest interest in playing Dungeons & Dragons, this is a good starter game to get a bit of dungeon-delving under your belt.
Descent is another all-vs-1 game in which an overlord takes the place of the dungeon master, similar to D&D. They get all the nasty monster abilities to smash the other four heroes to bits. It’s a classic and one of the best dungeon-crawlers out there.
- It is a board game in which one player takes on the role of the...
- During each game, the heroes embark on quests and venture into...
- Featuring double-sided modular board pieces, countless hero and...
Top 4 Best 5-Player Light Board Games
#1. 7 Wonders
I’m always impressed with Civ-Builders in board games. The intricacies of getting an entire civilization into a box is a pretty impressive feat in its own right and 7 Wonders is one of the best examples.
7 Wonders lets players create and customize their own civilization throughout three ages. With a built-in timer and a rabbit hole of strategies to choose from, 7 Wonders is a game with a massive shelf life. It doesn’t really work with 2 players, but there is a smaller 7 Wonders: Duel as well to accommodate a cozy date night.
Card games work well with larger groups of players because they don’t necessarily need a big board for everyone to sit around. The problem is, however, that you usually sacrifice thematic flair in favor of a purely card-driven game.
Citadels is a hidden role, selection, card drafting game that still manages to keep its flair while being extremely easy to pick-up-and-play. Each round, players take turns choosing a role to perform actions during the game. It’s fast-paced and easy to teach, making it a nice lightweight game, especially on-the-go.
- -A fresh edition of the immensely popular city-building card game
- -Expanded with the help of the game's original designer, Bruno...
- -All-new art and graphic design creates an inviting realm and...
#3. King of Tokyo
I was a huge Godzilla fan when I was a little kid. I still am, but I used to be too. King of Tokyo lets you relive those rubber-suited monster brawls of yesteryear by picking up crazy superpowers and beating each other up for control of Tokyo.
It’s a highly dice-based game that uses Yahtzee-type mechanics for scoring, hitting, and gaining energy (resources). It’s s relatively quick game with beautiful artwork. It is a real backstabby board game, so be prepared to get ganged up on by your friends.
- For 2 6 players
- 30 minute playing time
- New artwork by Regis Torres, illustrator of King of new York
#4. Camel Up
Camel Up, which you could rightfully mistake as Camel Cup, is a fun little racing game with adorably stupid components. Players race around the track with their camel meeples.
As all biologists know, camels are naturally designed to stack up on top of each other and fit perfectly together vertically due to their stacking humps. It’s a really fun game that’s quick and easy to jump into, and great for kids and adults alike.
Top 5 Best 5-Player Medium Weight Board Games
#1. Terraforming Mars
In Terraforming Mars, players are trying to create Mars into a beautiful new oasis but they’re also playing as competing corporations trying to gain the most glory for themselves. It’s in everyone’s best interest to grow the big red planet into the happy green one, but how you go about it is entirely up to you.
What a lovely little forest you’ve grown. It would be a shame if someone stripped it for resources. It’s that cutthroat, cooperative backstabbing combined with an entire planet’s worth of replayability that makes Terraforming Mars one of the best 5-player board games.
- Compete for different milestones and awards worth many VPS
- Over 200 different projects to complete
- 1 to 5 players ages 12 and up
#2. Century: Spice Road
The Century Series is really cool. They take different parts of history and look at what made them special. It comes in 3 different parts and each is a standalone game with different mechanics.
The first explores the spice trade and its complexity is boiled down to a very slick card-drafting mechanic. Players will need to pick up goods and establish trade routes in order to be the ones with the most profit and points.
Century maxes out at 5 players and is a lot of fun. If the historical theme isn’t really your thing, you can always try the Golem series which is basically the same game but set in a fantasy setting with crystals instead of spices.
#3. Lords of Waterdeep
For a little D&D flair, Lords of Waterdeep offers that familiar fantasy world from a different perspective. Instead of being the chump adventurers running around saving up gold for that brand new shiny sword, you play as the actual quest-givers as one of the Lords of Waterdeep.
This worker placement game takes full advantage of the larger player count and scales really well from 3 up to 5 players.
- An exciting Euro-style board game set in Waterdeep, the greatest...
- This immersive game casts players as Lords of Waterdeep who hire...
- Game play: 1 hour
Wingspan was a sleeper hit that wowed a lot of the board game community with its release. It’s always interesting to see what kind of theme can be used with a board game. It’s one of the better new engine-building games to come out in the last few years and it’s a fantastic addition to any game shelf.
Wingspan scales excellently and even has a solo variant after your friends leave and you want to practice. The components are excellently made and the gameplay is rather intuitive, allowing for newer players to get into the game quickly while still offering a fair bit of strategy.
- For 1-5 players. Ages 10+
- 40-70 minute playing time
- A competitive bird-collection, engine-building Game
#5. Cosmic Encounter
Cosmic Encounter is a lot of players’ first step into the larger world of board gaming, making it a great choice for the intermediate gamer looking to get into heavier titles without blowing up their bank accounts.
With the trend of bigger box = more game (I’m looking at you Gloomhaven), Cosmic Encounter manages to smash an entire space opera into a normal-sized game box. It has dozens of races to choose from, cosmic space battles, colonization, diplomacy, awesome gameplay, and easy-to-learn rules.
For gamers who have a big group but don’t want to spend the next 3 days playing Twilight Imperium, Cosmic Encounter delivers a punch that makes it a staple on my game shelf, and with 5 players, there are enough opponents to really make diplomacy and colonization shine.
Top 4 Best 5-Player Heavy Board Games
#1. Rising Sun
From CMON Games comes another big box filled to the brim with intricate miniatures and complex gameplay. Rising Sun is a big box area control/majority game where players duke it out, competing for the favor of the gods.
There are multiple levels of strategy in Rising Sun and simply annihilating your enemies isn’t always the optimum path to victory here. You’ll have to stare at the board and closely analyze which path will give you the most points, which is a good thing because all of the components look amazing.
- For 3 to 5 players. 90 to 120 minute playing time
- Unique battle system : Eric m. Lang has developed a completely...
- Fantasy art : artwork by the legendary Adrian Smith Will...
Concordia is one of the few games set in the Roman Empire that doesn’t actually involve any troops or legions. Concordia takes a different approach to the empire and has players building up an economic empire using trade routes and goods.
Concordia is a great economic game and if your friends are looking for something a little bit more advanced than Catan, this is an excellent transition to a heavier game.
#3. In the Year of the Dragon
Year of the Dragon is a game that is absolutely superb with more players, and coincidentally, it caps out at 5.
This tile-drafting game falls under the category of easy to learn, difficult to master. There’s a definite feeling of analysis paralysis the first time you play. You can easily pick up all the rules, but there are so many options for earning victory points and each one is a valid strategy in its own right.
You’ll have to find that one out yourself because every time I’ve played, Kendra and her uncle always destroy me, but I’ve never had a bad time playing it.
- What you get - in the year of the Dragon comes with 1 game board,...
- Intense play experience - you can play a game in 75 minutes, and...
- Easy to understand instructions - high quality, Easy to...
What do you think when you imagine post-WW1 Eastern Europe?
Giant mechs of course.
Scythe is one of the coolest-looking games I’ve seen in quite some time. It has a steampunk vibe and the first time you look at it you can imagine the Pacific Rim giant robot fights, but that’s not really what it’s about. Each player runs their own faction, trying to gain control of a small area in this steampunk mechanized alternate history.
Giant mechs don’t run on steam alone, however. Players need to figure out their technology, agriculture, and economics before they’re able to really get these big behemoths up and running for a power grab.
- A board game set in an alternate history 1920s period
- It is a time of farming and war, broken hearts and rusted gears,...
- 1 to 5 Players
We hope you enjoyed our list of the best 5-player board games. Did your favorites make the list? We’d love to hear your thoughts on these games or any good ones we may have missed. Drop a comment below.