Last Updated on December 6, 2022
Magic, Suspense, and Quests… Oh My!
Today we’re answering the call. The call to ADVENTURE, that is. An adventure board game doesn’t always need a Tolkien-style dark lord and a magical ring (it does help sometimes). A true adventure board game tells a story and offers up meaningful decisions with an impact on the player characters.
We’ve scoured ancient tomes, faraway lands, labyrinths, and the furthest reaches of the known world to find the best adventure board games just for you.
Our Top Picks for Best Adventure Board Games
In a hurry? Take a quick peek before you go.
#1. Mage Knight: Ultimate Edition
Players take the role of powerful Mage Knights that explore the Atlantean Empire. What you actually do is entirely up to you.
Mage Knight has it all when it comes to adventure board games. There are RPG mechanics as Mage Knights level up and gain powerful skills and spells, players can pick up companions to help them on their quests, and, most importantly, morality is completely defined by the player.
Need supplies, but can’t afford them right now? There is that monastery sitting there undefended…
Not only does Mage knight offer an incredible world to explore and multiple campaign-style scenarios for adventurers, but it also pulls double duty as one of the best solo games I’ve ever played.
Mage Knight checks every single box I have for an adventure game, and it’s a must-have in my book.
Gloomhaven is like a well-orchestrated Dungeons & Dragons campaign without a dungeon master. Instead, the scenario booklet and the mechanics run the game while players just need to concern themselves with surviving and glory.
The mechanics and story of Gloomhaven can be daunting at first, especially since it’s made with legacy elements, in which characters continue to grow and influence the world of Gloomhaven directly.
#3. 7th Continent
7th Continent is extremely unique. It’s based on the Fighting Fantasy, solo adventure books, written by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingston.
7th Continent is the epitome of adventure. Having the source material come from an old adventure series creates a world of exploration, intrigue, danger, and adventure right from the start.
Players create their characters (or character) and then send them out on a randomized modular board to explore the 7th continent and uncover its secrets.
The entire production of the game is quite astounding. From artwork to mechanics, 7th Continent is amazing. Perhaps one of the coolest features is that the adventure can be paused or saved quickly. 7th Continent is designed to save progress on your adventure and pick it up again at a later date.
#4. War of the Ring
Being huge Lord of the Rings fans, we’re really into War of the Ring. It’s one of my favorite LOTR board games.
War of the Rings is the classic epic struggle of good versus evil, but unlike Tolkien’s timeless classic, the outcome isn’t set in stone. Players can relive the classic tale as either the forces of Sauron or the Free Peoples of Middle Earth.
There’s even a tracker to keep track of the Fellowship as they journey through Mordor. War of the Ring has large-scale battles, decisive moments, incredible tension, and theme, and it’s a fantastic two-player game in its own right even though it can be played with up to 4.
#5. Legacy of Dragonholt
Legacy of Dragonholt is an amazing storybook that players work through. Each player plays as a customized character with various skills. During a single game, players will work through the adventure book. One of the coolest things about Legacy of Dragonholt, besides the awesome story, are the components. The first thing our intrepid adventurers receive is a letter from an old friend, and inside the box is the actual physical letter that players can pick up and look for clues.
The thought processes and writing that went behind the game are phenomenal. The game itself gives players the option of how to solve problems and progress in the story. For example, if there’s an obstacle blocking a party, players may have the option to bypass the obstacle through brute force, acrobatics, or even tools they may have available. How they go about it is completely up to the players.
#6. Lord of The Rings: Journeys in Middle Earth
The world of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and Middle Earth has inspired a number of authors, series, and writers since Tolkien first touched pen to paper.
Journeys in Middle Earth is a rather impressive miniatures game in which players control key moments in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Unlike a lot of all vs. board games, Journeys in Middle Earth comes with a companion app that can be downloaded for free and controls all of the enemies. This means that everyone gets to fight on the same team, and there isn’t that one player stuck being the bad guys every game.
It can be quite the adventure when wandering through forbidden woods when all of a sudden a gang of orcs accosts the party.
#7. Mansions of Madness
Mansions of Madness is another Lovecraft-inspired board game from Fantasy Flight, but this one takes a bit more intimate look at madness and exploration. Instead of getting free reign of Arkham or the world, players are confined to a mansion.
In this adventure, they’ll need to explore the mansion, find clues, stop the elder gods from awakening, and, hopefully, not lose their sanity or their lives in the process.
Similar to Journeys in Middle Earth, Mansions of Madness also has a companion app that controls the mansions and encounters players will deal with throughout the game. It makes it a lot easier to set up and play once the app is up and running.
#8. Aftermath: An Adventure Book Game
Post-apocalypse fuzzy critters… that sounds like an adventure to me. From Plaid Hat Games comes another anthropomorphic romp, but this time, instead of castles or nightmare creatures, players will be exploring the apocalypse.
In the possibly not-too-distant future, humanity has been completely wiped out and all that’s left are hyper-intelligent animals and woodland critters trying to survive in an apocalypse wasteland.
Aftermath has some similarities to its predecessor Mice and Mystics but does improve a bit on worldbuilding and storytelling. Players will adventure forth into the apocalypse and scavenge the wastes while fighting off other creatures.
Aftermath is a really fun storytelling game and has another fun booklet that brings the entire world to life as players adventure into the wastes.Aftermath: an Adventure Book Game
#9. Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island
Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe was one of my favorite books growing up, and Adventure on the Cursed Island just so happens to be one of my favorite board games.
This isn’t a fun little jaunt through the woods, either. Adventure on the Cursed Island is hard and dangerous. Literally leaving camp on any given outing can spell absolute disaster for the party, but to make matters worse, if you don’t leave the safety of camp you’ll die slowly. If you leave, chances are you’ll die horribly.
Good luck, but if you manage to survive, you’re in for an amazing experience and one of the best cooperative games you’ll ever experience.
#10. Eldritch Horror / Arkham Horror
Eldritch monsters and globetrotting adventurers? That sounds like the perfect adventure story.
Eldritch Horror is the spiritual successor to Arkham Horror. Instead of staying in Arkham Horror. Instead of being contained in the most unfortunate city in all of existence, Arkham, the elder gods and cults are awakening and beginning to make moves worldwide.
Players journey around the world searching for clues of hidden cults and alien monsters across the globe, all while trying to keep their sanity and preventing the unthinkable from happening, the awakening of an elder god.
Eldritch Horror plays very similarly to Arkham, but being released later, a few quirks have been edited out in the rules and everything feels like a much more polished game. The storytelling and adventure stories that come out of a playthrough are quite exciting and it’s a fantastic way to spend an evening.Amazon product
#11. Descent: Journeys in the Dark
Descent is a fantasy dungeon crawler in which players face off against the most dangerous predator…MAN. One lucky player gets to take the role of the dungeon and controls all of the monsters with special boosts to kill and cause trouble for all the adventurers.
In this adventure, players have to work together to survive long enough to clear the dungeon and steal the loot. It’s the classic fantasy adventure, but Descent brings it to life beautifully with impressive miniatures and solid mechanics. There’s a reason it’s hitting our top adventure board games list and our best dungeon crawler list.
#12. Plunder: The Pirate’s Life
Plunder is a pirate adventure game in which players sail around a modular board of islands and seaports. It’s a rather simple game with a lot of fun thematic elements. Although the rules are simple, the gameplay and strategy still hold up. There is a rule and move element to ships and that can be taboo to some hardcore gamers but Plunder works wonders as a gateway adventure game.
Players are let loose on an unsuspecting archipelago. Players have the option of gaining victory through trade, combat, piracy, and even taking over whole islands for themselves. The road to victory is vast, and how you get there is entirely up to you.Plunder: A Pirate's Life
#13. Arkham Horror: The Card Game
Another Eldritch board game makes the list. I don’t necessarily like Lovecraft (his writing or his personality), but I really enjoy the world that he inspired.
Arkham Horror: The Card Game sticks to the tried and true Lovecraftian elder monsters and tropes in this deck-builder. Each game revolves around different scenarios as our intrepid adventurers unravel the mystery surrounding cults, monsters, the end of the world, and humanity as we know it.
The interesting thing about the card game is the deck-building aspects of the game. As players progress, they’ll get access to new cards and abilities making each game different.
If you’re looking for an Eldritch Adventure that doesn’t take up 3 tables worth of space, the card game does manage to bring the adventure down to a much smaller playing area while still packing a fun punch.
#14. Call to Adventure
Call to Adventure is one of the most unique storytelling board games I’ve ever seen. If you find yourself daydreaming a lot about fantastical adventures or getting lost in fantasy novels, Call to Adventure is an easy choice.
Call to Adventure allows players to create a character and help them fulfill their destiny. Using cards, they’ll form a character based on the traits they pick up through cards and try to live out their ultimate destiny.
There is, of course, a point system for the winner, but the stories that come out of Call to Adventure are more often than not the most exciting part of the game. Everyone will walk away from the table with a cool story, regardless of who wins.Call to Adventure
Dungeons & Dragons is synonymous with adventure stories and Dragonfire is no exception.
Dragonfire is a Dungeons & Dragons-themed deck-building adventure that has players trekking through the famous Sword Coast.
Just like with actual Dungeons & Dragons, players can level up their characters at certain milestones to get powered up. Dragonfire uses a sticker system similar to the Shadowrun card game. When players level up, they can choose a sticker that designates a new feat/ability and stick it right onto their character sheets.
Dragonfire is quite the adventure that will have players delving through dungeons and fighting dragons. If that’s not enough for you, there are several expansions that take players through other famous Dungeons & Dragons locales like Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter.
#16. Champions of Hara
Champions of Hara is quite an adventure. Player characters from all different backgrounds and worlds are pulled into the world of Hara. Within Hara, unstable energies ripple through the lands and whoever can stabilize them wins a wish from the mysterious and powerful Kensei.
The story adventure story elements in Champions of Hara are extremely well done. The game itself is played in episodes. First as a free-for-all with each champion trying to win a wish from the Kensei, and afterward, the winner chooses a scenario specific to their chosen character in a cooperative game.
It’s a very unique take on extended gameplay and story between games, and it’s done incredibly well. Champions of Hara offers a grand adventure for multiple characters across multiple scenarios which will keep any player busy for quite some time.Champions of Hara
#17. Betrayal at the House on the Hill
Get ready for a Scooby Doo-style adventure through a haunted mansion. Players need to be prepared for anything like crazy cat ladies, flesh-eating zombies, mad killers, and even the Ouroborus snake devouring the world.
Betrayal at House on the Hill is a 2-part adventure game. The first half involves running around the mansion on the hill, exploring, picking up items, and gaining stats (hopefully). Stage 2 is where the real fun begins.
Stage 2 is the haunt. Each game will play out differently and the scenario depends upon the rooms and items revealed during phase 1. The scenario booklet that comes with the game references multiple adventures that the players could encounter. Some of them are purely cooperative, some involve a powered-up traitor, other scenarios are everyone for themself, and some are just plain weird.
No matter which scenario players find themselves it’s guaranteed to be an interesting adventure.
#18. Pathfinder: Adventure Card Game
When looking for adventure, it helps when it’s literally in the title and backed up by one of the most popular pen and paper RPG systems.
Pathfinder: Adventure Card Game takes a simple card system and turns it into a customizable deck-building RPG adventure game. Players start with a standard deck and explore the different locations of the scenario looking for the big bad evil guy of the scenario. Once they’re found, players need to work together to close off locations and corner them for a final showdown.
As players progress through the game, the cards in their deck will slowly grow and swap out with more powerful weapons and cards, and even the characters themselves will gain better stats the longer they play.
It’s a bit of a mish-mash of genres and can get a little pricey buying the separate modules, but even with the base set or 1-2 expansions, it’s quite the adventure experience.Amazon product
#19. Above and Below
Above and Below has quirky fun artwork wrapped in a cute little package. At its core, it’s a worker placement, tableau-building game but to expand your settlement, you’ll need to build above… and below the ground.
Each player is in charge of their own settlement but below ground is a massive network of tunnels and caverns filled with mystery and whole civilizations. To build below, ground players will need to first explore and go on an expedition below to find a suitable location.
The adventures are filled with fun little scenarios that can improve your reputation, damage it, or reward players with valuable resources. The adventure scenarios are really fun but they’re not the most comprehensive. It’s definitely worth checking out, especially if you’re a fan of worker placement games.
#20. Mice and Mystics
Mice and Mystics is a fantastic introductory adventure game, especially for younger players. It’s designed and plays like reading a bedtime story.
Welcome to a world in which “being small doesn’t mean you can’t change the world”. In this adventure game, the former prince of the kingdom and his loyal cohort has been transformed into tiny mice to escape the coup of the evil witch Vanestra. It’s up to the players to rally their forces and take back the kingdom that was once theirs.
Mice and Mystics has an incredible storyline that takes players through an episodic journey filled with magic, suspense, and epic tails.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our list of the best adventure board games! Hopefully, you’ve found the perfect adventure board game for your gaming crew but if we missed your favorite, we’d love to hear about it.
Drop a comment below!