Best Board Games for College Students

If you want to ruin friendships, blow up kittens, become a detective, or laugh until you die, these board games are perfect for any old-school college game night. You have a choice from any genre, any sort of time limit, and a wide range of player numbers, there is something here for any type of vibe. 

  • Do you want to laugh uncontrollably at your friends’ dirty minds? Cards Against Humanity.
  • Do you want to find a killer? Deception or Sherlock
  • Do you want to blow up a kitten? Please get help… or just play Exploding Kittens 😉

🏆 Our Top Picks for Best Board Games for College Students

In a hurry? Take a quick peek before you go.

Best Social Deduction

Deception: Murder in Hong Kong
Social deduction games are perfect for finding out which of your friends is a better liar, and Deception is great for finding out which one of your friends is s secret serial killer.

Best Party

Codenames
Codenames is perfect for a college shindig. The rules take less than 5 minutes to explain, and it’s easy to jump in and start having a good time. 

Best Overall

Red Dragon Inn
Red Dragon Inn is the perfect balance of party games and drinking games. It’ll have everyone laughing, gambling, and shouting 'cheers' throughout the night.

#1. Catan

College Major Pairing: International Relations

If you feel like capitalizing and building your empire, there is no better place to start than with Catan. You might initiate a few fights when picking the starting location for your settlement, but then after it’s everyone for themselves

You will have to trade sheep, rock, brick, hay, etc. to try to build roads to ports and build up your civilization before your friends. This game is best played with 3-4 players, or enemies.

Catan
  • STRATEGY GAME: Trade, build and settle the Island of CATAN in...
  • FUN GAME WITH COUNTLESS REPLAY OPPORTUNITIES: The completely...
  • BUILD AND/OR JOIN A COMMUNITY: Whether you play as a family, a...

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#2. Secret Hitler

College Major Pairing: Political Science

If you’re feeling like rounding up a bigger group of pals for some political rivalries, Secret Hitler will divide the parties for sure! Divided liberals and fascists will compete to find the player who is secretly Hitler, and the game is won by enacting enough policies that support one of the political sides. If you’re a political science major, you got this one in the bag!

Secret Hitler
  • A fast-paced game of deception and betrayal
  • Beautiful wooden components
  • Solid game boards with foil inlay

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#3. Cards Against Humanity

College Major Pairing: Dropout

Perfect for parties, perfect for feeling out how dirty-minded (or not) your friends are, this game is a cult favorite. Similar to Apples to Apples, but make it adult, this game will have you in fits of laughter, and you will learn a bit too much about your co-players. This game can be played anywhere, at any time, but the more beers the better!

Cards Against Humanity
  • Cards Against Humanity is a party game for horrible people.
  • This is the main game. Buy this first.
  • Contains 500 white cards and 100 black cards for maximum...

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#4. Deception: A Murder in Hong Kong

College Major Pairing: Forensic Science

For those who don’t last that long in the bedroom (playing games of course), this is perfect for you. Deception: Murder in Hong Kong has 20-minute gameplay of murder, mystery, lies, and confusion. 

The murderer must stop the forensic scientist from convicting them of the crime, meanwhile, the scientist must help the crew of investigators piece together the scene. You can play in a small group or big group, any forensic science majors here?

Deception: Murder in Hong Kong
  • A fast paced murder mystery game in which one of the players did...
  • Play with as few as 4 or as many as 12 players
  • Show off your sleuthing as the forensic scientist

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#5. Codenames

College Major Pairing: Linguistics

If you’re good at social media stalking, then you’ll love this one. Codenames is a spy game, for four or more players and work by a spymaster operating the tables and giving a word and numerical clue to their team.

You must be careful not to reveal a card/agent of the opposing team, or even worse — end the game by revealing the one and only assassin.

Codenames
  • 1. Super Fun Party Game: Code names is a fun game for any type of...
  • 2. Durable Cards,Portable Game: Our cards are designed to be...
  • 3. Great Gift: this is an ideal gift and enjoyable way to bring...

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#6. Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective

College Major Pairing: Criminal Justice

If you’re too much of a baby to watch a mystery movie, and would rather live it instead — look no further than Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective. This gameplay is a bit longer, more in-depth, and can be played with a range of 1 to 8 players. 

You will have many tasks: interviews, clues, visits to crime scenes. The good thing about this game is that you won’t be shouting at each other at the end because you must work together to solve the case!

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases
  • NEW STANDALONE IN THE SERIES: As members of the Baker Street...
  • MYSTERY BOARD GAME: Solve mysterious cases by interviewing...
  • COOPERATIVE GAME: Players work together as a team of detectives...

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#7. Dominion (Second Edition)

College Major Pairing: Accounting

We all dream of riches right? At least I did in accounting class. Dominion (and its myriad expansions) can turn your imagination into reality as you make your way from rags to riches in this deck-building empire gameplay. 

It will challenge you as you compile points, resources, and allocate them to build the best empire in the surrounding lands. If you love the original base game, there are so many amazing thematic expansions to try in this variable set-up, Mensa Select card game.

Dominion (Second Edition)
  • 2nd Edition features updated cards, artwork and streamlined rules
  • Tactical game for 2-4 Players
  • 30 minute playing time

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#8. Chronology

College Major Pairing: History

Did Cardi B WAP before Drake was in his feelings? If you know the answer, this might be your game. Using historic event cards, you must put 10 in a chronological timeline in order to be the top dog. 

Gameplay depends on how much history you know, or don’t know. Play with up to 8 players if you wanna learn a lot in one night!

Chronology - 20th Anniversary Edition
  • Think you know which came first – the invention of mayonnaise...
  • Build your own timeline of cards. Someone will read you a...
  • Recommended for 2 to 8 players, ages 14+

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Zygomatic Timeline Classic (Eco-Blister), Various (TIEC03)
Zygomatic Timeline Classic (Eco-Blister), Various (TIEC03)
Easy to learn but engaging gameplay make it perfect for players of all ages; Brand new packaging that’s eco-friendly and perfect for travel
$9.99
Zygomatic Timeline Events (Eco-Blister), Various (TIEC02)
Zygomatic Timeline Events (Eco-Blister), Various (TIEC02)
Easy to learn but engaging gameplay make it perfect for players of all ages; Brand new packaging that’s eco-friendly and perfect for travel
$9.99
Zygomatic Timeline Inventions (Eco-Blister) (TIEC01)
Zygomatic Timeline Inventions (Eco-Blister) (TIEC01)
Easy to learn but engaging gameplay make it perfect for players of all ages; Brand new packaging that’s eco-friendly and perfect for travel
$9.99

#9. The Red Dragon Inn

College Major Pairing: Viticulture 

Similar to my freshman year, The Red Dragon Inn is all about being good with your money while getting as viciously drunk as possible. You and your companions just returned from a long and difficult adventure slaying monsters and now is the time to party! 

The goal is to end up the most conscious and rich at the end of the night. Good practice for real-life, hey?

Red Dragon Inn
  • Play Time of 30-60 minutes for 2-4 players
  • Base Game in the expandable series of the Red Dragon Inn
  • With the game you get 4 unique 40 card player decks, One 30 card...

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#10. Exploding Kittens

College Major Pairing: Veterinary Science or Chemistry

Think Kittens + Explosions + Russian Roulette party games. Exploding Kittens from the legendary creator of The Oatmeal is a quick and fun game where you must avoid getting an exploding kitten or you LOSE! 

You will have some cards from the deck to help you or blow you up, so get your claws ready! 2-5 players are purr-fect for this game and super portable as it’s a card game!

Exploding Kittens
  • A Kitty-Powered Russian Roulette Card Game - The hit party game...
  • Game Of The Year Award Winner - More than 10 million copies sold,...
  • A Simple Card Game for Kids and Adults - Perfect for all...

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Wrap-Up

We hope you enjoyed our picks the for best board games for college students and other recommendations! Have you tried any games on this list? Do you know of awesome university board games that we missed? Drop a comment below and educate us.

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