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Best Competitive Board Games

Did you know you can destroy your friends and family, outwit, out-strategize, and simply crush their spirits? These competitive board games give you the chance to prove it. Take a night to set up and execute your competitive master plan. 

If you want to take your brilliant competition to the next level, many of these board games have killer tournaments and championships. There are some epic tournaments you can find online to play worldwide, such as Catan. Or, visit your local board games group, there are bound to be enthusiastic and competitive championships played locally too. 

So, if you’ve got a competitive streak, these are the best board games to invest in. Check out the top 10 best competitive board games!

🏆 Our Top Picks for Best Competitive Board Games

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

Best Classic

Xiangqi (Chinese Chess)
  • Portable, Folding Xianggi Set: Revel in strategy on this...
  • Complete Playing Pieces: Includes 32 playing pieces; 16 pieces in...
  • Magnetic Chinese Chess Set: Strong magnets built in this compact...

Best Economic

Brass: Birmingham
  • Birmingham tells the story of competing entrepreneurs in...
  • As in its predecessor, you must develop, build, and establish...
  • Tweaked rule set and balance improved 2 & 3 player rules provide...

Best Overall

Twilight Struggle
  • 2-player game
  • Great strategy game
  • Takes about 3 hours to play

#1. Agricola (Revised Edition)

Agricola 3-Player Board Game

Players: 1-4
Playing time: 30-120mins

The 17th century was not an easy time for farmers. Can you plow the fields, grow your family, and reap the best harvest?

An internationally acclaimed strategy board game, Agricola has players take on the roles of farmers trying to guide their families to wealth, health, and prosperity. 

Accumulate points by building your fields, pastures, and stables. But, ensure you have enough grain, vegetables, sheep, wild boar, and cattle. The more your family grows, the more mouths there are to feed. 

In this economic mechanism game, you’ll compete to grow your family. No two games are exactly alike but if you’re looking for more challenges, there are loads of expansion packs!

Agricola (Revised Edition)
  • STRATEGY BOARD GAME: Agricola is the classic game where players...
  • UPGRADE AND EXPAND: Start with a farming couple living in a...
  • ACQUIRE WEALTH: Points are awarded for the number of fields,...

#2. Brass: Birmingham / Brass: Lancashire

Brass Birmingham and Brass Lancashire board game boxes

Players: 2-4
Playing time: 60-120mins

Brass Lancashire is a networking-building game set in the Industrial Revolution. The Birmingham edition is set between the years 1770 to 1870. Lancashire and Birmingham tell the story of competing entrepreneurs fighting it out to claim control over all things industrial. 

Capitalism at its finest, Brass has players compete to explore low and high market demands. Expand your empire by establishing canals and rails and building and developing various industries, including cotton mills, coal mines, ironworks, manufacturers, potteries, and breweries.

Birmingham follows the same premise but focuses on navigating the economy of Birmingham and the challenges the city brings. Although they are similar games in different cities, both are definitely worth playing!

#3. Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization

Through the Ages 3-Player Board Game

Players: 2- 4
Playing time: 120mins

This is your chance to compete and make history…

Beginning with a small tribe, players build a civilization by expanding farms and mines. Build up your resources, and you’ll build your cities. Players need this to better their governments and great wonders. 

Source and find great and wise leaders that’ll lead you to greatness. But be careful, you’ll need to strengthen your army to avoid attacks from your opponent. Although you’ll need to build a strong economy and military, you can’t be too harsh… because apparently, citizens need to be ‘happy’ and ‘healthy’. Agh, how needy. 

All about strategy, rivals will seek to take advantage of your downfalls whenever they can. With many factions of society that players need to balance, Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization is a great challenging competitive board game!

Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization
  • The classic civilization-building game is now even better
  • In addition to outstanding new art, this version includes subtle...
  • 2-4 players

#4. Twilight Imperium (Fourth Edition)

Twilight Imperium Board Game Box and Components

Players: 3-6
Playing time: 240- 480mins

The galaxy is awakening, ancient beasts are stirring, and change coming. 

The Twilight Wars have ended, but the galaxy has experienced great devastation. The Lazax Empire has retreated. But, like always, power stirs once more as great races from different planets start to look beyond their borders. Will anyone be so bold as to overthrow and become Emperor?

Twilight Imperium (4th Edition) is a game of military domination and clever manipulation of the galactic council. In this sci-fi strategy board game, each player commands one of seventeen unique civilizations and competes for interstellar supremacy. 

The game is incredibly competitive as you try to forge alliances, overrun your foes, and negotiate your way to victory. With over 1,000 components to the board game, there’s high replayability, the competition will be different with each play.

On the box, you’ll see the most majestic and fierce-looking lion. Great to display on your game shelf as a conversation starter. 

Twilight Imperium (Fourth Edition)
  • THE DAWN OF A NEW AGE: Explore the latest reimagining of the...
  • SCI-FI STRATEGY BOARD GAME: In this game of galactic conquest,...
  • THRILLING AND COMPETITIVE: Every faction offers a completely...

#5. Power Grid Recharged

Power Grid 6-Player Board Game

Players: 2-6
Playing time: 120mins

An economic strategy game, Power Grid focuses on earning money through electric power. There isn’t just one way you can accomplish this. Coal, oil, and even burning garbage, are all at your disposal. There’s even nuclear power. But, you’ll need to acquire uranium which can be a dangerous task. 

Power Grid has players compete with their opponents to build the best power plants, as well as a network of energy distribution. Building and networking will be needed to be named the most powerful and win the game!

The updated version is as fun as the classic, but the new edition has a few additions that make the game even better!

Power Grid Recharged
  • For 2-6 Players. Ages 13+
  • 90+ minute playing time
  • Components: 1 double sided game board, 132 wooden houses in 6...

#6. Catan

Catan Board Game

Players: 3-4
Playing time: 60-120mins

We couldn’t have completed the list without adding Catan. The classic competitive board game that’s formed its own worldwide championship, Catan is beloved by many competitive board gamers. 

Catan is an incredibly versatile game as it can be played by many ages, beginners and experienced players. Set on the isle of Catan, players work to trade, build and settle. Embark on a quest to guide your settlers to victory as you cunningly trade and use your resources to ensure your position as the top settler society. 

With many different tasks to complete like building roads, settlements, cities, and trading you’ll need to keep an eye on all your resources as well as your opponents. 

Catan is a fantastic competitive board game for a game night. It’s competitive, but each player can develop their own strategy. 

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...

#7. Twilight Struggle

Twilight Struggle Board Game

Players: 2
Playing time: 120-180mins

A little obsessed with being competitive? This is the perfect game to lash out. 

Twilight Struggle is set in The Cold War, simulating the 45-year dance of occasional war flares between the Soviet Union and the USA. Recreating the constant threats and conflict between the two nations, Twilight Struggle is a card-driven game that’s quick to play. Each player works to exert influence and control these massive superpowers. 

Players also need to navigate event cards, such as the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Space Race. The world could end in a nuclear war if you make the wrong decisions. 

If you enjoy historical simulation games, Twilight Struggle shows what was needed to become a superpower. 

Twilight Struggle
  • 2-player game
  • Great strategy game
  • Takes about 3 hours to play

#8. Rising Sun

Rising Sun Board Game

Players: 3-5
Playing time: 90-120mins

If you’re interested in mythology and miniatures, Rising Sun is the board game for you.

Players enter the fantastical world of Nippon, Japan. The Kami, have returned to the underworld. But, after gathering sacred clans, they seek to reclaim the lands, leading the people to the old spiritual traditions. 

Powerful diplomatic war gathers momentum as the clans clash with each other. Each player takes on the role of leading a clan to honor and victory. You’ll need to build alliances, and betraying friends is harsh but necessary. 

Rising Sun is a strategy game where you’ll need to rely on negotiation, bribery, and bluffing to win. There’s also a fantastic Dynasty expansion pack that comes with new challenges.

Rising Sun
  • 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...

#9. Chess

Checkmate.

The classic game of Chess is an ancient competitive game between two players. If you aren’t aware of the rules, once you’ve got a grasp on each move and game pieces, it’s a board game you can spend ages playing and learning new ways to outsmart your opponents. Taking turns, players try to capture, attack, and defend their position. 

This is an ideal gift as you can take it out to play anytime and play, even take it on a trip with you. It’s also a fantastic game to teach children from a young age. 

Best Chess Set Ever
  • INTRODUCING THE BEST CHESS SET EVER, a sleek and modern chess...
  • NEW TO THE GAME OF CHESS? Our exclusive strategy guide covers all...
  • READY FOR THE RUSH OF A CHESS TOURNAMENT? The Best Chess Set Ever...

#10. Xiangqi (Chinese Chess)

Players: 2
Playing time: 60mins

Defeat your enemies in one of the most-played board games in the world. Xiangqi, also known as Chinese Chess, originated during the 4th century BC. A classic competitive board game that’s lasted all these centuries. 

Xiangqi may be old, but gamers are still incredibly interested in playing it every time. But players need to be careful to not underestimate their opponents. 

Based on ancient Chinese military strategy, Xiangqi has players trying to capture their opponent’s General. With the board divided into two territories by a river, each player uses pieces to move their side along the board. There are soldiers, elephants, horses, cannon, chariots, advisors, and of course, the General at your disposal. 

Investing in Xiangqi is never a bad idea. There’s a reason it’s one of the most-played games in the world. 

Xiangqi (Chinese Chess)
  • Portable, Folding Xianggi Set: Revel in strategy on this...
  • Complete Playing Pieces: Includes 32 playing pieces; 16 pieces in...
  • Magnetic Chinese Chess Set: Strong magnets built in this compact...

Wrap-Up

We hope you enjoyed our list of the best competitive board games. Competition indeed brings out the best and worst of people, but, really, it’s all about having fun with family and friends (and winning). Healthy, good-spirited competition can be a great way to learn strategy, hone tactics, and exercise your brain. These are some of our favorite competitive board games but there are tons more.

Have you tried any of the games on this list? Did we miss any that you think should be included? Drop a comment below and let us know what you think! We’d love to hear from you.

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