Board games and literature give us an escape into a fantastical world of adventure and excitement. It only makes sense that the two often go hand in hand. These games also make excellent gifts for all of the readers, writers, and board gamers in your life! So, without further ado, let’s get whisked away into a literary adventure of the best board games for book lovers.
Table of Contents
Our Top Picks for Best Board Games for Book Lovers
In a hurry? Take a quick peek before you go.
Shakespeare: The Bard Game
Playing time: 60mins
Based on: Famous playwright, William Shakespeare
Become an Elizabethan theater entrepreneur and stage extraordinary Shakespearean plays!
Shakespeare: The Bard Game centers around players producing plays by collecting scripts, finding actors, gaining props as well as financing the whole production. This game is perfect for drama kids or people who enjoy playing a behind-the-scenes role.
This game offers different strategies and complexities, keeping the questions interesting!
Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island
Playing time: 60-120mins
Based on: Daniel Defoe’s novel, Robinson Crusoe
This one is for the real serious gamers. Buckle down and let the adventure live!
Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island is a complex cooperative game in which players create their own castaway scenarios. Tasked with building a shelter, exploring the island, warding off dangers, and finding resources, the element of strategy is ever-present.
With seven different scenarios, you’ll be given different, more difficult, and curious experiences to play. What’s fantastic about this game is you can play it solo if you’re looking for a bit of a challenge or in a cooperative group play.
This is the ultimate survival game with an immersive storytelling experience. Don’t just read about Robinson Crusoe’s adventures, create them.
Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective
Playing time: 60-120mins
Based on: Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional character, Sherlock Holmes
Roaming the streets of London, players will try to solve some of the most heinous crimes. Each clue you find will bring you closer to the truth. Will you make the right choice? Can you compare your detective skills to the master detective himself, Sherlock Holmes?
Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective is a cooperative game in which players work together as a detective team to solve mysterious cases. Interview suspects, search the papers, and go to the streets to solve one of the ten epic cases.
If you’re more of a lone wolf when it comes to solving, no problem! You can play Sherlock Holmes as a single player. Brush up on your skills and catch the bad guy.
The Witches: A Discworld Game
Playing time: 90mins
Based on: Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld book series
Set in the magical land of Lancre, players take on the roles of witches in training. You’ll learn your craft and deal with the many problems that arise in Discworld, all while coming across some famous and infamous characters in the Discworld series.
Combat huge crises like an elf invasion or learn to deal with petty problems while keeping an eye on the extremely important ‘cup of tea’.
The Witches board game has options for different styles of play. Play solo, competitively, or cooperate with other players. This opens up the game to incredibly high replayability making it a great purchase, whether you’re a big Terry Pratchett fan or not.
This is a fantastic game to immerse yourself into the wonderfully wacky Discworld and have a cup of tea if you feel a little ‘Black Aliss’.
Playing time: 120-240mins
Based on: H. P. Lovecraft’s fictional writings
Eldritch Horror is an ever-popular game of terror and adventure. Across the realm, there are ancient evils, and you and only your most trusted confidants must unite to work against the horrors that lie at the end of the world.
Eldritch Horror seamlessly combines strategy and cooperation to fight the evils while trying to keep your sanity. With twelve different investigator characters (all with their own inner demons), four Ancient Ones, and many monsters, the game feels unique with every play.
Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle
Playing time: 30-60mins
Based on: J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter book series
If you also didn’t receive your letter to Hogwarts, fear not, us mere muggles have a fantastic board game to delve into the magical world of Harry Potter.
Players will choose the role of one of the beloved characters, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, or Neville Longbottom, all while defending the wizarding world from the forces of evil, A.K.A Voldemort.
With this cooperative deck-building game, players gain spells, recruit allies, and uncover magical items. Hogwarts Battle has loads of game adventures, all with different difficulty levels, that become progressively more challenging with each exploit unlocked.
This is a fantastic deck-building game that still gives you the feeling of a campaign-type adventure. Speaking as a Ravenclaw, however, one criticism is the game is overt Gryffindor bias.
Only together can evil be defeated and the Hogwarts castle saved from He Who Must Not Be Named. So ready your wand and prepare for battle!
Playing time: 60-180mins
Based on: Frank Herbert’s Dune series
Getting a bit of a revamp from its original early ’80s printing, Dune’s updated look does not disappoint. A game of conquest, diplomacy, and betrayal, Dune invites players to recreate the incredible world Frank Herbert conceived.
Set thousands of years in the future, in Dune the board game you will become one of six leaders, all looking to gain control of the most valuable resources the universe has to offer, melange (a costly mysterious spice that makes space travel and visions of the future possible).
Dune combines many different strategies of bluffing, fighting, and negotiation. Truly, a game for the diplomats among us. Who will control Dune? A noble, guild, or religious faction? You decide!
The Lord of The Rings: Journeys in Middle Earth
Playing time: 60-120mins
Based on: J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of The Rings Trilogy
Form your own Fellowship and become heroes of the free people of Middle Earth. The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle Earth is a fully immersive campaign that’ll have the biggest of Tolkienites impressed by the exploration and adventure that the game allows.
In this cooperative game, you’ll play single adventure games that are all part of a larger campaign. As you explore Middle Earth, players will develop their combat skills, test their wisdom, and develop their survival skills all in the quest to battle the dark forces. With a role-playing mechanism, the iconic world Tolkien created will be brought to life.
As you embark on your adventures from Gondor to the Grey Mountains, remember Gandalf’s wise words, “Go where you must go and hope!”
A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (Second Edition)
Playing time: 120-240mins
Based on: George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series
This board game is somewhat a support animal for those who didn’t read the books or helping Game of Thrones fans overcome a hot mess of a TV series. It’s a comforting distraction when the HBO flashbacks hit. If you did read the books, well good on you, you’re gonna love the intricacy that this board game brings.
King Robert Baratheon is dead. The land of Westeros is bracing for a battle. Who will claim the Iron throne? In the game, players each take the roles of the Great Houses of Westeros and then set out on an epic battle of politics, alliances, combat, and dominance, but remember… winter is coming.
A Game of Thrones: The Board Game is a fantastic way to step into this fantasy world and become emersed in the strategy it takes to claim the throne. From being competitive to cooperative, “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.”
Masque of the Red Death
Playing time: 60-90mins
Based on: Edgar Allen Poe’s short story, The Masque of the Red Death
Poe’s ability to create horror with such ominosity proves to be a fine starting point for this board game of social standing, and survival.
In Edgar Allen Poe’s sinister short story, Prince Prospero tries to avoid a serious plague, which is known as the Red Death. At a masquerade ball, social climbing is the aim of the game. As midnight approaches, things go horribly wrong. Players must use their deduction and memory skills to be in the Prince’s favor by figuring out which rooms will have the Red Death, all while staying alive.
We hope you enjoyed our list of the best literary board games for book lovers! Did we miss any of your favorites? Have you tried any on this list? Leave a comment below and let us know some of your favorite literature-inspired board games! (Bonus points for your favorite books too!)
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Kendra has always been a hardcore fantasy nerd. Growing up in the worlds of Tolkien, Sanderson, Jordan, and Abercrombie, DnD & board games just came naturally. She and her husband, Bryan, started GameCows.com in 2018 as a fun passion project that just took over their lives. An avid board gamer since childhood and chronic DnD chronicler for more than two decades, she loves to play, write, travel, and learn dead languages. She is also a professional content writer at SlashGear.com