Fantasy is one of the most popular themes out there for board games. If you don’t believe us, try typing in “fantasy board games” onto any website where you can buy games.
You’ll find loads of them. Given that fantasy is, by default, one of the most imaginative genres out there, it’s not surprising that board games mimic this genre to create a fun escape for all players.
But these fantasy games are often overwhelming if you’re a beginner. They might have literally hundreds of pieces, or take several hours to play.
If you’re new to board games, we’ve created this list of the best fantasy board games for beginners. You should be able to find something that’s easy for you to pick up and play whenever you want in this list.
Best Fantasy Board Games for Beginners
Carcassone Board Game
This popular game is a perfect pick for those who are overwhelmed by complicated games. The rulebook for the game has been redesigned so that it’s even easier to understand.
Sessions are fairly quick, too. With the average game of Carcassonne lasting around half an hour, you know this isn’t a board game filled with convoluted rules that you’d have to spend hour interpreting.
The premise of the game is simple. Players take turns adding tiles to the board, connecting existing roads, adding grass, or expanding cities. They each have their own followers and earn points by getting their followers on board as tiles are added and features are built.
- Designed to be easy to introduce to new players.
- Games are quick and streamlined.
- Suitable for a wide range of ages, from 7+.
- Colorful, fun-looking pieces.
- Highly popular, so there are tons of tutorials online if you need extra guidance.
- A lot of the mechanics rely on luck of the draw rather than skill, so even if you’re really good at it, you can’t always guarantee you’ll win. This could be a positive for some people.
Self-described as a “gateway” board game to introduce new players to board games, Castle Panic has a nice, effortless learning curve. The product page even includes an informative video teaching you how to play if you ever find yourself feeling confused.
If you’re looking for something that encourages people to work together, this could be the game for you. Unlike some of the other games on this list, it’s cooperative, so players have to work together.
The objective of the game is to defend the tower in the center of the board from a swarm of monsters. In just an hour, you can complete the game, which means you won’t need to worry about it taking too much of your time.
- Created with beginners in mind.
- Games are relatively short, taking only an hour to complete.
- A good choice if you don’t like competitive experiences.
- Has a number of fun expansions to choose from if you want more of it.
- You can even potentially play it alone if you can’t find people to play with.
- Some feel that the artwork and gameplay can feel a little too simple for adults.
Mice & Mystics
To be completely honest, Mice & Mystics might be the hardest game to learn on this entire list. However, we wanted to include it because we think it’s a gorgeous and addictive game. Once you do finally get the hang of it, it’s something you’ll probably want to play again and again.
In Mice & Mystics, each player assumes the role of a character in a castle that has been turned into a mouse. Now that they are small, they must struggle to escape a castle now filled with larger-than-life perils, like a giant cat.
Players can choose from one of four different characters. Each character has their own pros and cons, so you can choose one that fits your playstyle the most.
- Has a fun and immersive story.
- Can play as different characters with unique abilities.
- Stunning pieces and artwork.
- You can play alone if you need to.
- Can be harder to learn than other options.
Everdell Board Game
Here is what might be one of the most beautiful games on this list. Right from the get-go, you can see that it’s covered in exquisite art that you’ll love to look at as you play.
Best of all, the game is created to be simple. The goal is to create a thriving settlement of bright and lively creatures. On their turns, players only need to choose from three basic actions, which includes placing workers, playing cards, or getting ready for the next season.
It also has an impressive table presence. One of the parts is a three-dimensional tree that makes the game feel like the lush and stunning forest it represents.
- Quick to learn.
- Attractive artwork and pieces.
- Looks amazing when it’s set up with its three-dimensional tree.
- Every single game is different, making it highly replayable.
- Some have said the font on the cards can be hard to read.
- A few owners felt that the tree makes it hard for all players to see the board sometimes.
Clue: Harry Potter Board Game
The board game you choose doesn’t have to be something completely new. Sometimes, applying a new twist to an old classic like Clue is enough to give you a fantastic experience.
This Clue game is an example of that. It’s been completely redone so that players can step into the shoes of beloved Harry Potter characters – like Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Luna, or Neville.
The board itself has been given a makeover so that it looks like the inside of Hogwarts. Each player’s goal is to find a student that has gone missing in the school, and track down the suspect behind the disappearance.
- A familiar game with a new magical twist.
- The board has b
een redone so it looks like Hogwarts.
- There are now feature wheels on the board that can be moved to change the looks of pieces and unearth hidden passages.
- You can play as any of the main characters from the story.
- There are some reports that there are additional rules which are confusing.
Dragon Chess Set
Continuing with the old classics given a makeover is this beautiful Dragon Chess Set. It’s not really a game that takes place in a fantasy setting, exactly, but the pieces and board have been lovingly reimagined as terrifying dragons.
Chess is a game that’s fairly easy to learn, but difficult to truly master. With this set, you’ll have fun imagining the dragons flying across the board as you practice your critical thinking skills.
Each of the pieces is made from solid pewter, so you won’t need to worry about them breaking. The board itself is made from gorgeous glass, revealing a bottom filled with dragon bones and mountains. It’s such an attractive set, you could easily just leave it out as a decoration for guests to admire.
- Absolutely dazzling to look at.
- An old game that has been reimagined through a fantasy lens.
- The pieces are made from sturdy pewter that’s durable and feels solid in your hand.
- Familiar gameplay rules that are fairly easy to learn.
- Some owners stated that it can be hard to tell which dragons are supposed to be which chess pieces.
Tiny Epic Quest
Now we’re back to completely original games with Tiny Epic Quest. This board game was created for beginning players, and as a result, is suitable for kids, teens, and adults.
In Tiny Epic Quest, each player steps into the shoes of a hero who’s setting out to defeat the nefarious Goblin Kingdom. Characters will have to destroy goblins in battle, explore temples, and learn intriguing spells along the way.
Every game you play can be finished in under one hour. If you’re in a hurry, you won’t need to worry about Tiny Epic Quest taking up too much of your time. This also means you can fit multiple game sessions into one evening, if you decide you want to play it over again.
- The pieces have fun, detailed artwork.
- Games can be finished in under an hour.
- You can even play it by yourself if you need to.
- Built to be easy to learn.
- A few players have stated that the learning curve is a bit steeper than expected.
Lords of Waterdeep
Dungeons and Dragons can easily be called the king of fantasy games. Wizards of the Coast, the company that owns Dungeons and Dragons, has continued to make high-quality games inspired by D&D. Lords of Waterdeep is an example of this inspiration, holding other board games to a higher standard of quality.
Each player becomes a Lord of Waterdeep, a stunning city in the Forgotten Realms, in this game. You must use agents to find adventurers to complete tasks for you, building your influence over Waterdeep as you finish these tasks.
The game looks like it could be complicated, but learning it is surprisingly simple. And once you get the hang of it, you’ll get to explore a rich and detailed world every time you play.
- Fairly easy to learn.
- Games only take around one hour.
- Richly detailed lore and world built into the game.
- Highly strategic gameplay to challenge your critical thinking skills.
- You can use different strategies to win every time.
- Some feel that you can’t replay it as many times as with other games, as you can memorize the roles and cards over time.
Features to Consider
Not everyone wants to sit around playing the same game for hours at a time. You might not have as much time available, or you may be playing with people that don’t have the patience to sit around the same game for long.
This is why game length matters. It also often correlates with the complexity of a game. Harder games often take longer to complete and learn.
Similarly, if you see a game that can be finished in a short amount of time, you can usually infer that it’s not too difficult. For that reason, if you’re a beginner, it’s worth considering how long it takes to play a game, which you can find on the box or the product page.
Ease of Learning
The thing that’s probably going to be the most important for beginners is how easy a game is to learn. Nothing can put a new player off as fast as thick rulebooks or complex interactions that take hours to figure out.
Remember, the game duration can be an indication of complexity, but there are other signs, too. If you can, look at pictures of how the game looks when it’s set up. Large, sprawling boards with hundreds of pieces are another indication that it might be complicated.
Otherwise, feel free to check out customer reviews. Most will note if they had a hard time learning how to play the game, or if it was a painless process.
Setup and Cleanup
Nothing is quite as frustrating as having to spend a long time setting up an intricate board game. Likewise, having to spend an hour packing a game up is pretty annoying, too.
That’s why setup and cleanup matter, especially for beginners. If you’re not as familiar with board games, you’ll want something that you can put together easily and take apart quickly when you’re finished.
The best way to tell if a game will be easy to set up and take down is from pictures. If it’s a huge board game covering a large surface area with many pieces, then you can usually infer it will be hard to set up and clean up.
Finally, replayability is key for many players. This quality refers to how often you can replay a game with consistent levels of enjoyment.
Games that only have one way to win or require you to repeat the same actions in the same way time after time aren’t very fun to play again. That means their replay ability value is low.
On the flipside, if a game has tons of different strategies, randomizing factors that make it different every time, and various ways to end the game, it’s more fun to play again. When you buy a board game, even as a beginner, you usually don’t get it with the hope of playing only once. Ideally, you’ll want to play it again and again.
Board games can get pretty overwhelming. Many are famously complex, reserved for only the most dedicated players, and these can be off-putting if you’re new to the world of board games.
But they can also be pretty inclusive. There are tons of games with streamlined rules designed with novices in mind.
Our top pick from
this list would be the Everdell Board Game. We think it’s perfect for playing over and over again, and its attractive artwork makes it appealing to all players. Furthermore, it’s well-known as a simple game that players of all skill levels can learn without difficulty.