The 10 Best 4 Player Board Games of 2021
Best High End
Best Mid Range
Pandemic: Legacy Season 1
Catan The Board Game
Last Updated: 8th Mar, 2021
Whether it’s a double date, a family game night, or an evening with friends, a board game is always a fun option! But with so many 4 player board games to choose from and your game night on the line, it’s hard to know what to play.
Well, we’re here to make the choice easier for you.
After doing extensive research online, interviewing avid game board players, and playing countless games ourselves, we've compiled a list of the top board games that can accommodate at least 4 players.
Our Top Picks for the Best 4 Player Board Games
It doesn’t matter if you’re an experienced board gamer or have never even made it through an entire game of Monopoly, you’ll find a game on this list that suits your needs!
- Catan The Board Game - Insanely Fun, Excellent for Beginners
- Pandemic: Legacy Season 1 - Best Co-Op Game (Light to medium strategy)
- A Feast for Odin - Best for experienced players (Complex strategy)
- Viticulture Essential Edition Board Game - Best economy based strategy game
- Azul Board Game - Quick Game Play, Easy to Learn
- Race for the Galaxy - Best Deck-Building Game
- Dominion: 2nd Edition - Great for All Skill & Age Players
- Power Grid - Best for family game night
- Star Wars: Rebellion - Best 4-player war board game
- Gloomhaven - Best RPG/D&D Game
1. Catan The Board Game - Insanely Fun, Excellent for Beginners
Why we love it: Catan (formerly known as Settlers of Catan) is a wildly popular board game among both the general public and hardcore gamers alike. It’s a game that requires you to manage resources and develop your economy as efficiently as possible. Yet, at the same time, you’ll be trying to get an edge by interacting with the other players throughout the game. You can negotiate and trade for resources amongst yourselves. You also get to place the robber on your opponent’s tiles and steal one of their resources every time a seven is rolled. Additionally, in choosing where to place newly created settlements and roads, oftentimes, you can strategically cut off or box in an opponent.
Gameplay: The game is won by earning 10 victory points. Victory points are primarily gained by spending resources to build settlements and cities on the map. The map is composed of resources hexagons, each with a number placed on it. Each turn you roll the dice, and if your settlement or city is adjacent to a hexagon with the number rolled, you get to collect the corresponding resource. Each settlement needs to be connected by at least two roads. You are awarded 1 victory point for every settlement and 2 for each city.
You can also score victory points by drawing development cards, having the longest road, or collecting the most knights from the development card deck.
The mechanics of the games makes it a perfect board game for 4 players as well as insanely fun and interesting.
Verdict: This is an insanely fun game with a moderate to low complexity. If you are new to board games and looking to expand your horizons, this is a great place to start.
2. Pandemic: Legacy Season 1 - Best Co-Op Game (Light to medium strategy)
Why we love it: The game of Pandemic takes you through a highly thematic and suspenseful storyline covering a span of 1 to 2 years on earth. However, when you sit down to play a session of this game, which usually takes around an hour, you only advance in time one month. To see the story through till the end, you have to play the game anywhere between 12 to 24 times!
It’s a daunting task to be sure, but this creates a storytelling mechanism that is perhaps the best of any board game I’ve ever played. Each time you sit down for a session, you feel like you’re watching a new episode of a thrilling Netflix Special. The downside to this is you can only play Pandemic a max of 24 times. This is because during the campaign you’ll make decisions that permanently change the game (e.g., writing on components with marker, tearing up cards, etc.) Yet despite the lack of replayability, this hasn’t stopped this game from flying off the shelves.
It’s widely considered one of the best board games of the past decade, if not all time. The game is best played with 4 players as anything lower or higher than this would make the game either too slow or too fast.
Gameplay: You and your teammates play as a group of specialists trying to fight a disease sweeping across the globe. Each turn, a player can complete four actions. These can include such things as traveling to another part of the globe, building a research center, playing cards, or removing a disease cube from the map. After completing their actions, they draw two cards. Some cards cause an epidemic and force you to place more cubes on the map. There are other metrics such as panic level or income that you will have to monitor to navigate through the game successfully. The goal of each session is to complete the objective for that month, which you will have two chances to do.
What’s unique about the gameplay of Pandemic is that the rules and goals will change throughout the campaign. At times you may have to rip up cards or place stickers on the game components. The characters in the game have ever-changing attributes and can even be lost entirely.
Verdict: For those that are up for the long, multiple-session journey, this is our top pick for 4 player board games.
Here's an in-depth review with playing instructions:
3. A Feast for Odin - Best for experienced players (Complex strategy)
Why we love it: A Feast for Odin was made by legendary Eurogame creator Uwe Rosenberg, and many claim that it combines the best elements of all his previous games. Be warned, however, this game has a lot of depth. There are over 60 different actions you can take when it’s your turn! That being said, the rules themselves are actually not too complicated. Your first run-through will most likely involve a lot of reading cards and consulting the rule book, but after that, you’ll be ready to rock.
What I appreciate most about A Feast for Odin is it has what some call a “sandbox” quality. In other words, it is not a linear game in which the next step is always more or less clear. Instead, you choose your own way forward among endless options. This gives the game great replayability and allows you to hone in your own distinct strategy.
Gameplay: The goal of the game is to score as many points as possible by the end of 7 rounds. To do this, you’ll need to go on raids as well as manage your existing village. You gain points primarily by placing green and blue tiles on your Home board. These tiles start out as orange or red and need to be upgraded before they can be played.
There is also an Action board with over 60 different actions. During your turn, you can perform certain actions, but each one uses up one of your workers (you recover them later). There are so many ways to gain points and ultimately win the game. The strategy comes mainly from allocating your scarce number of workers efficiently.
Verdict: A Feast for Odin will appeal mostly to experienced gamers who enjoy strategy and games with lots of choices and paths to victory. If you're looking for a complex 4-player board game, this is your best bet.
4. Viticulture Essential Edition Board Game - Best Economy Based Strategy Game
Why we love it: Viticulture’s appeal comes from starting from nothing and slowly watching your vineyard take off. As the income trickles in, the wine begins to flow out, and before you know it, your enterprise is growing exponentially. The mechanics of this game work so smoothly. No decision to be made is ever too obvious, and trade-offs are everywhere.
There’s not a lot of direct competition. Instead, players focus more on developing their own vineyards as much as possible. This can be a refreshing change of pace from many of the more cutthroat four-player board games out there.
Gameplay: It’s essentially an engine-building game, with the goal being to expand your winery. To do this, you have to allocate a scarce number of workers to various tasks. The tasks you want to accomplish change depending on what season you’re in. You start by planting more grapes, and then move on to building cellars, hiring workers, and fulfilling wine orders. Many different situational events happen throughout the game that can disrupt your engine building. Visitors may come, a wedding might take place, or a judge could come to appraise your vineyard. It really keeps you on your toes and gives the game a human touch of unpredictability.
Verdict: This is our top pick for economic, engine-building games.
5. Azul Board Game - Quick Game Play, Easy to Learn
- Price: $44
- Game type: Strategy, Tile placement, Abstract (in the board game community, Abstract refers to a type of strategy game that has no necessary theme and does not have any elements of luck. Chess is the most prominent example of an Abstract game.)
- Duration: 30 - 45 minutes
- Ages: 8 and up
- Players: 2 - 4
Why we love it: Azul is an elegant game both in aesthetics and gameplay. The rulebook is short and sweet, but in its simplicity, strategic nuances abound as the game progresses. It’s just the right mix of relaxing while still being fast-paced and competitive without being aggressive. What’s more, it features incredibly ornate and colorful game components, which make Azul a work of art as much as it is a great board game.
Gameplay: In Azul, you play as a tile-artist tasked with decorating the hall of a Portuguese King. You gain points by placing tiles and completing certain patterns on the board, or by collecting sets of the same color. Unused tiles count as negative points. Every space you lay a tile on is one that is no longer available to your opponents, so you can choose how offensive or defensive you wish to play.
Verdict: This is our top pick for 4 player abstract games.
6. Race for the Galaxy - Best Deck-Building Game
Why we love it: In Race for the Galaxy, you and your opponents go head-to-head in a race to build the most impressive space civilization. The engine building systems in this game are top-notch, allowing you to create an entire civilization of cards in as quick as 20 minutes! Also, a lot of the action between players takes place simultaneously. This creates a unique element of strategy and anticipation that is not present in many other board games.
The rules are not too hard to grasp, but the myriad of symbols you need to be able to recognize does create a significant learning curve. Nevertheless, if you’ve never played an engine-building card game before, you should give Race for the Galaxy a try!
Gameplay: Race for the Galaxy is an entirely card-driven game in which you create a space civilization by playing game cards into your tableau. These cards can represent technologies, worlds, developments, and more. Some cards can generate resources for you each round or allow you to perform special actions. Victory points are awarded as your galactic civilization grows.
At the beginning of a round, each player secretly chooses one of seven possible phases. Each phase that is chosen will occur that round, and the player that chose it will get a special bonus as it takes place. Whoever has the most victory points at the end of the game wins.
Verdict: Race for the Galaxy is one of the most creative and fun four player engine-building card games out there.
Here's an in-depth review of the game:
7. Dominion: 2nd Edition - Great for All Skill & Age Players
Why we love it: If you’ve never played a deck-building game, Dominion is a great place to start. In many ways, it defined this genre of games for the past 10 years, and once you play it, you’ll understand why it’s so popular.
The strategy is centered around making smart purchases into your pool of cards. You’ll need cards that improve your deck immediately as well as those that pay off in the late rounds of the game, allowing you to make even greater purchases. Overall, the rules are simple, and you can pretty much start playing right away. At the same time, there are countless ways in which the cards interact with one another, making this game easy to learn but hard to master.
The rules of the games are pretty straightforward, and even new players can get started with the game with ease.
Gameplay: Dominion is a deck-building game. At the start of the game, each player has small, identical decks. There is a pool of cards that players can buy in the center of the table. Players must determine how to build their decks as well as how to play them as they try to acquire as many victory points as possible. Each turn, you can perform one action and buy one card. Playing cards is how you acquire territory, hire minions, build structures, and ultimately gain victory points.
Verdict: Dominion is a classic deck-builder game that is great for beginners, especially those looking to explore this genre. Choose 'Dominion' if you're looking for an easy to follow and straightforward 4 person board game.
8. Power Grid - Best for family game night
Why we love it: Power Grid requires you to develop and maintain a grid of electrical networks as fast and efficiently as possible. Okay, I admit it… maybe electrical utilities aren’t the flashiest theme for a board game, but what it lacks in style it makes up for in ridiculously clever and addicting gameplay. It's chock-full of strategy and interesting player interaction. In particular, it utilizes an auctioning mechanism that requires a very unique skill set and really gets the “sparks” flying!
While the game can accommodate up to 6 players, it's best played with 4 players as it allows the individual players to execute complex strategies.
Gameplay: It’s the 1950s and electricity is on the rise. You are a power company hoping to gain control of the growing market. Each turn begins with the auction off a power plant, but you can also buy them later on in the turn. Plants run on either coal, nuclear energy, or wind/solar. Depending on the scarcity of resources at certain points in the game, different plants will be cheaper than others. You will also need to purchase resources to run your plants, the prices of which also fluctuate. You generate income by building houses in cities and expanding your electrical grid.
All this requires you to balance present supply and demand forces with your long-term goals for expanding your power network as quickly as possible while preventing blackouts. The player who has powered the most cities by the end of the game wins.
Verdict: This is a good game for family game nights and analytical thinkers who don’t mind an intermediate level of complexity and depth.
9. Star Wars: Rebellion - Best 4-player War Board Game
Why we love it: This game is a feast for the senses. It has over 150 plastic miniatures and two game boards that even the non-Star Wars fans will be geeking out over. You can play as either the Empire or the Rebellion. Each has its own strengths and objectives, which gives this game great replayability. There’s constant suspense and excitement as the Empire desperately tries to find and destroy the hidden Rebel base before time runs out. Meanwhile, the Rebellion is shaking in their boots as the Empire moves its death star around the board, threatening to destroy their base at any moment. Star Wars: Rebellion also allows for one of my favorite aspects in board games… deception! If the rebels move troops to a planet, are they reinforcing their base, or are they simply trying to misdirect you? There’s only one way to find out!
Gameplay: This is in many ways, a typical war game such as Risk. You command units to move around to various planets and systems. But you also are controlling individual heroes from the Star Wars universe and using them to complete important objectives. Spaceships can transport infantry from planet to planet. Once you have conquered a planet, you can build a factory that creates even more units. In this respect, the Rebellion is at a significant disadvantage since they start out with fewer units and planets than the Empire.
The Rebel advantage, however, lies in their secret hidden base, the location of which will be chosen by the Rebel player in secret at the start of the game. The Empire can only win by uncovering and defeating the Rebels’ hidden base. The Rebels win by holding out until the turn marker meets up with the objective marker, which each advance from opposite sides of the turn tracker. It’s a giant, insanely fun game of hide-and-seek that spans throughout an entire galaxy!
Verdict: This goes without saying, but Star Wars fans will LOVE this game. I’d also recommend it to anyone looking for a moderate to advanced 4 player board game and who doesn’t mind longer game sessions.
10. Gloomhaven - Best RPG/D&D Game
- Price: Under $110
- Game type: Role-playing (RPG), Cooperative
- Duration: Typically 60 to 120 minutes
- Ages: 14 and up
- Players: 1 to 4
Why we love it: This game will take you on an original and immersive journey through the land of Gloomhaven. It’s a cooperative game, so you and your friends will have to work together to complete quests and upgrade your characters.
As the thick rule book and 20-pound box indicate, this game is not for the faint of heart, but it is so worth it!
There is a strong role-playing component in Gloomhaven, which allows you to obsess over leveling-up your character, obtain new cards and equipment while playing through as many missions as you and your companions wish.
Gameplay: You play through Gloomhaven by completing scenarios. There is a starter scenario which will help you get a feel for the game, and then as you explore the map additional missions become available to you. In general, each scenario starts in the city where you prepare your characters for the quest. This involves buying additional items, visiting the temple to upgrade your characters, and more. After you have prepared adequately, you venture out into the wild. To finish the scenario, you have to complete its objectives without exhausting all of your characters. The combat in Gloomhaven is card-based, and each character has their own deck of Action cards they can use during a battle.
There are hours of scenarios to play through in this game, but if you do manage to run out there are also expansion packs available.
Verdict: Gloomhaven is excellent for those who’re looking for an RPG or Dungeons & Dragons theme game. The game is immersive, and hours simply fly by as you complete quests after quests.
Let's Wrap Things Up:
When it comes to board games, playing in a group of 4 is the sweet spot. The game becomes more dynamic, allows for more complex strategies, and you can still finish the game rather quickly. On the other hand, 6-player board games lack depth, two-player board games take too long to finish, and solo board games can turn boring too soon.
So, here are our final 10 picks for the 4 player board games! We sincerely hope you liked our recommendations, and if we missed any, please feel free to comment below.
Till then, Happy gaming!