The 16 Best RPG Board Games of 2020

Best High End

Descent Journeys in the Dark

Descent Journeys in the Dark

Beginner-Friendly

Mice & Mystics

Best Inexpensive


Last Updated: 31 Jan, 2020

RPGs, or role-playing games, have often been considered a thing for the "nerds" or the "uncool". But this presumption is stopping so many people from having bounds of fun!

RPGs can be some of the most fun games out there. They allow people to exercise their brain, to create their own characters, and to have a say in the path of their adventures. And with the wide variety in both types of play and genre, there is an RPG for everyone, no matter their interests. 

So if you don't already play RPGs, you should consider giving them a try. And if you do play them, great! You're probably having a lot of fun. 

Whether you're an RPG expert or a newbie, this article is great for you. It will help you find new RPGs and maybe even your first one that you are sure to love. We have gathered up the 16 best RPG board games for you to look into. 

Before we get there, there is one honorable mention: Dungeons and Dragons. It is not included in this list because it is so popular and well-known that it would be redundant. D&D is one of the cornerstones of role-playing games. So while it is not on the list, it is definitely worth checking out if you have not done so already.

Our Top Picks for the Best RPG Board Games

Best RPG Board Games Reviewed

1. Descent Journeys in the Dark (Best Fantasy RPG Board Game)


  • Price: $68.94
  • Game type: Cooperative and/or PVP (player VS. player, meaning that players are working against each other)
  • Duration: 1-2 hours
  • Ages: 14+
  • Players: 1-5 (1-player mode only available with the companion app Road to Legend)
Descent Journeys in the Dark

Why we love it: This game is a great recreation of the original Descent Journeys in the Dark. Lovers of the classic are sure to enjoy it, but it also opens the door for a whole new generation of players to discover it. The inclusion of one player as an overlord while others battle against them creates an intriguing blend of co-op and PVP gameplay. The narrative is immersive and multi-faceted, and the players have lots of options for their characters. This adventure is set in the fictional land of Terrinoth - the setting of Runebound, another classic RPG.

Gameplay: The game starts with players choosing roles - one player is the evil overlord and the rest are courageous heroes (alternatively, with the companion app Road to Legend, one player plays as a hero with the app as the overlord). There are countless hero and skill combinations. Heroes work together to complete quests, battle monsters, and earn riches, and try to stop the evil overlord. Meanwhile, the overlord tries to take down the hero. The gameplay is quite complex and it's more geared towards adult players.

Verdict: If you like dungeon-delving games, then you will surely love this. Additionally, if you like the universe of the game Runebound, this is another great way to explore more in that series.

Here's an in-depth review with playing instructions:

2. Legacy of Dragonholt - Best Solo RPG Board Game


  • Price: $46.56
  • Game type: Cooperative, narrative
  • Duration: 60+ minutes
  • Ages: 14+
  • Players: 1-6
Legacy of Dragonholt

Why we love it: This wonderful game is another that takes place in the fantasy Runebound universe of Terrinoth. It introduces you to six new quests, all related in the same storyline. The heir of Dragonholt has died, and there is suspicion of foul play. So players set out to find out the truth about the death and stop evil political rivals from taking the throne. Plus, the character sheets allow you to create an infinite amount of different, unique characters. And, it uses the Oracle System, so no game master is necessary! 

Gameplay:​​​​​ Players start the game by creating complex characters, choosing their race, class, backstory, and more. Then they team up (or work alone) to go on fantastic adventures in their search for justice. They travel through dark caves and dangerous forests, building the story as they go. And characters can upgrade throughout the game, resulting in increased skills, stamina, and even fame! Eventually, players face the evil overlord in a bid to stop evil from taking the throne. 

Verdict: This is the best RPG to play solo. Without the need for a game master, one-player games are easy yet still limitlessly fun. Or it can be enjoyed with a group of people. Either way, it's a great game! 

3. Mice and Mystics - Best 2 Player RPG Board Game


  • Price: $54.88
  • Game type: Cooperative
  • Duration: 60-90 minutes
  • Ages: 7+
  • Players: 1-4 (Ideal for 2 players)
Mice and Mystics

Why we love it: Mice and Mystics provides a fun twist on typical RPGs. It is a narrative adventure, full of fun and story - but you don't play as people. You play as mice! You have been turned into mice and must explore a dangerous castle to defeat the big evil. It is fun and entertaining and presents unique challenges. 

Gameplay: Players choose from various characters, all of which are unique and have the necessary skills. They go on adventures and face many adversaries, eventually working their way up to the big boss. It is quick and easy to play. 

Verdict: This is the best RPG for beginners as well as for two players. It gives you a taste of what these games are like without having to worry about complex character creation or tons of rules - it's short, sweet, and simple.

4. Munchkin (Great for kids and beginner players)


  • Price: $24.99
  • Game type: PVP, combat-oriented
  • Duration: 1-2 hours
  • Ages: 10+
  • Players: 3-6 (2 can work as well!)
Munchkin Deluxe

Why we love it: This is one of my personal favorites. You act as an adventurer traveling up a series of dungeons, battling monsters and backstabbing your friends. It is fun and witty, and creates lots of laughs. There are fun weapons, monsters, and power-ups that make the game interesting and exciting. 

Gameplay: Players choose a character and a sex. Then they can choose from multiple race and class cards, customizing their character. Each turn, they attempt to combat monsters, trying to climb their way to the final dungeon and win the game. They get a lot of additions, tools, powerups, and more throughout gameplay. 

Verdict: This is another great RPG for beginners. The rules are not too complex. There is a lot of wit and humor, which makes it lovable. It's easy to get and can create a lot of fun for a lot of people. 

5. Stuffed Fables (Best for families)


  • Price: $48.78
  • Game type: Cooperative, adventure
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Ages: 7+
  • Players: 2-4
Stuffed Fables

Why we love it: Stuffed Fables is another fun take on a fantasy role-playing board game. It follows the tale of magical stuffed animals who are sworn to protect a little girl from the Lord of Nightmares. The toys venture through a magical world in a story-driven by the players. It's as if Toy Story met an RPG!

Gameplay: Games take place across the pages of a storybook, which is very convenient. Players choose their character and then work together to explore and save their little girl, unlocking discoveries and interacting with the story. They roll color-coded dice to perform attacks, daring jumps, runs, and more actions. 

Verdict: This is the best RPG for families. It is kid-friendly and easy to play and creates an adventure that kids and parents alike will enjoy.

Here's an in-depth review of the game:

6. Betrayal at Baldur's Gate (Best for Advanced RPG players)


  • Price: $40.98
  • Game type: Cooperative and/or PVP
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Ages: 12+
  • Players: 3-6

Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate

Why we love it: This game provides a great extension for D&D. Whether you are a long-time fan of the classic RPG or new to D&D, Betrayal at Baldur's Gate is fun and enjoyable. It is an intriguing, narrative-propelled story that is never boring. And it has the potential to pit former allies against each other - you don't know who you can trust!

Gameplay: Play works very similar to D&D. Players create their own characters and guide them through dark alleys and terrifying catacombs, trying to fight back against Bhaal's darkness. They all work together, at least until something turns one or more of them against each other! And there are so many possibilities with this story that you can return again and again and never play the same game twice. 

Verdict: This is a great role-playing game for players who love mystery, trickery, and intrigue. The story is heavily player-driven and it contains dozens of possibilities. And with surprising twists, sometimes your enemies are closer than you think! The playthrough is very engaging and interactive, something both kids and adults will appreciate.

7. Mage Knight (Best for Adult players)


  • Price: $22.99
  • Game type: Cooperative, deck-building
  • Duration: 1-2 hours
  • Ages: 14+
  • Players: 1-4

Mage Knight Board Game

Why we love it: Mage Knight is great because it allows you to master your own destiny. Depending on your choices, you can become a loved and benevolent leader or a feared and violent dictator. This game skillfully combines character development, intrigue, combat, and narrative to create a compelling and fun story. And you can play with your friends or against them— it all depends on your choices. 

Gameplay: Players start by creating their character. They are a Mage Knight, accumulating Fame and experience throughout the game to get more skills. Eventually, they can build up their armies or take over kingdoms - and along the way, they will discover chilling secrets and decide whether to help or betray their friends. The game mechanics is trivial and quite vast. Hence, it's best suited for adult players with some experience with RPG before. 

Verdict: Mage Knight is a great game for players who love controlling their own fate. It is fun and daring, and leaves so many paths open for you to choose. And with the ability to be a friend or a traitor, gameplay can be tailored to anyone's personality.

Learn about Mage knight rules and playthrough under 3 minutes:

8. Arkham Horror: The Card Game


  • Price: $16.82
  • Game type: Family, Card game
  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Ages: 10 and up
  • Players: 2

Arkham Horror: the Card Game

Why we love it: This game is a perfect blend of a card game and roleplay game. You get to create and build a unique character, no matter which investigator you choose. Your choices can shape your adventure. But you can still play it all in just a deck of cards. Plus, this adventure is set in a thrilling Lovecraftian landscape. It takes place in the same universe as Eldritch Horror-  another great game you can check out! 

Gameplay: Players choose one of the investigators as their character. Then, working together, they move through the game battling unreal beasts, building up their character, and finding more and more clues. The goal is to find enough clues to get through the card deck before the forces of evil get through their agenda card deck. 

Verdict: This game is great for fans of Lovecraft, horror, and mystery. It is set in a thrilling and terrifying world. It's a great blend of RPG and card game and is sure to keep you on your toes.

9. Gloomhaven


  • Price: $101.98
  • Game type: Cooperative, story-driven
  • Duration: 1-2 hours
  • Ages: 14+
  • Players: 1-4

Gloomhaven

Why we love it: Gloomhaven is great for its advanced combat and narrative. The combat functions through a card system that gives players a lot of choices, and creates a very flexible experience. Plus, the monsters are automated, so no game master is necessary. And the story is heavily driven by players' choices. It functions almost like a choose-your-own-adventure book, creating a very dynamic and intriguing story. 

Gameplay: Players act as brave adventurers exploring a dark corner of the world. Each player has a unique character that has their own reasons for coming to Gloomhaven. Because of this, players work together out of necessity, creating interesting character dynamics. Players are confronted with scenarios and then they make choices, changing the course of the story. The battle involves a card system and a turn order that allows players to make a lot of fun choices. 

Verdict: This game is great for those who love advanced, more complex RPGs. The combat is very complex, and the narrative has many possible paths. It's a fun, challenging, and exciting game to play with friends.

Here's a 3 minute rundown of what the game is about:

10. Mansions of Madness


  • Price: $86.99
  • Game type: Cooperative, app-assisted
  • Duration: 2-3 hours
  • Ages: 14+
  • Players: 1-5

Mansions of Madness

Why we love it: This is another game from the makers of Eldritch Horror and Arkham Horror: The Card Game. It too is set in a fantasy Lovecraftian universe, and has dozens of unique and terrifying creatures. Players once again act as investigators trying to get to the bottom of the mystery. And, thanks to the free (and required) companion app available for iOS, Android, Mac, and PC, no game master is required, so the game is fully cooperative. Due to the abundant amount of options and choices, you'll never play the same game twice! 

Gameplay: First, players must download the companion app. Then, they act as investigators, each choosing an investigator that has unique strengths and weaknesses. They travel through scenarios, each with its own unpredictable map, intricate puzzles, and terrifying monsters. They must defeat these monsters and gather enough clues to get to the bottom of the puzzle. 

Verdict: Mansions of Madness is another great choice for fans of Lovecraft, mystery, and horror. It has intricate and immersive gameplay, and is fully cooperative. And there are so many different options and choices that no two games are ever the same. 

11. Dead of Winter (Best Story-driven RPG)


  • Price: $37.97
  • Game type: Meta-cooperative, psychological
  • Duration: 1-2 hours
  • Ages: 13+
  • Players: 2-5

Dead of Winter

Why we love it: The objectives in Dead of Winter are trifold: to survive the winter, lead a faction of survivors, and achieve your own secret objective. Oh, and did we mention there's diseased flesh-hungry monsters? This game is a psychological post-apocalyptic game that takes a unique approach to RPG storytelling. Each player's character leads a small group of survivors, all part of a colony trying to survive the harsh winter and the remnants of humanity - who are all diseased and hungry for flesh. But each player also has their own secret objective, related to some psychological trait of theirs, which can make their decisions difficult, often pitting what's best for them against what's best for the colony. And due to this variety, in some games, everyone wins, in some games only some people win, and in others, everyone loses. 

Gameplay: Players start by choosing their own unique character with unique skills and characteristics. They each lead a faction of survivors. Then, they are faced with challenge after challenge, where they must work for their own psychological imperatives, but also find a way to work together so they can all survive. It is a heavily story-centric game that will involve a lot of tough decisions. 

Verdict: This game is great for people who love story-driven games. It provides not only a thrilling backdrop but also unique objectives that make each story different and sometimes surprising.

Here's a 6 minute rundown of what the game entails and its rules:

12. Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords Base Set


  • Price: $103.98
  • Game type: Cooperative, deck-building
  • Duration: 2+ hours
  • Ages: 12+
  • Players: 1-4
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords Base Set

Why we love it: This game is a brilliant blend of a classic RPG and card game. It takes place over the course of many sessions, like a game of D&D would. But it also doesn't require a board or lots of sheets - just the deck of cards! Characters grow stronger after each game, preparing them to take on more and more deadly foes. This is all part of the long, winding adventure that makes up a whole Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Adventure Path. 

Gameplay: Players choose their characters and build on them as the game goes on, making them unique. They must strategically work together to fight monsters, get past deadly traps, avoid devastating magic, and explore lethal locations. They build their decks as they go, making their characters stronger, acquiring new items, and learning better magic. Their eventual goal is to return peace to the land of Varisia. 

Verdict: This game is great for lovers of classic RPGs. It has an extended timeline, story, and customization you would expect from a game like D&D. But it also needs only a deck of cards, creating a different way of playing.

13. Shadows of Brimstone: City of the Ancients


  • Price: $78.40
  • Game type: Cooperative, western
  • Duration: 2+ hours
  • Ages: 12+
  • Players: 1-4

Shadows of Brimstone: City of the Ancients

Why we love it: This game is part of the Shadows of Brimstone series, and it can be combined with Shadows of Brimstone: Swamps of Death to raise the maximum amount of players to six. It functions primarily like a classic, dungeon-crawling RPG, but with the added twist of being set in the wild wild west! You can act as one of many classic Western Hero Archetypes while also fighting other-worldly creatures and exploring strange caverns.

Gameplay: Players start by creating characters, expanding on one of the classic Western Hero Archetypes like the Gunslinger, Law Man, or Saloon Girl. Then, players team up in a fully-cooperative adventure to travel down into dark the mines, infested with all manner of ancient demons and foul creatures. Players find gear and gain experience as they go, allowing them to upgrade their characters from game to game. The campaign system makes it easy for each game to be separated out, with a new town for each one. And players can even find portals to other worlds, further expanding the possibilities!

Verdict: Shadows of Brimstone: City of the Ancients is great for lovers of both classic RPGs and Westerns alike. It creates an intriguing blend of the two that leads to a unique and engaging story. And, thanks to the dozens of possibilities, no two games are ever the same!

14. Legends of Andor


  • Price: $33.99
  • Game type: Cooperative, fantasy
  • Duration: 60-90 minutes
  • Ages: 10+
  • Players: 2-4

Legends of Andor

Why we love it: Legends of Andor is a great fantasy RPG board game. It is easy for newcomers to pick up but also provides more complex narratives for seasoned players. It has five unique stories that you can work your way through. The card-driven narrative eliminates the need for a game master. And, with expansion packs, you can enjoy even more adventures.

Gameplay: Each player chooses from one of four hero boards, which give them base stats for their character and room to grow. Players must work together to stop enemies and evil forces from reaching the castle of King Brandur and taking over Andor. For the first legend - that's what they call adventures - players are provided with a quick-start guide, so they can jump in and get playing right away. After that, the rest of the eight page guidebook provides guides and references for getting through legends 2-5, all of which are card-driven.

Verdict: This game is great for people who love fantasy, and for those who are newer to RPGs. The quick-start guide allows you to get started quickly and with no confusion. And you have five unique adventures that you can take your characters on.

15. Star Wars: Imperial Assault


  • Price: $74. 98
  • Game type: Cooperative, PVP
  • Duration: 1-2 hours per game
  • Ages: 14+ 
  • Players: 1-5

Star Wars: Imperial Assault

Why we love it: This game blends two of our favorite things: Star Wars and RPGs. It has two distinct modes of gameplay that can create varied experiences. The campaign mode puts players right in the middle of the Galactic Civil War between the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire after the destruction of the Death Star. And the characters are entirely customizable and change and grow with each game. There are over thirty missions in the campaign, so no two games will be the same. 

Gameplay: In the campaign game, one player controls the Galactic Empire's limitless troops and resources. The other players create characters as a crack team of Rebels and try to take down the Empire. Their characters grow and change with each mission, so the game is ever-shifting. In skirmish mode, players build armies and battle against each other for total dominance. No matter which way you play, it is guaranteed to be a lot of fun. 

Verdict: Star Wars: Imperial Assault is a must-have RPG for fans of Star Wars. It allows them to create their own characters in the beloved universe and fight for the Rebel cause of the Galactic Empire. And with over 30 missions and two modes of gameplay, it will never cease to be fun.

16. Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective 


  • Price: 38.74
  • Game type: Cooperative, mystery
  • Duration: 90+ minutes
  • Ages: 12+
  • Players: 1-8
Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective

Why we love it: This is another fandom based game. It is great for people who want to challenge their minds and love story-driven games. You get to act as Sherlock Holmes (and others) to solve mysteries. It is part of a series of games. This one is all about the notorious Jack the Ripper, as well as other mysteries in West End. It is sure to exercise your mind!

Gameplay: Players act as Sherlock Holmes and others to work through ten cases. Six of them are one-off adventures solving various crimes. Four of them are part of an extended campaign to hunt down the serial killer Jack the Ripper. It includes a beautiful new map and newspapers for every case. 

Verdict: This game is great for sleuths and those who love putting their brain to the test. Acting like a detective to solve some of the world's most infamous crimes can be tough, so this game will certainly take your all!

Let's Wrap Things Up:

From classic dungeon-exploring adventures to Lovecraftian horror mysteries to Star Wars battles, RPG board games have something to please everyone. They're fun, engaging, and allow you to explore yourself and many, many intriguing worlds.

So whether you want to play solo, 2-player mode, or at a party, you should definitely pick up some of these RPGs! You will have hours of fun in a way that you just can't get from any other type of game.

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