Best Marble Game Boards (Reviewed)
Last Updated: 8th Mar, 2023
What's your favorite childhood game? I bet there would be many, and it wouldn't be right to point a single one out. However, the games involving marbles pretty much stood out for most. The joy of playing with those colorful glass marbles brings out the reminiscence of good old times.
From jack and marbles to wooden solitaire, there were so many popular board games with marbles in the past. But unfortunately, most of these games have lost their charm in modern times. It's partly due to the simplistic gameplay of marble games and mainly due to the advent of video game consoles and mobile games. Kids these days don't really get out of the virtual world and don't get much outdoor time as we used to spend in the past.
Probably, this is a great time to introduce your young ones to these classic games that you used to play as a kid. Or if you would like to relive your childhood days, you can get one for yourself.
Want to find a marble board game that's right for you? Here's a list of some of the best marble game boards out there that you're sure to love, so give them a try and see what you think.
You're bound to find one you love.
Best Board Games with Marbles
1. Solitaire - A classic marble game
No, not the card game you find on most PCs. This version of Solitaire involves marbles rather than a deck of cards. It's also known as peg solitaire or brainvita, depending on where you live.
The game was developed in 1687, and can be traced back to the court of King Louis XIV. There are several different versions of the game that you can buy. The standard European version uses a circular wooden board that's filled with marbles, while the English version uses a cross shape in the middle of the board. There is another version that uses a triangle shape, so you can find multiple versions if you're looking for a challenge.
The aim of the game is to clear the board of all but one marble, which should sit in the middle of the board. You do this by making legal moves, 'jumping' over a peg to place it in an empty slot beside it. Once you've done this, you can remove the 'jumped' peg.
If you're looking for a fun game to enjoy on your own, Solitaire is the one for you. You can keep it for a rainy afternoon, and perfect your game with different shaped boards. It's a game with a lot more challenge than you would imagine and it's one of the most popular wooden games with marbles.
2. Chinese Checkers - The Brainy One
This is another game with a long history. The game, as we know it now, was first created in 1892, but not in China as you would expect. Instead, it was created in Germany as a simplified version of Halma, an older American game.
This game can host up to 6 players, making it a good option for family game nights. The object of the game is to race all of your marbles into your opponent's corner, most commonly referred to as 'home' in the game. You need to do this before they manage to get all their pieces into your corner.
It's a versatile game, allowing for multiple amounts of players and so giving you different play styles. For example, if you have six players, you'll be competing against the person opposite you. With two players, you can play multiple sets of pieces for a more complex game. You can even play with three players, as each player races to get their pieces into an empty opposing corner.
There are different styles of play, including fast-paced, capture, or diamond game. These all change up the game so you can shake things up when you pull out your Chinese checkers board again.
It's a simple game but involves a lot of strategic thinking, making it an excellent option for all skill players, be it kids or adults.
3. Mancala - One of the oldest marble games
Mancala is an ancient board game that dates so far back that there's no real consensus on when it was developed. Some believe it goes as far back as the 7th century. Even now, it's still a popular game with fans all over the world.
A Mancala board has 'pits' or 'houses', arranged in two rows. There are also two larger depressions on the board called 'stores' at each end, where you store your own marbles or playing pieces. The aim of the game is to capture the other player's pieces and have the most amount of marbles at the end of the game. It looks very simple but is really a game of strategy that once you learn, you'll love playing.
The great thing about Mancala is that there are so many different boards on sale right now. You can pick up simple ones that you can give to your children to help learn the game or more elaborate ones that act as works of art when they're not being used. There are even travel versions that you can take on the go.
Mancala is one of the oldest board games with marbles. The game test your mathematical ability and challenges you strategically. An excellent choice if you're looking for a game with simple rules yet complex gameplay.
4. Jokers and Marbles Game - The Classic One
If you've ever played Sorry!, then you've played a game very similar to Jokers and Marbles. The game is designed to be played with a pack of cards and a specially designed board and is very easy to learn. The object of the game is to race your playing piece around the track and be the first into the goal. Rather than rolling a die in order to do this, this is where the cards come in.
Each player has a hand of five cards, and they use these in order to move along the board. Each card does something different. For example, a 2-6 card can be used to move a marble that many spaces along the board. A face card allows you to move 10 spaces, or move a marble from home onto the track. An ace allows you to move 1, or move a marble onto the track. A 7 can be split in several different ways, to allow you to move 2 marbles at once. An 8 moves a marble backward by 8, and 9 must be split, moving one marble back and another forward by 9. When you get a Joker, you can move an opponent's marble off the track and put it back into its home space. You can then put a marble of your own in its place.
It's a fun game, especially for kids. As many of these games come with wooden boards, you can buy one for the playroom and give them hours of fun.
5. Aggravation - Best wooden board game with marbles
This game has a board that looks similar to the Jokers and Marbles board but plays differently. The biggest difference is the use of a die to move around the board, rather than cards. To get a marble out of your home space, you need to be able to roll a 1 or a 6. This constitutes a turn. Then, when you roll the die next, this will determine how many spaces you can move.
The name of the game comes from the action taken if you land on an opponent's space. If you land on a space occupied by another player's marble, you 'aggravate' it and send it back to their home base. However, if you have a marble behind another one that belongs to you, you can't pass it. If it happens, you are not allowed to move until you roll a 6 again.
This marble board game is another great one for kids as it can be played either in teams or one on one. Team play is a good idea as it teaches kids cooperation as they work together to reach a common goal.
6. Rock Me Archimedes - Marble Game with a Twist
This is a fun and unique game that requires strategic thinking in order to win. The board resembles a teeter-totter, with a wooden board balanced on a rounded center base. When it's not in use, the board balances level. The board also has a grid of spaces in which you place marbles. The aim of the game is to place four of your marbles at one end of the board, without the end touching the table.
On each turn, the player chooses to either place a marble in one of the two central rows or roll a die. If they roll the die, they have to move a marble that number of spaces. As they do this, they can jump the opponent's pieces, but not their own. They can split the move between 2 or more marbles if they so choose. However, if the end of the board touches the table at any time, then the player will lose, and the game ends.
It's an interesting game concept as it's a literal balancing act. Can you get your marbles to the end of the board without tipping it over? If you're looking for something a little different, this is the game for you.
7. Wooden Labyrinth Balance Board Game - The balancing game
Finally, there's the wooden labyrinth balance board game. You've probably seen many iterations of these over the years, and they've been a staple of toy rooms for decades. The unit is made up of a wooden board that has a labyrinth cut inside it, for a marble to roll around in. This is all contained in a wooden box, with a handle that allows you to tilt and move the board. The goal is to get the marble from one end of the board to the other, just by moving the board itself.
This is a great toy to get for your kids. It promotes dexterity and problem solving and gives them hours of fun trying to get the marble to the end of the maze. Why not take it one step further by timing each other, seeing who can get the marble to end fastest?
There are lots of different variations on the theme. For example, you can buy labyrinth games that are literal balance boards, requiring you to stand on either side of the board and move your weight to move the board itself. There are lots of options, so you can find the one that works best for your kids.
This is a game of patience and laser focus. It's an excellent choice for kids as it teaches them hand-eye coordination and motor skills.
Marble Game Board Buyer's Guide
You've seen that there are lots of options when it comes to board games that use marbles. They all offer hours of fun, but which one is right for you, or right for your kids?
Here's a guide to help you pick out the right game.
<Number Of Players>
How many players do you want the game to accommodate? This is especially important if you're buying a game that is for your kids, or a playroom. You may want a game that can take on more players at once. In this case, a game like Chinese Checkers works well as it has the capacity for 6 players at once. Look at team games too, such as Aggravation. If they can be played in teams, they can double the number of players the game has.
If you want a more solitary game, try Solitaire or a labyrinth board game. These only need one person to play, but are relaxing and very enjoyable when played on their own.
What's the skill level needed to play the game? If you're buying for kids, you need something that will be easy to pick up, such as Jokers and Marbles. Most games will have recommended age limits, so keep them in mind as you shop around.
Other games, like Rock Me Archimedes and Mancala, may need a little extra skill in order to enjoy themselves totally. If you're buying for your children, you know them best, so think about their skill level when choosing a game.
<Extras Needed For Play>
Are there extra things you need in order to play the game? In most cases, you shouldn't need to buy anything else. Sometimes though, you may need to provide something to allow the game to start. For example, with some games of Jokers and Marbles, you'll need to provide the pack of cards.
Let's Wrap Things Up
Any of these marble board games are perfect for taking it back to basics and enjoying something new. Pick up one of these games, and try them out for yourself. You and your family are bound to love at least one of them.
Here, are some other board games worth considering: