Best 2000s Board Games

Board games have changed alongside the generations that grew up with them. With the turn of the century, we soon found that many more genres and themes could be explored in games that would soon become staples on any board game collector’s shelves. 

I have been playing board games for over fifteen years now, and the ones on this list are all equally my favorites to teach and introduce to others. Here I will list games that have aged well alongside my understanding of board games. These games shaped my interests and influenced how I enjoy the genre. Here are the best games from the 2000s era. 


For eligibility on this list.

  • 2000-2010
  • Has won multiple awards
  • Appears on multiple lists created by the community.

What this means is that even if the game has been recognized and awarded multiple times, It needs to appear on different lists of board games as top ranking board games of the decade. The lists I will be checking are the websites that commonly showcase board games of all kinds, reviews them and sometimes even lets you buy them.

Puerto Rico

puerto rico board game from 2000s

  • Original release date: 2002  
  • Designer: Andrea Seyfarth
  • Number of Players: 3-5
  • Gametime: 90-150 minutes
  • Awards: 2002 Deutscher Spiele Preis, 2002 International Gamers Award for Multiplayer Strategy game, and 2002 Meeples Choice Award

Released in 2002, Andrea Seyfarth designed Puerto Rico as a 3-5 player experience. Players take on the role of traders in Puerto Rico, and for the next hour and a half, you must fight with the other players. Not physically, of course, but economically; through reserving trade ships and occupying the buildings and workers, you can get an edge over your competition.

Each turn, players choose how they want to interact with their plantation; done by choosing roles (Mayor, Builder, Prospector, Craftsman, Trader, Settler, Captain). Once a role is chosen, every player can take an action corresponding to the role before the next player can choose a role. The chooser gains a bonus when choosing the role, whether an additional option or an extra use of the role itself. Unchosen roles get a coin placed on them for the next player to take.

puerto rico game plan board game 2000s

This game still rocks since you can see it in stores even today! It has that perfect blend of cooperation to ensure everyone can progress and trust you while mixing in competition as you fill up the ships or the trading center you know your friends need for their next play. It’s so good that it has won multiple awards during its release year, including The Deutscher Spiele Pries, the International Gamers Award for Multiplayer Strategy, and Meeples Choice Award.

I recommend adding this to your cabinet full of board games. If you are looking for a casual game to chat and chill with. It’s easy to learn and has a good amount of depth and complexity while still being a game that can be taught and played quickly. Speaking from experience, a new player can pick up the game and win a round after their first match! It’s great fun for everyone, no matter the experience with board games.

Ticket to Ride

ticket to ride board game from 2000s

  • Original release date: 2004
  • Designer: Alan R. Moon
  • Number of Players: 2-4
  • Gametime: 30-60 mins
  • Awards: 2004 Japan Boardgame Prize Best Advanced Game Winner. 2004 Meeples’ Choice Award, 2008 Ludoteca Ideale Official Selection Winner

In 2004, Alan R. Moon created the first Ticket to Ride, and to his surprise, it was a massive hit. Designed for family entertainment, this 2-4 player game is short and sweet, and it lasts 30-60 minutes, depending on planning time and how accustomed players are to the game. While initially, it seems simple, constructing your railways has a surprising layer of complexity.

ticket to ride game plan board game from 2000s

Players take turns collecting train cars and destination tickets or claiming train routes. All of these are represented on the board, whether through cards or the board itself. Destination cards represent the cities you need to connect, while the routes are colored line pieces. When put all together, the final moments of a game turn into artistry as the pieces create a beautiful picture of travel.

With awards like the 2004 Japan Boardgame Best Advanced Game Winner and the 2004 Meeples’ Choice Award, you know this game was one of the best. It is easy to set up and learn and a short game to play. Many versions of the game cover different countries, so odds are you could play across your own countryside for that familiarity factor. This game is always recommended to players looking for a fun game to pass the time with.


pandemic board game from 2000s for adults

  • Original release date: 2008
  • Designer: Matt Leacock
  • Number of Players: 1-4
  • Gametime: 40-50 Mins
  • Awards: 2008 JOTA best Board game Winner, 2008 Meeples Choice Award, 2009 Gouden Ludo Winner

Contrary to the game’s name, this came out long before the Covid pandemic hit. Due to it, however, it regained popularity during those years as a game that “predicted the future.” In 2008 Matt Leacock created this game as a cooperative game where one to four players can team up and save the world from four pandemics ravaging it.

pandemic board game cards

In its base game, the players have a collective turn to perform their actions before the disease spreads and causes more problems for them. Each player is assigned a job at the start of the game that makes them better at performing actions in regards to curing the disease (such as the Scientist or Medic) or can perform special actions outside of the normal (such as Quarantine Specialist or Contingency Planner) Then they have to work together to move around the world, either trying to collect clues on how to develop the vaccine or implementing the cure to eradicate the virus.

That’s just the base game! With three additional expansions, the roles and tasks you can take on are even more varied; make sure you control how much the virus spreads; otherwise, you might end up watching the world spiral out of control. It’s great fun and has been recognized as the 2008 JOTA Best Board Game Winner and the 2008 Meeples’ Choice Award. It’s great if you are looking for a short game to play cooperatively rather than competitively.


munchkin board game from 2000s

  • Original release date: 2001
  • Designer: Steve Jackson
  • Number of Players: 3-6
  • Gametime: 60-120 Mins
  • Awards: 2001 Origins Awards Best Traditional Card Game Winner, 2002 Origins Awards Best Traditional Card Game Winner 

This game is a classic among the classics; it’s one of the first competitive dungeon-crawling board games to define the genre. In 2001 Steve Jackson created this comedic yet competitive deck of cards for three to six players. The best part is that with multiple decks or with the game’s expansions, you can bend the rules to allow even more players to join in this chaotic winner take all game.

munchkin game rules board game

Throughout one to two hours, you and your friends must take turns delving into the dungeon, playing out monster cards to battle, and gathering loot to sell, trade, or equip yourself. It’s a glorious mess when you start making deals with other players, either trying to convince them not to mess with your dungeon delve or getting help from others to complete a challenging quest. The only limitations to your abilities are how many hands you have to equip items and the other players trying to prevent you from winning. The first player to get to level 10 wins the entire game, so while it may seem peaceful at the start, it will get a lot more hectic once someone is nearing the end of the game.

Winner of the Origin Awards Best Traditional Card Game back to back is no easy feat, but this game managed to do it. With several expansions and an active community, it ensures that even two decades old, this game still competes with today’s games. I recommend this game to groups of friends who want to laugh and banter while still enjoying the game. It’s lighthearted fun for everyone.


bang! board game 2000s

  • Original release date: 2002
  • Designer: Emiliano Sciarra
  • Number of Players: 4-7
  • Gametime: 20-40 minutes
  • Awards: 2002 Lucca Games Best Original Game, 2003 Origins Best Card Game Design Winner 

For all the western cowboy movie enthusiasts and competitive board gamers alike, this game pits you head to head with the other players in a shootout between the good, the bad, and the ugly. Designed by Emiliano Sciarra in 2002, the original game was meant for four to seven players to have fun in short periods. Lasting only twenty to forty minutes, it’s a game that puts you in those tension-filled moments before quickly ramping up and shooting everyone around you.

bang! game rules board game

Players are either the “good guys” as the Sheriff and his Deputy or the “bad guys” in the Renegade and Outlaws. These are represented by role cards that are dealt randomly to everyone and their identity cards. Identities are characters with unique abilities and differing hitpoints (shown as bullets) that help them throughout the game. With each turn, players can play unlimited cards in their hand except for “Bang” cards, which are once per turn. It’s a management game since you are only guaranteed two draws per round, yet you must shoot down at least two to six other players.

Winning the Lucca Games Best Original Game award and the 2003 Origins Best Card Game Design is only emphasized since, in its later release, the game and its expansions were sold in a massive bullet-shaped container, along with a plastic sheriff star. It’s intense when things get rolling, and the entire spaghetti western design of the cards and game only enhances the atmosphere the game creates. I recommend this for competitive players who want to fight directly through cards rather than indirectly through economy or buildings.


tsuro board games from 2000s

  • Original release date: 2005
  • Designer: Tom McMurchie
  • Number of Players: 2-8
  • Gametime: 15-20 minutes
  • Awards: 2018 CLIO Awards, 2006 Golden Geek Best Light/Party Game Nominee

A concise game that surprisingly can hold up to eight players in a quick head-to-head match of routes and patterns. In 2005, Tom McMurchie designed this game as a twenty-minute venture into moving tokens along complicated and curving paths. With the name itself is the Japanese word for “route,” you can expect this game to be boatloads of fun as you watch your token twist and turn toward its end.

tsuro board game rules

Players start in minor marks around the board’s edge and are given identical tiles. Then they take turns placing one tile at a time connected to their route; the last player who has not crashed into another player or has gone off the board wins the game. It’s simple in its design, but the path tiles are complex and interconnected, so even planning the placement of another player can lead your boat to its demise.

It won the 2018 CLIO Award and has been nominated multiple times for other awards, such as the 2006 Golden Geek Best Light/Party Game. It’s a surprising amount of fun as you and your friends gather around the board and try not to crash into each other. It is lightweight and easy to learn and set up, so it’s a portable game for those who enjoy puzzles and logic games.


dixit board game from 2000s

  • Original release date: 2008
  • Designer: Jean-Louis Roubira 
  • Number of Players: 3-8
  • Gametime: 30-40 minutes
  • Awards: 2009 As d’Or Jeu de l’Annee Winner, 2009 Lys Grand Public Winner, 2010 Games Magazine Best new Party Games Winner

Regarding art, Dixit is a great example of mixing aesthetics and gameplay. Designed by Jean-Louis Roubira in 2008, this short forty-minute game can be played by three to eight players in a race to get the most points.

dixit board game rules

It’s a beautiful game full of Surrealist art and fantastical themes. Players take turns being the storyteller, who places a chosen card facedown while giving a few words or phrases describing the card in vague detail. Players then select a similar card and place them face down. The cards are shuffled and then revealed, and then all players must choose what they believe is the storyteller’s card; if they all choose correctly, the storyteller does not get the point, but if even one person chooses otherwise, the teller does get the point.

Winner of 2009 As D’Or Jeu de l’Annee, and 2009 Lys Grand Public. It’s relaxing, fun, and aesthetically pleasing for those art enthusiasts. I recommend this game to newbies looking for something interesting to play and observe or veterans looking for a new type of game.


carcassone medieval board game from 2000s

  • Original release date: 2000
  • Designer: Klaus-Jurgen Wrede 
  • Number of Players: 2-5
  • Gametime: 30-45 minutes
  • Awards: 2000s Meeple’s Choice Award, 2001 Deutscher Spiele Pries Best Family/Adult Game Winner, 2001 Spiel Des Jahres Winner, 2002 Arets Spel Best Family Game Winner 

Made in 2000, Klaus-Jurgen Wrede designed Carcassone as a forty-five minute game for two to five players. It coined Meeple, which spawned an award (That it won), and the newer version of the term you may have heard of Sheeple.

Carcassonne board game rules

Players take turns placing tiles and Meeples on top of them; depending on the tile, the Meeple gains a different job. From farmers to bandits to guards, the game revolves around the turn-based management of jobs and land to ensure your path to victory. It’s a simple game from a simpler time, yet it still spawns many hours of fun.

It has won the Meeple’s choice award for 2000 and the Deutscher Spiele Pries Best Family/Adult Game for 2001. It’s the gateway board game for many and a classic to collect for others.

Arkham Horror 2nd Edition

arkham horror board game from 2000s

  • Original release date: 2005
  • Designer: Richard Launius, Kevin Wilson 
  • Number of Players: 1-8
  • Gametime: 120-240 minutes
  • Awards: 2007 Tric Trac Nominee, 2006 Golden Geek Best Gamer’s Board Game Nominee

Specifically, the 2nd edition since the 1st edition of the game was released in the 1980s. The new update, designed by Richard Launius and Kevin Wilson, was released in 2005. Made for one to eight players, this is a long game full of Lovecraftian mythos and constant threats from the elder gods.

Arkham Horror board game rules

This is a cooperative game wherein players take on the roles of investigators. In the titular Arkham city, you and maybe your friends are tasked to combat one of eight different Ancient Ones or, more specifically, the cultist and monsters beneath it. They have unique ways of fighting the investigators, but you can explore the city and power yourselves up by arming yourselves with items, spells, and curios.

Sadly it was only nominated and never won an award, such as in 2006’s Golden Geek Best Gamer’s Board Game and 2007’s Tric Trac Nominee. However, its older and newer editions (1st and 3rd, respectively) have won multiple awards. It’s a fantastic cosmic horror game that I recommend to more experienced board gamers due to its setup procedure and its difficulty due to how the system creates unfavorable yet manageable opportunities for the investigators.

7 Wonders

7 wonders board game from 2000s

  • Original release date: 2010
  • Designer: Antoine Bauza 
  • Number of Players: 2-7
  • Gametime: 30-40 minutes
  • Awards: 2010 Meeples’ Choice Award, 2010 Tric Trac D’or, 2010 Swiss Games Award Winner

Created in 2010, this game barely squeezes into the list of 2000s games. However, on all other fronts, Antoine Bauza made a magnificent game for two to seven players to enjoy over the course of forty minutes.

7 wonders game rules board game

This is a building game where players must build up their chosen culture to score the most victory points. Taking place over three “Ages,” players start the game with a hand of seven cards, and they can play one card per turn and then must pass the rest of the hand to the next player. Once all but one card of each hand is played, the “Age” ends, and the remaining cards are discarded. The player with the most points earned through military, culture, or science wins.

I recommend the game if you enjoy information and planning based on incomplete information. Cards can evolve or be used to upgrade into future cards from different “Ages,” The differing values on how to get points emphasize the difference between wonders. It is known as one of the most award-winning games, , and with it winning the 2010 Meeple’s Choice award, the 2010 Tric Trac D’or, and many other games, it’s evident as to why.

Small World

small world board game from 2000s

  • Original release date: 2009
  • Designer: Philippe Keyaerts 
  • Number of Players: 2-5
  • Gametime: 40-80 minutes
  • Awards: 2009 Meeple’ Choice Award, 2009 Tric Trac D’or, 2010 Jeu de l’Annee Prix du Jury Winner

Philippe Keyaerts created this game in 2009 as a competitive fantasy war game between two to five players. This game lasts slightly over an hour and has players showcasing their tactical and economic genius throughout the entire duration. The game is not only army management but managing the logistics of your army and destroying the other player’s funding.

Combining a cast of fourteen unique races and twenty different powers, there will be an army for everyone to field; since the players are meant to go to war with each other and start trying to take over various lands and regions. Each turn, players can command their army to perform specific actions to either try and occupy key regions or force recessions in certain areas to increase the cost of maintaining an opposing army. It’s less about who can wipe out the other and more about who can earn the most coins by the end of it.

Winner of the 2009 Meeples’ Choice Award and the Tric Trac D’or of the same year, this game is best for players with time since the setup takes a good portion of the game time. It’s great fun while it is ongoing since there will be a lot of back and forth between players on and off the board. This is an amazing gateway game into war gaming and miniatures being everywhere on board. It’s a Small World, but it opens up to the deepest rabbit hole of board games.

HeroScape Master Set: Rise of the Valkyrie

HeroScape Master Set: Rise of the Valkyrie board game

  • Original release date: 2004
  • Designer: Stephan Baker, Rob Davaiu, Craig Van Ness
  • Number of Players: 2-4
  • Gametime: 90-100 minutes
  • Awards: 2005 Juego del Ano Finalist, 2005 Lucca Best Translated Game, 2005 Tric Trac Nominee

Created in 2004, the design team of Stephan Baker, Rob Davaiu, and Craig Van Ness made HeroScape to be a massive war game that fulfills that itch every teenage boy has growing up. With two to four players, this game can go on for over an hour, where massive armies crash into each other with the sole intent of wiping each other out.

All the miniatures in the game have respective cards that show their health, movement, and power, and fighting using them is as simple as comparing numbers and doing subtractions. Players take turns moving their armies and clashing them with one another. There is a massive board for them to field their army in their entirety, and with the hundreds of miniatures, there is sure to be an army that fulfills your dreams.

Winning the 2005 Lucca Best Translated Game, yet still underrated, this game seemingly disappeared for a decade before reappearing recently. Even while it was gone, the community loved the game so much that even having the game in the store would ensure players would come and try to either play it or acquire it. If you like massive armies crashing into each other and a mix of all kinds of monsters and races fighting, this is definitely for you.

Power Grid

power grid board game from 2000s

  • Original release date: 2004
  • Designer: Friedemann Friese  
  • Number of Players: 2-6
  • Gametime: 100-120 minutes
  • Awards: 2004 Meeple’ Choice Award, 2004 Tric Trac D’Argent, 2007 Gra Roku Game of the Year Winner

Friedemann Friese created Power Grid in 2004 after updating the German game Funkenschlag. After being translated and brought over to the west, this game began gaining traction as one of the best for two to six players.

power grid board game rules

Over two hours (yes, it’s a long game), players take turns buying power plants and fuel and routing power to their cities to have the largest connection of powered cities by the end of the game. In each round, the player with the most connections starts and proceeds in descending order. They must go through the following phases: Auctioning Power Plants, Buying Resources, Building Phase, and Buerocracy Phase, where they get paid for the number of powered connections they have.

This game has won the 2004 Meeples’ Choice Award, the Tric Trac D’Argent of the same year, and the 2007 Gra Roku Game of the Year. It’s complicated but fun in its way. I recommend this for players who are into economic strategy games. Due to how iconic this game is for a short while after 2004 there were many people calling board games “Power Grid like” when describing eIt’s electrifying how well a plan can come together in this game.

Betrayal at The House on The Hill

Betrayal at The House on The Hill board game from 2000s

  • Original release date: 2004
  • Designer: Bruce Glassco, Rob Daviau, Bill Mcquillan, Mike Selinker, Teeuwynn Woodruff
  • Number of Players: 3-6
  • Gametime: 60-80 minutes
  • Awards: 2004 Origins Awards Gamers’ Choice Award Winner, 2005 Japan Boardgame Prize Best Advanced Game Nominee. 

Published by Avalon Hill and Wizards of the Coast, this game has a massive team of designers behind it, so you know it is well thought out and full of surprises. Made in 2004, it’s still going strong with its newer editions today as a game meant for three to six players to enjoy for over an hour of horror-filled fun.

betrayal on house on the hill board game rules and cards

This game is mainly cooperative except for one traitor whose goal depends on the scenario. While there are multiple “Haunts,” the map itself is generated by the players as they go and explore the mansion. Encountering supernatural methods and horrific encounters in this suspense-filled game is par for the course, as the house is full of clues and tasks to perform for both sides to succeed. The whole time, the traitor is trying to aid the “Haunt” ‘s victory, creating defeat for the other players.

It’s full of creepy scenarios, and each “Haunt” truly feels different from others, making for a fantastic replayable game. It’s greatly appreciated by the community but only managed to win the 2004 Origin Awards Gamers’ Choice Award and was nominated for the 2005 Japan Board game Prize for Best Advanced Game. rates it as one of the best traitor board games, while sees it as one of the best disregarding genres. This is always my recommendation if you like one versus many types of games or horror games.


The 2000s was a significant turn of the century and the turn of board games. Everything released during that time has a strong identity and memorable gameplay, from new genres to reapproaching older ones the games released will always have a special place in my collection partially due to nostalgia but mostly due to how often I can pull those games out no matter who I am playing with. 


Question: What is the number 1 Board game in the world?

Answer: Monopoly is the most played and most sold by far.

Question: What was the board game of the year in 2004?

Answer: Ticket to Ride won the prestigious Spiel des Jahres award, one of the most sought-after game of the year awards for board games.

Question: Why is the game called Dixit?

Answer: It comes from the Latin meaning of he said, or she said. A reference to how the game is an interactive story between a phase and multiple images. 

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