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Best Board Games for Beginners – Perfect for Couples or Small Groups / Families

When it comes to board games, my boyfriend is the expert in the matter. He has been a board gamer for half of his life and knows the niche extremely well. 

I, on the other hand, came into the board game clique two years ago (when we first started dating). It was a way for us to have fun together, and I admit I also did it to show interest in his passions and make him happy. 

The best part of the situation is that I fell in love with board games, too. 

And now, two years later, I’ve played many board games and I already know what I like, what I don’t like, what kind of board games I prefer to play (scoring points for the win), and what I don’t like playing (area control). 

I always know how hard it is to get into board games, because most don’t know where to start. I’ve seen cases of people who have never played a board game before and start with a very complicated one (like Fief or Brass), so they get put off by it and never play again. 

That’s why it’s very important to start your board game journey on the right foot. That is, to start with easy, fun board games for beginners that are fast and fun to play. 

I’m here to help in that matter, because guess what? I’ve been in that situation, many moons ago, and I know how important it is to choose the right one! 

So I’ve compiled a list of board games for beginners that can be played in couples, small groups of 3-6 or families. Have fun!

Ticket to ride

ticket to ride board games beginners

This one is by far my favorite, and probably one of the best board games for beginners, in my opinion. If you get only one board game, get Ticket to Ride!

How to play Ticket to Ride – Basic Rules: Build your tracks across the United States. Connect cities across a map of the 20th-century USA and build your train routes to earn points. 

ticket to ride game play are

This is a fun and easy board game for beginners. I’m sure most people will enjoy it, I’ve never heard anyone say they didn’t like Ticket to Ride. 

I love the fact that you have “missions” aka tickets or journeys you have to complete. For example, you can get a ticket that says Los Angeles – New York, and that is worth 20 or 21 points. That’s huge! (usually, you have at least 3 or 5 tickets to solve during a game). 

I highly recommend this game for couples and families, kids age 8 and up can play it!

Bonus tip: the game has many expansions (extra mini versions of the initial game, of this one), based on other countries and continents! Highly recommend Ticket to Ride Europe, Italy and Japan.

You can buy Ticket to Ride on Amazon here


menara board game beginners

This is a great board game for 

  1. People who like Jenga, and want something more, or similar;
  2. People who like to be hands on, literally, when playing a game.

How to play Menara – Basic Rules: Players have to use pillars and temple floors to build a high structure (at least 4-5 floors high). You need to cooperate AND have great static skills because the floors need to stick and for each mistake you make during construction, you have to add another floor to build for the temple.

Pic from official website

This game is basically reverse Jenga, as my boyfriend likes to call it. And he is right. 

If, with Jenga, you have to deconstruct a building while trying to not collapse it, well, with Menara you have to build it using only the temple floors with specific places for pillars (see picture above to get an idea).

This could be a fun alternative for party nights (although it is limited to 4 players), or for family games night. The key ingredient here is to have a STEADY HAND to place the pillars.

Have fun!

P.S. I couldn’t find it on Amazon, but try your local stores. (And don’t confuse it with the expansion of the game, which is called Rituals and Ruins)


azul board games for beginners

This was one of the first board games I ever played and I loved it. I remember wanting to play it again immediately after finishing it. 

How to play Azul – Basic Rules: Azul is a tile placement game in which players have to create tiled mosaics. They compete for the highest score by claiming tiles and arranging them on the board to score points. (see example below)

azul game play area

Most people enjoy Azul because it’s visually beautiful and colorful. It’s easy to play and it’s based on a scoring points mechanism, so it’s also competitive. 

I usually play this with friends, but I bet it would be fun to play it with your parents, too, for example. 

Azul is a pretty board game for beginners that I recommend. You can buy it on Amazon here!

Chronicles of Crime

chronicles of crime board games beginners

I actually think this was my first ever board game played (not counting Monopoly when I was a kid). I played it with my boyfriend during our third date together, so it has a sentimental value. This was my introduction to board games and it was a cool one!

How to play Chronicles of Crime – Basic Rules: It’s a cooperative game of crime investigation, mixing VR experience and board gaming. The players choose the scenario they want to play, and then follow the story. The goal is to catch the killer in the shortest short time possible.

chronicles of crime game play area

If you like mystery or crime shows / podcasts, you will definitely love this! 

It’s cooperative, so you have to work together to find the killer. When you select the mission, a set of clues are given to you, and then, with the help of the App and clues, you explore the crime scene and other key places, in order to find the killer in due time.

It’s a very fun and thrilling board game, and pretty easy to play (and find the killer). Go for it!

You can buy Chronicles of Crime on Amazon here!


arboretum board games for beginners

If you like playing cards, this is the board game for you. 

If you like plants / flowers / trees, you will definitely enjoy it and its visual aspects.

All in all, one of the cutest and easiest to play board games for beginners out there. 

How to play Arboretum – Basic Rules: This is a strategic card game that challenges players to create the longest and most beautiful path through the garden. The key here is to choose the correct cards and place them in the most efficient orientation, that will score you the most points at the end.

arboretum game play area

The actual board game is the size of a notebook (even smaller) and has few items to play with.You get 10 sets of cards (each set has 8 in it) and a scoring pad + instructions.  

I actually took Arboretum with me on an overseas trip and it occupied very little space in my bag. It helped pass the long nights or evenings when we couldn’t and wouldn’t go out of the hotel room. 

It’s very easy to play, with few rules and board game items. You just have to play the cards in the right order (if you get them in time) and hope to score as much as you can, so it is a competitive game. 

I recommend this for couples, especially. This could also be a great present for parents and grandparents, too! Buy Arboretum here!


dixit board games for beginners

Dixit is one of the most known board games for beginners out there. Mostly because it has only a couple of rules and it involves storytelling, so it can be fun and interesting to play in groups.

How to play Dixit – Basic Rules: Dixit is an illustrated game of creative guesswork, where people’s imagination unlocks the tale. You are given illustrated cards and you have to guess what story it tells, and also make the others understand it, too. 

I played this board game with my two girlfriends and it was fun to see how their mind works. You can tell a lot by the way people identify pictures with words. For example, what for some might be a blossoming flower, for others it might mean being open to new experiences. 

If you’re a creative person and you like stories, you will definitely enjoy this!

Buy Dixit from Amazon here!

So here are my top 6 best board games for beginners you can buy now. Perfect for couples, small groups or families! 

Which one sounds good to you? Let me know in the comments!
P.S. If you have a board game lover in your life, check out this list of Gift Ideas for Board Game Lovers!

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  • Reply
    June 2, 2021 at 4:55 pm

    We love board games at our place! They’re great for a date night or when family + friends come over. Ticket to Ride is one of my faves!! Also, have you ever played Settlers of Catan? My boyfriend always enjoys playing that when we have people over.

    • Reply
      June 4, 2021 at 6:29 am

      YES! Catan is also a great option. Great to see other board game lovers out there! Thanks for dropping by!

  • Reply
    Carrie Pankratz
    June 3, 2021 at 12:24 am

    We are a family of gamers as well. There are several on this list that I haven’t played. I’ll have to try them out. The crime one looks very interesting!

    • Reply
      June 4, 2021 at 6:30 am

      Do it, the crime one is very fun to play in groups or family, although maybe it’s not appropriate for younger children (mentions of drugs, murder, etc)

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