Best 4 Player Board Games- The Perfect Number

I’ve looked at several of the best 4 player board games. My top pick? Ticket to Ride.

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Four players are the perfect number for many board games. It’s an even number, and you can play individually or in two teams of two people. But deciding which game will appeal to all four people can be more challenging.

Ticket to Ride is my top pick because it’s engaging, challenging, and great for playing over and over again.

In this article, I’ve detailed the features, pros and cons of some of the best 4 player board games. You’ll be able to pick the perfect game for your next game night.

Ready to get started? Let’s jump right in.

At a Glance

4 player board games

Deciding among 4 player board games can be a challenge if you don’t know what you’re looking for. But if you know what type of game you enjoy, choosing between games is a snap. Here are a few common features of 4 player board games that make them must-haves:

Resource Management Game

Many competitive gamers enjoy games that require players to manage resources. If you want a resource management game, I’d go with Catan, Ticket to Ride, Takenoko, or Age of Civilization.

Good for a Game Night/Party

If you’re planning a party, you want games that involve light strategy, a lot of player interaction, and can accommodate several players.

Dixit, Concept, and Once Upon a Time are all four-player board games that fit that description.

Strategy Game

If your family or gaming group enjoys using brainpower to win games, you’ll want a game with plenty of strategy.

Pandemic, Spy Alley, Catan, Power Grid, Small World, and Ticket to Ride all require strategic planning.

Empire Building Game

If you enjoy expanding across a territory or building an empire, look for games with that element. Ticket to Ride, Star Wars Risk, Catan, Small World, and Age of Civilization are all good choices for empire-building.

Good for Young Children

If you have a family of four with younger kids, you want a game that’s family-friendly and suitable for younger players.

Simple rules, faster-paced gameplay, and wholesome themes are all better for children. Spy Alley, Dixit, Once Upon a Time, Takenoko, and Ticket to Ride are all great for kids and families.

Best 4 Player Board Game Reviews

Ticket to Ride: Best Four-Player Board Game

Players: 2-5

Playing time: 30-60 minutes

Age: 8+

Publisher: Days of Wonder

Ticket to Ride is an award-winning adventure game with plenty of strategy and expansion. Players attempt to connect cities across the 20th century USA and build train routes to earn points.

This cross-country train adventure game features plenty of player interaction. The game begins with players collecting and playing matching train cards to claim railway routes connecting cities throughout North America.

As the game progresses, players earn points for longer train routes. Players can gain additional points if they fulfill their Destination Tickets, and the player with the longest continuous railway also gains extra points.

Even though this board game involves tactical depth, it has elegantly simple gameplay. You can easily learn the rules in 15 minutes. And since this game has high replayability, you can enjoy it for hours and hours.

Ticket to Ride Board Game | Family Board Game | Board Game for Adults and Family | Train Game | Ages 8+ | For 2 to 5 players | Average Playtime 30-60 minutes | Made by Days of Wonder

If you’re ready to connect destinations in other countries, multiple expansions are available.

Ticket to Ride got rave reviews from board game reviewers. They found this game to be great as an entry-level strategy game but challenging enough to be fun for advanced players.

Several customers did say that while the game pieces are of solid quality, there are a lot of them. You’ll have to spend a little time setting up and breaking down the game board and pieces each time.

But overall, storing pieces is a minor issue overshadowed by the pure entertainment value of this game. It’s great for families, game nights, and all types of gamers.

The easy-to-learn rules, exciting gameplay, fun train theme, and high replay value are all reasons Ticket to Wonder is such a popular game.


  • Fun adventure game
  • Good strategy
  • Easy learning curve
  • Versatile, includes variation
  • Excellent value


  • Has a lot of pieces to store

Star Wars Risk: Best Combat Game

Players: 2 or 4

Playing time: 30-45 minutes

Age: 10+

Publisher: Hasbro

If you’re a fan of Risk and Star Wars, why not have both in one fun board game? This Star Wars Risk Edition adds a sci-fi twist to this modern classic game. It can work as a head-to-head two-player game or a four-player board game.

Players begin by choosing their sides. Will they go to the dark side or fight for the Rebel Alliance? The Rebel mission is to destroy the Death Star, while the Galactic Empire seeks to defend it.

Since you are either on the Rebel or Galactic Empire side, this game is best played as two teams of two. If you have a family of four, I recommend one adult and one child on each team.

Hasbro Gaming Risk: Star Wars Edition Game

There are three stages of combat in which the side clash in epic battles. The main battle is in the center of the board, centering on the Death Star. At the same time, Luke and Vader face off on the Death Star, while Han, Chewie, and Leia are on Endor, trying to take the shield generator down.

This game includes a TIE fighter silhouette game board and good-quality miniatures. Tie fighters, X-wings, Y-wings, and B-wings are all included, and people were happy with these plastic minis.

However, the cardboard tokens, such as the one used to represent the Millenium Falcon, are not high quality. That was one of the biggest customer complaints. I personally think at this price point, some cardboard is reasonable, and nothing is stopping you from buying a small Millenium Falcon model yourself to use in the game if that matters to you.

This Star Wars edition is not as lengthy as the original Risk. The setup is faster, as well as the overall gameplay. Buyers liked that o.

They also liked the cinematic feel of the game. With the gameplay happening in the final scenes from Return of the Jedi, there’s a strong correlation to the movies, which adds to the fun.

If you like tactical combat games and enjoy Star Wars, this is a great game for you. And since it’s family-friendly, this is perfect for a family of four.


  • Cinematic feel
  • Strategy game
  • Star Wars theme
  • Simple rules
  • Great for families


  • Cardboard tokens are flimsy
  • Needs exactly 2 or 4 players

Catan: Best Civilization Building Game

Players: 3-4

Playing time: 60+ minutes

Age: 10+

Publisher: Catan Studios

Catan is one of the most popular tabletop games in recent years, and it’s one of my top four player games. In this board game (formerly called Settlers of Catan), players trade, build and settle the fictional island of Catan.

Players gain resources, buy development cards, and establish cities across the island, all in an attempt to achieve victory points. The first player to achieve 10 victory points is the winner.

Catan (Base Game) Adventure Board Game for Adults and Family | Ages 10+ | for 3 to 4 Players | Average Playtime 60 Minutes | Made by Catan Studio

The modular hex board has a high replay value, allowing you to play a unique game each time. Even though this game has a lot of moving parts, it’s relatively simple to learn. You can pick up the mechanics in a matter of minutes.

And while Catan is more expensive than your average board game, it provides hours and hours of entertainment with wide-ranging appeal.

I like the opportunities for player interaction. If you’re looking to create quality time, Catan is tough to beat.


  • Easy to learn
  • Civilization building
  • Strategy & resource management
  • High replay value
  • Interactive gameplay


  • Has a lot of pieces
  • Expensive

Small World: Best Territory Control Game

Players: 2-5

Playing time: 40-95 minutes

Age: 8+

Publisher: Days of Wonder

Small Wonder, published by Days of Wonder, is a super fun board game where players compete for territory in a race for victory points.

Players choose to lead one of 12 fantasy races competing for control. This zany cast of characters includes dwarves, wizards, elves, humans, and more.

Choose from a variety of special abilities to accompany your race. Picking the right combination is the challenge! From there, players decide whether to expand or whether to put their race in decline and try another tack.

Customers enjoyed this entertaining board game. They liked the colorful artwork, although one buyer noted that with the pieces on the board, it can get too “busy” visually.

Even though there is plenty of variation, due to the almost countless combinations of characters and abilities, there are expansions available when you’re ready for a new challenge.

Small World is a simple game that’s easy to learn. It’s great for families and game nights, but don’t let the whimsical theme fool you. It is intensely competitive.


  • Fast-paced
  • Easy to learn
  • Competitive
  • Colorful artwork
  • Expansions available


  • Artwork is a little “busy”
  • Lacks tactical depth

Power Grid Recharged: Best Eurogame

Players: 2-6

Playing time: 90+ minutes

Age: 13+

Publisher: Rio Grande Games

Power Grid Recharged is a slightly modified, updated version of the original game Power Grid. This board game is an economic strategy game of resource management.

This revised version allows two additional players, updates the meeples and instruction booklet, and a few minor map changes.

This board game challenges players to earn income by establishing a power grid across multiple cities in 1950s Germany or the U.S. Players must decide which type of energy to use, whether it be nuclear, coal, or even burning garbage.

From there, players collect resources, purchase development cards, and establish power plants. The player that can build the largest power network and keep it running is the winner.

Power Grid Recharged

Power Grid Rechaged includes a double-sided map, with Germany on one side and the U.S.A. on the other. It also comes with wooden meeples, cards, money, and a rulebook.

Buyers enjoyed this four-player board game. They liked the medium-heavy strategy and the Euro-style mechanics. A few people found the board game too complicated, but others liked that element.

And while this board game has good replay value, there are plenty of expansions for those who want an extra challenge.

If you like Eurogames, economics, or strategic board games, Power Grid is the board game for you.


  • Strategic planning game
  • Euro-style economic game
  • Expansion available


  • Complex rules

Pandemic: Best Cooperative Game

Players: 2-4

Playing time: 45 minutes

Age: 8+

Publisher: Z-Man Games

I was introduced to Pandemic by Z-Man Games several years ago, and it’s still one of my favorites. And even though this game might have entirely different relevance in a post-2020 world, it’s still one of the best 4-player board games.

This is a stellar cooperative game that features strategic planning. In Pandemic, four diseases threaten the world, and your elite team of specialists must find a cure for each of them before it’s too late.

Players must work together, applying their unique character skills to benefit the team, to plan a strategy of eradicating the diseases before they overwhelm the world with ever-increasing outbreaks.

Starting in the Atlanta CDC, players spread out across the globe to establish research centers, develop treatments, and distribute cures. But watch out! There could be another outbreak just around the corner.

Pandemic Board Game (Base Game) | Cooperative Board Game for Adults and Family | Ages 8+ | 2 to 4 players | Average Playtime 45 minutes | Made by Z-Man Games

Customers love this game. They enjoy the cooperative strategy as players race against the clock. The board game components are of excellent quality and feature colorful artwork.

Buyers did say that there’s a learning curve to the board game. Some found it too complicated, while others enjoyed meaty games. But either way, be prepared to take time for learning the rules.

They also warned that the winning percentage rate is low. But it’s so much fun that you’ll want to play again and again. Who knew losing could be addictive?

Pandemic is a thrilling game with plenty of exciting moments. I would highly recommend it for those who love meaty games or advanced gamers.


  • Fully cooperative game
  • High-quality artwork
  • Involves dice rolls & strategy
  • High replay value


  • Learning curve
  • Low winning percentage

Once Upon a Time: Best Fairy Tale Game

Players: 2-6

Playing time: 15 minutes

Age: 8+

Publisher: Atlas Games

What do you get when you combine a light card game, storytelling, and fantasy components? An endlessly adaptive game that’s entertaining and great for gatherings.

Publish by Atlas Games, Once Upon a Time is full of wicked queens, talking cauldrons, and lucky boys who happen to stumble upon magic objects. But unlike traditional fairy tales, you control the action. 

Players tell a tale based on random topics that match the cards in their hands, all to steer the story toward their secret conclusion.

This game is semi-cooperative. Everyone works together to create a new fairy tale using elements from their cards, but each player is trying to achieve their own goal. To win the game, play all of your story cards and steer the story to your ending.

Fair warning, this game is not for advanced players seeking a highly competitive contest. Many happy customers say they enjoy playing just for the storytelling.

Atlas Once Upon A Time 3rd Ed, Multi-Colored

Buyers liked the artwork on the cards and the fantasy elements. They also liked the laid-back, casual feel of the game. And since it’s easy to learn, you can start playing almost right away.

But you do need the right gaming group for this game. Players need to enjoy telling and listening to stories. If they don’t, they’ll find the game quite boring.

Also, be prepared to create your own storage system. There’s no way to store the cards, so they just slide around in the box. I’d suggest a rubber band or card storage system.

Once Upon a Time is a great family card game if you enjoy storytelling.


  • Quick gameplay
  • Easy to learn
  • Fairy-tale storytelling game
  • Light, casual feel
  • Beautiful artwork


  • Not super competitive
  • No storage for cards

Dixit: Best Storytelling Party Game

Players: 3-8

Playing time: 30 minutes

Age: 8+

Publisher: Libellud

Dixit is a simple, lighthearted game of storytelling and guesswork where your imagination unlocks the tale. Every picture tells a story, but you get to decide what story your picture will tell.

Playing the game is simple. Each round, one player selects a card and thinks up a clue inspired by the card. The other players all choose cards they think match the clue.

The cards are shuffled and then revealed. Players secretly vote for the card that best matches the narrator’s story. The player whose card is chosen scores points.

Dixit is similar to Apples to Apples, Balderdash, or Atlas Once Upon a Time. This board game features 84 cards with original artwork by Marie Cardouat. Buyers loved the stunning imaginative artwork.

Libellud Dixit Board Game 2021 Refresh | Storytelling Game for Kids and Adults | Fun Family Party Game | Creative Kids Game | Ages 8+ | 3-8 Players | Average Playtime 30 Minutes | Made by Libellud

Customers also liked the recent updates to the game. While the original version featured numbered voting tokens, this updated version features individual spinners. To vote for a card, players move the arrow to the number of the card they wish to vote for.

Also, the original version only allowed for six players, whereas the updated Dixit provides for up to eight players.

For those who want intense competition? You may want to pass. But for imaginative, laid-back storytelling fun, the party game Dixit can’t be topped.


  • Beautiful artwork
  • Guessing game
  • Storytelling
  • Updated voting spinner
  • Good for families


  • Not ideal for competitors

Takenoko: Best for Young Kids

Players: 2-4

Playing time: 30-60 minutes

Age: 8+

Publisher: Matagot

In the Japanese game Takenoko, players tackle competitive panda husbandry to serve the Emperor and grow the perfect bamboo plantation.

Players must farm and irrigate parcels of land growing green, yellow, and pink bamboo. The goal? Complete various objectives and win the Emperor’s favor.

Each turn, players determine the weather by rolling the weather die. Each side has a weather condition with an effect that the player applies before moving to the next part of their turn.

After determining the weather, the player can take two actions. Those include getting a new plot of land, digging irrigation channels, growing bamboo, feeding the panda, or drawing an objective card.

At the end of the game, whichever player has earned the most objective points wins.

Takenoko Board Game | Bamboo Farming Game | Panda Themed Strategy Fun Family Game for Adults and Kids | Ages 8+ | 2-4 Players | Average Playtime 45 Minutes | Made by Matagot

Buyers find this game to be fun to play. They like the pace of play, as well as the balance. They also like the beautiful artwork on the hex tiles and colorful miniatures.

But some people find the game to be a little boring after a while. They don’t see themselves playing this one over and over again. Others report issues with missing or damaged pieces.

This is a good game for kids. It’s colorful, entertaining, and has a cute panda miniature that’s fun to move.


  • Simple rules
  • Good pacing & balance
  • Charming game pieces
  • Beautiful aesthetics


  • Reports of missing pieces
  • Low replayability

Age of Civilization: Best Card-Based Civilization Game

Players: 1-4

Playing time: 30 minutes

Age: 10+

Publisher: Ice Makes

Age of Civilization is a popular worker placement game. It’s the streamlined pocket card game version of the popular civilization game. Unlike other card games, each player can play as 3 civilizations in 30 minutes.

In Age of Civilization, players collect resources, research technologies, build wonders, and prepare for war.

This game features built-in variation since every game’s setup is different. Players have to analyze the characteristics of every era and make the best choice for kingdom development.

Throughout multiple rounds, players must choose a civilization, place workers, take actions based on those workers, and build their civilizations.

The player with the most points at the end of six rounds is the winner.

Age of Civilization Strategy Card Game, Board Games, Pocket, Travel and Family Friendly 1-4 Players Board Game Adventure and Brain Teaser

Buyers enjoy this compact, quick game. They like the strategy involved, as well as the short duration. They do say it has an initial learning curve, so be prepared for that.

They also like the historical nature of the game. This doesn’t include the details of other educational games like 7 Wonders, for instance. But it can spark interest in learning about ancient civilizations, which is always a plus for this parent.


  • Quick gameplay
  • Civilization building
  • Involves strategy
  • Built-in variation


  • Learning curve

Spy Alley: Best Deduction Game for Young Kids

Players: 2-6

Playing time: ~45 minutes

Age: 8+

Publisher: Spy Alley

Spy Alley is a fun, family adventure-style game. Full of spies, secrets, and intrigue, this game could be the next big hit on family game night.

Players assume a secret identity and use their wit to unmask and eliminate the enemy spies. The manufacturer advertises Spy Alley as a game of logic, deduction, and reasoning skills.

And even though it has a spy theme, this game is also family-friendly. Even better? It has high replayability. No two games are ever the same.

Spy Alley is an easy game to learn. It’s pretty straightforward and moves along at a quick pace, so you can get started in no time. Buyers liked how quickly they could go from opening the box to playing the game.

With that being said, some users felt that the gameplay was a bit boring. Players roll and move, so there’s not much strategy.

And even though you can try to deduce the identity of your opponents, several customers said you end up just taking a wild guess. There isn’t a systematic way to rule out possibilities.

Spy Alley Mensa Award Winning Family Strategy Board Game

Several buyers recommended this game for younger players, ages 8-10. They consistently said it wasn’t challenging enough for adults. And with lower quality paper components, it doesn’t pack as much value as you might like.

My suggestion? If you have a kid who’s into spy-themed things, this game would be fun for them. Otherwise, I would go with something else.


  • Easy to learn
  • Fun spy theme
  • Quick game
  • Good for younger kids


  • Roll and move, not much strategy
  • Some found it boring
  • Flimsy paper components

Concept: Best Party Game

Players: 4-12

Playing time: 40 minutes

Age: 10+

Publisher: Repos Production

Concept is an easy-to-learn but challenging game of communication. Players must guess hundreds of objects, characters, and titles by combining icons… and without speaking!

This interactive guessing game features a game board covered in icons that can represent everything from a computer motherboard to the color blue. Players silently attempt to convey concepts such as “dinosaur,” Eiffel Tower,” or “Sigmund Freud.”

This game has a similar feel to Charades. Players play in teams. The first player to correctly guess the word or phrase receives 2 individual victory points, while the team receives points, as well. The player with the most points wins the game.

But honestly? This is one of those laid-back games where you might find yourself not keeping track of the score. Several buyers played casually, and they enjoyed just playing for fun.

Concept Party Game | Award-Winning Board Game | Team-Based Guessing | Fun Family Game for Adults and Kids | Ages 10+ | 4-12 Players | Average Playtime 40 Minutes | Made by Repos Production

Buyers who attempted to include the competitive element were left frustrated at the clunky mechanics. I recommend using this as a simple party game.

This game is also flexible with the groupings. Even though it’s great for four players, you could easily play this with a room full of people. As long as everyone can physically see the board, you should have no problem.

If guessing games like Articulate, Pictionary, or Charades are some of your favorite games? You’ll love Concept.


  • Great game for parties
  • Flexible groupings
  • Easy to learn
  • Ideal for casual play
  • Affordable


  • Competitive mode confusing

4 Player Board Game Buying Guide

With so many games on the market, it can be difficult to decide among them. Most board games have at least some elements that make them appealing.

But if you’re looking for the best four-player games, it’s important to consider a few things:

First, you want to make sure your game has high-quality pieces. That way the game can hold up for a long time to come. You also want a game with high replay value so you can get your money’s worth.

Lastly, narrow your search to board games that fit your gaming style. For example, a campaign-style game would not be the best for someone who enjoys a quick game with a lot of luck involved. A highly competitive person may not enjoy a cooperative game. It just depends on the person.

If you need extra help deciding, you can always visit a board game blog or game review site, like this one. You can ask game store owners, or you can ask your gamer friends.

Best Board Game for 4 Players: Last Word

Which of these four-player board games is the best one? My recommendation is Ticket to Ride. It has a wide-ranging appeal and combines a lot of fun elements. This is one of the best 4 player board games available.

But rest assured that whatever your preferences are, there’s a board game for you and three of your closest friends or family.