Best 5 Player Board Games: That Awkward Number

I’ve gathered 11 of the best 5-player board games on the market. My top choice for most people? Small World.

For your information: When you buy through links on Boards Cards Dice, we may earn a commission.

Playing with five people can be awkward. I grew up in a family of five people, and it was frustrating. Either someone had to sit out, or we had to do teams, which then led to having to decide who was on what team… It was a mess.

Fortunately, several games can work nicely for five people.

I like Small World because it ticks a lot of boxes. It’s entertaining, good for families or serious gamers, has a lot of variation, and has a whimsical fantasy theme.

But other games might appeal more to you. Perhaps you want a sci-fi theme or a cooperative game. You might want a classic game, or you might want to find a hidden gem.

I’ve broken down all the specs, the pros, and the cons of these games for 5 players so you can make the best decision.

Which of the best 5 player board games is the right pick for you? Read on to learn more.

At a Glance

Trying to rank board games can be somewhat like comparing apples and oranges. There are many reasons people are drawn to different games. Here are some common features of the best 5 player board games:

Managing Resources

Gathering and managing resources can make for a fun game. If you enjoy this feature, Power Grid Recharged, Small World, Catan, or Twilight Imperium are great choices.

Expanding Empires/Civilizations

Gaining resources, wealth, power, or territory can make for an interesting competition. If you like games that feature empire-building, you’ll be drawn to Terraforming Mars, Twilight Imperium, or Catan.

Thematic Elements

Love fantasy or sci-fi? Look for games that include those specific fictional worlds. Lord of the Rings, Star Wars Imperial Assault, and Dead of Winter Crossroads Game have very specific, strong themes that make for good entertainment.


Is winning only fun when you defeat your opponents on the battlefield? Star Wars Imperial Assault, Risk, and Twilight Imperium all have an element of combat.


If you like working together, you might enjoy cooperative board games. Lord of the Rings, Betrayal at House on the Hill, and Dead of Winter are either fully or semi-cooperative games.

Strategic Planning

Do you prefer strategy over chance? If you like to use your brains as brawn in board games, then go for a strategy game. Clue Junior, Power Grid Recharged, and Terraforming Mars all require strategic planning.

Young Children

Playing with young children? Clue is suitable for 5 and over, while Small World is suitable for ages 8+. Risk 60th Anniversary and Catan are suitable for 10+.

5 Player Board Games: Reviews

Small World: Best Overall 5 Player Board Game

Players: 2-5

Playing time: 40-95 minutes

Age: 8+

Publisher: Days of Wonder

In Small World, players race for conquest and control of territory. This board game, created by Philippe Keyaerts, is suitable for two to five players.

In this zany, lighthearted civilization game, players choose one of 14 fantasy races, including amazons, wizards, orcs, giants, humans, and more.

Players also choose one of 20 special abilities to use during the game. Once they have made their choices, the race is on!

As a player takes control of the board map, they must decide whether to keep expanding or to put their race in decline. And watch out for lost tribes or mountainous regions, which are even more challenging to overcome!

The game ends when the game marker reaches the end of the track, between 8-10 rounds. Players then tally their victory points. The player with the most points wins.

There are seemingly countless combinations, so the replay value for this board game is quite high.

Buyers enjoyed this strategic conquest game. They liked the simple rules, the endless combinations, and the lighthearted competition. Some felt there wasn’t enough tactical depth, but others thought this game struck the right balance.

If you like area control games, Small World is one of the best 5 player board games for you.


  • Easy to learn
  • Colorful artwork
  • Fun fantasy theme
  • Competitive
  • High replayability
  • Good game pacing


  • Not much tactical depth

Clue Junior: Best for Families

Players: 2-6

Playing time: 30 minutes

Age: 5+

Publisher: Hasbro

A kid-friendly version of the classic whodunnit mystery game, Clue Junior has been adapted to make it the perfect game for a kid’s playdate or families.

For starters, instead of solving a murder, players must solve the mystery of a broken toy. Which toy was broken, when was it broken, and who broke it? Players must use deductive reasoning to figure it all out.

All good fun and much more child-friendly than murder!

For children who may not be reading yet, the individual detective sheets use pictures to help them keep track of clues.

But the board game still includes all your favorite Clue characters, including Miss Scarlett, Professor Plum, Colonel Mustard, Mr. Green, Mrs. Peacock, and the newly added Dr. Orchid.

Hasbro Gaming Clue Junior Board Game for Kids Ages 5 and Up, Case of The Broken Toy, Classic Mystery Game for 2-6 Players

Buyers said their kids and grandkids loved the game. The minimum recommended age is 5, but they might still need some help to play the game. Most said their 7-year-olds were able to easily play without assistance.

I’ve played this with my children, and I’d say at five years old they need help at least the first few times, but my daughter got the hang of it. Older children can enjoy the game as well, making it ideal for families.

Some people reported missing pieces or damaged boxes. I recommend a quick inspection upon receipt to make sure everything looks good.

One of my favorite features was the picture-based detective pages, and customers agreed. This allowed younger kids to participate. Some people were confused about the role of the furniture pieces, but their purpose was to hide clues. The reason you need to mark them off is to remember which furniture piece you have checked.

If you have kids and want a great five-player board game for family game night? Clue Junior is a great choice.


  • Good for younger kids
  • Light theme (no murder)
  • Quick gameplay
  • Easy to learn
  • Deduction strategy game
  • Affordable


  • Not as challenging for adults
  • Reports of missing pieces

Star Wars Imperial Assault: Best Combat Role-Playing Board Game

Players: 1-5

Playing time: 1-2 hours

Age: 14+

Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games

Calling all Star Wars fans! Star Wars Imperial Assault is a role-playing board game that puts you in the middle of the Civil War between the Galactic Empire and the Rebel Alliance.

Through a series of tactical combat missions, Rebel heroes embark on covert missions to undermine the Empire’s plans.

This board game has two game modes: campaign or skirmish. Each campaign contains over 30 missions, so each game is different. The skirmish mode is designed for head-to-head tactical combat between two players.

Star Wars Imperial Assault Core Set - Epic Sci-Fi Miniatures Strategy Game of Rebel Resistance vs. Imperial Forces, Ages 14+, 1-5 Players, 1-2 Hour Playtime, Made by Fantasy Flight Games

This is semi-cooperative, where one player plays as the Imperial Commander and the other players play as the Rebel Alliance.

Players can also unlock a “hero” or “villain” character to use in the game. Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader are included in the core game, but several others, like Hans Solo and Chewbacca, are only available through purchasing expansion packs.

All of the included miniatures are unpainted, so you can paint and customize them to your liking. The minis and the map tiles are of excellent quality. They were a favorite feature among customers.

Several buyers did complain about the complex and somewhat vague instructions. This game, of course, is better suited for those who enjoy complicated games.

Imperial Assault requires players to invest time and money. It’s a longer game, even without considering the time to learn the instructions. And it’s also a more expensive board game, as well.

However, many customers said the time and money were well worth it to experience the excitement and immersive storyline of this board game.

If you like dungeon crawl games and space, Imperial Assault is one of the best board games for you.


  • Great quality minis and map tiles
  • Campaign or skirmish modes
  • High replay value
  • Semi-cooperative
  • Strategy and story-driven


  • Vague instructions
  • Expensive

Dead of Winter A Crossroads Game: Best Worker Placement Game

Players: 2-5

Playing time: 1-2 hours

Age: 13+

Publisher: Plaid Hat Games

As if surviving an apocalypse wasn’t enough, these survivors must now get through a tough winter while battling disease, food shortages, and zombies. It’s a tough world in Dead of Winter, A Crossroads Game.

This game is designed for two to five players. The story-driven plot requires cooperation among players, but ultimately, only one player will survive.

Each player will lead a team of survivors with dozens of different characters in the game. That gives this board game a lot of variation and a high replay value.

It’s a standard semi-cooperative worker placement game, but each player has their own secret objective that adds excitement and makes it tough to sniff out the possible traitor in the team.

A player can be exiled by the other players if they believe he/she is the traitor. The game could get quite boring from there for that exiled player, however.

Dead of Winter A Crossroads Board Game | Post-Apocalyptic Survival Strategy Game for Adults and Teens | Ages 13+ | 2-5 Players | Average Playtime 1-2 Hours | Made by Plaid Hat Games

Otherwise, this board game is full of possibilities. Customers enjoyed Dead of Winter and found themselves coming back to it again and again. But be prepared to spend time with the instruction manual. It does have a learning curve to it.

Obviously, with the thematic elements, this is most appropriate for teens or adults. I wouldn’t recommend this game for kids.


  • Story-driven
  • Built-in variation
  • Secret individual objectives
  • Semi-cooperative worker placement
  • Zombie apocalypse theme


  • Not fun if exiled early
  • Complex, challenging to learn

Betrayal at House on the Hill 2nd Edition: Best Scenario-Driven Game

Players: 3-6

Playing time: 60 minutes

Age: 12+

Publisher: Avalon Hill

Betrayal at House on the Hill is a semi-cooperative game full of spooky twists and turns. In this board game, players must build a haunted house and attempt to escape it.

Players work together to survive the nightmare…. except the player who becomes a traitor.

Avalon Hill Betrayal at House on the Hill, Green

Like many narrative-driven board games, this one includes multiple scenarios. With over 50 scenarios and character choices, there is plenty of replayability.

Most buyers agreed that the game mechanics are super fun and great for replaying. But many also said the quality of the game pieces could be improved.


  • Impressive traitor mechanism
  • Variety of rooms and haunts
  • Engaging story-driven play


  • Some scenarios are vague
  • Lower quality pieces

Twilight Imperium: Best 5-Player Area Control Game

Players: 3-6

Playing time: 4-8 hours

Age: 14+

Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games

Twilight Imperium is one of the top games for advanced players who enjoy battles of epic proportions. Use combat, diplomacy, and strategy to defeat opponents and seize control of the galaxy.

Players each represent one of 17 different alien races vying for the title of galactic emperor. Whichever player is the first to get 10 victory points wins the game.

Twilight Imperium 4th Edition | Strategy Board Game for Adults and Teens | Adventure Game | Ages 14 and up | 3-6 Players | Average Playtime 4-8 Hours | Made by Fantasy Flight Games

One of my favorite features is the built-in variation. Different factions offer a completely different play experience. So you can play repeatedly without getting bored.

Twilight Imperium fans rave about this space soap opera. They love this board game. And even though it’s quite pricey and requires a lot of time and table space, it’s worth it.

If you want the best 5 player board game for friends who want a gaming saga.


  • High variability
  • Competitive with cooperative elements
  • Strategic depth
  • Stunning artwork


  • Steep learning curve
  • Long game times
  • Pricey

Terraforming Mars: Best Sci-Fi Complex Game

Players: 1-5

Playing time: 2+ hours

Age: 12+

Publisher: Stronghold Games

Cooperative backstabbing might sound like a paradox, but it’s a reality in Terraforming Mars. In this middle-weight strategy board game, players try to transform Mars into a beautiful new oasis. But they’re also competing corporations trying to gain the most glory for themselves.

The objective is to get the most victory points, known as Terraform Rating, or TR. This is accomplished through terraforming the planet by increasing the temperature, oxygen levels, and water/ocean levels.

Indie Boards and Cards Terraforming Mars Board Game for 2 to 5 players, Multicolor (6005SG)

Buyers found the game mechanics to be excellent. The high variability gives this board game a lot of replay value. There are also different paths to victory, so it makes for an exciting game each time.

Be prepared to spend some time learning the rules, however. The instruction manual is thick, and it takes a little while to initially get the hang of the game. Once that happens, though, most people are hooked.

This board game is lacking when it comes to the quality of the pieces. The red cubes and individual player boards are flimsy and, in the opinion of many, subpar.

But despite the pieces, players still raved about the game. Terraforming Mars is the perfect mid-weight board game for experienced gamers.


  • Multiple paths to victory
  • One player variant
  • High replayability
  • Highly entertaining
  • Expansions available


  • Steep learning curve
  • Components lack quality

Power Grid Recharged: Best Economics Game

Players: 2-6

Playing time: 90+ minutes

Age: 13+

Publisher: Rio Grande Games

In Power Grid Recharged, efficiency is the name of the game. In this economic game, players take on the role of a power company in the 1950s trying to distribute electricity to the most people and make the most profit.

The Power Grid base game only allows up to four people, but with Power Grid Recharged, you can play with up to six players.

As a player, you’re trying to establish a viable power grid in Germany or the USA (depending on which side of the board you use). You can choose which geographical areas you want to provide power for.

You must decide how fast to expand, what price to charge, how many power plants to purchase and build, and more. Players collect resources that fuel the power plants.

Power Grid Recharged

One buyer noted that this game is like a marriage of Monopoly and Ticket to Ride, and I would agree. It has a heavy emphasis on expansion, strategy, and resource management.

In general, customers enjoyed Power Grid Recharged. They liked the strategic depth and the interaction between players. A few people had missing pieces, but they praised Rio Grande Games for solving the problem quickly and hassle-free.

Some were not big fans of the dated artwork. To be fair, it is rather drab. But the pieces are of good quality, and the game is entertaining.

If you like Euro-style games, Power Grid Recharged is one of the best for five players.


  • Indirect player interaction
  • Strategy game, mathematical
  • Expansions available


  • Dated artwork

Catan: Best Eurogame

Players: 3-6

Playing time: approximately 1 hour

Age: 10+

Publisher: Catan Studio Games

While the original version of Catan can only support 3-4 players, this 25th Anniversary Edition of Catan includes an expansion that allows five or six players.

This popular game is widely considered one of the best games in our modern era, and it’s not tough to see why. In this strategy game, players trade, build and settle the island of Catan.

Players compete for victory points by gathering resources, buying development cards, and establishing cities across the island.

CATAN Board Game 25th Anniversary Edition | Includes The Base Game and The 5-6 Player Extension | Family Board Game | Board Game for Adults and Family | for 3 to 6 Players | Made by Catan Studio

The modular hex board provides a high level of variability, allowing you to play a unique game each time. Catan is also a social game that provides plenty of opportunities for player interaction.

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.


  • High replay value
  • Strategy and civilization building
  • Easy to learn
  • Interactive gameplay


  • A lot of game pieces
  • Expensive

Risk 60th Anniversary: Best Classic 5 Player Board Game

Players: 2-6

Playing time: 2-3 hours

Age: 10+

Publisher: Hasbro

With all the newer games out there, sometimes you just want a classic. This Risk 60th Anniversary edition has all the mechanics of the original Risk game, with a few cosmetic changes.

The objective is simple. World domination. Players station their forces, attack neighboring countries with their troops and hope that the dice roll in their favor.

I like the blend of strategy and chance. While this war-based board game requires some tactical depth, the rolling of dice to decide battle outcomes can add interest and unexpected twists.

Hasbro Gaming Risk 60th Anniversary Edition Family Board Game for Ages 10 and Up

The classic version only has five colored armies, but this 60th Anniversary edition has enough armies for up to six players. The antique-looking world map and unique game box add an “old world” feel to the game.

Buyers were excited to break out this 60th Anniversary Risk edition. They liked the artwork and finishing touches to the game. They enjoyed playing with friends and family. Some customers felt that the pieces were subpar in quality, but that was the only major complaint.

If you like war-based tabletop games, Risk just can’t be topped. It’s an older game with timeless appeal.


  • Unique board and game box
  • Includes extra army
  • War-based strategy game
  • Element of chance with dice rolls


  • Complaints about piece quality

Lord of the Rings Journeys in Middle Earth: Best for Lord of the Rings Fans

Players: 1-5

Playing time: 60+ minutes

Age: 14+

Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games

If you’re a gamer and Tolkein fan, this game is screaming your name. Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle Earth is an epic adventure game for one to five players.

This board game is fully-cooperative and app-supported set in Middle Earth. As the dark force gathers, players must form their Fellowship and band together to solve mysteries, make brave choices, and fight against the encroaching darkness that threatens the land.

As part of the Fellowship, players choose their character, each with their own special abilities to contribute. Players take on character identities as they prepare their skills and combat the darkness.

The Lord of the Rings Journeys in Middle-earth Board Game - Strategy Game, Cooperative Adventure Game for Kids and Adults, Ages 14+, 1-5 Players, 60+ Minute Playtime, Made by Fantasy Flight Games

Lord of the Rings is highly variable. No two experiences are the same, meaning you can enjoy this game over and over again.

The free downloadable app randomizes the map tiles and generates a portion of each scenario, including the enemies you’ll face, the side quests you’ll embark on, and the events that might plague you as heroes.

As far as the game components, they’re made of good quality pieces. The miniatures come unpainted, so if you’re into painting minis, that’s a plus.

The character cards are tiny, and some customers weren’t big fans of their minuscule size. That being said, there are a lot of components, so having smaller cards can save you a little table space.

Several buyers compared this to Mansions of Madness in terms of game mechanics. It does take some time to learn the rules of this game, so be prepared to invest time on the front end.

If you enjoy role-play games and like the fantasy fictional theme, LOTR is a sure bet.


  • Cooperative strategy game
  • Narrative, app-driven gameplay
  • Immersive storyline


  • Requires an app
  • Expensive

5 Player Board Game: What You Need to Know

One of the most important considerations when choosing a board game is knowing who you’re going to play with. If you want a simple game to play with the family after dinner, get something with a shorter play time and rules that are easy to learn.

Playing with your gamer friends? Find something more challenging, possibly something that requires multiple gaming sessions.

Do you want fun party games? Looks for portable games with fast-paced gameplay and entertaining player interaction.

The Best 5 Player Board Game: Final Verdict

Which of these 5 player board games will earn a spot at your table? I recommend Small World as one of the best 5 player board games. It has wide-ranging appeal, high-quality pieces, colorful artwork, and is just a fun game.

But if you want something different? There are plenty of 5 player board games on my list, so you can find the perfect one for your next game night.