In the last decade, board games have had a resurgence in popularity. There are now a massive amount of board games on the market. There are games designed for cooperative play, strategic games, party games, and so much more.

Board games are a great way to have fun with friends and family. But there are so many different types of board games out there, it can be hard to find the perfect one for you. And even more annoyingly, some of the newest board games are hard to find in New Zealand.

That’s where we come in. We’ve compiled a list of the ten best board games in NZ! We’ve included a large range of genres in this list, so there’s bound to be a board game for you.

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10 best board games NZ

10 best board games NZ

Type: Cooperative

Game length: 45 minutes

No of Players: 2-4

Recommended age: 8+

Pandemic is a cooperative board game where players must work together to win.

Fittingly for 2021, the game is set in the future, where four diseases have broken out worldwide.

The diseases are randomly assigned at the start of the game, and then different cities are selected randomly throughout which they will spread. It’s up to the players to cure all four diseases and save the world using teamwork and their individual abilities.

This game involves a lot of communication and teamwork. It has simple rules so anyone can play it without too much difficulty. 

But be warned, as a team, you’ll need to strategise because winning can be difficult. But even failing, and learning from your mistakes is a lot of fun.

10 best board games NZ

Type: Competitive

Game length: 40 – 70 minutes

No of Players: 1-5

Recommended age: 10+

Wingspan is a competitive board game about birders.

Going away from the usual board game tropes of killing or defeating your opposition, this is a more relaxed game that can be surprisingly difficult.

Wingspan combines cooperation and competition where the players will need to work together as a team but also compete over certain objectives.

Players will be trying to find all kinds of new bird species while also completing objectives on their own bird board, which they get at the start of each round.

The winner is whoever can score the most points!

10 best board games NZ

Type: Competitive

Game length: 1-2 hours

No of Players: 3-4 (standard), 3-6 (expansions), 3-12 (movie edition)

Recommended age: 8+

The Settlers of Catan is a trading and settlement game that challenges you to build your settlements and roads into new and remote areas with limited resources.

To win the game, you’ll need to collect ten victory points before the other players do, or be the first to build two settlements on each of the five supply centers.

The rules are simple enough that anyone can learn them quickly, but they’re also complex enough to allow for multiple strategies and player interactions.

There are no complicated miniatures or dice rolls involved, perfect if you’ve got younger players who want something a bit more complicated but not too complicated.

Don’t be fooled by how simple it seems! There’s strategy involved. Choosing where your settlements go and what resources you take up first are crucial decisions, so make sure you know what moves will benefit you most before someone makes them before you.

10 best board games NZ

Type: Competitive

Game length: 30 minutes

No of Players: 2-7

Recommended age: 13+

7 Wonders is an easy-to-learn board game that focuses on strategic planning and clever card play.

In 7 Wonders, players draft cards and use them to build their own tableau, which earns them points.

Each player starts with three cards, and they select one of those three cards before passing it to the next player. This continues until each player has chosen seven of their 14 available cards. Players then use their chosen cards to create a wonder that is different from what anyone else has built so far.

In 7 Wonders, you’ll need to watch what other players do and what cards they draft but also try and predict how many victory points they’ll get from certain cards.

It has simple rules, but there’s a lot of strategy involved in using your drafted hand to create different wonders and earn the most points!

10 best board games NZ

Type: Competitive

Game length: 40-80 minutes

No of Players: 2-5, 6 (expansion)

Recommended age: 8+

Smallworld is a board game with simple rules but complex strategies.

In this game of conquest and domination, players try and conquer the world by building various armies and defeating opposing armies with dice, cards, and carefully selecting what race they want to be next. Look out for the undead rats!

Players rely on dice rolls to do things like taking over cities or battling opponents in combat.

The game is competitive, so players will have to think about how far they want to push their opponents before they can’t defend themselves anymore!

And always remember it’s not just about winning. It’s about completely destroying your opponents.

10 best board games NZ

Type: Competitive

Game length: 30-40 minutes

No of Players: 2-6

Recommended age: 10+

In Colt Express, players use cards to move, punch, shoot and rob other players to try and be the richest robber by the end of the game.

Taking place on a model train, this is a unique game about predicting other player moves and planning your moves for the future.

Players are competing for money so they have to balance things out between when they want to move quickly and when they want to spend their cards acquiring better ones.

But watch out. Your opponents might try and shoot you or punch you to get your precious valuables!

10 best board games NZ

Type: Competitive

Game length: 30-90 minutes

No of Players: 2-5, 6-8 (expansion)

Recommended age: 6+

In Carcassonne, players race to earn points by building a medieval landscape.

The gameplay revolves around players placing tiles that fit with other tiles already placed on the board.

Players are rewarded for completing certain structures like cities, roads, castles, and other features on their turn.

But be warned, your opponents might try and take over the pieces you’ve already built!

Carcassonne has simple rules, but there’s a lot of strategy involved in creating bigger cities and completing more features to earn points faster.

10 best board games NZ

Type: Competitive

Game length: 10-30 minutes

No of Players: 2-6

Recommended age: 8+

King of Tokyo takes place in Tokyo, where every player plays the role of one of six giant monsters.

You win by being the last monster alive or having the highest victory point total at the end of the game.

The gameplay involves attacking other players to reduce their health and acquiring energy cubes which increase your monster’s damage as well as allow you to buy beneficial cards.

This is a game of chance, where your moves are determined by rolling dice. 

With that said, hard decisions need to be made regarding trying to stay alive while also doing enough damage to your opponents to win!

10 best board games NZ

Type: Competitive

Game length: 20-120+ minutes

No of Players: 3-6 (check edition)

Recommended age: 12+

In Cosmic Encounter, players take the role of one of many alien races and try to achieve galactic victory by defeating other opposing players and colonising planets.

The gameplay revolves around players attacking other players and using their randomly assigned alien races’ abilities to outplay opposition players.

Cosmic Encounter is a unique game with a massive amount of depth and simple rules.

There’s lots of strategy involved in figuring out opponents’ strategies and using your alien race abilities to defeat them, but it doesn’t get overcomplicated.

10 best board games NZ

Type: Competitive/Cooperative

Game length: As long as you want (you can pause whenever)

No of Players: 3-7

Recommended age: 14+

In Forgotten Waters players take the role of a crew on an old pirate ship fighting against sea monsters and other horrifying creatures.

The gameplay involves exploring map tiles to find treasure, attack enemies and solve quests with your fellow crew members.

You can work together with your crew to achieve victory, or you can go it alone and try and win by yourself. But be aware, if the crew fails, you all fail.

Combined with a great phone app, this is a board game for those looking for more of a story based board game.

Players can pause whenever they want, so you’re free to play as much as you like without worrying about finishing it all in one sitting.

It also plays well with many different numbers of people too!

Patch Bowen
Patch Bowen is an accomplished technology journalist with a solid academic foundation, holding a degree from Auckland University. His expertise spans across a range of tech topics, with a notable focus on product reviews, industry trends, and the impact of technology on society. With his work featured on major New Zealand websites like,, and The Press, Patch has established himself as a credible voice in technology media. His articles are known for their detailed analysis and practical insights, particularly in making complex technological concepts understandable for a broad audience. At ReviewsFire, Patch is renowned for his thorough evaluations and clear, informative writing style. He has a knack for identifying and explaining the nuances of the latest gadgets and digital trends, earning him a reputation as a trusted source for tech advice and information.


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