Dec 2, 2020

5 of the World's Most Difficult Board Games

Kristin Kerr

t’s family game night! You’ve loaded up on your favourite snacks and drinks, cleared the dining table for the games and you’re ready to get the night started. What games, you ask? Perhaps, Snakes and Ladders, good old Monopoly, and maybe a game of Life to finish the night off. Those are all very straightforward games where you simply roll the dice and move along. But what about those nights where you need something a little more intricate to get your brain thinking a bit more. Luckily there’s plenty of games out there that have a higher difficulty rating than the traditional Snakes and Ladders. If you’re ready to level up your Friday game nights, here are 5 of the World's Most Difficult Board Games.

The game Go

Number one on the list of 5 of the World's Most Difficult Board Games is an ancient Chinese two-player strategy board game called Go. Not only is this game rated as the most difficult, but it’s also one of the oldest games in history, dating back to the 2nd millennium BCE. The game isn’t necessarily super hard to pick up, but it is very difficult to become a pro.

To play the game, each player chooses between black and white game pieces called ‘stones’. Each player uses the game pieces to form territories by surrounding empty intersections on the board. Once a stone has been placed, it can’t be moved; however, you can use it to surround your opponent’s stones and remove them from being played. When and if you completely surround your opponent’s stones, they become ‘prisoners’.


When all stones are placed and the game is over, each player gets a point for every empty space in their territories and one point for every prisoner. The player with the most points at the end wins.


A game that requires both cards and a board? Yep, that’s right. The popular, well-known game Cribbage is next on our list of 5 of the World's Most Difficult Board Games. Again, not an extremely difficult game to grasp, but to master is a whole new level. It’s all about the complexity and math that the game involves.

Cribbage was invented in the 17th century by poet Sir John Suckling. The game is played by players taking turns drawing cards until they each reach 31 points - they aren’t able to exceed 31 points throughout the game. You can earn extra points for playing pairs, runs, and flushes. Now, this is where the board comes into play. Pegs are moved around the cribbage board based on the number of points, pair runs, and flushes in a hand. A winner is announced once a player moves all pegs around the game board twice.



Another game that goes back in history that made its way to the list of 5 of the World's Most Difficult Board Games is Chess. The history of Chess is quite a blur, but there have been guesses that it dates back to the 7th century.

The primary objective of Chess is to checkmate the opposition king and keep your own monarch safe. Whoever captures the opposing king is pronounced the winner. The game is considered a challenge because each of your 16 pieces has a specific way of moving around the board. Using both strategy and tactic, pieces must be moved around 64 squares on the board until you force your opponent into a checkmate where their king can no longer avoid capture.


Magic: The Gathering

Okay, so this one doesn’t technically fall under the category of board games, but it presents a magical challenge to anyone who plays it, so it deserves a spot on the list of 5 of the World's Most Difficult Board Games. This popular collectible card game, Magic: The Gathering, requires two or more players and represents a battle between wizards.

The overall goal is to reduce your opponent’s life total from 20 to zero throughout the game. Players begin the game with 7 cards and draw another card each round. Throughout the game, players can engage in combat and spell casting. So what makes Magic so difficult? Well, a few things. Each card in the game affects the game differently, resulting in over 2,000 rules and 19,000 cards. It was actually announced in a scientific paper that the game is so complex, not even a computer algorithm can predict a winner or find an optimal winning strategy.


The Campaign for North Africa

If you haven’t heard of this game, you’re in for a treat. You might think we’ve covered it all, but last on the list of 5 of the World's Most Difficult Board Games is The Campaign for North Africa. A single game can take up to 1,500 hours (62 days) from start to finish. The game was designed to be a military simulation of the North African Campaign that took place during World War II in Libya and Egypt and is the most in-depth war strategy simulation ever created.


Not only do you need a hefty amount of time allocated to play this game, but you also need 10 players, a large space to play because the board is 10 feet long, and maybe some good specks because the rulebook is novel-sized. Fun fact: even the creator of the game has never finished an entire game!

No items found.
No items found.