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College is a lot different from high school. It can be hard, and things can be a bit complicated and demanding. You have to get more things done, and you might start to feel more pressure.
But that doesn’t mean that college life can’t be fun. In fact, it is probably one of the most exciting phases of life. Even if it means greater responsibility, it can also mean the opportunity to live a happier and more meaningful life.
Speaking of fun and happiness, college is never complete without events and parties, including game nights!
In this article, we share with you some board games for college students that you can use during parties and night outs. You can also play these games whenever you feel down or overwhelmed by all the things you need to finish and would simply like to take a break.
But before we proceed to our list, let’s discuss some of the benefits of playing board games.
Why Should College Students Play Board Games?
There are so many ways that playing board games can help us live happier and healthier lives. These include reducing stress and anxiety levels, improving cognitive and emotional functions, and even strengthening relationships and connections.
Board games and card games play a significant role in keeping our brains and bodies active. According to research, they are one of the best ways to improve not just our brain development, but also our physical, psychological, and emotional development.
Board games require critical thinking skills—you will see from our list that some board games involve careful strategic planning, wise decision-making, and cautious problem-solving techniques.
For college students, playing board games is like practicing for real life. You can use your playing time as a chance to analyze things carefully and thoughtfully. Board games can stimulate your mind and improve your cognitive abilities.
Additionally, board games are fun and entertaining. If you ever need a break from a project or research paper you’ve been doing all week, you can play a board game and enjoy a much-needed rest!
Playing board games may seem old-school, but it has a lot more benefits than just sitting in a corner scrolling through your newsfeed. Give it a try!
Catan has always been a crowd favorite—a beloved game of children and adults alike. It is one of those popular, multi-award-winning board games that you will never get tired of.
This is a civilization-building game, so we recommend it to those who are fond of building societies, entering into trades, and harvesting crops and resources.
If you have a knack for engineering and entrepreneurship, you will figure this game out quickly. The goal is to dominate the whole world of Catan and be the wealthiest player when the game ends.
Catan has tons of expansion sets that fit any age group. There is even one for very young children called Catan Junior. We recommend the original version or the 5- to 6-player expansion set for college students because it suits their thirst for strategic gaming and development planning.
2. Cards Against Humanity
Cards Against Humanity is a super popular game for adults and teens. We do not recommend it for young people (below 17), but it is a must-try for college students.
The game tests the players’ opinions regarding numerous risqué topics. There are 100 black cards that contain questions and 500 white cards that contain answers.
Everyone gets the chance to pick a black card, and the rest of the players (for that specific round) use white cards as their answers. Whoever has the most suitable (or horrible) answer wins the round.
We suggest Cards Against Humanity for parties and nights out. You can also play it in your room with your dorm mates or housemates.
If you are looking for a game that has a lot of different expansion sets, we recommend Codenames. Codenames is also recommended to players of all ages because it is incredibly fun and entertaining and has thousands of high ratings and positive reviews.
Codenames has a very simple goal, and that is to identify the agents that are on your team by knowing their “codenames.”
There are two teams guided by two spymasters who are racing against each other, and the first team to discover all of their agents wins. Only the spymasters know the real identities of the agents, and they have to help their teammates figure them out.
Codenames is a perfect fit for college parties and events. Although it is for a maximum of four players, you can always involved more people by creating teams.
4. Clue: Harry Potter Edition
It has been over 20 years since the first Harry Potter book was released, yet the story remains as a fan favorite. Nearly ever kid has read the books and watched the movies. There is also a wide variety of Harry Potter-themed memorabilia available, including this Harry Potter version of the classic board game Clue.
Released by Hasbro in 2016 as a tribute to J.K Rowling’s series of books, Clue: Harry Potter Edition takes you to the wizarding world, where you can be your favorite character and solve the mystery revolving around Hogwarts.
As in the original Clue Game, your goal is to find the “who, what, and where” of the story—who disappeared, what spell was used, and where the crime was committed.
We highly recommend this version of Clue to college students because they likely grew up reading the books and watching the movies. Almost every kid (and most adults!) have dreamt of being Harry or Ron or Hermione, and this is your chance to do just that.
5. Ticket to Ride
There is one simple objective in this game, and that is to connect all the cities of North America by matching the train cards and connecting the railway routes. You earn points and come closer to victory with every city you connect and route you build. You also have destination tickets that can give you additional points if you complete certain missions.
When the game is over, the player with the longest path, the most completed goals, and the most connected cities wins. This means that, although the goal is simple, there are certain elements of the game that you still need to keep in mind.
Ticket to Ride is perfect for college friends who like to travel together. Of course, it’s also a perfect fit for those who don’t travel, but who love learning about the cities of North America. We also recommend it for those who want to experience a good mixture of luck and strategy in their gameplay.
6. Apples to Apples
If you are too tired to indulge in the heaviness of Cards Against Humanity, then Apples to Apples might be a great alternative. The self-declared “game of crazy combinations and hilarious comparisons,” this game has the same rules and concept as Cards Against Humanity, except that it is a bit more conventional and appropriate for younger players.
There is a judge for each round in this game, and the job of the judge is to provide the description on his card, then decide the winner once all the other players reveal their answer cards.
The game is very subjective, and your points will all depend on the judge’s tastes and preferences. But ultimately, the point of the game is to create funny combinations and laugh with your friends.
Apples to Apples is a light game—no heavy and deep critical thinking involved, no strategic planning needed. It’s all about fun, entertainment, and being able to produce hilarious combinations. We recommend it for students who want to escape the stress of college life and pressure for a while.
7. What Do You Meme?
Yet another wonderful card combination game, What Do You Meme? is perfect for the current generation of teens and college students. This is a card game that involves two of the highlights of the Internet age—memes and dark humor!
The rules are almost the same as Cards Against Humanity, except that the cards being matched are photos and captions. And just like in Cards Against Humanity, each round there is a judge who decides which player has the best “meme” combination.
Ultimately, everything boils down to each judge’s sense of humor. You need to tickle his sense of humor with your creative imagination in order to win the round.
8. Never Have I Ever
If you want to learn a few things about your friends, this is the game to do it. Never Have I Ever brings personal matters into the light, allowing you to learn fun—and sometimes, serious—facts about the people in your circle. Who knows—you might be able to build even deeper relationships.
The rules of the game are simple: Everyone gets a chance to pick a statement card, and all the other players should simply answer whether or not they have done what is written on the card. The more you admit to doing, the more you earn points.
Never Have I Ever is highly suitable for college freshmen, since it is a great way to meet new friends and build new relationships. However, you still need to be careful because some of the topics may be too sensitive for some people. If you are up for a “no judgment” type of conversation, then this card game is perfect.
9. The Game of Life
If you are looking for a board game that is not only fun, but also teaches valuable lessons, then we recommend The Game of Life.
In this game, you get the chance to make your own choices as you move around and proceed to the end. These choices include everything that you will be encountering in real life, like choosing a career, building a family, and achieving success.
Although the game is suitable for those who are eight years olds and above, we highly suggest it for teens and young adults. This is the time when you will be making hard choices like selecting your career path and picking the right circle of friends.
Ultimately, you can use this game to train yourself on how to make wise decisions as you become an adult.
The Game of Life is a family-friendly game from game-manufacturing giant Hasbro. You may need to be careful with your seller, as there are reports of imitated copies lurking around all over the Internet.
Final Thoughts on the Best Board Games for College Students
If you are a parent looking for the perfect gift for your child who just recently entered college, then this list is for you.
If you are a college student looking for new ways to spend quality time with your friends while taking a break from all the stresses of school, then this list is also for you.
We hope that, with this list, you will be able to determine which board games are best suited to your needs. Give them a try and experience the wonderful benefits of playing board games with your friends and family!
And if you're looking for more board games, be sure to check out these blog posts:
- 27 Best Cooperative Board Games to Enjoy Together
- 19 Best 6-Player Board Games
- 9 Best RPG (Role Playing) Board Games to Play