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Best strategy board games for four players

Your gaming group consists of four players and after the previous posts you want to know which are the best strategy board games for four players?

So I went through the top 50 strategy board games on boardgamegeek and made a list of the best games for four players. There are good news, the list of games that play best with four players is by far the longest, namely 24.

To game designers and publishers

Make games that play best with another player number than four and you might have good chances to stand out. There are very few strategy games among the top 50 strategy board games on boardgamegeek that play best with two, five and six players.

For this list I added the weight from boardgamegeek that indicates how complex a game is. The higher the value, the more complex the game. I also added a column for the ratio of weight*100 divided by the average playing time to show which games are fairly complex for their playing time. The heavier the game the more strategic it tends to be and often heavier game also offer more replayablity. However, there is good and bad complexity in game design. A game of chess can be played in minutes and can still be very deep. The reason is that the rules are very easy, it can be taught in three minutes. So I assume the higher the mentioned ratio the better because it is an indicator of “good” complexity, namely of games that pack a lot of deepness into a short playing time.

Best strategy board games for four players sorted by BGG rank

Game BGG Rank Playing Time Weight Weight/Playing time
1 Pandemic Legacy 2 60 2,80 4,67
2 Terra Mystica 3 60-150 3,90 3,71
3 Caverna: The Cave Farmers 4 30-210 3,80 3,17
4 Puerto Rico 6 90-150 3,30 2,75
5 Agricola  7 30 − 150 3,60 4,00
6 Brass 11 120 − 180 3,90 2,60
7 Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar 14 90 3,60 4,00
8 Keyflower 15  90 − 120 3,30 3,14
9 7 Wonders 17 30 2,30 7,67
10 Dominant Species  18 120 − 240 4,00 2,22
11 Trajan 24 90 3,60 4,00
12 Lords of Waterdeep 25 60-120 2,50 2,78
13 Russian Railroads  26 90-120 3,40 3,24
14 Tigris & Euphrates 28 90 3,50 3,89
15 Concordia 29 100 3,20 3,20
16 Castles of Mad King Ludwig 33 90 2,70 3,00
17 The Voyages of Marco Polo 36 40-100 3,20 4,57
18 Alchemists 37 120 3,70 3,08
19 Steam  39 90 3,50 3,89
20 Goa 40 90 3,40 3,78
21 Age of Steam 43 120 3,90 3,25
22 Stone Age 44 60-90 2,50 3,33
23 Chaos in the Old World  48 60-120 3,10 3,44
24 Pandemic  49 45 2,40 5,33
Pandemic Legacy

Pandemic Legacy, immensely popular on BGG

It is amazing to see how fast Pandemic Legacy climbed the BGG ranking. It was released in 2015 and already tops this list!

The next list will be even more interesting.

 

 

Best strategy board games for four players sorted by weight

Game BGG Rank Playing Time Weight Weight/Playing time
7 Wonders 17 30 2,30 7,67
Pandemic  49 45 2,40 5,33
Lords of Waterdeep 25 60-120 2,50 2,78
Stone Age 44 60-90 2,50 3,33
Castles of Mad King Ludwig 33 90 2,70 3,00
Pandemic Legacy 2 60 2,80 4,67
Chaos in the Old World  48 60-120 3,10 3,44
Concordia 29 100 3,20 3,20
The Voyages of Marco Polo 36 40-100 3,20 4,57
Puerto Rico 6 90-150 3,30 2,75
Keyflower 15  90 − 120 3,30 3,14
Russian Railroads  26 90-120 3,40 3,24
Goa 40 90 3,40 3,78
Tigris & Euphrates 28 90 3,50 3,89
Steam  39 90 3,50 3,89
Agricola  7 30 − 150 3,60 4,00
Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar 14 90 3,60 4,00
Trajan 24 90 3,60 4,00
Alchemists 37 120 3,70 3,08
Caverna: The Cave Farmers 4 30-210 3,80 3,17
Terra Mystica 3 60-150 3,90 3,71
Brass 11 120 − 180 3,90 2,60
Age of Steam 43 120 3,90 3,25
Dominant Species  18 120 − 240 4,00 2,22

If you have little time but still crave for burning some neurons , 7 Wonders is a very good choice. It is so fast because players select actions simultaneously. It even plays fast with seven players. The fact that you can play 7 Wonders so fast and with up to seven players offers very good value for the money because it probably will hit the table very often.

Terra Mystica Strategy Game

Terra Mystica, Strategy Game with extremely high replayability

Among the long games by far the best by BGG rank are Terra Mystica and Caverna. Both are really good. I did reviews on both games, check out why I personally prefer Terra Mystica over Caverna: The Cave.

 

 

 

 

Best strategy board games for four players sorted by weight/playing time ratio

Game BGG Rank Playing Time Weight Weight/Playing time
7 Wonders 17 30 2,30 7,67
Pandemic  49 45 2,40 5,33
Pandemic Legacy 2 60 2,80 4,67
The Voyages of Marco Polo 36 40-100 3,20 4,57
Agricola  7 30 − 150 3,60 4,00
Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar 14 90 3,60 4,00
Trajan 24 90 3,60 4,00
Tigris & Euphrates 28 90 3,50 3,89
Steam  39 90 3,50 3,89
Goa 40 90 3,40 3,78
Terra Mystica 3 60-150 3,90 3,71
Chaos in the Old World  48 60-120 3,10 3,44
Stone Age 44 60-90 2,50 3,33
Age of Steam 43 120 3,90 3,25
Russian Railroads  26 90-120 3,40 3,24
Concordia 29 100 3,20 3,20
Caverna: The Cave Farmers 4 30-210 3,80 3,17
Keyflower 15  90 − 120 3,30 3,14
Alchemists 37 120 3,70 3,08
Castles of Mad King Ludwig 33 90 2,70 3,00
Lords of Waterdeep 25 60-120 2,50 2,78
Puerto Rico 6 90-150 3,30 2,75
Brass 11 120 − 180 3,90 2,60
Dominant Species  18 120 − 240 4,00 2,22
Board Game 7 Wonders

7 Wonders, popular among strategy and family gamers alike

7 Wonders again tops the list, followed by Pandemic and Pandemic Legacy. 7 Wonders even tops the family game ranking on boardgamegeek, so it manages to appeal to strategy gamers and families alike! Pandemic Legacy is immensely popular and has a very good weight to playing time ratio. I already love Pandemic (check out my review if you understand German) but now I really crave to get Pandemic Legacy! It is so special because one plays several campaigns and the result of one campaign changes the next campaign and so on. There is so much more at stake than simply winning a campaign and one is very curious what will happen in the next campaign.

 

 

The Voyages of Marco Polo

The Voyages of Marco Polo, relatively light new strategy game with high replayability

Among the games that are a bit heavier The Voyages of Marco Polo has the best weight/playing time ratio (review). It is followed by four games that are even heavier but have a reasonable playing time: Agricola Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar and Trajan.

At the bottom of the list is Dominant Species. While it is just a tad more complex than Terra Mystica for instance the playing time is much longer.

I hope you find this post interesting and it helps you to decide which strategy board game to play/buy next. I really enjoyed writing this up because it shed light on some games that I am craving to try now!

What do you think why so many games play best with four players? Do you think most games are intentionally designed to be best with four players? Or do you think the cause is rather that most gamers prefer to play in groups of four and games that don’t play well with four players might have a lower chance of being popular in the first place?

In the next posts I will show which strategy games play best with five and six players.

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