Top Strategy Board Games for Teens
These strategy board games for teens are fun, yet challenging and make excellent game choices for older kids.
There are all kinds of board games on the market, and it’s important to fill your closet with a wide variety of styles. That way, no matter what type of game you’re in the mood to play, you have one to pull out.
One of our favorite genres is strategy. This differs from most of the well-known games because it relies on a player’s decision-making skills rather than luck. While there is some chance involved in all games, these are won primarily through strategy.
Here are some of our favorite games for older kids that focus heavily on strategic thinking.
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Strategy Board Games for Teens
Because strategy games rely on decision making and flexibility, they can often be quite complex in their rules and game play. I’ve tried to choose ones that have a shorter learning curve, so you can get started playing as quickly as possible.
Many of these games are thought of as strategy gateway games, meaning they’re a bit easier to pick up. Playing one of these together is a great way to introduce your kids to this style of game. Then, as their interest in the genre grows and they get better at strategizing, you can move on to more complex titles.
How to Choose a Game
So, you’re ready to play a game and you want to choose something that requires more thought than luck. What now? How do you know which board game to choose?
There are a couple of things to keep in mind as you make your decision. Do you want to play as an individual, making your own decisions or cooperatively, where everyone works together to succeed?
You’ll also need to think about the style of game you’d like to play.
A few of them include:
- tile laying – players lay down individual tiles during their turn, creating the actual game board as they go
- war and military – competitors attempt to overthrow each other and control land with their army and brilliant military strategy
- resource management – also known as Euro-style games and while playing, everyone battles over limited resources, trying to gather the most in order to build up their own empire
I love playing strategy board games with my kids. They’re a ton of fun and different every time we play. This makes their replay factor quite high, a valuable factor in a game.
Plus, they’re an engaging way to work on valuable life skills like flexibility, problem solving, and communication.
Best Strategic Thinking Games for Teens and Adults
If you’re wanting to play a game where your chances of winning depend heavily on your decision-making skills, here are some of our favorites.
Not only will your tweens and teens enjoy them, adults will also find them interesting and challenging, so you can easily add them to your next family game night.
Pandemic is one of the best cooperative strategy games for tweens and teens. Disease is spreading across the globe and players must rush to stop it before it's too late.
You must build a strategy and work together because every round brings a chance of more outbreaks.
If your family loves Disney, you'll definitely want to add this strategy game to your list. Players spend the game as different Disney characters, battling the forces of good to become the best villain.
Strategize, sabotage, and let your evil side out while racing to complete your character's objectives before everyone else.
Ticket To Ride
The goal of Ticket to Ride is to gain the most points by building routes with your trains to connect two cities. There's a ton of strategy involved though.
Should you try to lay down a bunch of smaller routes, choose a coast-to-coast one, or spend time sabotaging other players' track? Only you can decide what's the best approach for you.
Already a Ticket to Ride expert? Try your hand at one of the many other versions available.
Photosynthesis Board Game
In Photosynthesis, players earn points by taking trees from seedlings to full growth. In order for your trees to grow, you must plant them in spots on the board so they'll gain the most sunlight.
There's only so much light to go around, so your tree might block someone else's trees from gaining enough light to mature.
You'll need to decide whether you'll try to quickly grow your trees, cut off the sun's rays from other players, or a combination of the two in your quest to build the biggest forest.
And because the sun rotates around the board, you'll constantly have to strategize to absorb the most light.
Catan Settlers of America
This is a version of the popular strategy game Catan.
Players use the hex-style grid to lay claim to the land in the United States. Strategically head west, setting up settlements along the way while laying tracks so trains can deliver supplies to the town.
You'll have to stay focused though because players may settle an area you were looking at. Also, as players move into unclaimed land in the west, the supplies start to deplete for those still trying to build in the east.
As the mayor of a tiny town, you're trying to gather as many resources as you can to build up your grid. But there's only so many supplies to go around, so your plans are constantly being thwarted by other players.
Buildings must be placed strategically, giving this game a puzzle-like feel.
Monopoly is a classic strategy game. What adult doesn't remember all night Monopoly marathons?
The goal is to end the game with the most money, but there are a bunch of different ways to accomplish this. Will you go for the high value properties or snatch up as many smaller squares as you can?
Only you can choose the path you'll take toward building your fortune.
Carcassonne Board Game
During this tile-laying game, players build a medieval landscape by placing 71 different tiles down adjacent to one another. You must play the tiles in a way so elements continue, like roads, fields, and cities.
As the board appears, you'll need to strategically place your "meeples" on tiles in order to earn the most points.
Players step into Europe during the Renaissance as a merchant, trying to gain prestige in order to impress the nobles.
You'll strategically vie for gem mines, acquire and sell precious jewels, use trade routes to purchase sailing vessels, and do whatever you can to improve your business.
Qwirkle Board Game
Qwirkle is a color-tile laying game where players try to match colors and shapes. But it's not as simple as it sounds.
You'll need to use a solid strategy to find opportunities to place tiles in a place that gains maximum points.
King of Tokyo
During the game you'll play as monsters, aliens, and robots, all trying to gain control over Tokyo.
As part of your turn, you have the option to heal yourself, attack other players, go on a rampage, or improve your monster.
The player who reaches 20 victory points or ends the game with any health left, wins, so you'll need to be strategic in the actions you take throughout the game.
As you can see, there are all kinds of great strategy games available that tweens and teens will enjoy playing. Hopefully, you’re inspired to add some to your game closet.
It’s time to see who can out strategize everyone else.
Other Fun Board Games
Most games include some level of strategy, so even if you don’t want to play a strategy-based game, teens will still get to work on their decision-making skills with these titles.
- These 6 are perfect for your next family game night. Risk is one of them and a classic strategy game for older kids and adults.
- Number rings takes some thought as you try to decide which rings to cover during your turn.