The 10 Best 5-Player Board Games in 2021

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Our Top 3 Picks for the Best 5-Player Board Games

The best 5-player board games: Hasbro Risk Game
2nd choice
You can’t go wrong with a classic. Risk appeals to old and young, those who enjoy war-themed games and those who like exploration-based games, and everyone in between.
The best 5-player board games: Wingspan
Best overall
The combination of lovely, colorful artwork, cute, well-made playing pieces, opportunities for strategic play, and a delightfully unique bird theme make this game fun and appealing for everyone.
The Best 5-Player Board Games: Dead of Winter
3rd choice
Cooperative games are cool, fun, and require a surprising amount of strategy since you’re working alongside others instead of competing. Plus, Dead of Winter’s post-apocalyptic theme is on track with pop culture trends.

You’ve got the snacks ready, the table extended, and you’re ready for the big game night. When everyone arrives though, you realize that none of the board games in your collection are suitable for 5 players. What the heck?

There are plenty of board games out there that can accommodate 2 to 4 players, but if you have a family or group of friends larger than that, many fan-favorite games won’t work. But there ARE options! Whether you prefer cooperative games, card-based games, war-themed games, or classic tabletop games, you can find something perfect for your large group. Check out this list for the best 5-player board games on the market.

The Best 5-Player Board Games

10. Forbidden Desert

Fans of Forbidden Island and other cooperative games will enjoy this sequel, even though it plays quite differently. It’s a game of survival where players must work together to escape from a giant sandstorm by locating the pieces of a magical ship and putting them all together so they can fly away. 

The game board is made up of 24 tiles laid in a 5×5 grid — this leaves one space open for the “storm” card. At the end of each person’s turn, the storm card moves, adding elements of  urgency and unpredictability.

There’re six different roles players can take, all assigned randomly at the beginning of play: Navigator, Climber, Meteorologist, Archaeologist, Explorer, and Water Carrier. Each role comes with a specific card that has an indicator to measure their water levels — something that’s very important if you’re lost in a desert. On their turn, players can either move to an adjacent spot, remove sand tiles, “excavate” (flip over a card to reveal and use special tools), or pick up a part of the magical ship.

If anyone gets buried in sand or dies of thirst (loses all water), the game is lost. If all the ship’s parts are found and players return to the launchpad, you’ve won. As with most cooperative games, Forbidden Island is best when played with as many people as possible — more players mean more people to help build the ship.

Playing specs
  • 2-5 players
  • Playing time: 45mins
  • Recommended ages: 10 & up
  • Complexity: 2.05/5

9. Power Grid

Although this game focuses on providing power to cities in Germany and the USA (depending on which side of the board you use), there are available expansions that let you work with other countries. The board has various colored sections, and you can choose which sections or geographical areas you want to use/provide power for. This feature allows the game to be played differently each time.

There are also 8 different power plants available at any given time. These can be acquired through auctions that begin with the price indicated on the plant’s tile. Players are only allowed to have 4 plants at a time, but those plants can be upgraded. You use these plants to power the cities that you’ve settled, and the amount of money you make is determined by the number of cities you power.

Everyone works to collect resources: coal, uranium, trash, and oil. Different resources have different costs and replenishment rates that vary throughout the game, and you use these resources to fuel your power plants. Each power plant requires different types and amounts of fuel, so players must continually collect resources. 

Whoever powers the most cities and earns the most money wins the game, and victory becomes more difficult when you have more players. Playing with 5 people adds optimal competition and challenge to this game.

Playing specs
  • 2-6 players
  • Playing time: 120mins
  • Recommended ages: 12 & up
  • Complexity: 3.27/5

8. Puerto Rico

Players can experience the hard work and planning involved in establishing a new colony through playing Puerto Rico. Each person chooses one of the following roles: prospector, settler, builder, mayor, craftsman, trader or captain. Each role comes with certain perks, like gaining extra resources or making extra money somehow. Playing with 5 people means more of these roles are taken and therefore there are fewer choices for each player, but also more opportunities for trade, etc.

Players each have their own game board that features an area for plantations and one for a city. The city must be colonized, the plantations farmed, and goods shipped out. The buildings and plantations don’t do any good unless they’re manned by colonists though, so you need to make sure you have enough manpower. 

At the beginning of each round, everyone chooses a different role during each round of the game, takes the appropriate actions for that role, and then lets others take their actions too. The resulting actions include farming the plantations, storing the crops, exchanging the crops for “doubloons”, buying buildings, and shipping goods. Victory points are earned by shipping goods, owning buildings, and having a presence in particularly large buildings.

The game ends in one of three ways: there are no more colonists left to put on ships, no more victory point tokens left after shipping the goods, or when one player completely fills up their town. The player with the most victory points wins.

Playing specs
  • 3-5 players
  • Playing time: 90-150mins
  • Recommended ages: 12 & up
  • Complexity: 3.28/5

7. Monopoly

Families have been enjoying the competition of Monopoly for decades and it’s perfect for 5 players without each player having to wait an interminable amount of time for their next turn. The purpose of the game is to make the most amount of money by collecting properties and charging rent. Simply roll the dice, buy the property you land on, or pay rent to its current owner. The more people participating, the more opportunities you have for earning rental income from them.

Properties are color-coded into groups of two or three, and if you own all in a group, then the rent goes up. You can also increase the rent by purchasing and placing tiny houses and hotels on each property. If your competitors are paying out more in rent than they’re receiving, they’ll go bankrupt. The last player standing with money in their hands is the winner.

Not only is Monopoly a great game for family members of all ages, it’s available in multiple versions. Besides versions especially for kids, there are many special editions to suit your pop culture interests, including Lord of the Rings, Pixar, and various Disney-themed options.

Playing specs
  • 2-8 players
  • Playing time: 60-180mins
  • Recommended ages: 8 & up
  • Complexity: 1.65/5

6. Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride is a game of imaginary travel on a board that lays out a lovely map of the USA. Players work to complete railway routes, some longer and more profitable than others. You can also get extra points for having the longest uninterrupted route, and completing multiple routes can help your score too. However, your competitors may use parts of the track that you need. Playing with five players ups the challenge and makes it particularly difficult to claim your desired routes.

Players begin with four colored train cards but are able to collect more at the beginning of each turn. They can either choose two of the four visible colored cards or can blindly take two from the deck. Sometimes you’ll find a wild card that can act as whatever color you assign to it. Really, the toughest aspect of this game is deciding whether to try for many short routes or just a few longer ones. You don’t want to get caught with unfinished routes!

Moving the colored tokens along the numbers outlining the game board helps to keep score as you go. Extra points can be earned by collecting special cards. Whoever has the most points is the winner.

Playing specs
  • 2-5 players
  • Playing time: 30-60mins
  • Recommended ages: 8 & up
  • Complexity: 1.85/5

5. Mysterium

Mysterium is a cooperative game involving ghosts and psychic investigators. Technically, it’s an asymmetrical cooperative game, which means one person plays the ghost and everyone else works to solve the crime. Since everyone works together to solve the mystery, playing with 5 or more players is especially helpful.

The ghost player has a tri-fold board set up in front of them to act as a screen. On the inside of the screen, where only the ghost can see, are pockets where they place the character, location, and weapon cards for each player. Each player has their own crime to solve and so the ghost has as many sets of character, location, and weapon card sets as there are players.

Players begin by inspecting their dream card for clues, trying to decide which of the character cards it relates to. Each player puts their token on the character card they’ve decided upon, and the ghost lets them know whether they’re correct. If they chose correctly, they can advance and study their next dream cards in relation to the available locations, trying to decipher where the crime took place. These steps are repeated and then players move on to determine the weapon. 

After 7 rounds, the ghost then secretly chooses the three that are the correct solution to the crime. Using more dream card clues, players vote individually for the cards they believe explain the murder. The ghost reveals who, if anyone, was correct with their guesses, and the game is over. If one player guesses correctly, everyone wins. Otherwise, everyone loses.

Playing specs
  • 2-7 players
  • Playing time: 45mins
  • Recommended ages: 10 & up
  • Complexity: 1.91/5

4. Carcassonne

If you’re looking for a game that’s easy to learn and easy to play, Carcassonne is the perfect choice. Players take turns placing tiles to create a map and settle this area of France. Each tile has either part of a road, city, cloister, or farm that can connect to other pieces and create a full landscape. The more players there are in a game, the more complex the map becomes. It becomes a challenge to predict what piece and where your opponents will play next.

Each player’s turn means laying a tile and possibly placing a meeple (playing piece) on that tile. There are often opportunities to connect your road, city, or farm to another player’s, which means the resulting points are then shared. With most meeple placements, you get the meeple back once the city, road, or cloister is finished being built. Farms are different though, and your meeple remains on the board for the entirety of the game. This adds an especially strategic aspect to the placement of farmer meeples. 

Depending on where you place your game piece, you could earn immediate points, possible points later in the game, or not earn the points until the game is over. Either way, whoever earns the most points wins.

Playing specs
  • 2-5 players
  • Playing time: 30-45mins
  • Recommended ages: 7 & up
  • Complexity: 1.91/5

3. Dead of Winter

Dead of Winter
Dead of Winter
Cooperative games are cool, fun, and require a surprising amount of strategy since you’re working alongside others instead of competing. Plus, Dead of Winter’s post-apocalyptic theme is on track with pop culture trends.

Described as a “meta-cooperative game”, Dead of Winter allows players to work towards a common goal while also pursuing an individual goal. Your colony of apocalyptic survivors must fight against the harsh winter, zombie attacks, and dangerous, exiled colonists while also keeping an eye open for possible imposters.

In very simple terms, all participants must work together as a group to ensure the colony’s survival, and this is more easily achieved when you have more people participating. Gaming with 5 players is great for the cooperative aspects of this game.

To begin, a public goal is mutually decided on, but each player also receives a secret objective. Someone might have a personal goal requiring them to destroy the colony, so be on the lookout for traitors! If they succeed in destroying the colony before the group manages to achieve the greater goal, the game ends and the traitor wins. Also, morale must be kept up! If it gets too low, the game will end.

It’s possible to end this game and have everyone win, but it’s equally possible that nobody wins or even just a couple of people winning and others losing. This is what makes it unique among other similar cooperative games.

Playing specs
  • 2-5 players
  • Playing time: 60-120mins
  • Recommended ages: 13 & up
  • Complexity: 3.02/5

2. Risk

Hasbro Risk Game
Hasbro Risk Game
You can’t go wrong with a classic. Risk appeals to old and young, those who enjoy war-themed games and those who like exploration-based games, and everyone in between.

Risk is a classic board game that families have been enjoying for decades, and it’s still just as simple and fun as it’s always been. Racing to conquer the world with tiny army men is an activity that all ages can get behind.

Players begin choosing color-specific pieces and take turns placing their infantry on unoccupied territories across the board until all territories are covered. After distributing the remainder of your pieces around the territories you own, you fight to overtake other players’ territories.

You get new troops each turn and these can be used to attack a neighboring territory or one that’s connected by a sea line. Roll some dice, do “battle”, and watch the loser reclaim their troop pieces. You can reorganize your troops at the end of each turn.

As with most war or exploration-themed games, playing with more people makes everything more challenging. Having 5 people to battle and conquer means you’ll need to be more strategic with your play. As soon as one player has no troops left on the map, they are out of the game. When all but one player is left, the remaining player is the champion.

Playing specs
  • 2-6 players
  • Playing time: 120mins
  • Recommended ages: 10 & up
  • Complexity: 2.08/5

1. Wingspan

Wingspan Board Game
The combination of lovely, colorful artwork, cute, well-made playing pieces, opportunities for strategic play, and a delightfully unique bird theme make this game fun and appealing for everyone.

Wingspan is a card game, but what makes it special is its beautiful bird-themed artwork. Each card features an individual bird with details about its nesting, eating, and egg-laying habits. These cards are collected and laid on the board in front of each player, paid for with food tokens acquired from an adorable birdhouse prop.

As well as their bird cards, players also have cards listing secret goals that will result in extra points. These goals include tasks like collecting birds whose names include colors, or laying eggs on birds that only live in the grasslands, etc. There are also goals set for each individual round and all players can pursue these to earn extra points. These round goals include things like playing the most birds that make nests from sticks, or accumulating eggs on birds who live in tree nests.

Points are earned by playing bird cards (each bird has a specific point value), adding eggs to those bird cards, meeting the round’s goal, and meeting your personal goal. The points are accumulated and noted after each round, and four rounds ends the game. A 5-player game makes the competition level of this game rise to an exciting level.

Playing specs
  • 1-5 players
  • Playing time: 40-70mins
  • Recommended ages: 10 & up
  • Complexity: 2.42/5

Final thoughts

As you can see, there are some pretty incredible games that work exceptionally well with 5 players. Some will have you colonizing new lands or fighting off zombies while others involve fighting for world domination or learning about rare birds. Whatever your favorite genre, there is definitely a game on this best 5-player board games list to make everyone in your group happy.

For more on the best multi-player board games, check out the best 3-player board games!

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