Chances are, you already have your favorites. Perhaps you prefer playing something deliciously complex yet straightforward, like Bananagrams. Maybe you’ve fully embraced the modern trend of tabletop board games that cater to millennials and tech-savvy gamers, such as Typo or Code Names. It’s fine if you fall somewhere between the two–but what about the giants on whose shoulders these games stand? In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the Greatest of the Greats. The popular puzzle games have challenged and entertained generations of players to the point that even tournament-level Scrabble players fondly remember them as being a part of their childhoods. This list contains classic games that have more than earned their status as fun, educational games that allow adults to exercise their intellectual muscle while indulging in a bit of casual competition.


We weren’t kidding when we mentioned ‘classic’ games–what’s more classic than a board game invented in 1877? The aim of the game is to collect as many words as possible, either by using new letters as they appear or by spotting anagrams and stealing their opponents’ words. It’s a fast-paced game, and fortunes can change right up to the end. Anagrams is as old as time and as chameleonic as it is generational. Its popularity has lasted for some time, so you’ve probably played Snatch or Scrabble Scoring Anagrams, both of which are reimplementations of Anagrams if you haven’t played Anagrams itself. 

Kings Cribbage

Cribbage is particularly popular for being fun for two players and being as intuitive for children just as much as adults. What makes King’s Cribbage one of the most popular board games for adults is it’s often seen as the middle child between Cribbage and Scrabble. The tiles resemble a standard deck of cards, except that there are only two suits (dark brown and light brown). Similar to Scrabble, you place the tiles on the board and try to make the highest Cribbage hand possible. King’s Cribbage is what happens when you take the relatively fast turnaround play style of Cribbage and combine it with the mathematical-linguistic precision of Scrabble. You get the popularity of both games with a spark of noteworthy innovation worthy of any player’s skills.


Originally published by Parker Brothers in 1988, Scattergories is a category-based party game that features creative thinking. It’s an egalitarian, communal exhibition that just so happens to be great for group gatherings and icebreakers. And let’s not forget the fact that Scattegories is popular enough to have been a fixture in most family homes for a lot of tournament-level Scrabble players. Every player fills out a category list in the game containing answers that begin with the same letter. If no other player matches your answers, you score points. It is a round-based game. A winner is declared after three rounds, and the game is restarted. That said, any regular player of Scattegories will soon come to realize there is a litigatory aspect to the game that’s hard to deny. Sometimes, you might just have to form a compelling argument about how your answers are more valid than the other players. A controversial facet of the game? Maybe, but knowing that your winning score is just an articulated perspective away does provide an intriguing dimension to any game.


One of the reasons Perquackey is a popular choice for many players is because of how it’s formulated–it’s designed for two or more players, aged seven and up. Teams can be formed for larger groups.  It probably doesn’t surprise you that the aim of Perquackey is to construct words from dice rolls. Each player rolls ten black dice, making sure at least one vowel is present. If one isn’t, then reroll. The timer is turned on, and you have to make a word out of the dice using at least three letters, say the word out loud, and then spell it out loud, too. The player left of you will write down your words. Even though the game is nearly 50 years old, it remains a unique twist on the word game format. Definitely, a game worth including in your friend game night.


And the coup de gras is, of course, Scrabble.  If you’re here on this website, then it’s to be assumed that you’re aware of Scrabble, its history, and how it’s played. But, on the off chance that you’re one of the uninitiated, then here’s a quick summary: Scrabble is a board game that involves taking random letters (each player gets 7 letters) and placing them on a board to form words and earn points. Strategy comes into play because certain board locations have bonus points if a letter or word is placed on them (double letter bonus, triple word bonus, etc.) It’s a game of language. Also, other players may build upon any word on the board. For example, if someone played the word “mast,” another player could add an “e” and an “r” to form the word “master” and earn more points.  Scrabble combines the best elements of mathematics, language, area control, and plain fun. Over the generations, it’s become a trusted source of friendly fun in addition to a thriving tournament-level circuit. Scrabble remains not only a cultural touchstone but THE most popular board game to date.  

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