During our Wingspan giveaway, we asked for your go-to game for 3-5 players. More than 2,500 of you responded. Let’s look at the top games, each mentioned 30 times or more.
Wingspan has a player count (1-5) and a playing time (40-70 mins) that many people can comfortably get to the table. Published by Stonemaier Games, it also has fantastic art and lots of custom components. Read more about it in our review here.
Betrayal at House on the Hill
Betrayal at House on the Hill plays 3-6 players in about an hour. As you play, you build the house that you are exploring. One of your fellow players will betray you, and you must use all of your skills to survive.
Century: Spice Road
Century: Spice Road is part of the Century series, each set in different centuries and focusing on the the major trading systems and routes of that era. It plays 2-5 players in 30-45 minutes.
Pandemic is a cooperative game, where everyone wins or loses together. Your team travels around the world working to discover cures for four diseases. Designed by Matt Leacock, it has inspired legacy versions, and historical versions such as Pandemic: Iberia.
Concordia is a peaceful strategy game of economic development for 2-5 players. Designed by Mac Gerdts, it relies on how you manage the cards in your hand. Each player starts with the same set of cards, and can add to them throughout the game. But take too many cards, and it may be too hard to get the card you need.
Viticulture is another game published by Stonemaier Games. Players must develop their vineyards and produce wine. It is a worker placement game for up to 6 players that plays in around 90 minutes.
Carcassonne was the winner of the 2001 Spiel des Jahres, and can be considered a ‘modern classic’ with such games as Catan and Ticket to Ride. It is a tile-laying game for 2-5 players that plays in about 45 minutes. Players score points by developing the playing area, then placing their followers in the cities, cloisters, and fields, and on the roads.
Catan is a game of building on strategic spots to gain resources, and trading for (or stealing!) the rest of what you need. First published in 1995, it’s still going strong. Recent re-themes include Star Trek and A Game of Thrones.
Lords of Waterdeep
Lords of Waterdeep is a worker placement game set in the Dungeons & Dragons universe. Through your agents, you recruit adventurers to go on quests on your behalf, earning rewards and increasing your influence over the city.
And here we had a big jump, with an almost 50% increase in responses:
7 Wonders is a game of card drafting, where players build a hand of cards by selecting a card and then passing the rest to the next player. Cards give players a benefit, such as a discount on building a future card, increasing military strength, or providing victory points. It plays up to 7 players in about half an hour.
And another big jump, with an even larger gap than the last:
Ticket to Ride
Ticket to Ride was first published 15 years ago and won the 2004 Spiel des Jahres. It has since sold over 5 million copies. It’s easy to teach, has both a family-friendly theme and strategy, and plays 2-5 players in about an hour. Players choose train cards to build routes across the map to score points.
Number two on our list is yet another game by Stonemaier Games:
Scythe is one of the longer and more complex games on this list, but that hasn’t stopped people from playing it a lot. It’s a competitive 4X game set in an alternate history 1920s where players compete to gain fame and fortune by establishing their empire.
And the number one go-to game for 3-5 players is:
Terraforming Mars was a Kennerspiel des Jahres Nominee in 2017, and is currently ranked #3 on BGG. Players control corporations that are working to raise the temperature, oxygen level, and ocean coverage until the environment is habitable. When the three global parameters (temperature, oxygen, ocean) have all reached their goal, the terraforming is complete and the player with the most victory points wins.
More games, and a graph
30 or more responses made for a manageable list, but plenty of great games were mentioned.