Best 8 Player Board Games [Top 14 to Play in 2020]

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Featured image credit: JIP / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

From family reunions to a bunch of friends getting together, there’s really no better time to pull out your favorite party games than with a big group. But if you have more than six eager participants, it can be hard to find a board game that accommodates everyone.

For eight players, there’s really no better all-around party game than Coup: Reformation. You’ll still need the original version of Coup, but you can play with up to ten people and gain access to several new character cards with the expansion.

Of course, this is just one example of the best eight-player board games currently available to play right now.

Our Top Picks
Best Overall
Coup Reformation (An Expansion)
Best for Team Building
Captain Sonar
Best Classic Option
Czech Games Codenames
Name
Coup: Reformation
Captain Sonar
Codenames
Features
This Coup expansion invites more players to the table with a team mechanic and brand new character cards.
Work closely with teammates to navigate, repair, and arm your submarine before the opposing team sends it to the ocean floor.
Choose your words carefully or you may just lead your fellow spies into an assassin’s deadly trap.
Best Overall
Our Top Picks
Coup Reformation (An Expansion)
Name
Coup: Reformation
Features
This Coup expansion invites more players to the table with a team mechanic and brand new character cards.
More Info
Best for Team Building
Our Top Picks
Captain Sonar
Name
Captain Sonar
Features
Work closely with teammates to navigate, repair, and arm your submarine before the opposing team sends it to the ocean floor.
More Info
Best Classic Option
Our Top Picks
Czech Games Codenames
Name
Codenames
Features
Choose your words carefully or you may just lead your fellow spies into an assassin’s deadly trap.
More Info

Related post: Best 3-Player Board Games [Top 15 in 2020]

Best 8 Player Board Games for Large Groups

Best Overall – Coup: Reformation

Best Overall
Coup: Reformation
This Coup expansion invites more players to the table with a team mechanic and brand new character cards.

If you love Coup but have a few too many people at your table, Coup: Reformation is the perfect solution. This expansion pack allows for up to ten players, but you will need a copy of the original game to play.

In Coup: Reformation, each player starts with two secret characters. These characters grant special abilities throughout the game. No one else knows which characters you control, meaning bluffing is an entirely fair game. If another player calls your bluff and is correct, you lose a character. Lose both characters and you’re out of the game.

While the gameplay is nearly identical between the two versions, Coup: Reformation does split the table into two opposing teams. Once one team is eliminated, the surviving team members turn against each other until only a single winner remains. There is also a new card, the Inquisitor, which adds a fun new dimension to Coup gameplay.

Best for Team Building – Captain Sonar

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Best for Team Building
Captain Sonar
Work closely with teammates to navigate, repair, and arm your submarine before the opposing team sends it to the ocean floor.

Battleship has had an upgrade, and it’s called Captain Sonar. In this game, up to eight players are split into two teams. Each team operates a high-tech submarine and must take on the roles of Captain, Chief Mate, Engineer, and Radio Operator.

Just like in a real submarine, team members must communicate and work together to keep their watercraft running. If one player drops the ball or makes the wrong decision, everyone pays the price. None of this collaboration is a secret, as each team’s Radio Operator tries to eavesdrop and keep track of the other’s movements.

Captain Sonar is unique in that it has two game modes. In turn-by-turn gameplay, each team member makes decisions and completes necessary tasks before the next can go. In simultaneous gameplay, the entire crew plays at the same time. Most fans agree that simultaneous play is the most fun.

Best Budget Option – Codenames

Sale
Best Budget Option
Codenames
Choose your words carefully or you may just lead your fellow spies into an assassin’s deadly trap.

One of the best uses of word association as a mechanic is in the party game Codenames. This team-based game can fit up to eight people, two of which act as Spymasters. Don’t worry… games are quick so everyone can try out different roles!

Codenames utilize a single grid of cards everyone can see, each bearing a word. Only the Spymaster knows which of these words belong to allies and which belong to the opposing team. To complicate things even further, one word belongs to an assassin and must be avoided at all costs.

During their turn, the Spymaster chooses a single word to describe their team’s ally cards. Team members then work together to choose the right cards and reveal their allies. The first team to find all their allies wins, but revealing the assassin means “Game Over.”

For Kids 8 Years+

Best Ultra-Fast Gameplay – One Night Ultimate Werewolf

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Best Ultra-Fast Gameplay
One Night Ultimate Werewolf
Villagers hunt for the werewolf living among them in this game that takes just ten minutes to play.

Games of deduction are a top choice for big groups but can be a challenge for younger children to understand. One Night Ultimate Werewolf is a fun, simple game that takes only ten minutes to play, making it a great option for players who have never played deductive board games before.

To start, each player is assigned a specific role. These roles can range from normal Villagers to special characters like the Troublemaker, who can secretly swap players’ cards while everyone has their eyes closed. The most important role, however, is the Werewolf.

During the Night phase, all players close their eyes while special characters (like the Troublemaker) take turns completing their tasks. Once these tasks are complete, the Day phase begins. Players work together to vote out the Werewolf, but may not look at their own role card again. After all, a mysterious force may have secretly swapped that role in the Night.

Most Beautiful Game Design – Tsuro

Most Beautiful Game Design
Tsuro
Avoid collisions and dead-end paths to be the last dragon left flying in this tile-placing game.

Don’t be fooled by its intricate board! Tsuro is quick-to-play, easy-to-learn, and, most importantly, super fun. With each game lasting less than 20 minutes on average, players must maneuver around each other to be the last flying dragon left in the sky.

The gorgeous game board consists of a grid and interchangeable tiles that players take turns laying down. Each tile bears intersecting flight paths and the dragons must follow the path in front of them to completion. If this path sends your dragon flying off the board’s edge or crashing into another player’s dragon, you’re out of the game.

To win a game of Tsuro, you can’t just think about where your own dragon is heading. Often, sabotaging other dragons is the only way to succeed, especially as you creep closer and closer to the board’s edge.

Best for Young Players – Sushi Go Party!

Best for Young Players
Sushi Go Party!
Match yummy sushi rolls to score big points in this fast-paced, charming card game.

For lovers of all things cute, Sushi Go Party! is a light-hearted game with adorable card illustrations. Unlike normal Sushi Go!, up to eight players can play. This version also adds a score-tracking board and “a la carte” cards to spice up the original game deck.

Players must create sets from the cards in their hand… but there’s a catch. After choosing a single card to keep, each player passes their hand clockwise (the game’s designers based this mechanic on the conveyor belt found in many sushi restaurants).

Because there are so many different sushi types and combos, you can choose from a wide range of strategies. If you have a hunch which cards your opponents are trying to collect, you can even try to thwart their efforts. At its core, Sushi Go Party! is quick and easy, making it an excellent introductory strategy game for younger children.

Best for Groups of 8+ – Dixit: Odyssey

Best for Groups of 8+
Dixit: Odyssey
Enjoy all the fun of classic Dixit with up to 12 players in this card-guessing party game.

Based on the original Dixit, Dixit: Odyssey is a standalone version of the game that allows for up to 12 people. Dixit: Odyssey is a lot like playing other party games like Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity. But there is a twist.

On your turn, you choose a card from your hand and briefly describe the image on it. Each other player then lays down a card from their own hand they believe best matches your description. All the cards are then secretly mixed up and revealed so the other players can guess which card belonged to the describer.

Here’s where things get tricky, though. If no one picks the right card, the describing player gets zero points while everyone else gains two. The same is true if everyone guesses the right card. So to earn enough points to snag victory, you must be extremely careful with your words.

For Tweens 10 Years+

Best for Disney Fanatics – Villainous

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Best for Disney Fanatics
Villainous
Aid your favorite Disney villains on a quest for their own version of happily ever after.

Once in a great while, a board game comes along that introduces a brand new group of players to the world of tabletop gaming. For many modern fairytale fans, Disney Villainous was that game. Although the core set only accommodates six players, any expansion provides enough bad guys for up to nine people.

The entire premise of Disney Villainous is that our favorite animated villains are finally going to get what they’ve always dreamed of. Since each villain wants something different, each player sets out with a different goal. For Ursula, this means beating King Triton. But for King John, it means collecting 20 Power tokens.

Players reach these goals by playing cards that either help their villain or hinder others. Winning Disney Villainous requires a ton of strategy, especially since your opponents can sabotage your plans at any time.

For Tweens 12 Years+

Best for Laugh-Out-Loud Fun – Telestrations

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Best for Fun
Telestrations
Watch as hilarious miscommunication turns even the best drawings into unrecognizable works of art.

Like Pictionary but much, much funnier, Telestrations is an excellent party game for groups of eight. Inspired by the classic camp game of Telephone, Telestrations takes simple drawings and turns them into hilarious misunderstandings by the time it’s over.

To play, each player starts out with a mini whiteboard booklet and a prompt for what to draw. Once done, they pass the drawing to the next person, who writes down the word they think inspired the drawing. The next person then draws something based on this new word, and so on.

After the whiteboards have returned to the original owners, everyone flips through and watches as most prompts twist and morph into something entirely different. Telestrations is more about laughing with friends and family than winning the game, but players do earn points for correct guesses and accurate drawings.

Best Game with Expansions – Cosmic Encounter

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Best Game with Expansions
Cosmic Encounter
Discover new alien races and add more players with three exciting Cosmic Encounter expansions.

Sci-fi fans can explore the galaxy and discover quirky alien races in the strategy game Cosmic Encounter. While this might seem like a simplified area control game, the world-building and sense of humor built into this title is unmatched.

In Cosmic Encounter, players engage in intergalactic battles and negotiations in a bid to control more foreign planets than their opponents. Each player leads an alien race with a special ability, some of which are stranger than others. For example, one race loses the game if it wins but wins the game if it loses.

Before you add this game to your collection, keep in mind that three separate expansion packs are required to play with eight people. The expansions you’ll need include Cosmic Alliance, Cosmic Conflict, and Cosmic Incursion. Other expansions do exist but don’t include pieces for extra players.

For Teens 13 Years+

Best Social Deduction Game – Secret Hitler

Best Social Deduction Game
Secret Hitler
This challenging social deduction game pits liberals against fascists in an underhanded struggle for political power.

Since its release in 2016, Secret Hitler has held strong as one of the most popular board games for larger groups. In this game, players must use deduction to stop Hitler from taking power in 1930s Germany. Each player is secretly assigned the role of liberal, fascist, or Hitler himself.

Each turn, one player acts as President and selects another player to elect as Chancellor. The rest of the group votes on this appointment. If the appointment is struck down, the turn ends and the role of President is passed on. But if the Chancellor is elected, they work with the President to enact policies that will either help or hinder Hitler’s rise to power.

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Like most secret role-based board games, the fascists reveal themselves to each other while the other players’ eyes are closed. During this phase, the person playing Hitler gives a thumbs-up but with their eyes still closed. They have no idea who their loyal supporters are throughout the game.

Best for Amateur Sleuths – Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective

Best for Amateur Sleuths
Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective
Are you as smart as Sherlock Holmes? Use the available clues (and your own deduction skills) to find out.

In Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective, there is no board, deck of cards, or dice. Instead, players will use written interviews, a map of London, fake newspapers, and other leads to solve cases. Each case takes about one or two hours to complete and can be played with as many people as seen fit.

Since this game relies on discussion and critical thinking to solve the case, playing with a large group can be a great asset. Once players believe they have the solution, they may open the answer envelope. The ultimate goal is to solve the case using fewer clues than Sherlock Holmes. But most of the time, just getting the right answer is challenge enough!

If you and your gaming group love the thrill of assisting Mr. Holmes, there are multiple standalone versions of this game. The gameplay is pretty much identical and there’s no overarching narrative across versions, so it doesn’t matter which box you decide to pick up first.

Best Gothic Horror – Elder Sign

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Best Gothic Horror
Elder Sign
Roll the dice to determine the world’s fate at the hands of Lovecraftian horrors.

For fans of horror and the macabre, look no further. Elder Sign is a (relatively speaking) light-hearted cooperative, dice-rolling game. In it, up to eight players take on the unfortunate task of closing interdimensional portals and stopping Lovecraftian creatures in their tracks. While there’s a good chance your characters will fail, at least you’ll have fun while doing it.

Battling your way through Elder Sign is based entirely on dice rolls. Fortunately, there are plenty of strategies at your disposal to improve your odds. Each character also offers a special ability. In tight situations, these can easily be the difference between closing a rift between dimensions or allowing mankind to crumble.

Although Elder Sign is based on classic horror fiction, the game itself isn’t super dark. Still, the long and sometimes complicated gameplay means younger kids are best left out of this one.

For Teens 14 Years+

Best Clue Alternative – Deception: Murder in Hong Kong

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Best Clue Alternative
Deception: Murder in Hong Kong
One of your fellow investigators is responsible for a murder. Can you determine who it is and how they committed their heinous crime?

Think you can solve a murder-mystery in less time than it takes to deliver a pizza? In Deception: Murder in Hong Kong, players must use deduction to find out which of their fellow investigators is the rightful suspect. This game accommodates up to 12 players, but most fans agree that six-to-eight is the sweet spot.

To start, each player is assigned a role. Most will be normal Investigators focused on solving the crime, but one player will also secretly be the Murderer. In larger groups, you can also include an Accomplice who works alongside the murderer to deceive the other investigators.

To win the game, players must sniff out the Murderer among them and identify the case’s key evidence and the murder method. If they fail to get all three correct, the Murderer (and his or her Accomplice) claims victory.

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What to Consider When Buying an 8-Player Board Game

Contents of Tsuro board game

Asetera / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

Duration

Before starting any board game, it’s important to know how much time you’ll need to finish a session. When playing with a group of eight people, you should plan for the maximum amount of time listed on the game’s box.

Don’t let a short estimated play time turn you away from an otherwise great board game, though. In fact, these board games are a great option for large groups because players can test out different roles and strategies over several rounds.

Expansion Packs

While some board games accommodate eight or more players straight out of the box, others require expansion packs. Expansion packs often come with additional game components and sometimes include modified rules for playing with a larger group.

The most important thing to consider before buying a board game that requires expansions is the cost. Not only will you need to purchase the core game, but you’ll also need to buy one or more expansions. Depending on the contents, some expansions cost as much as the original game.

Team vs. Individual

People playing a multiplayer board game

JIP / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

To allow for more players, some board games split people into teams. This mechanic can help cut down on play time and clutter.

Some games allow team members to compete against each other after the opposing team is eliminated. While these board games typically take more time, they also provide the satisfaction of a single winner.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I play a board game with more than the recommended number of players?

Nearly every board game is designed for a specific range of players. Because of limited resources like characters, cards, and more, playing with more people just isn’t feasible in most cases.

One way to get around the player limit for a game is by breaking players into pairs. Depending on the game, however, this may affect overall gameplay.

What is a cooperative game?

In cooperative, or co-op, board games, the players compete against the game itself rather than each other. Many co-op board games are designed for large groups. Sometimes, having more players can even make the game easier (but not always!).

What if I don’t have an 8-player board game on hand?

Once in a while, you may find yourself in a situation where there are too many players for the available board games. In these cases, the best option is to split into groups and run multiple board games at one time.

Kendrick Hulse

Last update on 2020-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API