Joseph works as an editor in one of the magazines dedicated to video games. Here, at RecRoomPick, he’s given the opportunity to enjoy the reverse of the medal – the no less engaging world of offline games.
Ryan knows everything when it comes to gaming, both online and offline. Since his early years he’s been in love with arcades, air hockey, and foosball. Finally, he’s given the opportunity to share his knowledge and opinion on the hobby of his life (and even get paid for it!).
Last updated: February 20, 2021
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While it may sound unbelievable to some people, we bet sport board games can be as exciting as real, physical activities. Of course, some board games are more fun than others, so this may depend on a few factors, like the kind of board game you are playing, for instance. To make your shopping search a breeze, we’ve designed this handy guide.
Apart from providing a way to engage in fun activities when you can’t be at the field, such games also offer a simple way to familiarize young people with sports. Like we mentioned previously though, some of them are more exciting than others, so you’d need to be careful before settling for one. To help you out, we have listed and reviewed the best sports board games out there. Certainly, all our picks incredibly engaging and fun; you’ll find games for family evenings and adults’ companies. Also, each require a different number of players so you can choose the ideal one for you and your friends.
For anyone looking for a game that teaches football rules while allowing you to devise smart game-winning strategies, the Fremont Die NFL GameDay is an ideal choice. Of course, the game contains each of the 32 NFL teams, so everyone will be able to use their favorite team. It also makes sense that the game allows for multiple players, so about two to four players can easily play. This makes it a perfect fit if you are looking for a fun activity to engage your family. Amazingly, the game is simple to learn and is recommended for players aged nine and above.
In all honesty, this game completely simplifies coaching a football game, offering two different card decks that are used to simulate play calling, based on the positioning of the board. It comes with everything you need, which includes one NFL Football field board, 140 Illustrated Cards, all 32 NFL team end ones, one down marker, one football, six time-out cards, and five clear discs.
What we liked: We love many things about this board game. The fact that it allows many players on board makes it a very interesting game. It also helps to aid a family bond, as every member can easily be involved. Besides, it’s a huge addition that it’s easy to learn, so your young kids can quickly start playing.
What could be better: If you are really an NFL fan, you are not likely to find any problem with this game. Of course, there is the issue of overpricing, but if you can look beyond that, you will soon realize how incredible the board game is.
Everyone doesn’t have to love cycling, but something everyone must agree on is that the Stronghold Games Flamme Rouge is all shades of incredible. It’s one of the rare racing games that most people can actually enjoy. It’s a tactical, fast-paced game where a team of two cyclists – a Sprinter and a Roller – is controlled by each player. Apparently, the mission of each player is crossing the finish line before the other player, with either of their cyclists, of course.
To make things challenging, each player has to fight for the best positions by selecting from a number of moves, which are pretty limited. The kind of movements for each of the riders are predictable, so in order to edge your rival, you must be prepared to make the best moves at all times. Normally, this game can be played by two players. However, there’s room for expansion if you want more players. The more the players, the more the fun.
What we liked: By all ramifications, this is a premium game. This is a game that attracts non-gamer people with a very colorful presentation. Apart from that, it captures them with easy to learn rules and a surprising depth of play.
What could be better: The game can be too simple sometimes, even for beginners.
Whether you are a sports nerd or a new sports fan, the MindWare Sports Trivia Challenge can be a great fit for you. Literally, it’s a game that teaches, helping kids and adults to strengthen social interaction, logic, problem-solving, deductive reasoning, and sports knowledge. Like our editor’s pick, this one is also suitable for up to four people, which makes it perfect for family times. If you are looking for something to grow your kids’ minds while having fun, you can’t look beyond this.
Of course, like every game on our list, this one is also easy to play. There are three types of cards. The first category is the Know It cards, which sees players rank lists or answer multiple-choice questions. The second one is the Name It cards, which get players to identify sports-related items. The last category contains the See It cards, which asks players to identify locations from a photo. To allow players of different levels to be able to play against each other, there are advanced and beginner questions in every card.
What we liked: We love how it covers a broad range of sporting activities, such as ice hockey, bobsledding, badminton, and soccer. It’s also impressive how it easily allows players of different levels to compete, making it as fun and as interesting as possible. It’s a complete set, offering more than 400 trivia questions, four pawns, one game board, 50 score chips, and instructions.
What could be better: The game may get quickly boring for adults as even the advanced questions seem a too easy.
NFL football is one of the most popular games in the United States, and with the R&R Games 1st And Goal, you don’t need to be at the field to play and enjoy the game. While there are many other NFL simulators, this one may have just thumped all of them, as it perfectly captures all the cautious calculations and risks that this sport is known for. Apparently, this board game also has the same rules as real American football, which will help beginners get familiar with the game.
To win this game, you must be ready to outwit your opponent – that’s exactly what winning this game takes. It almost perfectly simulates a real American football match, especially with its dual-deck system. Each dice roll determines the yardage lost or gained, which means tactical playcalling makes a huge difference in determining which dice a player gets to roll for every play.
What we liked: It’s difficult to not love this amazing board game. Obviously, it’s one of the best two-player games, which is because of its superb dual-deck system. It’s also a great game for team play as one player will be for the offensive team while the other player will be the offensive coach. It also takes around 60 minutes to play, which is a lot of time to have an endless amount of fun.
What could be better: The cards are flimsy, and so can tear or rip easily. Also, the game seems to last for more than 60 minutes, which is contrary to what is suggested in the descriptions.
Like MindWare Sports Trivia Challenge, the Scene It? Sports Powered by ESPN is another mind-blowing trivia game that’s designed to test your knowledge. It’s a very simple game on the eyes, but it provides a lot of fun while coming at a very reasonable price. It’s especially perfect for large families where there are many children since it allows up to eight players to share in the fun at the same time.
Apparently, it’s a game designed to test your knowledge on a wide range of sports, such as tennis, American football, basketball, cricket, rugby, and even football. The rules are also simple and easy to learn, so you and your kids can start playing right away. How is a winner determined? Simple – just be the first person to travel across the board all through to the winner’s circle. The game also features on-screen guidelines that demonstrate how to play, and written directions as well.
What we liked: Despite being a budget-friendly option, this game offers a lot of fun. We especially like how it accommodates so many players, allowing everyone in on the fun. We also like its simplicity and straightforward rules, making it a suitable fit for children.
What could be better: We hate to say it, but this game doesn’t seem to have a high replay value. Once it’s played a couple of times, questions start repeating themselves, so you easily learn the answer. It gets boring from there. Besides, the game lasts for too long, for many people.
Things to Consider
Reviews allow you to have an insight into the different advantages you stand to gain from each board game, but they don’t teach you how to know the right board game for you. To help you avoid a selection dilemma during your shopping, we have put this all-encompassing buying guide together.
Benefits of Sports Board Games for Children
While adults play sports board games as well, the games are most popular among children. In that case, you might be wondering if they actually offer specific benefits to children. Below are some of their most important benefits.
Aids Early Learning – The first benefit offered by sports board games is that they aid early learning. It doesn’t matter if the game is simple or advanced, board games help young kids count spaces, identify colors, and develop hand-eye coordination. Besides, it teaches them patience and how to follow rules, as they sometimes need to wait for their turns and follow game rules, which are vital lessons that serve children far beyond the four corners of their homes.
Aids Brain Development – Board games also aids brain development in older children and teenagers. According to experts, strategy games like Fremont Die NFL Game Day and Stronghold Games Flamme Rouge are very helpful in helping the brain’s frontal lobes develop. The frontal lobes are in charge of managerial function skills, such as organizing, planning, and making smart decisions.
Help Boost Language Skills – Sports board games also somehow help older children improve language skills they are struggling with. Their vocabulary will be expanded, and their spelling skills will see significant improvements. Meanwhile, sports board games in which gamers must remember many pieces of information at the same time might assist a kid who is having issues with reading comprehension – all of this while having fun.
They Help Sharpen Kids’ Ability to Focus – According to experts, sports board games can help increase the attention span of a usually unfocused child, especially when the game is played with no interruptions. To help in this regard, parents are advised to ensure their kids are committed to completing the game and not leaving half-way. Also, parents need to ensure there are no interruptions along the way, by disallowing them from checking their phones, watching the TV, or simply giving Alexa orders while the game is ongoing.
They Impart the Value of Teamwork – Knowing the value of teamwork can not be understated, and board games offer a very convenient way to impart this value to your kids. When playing these games, your luck can suddenly change, which is something you must know how to handle. However, apart from teaching kids that there is nothing guaranteed in life, board games also help encourage children from various age classes to united and work together towards the accomplishment of a common goal. This is a skill they will need throughout their lives, so it’s important that they learn it at a young age.
Help Soothe Anxiety – Another thing board games do is helping anxious children to learn how to handle friendships easily. Since board games are structured, they offer kids a simpler way to build interpersonal relationships with their peers, because the child is aware of the expectations. For children having a struggle with starting conversations with their peers, we recommend you to choose a game that promotes organized opportunities for chatting, like a guessing game.
Features to consider when choosing a sports board game
If you don’t want to end up having regrets about your choice, there are some factors you must keep in mind during your shopping. To serve as effective pointers to you, we have described the factors below:
Easy to learn
Board games are very popular among children, which means their rules must be simple and easily learned, even if the strategy of the game is more complex. During our research, we had an inclination towards games with simple and clear rules, though players can always consult numerous online videos for directions and instructions for different board games. In fact, some games come with accompanying applications, so players have a wide range of options when it comes to easy-to-learn games. All our picks come with easy-to-learn rules, so players can instantly start playing their board games out-of-the-box.
Number of players
Board games are usually not really interesting when played alone. It’s usually the more the players, the more the amount of fun. This is why most manufacturers always make sure that their games can be played by multiple players. While most of these games can still be played alone, all of them allow for multiple players. The Stronghold Games Flamme Rouge even allows you to expand, provided you want more people to take part in the game.
Another interesting and important factor we considered is the interactivity of each game. We ensured to find games where gamers had to interact with each other all through the game, whether competitively or cooperatively, to build, trade, and more. In addition, we made sure not to include games where players would be eliminated early on in the game and be forced to watch from the sidelines until others were done.
The recommended age is a really crucial factor, even though it doesn’t look so. This is especially important if you have little kids, as some games may be too complicated and too difficult for kids below the age of 10. Of course, most sports board games are recommended for kids aged eight and above, but there are some like the R&R Games 1st And Goal, whose recommended age is 13 years and above.
High replay value
Everyone knows that the best sports board games are the ones you can’t stop replaying. Thus, we kept this factor in mind when compiling our list, so we made sure to include only games with high replay value. Another thing we discovered is that games that are strategically balanced are usually engaging and fun, so people tend to play them repeatedly. For that reason, we included many of such games on our list.
The playing time may seem like an unimportant factor to beginners, but experts know better than understating the importance of this factor. As fun as these board games are, they can quickly get boring and uninteresting, especially when the game is taking too much time. So, a good sports board game must neither be too short nor too long, which means a balance must be reached. An example of a game with such a balance is the Fremont Die NFL Game Day, which takes just 45 to 60 minutes.
If you are looking for a board game that is suitable for family evenings, the MindWare Sports Trivia Challenge will be a perfect fit. Basically, it’s a game that teaches, as it’s filled with trivia questions that are certain to increase your knowledge about some of your favorite sports. Besides, it allows for multiple players, so parents can play it with their kids without issues.
The R&R Games 1st And Goal is the ideal game for adults who are interested in American football. It’s a game that requires players to be very strategic, so players must be willing to engage their brains to outwit opponents. Most adults will find this really interesting, in our opinion.
The MindWare Sports Trivia Challenge has to be the game that requires the shortest time to learn. The game is about answering questions, and what’s there to learn about that? Your kids can start testing their knowledge as soon as the game is out of the box, which is convenient.
Wrapping It Up
Like we have highlighted in this article, board games offer too many benefits, especially for children. If you have decided to get one for you and your family, you are in good hands. The games we have included here are not only fun but also easy to play while retaining a high replay value.
With the way it ticks all our boxes, the Fremont Die NFL Game Day is our favorite out of all the best sports board games reviewed here. For its excellent strategical gameplay, the Stronghold Games Flamme Rouge is a close second. With its simplicity, fast pace, and colorful presentation, the game is able to attract gamers and non-gamers alike. Meanwhile, our third-placed game is MindWare Sports Trivia Challenge, which with its coverage of a wide range of activities and ability to aid social interaction, is one of the best options for kids. Out of the top three, however, the other two picks are also fantastic, in case you are wondering.