The definitive 2020 ranked list of the best action point board games. That is a mechanic where a player receives a number of these points on their turn and they may spend them on a variety of different options. This can be all sorts of things but usually represents a thematic element. For example, maybe you are a runner and you only have so much stamina, so you can only run (or do other activities) to a limited number of locations before becoming exhausted. Health, money, power; these are all examples of how this versatile idea can be used. These are our top 10 best action point board games.
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#10 | Dinosaur Island
Dinosaur Island makes the list of the best action point board games because it is a wonderful engine building game where they are at the center. Tinkering with dinosaur DNA is an exciting way to bring the multistep process of research to life. There might be better engine builders out there but as far as the role your action points have, Dinosaur Island does a great job.
Players have to collect DNA, research the DNA sequences of extinct dinosaur species, and then combine the ancient DNA in the correct sequence to bring these prehistoric creatures back to life. All players will compete to build the most thrilling park each season, and then work to attract (and keep alive) the most visitors each season that the park opens. For 1 – 4 players, games run 90 – 120 minutes.
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#09 | Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game
Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game makes the list of the best action board games because Zombies are coming and you need to work together with the other survivors in the right order to make sure you all survive. This semi-cooperative game will have everyone evaluating taking care of themselves versus taking care of the group with every decision, so make sure to stay two steps ahead.
You are dropped with other players in a small, weakened colony of survivors in a world where most of humanity is either dead or diseased from flesh-craving monsters. You lead a faction of survivors with dozens of different characters in the game to defeat the zombie enemies. Each game you have a new team objective to complete, but each player also has a secret mission that benefits just them. For 2 – 5 players, games run about 1 – 2 hours.
#08 | Descent: Journeys in the Dark
Descent: Journeys in the Dark makes the list of the best action point board games because it is one of the best dungeon crawlers and many rely on this mechanic to drive gameplay forward. Decent is one of them and they do it well. You will need to fight monsters and upgrade your characters in an all-vs-overlord fantasy campaign.
You and the other heroes embark on quests and venture into dangerous caves, ancient ruins, dark dungeons, and cursed forests to battle monsters, earn riches, and attempt to stop the overlord from carrying out his vile plot. It uses a unique dice-based system where you build your dice pools according to your character’s abilities and weapons, and each die in the pool contributes to an attack in different ways. For 1 – 5 players, games last about 2 hours.
#07 | Kemet
Kemet makes the list of the best action point board games because you build the most powerful army to dominate Egypt and there is not much time. The is a great title that has you choosing different options to take that can take you down many variable paths to victory. The drafting component accentuates the need for using your limited resources wisely.
In the game, you deploy the troops of an Egyptian tribe and use the mystical powers of the gods of ancient Egypt to invade rich territories. This can be done from different actions such as winning attacks, controlling temples, controlling fully-developed pyramids, sacrificing to the gods, and wielding particular magical powers. For 2 – 5 players, games run 90 – 120 minutes.
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#06 | Pandemic
Pandemic makes the list of the best action point board games because with a virus about to destroy the world, time is limited and you need to make every moment count. You have a role and so do your teammates, past that it all comes down to which limited action choices you plan to make. If you do not work in conjunction and use them right, you will easily fail.
Several virulent diseases have broken out simultaneously all over the world! The players are disease-fighting specialists whose mission is to treat disease hotspots while researching cures for each of four plagues before they get out of hand. On each turn, a player can use up to four actions to travel between cities, treat infected populaces, discover a cure, or build a research station. You need to stop if before it is too late. For 2 – 4 players, games last about 45 minutes.
FOR MORE: Pandemic Page | How To Play Pandemic | Pandemic Review | Games Like Pandemic | Buy Pandemic on Amazon
#05 | Eldritch Horror
Eldritch Horror makes the list of the best action point board games because it is just a great title that has an unknown Elder God approaching your world—and you need to use those points to solve mysteries and stop it. This is a cooperative dice rolling game with point to point movement that puts your whole crew against the larger than life game horror.
This is a game of terror and adventure in which you and other players take the roles of globetrotting investigators working to solve mysteries, gather clues, and protect the world from an Ancient One. Mystery cards drive the story and will often inform both your travel plans and the dangers you confront, you can find adventure anywhere in the world. For 1 – 8 players, games last 2 – 4 hours each.
#04 | Twilight Imperium
Twilight Imperium makes the list of the best action point board games because there is a space epic to embark on but only so many actions that one civilization can do to grow. This is one of the more complex games out there and that is for good reason. You have a lot of freedom to choose how your actions and the turn will go, use them wisely.
This is a game of galactic conquest in you take on the role of one of seventeen factions vying for galactic domination through military might, political maneuvering, and economic bargaining. Every faction offers a completely different play experience, from the wormhole-hopping Ghosts of Creuss to the Emirates of Hacan, masters of trade and economics. For 3 – 6 players, games last about 2 – 4 hours.
#03 | Blood Rage
Blood Rage makes the list of the best action point board games because this is one of those all-out excitement games that have intermittent phases of planning. Use your many options strategically and then once things have been in place, all the simultaneous actions take place. Know your opponent and plan wisely.
Each player controls their own Viking clan’s warriors, leader, and ship. Ragnarök has come, and it’s the end of the world! It’s your last chance to fight an epic battle and secure your place in Valhalla at Odin’s side! You have many pathways to glory, you can invade and pillage the land for its rewards, crush your opponents in epic battles, fulfill quests, increase your clan’s stats, or even die gloriously. For 2 – 4 players, games run about 60 – 90 minutes.
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#02 | Arkham Horror: The Card Game
Arkham Horror: The Card Game makes the list of the best action point board games because you are on an edge of your seat journey and one wrong move could take everything down. You will need to investigate the horrors of Arkham while counting down to cosmic doom.
You become on of the characters within the quiet New England town of Arkham. No matter what compels you, no matter what haunts you, you’ll find both your strengths and weaknesses reflected in your custom deck of cards, and these cards will be your resources as you work with your friends to unravel the world’s most terrifying mysteries. Each adventure will carry you deeper into mystery. For 1 – 2 players, games go for 1 – 2 hours.
#01 | Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization
The the Ages: A New Story of Civilization takes the top spot on the list of the best action point board games because there is so much to do that the main problem is making the right decision. If you focus on science, then your military suffers; if you don’t play politics right, then it can hurt your economy. You completely make the world your own and your only limitation is the number of actions you have to get there.
This is a civilization building game. Each player attempts to build the best through careful resource management, discovering new technologies, electing the right leaders, building wonders and maintaining a strong military. The game takes place throughout the ages beginning in the age of antiquity and ending in the modern age. For 2 – 4 players, games go for about 1 hour.