The definitive 2020 ranked list of the best nautical board games. For those unaware, nautical games are those that involve sailors, ships, and/or maritime navigation as a major component of the theme or gameplay. Most Nautical games will usually require you to effectively control ships as an objective. These span many eras of time and perspectives, but you see a lot of this around the Renaissance when the technology was coming into play at a time of growth and expansion. This is out list of the 10 best nautical board games.
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#10 | Navegador
Navegador is a great title to kick off the list of the best nautical board games, it even has part of navigation in its title. When and how you are able to cross the sea in the major backdrop in this highly rated area movement and rondel board game that is fun for all.
You will take actions such as contracting men, acquiring ships and buildings, sailing the seas, establishing colonies in discovered lands, trading goods on the market and getting privileges. Starting with only two ships and three workers, you must expand your wealth. Money is used to build ships, erect buildings such as factories, shipyards and churches, and to get workers. Workers are necessary to found colonies or to acquire buildings and key privileges. For 2 – 5 players, games run 60 – 90 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy Navegador
#09 | Cyclades
The Cyclades board itself should tell you everything to know about why this is a candidate for best nautical board games, it is around 85% water. There is much of the unknown coming at you and it is up to you to hold on and to win over the different Gods to help you survive.
Players must buy the favor of the gods in their race to be the first player to build two cities in the Ancient Greek island group known as the Cyclades. Each turn you bid for the favor of the Gods with the winner taking that action, like Ares increasing movement or Apollo increasing wealth. Collecting these allows you to build up your empire to be stronger and bigger than the opposing players. For 2 – 5 players, games last 60 – 90 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy Cyclades
#08 | Goa
Goa makes the list of the best nautical board games because it is all about that spice trade in the Renassance era, which was the center of the universe at the time. You need to work out how and when you are going to be able to get spice across a vast body of water where mistakes are not easily forgiven.
A strategy game of auctions and resource management, Goa is set at the start of the 16th century: beautiful beaches, a mild climate, and one of the most important trading centers in the world. Competing companies deal in spices, send ships and colonists into the world, and invest money. The game mixes an interactive element of the auction, which ties in on many levels. For 2 – 4 players, games run about 90 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy Goa
#07 | Captain Sonar
Captain Sonar is the only title on the list of the nautical board games that actually takes you under the water. Running a submarine is fun and none do it better than this top-notch strategy and deduction game with plenty of twists and turns.
You and your teammates control a state-of-the-art submarine and are trying to locate an enemy submarine in order to blow it out of the water before they can do the same to you. Every role is important, and the confrontation is merciless. Be organized and communicate because a captain is nothing without his crew: the Chief Mate, the Radio Operator, and the Engineer. For 2 – 8 players, games last 45 – 60 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy Captain Sonar
#06 | Endeavor: Age of Sail
Endeavor: Age of Sail makes the list of the best nautical board games because it is an epic adventure set in a time where they only way to be powerful was to command the best ship and fleet. This is a great area control game driven by card drafting and set collection.
You strive to earn glory for your empire. Sailing out from Europe and the Mediterranean, you will establish shipping routes and occupy cities the world over. As you do so, everyone must leverage their growing industry, culture, finance, and Influence, building their engine and extending their reach into the far-flung regions of the world. For 2 – 5 players, games run roughly 60 – 90 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy Endeavor: Age of Sail
#05 | Raiders of the North Sea
Smack dab in the center of the list of best nautical board games comes one about a force that mastered the sea in their day, the Vikings. Raiders of the North Sea puts in you charge of this commanding time in the form of a wonderful worker placement game.
Raiders of the North Sea is set in the central years of the Viking Age. As a Viking warrior, you seek to impress the Chieftain by raiding unsuspecting settlements. You will need to assemble a crew, collect provisions and journey north to plunder gold, iron and livestock. There is glory to be found in battle, even at the hands of the Valkyrie. For 2 – 4 players, games go about 60 – 80 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy Raiders of the North Sea
#04 | Underwater Cities
Underwater Cities makes the list of the best nautical board games because it takes all the difficult elements of gameplay and adds water to it, both thematically and mechanically. This fantastic network building and worker placement game has very smart balance and elements that will keep you excited from beginning to end.
You represent the most powerful brains in the world tasked with solving the overpopulation of Earth. To survive, you must establish the best and most livable underwater areas possible, through card management and placement. Actions and advantages can allow you to intake raw materials, build and upgrade city structures in your personal underwater area, improve your initiative, to activate your cards and to collect them. For 1 – 4 players, games run 80 – 150 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy Underwater Cities
#03 | Keyflower
Another worker placement game and Renaissance game on the list of the best nautical board games is the award-winning Keyflower. Well, that sounds basic and generic, it could not be the further thing from it. If there is one thing you can say about Keyflower, it is definitely that it is innovative.
Each player starts the game with a “home” tile and an initial team of 8 workers being 1 of 3 colors. Workers of matching colors are used by the players to bid for tiles to add to their villages. Matching workers may alternatively be used to generate resources, skills and additional workers. Throughout the game, players will need to be alert to the opportunities to best utilize their various resources, transport and upgrade capability, skills and workers. For 2 – 6 players, games last 90 – 120 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy Keyflower
#02 | Le Havre
Le Havre makes the list of the best nautical board games because in the time of seafaring, the early bird gets the worm and this games lets you go out there and get it. This is almost like Monopoly for the sea, you want to lock down property first so if people come by they need to pay you rent.
Your turn consists of two parts: (1) distribute newly supplied goods onto the offer spaces; then (2) take an action. Choose either to take all goods of one type from an offer space or to use one of the available buildings. Building actions allow players to upgrade goods, sell them or use them to build their own buildings and ships. Buildings are both an investment opportunity and a revenue stream, as players must pay entry fees, Monopoly style. Ships, on the other hand, are primarily used as key tools. For 1 – 5 players, games last 30 – 150 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy Le Havre
#01 | Concordia
Taking the top spot on the list of the best nautical board games could not be a more perfect options. In the time of the Romans, the Mediterranean Sea was the epicenter of power. This drafting and movement game gives you lots of control in how you set off to achieve your goals and it is so very satisfying.
Two thousand years ago, the Roman Empire ruled the lands around the Mediterranean Sea. For years the economy thrived and gave rise to mighty Roman dynasties as they expanded throughout the numerous cities. You must guide one of these dynasties. Develop your trade network and appease the ancient gods for their favor. High score wins. For 2 – 5 players, games run about 100 minutes each.