The definitive 2020 ranked list of the best ownership board games. Ownership board games are those that are driven by having ownership over them. This is a very broad term that is very objective and can cover many areas but the focus here are games that where the winner of being able to have something is going to have a major impact on your overall decisions and power. These are the top 10 best ownership board games.
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#10 | Chicago Express
Chicago Express makes the list of the best ownership board games because it is a fantastic mix of railroad network management and empire building. You want to own it all in a go-go time in America. Great theme and great gameplay propel this one to a very legitimate candidate for one of the best games in the area.
In the game the main railroads drive from the East Coast across the growing eastern US to Chicago. Smaller, more aggressive railroads like the Wabash spring up to further expand America’s extensive railroads. Over a series of rounds you can either auctioning a share of one of the railroad companies, expanding the rail system of one of the railroad companies or develop a piece of land. You are an executive trying to build the biggest network and amass the most wealth. For 2 – 6 players, games last about 1 hour.
FOR MORE: Buy Chicago Express
#09 | Acquire
Aquire is old school but it is still going strong. This grid management title makes the list of the best ownership board games because everyone is interacting with the same grid and the little differences in what you acquire when could have dramatic consequences on the gameplay. This is a really fun medium weight title that has stood the test of time.
You are going to get six letter and number tiles that correspond to a center grid board that you know but keep secret. Each turn you play one to try and launch and grow hotel chains. The connecting tiles make the chains bigger and they take over smaller chains they come into contact with. All while this is happening, people are buying and selling stock of those chains trying to make big strategic gains and avoid loss. For 2 – 6 players, games last about 90 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy Acquire
#08 | Imperial 2030
Imperial 2030 is a different standalone game than the original Imperial. Both could be used on the list of the best ownership board games but 2030 is the slightly better game. This series makes it because it introduces a phenomenal sit back and watch type of mechanic with a base of ownership.
The six world powers develop their industrial basis and build up armies and fleets. They fight over control of neutral land and sea areas in order to become the most powerful nation. Players are not these nations, they are international investors watching the 6 take their turns and giving their money to their nation of choice to influence politics and power. The biggest investor in each nation gains control of that nation’s government and decides what the nation will do. For 2 – 6 players, games run 2 – 3 hours.
FOR MORE: Buy Imperial 2030
#07 | 1830: Railways & Robber Barons
There is something about railroad games and the correlation with that entrepreneurial growth and spread. Another game that clashes multiple facets of genres, R&RB mixes network management and stock manipulation to make for a very fun experience. There are some other titles out there like this but it is unique enough to justify its own moment.
Players are seeking to make the most money by buying and selling stock in various share companies located on eastern United States map. This game features private rail companies and an extremely vicious, ‘robber baron’ oriented stock market. A game is finished when the bank runs out of money or one player is forced to declare bankruptcy, and the player with the greatest personal holdings wins. For 2 – 7 players, games run 3 – 6 hours.
FOR MORE: Buy 1830: Railways & Robber Barons
#06 | Steam
There was one more railroad network building game that needed to make the list of the best ownership board games and that game is Steam. Sure, it is not that you would play all the railroad games if you had to be precious with your time, but that doesn’t mean that each one of these has something special and deserves its place here. It just happens that this mix lends itself well.
You build railroads and deliver goods along an ever changing network of tracks and stations. You build the tracks, upgrade towns, improve your train, and grab the right goods to make the longest, most profitable deliveries. Score your deliveries and add to your income or victory points, balancing your need to invest against your quest to win the game. For 3 – 5 players, games go for about 90 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy Steam
#05 | Hansa Teutonica
Hansa Teutonica makes the list of the best ownership board games because it is a civilization building game that takes control to the next level. Yes you are expanding and growing, but it is the ownership of things that drives your profit and overall power. This may be a lesser known game here, with a generic game box, but do not count it out, its a fun one.
You are a trader trying to build a network of offices, controlling cities, collecting bonus markers, and more. As you being to connect areas, you can build up even better materials and take synergistic bonuses. There is plenty to do on the board but also with you, making sure you focus on increasing your skills. For 2 – 5 players, games last about 45 – 90 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy Hansa Teutonica
#04 | Caylus
Caylus makes the list of the best ownership board games because it blends the distributing of action possibilities via worker placement and it mixes it with more civilization building. This is just a really solid game and the motivation is to own it all. That makes it a great candidate as far as we are concerned.
It is 1289. To strengthen the borders of the Kingdom of France, King Philip the Fair decided to have a new castle built. For the time being, Caylus is but a humble village, but soon, a city will rise up. Each turn, players pay to place their workers in various buildings in the village. These buildings allow players to gather resources or money, or to build or upgrade buildings with those resources. Players can also use their resources to help build the castle itself, earning points and favors from the king, which provide larger bonuses. For 2 – 5 players, games last 60 – 150 minutes.
FOR MORE: Games Like Caylus | Buy Caylus
#03 | Lords of Waterdeep
Lords of Waterdeep is another worker placement game. There are three of them on this list of the best ownership board games and, spoiler alert, they are all in the top four. This should tell you that ownership is not a typical part of a worker placement game, but when it is targeted and done, it is done right. In Lords of Waterdeep, you have a more traditional build up and go on quests track but you also have this more ownership and investment stake in the things you do. It is very satisfying.
In Lords of Waterdeep, you are one of the secret rulers of the city. This bustling metropolis gives you many opportunities to recruit adventurers to go on quests on your behalf, earning rewards and increasing your influence over the city. Expand the city by purchasing new buildings that open up new actions on the board, and hurt the opposing Lords of Waterdeep. For 2 – 5 players, games run 1 – 2 hours.
FOR MORE: Games Like Lords of Waterdeep | Buy Lords of Waterdeep
#02 | Keyflower
The other worker placement game on the list of the best ownership board games is Keyflower. This is one of the great games in the worker placement genre and is specifically partial to ownership greatness is because there are additional opportunities that lend themselves well to that investment.
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
#01 | Le Havre
When you think of best ownership board games, Monopoly may come to mind. It is not here because unfortunately, Monopoly is just not a good game. It does somethings right and there is nostalgia but you know. What is here is Le Havre which is one of the most popular games in the world and has some of that Monopoly ownership streams you might want but actually is in a wonderful game about ownership.
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.