Top 10 Most Complicated Board Games


Most of us think of playing games as a time to relax and unwind while partaking in a little fun. But for others, board games are serious business. For those people, we’ve made a list of the top 10 most complicated board games. Some of these games take

days to play properly, and their rule books read like encyclopedias. These are only for the most serious board game lovers! Here are the top 10 most complicated board games.


10. Car Wars

Car Wars Top 10 Most Complicated Board Games

This game is recommended for 2-8 players, although most advanced Car Wars buffs prefer 4. It is a game featuring freeways of a futuristic nature, where the right of way goes to the player with the biggest guns. Players pick a vehicle, complete with weapons, armor, power plants, suspension, and body style. They then meet on the road and try to come home as “aces”, instead of crashing. When a player’s vehicle survives, his abilities improve and they earn more money to upgrade.


9. Europa Universalis

DCF 1.0

This game is regarded as one of the most complicated because of its vast size. It is best played with 6 players and has a playing time of 3600 minutes. It is a complex game of diplomacy, territory expansion, trade, military technology, economic development, and war. It spans a 300 year time period where players take the part of kings. It has maps, a 72-page rule book, and 52-page scenario book, a 48-page annex book, and two 10 sided dice!


8. World In Flames

World In Flames Most Complicated Board Games

Players claim that though there are a lot of WWII games out there, none are quite like World In Flames. The game spans 1939-1945 and covers all aspects of WWII. It can be played by up to 7 players, and the suggested playing time is 6000 minutes. Which is a very long time, considering that most games take at least twice as long as their suggested playing time when you’re first learning how to play. Some people like to pin the game up on a wall to increase the playing area.


7. Empires In Arms

Empires In Arms Board Game

This game is focused on the diplomacy and wars of the Napoleonic wars of 1805-1815. Each player is the sovereign monarch of a world power such as England, France, Austria, Russia, Spain, or Turkey. The game takes about 130 hours to play to completion. This is another game that easily takes twice as long to play if you’re not already a skilled player with all the rules and ins and outs memorized!


6. Air War- Modern Tactical Air Combat

Air War- Modern Tactical Air Combat

This unique game features every possible facet of modern air combat. Thirty of the most important aircraft, from the Soviet Union, United States, England, France, Israel, and a hand full of other nations battle each other in historical scenarios. The game is played on a demographic map while the pieces move through a hexagonal grid. It includes a 48-page booklet, 16 pages of additional rules and scenarios, 700 die cut cardboard playing pieces, and several other game pieces.


5. Magic Realm

Magic Realm Complicated Board Game

Magic Realm is a game of fantasy involving monsters, treasures, warriors, and magicians. It is set in the ruins of a magical kingdom that is now inhabited by groups of natives and monsters. Players come as adventurers, seeking riches, to make a name for themselves in this land. Swordsman, Dwarfs, Magicians, and Sorcerers are all part of the game. Each player takes the role of one of sixteen major characters in the game. You control where you character goes, how he fights in battle, etc. in your search for wealth and hidden treasure.


4. Taikyoku Shogi

Taikyoku Shogi

This complex game is a large board variation of Shogi, which is Japanese Chess. The game was created in the mid-16th century. Two players, black and white, play on a grid of 36 rows and 36 columns, with a total of 1,296 squares! Each player has 402 wedge shaped playing pieces. All the pieces are the same color, but each side is marked to tell which player it belongs to. The game style is somewhat similar to chess; opposing pieces try to advance and capture other pieces. If you are a chess master, maybe you’ll want to try your hand at this complicated version!


3. For The People


For The People is a strategy game based on the American Civil War. It covers the conflict from Texas to Pennsylvania. Players take the role of either President Lincoln or President Davis and command their armies, dispatch cavalry raids, promote generals, etc. The Confederate player can build ironclads, naval mines, submarines, and work with foreign intervention. The Union player can fight draft riots, secure Border States, and issue the Emancipation Proclamation. This game takes over 6 hours to play!


2. Star Fleet Battles

Star Fleet Battles Board Game

Star Fleet Battles is recommended for 2 players, ages 12 and up. It can be played through in only 4 hours by skilled and knowledgeable players. It is a classic game of tactical Starship combat, set in the Star Trek universe (just like the TV show). Players command ships from the Federation, Klingon, Gorn, Romulan, etc, using all of the Star Trek weapons such as phasers, disruptor bolts, photon torpedoes, and tractor beams. It is a quite complex game that requires a good bit of skill to navigate through.


1. The Campaign For North Africa


We’ve decided this game officially wins the prize for most complicated board game ever! It was released in 1979 and requires 8-10 players. But get this- the play time is 60,000 minutes! Yes, that is the equivalent of playing this game for over 40 days straight, with no breaks! The rulebook states “CNA is a logistically-oriented game, and its play requires not only a lot of attention to logistics, but, if you will, a logistically sound methodology.” It is best played with five players on two teams so that each team has a Commander in Chief, Logistics Commander, Rear Area Commander, Air Commander, and Front Line Commander. Talk about complicated!

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14 Comments on "Top 10 Most Complicated Board Games"

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Car Wars is not that complicated or long unless you make it that way in your scenario. Also, the pictures for For the People and CNA are incorrect.


You left out Advanced Squad Leader, which has a rulebook to rival Starfleet Battles. There are also a number of other monster SPI games besides CNA, like Pacific War.


For thePeople does not use a map of Europe! Oops!

Adrian Wood

Uhhh, why was the screenshot for “The Campaign For North America” actually a shot from “X-Com: The Board Game”?


The number one game should read “The Campaign for North AFRICA”. Also the image you used is from the game XCOM, not CNA.

Actual pictures of the game in question here:

Imagery of XCOM to confirm misattributed game here:

Daniel Welker

Pretty sure For the People has the wrong pic!


I think the game you’re thinking of for Number 1 is actually titled, “The Campaign for North Africa” not “America.” Nonetheless, it’s an excellent choice for most complicated game. Thanks for the list.

No name

Anyone want to play my new game


Where can I get the African campaign game. I’m thinking of getting it for my friends birthday, so us and our friends could play it together. It would be great if someone could help me.