10 best Easter board games to play over the bank holiday weekend
With springtime themes and cute animals, it’s time to crack into the best Easter board games.
It might be getting warmer as spring arrives, but staying inside with some of the best Easter board games is still a perfectly valid - and dare we say, preferable - way to spend the bank holiday weekend. Sure, the sun might be shining, the birds may be singing and new flowers could be blossoming from the soil, but there’s no better reason to spend the Easter weekend together with loved ones (even if it’s playing board games online with friends and family rather than in person at the moment) than playing the best board games with an Easter theme, from chicks and bunnies to chocolate and eggs.
A lot of board games have themes that tend to focus on more industrial subjects like cities, trains and factories. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with any of these themes - after all, many of the best board games out there are about building machines, such as Scythe and Ticket to Ride - but with the coming of spring, you might be craving something a little more organic. Luckily for you, board games have diversified a lot in recent years, so there are plenty of options out there when it comes to finding fitting Easter board games.
Best Easter board games
1. Photosynthesis: Harness nature’s power to grow the tallest trees possible in this beautiful area-control board game.
2. Funky Chicken: The sequel to Happy Salmon, this fun party board game has players frantically pulling off dance moves.
3. Bunny Kingdom: Rule over a land populated by adorable rabbits and try to keep all your fluffy subjects fed in this carrot-gathering board game.
4. King of Tokyo: Terrorise a city as an enormous mechanical bunny - amongst other monsters - in a beginner-friendly dice-rolling board game.
5. Wingspan: A board game about birds and attracting the rarest avian families possible to your chosen habitats.
6. Chocolate Factory: What would Easter be without chocolate? Fulfill your fantasies about owning your own chocolate factory in this strategy board game.
7. Root: Command armies of adorable animals, including fluffy bunnies, in this asymmetrical board game about woodland warfare.
8. Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small: A two-player version of the classic farming simulation board game that focuses on raising farmyard animals.
9. Everdell: Construct the perfect little homes for all the forest-dwelling creatures of Everdell in a beautiful board game containing, yes, bunnies.
10. Animal Upon Animal: Balance sheep and other animals in this fun dexterity game that’s perfect for young children and adults alike.
As with many seasonal holidays, the Easter weekend typically involves plenty of fun but exhausting activities, whether you’re hunting for eggs, planting daffodils, making hot cross buns or, of course, eating a lot of chocolate eggs. All this strenuous activity calls for some opportunities for sitting back and immersing yourself in a great board game.
This selection of the best Easter board games contains everything from brilliant family board games to entertain the kids and accessible board games for beginners to, frankly, some of the best board games to play at any time of the year.
Despite this impressive amount of variety, every one of these Easter board games shares a springtime feeling that’s sure to inspire visions of clear skies, green shoots and extravagant chocolate-based desserts.
Grow the tallest trees in the forest in this pastoral showdown
The scientific term for plant cells converting sunlight into energy, Photosynthesis may not sound like the most engrossing topic for a board game. However, the name accurately describes the premise of this strategy game, as Photosynthesis sees players manage a patch of trees and look to collect as much of that sweet, sweet vitamin D as possible. While players can pick sets of trees based on summer, winter and autumn - all beautiful in their own right - the set we’re most interested during the Easter period is the one inspired by spring. With luscious green foliage peppered with colourful pink blooms, the spring set of Photosynthesis embodies all the essences of Easter.
Photosynthesis is an area control board game - where players compete to control the largest amount of space on the board - that has players planting seeds, tending to saplings and eventually harvesting fully-grown trees. During three rounds, players take turns to spread their forest and nurture their trees, gradually working their way into the centre of the board. As the sun moves around the board the trajectory of its rays change, with any larger trees blocking smaller trees in the back - thereby preventing them from collecting sun points. Players use sun points to buy seeds, larger trees to replace their smaller ones and to eventually harvest any fully-grown trees. By harvesting trees, players can collect a tile corresponding to the space where the tree stood, with the spaces in the very middle equating to the most points.
Once the sun has looped round the board for the third and final time, players tally up their sun points and collect the number of points on any tiles they have; the player with the most total points is the winner. Photosynthesis isn’t just a great Easter board game because it’s got spring trees, but because playing it is a very therapeutic experience that nevertheless feels incredibly satisfying. Seeing your tiny little seeds grow into towering trees is a very visually pleasing thing, and invokes the nurturing spirit of springtime.
Playtime: 30-60 minutes
Best for: Feeling zen
Buy Photosynthesis on Amazon UK/Amazon US.
2. Funky Chicken
Race to throw shapes in this dancing party game
Whilst the salmon may be the designated fish king of partying - as proved in our round-up of the best party board games - it is well known that the noble chicken is the most graceful of all bird-kind. Forget swans or herons, those bloated gangly heathens; the dexterous legs and nimble necks of the chicken ensure that the flashy fowls really can strut their stuff on the farmyard. Their delicate steps, rocking head and ability to occasionally hop into the air make chickens a real festive animal - the perfect inspiration for a brilliant Easter board game.
Funky Chicken is the follow-up to high-fiving, fist-bumping party board game Happy Salmon, and pushes things up a notch by having players perform a number of dance moves favoured by the titular Funky Chicken. Every player receives a hand of cards that shows one of the game’s possible dance moves - such as the Bump, Swing and, of course, the Funky Chicken - that the player must yell the name of in order to find someone else currently holding the same card. Should they match with another player, both people must simultaneously perform the dance move in order to discard that card and proceed onto the next dance move. The first player to successfully perform all the dance moves on their cards and discard them becomes the ultimate funky chicken.
This simplicity may put off people looking for something a little more mentally stimulating, but it pays to switch off and be silly every once in a while. Funky Chicken certainly won’t provide much of a challenge, but it is guaranteed to inject your Easter weekend with a huge dose of fun. Easy to learn and a blast to play, Funky Chicken is the perfect party board game to play at Easter - not in the least because it features a very egg-centric theme.
Playtime: 2 minutes
Best for: Jumping up and getting down
Buy Funky Chicken on Amazon UK/Amazon US.
3. Bunny Kingdom
Venture forth and multiply in a fantasy land filled with rabbits
Imagine, if you will, a land entirely populated by rabbits. Swarming with the adorable fluffy-tailed, twitchy-nosed little creatures, all hopping about in harmony. Now imagine those bunnies were wearing suits of armour and riding around on horses. It only gets more adorable from there, because Bunny Kingdom is a board game about medieval bunnies. These particular medieval bunnies have just successfully secured peace. From whom? We don’t know, but regardless this is a time of growth rather than conflict. As such, these rabbits are looking to set down roots and do what they do best... form a cohesive ecosystem, of course. (What did you think I was going to say?)
In order to complete all this work, bunnies need the essentials: delicious carrots, clean water and succulent mushrooms. Bunny Kingdom is a family board game from the mind behind King of Tokyo and Magic: The Gathering, Richard Garfield, that sees players collecting resources in order to gradually grow their cities across the 100 spaces of the game’s board.
Each turn, players choose which action cards they want to draft and play depending on what they want their bunnies to do. Cards can enable bunnies to plant carrots, settle on lakesides for fresh water, travel into perilous mountains to discover rarer resources and, most importantly, establish new cities. But resources aren’t everything - sometimes a little influence is needed to grease the wheels - which is why players also have the option to court the favour of powerful rabbit lords and hire skilled craftspeople/bunnies to increase the worth of their warrens.
Warrens are scored based on resources and cities, with the end of every round being a new opportunity for players to collect points. Once the fourth and final round comes to a close, players tally their scores and award the holder of the most points the winning crown - whether it be made of carrots, leaves or some other rabbit-related item. Not only is Bunny Kingdom positively adorable to look at, it’s also really engaging to play, making it a more than suitable Easter board game.
Playtime: 40-60 minutes
Best for: Lots and lots (and lots) of bunnies
Buy Bunny Kingdom on Amazon UK/Amazon US.
4. King of Tokyo
Smash and grab victory as a robotic rabbit
Easter may traditionally be a time for relaxation and contemplation, enjoying all the wonders of nature in the serene beauty of springtime bliss. But sometimes it’s nice to mix things up a bit and indulge in activities that are a little bit more chaotic. And what could be more chaotic and yet Easter-themed than a bunny piloting an enormous rabbit-shaped robot through the streets of Tokyo, spreading havoc wherever it steps? This particular fantasy - and others if you’re not a bunny fan - is within your grasp thanks to the classic beginner board game: King of Tokyo. Designed by Richard Garfield, the creator of trading card game Magic: The Gathering, King of Tokyo is a one-way ticket to exciting monster battles and destruction on a mass scale.
A push-your-luck dice game - meaning that players choose whether to keep going for a greater reward, or play it safe for an assured outcome - King of Tokyo can be won in one of two ways: reaching 12 victory points or being the last monster left. Points can be gained by rolling dice and having at least three of the same number, with each additional matching number adding another point on top, or by occupying Tokyo on your turn. You’ll have to fight to get there; the first monster to successfully roll and keep at least one attack result gets to occupy the space, and any future attacks are dealt to all other monsters outside of Tokyo. However, unlike the other monsters, the monster in Tokyo cannot heal - regardless of how many hearts they roll - until they choose to leave Tokyo. The dice-chucking battle gains plenty of additional chaos from upgrade cards monsters can purchase using energy.
King of Tokyo holds claim to the title of being one of the best board games for introducing new players to the hobby for a reason, so why not give it a spin this Easter?
Playtime: 30 minutes
Best for: People who like bunnies but also Godzilla
Buy King of Tokyo on Amazon UK/Amazon US.
Bring birds to the wild in this pastoral strategy game
Springtime isn’t just for bunnies. Eggs are the most iconic symbol of Easter - and what type of animal is best-known for producing eggs? Besides the amazing platypus, birds are the designated egg-laying animal for most people, so no Easter board game collection would be complete without a game about birds. (It helps that this particular title is also one of the best board games of recent years, too.)
Undoubtedly the most bird-focused board game out there is Elizabeth Hargrave’s Wingspan. The variety of avian species on display in Wingspan is staggering; you’ve got owls, hawks, goldfinches, ducks, puffins, warblers and more. You name a type of bird and Wingspan probably has it.
“What do you do with all these birds?” I hear you ask. Why, you want to collect them in your habitats, of course. The rarer the bird, the better. To attract your avian of choice, you’ll have to make your habitats look attractive by gaining food, collecting eggs and encouraging other types of birds to roost there. Certain types of birds will only roost if there are already other kinds of birds already there - birds of a feather are notorious for following trends and FOMO - which means that players will need to plan ahead if they want to get the rarer species. This engine-building mechanic is what makes Wingspan such a satisfying board game to play, because players gradually work towards bigger goals and better rewards whilst seeing their habitats’ population grow. The feeling of achievement and the excitement of progression stays high until the end of the game.
Wingspan is a beautiful board game as well, with some incredibly pretty artwork for the different bird cards. If you’re struggling to get hold of a physical copy or finding it hard to get people over to play it, a digital board game version is currently available as a Tabletop Simulator mod on PC. The game is also due to launch on PC and Nintendo Switch soon.
Playtime: 40-70 minutes
Best for: Aspiring ornithologists
Buy Wingspan on Amazon.com/Amazon.co.uk
6. Chocolate Factory
Satisfy your sweet strategy tooth
Ask pretty much anyone what their favourite part of Easter is and they’ll undoubtedly say that it’s the chocolate. The flowers are lovely, the weather is often nice this time of year and bunnies certainly are cute, but there’s no point beating about the bush here: Easter is all about the chocolate. Chocolate eggs, chocolate cereal nests - an absolute classic - and chocolate gateau. Gorging until you’re sick is part of what makes this particular festive period worth celebrating. Therefore, the perfect tabletop experience to reflect this overindulgence is Chocolate Factory: a strategy board game where players become Willy Wonka-esque rivals.
Not only does the board game fully commit to its theme - including wooden components to represent the different chocolates, as well as a pushable conveyor belt - Chocolate Factory provides an incredibly complex collection of gameplay mechanics to master, perfect for players wanting something a little more challenging to get stuck into over the long bank holiday weekend.
Chocolate Factory isn’t just a board game about making chocolates; players will need to build their machines before they can actually start producing anything. By drawing different factory parts, players can gradually create the most efficient chocolate-making machines and, perhaps, even hire some specialists to help them along the way. Eventually you’ll be able to start assembling your chocolates by pushing through cocoa and supplying your machines with enough fuel to keep going. Whichever player manages to create and sell the largest amount of chocolates for the greatest value is named the game’s winner.
Chocolate Factory is one of the more complicated board games on this list, so we wouldn’t recommend it to people who aren’t at least a little familiar with strategic board games already. Nevertheless, if you’re up for putting your wits to the test - and for playing out a fantasy where you own a chocolate factory - then it’s the ideal Easter board game.
Playtime: 45-90 minutes
Best for: Chocolate and strategy lovers
Buy Chocolate Factory on Amazon UK/Amazon US.
Lead an animal army to victory in a war for the woodland
Root’s illustrations - courtesy of Kyle Ferrin - is easily one of the most distinct and beautiful art styles tabletop gaming has ever seen. With its rich colour palette and devastatingly whimsical tone, you can’t help but fall in love with the woodland world of Root. However, beneath the adorable animals, including a scattering of Easter-appropriate rabbits, lies a broken land torn apart by war and industrialism. Root reminds us that there’s a dark side to every festive holiday - usually involving family feuds and arguments at the dinner table - that needs to have an outlet of some sort, preferably one that doesn’t end in an awkward silence. This is where Root comes in as a healthy way of expressing competitiveness or hashing out any tensions, whilst keeping all such feelings to the tabletop.
An asymmetrical board game - meaning that players have separate goals and abilities depending on which faction they play - Root sees players taking command of one of four different groups: the Marquise’s cat empire, the Eyrie bird lords, roguish vagabonds or rebellious Woodland Alliance. As these factions clash with one another, players must get to grips with the different mechanics of their chosen group. Whether it’s managing the resources of your vast empire as the cats or the mandatory laws of your avian rulers as the birds, each faction requires players to apply their strategies in different ways in order to achieve their ultimate end goal. Taking place across a series of woodland clearings, players will be either facing their opponents head on or manoeuvring their units across the board in order to move closer to their required win condition. It takes a little time and a few playthroughs to really get to grips with all the factions, but Root is an incredibly satisfying board game with a transfixing world.
There’s a reason why Root is considered to be one of the best board games of the last decade or so. Despite how initially daunting the strategy game might appear, it’s surprising how quickly some players can pick it up. With the variety of gameplay styles on display and a very different perspective on animals, there’s bound to be something for every type of player to enjoy this Easter.
Playtime: 60-90 minutes
Best for: Releasing tension
Buy Root on Amazon.com/Amazon.co.uk
8. Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small
Run a farm and fill your fields with animals
The original Agricola is a board game that tells a dark fable about the fickleness of Mother Nature and how hard life is for the average down-on-their-luck farmer. But this is Easter, so it’s really not in the spirit of the season to dwell on such harsh realities. Rather, let us bask in the blessed fantasy of owning a little patch of land to keep a lovely family of farmyard animals on. Unlike its bigger sibling, Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small focuses on the most fun element of farming: all the adorable animals you get to pet. You really don’t get a family board game more appealing to players of all ages than one about keeping farmyard animals.
Don’t let its quaint theming fool you into thinking that All Creatures Big and Small is a simple board game for kids. Au contraire, All Creatures Big and Small is a challenging game that sees two players carefully considering their every move, as they attempt to become the most successful breeder of horses, cows, pigs and sheep. (Nothing better than a soft Easter lamb.)
Each player begins with their own three-by-five plot - which they can eventually expand to contain more animals - that they must fill with all the buildings needed to support the various species of farmyard animal. Troughs, stalls and stables help players to obtain more animals, which grant the majority of victory points at the game’s end, but can also provide chances for additional victory points. As such, players will need to balance the amount of animals they have with their existing infrastructure, so that they can collect as many points as possible and be declared the winner.
For fans of farmyard animals - particularly the noble dairy cow and stalwart sheep - Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small makes for a positively delightful Easter board game. Its cheery depiction of farmyard life is on par with Maire Antoinette’s own fantasies of agricultural life, and it’s a deceptively deep board game that’s sure to keep you and your opponent’s minds deeply occupied over the Easter weekend.
Playtime: 30 minutes
Best for: Wannabe farmers
Buy Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small on Zatu.
Wander the woods during spring to prepare for winter
Ah, spring. The season of mild weather - at least in the UK - new growth and an overall feeling of warmth as winter finally releases its clutches on the land. We’ve all heard of spring fever, and it’s about this time of year that many of our native animals begin to fully indulge in it. This means digging new burrows, building new nests, forming new dens and more, all in anticipation of the upcoming months of warmth and sunlight. Everdell is a family board game that’s all about this particular process taking place in a far-off forest populated by all sorts of adorable woodland creatures. Yes, that means we’re once again on the rabbit train and fully revelling in it.
Of course, it’s not all about the animals with floppy ears. There are a wide variety of critters living in and amongst Everdell’s trees - including a particularly fine skunk - and they all need homes of their own in order to make the most of the warmer months. In Everdell, players take turns to do one of three actions: either choose a location to place one of their worker units - so they can complete a task like collecting resources or gaining additional cards - play one of their existing cards to further develop their animal city or prepare for the coming winter by returning all their active worker units and gaining new ones to use next turn. All these actions are in service of building the player’s city, making it a more comfortable place for the animals to live and gathering resources so that they can survive once the colder months arrive. When winter finally falls, whichever player has gathered the most points by building, populating and supplying their city is named the winner.
It is important to remember that eventually spring - and then summer - will end, and the warmth we enjoy at Easter will fade into something a little colder and darker. However, Everdell also reminds us that being prepared is rarely a bad thing and to enjoy the brighter months while they last - which is why it’s a great Easter board game.
Players: 1-4 players
Playtime: 40-80 minutes
Best for: Basking in that spring fever
Buy Everdell on Amazon UK/Amazon US.
10. Animal Upon Animal
Stack up a tower with enough animals to rival Noah’s Ark
A dexterity board game based around the apparent favourite pastime of all animals - stacking on top of each other in order to create an enormous pyramid - Animal Upon Animal comes from Haba, the company behind a number of great family board games, including Rhino Hero. As with most of Haba’s offerings, Animal Upon Animal is not the most challenging of tabletop experiences out there, but that’s exactly what makes it a perfect board game for kids to play over the Easter weekend.
Featuring a collection of charming wooden animals - which happens to include a few Easter-appropriate creatures, such as the sheep and, of course, the toucan - the objective of Animal Upon Animal is simple enough: successfully place all your animals on top of the rest, without toppling the tower. Despite its simplicity, this is still no mean feat, as players will have to carefully select which animal they want to place where. Sheep are bulky enough to provide some stability on the bottom, but don’t necessarily do so well on the top. Whereas penguins are smaller but taller, needing to be fitted closer to the middle of the structure to prevent them from falling out the side. It’s a great board game for kids and adults alike because it involves a lot of spatial awareness, and makes players consider what their best option may be without the risk of getting overwhelmed.
Spring isn’t just about the chocolate, the flowers, the eggs and the warmer weather, it’s also about getting everyone involved in whatever way you choose to celebrate Easter - even if you don’t celebrate it at all and just get a few more days together. Playing an Easter board game like Animal Upon Animal is a perfect excuse to get together, however many of you there are and whatever ages you may be, and have some fun.
Playtime: 15 minutes
Best for: Getting loved ones round the table
Buy Animal Upon Animal on Amazon UK/Amazon US.