When you hear Dungeons & Dragons the first thing that undoubtedly pops into your head is the tabletop RPG. Whilst the original roleplaying game is exceedingly popular - so popular, in fact, that it’s getting another film adaptation and continues to be the most widely-played RPG in existence - there’s plenty of adventure to be found within the lesser-known but numerous Dungeons & Dragons board games that have been released over the past 50 years or so.
Some of the earliest examples of D&D board games left a lot to be desired, with most being little more than glorified tutorials for the RPG - such as The New Easy to Master Dungeons & Dragons - or even, Bahamut forbid, trivia games about the fantasy world. After all, who wants to answer questions on what spells you get access to as a third level cleric? Luckily, the situation has improved astronomically since way back when, and now there are a wide variety of excellent D&D spin-offs for fans - and newbies - to dive into.
Best Dungeons & Dragons board games
Tyrants of the Underdark: A challenging deckbuilding game in which players are cutthroat drow nobles vying for power.
Lords of Waterdeep: Dominate the famous city of Waterdeep as power-hungry secret leaders in this strategic board game.
Dungeons & Dragons: Tomb of Annihilation Board Game: Travel through the haunted swamps of Chult to solve its mysteries in the co-op game.
Dungeons & Dragons: Attack Wing: A miniatures game based on the Star Wars: X-Wing system that sees players clash as two dragons in aerial combat.
Dungeons & Dragons: Waterdeep - Dungeon of the Mad Mage: Another entry in the D&D Adventure System series that sees players exploring a dangerous labyrinth.
Three-Dragon Ante: Legendary Edition: Based on a card game that was created within the D&D universe, players can bet their gold to win big.
Vault of Dragons: A Dungeons & Dragons board game that enables players to indulge their most greedy desires whilst hunting for hidden gold.
Whether you’re looking for a condensed version of the beloved RPG, allowing you to have an adventure without all the effort of character creation and a multi-hour campaign, or just a new perspective on the world of D&D, this list of the best D&D games has plenty to choose from. With everything from heavy deckbuilding to new family games, it’s the equivalent of a Bag of Holding filled to the brim with recommendations.
1. Tyrants of the Underdark
An intense deckbuilding game about backstabbing drow
As brilliant as the world-building in Dungeons & Dragons often is - from the creepy jungles of Chult to the steampunk aesthetic of Eberron - there are aspects of the tabletop roleplaying game that feel somewhat dated and problematic. The drow are a prime example of this disappointing regressiveness. They’re a race in the Forgotten Realms, the main setting of D&D 5E, portrayed as almost unanimously evil. Depicted as being power-hungry and downright rotten, the drow worship an evil spider goddess and go about killing anyone who doesn’t. Despite somewhat indulging in this troubling generalisation, Tyrants of the Underdark at least gives players the opportunity to embody the drow and sees things from their perspective.
The majority of drow live in the Underdark, an enormous city underneath the Sword Coast occupied by various powerful houses warring for control over wealth, land and influence. In this deckbuilding game, each player assumes control of one of these houses and attempts to assert their dominance over the Underdark by gaining territories, recruiting important allies, getting minions inducted into the inner circle and performing assassinations. All these delightful activities are completed with the aim of gaining more points than your rivals, with plenty of opportunities to be positively nasty to each other throughout the game. Players can use their deck to summon various minions to the game board, using whatever influence they can claim to gradually build up their deck.
Tyrants of the Underdark is certainly one of the more complicated Dungeons & Dragons board games out there, so it’s not necessarily the best beginner game if you’re new to the tabletop. But there is something incredibly satisfying about seeing your drow house gradually grow in strength and spread across the board - which makes Tyrants a fantastic D&D game.
Players: 2-4 players
Playtime: 60 minutes
Best for: D&D players looking for a challenge
2. Lords of Waterdeep
A now-classic D&D board game about infiltration and intrigue set in an iconic location
We now travel from a city underground to a city on the surface with Lords of Waterdeep, a Dungeons & Dragons spin-off set in the thriving heart of the Forgotten Realms. Though the average adventurer might enjoy the city’s grand architecture and shopping opportunities, the seedier individual may take advantage of the darker side of Waterdeep - with plenty of backdoor dealings and skulduggery afoot. There’s wealth to be found in Waterdeep for those masked lords willing to get their hands dirty, but whether players are prepared to indulge in the trickery and intrigue required to win is another matter entirely.
As masked lords of Waterdeep - the secret rulers of the city - you’ll be competing with each other to spread your influence, whether by feeding the city’s growth or leeching the success of others. By gathering and assigning resources, players can perform actions to further cement their power in Waterdeep, obtaining new buildings that enable additional options and completing certain objectives for rewards. True to its scheming theme, players can choose to put their efforts towards playing intrigue cards designed to thwart the plans of their rival lords. Alternatively, they can always decide to work alongside another player for the good of both their plans - only up to a certain point, of course.
The moment when all the pieces come together and you begin to see the wealth and influence flow into your pockets is where Lords of Waterdeep really hits the spot. There’s nothing quite like watching your opponents’ plans crumble, whilst your own schemes come to fruition.
Players: 2-5 players
Playtime: 60-120 minutes
Best for: Anyone who’s ever wanted to say the words “You’ve fallen for my scheme!”
3. Dungeon Mayhem
A lighthearted battle to be the last hero standing
With all the above being a tad heavier when it comes to theme and gameplay, it’s about time we talk about something a little more light.
Dungeon Mayhem is a party game about silly characters using wacky abilities to eliminate every single one of their opponents as fast as physically possible. Okay, maybe Dungeon Mayhem isn’t quite as cute as it initially appears, what with its adorable art style - by none other than Root artist Kyle Ferrin - and witty writing. That said, it’s a more relaxed experience than many of the other Dungeons & Dragons games on this list. If you can understand how the combat in a session of D&D 5E works, Dungeon Mayhem will be a piece of cake.
There are several classic Dungeons & Dragons character classes to choose from in Dungeon Mayhem - your rogue, wizard, barbarian and such - each with their own ridiculous names or titles and unique set of abilities to use. These abilities are represented by a deck of cards that enable players to do positively awful things to their opponents’ characters in order to survive, like a D&D battle royale. For example, Azzan the Mystic - who’s actually a wizard - can swap their hit points with an opponent by playing the Vampiric Touch card, a game-changer if used at the right time.
As each opponent falls by the wayside, drained of their hit points and their pride, the tension mounts until the last couple of players are left remaining - which often leads to some of the most ridiculous moments in the game. Dungeon Mayhem is a quick game that nevertheless offers up a lot of fun to be had by D&D enthusiasts.
Players: 2-4 players
Playtime: 10 minutes
Best for: Playing during D&D toilet breaks
4. Dungeons & Dragons: Tomb of Annihilation Board Game
Trek through the jungles of Chult in this game based on the popular D&D sourcebook
The cover art of Dungeons & Dragons: Tomb of Annihilation should give you a good idea of what you’re getting into: a gross mummy snake-man slithering around in a swamp filled with other gross mummy snake-people. Heavily inspired by the D&D sourcebook of the same name, Tomb of Annihilation is a horror game that sees players exploring the swamps and jungles of one of the most unwelcoming settings in Dungeons & Dragons history: Chult. But unlike the hefty D&D sourcebook, the Tomb of Annihilation board game provides a stripped-back adventure for players to enjoy.
The co-op game invites players to grab a pair of wellies and wade through the muck and the fetid swamplands of Chult in search of the fabled Tomb of the Nine Gods - a most definitely haunted location that might also contain some treasure. Having made the questionable decision to take up the quest, the party must work together to survive Chult’s various dangers and battle against the horrid creatures that reside within its depths. (Snake-man should give you a good idea of what to expect here.) The Tomb of Annihilation board game comes with an adventure book to help add narrative flavour to the players’ actions, whilst still keeping things a relatively more streamlined path than a standard D&D campaign.
If you ever fancied playing some Dungeons & Dragons but didn't quite have the time or the energy to play through an actual tabletop roleplaying game, Tomb of Annihilation should provide an appropriately spooky alternative. If you can handle its scares, that is.
Players: 1-5 players
Playtime: 60 minutes
Best for: When you want adventure but not a full-on D&D campaign
Buy Dungeons & Dragons: Tomb of Annihilation on Amazon UK.
5. Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate
The crossover that nobody asked for, but nearly everyone likes
Betrayal at House on the Hill is a bonafide modern tabletop classic. Combining a pulpy horror aesthetic with a traitor mechanic - considered a unique element at the time - the haunted house adventure won over the hearts and minds of horror game fans everywhere. Or, at least, most of them. Fast-forward about 15 years or so, and the tabletop world is suddenly introduced to a standalone sequel set in the city of Baldur’s Gate - a setting introduced in the nineties video game series set in the world of Dungeons & Dragons. Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate is arguably one of the most unexpected board game crossovers out there, combining much of the original Betrayal’s mechanics with an entirely new fantasy aesthetic. Despite this, the game cleverly melds the two properties together to something that feels like it should have always existed.
As with the original co-op board game, Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate begins with all players working together to explore the game’s location - this time a fantasy city, rather than a haunted house. As players uncover more of its dark alleyways and sketchy underbelly, they’ll begin to witness disturbing goings-on that whisper of the workings of Bhaal, a murderous deity that seeks to establish itself on the mortal plane. Safe to say, the introduction of a murder god isn’t good news for the more innocent members of the adventuring party. As for the more guilty individuals? Well, at some point in the game you might get a chance to turn on your teammates and enact Bhaal’s terrible bidding.
With 50 different possible scenarios on offer, picking up Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate isn’t a half-bad idea if you’re looking for something a little more unusual. It’s a brilliant video game board game and one of the best Dungeons & Dragons games to boot.
Players: 3-6 players
Playtime: 60 minutes
Best for: Lovers of horror, video games and Dungeons & Dragons
6. Dungeons & Dragons: Attack Wing
Battle for the skies as the RPG’s most iconic creatures in this tactical miniatures game
There are many creatures in the world of Dungeons & Dragons, yet from beholders to awakened shrubs there’s arguably no being more associated with the roleplaying game than the mighty dragon. As well as being directly name-dropped in the title, dragons are essentially the poster star of the D&D universe, dominating the cover of the Dungeons & Dragons 5E Player’s Handbook and playing a significant role in the RPG’s lore. Dungeons & Dragons: Attack Wing gives players other than the dungeon master the opportunity to embody these incredible beasts as they dogfight in an epic sky battle.
Attack Wing uses the same FlightPath system designed for Star Wars: X-Wing. Players select which dragon they want to play as - each with unique attack options and capabilities - before placing them on the table. The players take turns to secretly decide how and where their dragon will move, before revealing their actions and engaging in brutal combat should they be in range. Each player has their own set of manoeuvre dials, which they assign to their creatures - battles can feature more than just dragons - and set to indicate their direction and speed. The hidden element of the planning phase allows players to really get inside their opponents’ heads and think carefully about what their next move should be, with the tension making for an exciting experience.
The miniatures nature of Attack Wing and its presentation might put fresh-faced players off, but once you get your head around the system it’s slick and quick to play. After all, there’s a reason why X-Wing is as popular as it is, and it’s not just because of the Star Wars licence. (Though that certainly helps.) Attack Wing proves there’s no reason the thrill and action of spaceship dogfights can’t be applied to dragon battles as well.
Players: 2+ players
Playtime: 30 minutes
Best for: D&D players who want to control a dragon
Buy Dungeons & Dragons: Attack Wing on the Attack Wing website.
7. Dungeons & Dragons: Rock, Paper, Wizard
A chaotic party game as wizards duel over a dragon’s gold
A group of adventurers defeat a monster and argue over who gets what from the loot pile. Sound familiar? That’s because pretty much every D&D party that’s ever existed has found themselves in this scenario. Dungeons & Dragons: Rock, Paper, Wizard channels this shared experience in a very literal way with an entire game about fighting over a dragon’s hoard of gold. In this case, players can indulge their selfish impulses as much as they like without facing serious consequences in an ongoing roleplaying campaign.
Rock, Paper, Wizard is a party game in which players all simultaneously choose a spell to cast at an opponent, before yelling its name and performing the correct hand gesture at their target. For example, Dominate Person - a classic D&D spell - requires the player to say the spell’s name and curl a figure towards themselves in a ‘come hither’ way to be successfully cast. If it works, they can push their intended target two spaces away from the gold pile and steal a gold piece from them as well. All of this is in service of the players’ greed, as they attempt to get close enough to the gold pile to take from it, whilst preventing others from doing the same. Magic can be unpredictable and some spells will have a lasting impact on the following turn, so players will have to think carefully about what they cast and whom they cast it at.
What makes Rock, Paper, Wizard such a great Dungeons & Dragons game is that it captures the essence of the roleplaying game and condenses it into a half-hour party game. There’s still plenty of room for roleplay and silliness, but in a much tighter and - probably - more chaotic experience.
Players: 3-6 players
Playtime: 30 minutes
Best for: Attacking fellow party members without consequences
8. Dungeons & Dragons: Waterdeep - Dungeon of the Mad Mage
Discover the secrets to an underground dungeon
Dungeons & Dragons: Waterdeep - Dungeon of the Mad Mage, a title that really rolls off the tongue, is another entry in the D&D Adventure System board game series - this time transporting players to the labyrinth of a morally dubious mage. As with Tomb of Annihilation, Dungeon of the Mad Mage is based on an existing Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook and depicts a location that most people would choose not to venture into. Seeing as D&D adventurers often have a habit of visiting unpleasant places, you might already be aware of this. If danger is what you’re looking for, then Dungeon of the Mad Mage has it in droves - or at least, an imaginary version of it.
A co-op adventure game set beneath the city of Waterdeep, Dungeon of the Mad Mage sees players facing off against the machinations of Halaster Blackcloak, a magic user who has built an underground dungeon called Undermountain. If it wasn’t obvious already, Blackcloak is up to no good in this labyrinth and it’s up to the players to work together to stop his evil schemes. You’ll be able to have a different narrative and gameplay experience depending on which scenario you choose to play from the adventure book. If you happen to possess a copy of the Tomb of Annihilation board game - as well as any other of the previously released D&D Adventure System instalments - you can combine components with Dungeon of the Mad Mage to create an even more unique gameplay experience.
As with Tomb of Annihilation, Dungeon of the Mad Mage is a great way to engage with D&D without having to do a lot of the busy work required to play the RPG. Not to say that playing Dungeons & Dragons isn’t worth the effort, but sometimes you want that feeling of adventure in a nice streamlined package - exactly what Dungeon of the Mad Mage provides.
Players: 1-5 players
Playtime: 60 minutes
Best for: Scratching the D&D itch without all the hassle
Embark on an exciting deckbuilding adventure across the Forgotten Realms
Who knew that the Dungeons & Dragons universe had such a collection of fine deckbuilding games? If Tyrants of the Underdark sounds a little too much for you, then you can still get your deckbuilding kicks by playing Dragonfire - a co-operative card game that follows the more familiar patterns of D&D. Roleplaying is the reason we play Dungeons & Dragons in the first place, but sometimes you want the adventuring elements to be combined with a more straightforward set of mechanics.
As with almost any D&D campaign, players begin Dragonfire by selecting what race and class their character is going to be - such as a half-orc cleric or human wizard - before setting off with whatever equipment, items, abilities and spells they have to hand. Unlike any Dungeons & Dragons campaign, a player’s equipment, items, abilities and spells are represented by a deck of cards that players gradually develop throughout their adventure. This co-op board game rewards players with more powerful cards to add to their arsenal, giving them a sense of genuine progression as they defeat more dangerous foes and complete more ambitious quests. The core experience of Dragonfire is made up of a series of storylines that take characters everywhere from the city of Waterdeep to the land of Neverwinter and beyond - like an ultimate tour of the Forgotten Realms.
Deckbuilding games are a genre of tabletop that I’m incredibly fond of because they’re often so satisfying to play, and Dragonfire is no different. You’ll still get that sense of character development you find in the D&D tabletop roleplaying game, but in a wonderfully different way that feels equally rewarding.
Players: 2-6 players
Playtime: 60-90 minutes
Best for: Building card decks and D&D characters
10. Three-Dragon Ante: Legendary Edition
A fictional card game turned real
Dungeons & Dragons has some really interesting pieces of lore to its name, some of which have taken on a life outside of the tabletop RPG. One such example of this is the in-universe card game Three-Dragon Ante, which is based on various gambling games that featured in D&D campaigns of ages past. Originally released in 2005, Three-Dragon Ante is a card game that serves the dual purpose of being a fun diversion to enjoy and an activity you can actually do during a campaign of Dungeons & Dragons.
This party board game is a combination of various well-known card games - such as poker and rummy - squeezed into a game where you can imagine all the gold you could be making, if you were playing with actual gold. (If you are, then that's some serious dedication to roleplay.)
Players begin the game with 50 ‘gold pieces’ that they can choose to stake on a series of gambits, made up of three rounds of play. Once players have placed their bets for that gambit they draw two cards and choose to play one - cards can be dragons or mortals, and each type has its own special ability that can help players to draw additional cards or take gold from their opponents. Playing a card that is of equal or lesser value than the one before it causes its ability to trigger, but it is often the higher cards that will ultimately win players the game. Once the three rounds are over, whichever player has the highest-numbered flight of cards is the winner of that gambit.
As with many gambling games, while Three-Dragon Ante does involve skill and strategy, it is largely about luck and how far players are willing to go to maximise their winnings. Just like D&D, you can play Three-Dragon Ante without worrying about the consequences of not winning and losing a pile of actual gold down the drain.
Players: 2-6 players
Playtime: 30 minutes
Best for: Playing a game within a game.
Buy Three-Dragon Ante: Legendary Edition on Amazon US.
11. Vault of Dragons
A clash of factions over a pile of gold
We’re circling back round to Waterdeep for the final entry in this list, because it seems all roads lead back to the Forgotten Realms’ most infamous city. Vault of Dragons is a D&D board game about - what else? - a bunch of people fighting over piles of money. Based on D&D 5E sourcebook Waterdeep: Dragon Heist, Vault of Dragons involves an underground dungeon filled to the brim with gold pieces - or ‘dragons’, as they’re known within Waterdeep. These dragons have been stolen from various individuals throughout the city, and you, along with a number of other factions, want to get your hands on it. That means venturing into the depths of Waterdeep with your band of followers in order to grab it before anyone else does.
Inside the dungeon is a series of rooms containing various rewards to take, secrets to uncover and - of course - enemies to fight. Above ground, the city proper has plenty of opportunities to help adventurers gain the upper hand by fulfilling quests, collecting money, purchasing magical items and more besides. Each new location you control in the city of Waterdeep gives you benefits - such as the ones listed above - but players will need to be careful not to get on the wrong side of the City Watch. Once a player has successfully uncovered a total of three secrets within the underground dungeon, they can reveal the location of the vault and attempt to open it by rolling a 20 or more. With the vault revealed, other players can attempt to open it as well - leading to an inevitable roll-off between the different factions.
Dungeons & Dragons adventure games may be a dime a dozen, but that doesn’t mean Vault of Dragons doesn’t stand out under its own merits. This Dungeons & Dragons board game guarantees tension and excitement, as everyone rushes to gather everything they need to open the vault and collect the gold before anyone else.
Players: 2-4 players
Playtime: 60-90 minutes
Best for: Hashing out bitter rivalries in a healthy way