Board Game Roundup: Best 3-player games

Glory to Rome

Sometimes, 3 can be a crowd.  Others call it an odd number.  But, it can be the perfect number to play a number of different board games:

Glory to Rome (2005)
If you haven’t played this classic, you are missing out on a game that works really well for 3, 4 or 5 players, and is generally – thought not always – fairly quick compared to the longer strategy games that we’re used to.  The genius of the game is the cards that can play different roles at different times.

As much as I love Glory with any number of players, I love how much fun it is as a 3-player game.  Your decisions more directly impact the players around you, and you typically have time to build a bigger engine and delve deeper into your strategies.

Istanbul (2014)
This is a fun game of going around the Istanbul Bazaar of yesteryear and collecting what you need to trade for jewels.  It has colorful art which complements a wheeling-and-dealing feel of a fairly brisk game that has won multiple awards, and has something of a cult following on boardgamegeek.  It’s one of the few games I can get Cagey to play at any time.  It can work for 2 or 4 players, but it definitely works really well for 3.

King of Tokyo (2011)
This is a classic beer-and-pretzel game that can work for almost any age range and a variety of player numbers including 2, but this is an excellent 3-player game.  Wreck Tokyo as a fire breathing lizard, or 2-headed giant ape.  3 players is ideal for making the being “King of Tokyo” part of the game hard, without being too hard.

7 Wonders (2010)
Again, I would call this game a classic.  7 Wonders is one of the best games I have ever played, for the way it combines an epic feel with a fast pace . This is such a good game that it works well with any number of players, but it is really good for 3 players, one of the best games for that group.

Eminent Domain

Underrated space themed deck-and-engine builder with role selection, and it works really well with 3 players.  I love the exploration and planet settlement/planet takeover element of the game, but also the science upgrades that you can invest in to get your engine going.  I’m not sure the exact length of a 3-player game, but it’s short enough to play more than once in game session, or to get another game going.


Tiny Epic Galaxies (2015)
This is a quick, fun game with that can be played with a variety of numbers of players, but if you need a good, quick, 3-player game, this is another good one.  It’s also a good gateway to the Tiny Epic series, though I hear from people I like that Galaxies is the best of them, but Tiny Epic Quest is also popular.

Watering Hole (tbd)
I swear I don’t write these posts to plug my own stuff but I can’t leave it out because even though I’m obviously biased, it’s my favorite game to play right now with a group of 3.  It’s fun to build your bar and compete for funny patrons.  Though it works for 2-4 players, I think 3 might be its sweet spot, as it lets each player dominate either Food, Drinks or Entertainment.  We will be launching this one in 2019.

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