When it comes to tabletop games and roleplaying games, Dungeons and Dragons is basically royalty. People who don’t know anything else about tapletop have heard about D&D, but sometimes you’re looking for a slightly different roleplaying experience. Sometimes, you want a bit more casual of an experience, sometimes you want something heavier, whatever the case may be – there are some great D&D alternatives out there, and we’ve collected some of the better board games like D&D for you to check out.

Here are some board games like Dungeons and Dragons that check off many of the boxes that you may be looking for, and we’ve got a few more recommendations for anyone who makes it to the bottom of the list.

1. Best All Around Game: Gloomhaven (2017)

  • Players: 1-4
  • Type Of Game: Dungeon Crawler
  • Time: 60-120 Minutes
  • Publisher: Cephalofair Games
  • Complexity: Medium

Gloomhaven is a robust dungeon crawler board game that has earned the nickname “D&D in a box”. Although in this game the stories and campaigns are all written out so there’s no need for a dungeon master, which could be seen as a pro or a con depending on who you ask. Through a series of immersive campaigns and scenarios, Gloomhaven offers players a complete role playing experience.

Gloomhaven is a unique blend of Co-Op and individual game-play that has topped many people’s lists of best board games. Players train their mercenary in the city of Gloomhaven until they’re fit for adventure. Once everyone is ready it’s time to band together and embark on an adventure that will push the party to their limits. Although there’s many games like Gloomhaven on the market, few can match the sheer amount of content and variability found in Gloomhaven.

2. Most Like Old School D&D: Basic Fantasy RPG

basic fantasy rpg
image via: basicfantasy
  • Players: 2-8
  • Type Of Game: Role Playing Game
  • Time: 120-180 Minutes
  • Publisher: Self Published, Open Source
  • Complexity: Low

Although the title seems a bit on-the-nose, this game delivers a fairly robust RPG experience. Designed to be easy to understand for children and adults alike, BFRPG is a great alternative to Dungeons and Dragons for families. Unlike most games on this list, Basic Fantasy RPG can actually be downloaded and played for free, but if you’re the type of person who prefers a physical rulebook then that’s an option too.

Basic Fantasy RPG is modeled after the classic rules of D&D from the 1980s. As an Open Source community driven game, BFRPG is full of colorful stories and scenarios that look and feel like classic role playing games. With constant updates and additions, there’s always more adventuring to be done.

3. For A More Competitive Experience: Mage Knight (2011)

mage knight
  • Players: 1-4
  • Type Of Game: Dungeon Crawler, Deck Builder
  • Time: 60-240 Minutes
  • Publisher: WizKids
  • Complexity: Medium to High

Mage Knight is a deck building exploration game that can be played either cooperatively or competitively. Each player champions one of the four powerful mage knights as they explore the caves, dungeons and cities of the Atlantean Empire.

Searching through dungeons and taking on powerful foes is an important way to earn new spells and action cards to build a stronger deck for the next battle. In the competitive version of the game players can choose to help each other, however at the end of the game only one player will emerge victorious so be careful who you trust.

4. Best for Families: Munchkin (2001)

john flinchbaugh/flickr
  • Players: 3-6
  • Type Of Game: Card Game
  • Time: 60-120 Minutes
  • Publisher: Steve Jackson Games
  • Complexity: Very Easy

If you’re looking for a lighter game that’s easy for kids to learn, then Munchkin is probably the best bet. Kick down doors, defeat the enemies, gain levels, and flaunt your precious loot to your friends. Munchkin is a simplistic role playing card game that focuses on game-play instead of storytelling.

With 9 core expansions and many more smaller expansions and spin-offs there’s a Munchkin game for everybody. Plus most of them can be combined together to create a hilariously hectic game. With fairly simple rules and a focus on accessibility, Munchkin is a great choice for the whole family.

5. Best Role Playing Experience: Pathfinder (2009)

peter aho/flickr

  • Players: 2-8
  • Type Of Game: Role Playing Game
  • Time: 120-180 Minutes
  • Publisher: Paizo Publishing
  • Complexity: Medium

Pathfinder is a fantasy RPG game by Paizo Publishing very similar to dungeons and dragons 3.5 release, with many improvements on the game-play. Often nicknamed “D&D Version 3.75” by it’s fans, Pathfinder is one of the closest relatives to Dungeons and Dragons. With a huge emphasis on community feedback, Pathfinder continues to grow and improve every day.

A main difference between these games is that Pathfinder focuses more on different classes to give players a lot more customization options. Paizo also released a online co-operative campaign called the Pathfinder Society. Where players can use their characters in different play sessions and different groups while continuing to earn experience, money and prestige points.

6. For an Immersive RPG Experience: Descent Journeys In the Dark (2012)

descent journeys in the dark
polina zhigareva/flickr
  • Players: 1-5
  • Type Of Game: Dungeon Crawler, Dice Builder
  • Time: 120 Minutes
  • Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
  • Complexity: Medium

Descent is a one-vs-many game that takes players into a vibrant fantasy realm. Reminiscent of a D&D dungeon master, one player takes on the role of an evil overlord while the remaining players take on the roles of heroes who try to stop them. It’s a race against time as the overlord attempts to stall and defeat the heroes.

In Descent heroes build up dice pools that contribute to their attacks. Meaning sometimes this game relies heavily on luck to get the rolls you need. It’s the overlords job to trip, slow, or knock down the heroes before they can successfully foil his evil plot.

More Board Games Like D&D…

Still haven’t found anything that catches your eye, or looking for more recommendations of board games like Dungeons and Dragons? Here’s a few more that you can check out – let us know what you choose!

If you love any other board games like D&D, please feel free to share your recommendations with our readers because our goal is to have something for everyone to enjoy, regardless of how experienced they are, or which themes they love, and so on. There are so many amazing games out there, let’s help everybody find their next favorite!