A large gaming group consisting of up to eight players can be pretty difficult to cater to. A lot of games tend to cater for the 2-4 player mark, so the general consensus seems to be to split up into 2 groups to play.
But what if you want to all play together? We’ve compiled a list of games that work well for larger groups. We’ve tried to veer away from this whole list being party and social deduction games which tend to work well at this player count, and include some that are more strategic as well.
If you want more games you should also check out our article on board games for more than 10 players, as that’s a whole different set of board games and all of those also play with 8 people very well.
Table of Contents
Best Board Games For Up To 8 Players – Quick Comparison
1. Best Overall: Codenames
Codenames is a game for 2-8 players that takes around 15 minutes and is easy to learn.
In Codenames, you are split into two teams. Each team has a clue giver that needs to make their team guess the correct words with only one-word clues as quickly as possible.
It’s a very fun, fast-paced game that is very approachable for gamers and non-gamers alike and works well for a variety of player counts, especially for large groups.
- Great for large groups
- Fast-paced and fun
- Team based
- Approachable rules
- Word association is not for everyone
- Not much deep strategy is required
A perfect party game experience for game nights
2-8+ player (in two teams)
15 minutes playtime
2. Best Filler Game: Sushi Go Party!
For 2-8 players, Sushi Go Party! is a quick and easy game that can be completed in about 20 minutes.
In this game, players trade card hands back and forth in order to acquire sushi sets that may be scored in various ways, trying to get the highest score.
With a wide variety of player counts it’s easy to pick up and play and works especially well for larger groups as all turns are played simultaneously so there is no downtime.
EAch game you can pick a different set of sushi to use, so the gameplay seems fresh and interesting every time it’s played.
- No downtime when played with large groups
- Fun filler game to play
- Easy to teach rules
- Comes in a tin instead of a box
- Gameplay can be repetitive after many games
- Light on strategy
Deluxe version of best-selling card game lets you customize your difficulty level
20 minutes playtime
3. Best Team Game: Captain Sonar
Captain Sonar is a game for 2 to 8 players that takes around an hour to play and is of medium complexity.
This is a bit like the game Battleships on steroids, where your team controls a submarine and you are trying to sink the other team’s submarine. You do this with each player having a different role on the sub (such as moving or tracking the other sub) and you all have to work together to coordinate the subs movement and hit the other team.
It’s a pretty tense game that requires good teamwork and strategy with everyone having a specific job to do in real-time, and to me it feels a bit like a video game.
- Competitive game
- Teamwork required
- Tense pressure
- Different roles to play keep the game interesting
- Can be quite stressful
- A bad player can ruin your team
Each player takes on a role: captain, first mate, engineer, or radio operator
45-60 minutes playtime
4. Best Word Game: Decrypto
Decrypto is a 15-45 minute game for 3-8 players that’s quite easy to teach.
In Decrypto, each team has four words numbered 1 through 4 that are visible to your team only. Each turn you are then given a decoder card that has numbers on it. Your team’s clue giver needs to give a clue for the word associated with that number and both teams need to try to guess what numbers are on the decoder card.
Since your team can see the words, they have an advantage on the clues, but as the game progresses you need to give more cryptic clues so that the other team can’t guess correctly.
This is a fun light game. Because you break up into teams everyone is playing at once so no one will get bored, and there is still a ton of player interaction within the group and between teams.
- Easy to learn
- Lots of player interaction
- Keeps you thinking
- Needs a lot of players
- Relies on word association ability
Teammates try to transmit secret codes without letting the other team intercept them
15-45 minutes playtime
5. Most Relaxing: Tsuro
Tsuro is a game for 2-8 players that takes around 15 minutes and is pretty easy.
This is a path-laying tactical game. Each player’s token starts at the edge of the field, and they lay tiles with curved paths on them that their token then moves across. The aim of the game is to keep your player token on the path for the longest time. You can also place tiles to make your opponents go the wrong way.
This is a game that looks relaxing but at times it can be fast and frantic. With a few players you can play strategically, but with many players it’s just utter chaos and lots of fun.
- Fast fun games
- Tactically strategic, with enough decisions to stay interesting
- Looks wonderful
- Loses strategy with lots of players
- Players need to be quick at their turns to keep the game moving
- Has some luck based on tile draw
Light and relaxing game that is fun for any experience level
15-20 minutes paytime
6. Most Hectic: Magic Maze
Magic Maze is a game for 1-8 players that takes around 15 minutes and is very easy.
This is a game where you are a fantasy party (of warriors, elfs, dwarfs, mages, etc) who have lost all their possessions and are in a shopping mall needing to steal specific items and get out.
This is a cooperative game, so everyone controls all the characters, and if they all get out with the items they need then you all win. But there’s limited communication, which is great because it stops one player from taking all the control and telling everyone what to do, but it does make it really hard to cooperate too as you’ll all have different plans.
- Different scenarios of different difficulties
- Real-time game so no downtime
- Very cooperative
- Fantasy theme does not come through (stealing from a mall does)
- Stealing is not the most ethical theme
- Solo mode is fiddly (not a big deal if you are looking for a game for 8 players)
17 replayable scenarios to play through
15 minutes playtime
7. Best City Building: Citadels
Citadels is a game for 2-8 players that takes around an hour to play with eight people, and is of medium complexity.
In Citadels, you are trying to make the best, most valuable city. You do this by picking various roles that give you different abilities, such as earning money, destroying parts of someone else’s city, or backstabbing a friend so they miss their turn. On your turn you pick a role for that turn, can get money, build districts, and use your special ability for the role.
This is a good game for lots of players as the turns are quick and there is lots of player interaction, however, there is quite a bit of downtime between turns.
- Plays differently each time you play
- Lots of player interaction
- More players makes the game slower
- Downtime between turns
- Can be unfair if all the cards with bad effects are used on the same player
Draft characters to play different actions and build districts
30-60 minutes playtime
8. Best Social Deduction: Spyfall
Spyfall is a game for 3-8 players that is very light and takes about 15 minutes.
In Spyfall, there are a few short rounds. In each round, the players are given a specific location, such as at a carnival, in outer space, or on a pirate ship, and one player is instead given a spy card.
Everyone asks each other questions, with the spy trying to figure out the location and the other players trying to figure out who the spy is.
This game plays great with lots of players (maybe even better than with fewer) and is a fun and clever way to spend an evening.
- It’s a quick party game
- Very social and interactive
- Can sometimes just get unlucky as the spy
- As you get familiar with the game it can get harder
- Hard if you are not good at bluffing
The spy needs to discover the secret location without blowing their cover to the other players
9. Best Racing: Camel Up
Camel Up is a simple, 30-minute game for 3-8 players.
In this game, you move camels across a track and they can stack on top of one another, making who will win very unpredictable. Each turn you then get to bet on the camel you believe will win the leg and race.
This game is thematic, light-hearted, and a pleasant way to spend a few hours without much thinking.
- Great components
- Funny and light-hearted
- Not much thinking is required
- Involves betting
- Very luck based
- Not much strategy is involved
Bet on racing camels racing chaotically around a pyramid
30-45 minutes playtime
10. Best Mystery: Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases
Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective is a game for 1-8 players that takes 1-2 hours to play and is of medium complexity.
This is a very thematic board game where you are trying to solve cases. It comes with 10 cases to play through. You solve cases by traveling around on a map of London to find clues, speaking to leads, and looking at newspapers. It’s a bit like a Choose Your Own Adventure book, where you can do what you want to try to find the clues and solve the case.
This game is fantastic, and being a scenario-based experience it’s great with a group. I personally find it works a little better with fewer people as it bogs down a bit with more and it is easy for some people to feel left out. When I have a large group, I photocopy the material and have the house rule of splitting into two teams that are racing against each other, and it works really well. There isn’t another experience like this that works with so many people so if you have the right group it’s definitely worth it.
- Very thematic, everything is just very well done
- Fantastic scenarios that keep you on the edge of your seat
- Feels very open world
- Great experience type game
- Drags a bit with 8 people
- Requires lots of paying attention
Solve crimes by finding clues on the streets of London
1-2 hours playtime
If you have a large group a few more games that you should check out are:
- 7 Wonders with Cities Expansion – 7 Wonders is a very popular card drafting game where you are building an engine and have multiple ways to score and win. The Cities Expansion lets you add up to 8 players, and because everyone takes turns at once there’s no downtime so it works really well. The only reason it didn’t make the list is because I play it so much more at the 4-5 player count.
- Love Letter Premium – a light card game where you are suitors trying to get your love letter to the princess. The premium version of Love Letter allows for more people, and while it doesn’t play as well as with less it’s still very good.
- Just One – this is a light game where you work together to give clues to make the person guessing the word guess correctly, but you don’t want to give duplicate clues. It only comes with 6 boards to write clues on, but you can easily buy a couple of dry-erase boards and play with 8 people
- Werewords – a bit like an expanded 20 questions, you need to figure out who the werewolf is that is working against you while trying to guess words that the clue giver gives.
- Roborally – A racing game where each person has to plan out the sequence for their robot to race around the factory floor.
All of the games listed work great for 8 players, or 7 or 6, which are also difficult numbers to cater for.
If you are looking for a light game that is approachable for anyone then Codenames, Decrypto, or Sushi Go Party! are all lots of fun.
If you are looking for something with a little more thinking then, Citadels, Tsuro, and 7 Wonders with the Cities Expansion are all great picks.
For some interactivity to get the group getting to know each other and chat then Spyfall, Magic Maze, and Camel Up work fantastically.
Or if you are looking for something that is quite a bit more involved (the hardest to accommodate with so many people) then Captain Sonar and Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective are both great picks.