Inside: A growing list of over 25 history board games. Get board game ideas for history to use for homeschooling, in the classroom, or as a gift for the history buff in your life!
We adore board games in our family, and I love using them in our homeschool. While two of my kids enjoy learning through reading and writing, my second-born is definitely a kinesthetic learner and prefers ANY kind of hands-on activity to reading aloud or writing.
Unfortunately, he also seems to be allergic to history. When I pull out the history books, I get eye rolls and sighs almost every time. At first, it broke my heart just a little because I love history.
After he enthusiastically described our local history museum to his brother, I realized he doesn’t hate history per se, he just needs hands-on activities pretty much all the time.
Enter history board games.
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Even if he wasn’t so averse to more traditional modes of learning, my husband and I have always enjoyed playing board games. “Gameschooling” is an easy way to pass on our love of board games to our kids, and I am slowly, but surely, building our collection of educational board games.
The only thing holding me back is our budget – games aren’t cheap!
After making this list of board game ideas for history, I’m seriously tempted to jump straight into American History – soooo many history game ideas! (If you see the Oregon Trail card game and get a little nostalgic, you’re not alone!)
Related: 20+ Language Arts Board Games
How to Use History Board Games
At first glance, history board games might not appear to be the best way to teach history.
Some of the history board games you’ll find on this list are trivia-type games, which, depending on your children’s personalities, might be frustrating if they do not already know at least a portion of the facts.
Because they have the potential to be frustrating, I wanted to offer a few ideas for ways you can use these history board games in your homeschool (or classroom).
1. Pair history board games with a quality unit study to practice or reinforce learning.
The first approach would be to play the board games after you’ve completed a unit study. Learn all about the Constitution and then play the Founding Fathers board game. Read about the Oregon Trail and then play the Oregon Trail Board Game.
Your kids may enjoy the games more if they know about the historical time period in advance.
2. Play history games in order to spark curiosity in your kids, which may lead to additional interest-led history study/exploration.
Alternatively, you can use a history board game to create interest in a particular subject. Especially if you have a kinesthetic learner like I do, starting with a board game and/or a field trip will likely promote far more joyful and interest-led learning than starting with books.
Unless they’re lift-the-flap Usborne books, typical history books (even shorter history books like this one!) prompt serious groans from my second-born, but he does occasionally find biographical picture books interesting.
You could also pair a history board game with picture book biographies from the time period, supplementing with documentaries from Curiosity Stream and videos from the TedEd YouTube (short and sweet) for a well-rounded unit study.
3. Simply play history board games for the love of games (and history)!
It’s so hard to stop brainstorming ways to make everything educational. Maybe it’s just a homeschool mom problem?
Like I’m seriously considering replacing our game of Sequence with Sequence States & Capitals just so it can be more educational. #homeschoolmom
(Update: yes, I did get the States & Capitals version. I’m that cool.)
But sometimes, board games can just be games…you know, for fun? Mind-blowing, I know.
Not everything needs to be educational. 😉
You Might Also Like: The Best Educational Board Games (that we play ALL the time)
25+ History Board Game Ideas (by History Type)
As with my previous board game lists, I included a few history card games simply because there weren’t enough to warrant a separate post on history card games.
This list is segmented according to history type:
- General world history board games
- World War II history board games
- American history board games, and
- Biblical history board games
Note: Board games can be a risky investment. One of these games received several five star reviews, but then several one star reviews as well!
You can either love them or hate them, with no way of knowing in advance whether or not it will be a hit with your kids.
I recommend creating an Amazon wish list and adding the games you are interested in to your list. That way, you can check back to see if there any price changes, or ask to be notified of price changes.
If you buy it at a much lower price, you can pass it along to another homeschool family or donate it to the thrift store with a little bit less buyer’s remorse.
I hope this helps you find a history board game your kids (and you) will enjoy!
Related: 30+ Science Board Games for Kids
World History Board Games
Can you say “6-foot game board”? Need I say more? So fun!
Players will work as historians, scientists, and adventures to find hidden objects throughout seven historical eras:
- Prehistoric Era,
- Ancient Egypt,
- Medieval Age,
- Age of Piracy,
- Wild West,
- Present Day,
- The Future.
Discover 1,000 hidden treasures! This is a great game for the whole family and easy enough for younger kids to play, learn, and enjoy.
The original CATAN game I recomended was Rise of the Incas, but it was not currently available when I updated this post.
It involves balancing selling/consuming crops versus storing seeds for the future. Not exactly historical, per se, but it could be a good substitute.
IMPORTANT: You need both the original CATAN game AND this add-on to play.
Professor Noggin’s card games are amazing! Basically a portable trivial pursuit, this history card game tests kids’ knowledge on ancient civilizations.
Thirty game cards are included with multiple choice, trivia, and true/false questions. A special three-numbered die determines which question you answer.
Professor Noggins has a set of cards for the American Revolution as well.
If you’re studying Ancient Egypt this history board game is a perfect brain break from the books!
Players use strategy to build pyramids faster and stronger than their opponents by transporting blocks to optimal building locations. There are five construction sites: pyramid, obelisk, chamber tomb, temple, and market.
Recommended for 2-4 players with 40-minute play-time.
Inspired by the castles in Southern France, this game is very straightforward and easy to play! It’s simplicity makes it a perfect addition to any board game collection.
Players can take on different roles as knights, monks, farmers or thieves, all of which give you different points depending on which tile they are placed on.
Lay tiles, place followers, score points.
From the dawn of civilization to the twentieth century, this history board game takes players on a journey through five periods of history. Players command mighty empires at the height of their power.
With this history board game, you will discover great inventors and inspiring leaders, and be a part of the rise and fall of empires.
Slightly different from the rest of the board games in this list, this history board game is one that was actually played in ancient Egypt! Based on versions found in various archaeological digs, you can play a favorite game of Egyptian royalty and the Pharaohs.
Built from wood and made to last, this game also features colorful squares and hieroglyphics.
This game is set prior to World War I. Players will assume the role of one of the European powers and attempt to expand their empire over the course of the game.
Diplomacy is NOT for the faint of heart. Game play can take up to six hours and is for ages 12 and up.
American History Board Games
Travel to 108 historical events, and meet dozens of legendary historical figures. A fun way to introduce your kids to major events and figures everyone should know.
Ages 10 and up can play, and it’s a race to beat the clock game. It gets fantastic reviews, so be sure to check it out!
This game has mixed reviews. Some purchasers considered it far too complicated (hence the 13+ age recommendation), while others claim it’s one of their favorite board games in a collection of 100.
We purchased this game last year and have played it with success. Once we got the hang of it, we definitely enjoyed playing it, even with kids ages 8-11 (and trust me – there have been games we did NOT get the hang of because they WERE too complicated, so this is not that).
Just like the video game of old, the goal is to make it to Willamette Valley without starving or dying from various pitfalls like rapids and snake bites. The game uses tiles to “build” a path to the Valley. Designed for 2-4 players.
This is a great history board game for teaching the Constitution. Complete with a copy of The Constitution and The Declaration of Independence, this game is a fun way to learn how our government works.
You will learn right along with the kids as players answer intelligent questions about our government such as how a bill becomes a law and what age one must be to qualify to become a member of the Senate.
From the perspective of the Founding Fathers, this history board game is entertaining and engaging. Perfect for families and homeschool co-ops.
Includes 500 history cards. Made in the USA!
Players will learn about important historical figures, political agendas, and crucial events that occurred in America between 1800-1865. This game requires players to step into this period of history by using teamwork to raise funds, free slaves, and eventually end slavery in the United States!
Playtime is 1-2 hours, recommended for ages 13+. Reviewers note this game is thoughtfully done and respects the topic.
Players will learn about African American history from 1619 to the present. A great way to introduce Black history, culture and heritage!
Includes 200 question cards. Recommended for ages 10 and up.
A classic game of trivia that includes 1,440 expert level questions that cover geography, history, arts, and general facts about America.
The great thing about this history board game is that it has two skill levels. Each card is double-sided with junior-level questions on one side and expert level questions on the reverse side.
Made in the USA! Recommended for 2-8 players, ages 9 and up.
There’s also American Trivia Junior which includes the game board and 360 question cards.
This history board game is part of a trilogy – The Birth of America Series – and perfect for learning about The French and Indian War.
It requires strategy and teamwork with group interaction and decision-making. A game for ages 10 and up, the play time ranges from 1-2 hours.
Recommended for older children (or adults) with longer attention spans and the ability to think strategically.
The second game in the series will take players to the battlefields of the American Revolution.
Players will work together to fight the British Army. Using strategies such as calling on aid from Native Americans as well as German and French forces.
Players use cards to move, battles are resolved with a throw of custom dice, and territories are claimed with white flags. The game ends with the signing of the Treaty of Paris.
This history board game takes place in George Washington’s presidential office.
Players learn about this important period of history, while they try to solve issues such as war, debt, and north and south division.
Teach history without even trying with this classic favorite, now in a family edition!
This version of Trivial Pursuit includes cards for kids and adults and comes with over 1,400 cards.
Timeline 7: Americana
This card game is great for creating an amazing timeline of popular American History.
I can see this being a perfect fit for kids who may not typically enjoy history. It’s fast-paced and fun with enough history to keep it educational!
Players take turns placing their cards correctly on the growing timeline. The goal is to guess correctly and run out of cards to win the game.
Update: Unfortunately, this board game is no longer available.
World War II Board Games
Change history through a 90-minute board game! Axis and Allies 1942 take players to the spring of 1942 when the world is at war. Players control one of the Axis or Allied powers and command their country’s military forces through this game of strategy.
Players will learn about the war-time economy, have the chance to plan attacks, enter enemy territory, and resolve conflict. Who will win? Will your game change the course of history?
This amazing history board game includes an oversized game board (40 X 26) that helps make this game come to life.
Fans of the game franchise recommend starting with this game, but there’s a few more to pick from and reviews are intriguing. Apparently, you can combine Axis and Allies 1940 Europe with the Pacific version for the ultimate WWII experience.
This history board covers 17 historical scenarios within an easy-to-learn, fast-paced board game. Another favorite for World War II fans, this game includes a “monster-sized” game board has an impressive description and reviews!
Recommended for older kids and teens ages 12 and up.
This board game is great for learning about the historical battle sights of WWII. Players will learn about Pearl Harbor, D-Day, Normandy, and Battle of the Bulge as they attempt to “own” these pieces of history.
Players will have to build support and rally the troops as you establish camps and headquarters.
Who knows what rabbit trails of history learning this game will spark?
Biblical History Board Games
Wisdom of Solomon Board Game
Biblically themed, this easy to learn game of strategy will help players learn about the regions of Israel and its surrounding lands. This game be played solo or with a group.
Players act as governors for Solomon, sending out workers to gather resources, build structures, and expand Solomon’s influence in the kingdom.
Travel back in time as the apostles of the early Christian Church. Players work together to faith, grow the church, and overcome persecution.
Recommended for 2-6 players and takes 1 hour to play.
The best part is there is no biblical knowledge needed. Players will learn as they go!
This history board game takes place in Israel’s Northern Kingdom. Up until the time of destruction from Assyria. Players act prophets who are trying to remove evil and idols from Israel.
With nearly ALL 5-star ratings, this history game is clearly a winner!
You do NOT need to be a bible trivia expert to play this history board game. No Bible knowledge needed!
Players will learn about historical biblical events from ancient Israel. Recommended for ages 10 and up and playtime is 30-60 minutes.