8 board games that are similar to Life

Board Games

The classic board game, Life, has been on the shelves since Milton Bradley created it in 1860 and was America’s first favorite parlor game called, “The Checkered Game of Life.” It was re-released as we know it today in 1960 and is a staple of game closets.

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Which board game similar to Life is best?

Life is a game that’s one part wheel of fortune, one part roulette and all about making the right decisions to set you up for retirement. The classic board game has been on the shelves since Milton Bradley created it in 1860 and was America’s first favorite parlor game called The Checkered Game of Life. It was re-released as we know it today in 1960 and is a staple of most game closets. But the game is too simple for today’s audiences. 

While it’s fun to decide which road to travel, there are elements of skill and gambling. The game is over once you make it to the end, and it’s decided based on how much money you’ve earned. Basically, the longer a person stays on the board and makes money, the better. That can lead to long and boring games, and as kids get older, the original Life might not be interesting enough. Maybe you want something new or a greater challenge. For starters, if you want to get a game about life choices that has some dark humor and situations exciting for older children, check out CGE’s Last Will.

What to know before buying a board game like Life

Life is a classic game that’s likely more fun for adults than children because of the nostalgia alone. Because the game is all about spinning and getting from point A to point B, it can sometimes feel like your choices don’t matter that much, especially if you get to retirement first but still lose the game.

Length

Part of the reason why Life can be dull is that it doesn’t incentivize quick play, and there’s nothing to do once you get close to the end. Luckily, there are newer game iterations with different boards that have more twists and turns to give players more chance and more semblance of choice.

Difficulty

The simple rules and straightforward game path of Life aren’t challenging and don’t require much skill. The simple rules are good for children and people who are only interested in a casual game going on in the background. Always refer to the board games’ recommended age group.

The 8 best board games like Life

Best Life variety

The Game of Life Twists & Turns

Life: Twists and Turns

What you need to know: The update to the classic offers more possibilities and choices than the original.

What you’ll love: You’ll still choose your life path and get to decide on a career, but this time around you’ll have the help of the LIFEPod, the game’s new high-tech interface. It also introduces credit cards to the game.

What you should consider: It’s a bit expensive because of the electronics in the LIFEPod, but the high-quality materials will last through many game nights.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best value

Above and Below

Above and Below

What you need to know: Like Life, there’s an element of choice in this game, but instead of choosing your life path, you make decisions to manage a village best and the caves that run underneath.

What you’ll love: Above and Below is a combination of town management and storytelling. You and three friends will build, explore and gain reputation. Decide how your villagers will spend their time and what your village will focus on. At the end of the game, the player with the most buildings and reputation wins.

What you should consider: It is a great game for strategizing, but it’s not very difficult. You’ll pick it up quickly and master it after a few playthroughs.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Most popular

Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride

What you need to know: Ticket to Ride is all about choosing where to place your train tracks as you connect cities all across the United States. 

What you’ll love: Collect and trade cards and play matching ones to build tracks across the map. You earn points as you connect cities, and you get more points for having the longest continuous track.

What you should consider: The game is a bit pricey considering there aren’t many pieces.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best for younger kids

Life: Star Wars Jed's Path

Life: Star Wars – Jedi’s Path

What you need to know: This “Star Wars”-themed Life helps you make your choice to join the light side or the dark side.

What you’ll love: It has all of the best aspects of choice that you come to love from Life, but all thematically linked to “Star Wars.” The board also contains a longer track and more action squares.

What you should consider: The only real difference between this game and Life is the theme, and instead of money, you earn Jedi skill points.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best for older kids

CGE's Last Will

Last Will

What you need to know: Last Will is a race to spend all of your money and become bankrupt. It’s like Life with the goals reversed.

What you’ll love: Last Will is a strategy game about time management and thinking in a way you don’t normally. You have to plan out your days carefully to effectively spend through everything and depreciate your home until it’s worthless before everyone else.

What you should consider: It’s one of those games that takes a few times to learn before you feel comfortable playing.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best worldbuilding board game

Catan

Catan

What you need to know: Catan is one of the most beloved board games of all time. Build your settlements and compete with others for resources.

What you’ll love: There are so many different ways to choose how to build and where. There’s an aspect of luck as well, making it replayable. Each new game is different and presents unique challenges.

What you should consider: It is a little more complicated than Life, suitable for kids 10 and up. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best quick game

Dream Home

Dream Home

What you need to know: In this game, you have 12 rounds to choose a room and earn points for designing a functional and stylish home.

What you’ll love: Draw up blueprints and race your neighbors to finish your home. The most extravagant and useful homes win.

What you should consider: This game is better for younger children because of its simplicity.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Sam Bramlett writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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