free online board games
Modern technology has helped break down the walls of the gaming industry to appeal to a larger audience. Source: Thomas Samson/AFP

How do you become smarter, de-stress, bring people closer and be more present — without having to pay for anything? The answer to that question in 2021 is: free online board games. 

The beauty of board games lies in a concept called the “magic circle.” Cultural historian Johan Huizinga wrote that the circle — where people abandon reality to enter a new world made up of special rules rules — offers “structure and environment that sparks laughter, creativity, joy and other pleasure-filled moments that come from solving problems successfully, optimising one’s strategies, working together or competing against other players.”

Yes, all of this happens as you roll a dice on something as basic as Snakes and Ladders or come up with the most sophisticated of opening moves on a chessboard.

free online board games

Boggle, invented by Allan Turoff, this game is traditionally played using a plastic grid of dice with letters. Now, it’s available online. Source: Greg Baker/AFP

We’ve not come to the best part yet. In 2021, free online board games are available right in our palm. Here are our favourites:


This is a famous strategy-based game where you focus on gathering resources and building settlements. This board game will have you negotiating with friends or robbing other players. It’s available as an app for iOS or Android.


Invented by Allan Turoff, this game is traditionally played using a plastic grid of dice with letters. You must find words in sequences of adjacent letters. The online version is similar but simplified to make it interesting. 


When it comes to free online board games, we highly recommend Cluedo, the go-to for murder mystery fans. Choose from the traditional characters like Miss Scarlett, Colonel Mustard, Mrs. Peacock, Reverend Green, Dr. Orchid and Professor Plum to crack the case of WHO, WHAT weapon and WHERE.


Next on our list of free online board games is the classic Battleship. Ever remember shouting “YOU SANK MY SHIP!”? The rules are simple for this two-player game. 

free online board games

Ever remember shouting “YOU SANK MY SHIP!”? In Battleship, the rules are simple for this two-player game. Source: Justin Sullivan/AFP

The rules are simple for this two-player game. Each ship is placed horizontally or vertically across a grid and your aim is to sink your opponent’s. The tricky bit? You can’t go off-grid, have your ship in a diagonal position and you especially can’t occupy the same grid space as your opponent. 


Winding back to the good old days where we thought we were actually real business entrepreneurs doing adult things like playing Monopoly. Well, the spirit of entrepreneurship lives on as this classic game has never been outdated. 

Why is it fun? Because you get to practice being an adult but no added real-world consequences. Keep the spirit of the multiplayer connection alive by checking out this virtual version.