Best horse racing board games 2023

From the recent Long Shot: The Dice Game to the classic Winner’s Circle, these are the best horse racing board games to place your bets on.

A game of Camel Up, one of the best horse racing board games

Horse racing board games have been a staple of the tabletop gaming hobby since its inception. You’ll find a lot to love by the side of a cardboard race track – betting, bluffing, a little strategy, and the edge-of-your-seat excitement of putting your fate in the hands of the dice. Still, that doesn’t mean every horse betting board game is a sure bet.

To help you find your perfect steed, we’ve gathered the best board games in the horse racing genre. Whether you’re after family board games or board games for adults, party board games for large groups or single-player affairs, we’ve got the horse for you.

These are the best horse racing board games:

Camel Up, one of the best horse racing board games

Camel Up

Best horse racing board game for kids

Number of players 2 – 8
Play time 30 minutes
Complexity 1/5

Pros:

  • Great theme
  • Easy to learn for players of all ages

Cons:

  • Heavily random
  • Simplicity may limit replayability

Camel Up is a horse racing board game at heart, even if it’s about camels instead. There may be a pyramid in the middle of the race track, but you’ll still get to experience all the highs and lows of horse racing. Place your bets on the camel that looks speediest and hope the dice are on your side.

Unlike in real horse racing, Camel Up lets you bet on which camel you think will win (or lose) at any point in the race. You’ll be rewarded for betting early, but only if you guess correctly.

During the race, you can also influence the results in other ways – rolling dice to see which camel moves next or using ‘cheering’ and ‘booing’ tokens to move the animals forwards or backwards. Things get even more chaotic when you realize camels can climb on top of each other and carry each other over the finish line.

Camel Up is a fast-paced racing game with a delightfully silly theme. It’s an excellent kids’ board game for younger players who may be new to racing games, and we’d argue it makes a pretty good party board game too. 

Long Shot: The Dice Game, one of the best horse racing board games

Long Shot: The Dice Game

Best solo horse racing board game

 

Number of players 1 – 8
Play time 30 minutes
Complexity 2/5

Pros:

  • Fun at all player counts
  • Strategic but still simple

Cons:

  • Lack of complexity
  • Small board can feel cramped

Long Shot: The Dice Game is a roll and write game that adapts the classic horse racing title, Long Shot. It’s a more compact game that supports smaller player groups – and even makes a great solo board game. Plus, the 2022 dice game version comes with a gorgeous visual makeover.

As is standard for horse racing board games, the core gameplay of Long Shot: The Dice Game revolves around making bets on a horse race. Each turn, two dice are rolled to determine which horse moves forward how many spaces (and whether any other horses get to move forward with it). Everyone marks something off on their personal betting sheet after each roll – either betting money, buying a horse, or nabbing special abilities that can influence the race’s outcome.

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The winner is the player who has the most money at the race’s end. With plenty of ways to pad out your wallet, Long Shot: The Dice Game throws some interesting strategy in with its random dice rolls. The result is a punchy game that’s perfect for board game beginners – and plenty of veterans, too. 

Winner's Circle, one of the best horse racing board games

Winner’s Circle

Best rare horse racing board game

 

Number of players 2 – 6
Play time 1 hour
Complexity 2/5

Pros:

  • Lots of tension and bluffing
  • Approachable rules

Cons:

  • Out of print (and expensive)
  • A little too long

Winner’s Circle is a 2001 re-issue of the classic board game Turf Horse Racing. New elements have been added, playtime has been cut down, and the newer version has a classic oval racing board to push your horse miniatures along.

Each player places three bets at the start of a race. Then, everyone takes turns rolling a die and moving a horse. Every horse has a slightly different speed and can only be moved once before all other horses get their chance – plus, they can’t move onto a space that’s already occupied. This is a horse racing board game where you’ll need to plan your choices carefully.

Winner’s Circle is over two decades old now, so it’s harder to get hold of than some more modern horse racing board games. But it’s still plenty of fun for contemporary board gamers who love the betting and bluffing of a racing game. 

Win, Place & Show, one of the best horse racing board games

Win, Place & Show

Best classic horse racing board game

 

Number of players 3 – 6
Play time 2 hours
Complexity 2/5

Pros:

  • Highly thematic
  • Out of print but still reasonably priced

Cons:

  • Slower pace than some horse racing games
  • A little too long

Printed in 1966, Win, Place & Show is a horse racing board game that’s old enough to be a grandparent. That doesn’t mean it’s bad by any stretch, though. This game still has all the excitement of betting and rolling dice – and it captures the authentic feel of a day at the races.

Play begins with an auction, where players bid for horses depending on whether they like that animal’s odds, strength, jockey, etc. Everyone can then bet on a horse to win, place, and show. Then the first race begins, with dice rolls determining which horse gets to move how many spaces.

This isn’t just a roll-and-move game, though – additional factors like bonus numbers and rules for movement keep everyone on their toes. It’s a delightfully simple and swing-y board game with an excellent balance of luck, theme, and strategy. It can feel a little slow (and sometimes out-of-date) compared to newer horse racing board games, but it remains a staple for fans of the genre. 

Ave Caesar, one of the best horse racing board games

Ave Caesar

Best themed horse racing board game

Number of players 2 – 6
Play time 30 minutes
Complexity 1/5

Pros:

  • Unique theme
  • Encourages engaging player interaction

Cons:

  • On the expensive side
  • Limited replayability

Ave Caesar bends the definition of a horse racing game slightly. Instead of jockeys, players now become gladiators racing in chariots to win the favor of their Caesar.

Rather than dice rolls, Ave Caesar players push their chariots forward with a deck of cards. Each player has just enough cards to cover three laps of the track, and they’ll need to account for the changing size and shape of the track as they race. Oh, and everyone has to stop and hail Caeser at least once if they want to be crowned the winner.

This is another simple horse racing board game that’s suitable for players of all ages. It’s a little crueller than some other family board games we’ve suggested, though – Ave Caesar encourages you to sabotage your opponents wherever possible and laugh as you leave them in the dust.

If you like your games light, here are the best easy card games and gateway games for beginners. Or, if you like a little treachery in your tabletop games, try these bluffing card games and social deduction games.