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Best WW2 board games

From Undaunted: Normandy to The Manhattan Project, we’ve selected the very best WW2 board games to test your military strategy mettle.

A game of Memoir '44, one of the best WW2 board games

While WW2 board games all share a common theme, they come in all shapes and sizes. You’ll always have Axis and Allies, and you can play D-Day in a range of different ways, so it’s important to find a World War Two board game with a style that suits you. Whether you’re after a meaty military strategy game or a fast-paced fighting flurry, we can recommend the best WW2 board games to try.

We’ve recommended top tier World War II board games with a range of mechanics, player counts, and play times – some have previously ranked among our favorite board games for couples, and even our list of the best board games on the market.

All our picks here are strategy board games, but there’s a variety of styles and mechanics on show, so there should be something for any historical wargamer to enjoy.

These are the best WW2 board games:

Board and tokens from Undaunted: Normandy, one of the best WW2 board games

1. Undaunted: Normandy

The best deck-building WW2 board game.

With colorful visual design and nary a miniature in sight, Undaunted: Normandy doesn’t look much like a typical wargame. But don’t be fooled – this is one of our favorite board games ever, and not just in the World War 2 board games genre. It’s a fast-paced deck-building game that offers all the tactical tension and strategic thinking a wargamer could want.

Undaunted: Normandy turns one player into the German forces and the other into the US army. You’ll face a variety of scenarios, where crossing the battlefield and completing objectives could change the tide of the war.

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Your deck of cards represents your soldiers, and you use it to control their actions. But beware the Fog of War, which creeps in and scuppers your strong card draws.

If you’d like to learn more, check out our full Undaunted: Normandy review.

Box for Blitzkrieg!, one of the best WW2 board games

2. Blitzkrieg!

The best lightweight WW2 board game.

The subtitle for Blitzkrieg! is ‘World War Two in 20 Minutes’, proving that wargames can be fast-paced, approachable, and still fun. This is an excellent two-player board game for anyone who wants to introduce a friend to the world of war games.

In Blitzkrieg, you’ll play as the Axis or the Allies. You start with a supply of unit tokens representing land, sea, and air troops. You’ll secretly draw tokens from a bag, and then take turns placing tokens on different battle spaces on the board. With five parts of the world to do battle in, and multiple military campaigns in each to fight over, there’s plenty of opportunity to score those crucial victory points. 

Box art for Combat Commander: Europe, one of the best WW2 board games

3. Combat Commander: Europe

The best heavyweight WW2 board game.

If you like slightly more complex strategy board games, we recommend Combat Commander: Europe. Grab a second player, and get ready for a few hours of Axis v Allies goodness. It’s still fairly easy to pick up, but it offers more strategy to mull over than some other games in this list.

Victory in Combat Commander: Europe means occupying as many objectives as possible, which you’ll do by pushing your troops across a game map to attack your enemy. Each turn, you’ll play Fate cards from your hand to command your units, and Event cards will randomly trigger to shake up the state of the board.

A note to those who haven’t tried GMT Games’ heavyweight strategy games before: they aren’t all mega-complicated, but their level of historical detail and authenticity tends to mean they take up a lot of table space, with a lot of critical information strewn across the large map. If you don’t have a large play surface to work with, we’d recommend checking out our guide to the best gaming tables for an upgrade.

Cards from Memoir '44, one of the best WW2 board games

4. Memoir ‘44

The best WW2 board game for large groups.

It’s D-Day all over again – only this time, up to eight players can take part in the historical battle. Memoir ‘44 features 15 battle scenarios based on real historical events, translating them into a card-and-dice-focused campaign game. Memoir ‘44 cares a lot about historical accuracy, with miniatures and scenarios designed to maximize authenticity.

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Like many wargames, battles take place on hex-based boards. Play cards to command your units to move, attack, and take special actions, with dice determining how effective your army’s actions are. Be the first to gain the scenario’s number of victory medals, and you’ve won! It’s a simple formula, but one that’s approachable and very effective in Memoir ‘44.

Box for The Manhattan Project, one of the best WW2 board games

5. The Manhattan Project

The best worker placement WW2 board game.

If you need a break from traditional wargames, give The Manhattan Project a try. It still has a (loose) WW2 theme, but it’s a drafting game with worker placement mechanics rather than a strategic battle sim. In The Manhattan Project, you’re in charge of your country’s atomic weapons program – this means you’re in the race to build the biggest, best-est bombs to aid the war effort.

Your goal is to be the first to achieve a certain number of victory points, which you’ll achieve by building, testing, and loading nuclear bombs – and occasionally sabotaging the competition. It’s light, low on luck, and throws in some interesting player interaction.

Unsurprisingly, at Wargamer, our knowledge and nerdiness about tabletop wargames extends further than this. We also have guides to the best WW1 board games, the overall best war board games across different eras, and – for digital wargamers – the best WW2 games on PC.