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 World War II board games with a range of mechanics, player counts, and play times. Some are among the best board games ever designed, while others are deep cuts from specific genres. Lovers of historical board games and WW2 games more generally will find plenty to mull over here.
These are the best WW2 board games:
- Undaunted: Normandy – best deck-building WW2 board game
- Blitzkrieg! – best light WW2 board game
- Combat Commander: Europe – best heavy WW2 board game
- Memoir ‘44 – best WW2 board game for large groups
- The Manhattan Project – best worker placement WW2 board game
1. Undaunted: Normandy
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.
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.
Best light 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.
3. Combat Commander: Europe
Best heavy 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.
4. Memoir ‘44
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.
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.
5. The Manhattan Project
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.
Looking for more recommendations? Check out our Undaunted: Battle of Britain review to see the latest from the incredible war board game series. We can also recommend the best WW1 board games for those looking to explore a different time period.