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A Quick Survey Into the World's Longest Board Games

A Quick Survey Into the World's Longest Board Games

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If you came of age with siblings before the internet took over the planet, you've likely sat in front of a board game a time or two. More likely, you spent long hours hunched over a Monopoly or Risk board, occasionally hammering out terms by which no cheating would happen while all players retired for the night. In this scenario, of course, each player inventories his or her assets, as a failsafe. The game is then picked up in the morning, with alacrity or just a bitter desire to win and be done with it. For many of us, these are positively great, classic family memories.

There is currently a resurgence in board games. They are as popular as they've been in decades and trending up. The global board game market is set to rise to $12 billion in 2023. While the trend of sophisticated electronic games has been soaring for decades, 57 percent of gamers reveal that they have at least one board game on their shelves.

1. Monopoly (The Classic Long Board Game)

Even though there are plenty of games whose duration can stretch beyond Monopoly, you might refer to this pick as an homage to the game that seemed to make it into every living room in America. It reflects the capitalistic society from which it sprung and simultaneously offers players the ability to become a big deal and to fall into bankruptcy.

In Monopoly, players roll two dice to move around the board, which is effectively four long boulevards, replete with properties that can be purchased. Players start the game with money and there are ways to earn money throughout the game. The point of the game is to own the most properties on the board while driving your opponents into bankruptcy. Anybody who's ever rounded that third turn on the board while low on resources, staring at Boardwalk and Park Place, loaded with somebody else's hotels, will tell you that they've silently prayed to the dice for a mercifully quiet passing.

Part of the fun of Monopoly is how a person's psychology seems to be affected by the stressful nature of the game and the amount of time that it can take to fully control the board. Sometimes, deals are made between players or some extra $500 bills are tossed into the middle of the board for the player who lands on 'Free Parking'. Sometimes players will gang up on one another and sometimes the player emerging as the Big Cheese will have pity on another player. Like in life, the rules and norms are subject to players' moods and needs at a given moment.

2. Risk

Marketed as the classic game of world domination, Risk certainly delivers. The board is a political map that is divided into six continents, divided into 42 territories. Two to six players represent empires, each vying to use their forces to outmaneuver the others, gradually taking over the entire board.

Players can strategize in groups against others or go head to head against one another. Over the course of the game, armies are augmented and diminished with each roll of the fickle dice. Risk is the ultimate strategy-counts-but-you-gotta-have-luck board game.

3. The Campaign for North Africa: The Desert War 1940-43

Among the formidable contenders for the world's longest board games, this one holds the informal title. In an age where our attention span has trended from 15 seconds in 2000 to eight and a half seconds in 2015, that finds humans holding a shorter attention span (by half a second) than a goldfish, The Campaign for North Africa's duration data is startling.

It takes 1500 hours, or 62 days, to complete a full play of this legendary game. A real-time scenario has been constructed for us to understand the commitment that players make before resigning themselves to this particular board game fate. If a group of players meets for three hours, two times a month, the game would take 20 years to complete.

4. Paths of Glory

Paths of Glory came out in 1999. Where 1979s 'The Campaign for Northern Africa' is set in the time and landscape of World War 2, Paths of Glory is set in the time and landscape of World War 1. It allows players to step into the shoes of the rulers or generals who triumphed or failed in the first Great War.

This game is ideal for two players, though it can be played with more. It generally takes between six and fourteen hours to complete. During that time, players use strategy, diplomacy and brute force in their attempt to manipulate the theaters of World War 1. To achieve victory, players attack their opponents' key areas, scoring points for terrain objectives. The end goal is to force the other side to surrender and sue for peace, which is only attainable when a tremendous advantage on the front lines has been achieved.

5. Chess

One of the oldest and perhaps the greatest and most popular strategy games in the world, chess allows players to match wits in a singular way in the board game realm. Chess is the best-selling board game of all time. Matches can also last for a long time. The longest game clocks in at just about 20 hours, played in Belgrade in 1989, featuring Ivan Nikolic and Goran Arsovic committing to 269 combined moves.

One way to illustrate how wide the philosophic board is in chess is to consider that after four moves each, there are over 318 billion different possible positions that players can assume. The number of distinct 40-move games that's been played is far greater than the number of electrons in the observable universe.

Long board games provide hours of fun. Some are actually measured in longer units of time. Regardless of the duration of the game, all board games share a commonality: we sit around them with our friends and family to have fun and engage with each other in a wholesome and healthy way. Visit us at Mayday Games and check out our collection of available games today so that you can have fun playing them with your favorite people tomorrow.


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