Join Us & Get Wine 101 Course 75% Off

Popular Board Games Paired with Wine

Written by Justin Hammack

Board games are a great way to get social without having to go out. Add wine and you have the ingredients for a good time, guaranteed. Below you’ll find 5 popular board games and their theme paired with a wine.

Dungeons and Dragons Game Piece Miniatures with Dice

Pairing Wine With Popular Board Games


Ilia Chavchavadze and Ivane Machabeli playing chess, Saint Petersburg
Ilia Chavchavadze and Ivane Machabeli playing chess, Saint Petersburg

Chess Just a friendly game? Doubtful.

Players: 2
Play Time: 10 minutes – 6 hours
Style: Competitive, Tactical, Strategy, Advanced
Random Events: None

Wine Pairing: Barrel-Aged Ports/Fortified Wines (get classy)

Reasoning: Chess is a game of pure skill. There are no dice rolls, randomized card decks or unique character archetypes. The only lucky breaks in Chess are the mistakes your opponents make. Since Chess is such a brutal enduring game of wits, it’s important to go high alcohol. A fortified wine such as Port allows you to stare down your enemy while you drink. The dark amber liquor screams sophistication while you take thoughtful sips and stare judgmentally at the game board. Are you scoffing at your opponents every move? Maybe.

If you find yourself outmatched, no worries, drink more Port and drown your broken ego in the warming glow of delicious wine. Before you know it you’ll be numb to the devastating defeat and making outrageous excuses about how you were too drunk to play well.

Scrabble Rocks My Sox
Can I use a dictionary?

Scrabble Well, it should count as a word!

Players: 2 – 4
Play Time: ~1 hour
Style: Strategy, Vocabulary/Spelling, Basic Math
Random Events: Letters Drawn

Wine Pairing: California Sparkling Wine

Reasoning: Scrabble was once a game played by an endearing niche of recluses in dark dens. Back then, cheating meant convincing your friends that the word you invented actually exists by simply using it in a sentence. ‘Scrabble’ has since evolved into a digital monster that attracts anyone with a smart phone. Now you can play 32 simultaneous games with strangers and compete for artificial rankings. Cheating is only a google search away, who’s going to know? Yeah, I use ‘quixotic’ in everyday conversation, like a boss.

To compliment the evolution of what was once a great game you need to drink something equally convoluted and misunderstood. California Sparkling Wine. No it is not Champagne, it is sparkling wine and it’s from California. That doesn’t mean it’s bad; but somehow it’s just not the same as ‘original’.

Ticket to Ride Board Game
Like Train Simulator But Better

Ticket to Ride So. Many. Pretty. Colors..

Players: 2 – 5
Play Time: 45 minutes+
Style: Card Collecting, Planning, Bluffing
Random Events: Cards Drawn/Shuffled

Wine Pairing: Bordeaux Table Wine (aka Claret)

Reasoning: This is a fun, easy to learn game with a deep strategy that can satisfy players of all skill levels. Imagine Railroad Tycoon meets Train Simulator and you’re the conductor. (Too much? Too much.) Get into the mood and grab a cheap bottle of Bordeaux Table Wine.

Tannic, bold and earthy, a $10 bottle of Bordeaux will give you a kick in the pants like a cup of black coffee. Imagine building your fledgling railroad empire as you gulp down a big chewy wine like a fat cat entrepreneur. Cigar optional.

Settlers of Catan Game Pieces
Stop Robber Griefing Me Bro

Settlers of Catan Committed to building the longest road.

Players: 3 or 4
Play Time: 90 – 120 minutes (put on a movie)
Style: Griefing, Betrayal, Revenge
Random Events: Tiles, Dice, Lots of RNG

Wine Pairing: Jug of Chianti

Reasoning: Like they say, when in Rome do as the Romans do, drink a jug of Chianti and scream bloody murder at your conniving backstabbing friends. This game is not for the weak of heart. It has random events, politics, resource management and complex win strategies. Worst of all, there is a good chance you’re going to endure a slow agonizing defeat.

2 hours, 4 people, and a bartering system? You’re going to need a lot of wine. Might as well get in the spirit of the game, go oldworld, go Chianti. The jug aesthetic adds a nice touch to complete the whole immersion thing.

Pandemic Game
Sneezing, Coughing, Projectile Vomiting

Pandemic We’re all going to die, might as well drink.

Players: 2 – 4
Play Time: ~45 minutes
Style: Planning, Cooperation, Tactics
Random Events: Roles, Infections, Deck

Wine Pairing: Cult Cabernet Sauvignon

Reasoning: This epidemic is spiraling out of control and it is the end of the world as we know it. Time to bunker down in your shelter, grab a can of beans and pop that bottle of Screaming Eagle.

One of the few great cooperative board games, Pandemic warrants opening up a good bottle of wine. There isn’t any better way to inspire brilliant teamwork than fancy-pants Cabernet Sauvignon.

Magic The Gathering Card Deck
Black Deck Best Deck

*BONUS* Magic: The Gathering
A gentleman’s game requires a gentleman’s drink.

Players: 2 (Tournament Heads Up)
Play Time: 10 – 40 minutes
Style: Card Collecting, Reading, Logic, Snarky
Random Events: Cards Drawn/Shuffled/Actions

Wine Pairing: Pinot Noir

Reasoning: Rocking a $5,000 card deck? Of course you are. Better pony up for a good bottle of Pinot Noir to share with your opponent like the gentle(wo)man you are.

Hairy Nipple Bear
I give up, what is it?

*BONUS* Drinking Pictionary
Now with gratuitous amounts of wine.

Players: 5
Play Time: 1 hour+
Style: Drawing, Imagination, Recognition, Alcohol Tolerance
Random Events: Cards Drawn/Shuffled

Wine Pairing: Sangria

Reasoning: While not (technically?) a board game, Pictionary is easily converted into a fantastic drinking game. Make Sangria, it’s fun, easy to drink and can be diluted down to lower alcohol levels.

How to Play: Sitting in a star formation of 5 people, one person draws for the two people sitting across from them. Whoever doesn’t guess the picture has to drink. If neither of them can guess it, the other two people act as judges to decide if it was a bad drawing or bad guessing. If it’s a bad drawing, the artist drinks. Bad guessing? Yup, both guessers drink.

Wikipedia Commons
Settlers of Catan (flickodelius)
Scrabble (FlickrLickr)

Written byJustin Hammack

When I'm not drinking wine, I'm also.. a rails developer, vegetarian foodie, coffee addict, casual gamer, lover of cult movies, driver of insane turbo-2.0L ... in Seattle.

Join Our Newsletter

Jumpstart your wine education and subscribe to the Wine Folly newsletter right now. Always awesome. Always free.

sign up free