Board game draft: Selecting the 24 best board games ahead of the 2019 NBA Draft

Kids these days. They're too caught up in their PlayStation and XBox to know that real fun is played on cardboard with dice, cards and a little plastic. Board games are still cool, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. So with the NBA draft coming up on Thursday, we wrangled together a group of writers and editors here at CBS Sports to draft the best board games from the here and now, as well as the past. 

In the spirit of the NBA's two-round draft, we went with three rounds to maximize the value of each pick. Both branded and non-branded (i.e. chess, checkers) were up for grabs, and while the game didn't technically require use of a board (see: Jenga), it had to be more than just a standard deck of cards. Additionally, we went with SFW options only (sorry, Cards Against Humanity). 

Since this was a snake draft, yours truly went No. 1 overall with Chip Patterson at the turn of Round 2 and myself at the turn of Round 3. Here were the results for all three rounds. 

Round 1Round 2Round 3

Ben Kercheval

Settlers of Catan



Adam Silverstein


Mouse Trap


Brandon Wise


Trivial Pursuit


Tom Fornelli


Axis and Allies


Jack Crosby




Barrett Sallee


Chutes and Ladders


Pete Blackburn




Chip Patterson

Connect 4

Hungry Hungry Hippos


Ben Kercheval

  1. Settlers of Catan
  2. Pandemic
  3. Cranium

Ben Kercheval might as well change his name to Ben Wyatt from "Parks and Rec" with the No. 1 overall pick. This is not to say it could be a fun game with the right people, but the No. 1 pick? A draft this deep could have seen this fall a bit, but given his position in the draft order, it makes sense. Pandemic as the new age version of Risk or Axis and Allies is interesting, but Cranium is a solid selection as his final pick to salvage this spot. -- BW Grade: C+

Adam Silverstein

  1. Risk
  2. Mouse Trap
  3. Jenga

Before Pandemic, Risk was the truly global board game. The combination of strategy and cutthroat nature meant it wasn't uncommon for games to start one evening only to be picked up the next day. After all that world domination, Mouse Trap is a fun palate cleanser with loads of nostalgia. And while Jenga focuses more on a loser than a winner, it's turned into a fun bar game with giant pieces. Solid, versatile picks. Grade: A-

Brandon Wise

  1. Scrabble
  2. Trivial Pursuit
  3. Scattergories

Brandon went strong with the intangibles in this draft (which probably says something about him compared to the rest of us). These are cerebral games. Scrabble is a classic and picking trivial pursuit teams is like the board game version choosing players for a pick-up game. Scattergories is an interesting party game to wrap it all up. Grade: B

Tom Fornelli

  1. Monopoly
  2. Axis and Allies
  3. Backgammon

Tom got some of the best value picks in the draft. Monopoly is a perfect kids game in that it teaches them at an early age the difference between who is smart and who is poor. Axis and Allies at pick No. 13 might be the steal of the draft, and Backgammon can be played over and over for hours. Grade: A+

Jack Crosby

  1. Battleship
  2. Clue
  3. Operation

Jack gets a nod for nostalgia, but the first two picks could be flipped. Battleship, while fun, is little more than a guessing game. Clue is a great value pick in the second round and the strongest overall selection. And though Operation is a highly-regarded game, I'm a firm believer that games should be fun, not trauma-inducing. Grade: C+

Barrett Sallee

  1. Life
  2. Chutes and Ladders
  3. Sorry

Can you tell who the dad is in this group? Grade: D

Pete Blackburn

  1. Chess
  2. Pictionary
  3. Codenames

Of freakin' course Pete drafted Chess first. That said, Pictionary is a strong second-round pick. Specifically, the "All Play" round was a circus with everyone screaming words and phrases while two people frantically tried to draw cleaner and faster than the other person. However, Codenames is a relative unknown and probably could have been an undrafted free agent. Grade: C

Chip Patterson

  1. Connect 4
  2. Hungry Hungry Hippos
  3. Uno

Whereas many drafts are about strategy or big parties, Chip is here for simplicity and efficiency. Get in, play your game and get out. It may not be everyone's flavor, but you can't knock the guy for sticking to the process. (Sources tell me Chip asks each game "are you over yourself yet?" before deciding whether to draft them.) Grade: B

CBS Sports Writer

Ben Kercheval joined CBS Sports in 2016 and has been covering college football since 2010. Before CBS, Ben worked at Bleacher Report, UPROXX Sports and NBC Sports. As a long-suffering North Texas graduate,... Full Bio

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