Everybody tends to know and love the Mario Party series for its many fun, whimsical minigames. Yet, one of the biggest elements in the franchise since its debut in the late '90s is its slew of board game maps. These are typically what players turn to when seeking epic marathon sessions or nabbing more unlockables.
These board games provide a deep, competitive platform to play through the various minigames. This is especially true for those that offer unique twists, and those wrought with traps, hazards, and other curveballs to keep the intensity (and the trash-talking) going. So, without further ado, here are some of the absolute most inventive, intricate, and enjoyable board games featured in the series. Party on!
Updated December 15, 2021 by Stephen LaGioia: The famed party franchise featuring Mario and friends remains a multiplayer classic. Part of the staying power comes in the universally-appealing board games, which provide marathon sessions of Mario Party and serve as the glue that binds the countless minigames and other features. The most recent entry in the series, fan-favorite Mario Party Superstars, also stands as a key reason for the series' ongoing momentum. The game offers past board game classics, and some of the all-time best minigames the franchise has seen.
Upon revisiting this handful of classic stages, many fans will likely yearn to take another trip down memory land and check out other great MP boards of yesteryear. Thus, it seemed fitting to revisit and build up this list with even more of the best Mario Party boards.
15 Woody Woods (Mario Party 3 And Superstars)
One of Mario Party 3's strongest board games has seen a facelift for the franchise's new entry on Switch, which especially shines given the flat visuals of the old version. There still isn't much detail or fancy bells and whistles from a gameplay standpoint, but in a way, that's what makes the peaceful wilderness of Woody Woods so charming. There is also a curveball thrown at players by way of a pesky Monty Mole, who emerges from their hole to force an about-face out of players that run into them.
These woods both giveth and taketh away, as Woody the tree gifts passersby with coins and extra dice rolls, while his evil counterpart swipes coins and makes players go backward. The liberal use of direction shifts and road forks adds some chaos to an otherwise simple board.
14 Faire Square (Mario Party 6)
Living up to its creative name Faire Square proves memorable with its colorful, busy aesthetic and unique layout. This happening map keeps players on their toes with question mark spaces that transport them all over the place, and an in-game clock that yields different events and conditions depending on the time of day.
There's action to be had at almost every corner of this square from slot machines to star-granting hats to chimney-growing plants that players bet on to win coins.
13 Koopa's Tycoon Town (Mario Party 8)
Koopa's Tycoon Town really takes things to the next level with its bustling street setting and more tactical spin. The game combines typical Mario Party charm with property investments similar to Monopoly, which set the stage for game-changing events down the road.
Added to the mix are question mark spaces that transport you to player hotels and conjure coin-stealing Bandits, as well as DK spaces that cause the famed ape to invest coins on the player's behalf. With so much at stake and so many changing factors, Koopa's Tycoon Town proves a uniquely fun, pressure-filled romp.
12 Space Land (Mario Party 2 And Superstars)
This sci-fi stage is truly future-proof, as the fan-favorite dating back to MP2 still shines as one of the best boards from Switch's Mario Party Superstars. This elaborate space station is wrought with hazards and game-changing events, including Thwomps, Shy Guy cops, and a laser-firing Bowser which wipes out anyone on the diagonal center path.
The Superstars edition largely retains the traits of its predecessor, aside from slicker visuals and a few tweaks that include the dreaded Bowser laser countdown getting reworked. When it comes to enjoyment and creativity, this one is out of this world.
11 Horror Land (Mario Party 2 And Superstars)
This spooktacular board was ahead of its time when it crept onto the scene decades ago with its elaborate layout, thick atmosphere, and unique elements. It also impressively boasts day-night transitions which change the landscape in more ways than one.
The Aptly-named Horror Land is wrought with both fun and frustration, as it's crawling with coin and star-stealing Boos. The nail-biting board has been made even trickier following its resurrection on Mario Party Superstars, with its difficulty rating being bumped up to five stars.
10 Goomba's Greedy Gala (Mario Party 4)
This is really a colorful board in more ways than one. This Vegas-themed game contains an array of fun elements and diverging paths, ensuring plenty of crazy moments and tense showdowns. Perhaps the neatest aspect is the literal centerpiece of the game, which includes a roulette wheel that determines which of the four paths you'll end up in.
You can also score 20 coins if lady luck is on your side and you land on the space with a star icon, in addition to choosing your own path.
9 Neon Heights (Mario Party 7)
Mario Party 7 on the GameCube is perhaps best known for a few zany mic-controlled minigames. Yet, it also comes with an array of particularly fun board game maps to play around with. Case in point? The scenic, environmentally diverse Neon Heights.
This map keeps players on their toes with its three randomized treasure chests; one of which greets you with a devastating Bob-omb if you land on it. To further add to the chaos, these chests will be swapped out via a green alien looking to make things difficult for you. There are a plethora of unique elements in this one, including a baseball diamond and a shooting range that offer quick minigames.
8 Future Dream (Mario Party 5)
This one is a delight to play, thanks in part to its cool sci-fi motif and unique atmosphere. There are plenty of fun elements from a visual standpoint, though also in terms of its gameplay, which blends simplicity with ample curveballs to keep things interesting.
The abundance of teleportation platforms, transporting space taxis, and rocket ships add an element of randomness and fun and allow players to cover great distances of the map in a short period of time. This makes the scramble to nab the star an excitingly competitive one.
7 Mario's Rainbow Castle (Mario Party 1)
It's fitting that the original Mario Party game sports one of the most enjoyable board games which feels about as classic "Mario" as it gets. With Mario's Rainbow Castle, you get what's quite literally an atmospheric setting in the sky, rife with colorful themes and a web of paths full of game-changing events.
There's the classic Boo space, which players can exploit to steal stars of coins from other players. Then, of course, there are single-player minigame squares, happening spots to mix things up, and the dreaded Bowser space. The goal is at once simple and entertaining: get to Toad, who hovers above players at the top of the castle but watch out for the coin-nabbing Bowser!
6 King Boo's Haunted Hideaway (Mario Party 8)
Who doesn't love a thrilling adventure with a spooky overlay? This Boo-themed board game feels like a fusion of Luigi's Mansion and those tricky ghost houses from Super Mario World.
This insane board works something like a large set of tiles with constantly shuffling pieces, which ensures a different outcome with different paths each playthrough. The mad dash to the coveted star is as chaotic and unpredictable as ever, as you'll need to seek out King Boo who randomly appears only at certain ends of this shifting maze. You'll also need to watch out for the occasional pitfall, which sends you back to the start.
5 Pagoda Peak (Mario Party 7)
Pagoda Peak is laid out much like a massive world map, which consists of a variety of distinct areas while unifying everything together. Unlike some of the boards which rely on random chaos to generate excitement, this map simplifies things by giving everyone the same focal point: the peak of the mountain, where Toadsworth's star awaits.
This is just as effective – if not more so – as this towering, singular destination gives the board the vibe of a thrilling race or mountain climb. Be sure to mind the pesky Bowser, who can knock you off a row or two and set you back in a big way.
4 Yoshi's Tropical Island (Mario Party 1)
Sometimes less is more, as illustrated with the colorful Yoshi-themed board from the esteemed N64's Mario Party 1. What this board lacks in depth it makes up for in its charming tropical beach theme and catchy, jaunty tunes that engross players in its atmosphere.
Still, there are various factors that allow for opponent sabotages and ruthless heckling among friends. You've got the Thwomps guarding both crucial bridge paths and requiring tolls, which you can jack up permanently at your discretion. You've also got the amusing (and sometimes annoying) Toad, who swaps positions with the Bowser square each time a player buys a star.
3 Western Land (Mario Party 2)
Many seasoned Mario Party vets will tell you that this second iteration on N64 is the series at its ultimate peak. While that may be true for many of its minigames, it also tends to be the case with its board game options; particularly the uniquely charming Western Land.
Firstly, there are the satisfying train rides, which cart players around the outskirts of the map upon running into Steamer. This not only transports players closer to the star but can also knock back some unfortunate players in its path. There's also the game-changing "hootenanny," the coin-siphoning bank, and intense one-on-one duels.
2 Waluigi's Island (Mario Party 3)
Waluigi's first-ever themed board in the Mario Party series is a doozy. You'll need to complete story mode to obtain it, though both the journey and the destination are worth it. This one keeps you on the edge of your seat with the abundance of hazardous spaces; some of which will knock a number of the ticker of a time bomb.
Any unlucky players that find themselves in range of this devastating bomb when the number hits zero will wipe out their hard-earned coins. This insane map is chock-full of curveballs, webbed paths, and random, often dangerous traps at almost every turn. But hey – what else would you expect from the troublesome Waluigi?
1 Castaway Bay (Mario Party 6)
Similar to Yoshi's Tropical Island, Castaway Bay takes on a cheerful vibe akin to a fun vacation. Yet, this MP6 stand-out board adds some depth and even a bit of strategy, as players must maneuver and venture to Donkey Kong's boat to nab a coveted star. The location of both Donkey and Bowser's boats will change when happening spaces are hit.
One of the coolest traits in this one is its dynamic sense of atmosphere through the day and night transitions; a Mario Party feature unique to Castaway Bay. The distinct, segmented regions and frequently shifting elements ensure you'll always have a good time full of thrills and laughs.
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