10 Fun Free and Open Source Board Games

We have always had a fascination with board games, in part because they are a device of social interaction, they challenge the mind and, most importantly, they are great fun to play. Many students gather together to escape the horrors of the classroom, and indulge in a little escapism. The time provides an outlet for tension and rivalry.

Board games help teach diplomacy, how to make and break alliances, bring families and friends together, and learn valuable lessons.

Let’s explore the 10 games. For each game we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, a screen shot of the game in action, together with links to relevant resources.

Board games have seen a resurgence in recent years, and Linux has a good range of board games to choose from.

Board Games
Bovo Gomoku like game for two players
gnubg Strong backgammon game
Kajongg Classical Mah Jongg for four players
KFourInLine Game for two players based on the Connect-Four
Kigo Implementation of the popular Go game
KMahjongg Mahjongg solitaire game for KDE
KShisen Solitaire-like game played using the standard set of Mahjong tile
Mahjongg Solitaire (one player) version of the classic Eastern tile game, Mahjongg
PyTraffic Python simulation of the game Rush Hour
Scrabble3D Highly customizable Scrabble game

Note: The games are listed in alphabetical order.

Eligibility criteria

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Free to download. The project must be available to download without charge but the authors may accept donations.

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Published under an open source license. Popular open source licenses for games include MIT License, GNU General Public License, and BSD License.

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Not in an early stage of development. The game must be in a stage of development where it’s playable but not necessarily complete.

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Does not rely exclusively on data from proprietary software. The game must not require purchasing or owning proprietary data from a different project.

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Game media (such as graphics/sound) is released under an open source license or a Creative Commons license.


Read our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. The collection covers all categories of software.

The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There’s tons of in-depth reviews, open source alternatives to proprietary software from large corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Cisco, Oracle and Autodesk. There are also fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.

Open Source Games
2D Shooter Games 2D Shooter – They are a subgenre of shooter game, which in turn is a type of action game. It’s difficult to exactly define which specific design elements make up a shooter game.
Board Games Board – This genre of game is a device of social interaction, they challenge the mind and, most importantly, they are great fun to play.
Card Games Card – They offer many positive attributes. They can improve mental skills, memory and logic. They can test your patience, help you focus, and are popular for all ages.
Chess Chess: Apps, Chess Engines, Online Chess Clients – Chess is a recreational and competitive board game played between two players. It is a very popular game, played by millions across the world, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.
Educational Games Educational – These games designed to teach people, typically children, about a certain subject or help them learn a skill as they play. They are sometimes known as games edutainment because they combine education and entertainment.
First-Person Shooter Games First-Person Shooter – This is a computer game genre focused on guns and other weapon-based fighting using a first-person perspective. Fast and furious gameplay guaranteed.
Platform Games Platform – Subgenre of action games in which the core objective is to move the player character between points in a rendered environment. They are also known as jump ‘n’ run games.
Puzzle Games Puzzle – They make up a broad genre of games that emphasize puzzle solving. The types of puzzles can test problem-solving skills, including logic, pattern recognition, sequence solving, spatial recognition, and word completion.
Racing Games Racing – This is a video game genre in which the player participates in a racing competition. The most common types of sub-genres are arcade-style, simulation, futuristic and kart.
Real-Time Strategy Games Real-Time Strategy – A time-based game which typically focuses on finding resources, managing resources, and building an empire. You can engage other players and make alliances, and find different ways to conquer foes.
Rhythm Games Rhythm – Music-themed action video game that challenges a player’s sense of rhythm. Games in the genre typically focus on dance or the simulated performance of musical instruments.
Simulation Games Simulation – A simulation video game describes a diverse category of video games, generally designed to closely simulate real world activities. These games do not necessarily offer entertainment, at least not primarily.
ASCII Games Text-Based – These games often receive little coverage in the Linux press. However, there are some real ASCII gems out there waiting to be explored which are immensely addictive and great fun to play.
Turn-Based Strategy Games Turn-Based Strategy – We examine games that require intelligence, and the ability to come up with an innovative plan that will leave the competition mesmerized. Players take turns when playing, strategically seeking to outsmart the enemy.

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