Channel Your Inner Indiana Jones With These Archaeology Adventures

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Action, romance, faces melting off: the Indiana Jones movies have it all. Deep down, everyone who watched Indy wanted to be him, a part-time professor, full-time archaeologist-adventurer, and master with a whip.

If you grew up watching Indiana Jones and dreamed of being an “obtainer of rare antiquities” yourself one day, these four board games are here to (sort of) make those dreams come true. Sure, you’ll be flinging dice instead of a whip, but you’ll be recovering rare artifacts and punching baddies just like Dr. Jones.

Artifacts Inc.

If “It belongs in a museum!” is one of your favorite Indy lines, you’ll love this dice placement game designed by Ryan Laukat. The big difference, however, is that you’re not a daring professor flying solo, but part of a treasure-hunting company that unearths and sells rare artifacts to museums for profit. The goal of the game is to be the company that earns the most fame in the form of reputation points.

Roll the dice to determine which of your company’s asset cards can be played as an action. You can hunt for treasure, sell that treasure, take side jobs, dive for relics on the bottom of the ocean, or buy more company assets. Treasure diving and asset cards give you reputation points; when a player reaches 20 points, it triggers the end of the game and final points tally.

2-4 Players, Ages 10+

Fortune and Glory

It’s the 1930s, the heyday of Dr. Jones, and you’re a swashbuckler on the hunt for adventurer—and ancient artifacts. In this action-packed adventure board game, you’ll be swinging fists, flying through the air in planes and zeppelins, searching for relics of the occult, exploring, and more. The game itself comes packed with miniatures, dice, and a colorful cast of characters straight out of pulp adventures.

Each player takes control of a character with specific attributes and abilities, and rolls the dice to determine successful actions like exploring ruins or punching Nazis. Fortune and Glory can be played cooperatively or competitively, or both, as you can see in the unconventional version of the game played by Wil Wheaton and friends on TableTop.

1-8 Players, Ages 12+

Relic Runners

Relic Runners is a colorful tabletop game with temple tiles placed across the board. (You’ll probably never play the same board setup twice.) You’re an explorer tasked with entering those dark temples and ancient ruins on a quest for treasure, and the journey is just as important as the destination. Place pathways, use toolboxes, spend rations, and make the best use of your explorer’s progression chart to successfully reach the temple depths and find relics.

Victory Points are earned by exploring, progressing through the explorer’s chart, and finding artifacts. The player with the most Victory Points tallied at the end of the game wins.

2-5 Players, Ages 10+


Like the other games in this list, Skulldug! puts you in the shoes of an explorer racing against your fellow hunters to find treasure. You and the other explorers are venturing deep within a cave, and not only must you look for priceless artifacts, you have to escape once you’ve found them. Unfortunately, each relic is cursed, so you’ll have to decide what’s worth taking and what should be left behind.

On each turn, you have three action points to spend. As players use an action to move into unexplored areas of the cave, they turn over a new Passage card and place it on the table. In the new area, an explorer might find traps, monsters, and the cursed treasure. A roll of the dice determines the adventurer’s fate. Will you make it out of the cave alive?

1-6 Players, Ages 13+

What other games make you feel like Dr. Jones? Tell us in the comments.

Featured image: Days of Wonder

Other images: Red Raven Games, Flying Frog Productions, Days of Wonder, Ruddy Games 

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