Hey there! This thread is about board games. Let me tell you about them!A different kind of board game is on the rise. Invading pop culture. Invading Target, Barnes and Noble, Toys R Us. Invading Penny Arcade itself.
There are brand-new games about dying in the desert:
or 20-year old card games getting new life:
or even family-friendly train games that stir something black in the soul:
This thread exists to convey one simple message: board games have come a long way since Monopoly and Risk
Perhaps you’re looking for something for your lunch hour.
Perhaps you’re looking for something to play when you’re just hanging out with friends.
Perhaps you’re looking for something like chess but more fun for newcomers.
Perhaps you’re looking for an all-day simulation of the asymmetrical struggles of Europe during the Protestant Reformation.
No problem, gotcha covered. So without further ado, let me attempt to give you a barely-sketched outline of what is possible in cardboard, wood and plastic.
Oh, and watch out for that pig-flooping
.GREAT GAMES FOR JUST ABOUT ANYONE (especially those new to games):Ticket to Ride
Quite possibly one of the best entry-level games. Draw cards into your hands, claim a route between two cities with your train cars by laying down same-color cards that match a route on the board. Simple, intuitive. Kids can grasp it, adults can play it more cut-throat and get into deeper strategies. Many versions have been made; they are pretty much all great, but check to see how many people can play. There’s also plenty of expansion maps, including a highly-rated Asia map for team play up to 6.Trains
Trains, while having a similar theme to Ticket to Ride, is almost entirely different! Trains is a deck builder. That's not to say it's like Magic: the Gathering, but instead you build your deck during the game! Furthermore, there's a board you'll be playing on, trying to connect routes and build stations and block your opponents from doing the same. However, beware Waste! You generate waste when you build things and it clogs up your hand, taking up the space of more useful cards.Carcassonne
Another older game, which has aged well because of its short length and wide appeal. Pick up a tile, add it to the tiles already placed so that you match the road, castle, or field. You may optionally “claim” a road, castle, or field with one of your followers or “meeples”, which gives you points. A great, quick game for pretty much all ages, but it is especially good for a younger crowd.Lords of Waterdeep
Newer game, but it has really made a splash. It’s a fairly light worker-placement euro that non-gamers (or minimal-gamers) really seem to enjoy. The “worker-placement” part is themed up as sending knights and wizards off to accomplish quests, and there’s even a bit of back-stabbery against the other players.Forbidden Desert
An amazing little cooperative game that starts with formula that made Forbidden Island and Pandemic so popular, and then develops and improves that formula into something magical. You must explore and excavate tiles to find pieces of an airship, while a sandstorm moves the tiles around and dumps sand everywhere. Everybody has their own special ability, and they work together in amazing ways. Get all the parts, find the launch pad, GET TO DA CHOPPA, and escape to safety. But you'll probably die of thirst first. Great components, too.Okay, so I'm done with those gateway games! What's everyone really into nowadays?TimFiji's picks:
Red Dragon Inn
Adventurers have downtime too, and after their latest dungeon dive, they retire to the Red Dragon Inn to brag about their travels, flex their muscles, gamble, and drink.
Each character is a little different, with some like Fiona whittling away at others' fortitude and keeping from getting drunk, or Gerki being a great gambler. The wizard Zot and his familiar Pooki add a bit of unpredictability to the mix since Pooki's mood can change. The characters have their own decks, and you use those to be the last adventurer standing, because everyone else is too drunk, too injured, or broke! There are five volumes of Red Dragon Inn available, all with different characters, plus individual packs with new characters, and each one can interact with the other. New characters have included Pooki as a separate character, the summoner Zariah, and the best character of all time: Wizgille, the Gnome Artificer.
I adore this game. Everyone should own at least two editions of it.
Sentinels of the MultiverseMansions of Madness: 2nd Edition
Zombie Hero's pick:
MysteriumCastles of Mad King Ludwig
The old OP has a ton of recommendations too!
Fantastic new games keep coming out! For example, check out Potion Explosion
This is a short game of collecting ingredients to brew potions, which give you points as well as special abilities you can use if you drink them. That's fun by itself, but the magic comes in the way you collect those ingredients.
There's this nifty cardboard dispenser you pour a bunch of marbles into, and they fill the columns with a satisfying clacking sound. Then, when you take an ingredient, new marbles will roll down into place, and if you cause like colors to collide, you get those too. Causing these chain reactions is the heart of the game, and it's extremely clever and fun.
I love little, simple games that are easy to teach. That's why it's so notable that I love Vast
, which is the opposite of these things.
Vast is a game of asymmetry, which is handily summarized in the following simple diagram:
In Vast, each player takes on a role with its own rules, its own goals, and its own mechanisms. Turn structure for one player bears no resemblance to the turn structure for the next. The Knight is playing a typical RPG, exploring a cave, completing sidequests, gaining experience, and trying to slay the dragon. The Goblins, on the other hand, are controlling a bunch of moving parts, swarming and darting through the darkness and trying to chip away at the Knight. The Cave player is trying to misdirect and slow down other players long enough to collapse in, killing everyone. And so on! It's a marvel that it works at all.
But new games aren't everything! Classics return to the table every week. For example, I'm enamored of Edel, Stein & Reich
, an older game of bluffing and brinksmanship.
This is a simultaneous action selection game. I love games like this, because everyone is always involved! Players try to collect majorities in four different colors of gems by deciding what action to take: claim gems, claim cash, claim a special action card, and so forth. If nobody else chose what you did, then great! You get to take that action. If three or more chose it, nobody gets to do it. But if two people chose it, they have to negotiate over which one gets to do it, and how the other one gets compensated. Simple, clean, cutthroat, and fun.