Hello and welcome to what we hope will be your go to list for getting into the wonderful world of board games. If you’re getting a bit tired of the classic pub games on a Sunday myself, Richard and Dan think the suggestions below will help introduce you to games that you’ll enjoy much more.
Monopoly is a game we’ve all played and let’s be honest, we’ve probably played it wrong (auctions anyone?). It tries to be a fun game and long ago it nearly convinced us it was. But nowadays Settlers of Catan will not only bring you more fun but it’ll give you more options. Instead of rolling dice to move a piece, you’re rolling to see what resources everyone gains. If you don’t get the ones you immediately have to go into Del Boy mode and haggle for what you need. Since you gain resources each turn and you’re always on the hunt for more, even if it’s not your turn you’ve got things to do. The game is more strategic, more fun and you also get to say I’ve got wood for sheep a lot. Can’t argue with that.
I’m sure that everyone reading this article has played Jenga at some point in their life so why mess around with a classic? Simple – when you can make it better by adding a rhino that’s dressed up in a superhero costume. Super Rhino is a game that’s similar to Jenga but where you build a tower using cards instead of moving blocks. If the tower collapses after your contribution, you lose. Super Rhino is a quick game but one that maintains the tension and riotous fun of Jenga. It’s also easier and quicker to set up and because you use cards, it’s less messy and the box is much smaller – perfect for taking with you to wherever you want to play. Oh and it’s also cheaper so it’s a right bargain.
Yahtzee? Seriously? Roll some dice and try and get a bunch of fours? If you’ve got a friend who wants to keep playing Yahtzee, point them to King Of Tokyo. Ultimately they are quite similar but in King Of Tokyo you’re each playing a giant monster trying to conquer the Japanese capital. Instead of rolling for fours, you’re rolling for claws, attacks that hurt the other monsters. In King Of Tokyo you can win by either getting to twenty victory points first or by being the last monster standing. It’s easy to learn and fun for all ages so is a good pick for family or people hesitant to play a boardgame. And you play as giant monsters. It’s like Pacific Rim without the evil robots trying to ruin the fun.
Remember Risk? Remember how fun it was to attack your opponent’s armies and conquer their territories? Remember fumbling a few dice rolls and spending then cowering in the corner of the map waiting hours for the game to finally come to its merciful end? Small World takes what’s great about Risk, removes the chance and wraps it up in a fantastic theme with beautiful art. You take control of a randomly paired fantasy race and power and have to manoeuvre around the newly discovered land in order to expand your civilisation and collect the most gold in a given number of turns. Once your army is spread too thin, you can put it into decline and start with a brand new race and power next turn. This means you’re never out of the game as you can always come back with some new wacky faction such as the Pillaging Wizards or Flying Skeletons. With so many combinations of races, and a variety of maps for differing numbers of players, Small World feels like a different game every time you play.
I’m not saying chess isn’t good, it is, but it’s also a little… stuffy. To excel at chess you need decades of study, memorisation and play, whereas Hive is lighter and much easier to learn. Like chess, Hive is an abstract strategy game that sees you with a set of pieces and a ruleset that is mostly about how specific pieces move. By placing and moving your hexagonal insectoid pieces you aim to surround the opposing queen, whilst protecting your own. Hive’s lack of board makes it immediately more portable and in fact this encourages variety as you gradually shift your hive around in to ever-more peculiar shapes in order to manipulate your opponent to making the moves you want and exposing his queen. With wonderfully chunky tiles and it only needing a small surface to play on, it’s a perfect pub game.
A Game Of Life lets you live out a life of getting married, finding employment and then ultimately retiring. However, I mean, do you want to play that game? That’s not a game, that’s actual life. How about instead you live in the world of the Arabian Nights? Playing as a telltale adventurer you travel across the known world encountering all sorts of creatures, locations and treasures. Your ultimate goal is to become the most famous but during your journey you’ll get to hear a few of over 2000 encounters and decide on the best way to proceed. The game oozes out a story of your hero as you go dashing through the lands that you’ll forget to be competitive and just have a ruddy good time.
Well that’s the best alternatives we think, what are some of yours? Let us know in the comments!