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Good board games

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Gaming MoneySaving
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  • Crazy_JamieCrazy_Jamie Forumite
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    I dont think you can beat the old games, trivial pursuit, monopoly, scrabble, pictionary.
    I also disagree. Many more recent releases have really revolutionised the type of social experiences that can be had from board games. Monopoly really is poor in comparison for the reasons that have already been mentioned in the thread. Personally I don't really see Trivial Pursuit, Pictionary, Taboo etc as board games, because whilst they have a board the core gameplay can be played without it and the board is little more than a mechanism for keeping score. No issue with Scrabble; that is still a classic for those who prefer a bit of an old school duel, along with the likes of Chess and Backgammon.

    The main reasons to my mind why people don't appreciate more recent releases are a lack of information (beyond the classics, people generally know very little about board games) and accessibility. The fact is that playing a new board game requires you to learn the rules and perhaps play one or two games to get used it, and people often just aren't willing to do that when they have the 'classic' games that they know so well.

    Anyway, my recommendations would be as follows;

    Pandemic: It's already been mentioned, but it should be mentioned again because it's brilliant. Essentially players attempt to eradicate disease before it gets out of control by moving around a Risk style board and performing various actions. It will take one or two games for people to get into the swing of it, but it is exciting, tense, and doesn't take very long (a game is typically about 45 minutes long). It also really encourages people to work together, so is very different from the classic adversarial games. There are also a couple of expansions that bring in new rule sets.

    Small World: Annoyed by the fact that battles in Risk come down to who is luckier with the dice? Try this. At its core it is a fantasy version of Risk, but battles are done purely on the basis of numbers. Consequently the person who wins Small World is almost always the one who made the better tactical decisions. Luck plays virtually no part in it. The core mechanics are also very clever in that you will initially pick a race with a finite number of troops, and you have to decide when to abandon that race and pick a new one in order to continue your conquest. The rules take a bit of getting used to, but it really is a great game.

    Saboteur: It's a card game rather than a board game strictly speaking, but I mention it because it is basically my friends' new favourite thing after my wife and I introduced them to it. You can play with up to 10 people (realistically you need at least 5). Players are dwarfs and have to lay cards on the table in order to dig a path to the gold. But some of the players are actually saboteurs and are working to ensure that the dwarfs don't get to the gold. The catch is that nobody knows who is a dwarf and who is a saboteur. This really is an absolute classic, and who wins comes down to an explosive mix of tactics and who is best at lying.

    Settlers of Catan: Play takes place on an island that players try to dominate by building towns and cities, laying roads between them, building their armies (though no fighting happens), and acquiring special buildings. All of these things give you victory points, and the first to get to a specific total wins. Basically, if you really like Monopoly but don't like how it is so reliant on luck and takes far too long, buy this. Because it is better. There are also loads of expansions available for it.

    Carcassone: I only discovered this recently, but it is one of my new favourites. Players lay tiles to construct the game board and also place 'followers' on the board as they go along. As the game board is constructed features on the map, such as castles, roads, and monasteries, will also build up. Points are gained for having followers that end up on completed roads, castles, and so on. It's very simple to learn how to play it but literally every game is different. There is some element of luck due to what tiles you draw, but again strategy is the name of the game. Games are relatively quick, and this is one of those rare adversarial games that also works really well with two players as well. Also, there are loads of expansions for it, which makes it even better.

    Those are suggestions off the top of my head, but there are a lot more. My wife and I buy a lot of games from Holland, and its surprising that in Holland and Germany particularly there is a much more open culture of board games, and board games in general are more popular. Consequently we have plenty of games in Dutch that don't exist in English, which is a real shame. Personally I'm hoping that if this board game resurgence continues in the UK, some of the more hidden gems on the continent will make their way over here. I'm mainly thinking of a game called Koehandel ('Cow Trade'), which is absolutely brilliant, but as far as I'm aware doesn't exist in English. There are other examples, though.
    "MIND IF I USE YOUR PHONE? IF WORD GETS OUT THAT
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  • Bigphil1474Bigphil1474 Forumite
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    I played Small World at Christmas. A really good game, that is a better tactical effort than with dice, but also will be different most times as the races/powers are randomly matched up each game. You are also limited to the amount of goes, so ditching races, starting new ones up, trying to trip up the competition etc. all add to the fun. Definitely worth buying.
  • Hope you don't mind me bumping this old thread back up to the top, was looking to ask about boardgames and it seemed more sensible than creating a new thread.

    I am addicted to Carcassonne, brilliant game. Never got into Catan because it needs more than two players.

    Our favourite is Ticket To Ride. Would definitely recommend that
  • ElefantEdElefantEd Forumite
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    For two players I've recently been enjoying https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/173346/7-wonders-duel as well as an old standby, https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/119890/agricola-all-creatures-big-and-small

    Both are two player versions of successful multi-player games (both of which can also be played by two, Agricola being excellent with two, but a bit longer than ACGAS)
  • Crazy_JamieCrazy_Jamie Forumite
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    Seen as this thread has been bumped up, my wife and I finally got round to playing Memoir '44 last night, which we were looking forward to playing because it is designed as a two player strategy game. First impressions are very good. The rules are quite easy to pick up; it only took us a few turns to get the basics down. There's also a lot of replay value because you choose a scenario each time you play, and the rule book tells you how to set the game board up and what the objectives are. There are 15 scenarios in the base game (more in expansions), and for each objective you can be either Axis or Allies, so effectively each player will play this game 30 times before there is any chance of repetition at all, though frankly both of us said that we'd like to play the first scenario again at some point with the same sides to adjust our strategies.

    Ultimately on first impressions at least I'm happy to add it to my list of recommended two player games. There really aren't very many good ones out there compared to larger groups, and a lot of those are card games, so it's good to find a good strategy board game for two players.

    It should be noted that it is by no means an in depth game. As I say, the rules are quite easy to pick up, and whilst there is plenty there to accommodate strategic play, it is not complicated. As such it would probably work well as a gateway game in all honesty.
    "MIND IF I USE YOUR PHONE? IF WORD GETS OUT THAT
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  • Its quite complicated to get your head round the rules for this one, but we had Castles of Burgundy for Christmas a couple of years a go and its great with 2 players and with 4.

    Another good one, although card game rather than board game, is backpacker, and its easy to pick up the rules.

    For a board game based on luck but with a twist and of less serious nature (e.g. christmas night when no one except the keenest can face a strategy game!) camel up is good.

    Definite votes for ticket to ride, pandemic and memoir 44! And Carcassone.

    This is just reminding me that I don't play board games enough!

    I've never enjoyed Monopoly. Did used to be a fan of cluedo, but the old games on the whole don't compare to the new IMO.

    Board games are big in germany and they have a 'spiele des jahres' (game of the year) award... lots of the above have either won or been nominated in previous years.
    August 2016 GC £249.70/£150
    July 2016 GC £114.03/ £120
    June 2016 GC
    £170.09/ £175
  • sharoosharoo Forumite
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    Although it's not a board game Monopoly deal card game is a fun take on the classic game with a much quicker ending.
    As for board games the old Atmosfear VHS games are always fun to play once in a while, they have a couple of newer DVD spin offs too.
  • Crazy_JamieCrazy_Jamie Forumite
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    sharoo wrote: »
    As for board games the old Atmosfear VHS games are always fun to play once in a while, they have a couple of newer DVD spin offs too.
    I have the DVD version but I actually don't think it's as good as the old version. The fact that the game is randomised through the DVD is obviously much better because it adds replay value, but I thought the actual Gatekeeper was significantly worse. I'd rather get a version of the old game and play it with a Youtube recording of the VHS tape.
    "MIND IF I USE YOUR PHONE? IF WORD GETS OUT THAT
    I'M MISSING FIVE HUNDRED GIRLS WILL KILL THEMSELVES."
  • bylromarhabylromarha Forumite
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    Love ticket to ride. Carcassonne is ok.

    Whilst it's marketed as a kids game, I love labyrinth. Constant changing board needing logic and patience.
    Who made hogs and dogs and frogs?
  • edited 3 February 2016 at 2:39PM
    mikeeboymikeeboy Forumite
    175 posts
    edited 3 February 2016 at 2:39PM
    Ticket to Ride Europe was my first non mainstream board game, went down well.

    I now also have

    Carcassone
    Pastiche
    King of Tokyo
    Splendor
    Alhambra
    Takenoko

    All of these are classed as 'Gateway' games. Sadly my family doesn't share the same enthusiasm for board games as I do and after 1 or 2 plays, they are now all resident in the cupboard :(
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