ByЭmily Y., writer at
I'm a user researcher and I love boardgames, simulation/strategy games.
Эmily Y.

I know that a lot of video gamers are hesitant with boardgames. So I am writing in hopes that some of you may want to check some out.

One of the barriers to is the amount of time it takes to learn a game. That's why I created a short list of great games that are also easy to learn. For me, there is more satisfaction when I can physically move a piece to victory. The of a game piece in my hand feels magical and it can't be compared to playing a game on a computer. Also, being able to play with anyone in front of you regardless of whatever technology or app they own is inherently democratic.

Love Letter (2012)

Love Letter / photo: Emily Y.
Love Letter / photo: Emily Y.

2-4 players, 20mins

Love letter is a quick card game of and luck. During each round, you try to outlast everyone. Depending on which role card you’ve got in your hand and which one you just picked up, you will discard one of them and perform actions based on the discarded card. This means that everyone is always trying to guess which role card you have in your hand.

Akrotiri (2014)

Akrotiri / photo: Emily Y.
Akrotiri / photo: Emily Y.

2 players, 45mins

Akrotiri is a great two-player game. I think it's fun because it involves and . The goal is to have the most points by the time the first player excavates 7 temples. To build temples, you’ll need money. To get money, you picking up and deliver goods. At the start of each round, you’ll place tiles based on where you want your future temples to be excavated. Then you get a few action points, which you can spend on moving your boat, loading goods onto your boat, excavating a temple, or buying a map. Another interesting mechanic is that the value of goods will fluctuate depending on how much in demand it is.

Citadels (2000)

A well loved copy of Citadels / photo: Emily Y.
A well loved copy of Citadels / photo: Emily Y.

2-8 players, 20-60mins

This is has been around for a while. The goal is to get as many points from your buildings, which you’ll build with money that you’ll get from each round. Depending on which role card you have for the round and which your opponents get, you may or may not get to do what you want. This is because someone may be the Thief and steal your money before you get to use it. Someone may be the Assassin and kill you, losing your turn for the round. Someone may even be the Magician and exchange the Building cards in your hand, preventing you from building what you wanted. Other cards will get you more gold depending on the buildings you’ve built. You’ll probably change strategies throughout the rounds. Overall, it’s an easy game to learn with little downtime. I like this game because it’s a healthy combination of strategy, luck, little complexity and can easily accommodate a wide number of players.

Evolution (2014)

Evolution / photo: Emily Y.
Evolution / photo: Emily Y.

2-6 players, 50-70mins

This game has a big green wooden dinosaur as the first player marker. If that hasn't sold you, then I don't know what will. But seriously, Evolution is actually a well-designed game that was launched from . The goal is to collect as many food tokens as you can. To do that, you try to feed yourself and not get eaten. At each round, you get trait cards, and different cards will give you different abilities. Some give you food advantages. Some give defensive advantage (e.g. horns), and some give you offensive advantage (e.g. carnivore card). Throughout the game, you’ll find that your species will evolve (change traits) as you and your opponents change strategies.

Sheriff of Nottingham (2014)

Sheriff of Nottingham / Photo: C. Knab
Sheriff of Nottingham / Photo: C. Knab

3-5 players, 60mins

This is a where you’re trying to collect goods and sneak contraband into town. If you want to see how well you can lie to your friends, then this is a great game for you! At each round, the player who is Sheriff asks which goods you have in your pouch, which you can answer truthfully or not. If you're actually lying and the Sheriff doesn't believe you, you can try to bribe them. If they don't believe you and you were telling the truth, then they get a penalty. Overall, it's an easy-to-learn social deception game.


Have you played any of these? Which is your favorite?


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