The world of gaming is vastly different today compared to decades ago. Board games used to be the main source of group fun, bringing families and friends together for hours of entertaining adventure. Remember playing Monopoly, Mouse Trap and Clue when you were a kid? Well, times have changed. There are many board games available today that can keep even the most experienced gamer entertained. The best part? You can step away from the console, PC, and smartphone for a while and still have a great experience around friends and family — making the kind of memories many believe are a thing of the past.
In an article I wrote about Let's Plays, I talked about the importance of finding your own unique way to fit into the community you love. Gaming has always been a passion of mine even though I don't play video games as frequently as the average gamer. One of the biggest reasons I don't play often is the fact that I prefer experiences in which I'm interacting with other players face-to-face instead of screen-to-screen. I began watching Tabletop, a web-based series produced by Geek and Sundry and hosted by Wil Wheaton, about a year ago and discovered the pleasure of playing board games as an adult.
My wallet suffered for the next few months as I bought many of the games seen on the show. I shared them with loved ones and friends and will forever be grateful for the everlasting memories I've made playing them. Here's a quick look into a few favorites of mine. Hopefully, you'll see one that you'd like to try!
5. 'It's A World Of Slaughter': Small World
Published by Days of Wonder in 2009, Small World is an award-winning strategy game that has loads of replay value. Designed for two to five players (six with expansion), the game has a simple goal: Build the biggest empire in a land that isn't big enough for everyone.
Players choose from 14 fantasy races and 20 unique powers, using them to conquer the most land, often at the expense of other players. While aggressive play is typically successful, players must also be humble enough to know when they are spread too thin. This game is perfect for players age eight and older, making it a wonderful choice for a family game night. Small World also has over ten expansions/companions, making it a title that will keep you invested for a long while! Check out the Tabletop episode for this game here.
Railroad Rivalry: Ticket To Ride
Simple enough to play with a child, yet competitive enough to remind us of those Monopoly-induced rage quits of the past, Ticket to Ride is a family game published by Days of Wonder that has steamrolled its way into the hearts of families all over the globe. With over three million copies sold, this competitive tabletop adventure has one main goal: Complete the most train routes before your competition gets in your way.
Played on a map of the United States, players draw colored train cards that are used to place trains on specific routes that will complete their chosen destination tickets. Each ticket is worth a certain number of points and the player with the most points wins! Although it seems too simple to enjoy, I assure you it will not disappoint. Watch the Tabletop episode here to see for yourself! Looking for a more exotic adventure? Ticket to Ride has many expansions that can take you to Europe, Africa, Asia, and more.
Pathogen Panic: Pandemic
Often referred to as one of the hardest cooperative games on the market, Pandemic first hit shelves in 2008. Published by Z-Man Games, this turn-based strategy game has one way to win and multiple ways to lose, making it an addictive yet frustrating experience that will keep your team invested for hours.
The world has been infected with multiple infectious diseases at once. Players assume the roles of disease-fighting specialists, each with unique abilities. The goal is simple: Cure each disease and save the planet. The catch? Infections spread at random at the end of every turn cycle and large epidemics can occur at any time. I highly recommend watching the Tabletop episode and fetching your own copies of Pandemic and its many expansions. You won't regret it.
Zombies And Frostbite: Dead Of Winter
By far the most complex game on this list, Dead of Winter (published by Plaid Hat Games in 2014) is a "meta-cooperative psychological survival" game. What is that? Well, BoardGameGeek explains it best:
"This means players are working together toward one common victory condition — but for each individual player to achieve victory, he must also complete his personal secret objective."
Players assume the roles of multiple townspeople, each with their own special abilities, to survive a harsh winter in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. With starvation, supply shortages and zombie attacks around every corner, actually making it to the finish line as a team is difficult enough. To make matters worse, each individual has their own agenda to complete and one of them may be a betrayer (player's secret objective is dependent on team loss). The rest is a mouthful, so I'll let Wil Wheaton do it for me: watch the Tabletop episode and discover the modern day board game that will make you hate your friends!
Charades With A Twist: Concept
Everyone partakes in a game of charades at some point in their life, right? This timeless classic has been re-imagined and imitated more times than I can count. While I've played many adaptations of charades, Concept is the most unique. Published by Repos Production in 2013, this party game has all the elements of charades coupled with a symbol-based communication system that's sure to keep creative minds entertained.
Players work in teams of two (with a huge player limit of 12), using colored pawns to identify symbols on the board that will best allow the rest of the group to guess the concept they chose to play. The pawns are multicolored and consist of question marks (main concept), exclamation points (sub-concepts) and cubes (descriptive details). Players gain points by being the first to guess any given concept or by being on the team that played it. Sounds complicated, right? Don't be discouraged! This brain-teasing experience is as fun as it is educational. For a more visual explanation of Concept, see the Tabletop episode here.
Have you played any of the games I mentioned? Are there any other tabletop games you would recommend to friends? Talk to me in the comments! Are you interested in any of the games listed? Have a board game night and try something new with your loved ones. Follow my page for more content and always strive to play more games!