Awesome Board Games You'll Wish You Already Had
Many of us grew up with classic thematic board games like Monopoly and The Game of Life, but did you know there is a whole new generation of board games you've probably never even heard of?
I'll admit to being a late-bloomer to the board game scene. The last board game I played was Chutes and Ladders when I was 8. I was bored out of my mind, and never had a reason to go back. My SNES was just way more exciting than moving dinky little plastic pieces around a Monopoly board while pretending I was a real estate mogul.
Then one fateful evening, a friend talked me into playing my first game of Elder Sign. And everything changed. We'll talk about Elder Sign in a different article, but for now, here are some of our other favorite "gateway" board games:
Players are railroad barons in the age of the steam locomotive, competing in a friendly rivalry to secure the longest, most high-scoring train routes across the United States (and other countries, in later expansions!).
Players begin the game with Tickets to Ride, outlining the routes they must secure to win points – failing to purchase these routes costs points during the game's final scoring.Throughout the game, players are drawing cards and claiming routes, all the while competing to complete the longest or highest-scoring routes and to muscle out their competitors.
Having won numerous awards and nigh-universal critical acclaim, Ticket to Ride is an amazing experience that's easy to play, and wonderfully challenging to master.
The real-life Carcassonne, a walled fortress city in France that's been occupied since Neolithic times, is the sort of ancient city that just grew and grew, sprawling out across the landscape over time and building upon itself as technology developed and the demands of its citizens increased.
The cities you'll build in Carcassonne the board game are no different: sprawling, seemingly haphazard fortifications dotting the landscape.
Players draw tiles to create a random game board each play session and earn points by claiming cities, roads, and lush green fields ripe for farming.
A classic European board game, Carcassonne's brilliance lies in its simplicity and impressive strategic depth.
A stunning 2-player game, Morels casts you in the position of mushroom hunters hiking a peaceful woodland trail in search of the tastiest wild mushrooms.
You start off with a single frying pan, and along the way, you'll be picking up cards representing delicious edible mushrooms like buttery chanterelles and delicious, high-scoring morels, score-enhancing ingredients like butter and apple cider, and other goodies like baskets and frying pans. Apart from its approachable, laid-back gameplay and gorgeous, lovingly hand painted artwork, Morels's most attractive feature is the way the layout of the cards simulates a journey along a woodland path. Mushrooms come into view further along the path, but you won't be able to pick them until they're right beneath your feet, and eventually you'll walk past them, leaving them behind in the decay pile.
Both lighthearted and just-competitive-enough, Morels is a remarkably fun, bite-sized adventure.
A delightful pass-and-play card game, Sushi Go! is a game where players are diners at a conveyor sushi restaurant, and the cards represent different orders of sushi. Players take a look at the selections in their hand and play cards face-down in front of them. They then pass their hands to another player, which represents the conveyor belt revolving to move the different servings of sushi around the table.
Since different types of sushi taste better when eaten a certain way, each sushi card scores more points when played in certain card combinations. Nigiri Sushi is best paired with Wasabi, Tempura only scores points if played in pairs, and as for delicious, bite-sized steamed Dumplings, you get more points the more Dumplings you have in front of you, so just load up your plate! And, of course, you don't want to be the only player left without dessert at the end of the course.
Its brilliant thematic design, coupled with the most adorable representations of sushi in artwork you've ever seen, make Sushi Go! a sure-fire crowd-pleaser in any board game group I've been in. What's more, it takes a maximum of 20 minutes to play and comes in a delightful little tin carrying case for travel.
For the past few years, board games have been experiencing a resurgence of sorts in our corner of the globe. Some are crowdfunded and independently-developed titles, while others have enjoyed years of popularity in their native Europe, having only recently crossed the pond to find an audience in the US, and very deservedly so.
If the last time you played a board game was a round of Hungry, Hungry Hippos with your best friend from grade school, you owe it to yourself to check out what's new in the realm of board games. There's a whole new generation of awesome out there, and awesome is a terrible thing to miss out on.