Must-Have Board Games


Card & Board Games


I'm looking for some suggestions on the best board games to own. I would consider myself approaching the status of mid-level gamer :)

Games I've played or own:

Pathfinder (Pencil and paper, not the card game)
Catan
Axis & Allies
Munchkin (Yay for Munchkin!)
Robo-Rally
Bloodbowl
3 Dragon Ante
Mage Knight/Hero Clix (a little)
Plus the universal ones: Monopoly, Risk, Stratego, etc.

Games I am thinking about buying next:

Dominion
Battlestar Galactica, board game
Mage-Knight, board game
Arkham Horror
Game of Thrones, board game

I generally play with groups of around 4. There are many times when there will be 5 or 6 of us and I'd like to have everyone get to play at the same time.

I figure this is the perfect place to gain some insight into what game to buy next. Thanks in advance for your help and suggestions!


Cosmic Encounter
Warrior Knights
Judge Dredd
Kings and Things
Gammarauders
Classic Dungeon

Scarab Sages

Carcassone
Chez Geek (or Goth, or Cthulhu + Block Party expansion to fit your number of players)
El Grande
Kill Doctor Lucky
Carcassonne
Illuminati
did I already mention Carcassonne?

Seriously - Carcassonne is one of the best Board/Cardgames I have ever played. Chez Geek (and variants) is one of the fastest to learn and fun experiences. If you really seek new games, at least try those.

The game Stonehge has lots of variant game modes (look into the free library) and is a steal for $10.

Zombies!!! is a fun little game that needs to be played more.


feytharn wrote:

Carcassone

Chez Geek (or Goth, or Cthulhu + Block Party expansion to fit your number of players)
El Grande
Kill Doctor Lucky
Carcassonne
Illuminati
did I already mention Carcassonne?

Seriously - Carcassonne is one of the best Board/Cardgames I have ever played. Chez Geek (and variants) is one of the fastest to learn and fun experiences. If you really seek new games, at least try those.

The game Stonehge has lots of variant game modes (look into the free library) and is a steal for $10.

Zombies!!! is a fun little game that needs to be played more.

I was also thinking about trying out a game called, "Carcassonne". Would that be worth picking up? :)

Scarab Sages

Unless you are looking for a big fun easy to learn hard to master game with certain addictive properties...not at all ;-)

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

How has Pandemic not been mentioned yet? Pandemic is seriously my favorite game in the world. Also Ticket To Ride, Shadows Over Camelot, Talisman... My game collection is about 30 games deep, so I could go forever.


Zombicide, Super Dungeon Explore


Agreed with nearly every above suggestion.

Adding:
Innovation
Flux ( A lot like munchkin; and as a bonus it comes in an assortment of flavors. Unlike munchkin, it's not really great to mix.)
Citadels
Fleet Admiral (i've gotten mixed reactions from friends over this one, I love it though)
Puerto Rico (A eurogame like catan)

Sovereign Court

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Heya.

Battlestar galactica is a great game. I prefer 5-6 when I play it but its not bad with 4. The expansions add fun elements that extend the re-play value of this game.

Arkham horror is a lot of fun. I dont own it but know a few who do. You should also consider the new Eldritch horror to your list. Its a little different than arkham and I may like it a pinch better. Both great games and worth the purchase.

Game of thrones the board game is excellent. Its nice to have a dice-less board game once and awhile. It has tons of strategy and a diplo element to it. Your friends will love it as long as they are okay with competitive PVP type games. Also a bonus is you can play the game without really ruining the books or show. This one is also good with 4-5-6 players.

Recommendations for your list:
7-wonders.
This game is easy to learn tough to master. Its got a great strategy element and plays fast. The biggest win for this game is its great with 2-7 players. Good for die hard and casual types. This game is just pure win.

Firefly
This board game is great for 4 player. The game is themed really well to the series. One knock I have is the game is a bit too do your own thing and players do not engage each other at all. For people who like competitive but not direct PVP games they will love it.

Merchants of Venus.
This is an excellent merchant game of pick up and deliver. The game has a high purchase point but it includes the original rules from Richard Hamblen as well as the FFG re-imaging. You are getting two high quality variations in one box how cool is that? Its only 4 player and is time consuming but a really fun game non the less.

I can make more recommendations if you like but these are the most favorable I can think of at the moment.

Edit: Oh yeah Talisman is a great beer and pretzel game. We get all kinds of stupid while playing it! Easy yet complex enough to be fun.


Pan wrote:


I can make more recommendations if you like but these are the most favorable I can think of at the moment.

Thanks, Pan. More recommendations are very welcome. I am getting an idea of a core grop to choose from. I am the friend that introduces everyone else in the group to new games and gets them interested in playing so expanding my collection and including variation is something I'm interested in.

Sovereign Court

Dangalos wrote:
Pan wrote:


I can make more recommendations if you like but these are the most favorable I can think of at the moment.

Thanks, Pan. More recommendations are very welcome. I am getting an idea of a core grop to choose from. I am the friend that introduces everyone else in the group to new games and gets them interested in playing so expanding my collection and including variation is something I'm interested in.

Can you tell us about the types of games you all enjoy? What type of gamers do you have? What types of elements or game types do you not enjoy? I could make many many recommendations. :)


Like I said, I am the one that initiates the game nights and supplies the games themselves. I have one person in the group that is as dedicated as I am and the others are still new but enjoy the overall experience. The friends I play with are also all currently first time PCs in a RotR adventure I am running. (Also, I'm a first-time GM)

We really enjoy playing Catan, we have two expansions as well. Munchkin is always the default and I've got 5 expansions for the original set. I haven't tried anything really lenghty or complicated like Axis & Allies with this group, but I think it would work.

I like the suggestions that I've read so far and have added a few to my list. I don't have any cooperative games and I think that would be a nice change of pace. I haven't come across a game that I don't like yet. I think for now the only things that I would shy away from (for the sake of the newer gamers) would be:

Extra-complicated rules (strategy is still okay)

Excessively long game times (We'll play Pathfinder for four hours or so but that really strecthes their attention sometimes, haha!)

Added to the list of potential purchases:

Citadels
Pandemic
Shadows over Camelot
Talisman: The Magical Quest
Caracassone


Pan, "beer and pretzel" games are perfect for the type of friends I am currently playing with. Some of our Pathfinder sessions end up being beer and pretzel and more beer games! XD


Battlestar Galactica *****
Dixit****
King of Tokyo****
Seven Wonders****
Pandemic***

imho ;-)


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Pan wrote:

7-wonders.

This game is easy to learn tough to master. Its got a great strategy element and plays fast. The biggest win for this game is its great with 2-7 players. Good for die hard and casual types. This game is just pure win.

Firefly
This board game is great for 4 player. The game is themed really well to the series. One knock I have is the game is a bit too do your own thing and players do not engage each other at all. For people who like competitive but not direct PVP games they will love it.

These are my two favorite games at the moment. Both look intimidating with all the card types (especially Firefly—there's 13 decks of cards!) but go very smoothly once you get used to turn flow.

One I just got for Christmas that's likely to join the top is Forbidden Island. It's the same game as Pandemic, with all players having different roles and every player's turn triggering new threats, except the players are teaming up to collect treasures and escape before the island sinks out from under you. It's simpler and faster than Pandemic (designed for a younger audience), but also much more dynamic as you are constantly losing parts of the island to flooding. You can also go to BoardGameGeek.com and get new tile layouts, some of which are brutally hard.

I really like Race for the Galaxy, too. You build up your civilization by settling planets, developing tech or institutions, or producing or selling goods. You have to choose which action you're going to take each round, but you also get to do the actions the other players choose that same round, so reading the other players is important.

There's also San Juan, which the same game except simpler and players choose actions in order instead of at the same time.


Power Grid and Smallworld are pretty cool.

Silver Crusade

Cards against Humanity
Risk


Sentinels of the Multiverse - A co-op game where you play superheroes teaming up to beat up supervillians. Works for 1 to 6 players (and supports 2 simultaneous games). Each superhero and villian has their own deck, and there are a couple dozen of both at this point, so every game plays differently, giving very high replayability. It is the most played game at multiple games clubs I have been to, and the rules are simple enough for non-gamers to enjoy.

Dominion - This is the default deck building race game. It works fairly well, but isn't the best of the genre. It suffers from being first to the gate and other people being able to tweak ballance better, but unless you really want to get into highly competative play you probably wont see its flaws. The base game alone will keep you occupied for a while, and the expansions are pretty good.

Seven Wonders - This is a good competative drafting game. Its simple enough for me to have taught 8 year olds but complicated enough for anyone to enjoy. Gameplay is ~45 minutes for casual players.

Shadows over Camelot and Battle Star Gallactica are 2 good, similar games. I would personally recommend Battle Star as it came latter and I feel it refined some things nicely. They are mostly co-op, but there are traitors. Do not play them with people who get upset at people lieing to their face, because backstabbing is a big deal.

The Resistance - A solid game where you try to root out a traitor among a small group based off of limitted information. Works well for 5 players. Avalon is mostly the same game I hear, but I haven't tried it. Perfect for a casual banter game.

Love Letter - This game has really simple rules but facinatingly complex gameplay. You are competing with the other players to get your love letter to the Princess by using various members of the court. Eveyone has 1 card in hand and on their turn draws 1 card, and then plays 1 of their cards. The cards have abilities that remove other players from the game if you guess right. The goal is to be the last man standing, or if multiple people are when the deck runs out, have the highest value card. Each round takes maybe 5 minutes and the goal is to be the first to win 4.

Space Alert - This is probably one of the best co-op games out there because it is the only one I have seen that completely eliminates the ability of one person to tell everyone what to do. They do it by putting everyone on a timer. There is an audio track that tells you what threats are coming at your space ship, and you have to man the defenses with a skeleton crew. You put down orders as fast as you can, and then after the track stops playing you go down the line to see how much of the ship was lost. Its a fun, fast paced game, and it has the most hillarious rulebook you will read.

Some others I recommend:
Race for the Gallaxy
Puerto Rico
Innovation


All of these suggestions are great, thanks for the help and keep 'em coming!

My upgaded 'want' list is currently well over $500 strong, so I'm going to have a hard time choosing. This will definitely be a fun process of colelcting and playing these great titles.


Dungeon Lords - A game about making your dungeon and protecting it against adventurers. The game is your two-year apprenticeship by the Ministry of Dungeons; player with the best "marks" wins. Art is superb, instructions are funny and gameplay is subtle. Game is long however, about two hours.


I can't believe no-one has mentioned Eclipse yet. Imagine a boardgame that plays like Masters of Orion II, but actually works (i.e. not Twilight Imperium which is fun but...)

I second Small World (quick, fun, easy to get casual players into),
Seven Wonders (just plain excellent),
Boss Monster (hilarious, fast, fun)


I like just about every game that I've played in the list above, but I feel compelled to add one point about Small World:

The competition in Small World can get very direct. You know that moment in Catan where another player claims a road that you really needed for your strategy, right before you were going to take it, and now you're convinced that the rest of your game is blown? And then, to make matters worse, you realize that he didn't even need that road, but he was just blocking you to keep you from winning? If your group can handle that kind of setback with aplomb, they can play Small World. But if that situation gets tempers up, they might have trouble with Small World.


If you want a slightly heavy worker placement & area control game I cannot recommend Dominant Species highly enough. Players take the roles of various species (mammals, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds or arachnids) at the dawn of an encroaching Ice Age and try to make sure they can survive, adapt and thrive in the ever changing world. You can evolve your species to survive off of a variety of resources and even have some control in how the board expands and changes throughout the game. Once you get over the initial learning curve (the best way to play 1 or 2 'walkthrough' games were you don't worry too much about score just try all of the options each turn) you'll find a huge variety of game play options as each species has it own quirks and abilities to make it seem a different game each time you play.

Other games that people have already mentioned that see regular play at our table are 7 Wonders, Carcassone, Shadows Over Camelot (which I would recommend over BSG myself) and Dominion.


Just worth noting: I love Talisman, but with 8 expansions (and counting), it is a very expensive obsession for the completionist. The initial game itself is actually quite good on its own; the expansions make it feel like a world where anything can happen, and you can make more decisions.


Here's an amazing game I thoroughly enjoy and recommend - although it's for two players only:

Cold War: Cia vs. KGB.


Seven wonders is a must; a fast pace, easy learning, and one of the rare 7 players game !!!

Pandemic, is a nice cooperative game, but like many cooperative game if you get a few strong personalities around the table, you may end up with 1 or 2 players telling the others one how to play their turn.

Puerto rico is must have just for the fact that's like the grand daddy of most games where every player get to play an action every turn, even if it's not their turn per say.

El Grande is also a great game; if you can get your hand on one version that allow you to store the tower without needing to disassemble it, the better :)

Dice town is a nice fast pace dice game that is easy to learn and where you can still use a good strategy.

Arkadia is one of my favourite; new player will need a game or two to get the subtulity, but it's a great strategy game to get the most of every turn.

Finaly, Timeline is a small knowledge game where you need to guess if an invention/event/monument/discovery/art came before of after a reference point on the timeline. The game complexsify as more cards are added to the timeline. Usually 10-15 min game time.


D'oh! How'd I forget Puerto Rico?! Great game that was a long time staple at our table - it has been supplanted by newer games but we do still return to it on occasion.

Also thanks for the recommendation on Timeline Mordo - we are always on the lookout for those quickie 'filler' games to play while the pizza is being eaten and the last players arrive. It sounds like just the ticket!


Badaboom! A hot potato game about goblins throwing a bomb to one another
Wizwar, the old editions (5-6), not the newest ripoff. Nothing beats this game for fast, brutal and silly.

Seconded Dixit, Carcasonne.

I would like to add that Talisman, while a good game, is VERY easy to end up with a session lasting eight or more hours. Cosmic Encounter is a classic, true, but it's also a game with severe problems in that it's a) too simple and b) the species you can play are so badly balanced that it can usually only go one way in a two-player game. Talisman has a somewhat related problem at two players.


I can't believe no-one has mentioned Spartacus-A game of blood and treachery. It is a relatively easy to learn game with tons of social interaction, as it encourages building alliances and back-stabbing at the same time. Of course, for the same reason it is not recommended if your group gets into fights over games. Definitely my favorite board game.

Spartacus also has enough randomness in it and many different winning strategies; both features greatly improve replayability. I've played it dozens of times and every time was great. The base game is for 4 players max, but with a relatively inexpensive expansion you can have up to 6.

Battlestar Galactica is similar in a sense that it also has back-stabbing and betrayal, although this is handled in a much more subtle way. I've only played twice, and we haven't gotten all the rules right (yet). I found the rules a bit too complicated, but I am sure that with time you can master them. Another disadvantage for me is that each game lasts 3 hours or so, which is a bit too long for my tastes. Having said that, I love the idea of the game, thematically. If you and your group loved the series, you'll probably love this one too.

I own Small World as well and I highly recommend it. It doesn't have as much social interaction as the two above mentioned games. For this reason, I would prefer Spartacus over Small World. Nevertheless, because of its deceptively simple base mechanic but its incredible depth, its rather short playing time, its lighthearted theme and its funny artwork, it is a great game for casual players.

EDIT: I also heard good things about Lords of Waterdeep but have yet to play it.


+1 on Lords of Water - it's like Catan but instead of sheep, wheat, wood, and ore you work to get rogues, wizards, clerics and fighters who you can trade in for quests that give you victory points.
I'd also recommend Munchkin Quest, Descent (2nd Edition), all 3 D&D Adventure Series games (Legend of Drizzit, Wrath of Ashardalon and Castle Ravenloft) - which are slightly expanded by all 5 Dungeon Command sets which isn't to bad a game itself.


Thanks to you guys I have my birthday/Christmas/anniversary wishlists filled for the next couple of years XD

I bought Dominion this weekend, a friend got the "Seas" expansion and we all love it!


Tsuro is annother great game that fits a bunch of people and scales well. Tsuro of the Seas adds kaiju, which greatly detracts from the base game sadly.


An other fast pace and really fun game is King of Tokyo

Silver Crusade

Gonna throw in another mention for Battlestar Galactica. This is by far my favorite board game. It takes a show that I felt was kind of a downer and a little blah, and changes that atmosphere into something wonderful, a world of paranoia and potential backstabbing where everyone is working together yet anyone could secretly be trying to kill you all. I highly recommend it.

Sovereign Court

Xzaral wrote:
Gonna throw in another mention for Battlestar Galactica. This is by far my favorite board game. It takes a show that I felt was kind of a downer and a little blah, and changes that atmosphere into something wonderful, a world of paranoia and potential backstabbing where everyone is working together yet anyone could secretly be trying to kill you all. I highly recommend it.

Yeah BSG is a fun game. Pro tip I always give to first timers though is to clock the sleeper phase. I have heard countless stories about newbs getting their sleeper card seeing "not a cylon" and throwing the card down immediately. Meanwhile, guy next to them spends 20+ seconds reading his card tipping off the fact that he is a cylon. Come up with a way to add a timer or something so everyone uses the same amount of time.

Silver Crusade

Pan wrote:
Xzaral wrote:
Gonna throw in another mention for Battlestar Galactica. This is by far my favorite board game. It takes a show that I felt was kind of a downer and a little blah, and changes that atmosphere into something wonderful, a world of paranoia and potential backstabbing where everyone is working together yet anyone could secretly be trying to kill you all. I highly recommend it.
Yeah BSG is a fun game. Pro tip I always give to first timers though is to clock the sleeper phase. I have heard countless stories about newbs getting their sleeper card seeing "not a cylon" and throwing the card down immediately. Meanwhile, guy next to them spends 20+ seconds reading his card tipping off the fact that he is a cylon. Come up with a way to add a timer or something so everyone uses the same amount of time.

The store where I used to play fairly consistently had the fifteen second rule. Everyone looks at their card for at least fifteen seconds.


Talisman: I got the game back in the late 1980's when I could get metal figurines. I got a friend to paint them all (not a complete collection). With a group of 5 or 6 people and the intent of not killing each other off ASAP the game can go on for 6 or more hours.

These days people don't want their board games to last more than a couple of hours so Arkham Horror is a good idea.

Another favorite old game was Battle Tech. I think it eventually became an RPG. I remember my first game where I didn't understand things. I was playing a Rifleman. (a mecha with 4 big guns 2 for each arm) I didn't understand the concept of heat sinks. All I had to do is step into this pond ahead of me. Anyway, I shot all of my guns at once and my mecha blew up. :D I was told later all I had to do was to step into the water to not heat up. Never the less Battle Tech was a fun game.

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