Board Games

Since I was a kid, I have played computer games. I really loved games like Civilization (Civ 4 is my favorite, after the classic Civ 1, of course), SimCity, Dune 2, and other strategy and 4X games. These days, I love Cities in Motion, which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who knows me, and about which I’ll write about another day. On my iPad, I really enjoy Ticket to Ride, which also shouldn’t surprise anyone, as well as San Juan (which I started playing while I was in Puerto Rico). However, I have never been into board games much, other than the occasional ultra-competitive games of Risk in my university days. I would guess that part of the reason that I never played many board games is that when I was in high school, the big thing at the time was Magic: The Gathering, and I’ve never been into Fantasy; I was always a science-fiction guy, Star Trek and so on, not Dungeons and Dragons. 

In any case, a few months ago we got The Kids of Carcassonne for the family, and we enjoy playing it together with the boys. As a consequence, I’ve started looking at other games that we could get, such as Catan Junior, which I plan on buying soon. I’d also love to try some of the other big games out there, such as 7 Wonders, Amerigo, or the Castles of Burgudy, but the problem is that most of the time, it’s just me and my wife and the boys here at home, so we don’t have anyone else that we can play with, and for many of these games, they recommend 3 or 4 players.

So with that in mind, I am asking you, my readers, for suggestions of board games (other than Hasbro-type games like Monopoly or Risk that I already own and know well) that would be good for the whole family (fun for my 4 year old and 7 year old boys, without boring the adults), as well as games that can play well with just 2 players (for me and my wife). For example, I’ve heard that Pandemic is a good one for 2 players. So, what say you? What games should I go out and buy?

9 thoughts on “Board Games

  1. Forbidden Island/Desert are great co-op games. We are just getting the kids started with various Ticket to Ride boards and my wife and I really enjoy Thurn and Taxis as well.

    I can provide tons more examples if you are looking for some. :)

  2. Munchkin is a great fantasy-lite card game (very fun even if you’re not generally into games like D&D and Magic). I also adore Pictionary, and my brother just got Creationary — like Pictionary but with Legos instead of drawing. Looks promising.

    I’ve always been a fan of Trivial Pursuit, but I think the classic version is more fun than the newer ones that have come out (which makes it harder because the trivia is older and more difficult for younger people). We always play on teams. If you like history, you might enjoy About Time. (I’m terrible at it but still enjoy the game.) And Cranium is a great family game. It’s like the best pieces of other board games smashed together into one.

    If you’re looking for a different sort of board game, you might want to check out Cheapass Games. (The idea is that the games come with only the essential, unique pieces for that game, and you re-use your own generic game supplies like dice or paper money as needed.) They offer some free games, including one of the first Cheapass games I played: Kill Doctor Lucky. It looks like they also sold that game to another company that produces it like a regular board game.

    I love board games, so if there’s a particular style of game you’re looking for, let me know and I’ll see what I can recommend. :)

  3. Games like Monopoly and Risk are fun but they don’t scale well with only two players. Some of our favorites:

    – Carcassonne – Princess and Dragon is a must have expansion.
    – Lost Cities – It’s a great two player card game and travels well.
    – X-Wing Miniatures – This one is a money suck but is a fun war game.

    I’ll second Ryan with:
    – Ticket to Ride
    – Forbidden Island

    I have a lot more but am trying to keep the list short. :)

  4. I’m very late to the party, but here’s my 2c. Forbidden Island is an excellent one (especially since there’s no competition; everyone wins or loses together). You may also like Dominion or Atlantis. I’ll add in some smaller games like Gloom, all the variants of Fluxx, Jungle Speed, Cheeky Monkey, Zombie Dice, Anomia, Mr. Jack Pocket, Seven Dragons, and Get Bit.

    I’d also echo the suggestion to check out episodes of Tabletop. There’s nothing like watching people play the games you’ve heard of and learning the rules at the same time.

    • Thanks, Payton! I’ve viewed a few of the episodes, the Carcassonne one really helped me to understand some things.

      As for Burlington, that is a distinct possibility! I was thinking of doing a trip down to Saratoga Springs with the family, to visit a few of our colleagues; I could certainly envisage doing a stop in Burlington for a day or 2 on my way down there!

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