Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Our Top Ten Favorite Board Games

If you follow me on Facebook, you've probably notice the occasional mention of various board games we've purchased.  Over the past year, we have become huge card/board game junkies.  We play regularly as a family and even meet up with friends for weekly game nights.

I was recently asked to compile a list of our favorite games so instead of just offering my opinion, I asked Eric and the kids to give me a list of their top ten favorite games.  

Here are our overall favorites in no particular order (Below, I will list everyone's favorites individually incase you want to check them out too.)

Ticket to Ride is a great family game.  The basic goal of the game is to get enough train cards to complete the various routes you are given before someone else runs out of trains.  Of course, this can be hampered by others who are either trying to complete their routes or are just trying to make sure you don't win.  It's pretty fast paced and suitable for the whole family.  Scoring is very easy.  Days of Wonder has come out with expansions for the game as well as variations that take place in different parts of the world.  

Small World was one of the first "non-traditional" board games we purchased and the jumping off point of our obsession.  In Small World, each player is a different mythical race and we are all battling to conquer the land.  This is another great family game.  Once you figure out the special feature of each race, the rules are pretty straight forward.  The races and their abilities are change with every game allowing for loads of replay value.  Days of Wonder has also come out with various expansions and variations on this game.

I love this game!  Betrayal at House on the Hill is like a horror movie in board game form.  This game starts out as a cooperative game where each player is maneuvering through an abandoned house gathering items and experiencing horrifying events.  As the game progresses it is reveled that one of you is a traitor who lead you here to aid some evil being in completing their dark and demented plan.  I do not think you can play two games that are exactly the same.  As you maneuver through the house you are actually picking a different floor plan every game and once the traitor is revealed there are 50 haunt scenarios to play through.

I do not think there is a week that goes by where the kids do not pull out King of Tokyo.  This is a very kid and family friendly game that is fast paced and easy to learn.  Choose to be one of six giant monsters battling for the rights to be named the King of Tokyo.  Iello Games has created an expansion pack for the game and a variation on it that is based in New York.

Bubble Talk is nothing short of hilarious and even borderline inappropriate when you have the right (or wrong) people playing with you.  The premise of the game is simple enough -- each player takes turns choosing a picture and their opponents have to caption it.  The person with the best caption get the picture and the first player to have five pictures wins.  There are loads of pictures and captions offering lots of replay value.

Tsuro of the Seas is gorgeous game where the players are seafarers trying to maneuver an ocean full of water dragons.  If you can avoid the dragons and other ships while NOT falling off the edge of the world, you are the kid of the high seas.  Another great family game that teaches strategy and the art of thinking ahead.  This game also has a lot of replay value as the dragons are constantly taking the place of the tiles you place to move and when your tiles intersect with those of another player, your path through the sea changes.  Tsuro of the Seas is the second in a series.  The original is Tsuro.  I have not played Tsuro yet but from what I have seen, play through is similar and the artwork is equally beautiful.

    Castle Panic is a cooperative game where the players work               together to protect their castle from the onslaught of 49                     monsters, some with special powers.  This is another quick play       game that is fun for everyone!

Forbidden Island is another great cooperative game that is appropriate for all ages.  The goal is to collect all of the islands ancient artifacts and get off the island before it sinks into the ocean, never to be seen again!  Game play is pretty straight forward.  The island layout is different every game and just when you think it has become too easy, you can increase the rate at which the island sinks.  Gamewright, creators of Forbidden Island have come up with a follow up game, Forbidden Desert that offers similar game play but (in my opinion) offers more of a challenge.

Pandemic - Now here is a game that will frustrate you to no end and leave you coming back for more.  This is a game of beat the clock....or rather beat the spread of disease.  Players work together to try to cure and eradicate 4 different diseases as they spread across the globe.  It may sound easy but just as you think you have a handle on things, BAM...there's another epidemic.  We have lost this game more than we've won it and it is still a favorite.  There are also expansions available as well as a brand new dice game for a quick, 30 min, play.

Letters from Whitechapel is another gloriously frustrating game.  As one player (Jack the Ripper) moves around the Whitechapel District of London over four knights killing five women the other players work together to track and hopefully catch Jack.  If you play this.....bring your deduction skills to the table because trust me, you will need them!  Also, huge bonus for history buffs, the dates of the murders, the names of the victims and the officers who worked the case are historically accurate.

Eric's personal favorites - Letters from Whitechapel, Betrayal at House on the Hill, Ticket to Ride, Mouse Trap, Small World, Risk, Chess, Forbidden Island,, I didn't count wrong...Eric couldn't think of a number 10 favorite game.

Before you ask, I know many of these games cannot be found at your local bog box store but no worries!  Check your are for local game/hobby shops.  Many even offer rooms where you can pre-play games to see if they are something you want to invest in and there is the added bonus of supporting your local community.  However, if there are not game/hobby stores in your area all of these games can be purchased online either through Amazon, the publisher or other board game retailers.

If you do not have a hobby/game shop that lets you preview games or you would rather check them out at home before venturing out, check out the Table Top series with Will Wheaton on Geek & Sundry.

What is your family's favorite game?  Share in the comments below!

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