Growing up, my family never really got into games. I never had a Nintendo or Game Boy, our PC was definitely not up for any games that didn’t come pre-installed, and I only played board games at friend’s houses or with my grandparents. So what did I do when I grew up?
I married a man who loves games.
And I became friends with his friends.
And now I play games.
I’m still not very good at video/PC games, so that makes it really hard for me to really get into them. I love to watch my husband play games with good story lines, like Bioshock Infinite , but I’m still a bit intimidated by them myself.
What I have really come to love, though, is a good board game. I can’t get into things like Monopoly and Scrabble, but give me a good quality strategy game, and I’m all in!
One of the best games that I started out with was Settlers of Catan. Settlers is a German made game for 3-4 players (with an expansion pack, you can play with up to 6 players) that puts you in charge of settling a new land. You must harvest resources, or else trade with another player, so you can build roads and towns. The really interesting thing about Catan is that it’s not just the one game you can play… there are 4 official expansions as well as several variants and scenarios to mix it all up with. This gives Catan huge replay value – if you want to spend the money. You can also get versions that are child friendly, travel ready, or card/dice based. If you’re looking for a board game to broaden your gaming horizons, I would definitely recommend starting with Settlers.
Ticket to Ride is another German-style game I really love (although, its maker is based in the US and France – not Germany). This game gives you and 1-4 other players several train routes across a country or continent that you must build. The strategy comes in when other players start building where you want to build, as well as, choosing routes that you can string together so you can complete them all before you run out or pieces. Like Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride also has several versions, including: USA, Europe, Germany, Nordic Countries, as well as several expansions, and a card game. I think this is actually my favorite of my top five (we have the Europe game, but have also played the Germany version which is harder because I am not terribly familiar with German cities and spelling).
The next game on my top five is Citadels. Citadels is a card based game for 2-7 players and is, you guessed it, a German-style game. There is no board in Citadels, just cards that you choose from each round to determine what character you will play – and what special ability you get for being that character. Your goal is to build eight districts in your city before anyone else. You must be careful what you build, though, because “cheap” districts will earn you fewer points at the end when you tally them all up. Also, there are benefits to some characters if there are districts of their same color (e.g.: the Warlord character is represented by the color red and, if you choose the Warlord on your turn and also have a red district in your city, you will get extra gold). There is an expansion set that adds in different characters and changes up the rules a little. Citadels is a fun game to play with a big group – smaller groups seem to be a little more difficult.
Lords of Waterdeep is a Wizards of the Coast – Dungeons and Dragons based board game made in the US, but, again, is a German-style game. 2-5 players complete quests and earn rewards, thus increasing their influence over the city of Waterdeep. From there, players can use their influence to create new buildings and actions on the board to help themselves gain points and to hinder others from completing their plans. I haven’t had many opportunities with this game yet, but it really is a lot of fun. The artwork alone is worth a look and the perfect design of the box and piece storage is awe-inspiring.
And last, but not least, is the Evil Baby Orphanage! Made by DFTBA Records (Hello, Vlogbrothers), this is a card based game for 3 or more players. If I remember right, the Vlogbrothers asked Nerdfighteria (their viewers) what they would do if given the chance to go back in time and interfere with the evil people of history before they grew up. One commenter said they should all be taken to an Evil Baby Orphanage to be cared for and, hopefully, changed for the better. So, in the game, you become a time traveling nanny who collects the likes of baby Hitler, baby Stalin, and baby Typhoid Mary and pacifies them with toys. The babies often move around the table – either being snatched by other time nannies, or wandering into other orphanages after biting, grabbing, or otherwise harming fellow babies. There is an expansion (The Crayon Manifesto) that I haven’t played yet, but the name is so great, I think I need to. *grin*
There you have it – my top five board games! Now all you need is 1 to 6 other people and a table!