Love playing board games? These alternatives could quickly become your new family favorites!
Are you tired of playing monopoly? Or, like the British Royal Family, do you all just get that little bit too competitive over it? Have you solved the mystery of Cluedo one too many times and memorized all the answers to Articulate, so that it’s more of a memory game than actually testing your knowledge? The classics are tried and tested, and they work, we know they do! No one would dream of suggesting you throw out your classic Scrabble set. But how about discovering something new? There’s nothing like learning a new game to bring people together, and a bit of diversity in your choices of board game surely can’t hurt!
With Board Game Cafés springing up all over the world, this classic way of spending some quality time with the people you love has come back into fashion, and with it comes a huge choice of new games. Even if you aren’t big board-game-players, some of these new games could be just what you need to bring you all together for a bit of quality time (be it with friends or family!). Board games aren’t just for the holidays. From after-dinner entertainment to Sunday afternoon relaxation, there’s a game for every occasion. But where do you start? Check out our suggestions to see which new game you’ll be playing next.
How long is the rule book? Not very! Think Monopoly but faster paced (and no hotels). By the end of the first game you’ll know all the rules.
Can the grandkids play? Yes, if they’re aged 8+ (but there’s also a child-friendly version- Ticket to Ride: First Journey)
Is it fiddly? The rules? No. The pieces? Yes. That’s one down side of the game.
Love maps? Just looking at the board for this game will bring you pure joy. More about the strategy? This game caters to you too! Ticket to Ride is addictive. A mixture between the strategic decisions needed to play Monopoly, but with a limit of one move per turn, no-one is left waiting as the quick gameplay keeps everyone involved. And a bonus is that no-one knows who’s won, or even who’s winning until the very end, keeping the nail-biting tension going until the very last second. The beautiful illustrations and well-thought-out design of the game is instantly appealing, and it’s hardly surprising that it’s won quite a few awards since it was first released in 2004. There are several versions of this game available, with the option of different continents and countries, from “the heart of Africa” to Europe, and Scandinavia to the U.S., meaning you can buy the game that appeals most to you! Called a “gateway game” for its easily accessible rules, it’s a great place to start a journey into the new world of board games that are out there today, and a good game for all the family.
(plus, there are expansion packs available for when you want to mix it up a bit!)
Is it fast paced? Yes! It’ll keep you on your toes!
Does it take up a lot of space? Nope – think Scrabble but without the board.
Will it take all day? Nope, it could all be over in under 10 minutes (but you can always play again!)
This one is for those Scrabble players out there who love a word game. This updated version of the classic game is snappier as unlike Scrabble no-one has to wait for anyone else to take their turn, as the aim of the game is to make your own crossword as quickly as possible. The best parts of Scrabble: the arguments over which words are made up and the brain work of thinking on the spot have been turned into a fast-paced race to see who can finish their tiles first. There are loads of versions of this game available, including a “party” version with non-letter tiles to mix the game up a bit, and a “my first bananagrams” for younger players. It’s also good for those family members who are particularly competitive, as it’s a game that you can even play on your own to get that practice in.
Does it involve a lot of thinking? Nope, just matching pictures (but there is some strategy to it too)
How many people can play? 2-4 (or more if you play in teams!)
Who can play? Just about anyone! There are no age, language or gender constraints.
Like the idea of Scrabble, but words aren’t your thing? This strategy game looks a bit like Scrabble, but the tiles have pictures on them instead of letters. Aimed at players aged 6 and up, this really is a fun game for all the family, as it’s simple enough for little ones, whilst also offering strategic gameplay for adults. The lack of language constraints and fun stones you earn as you play make it a tactile and visually appealing game, and its tropical theme make it quite different to other games on the market. Different every time you play, you won’t get bored of this engaging game, and it’s over pretty quickly, so you’ll just want to play again and again. Its success on Kickstarter speaks volumes for how popular this game is getting, and its recent release onto the marketplace shows how its quickly becoming a classic.
How complicated is it? Not as complicated as it looks – the base game is pretty simple and you can add expansion packs to build it up
Will it entertain us for a while? At least for half an hour! It’s also a bit trickier than games like Ticket to Ride so you’ll need to play a couple of times to get the idea.
Are there lots of pieces? Quite a few, make sure you have lots of space, as the game can grow and grow and grow.
A tile-based game, Carcassonne is named after a beautiful castle city in the South of France. No one gets left behind as you all work together to build a medieval landscape with cities, farms and roads, deploying your followers to different areas of the map. The tiles are really quite beautiful and detailed, and fit together to create your own little world. A game for 2-5 players, it’s been around since the year 2000 so it’s become quite a classic for big board-game players, but it’s simple and enjoyable enough to be mainstream and the decision-making and tactical moving make it enjoyable to play over and over again.
Will it cause arguments? Nope! This is a cooperative game where you work together rather than against each other.
Is it like any other game? Not really! It’s pretty unique in the market for the moment (but is easy to play!)
Is it good for a Sunday afternoon? Yes! This game takes about an hour to play so you’ll need a good amount of time.
Everyone tries to defend a castle from an (almost) never ending horde of monsters and wins or loses together. The host of mythical creatures brought into this game make it an other-world experience. As the loses are often more fun than the wins, you’ll want to play again and again, not worrying too much about the final result, but more about the team work and strategy that you’ll build together. Although it’s difficult to win and has some very tense moments, once you start playing it all becomes clear and even the younger members of the family can play without too much difficulty. A good introduction to cooperative games, this one is a must for building strong bonds and helping people work together!
Do you have to know about Robin Hood to play? Nope! But the legend of Robin Hood does provide some good context to this simple card game.
Who can play? Anyone over 13 (but over 8 really)
Is it similar to any other game? Yes! It’s basically a fancy version of Cheat (also called Bullshit or I doubt it) but with lots more context and roleplaying opportunities
This game gets players into the mindset of merchants in Nottingham, trying to take their produce into the market. The Sherriff is looking for contraband as players try to smuggle their goods into the city, and you must use all your will and persuasion tactics to convince him to let you in. Easy to learn and entertaining to play, this is a game for all the family, and its set-up roleplay and detailed character sheets make it easy to get into character, with no end to the hilarity. The rule book suggests bumping up the pressure by adding time limits to each go, challenging younger and older family members. Much more than just a board game, this one requires acting skills!
Were any actual cats hurt in the making of this game? No!!
Are there lots of complicated rules? Nope! This is a simple card game, and everything you have to do is written on the cards!
Does it take long? Nope, this is a fast-paced game that could be over in as little as 15 minutes
Best played with 4-5 players, this fun game is a cat-inspired version of Russian roulette (or UNO if you’re feeling less dramatic). You play by drawing cards that you can then play to avoid exploding, or make your opponents explode. It is a super easy game, but by no means does this make it boring! The pressure builds as the game goes on, and not even the hilariously weird cards can take the tension of the game away.
Will this offend everyone? Most probably. If you’re easily offended, don’t play this game.
Is it family friendly? Nope!!
Will we be playing for hours? You could be! You can stop after as many rounds as you like, but chances are you’ll just want to play one more round… and then another… and another.
“The party game for horrible people”, cards against humanity has taken over the world. It is hilarious, and if you’re ready to feel like a terrible person and find out who amongst your friends has the darkest mind, this is the game for you! The premise of the game is super simple, as players take it in turns to read out a sentence on a black card that has a blank space in it. Other players then anonymously put forward one of their white cards to fill in the blank and the player who read out the original sentence chooses the white card they think is the funniest. This game can be played by as many people as you would like, and the more people are in the game, the more options there are to choose from. Full of cultural references and offensive suggestions, this game is very funny. (And once you’ve had enough of the normal cards, extra packs can be bought).
Which game will become your new family favorite? Are you all about the team work? Or does the tension rise in your household when you all get a bit too competitive? Remember, this list is just for starters – if you find yourself sucked into the new world of board games there are hundreds of new ones to try out!