So you have started playing modern board games and I am sure like the rest of the general population, you would have grown up like most of us with the same 4 – 5 common games.
You probably would have found yourself playing games like Monopoly or Scrabble as a kid and thought that was about all board games had to offer. Well, this post is here to surprise you with 30 new Board Games you should try.
I still remember my mother bringing home Jumanji the board game one day and thinking it was the greatest thing ever not because it was good but because it was different from everything else I had seen and that was exciting the idea that people could make board games that didn’t involve spelling or property management.
Sure Jumanji in hindsight is not a great game but it awakened a longing for a really great board game, maybe I sometimes enjoyed playing the staples like Uno’s Monopoly and Clue (but not scrabble I always hated scrabble) but you can only play these games so many times until you find yourself thinking I like board games but only if its the right situation they are all a bit the same.
Then it happened one day in high school over ten years ago I walked into the newly formed board game club and played Settlers of Catan and the rest is history. After that day I have spent years searching for amazing board games and with over 500 board games played over the years here are the top 30 games I wish I had known about when I first started the board game hobby journey.
Disclaimer: This list is not my top 30 games ill do that another time but games that set up the understanding of core mechanics and are really great to play with friends due to simple rules and quick playtimes.
I have also attached affiliate links to my favourite board game retailer mighty ape for my Australian friends these guys have cheap shipping ($5) and a great selection of games at cheap prices as you will struggle to find most of these games at your local shop in Australia.
1.Ticket to Ride
Ticket to Ride is one of those games that you would be hard-pressed to find an article on this topic and not see this game included. I would even go as far to say if you see a post like this and Ticket to Ride is missing run away the author has no idea what they are talking about.
This classic has been one of the catalysts in the modern board game movement with the simple premises of collecting train cards to place trains on the board to complete what is called a route, doing this earns you victory points player with the high score wins.
Sounds simple but with all the opportunities to unknowingly sabotage your opponents by blocking tracks every time a player places trains on the board this game has you sitting on the edge of your seat hoping you can complete your routes before the game ends.
If you want a cheap taste there is an app for your mobile device that gives you a good feel for the game, but let’s be honest nothing beats the real thing.
When you think of board games is the first thing that comes to your mind adorable panda? Well Probably not, but it should be Takenoko is a great game for getting your friends and family to play just on the cute factor alone but this simple tile-laying bamboo eating game will have them hooked in no time.
Takenoko puts players in the role of architects of the emperors garden and they earn points by designing it the way the emperor has requested, growing bamboo with the help of the Gardner or by feeding the emperors hungry pet panda this game will have you glued to the board and frustrated as your wife steals all your bamboo but loving every second of it.
3. Sushi Go
Most people in a list like this would include the game 7 Wonders and tho this is a fantastic game that I absolutely love Sushi Go really is the beginner’s version of the game. The Premise behind these types of games is they are pick & pass or card drafting games. Players choose a card from there hand then pass the remaining cards to the person on there right until all the cards have been selected, players are then scored on the sets they have with some cards being saved for the end of the game scoring. This is then done multiple times and the scores and endgame cards are tallied to determine the winner.
The game is fast and very fun with the cute sushi them just an added bonus its a fantastic game to get you and your friends hooked on the card drafting mechanic.
Istanbul dice is a simplified version of its father Istanbul but it feels completely different you’ll need to use dice rolls to acquire the coveted rubies faster than your competitors!
Fortunately, you’re not alone: your assistants (dice) will collect goods and money for you. Use your income wisely to invest in improved abilities or save for purchasing rubies! With a little bit of luck and the right strategy, you’ll be victorious and become the Master of the Trade Guild in this dice-themed addition of a great worker placement game that stands on its own enough to make this list.
Hands-down my favourite and is my most played board game in my collection and a must for anybody starting there board game collection.
In Istanbul, you lead a group of one merchant and four assistants through 16 locations in the bazaar. At each such location, you can carry out a specific action. The challenge, though, is that to take an action, you must move your merchant and an assistant there, then leave the assistant behind (to handle all the details while you focus on larger matters). If you want to use that assistant again later, your merchant must return to that location to pick him up. Thus, you must plan ahead carefully to avoid being left with no assistants and thus unable to do anything…
In more detail, on a turn you move your merchant and his retinue of assistants one or two steps through the bazaar, either leave an assistant at that location or collect an assistant left earlier, then perform the action. If you meet other merchants or certain individuals at the location, you might be able to take a small extra action. Possible actions include:
- Paying to increase your wheelbarrow capacity, which starts the game with a capacity of only two for each good.
- Filling your wheelbarrow with a specified good to its limit.
- Acquiring a special ability, and the earlier you come, the easier they are to collect.
- Buying rubies or trading goods for rubies.
- Selling special combinations of goods to make the money you need to do everything else.
When a merchant has collected five rubies in his wheelbarrow, players complete that round, then the game ends. If this player is the only one who’s reached this goal, he wins immediately; otherwise, ties are broken by money in hand.
Designed by Bruno Cathala, Five Tribes builds on a long tradition of German-style games that feature wooden meeples. Here, in a unique twist on the now-standard “worker placement” genre, the game begins with the meeples already in place – and players must cleverly maneuver them over the villages, markets, oases, and sacred places tiles that make up Naqala. How, when, and where you dis-place these Five Tribes of Assassins, Elders, Builders, Merchants, and Viziers determine your victory or failure.
As befitting a Days of Wonder game, the rules are straightforward and easy to learn. But devising a winning strategy will take a more calculated approach than our standard fare. You need to carefully consider what moves can score you well and put your opponents at a disadvantage. You need to weigh many different pathways to victory, including the summoning of powerful Djinns that may help your cause as you attempt to control this legendary Sultanate.
7.Roll for It
Roll For It! is everything you want in a game. It’s fun, it’s easy, and it’s fast!
The rules are simple. Roll your dice, match a card, and score some points! Be careful, though other players may challenge you for the card you’re after. The first player to collect 40 points wins! Roll For It! is the perfect travel game.
Play up to four people with either the red or purple box, or combine the two to entertain up to eight players.
8.Sheriff of Nottingham
In Sheriff of Nottingham, players will not only be able to experience Nottingham as a merchant of the city, but each turn one player will step into the shoes of the Sheriff himself. Players declare goods they wish to bring into the city, goods that are secretly stored in their burlap sack. The Sheriff must then determine who gets into the city with their goods, who gets inspected, and who may have their goods confiscated!
Do you have what it takes to be seen as an honest merchant? Will you make a deal with the Sheriff to let you in? Or will you persuade the Sheriff to target another player while you quietly slip by the gate? Declare your goods, negotiate deals, and be on the lookout for the Sheriff of Nottingham!
9.Men at Work
Men At Work is a stacking and balancing game in which players compete as workers on a job site who are carefully constructing a tower to avoid accidents and, maybe, earn Employee of the Month. The game includes three gaming modules to add loads of replayability, as well as wooden components housed within a well-designed insert for easy setup
The town of Scoville likes it hot! Very hot! That means they love their peppers – but they’re too busy eating them to grow the peppers themselves. That’s where you come in.
You’ve been hired by the town of Scoville to meet their need for heat. Your role as an employee of Scoville is to crossbreed peppers to create the hottest new breeds. You’ll have to manage the auctioning, planting, and harvesting of peppers, then you’ll be able to help the town by fulfilling their orders and creating new pepper breeds. Help make the town of Scoville a booming success! Let’s get planting!
11.Bang the Dice Game
Bang! The Dice Game keeps the core of the Bang! card game in place. At the start of the game, players each take a role card that secretly places them on a team: the Sheriff and deputies, outlaws, and renegades. The Sheriff and deputies need to kill the outlaws, the outlaws win by killing the Sheriff, and the renegades want to be the last players alive in the game.
Captain Sonar is an innovative real-time game that challenges two teams to take their submarines head-to-head in a thrilling battle. Your ultimate goal is to find and destroy your opponent’s submarine, but this task is far more difficult than it may first appear. Your entire crew must work together to chart a course, charge systems, locate the enemy, and keep your own submarine fully operational. Communication and teamwork can lead you to victory, but if you fail to cooperate, you’ll be sunk to the bottom of the ocean!
In Railroad Ink, players roll the Route dice and must then draw the subsequent results on their individual Route boards. Players score points for having long interconnected Routes, as well as connecting the entry points to their board, plus having Routes through the centre of their boards. But beware, they’ll lose points for leaving unfinished lines. It’s a challenge to keep their roads and rails from getting destroyed, and having to repair them when they are. Or, players can combine the two for epic, 12-player games!
14.King of Tokyo
King of Tokyo is every 8-year-old boy’s dream board game the premise is really simple players play a giant monster that destroys everything in its path as they try to be the last monster standing and the “King of Tokyo”
Player roll dice that allow them to attack, heal, score points of collect energy to purchase bonus cards to give there monsters new abilities. They also try to control Tokyo city to gain extra points but there is a catch to Tokyo players cant recover health so staying too long might result in there monster being defeated and their elimination from the game.
The First player with 20 victory points wins the game. or the last player standing.
One player is the storyteller for the turn and looks at the images on the 6 cards in her hand. From one of these, she makes up a sentence and says it out loud (without showing the card to the other players).
Each other player selects the card in their hands which best matches the sentence and gives the selected card to the storyteller, without showing it to the others.
The storyteller shuffles her card with all the received cards. All pictures are shown face up and every player has to bet upon which picture was the storytellers.
If nobody or everybody finds the correct card, the storyteller scores 0, and each of the other players scores 2. Otherwise the storyteller and whoever found the correct answer score 3. Players score 1 point for every vote for their own card.
The game ends when the deck is empty or if a player scores 30 points. In either case, the player with the most points wins the game.
Coup is a game of bluff and deception set in The Resistance universe for 2–6 players with a 15-minute playtime.
Each player starts the game with two coins and two influence ( i.e., two face-down character cards); the fifteen card deck consists of three copies of five different characters, each with a unique set of powers In Coup, you want to be the last player with influence in the game, with influence being represented by face-down character cards in your playing area. You need to manipulate, bluff and bribe your way to power. Your object is to destroy the influence of all the other families, forcing them into exile. Only one family will survive…
The Resistance is a very intense social deduction game for 5–10 players. While it shares similarities with games like Werewolf, Mafia and even Battlestar Galactica it has many very unique features such as a quick 30-minute playtime, no moderator required and no player elimination.
Set in the near future, The Resistance pits a small group of resistance fighters against a powerful and corrupt government. The resistance has launched a series of bold and daring missions to bring the government to its knees. Unfortunately, spies have infiltrated the resistance ranks, ready to sabotage the carefully crafted plans. Even a single spy can take down a resistance mission team, choose your teams carefully or forever lose your chance for freedom.
In Pandemic, several virulent diseases have broken out simultaneously all over the world! The players are disease-fighting specialists whose mission is to treat disease hotspots while researching cures for each of four plagues before they get out of hand.
The game board depicts several major population centres on Earth. On each turn, a player can use up to four actions to travel between cities, treat infected populaces, discover a cure, or build a research station. A deck of cards provides the players with these abilities, but sprinkled throughout this deck are Epidemic! cards that accelerate and intensify the diseases’ activity. A second, separate deck of cards controls the “normal” spread of the infections.
Taking a unique role within the team, players must plan their strategy to mesh with their specialists’ strengths in order to conquer the diseases. For example, the Operations Expert can build research stations which are needed to find cures for the diseases and which allow for greater mobility between cities; the Scientist needs only four cards of a particular disease to cure it instead of the normal five—but the diseases are spreading quickly and time is running out. If one or more diseases spreads beyond recovery or if too much time elapses, the players all lose. If they cure the four diseases, they all win!
19.Dead of Winter
Dead of Winter is a meta-cooperative psychological survival game. This means players are working together toward one common victory condition – but for each individual player to achieve victory, he must also complete his personal secret objective. This secret objective could relate to a psychological tick that’s fairly harmless to most others in the colony, a dangerous obsession that could put the main objective at risk, a desire for sabotage of the main mission, or (worst of all) vengeance against the colony! Certain games could end with all players winning, some winning and some losing, or all players losing. Work toward the group’s goal, but don’t get walked all over by a loudmouth who’s looking out only for his own interests!
Dead of Winter is an experience that can be accomplished only through the medium of tabletop games. It’s a story-centric game about surviving through a harsh winter in an apocalyptic world. The survivors are all dealing with their own psychological imperatives, but must still find a way to work together to fight off outside threats, resolve crises, find food and supplies, and keep the colony’s morale up.
Dead of Winter has players making frequent, difficult, heavily- thematic, wildly-varying decisions that often have them deciding between what is best for the colony and what is best for themselves.
The times were hard indeed. Our ancestors worked with their legs and backs straining against wooden ploughs in the stony earth. Of course, progress did not stop with the wooden plough. People always searched for better tools and more productive plants to make their work more effective.
In Stone Age, the players live in this time, just as our ancestors did. They collect wood, break stone and wash their gold from the river. They trade freely, expand their village, and so achieve new levels of civilization. With a balance of luck and planning, the players compete for food in this pre-historic time.
Risk and grow as your ancestors did. Only then the victory ring sings to you!
At the beginning of the game, three camel cards and two merchandise cards are on the table between the players, who already have five cards in hand. On your turn, you can take some cards or sell some. Each time that you take cards, you can take one or more, however, if you decide to take more, then you will have to trade in the same amount of cards from your hand that you take. If you decide to take all camel cards, then they can be used later to trade. You can sell all the merchandise that you want, as long as they are all the same type. For each sale, you will receive tokens with various point values. At the end of the game, the player who has the majority of the camels also wins points.
At the end of each round, the richest merchant will receive a Seal of Excellence. The first player who receives two of the seals wins the game.
Catan Board Game (5th edition) – Winner of “Game of the Century” award!
Picture yourself in the era of discoveries: after a long voyage of great deprivation, your ships have finally reached the coast of an uncharted island. Its name shall be Catan! But you are not the only discoverer. Other fearless seafarers have also landed on the shores of Catan: the race to settle the island has begun!
Catan (aka The Settlers of Catan) has been awarded “Game of the Year,” “Hall of Fame,” and even “Game of the Century” honours in Germany, the United States, and a host of other countries worldwide. An international favourite, it’s been called the “Perfect Social Game.”
The women and men of your expedition build the first two settlements. Fortunately, the land is rich in natural resources. You build roads and new settlements that eventually become cities. Will you succeed in gaining supremacy on Catan? Barter trade dominates the scene. Some resources you have in abundance, other resources are scarce. Ore for wool, brick for lumber – you trade according to what is needed for your current building projects. Proceed strategically! If you found your settlements in the right places and cleverly trade your resources, then the odds will be in your favour. But your opponents are smart too…
In Carcassonne, players build the area surrounding this impressive city, one tile at a time. They then place a follower on fields, cities, roads or monasteries in order to score as many points as possible. These followers will become knights, monks, farmers and thieves, depending on where they are placed. No matter their function, the player who will most cleverly use their followers will win the game.
24.Tiny Epic Galaxy
A thirty-minute game of galactic conquest, Tiny Epic Galaxies is driven by an exciting dice-rolling mechanism that rewards thoughtful programming of the results. Players control a home galaxy and a fleet of space ships. As players upgrade their galaxies, they gain access to more ships and more dice.
Each turn, a player rolls a set of dice; how many dice are rolled is determined by the level of that player’s galaxy. Each side of the six-sided die represents a different type of action: Movement, Colony Action, Harvest from Culture Planets, Harvest from Energy Planets, Improve an Economic Influence and Improve a Diplomatic Influence.
After the roll, the player sorts the results of the roll (one selective re-roll is allowed) and organizes the dice in a desired activation order. Each die, in order, is then resolved and the results are immediate, which allows the player to pull-off unseen combos and surprise other players. Other players have the option to copy other player’s actions…at a cost!
As players expand their galaxy by colonizing other planets through economic and diplomatic influence, they gain victory points AND the special powers brought in by those planets! In addition to galaxy upgrades, effective resource management provides luck-mitigating options that can sway the game in a calculated player’s favour.
Whoever achieves the most points from acquiring planets and upgrading their personal galaxy wins!
Splendor is a game that will appeal to all ages. This simple card drafting deck builder puts players in the role of a wealthy Renaissance merchant, acquire mines and transportation, hire artisans and woo the nobility in your quest to create the most fantastic jewellery to become the best-known merchant of them all!
Players can acquire precious stones to trade them for development cards. Use development cards to acquire more gemstones. Use your gems and gold to create the most fantastic jewellery, and appeal to the nobles to gain the prestige you need to win.
This game is simple to learn but difficult to master you will spend ages playing it over and over again and after a few years, we are not sick of it yet in our household so we will update this post when we are.
But I doubt that will happen.
Santorini is a highly accessible pure strategy game that is simple enough for an elementary school classroom. But with enough gameplay depth and content for even hardcore gamers to explore, Santorini is truly a game for everyone. The rules are deceptively simple.
Each turn consists of 2 steps:
- 1. Move – move one of your builders into a neighbouring space. You may move your Builder Pawn on the same level, step-up one level, or step down any number of levels.
- 2. Build – Then construct a building level adjacent to the builder you moved. When building on top of the third level, place a dome instead, removing that space from play.
Winning the game – If either of your builders reaches the third level, you win.
What makes Santorini truly special is its seamless integration of variable player powers into a pure-strategy game. Dr Hamilton has designed over 40 thematic god and hero powers, each fundamentally changing the way the game is played.
In Codenames, two teams compete to see who can make contact with all of their agents first. Spymasters give one-word clues that can point to multiple words on the board. Their teammates try to guess words of the right colour while avoiding those that belong to the opposing team. And everyone wants to avoid the assassin.
Find your spies before the other team to win the game. This is an easy to play family favourite with a new theme being announced what feels like weekly so there really is an option for everybody.
In Celestia a revamped version of Cloud 9, you board an aircraft with a team of adventurers to perform many trips through the cities of Celestia and recover their wonderful treasures. Your journey will not be safe but you will attempt to be the richest adventurer by collecting the most precious treasures!
During the journey, each adventurer can try to pull out of the game with fabulous objects (a jetpack, astronomy glasses, etc). or by changing the trip (modifying the travel or abandoning an explorer in the city). As soon as a player earns treasure worth at least fifty points, the game ends and this player wins.
Love Letter is a game of risk, deduction, and luck for 2–4 players. Your goal is to get your love letter into Princess Annette’s hands while deflecting the letters from competing suitors.
From a deck with only sixteen cards, each player starts with only one card in hand; one card is removed from play. On a turn, you draw one card, and play one card, trying to expose others and knock them from the game. Powerful cards lead to early gains but make you a target. Rely on weaker cards for too long, however, and your letter may be tossed in the fire!
Spyfall is a party game unlike any other, one in which you get to be a spy and try to understand what’s going on around you. It’s really simple!
Spyfall is played over several rounds, and at the start of each round, all players receive cards showing the same location — a casino, a travelling circus, a pirate ship, or even a space station — except that one player receives a card that says “Spy” instead of the location. Players then start asking each other questions — “Why are you dressed so strangely?” or “When was the last time we got a payday?” or anything else you can come up with — trying to guess who among them is the spy. The spy doesn’t know where he is, so he has to listen carefully. When it’s his time to answer, he’d better create a good story!
At any time during a round, one player may accuse another of being a spy. If all other players agree with the accusation, the round ends and the accused player has to reveal his identity. If the spy is uncovered, all other players score points. However, the spy can himself end a round by announcing that he understands what the secret location is; if his guess is correct, only the spy scores points.
After a few rounds of guessing, suspicion and bluffing, the game ends and whoever has scored the most points is victorious!
Yes I know I said 30 but I needed to add one more
31.Ca$h and Gun$
A band of hardened criminals heads back to the warehouse to split the take – but everyone disagrees on just how to split the loot. Tempers flare and bullets fly as everyone fights for their piece of the pie. Draw your weapon or hit the floor, because only the gutsiest crooks are leaving here with the money!
That is unless they leave in a bag…
Ca$h’n Gun$ relives the best scenes from gangster movies and crime stories, where each player will use his foam gun to threaten the others and claim his share of the cash. Bluff your opponents into dropping their guns and taking cover, but remember that sometimes, it’s better to exercise the better part of valour and live to fight another day! After all, you can’t claim the money if you’re dead.
Ca$h’n Gun$ is the wacky game of bluffing and gunplay for four to six players. With hilarious art, stacks of fake banknotes and life-size foam pistols, Ca$h’N Gun$ will have you waving guns and laughing hysterically as you make your play for your cut of the take.
Did I miss any games?
let me know in the comments below if you think I have missed any games that really should be on this list and why thanks for reading and make sure you share this with a friend if you liked it.