Board (bored?) game suggestions, please

My family and I are looking for fun board games to play. Most of us are 14 or older, so that should dictate your suggestions. Also, DVD games are fine, or anything using the TV really. So, what games do you play, or have played and enjoyed? Thanks!

There’s a fellow at GamerDad that has reviewed many of them in the last couple years.


Well, it depends how dorky the family is. I really enjoy the Lord of the Rings game that makes everyone play as a team against Sauron.

Scrabble is another favorite of mine and my wife’s, not flashy but we still have a good time.

Best board games my friends and I play, in increasing order of complexity:

Ticket To Ride
Settlers of Catan
Pirates Cove

Couple of great card games for 5-7 people:


Check Funagain Games for info!

You haven’t said how many players you’re likely to have, but I really like Shadows Over Camelot for five or more. I played Betrayal at House on the Hill a couple of times last weekend and I generally liked it, but I think it probably needs four or more players. Both of these are mostly cooperative.

I also really like the card game Once Upon a Time, but a lot of people just don’t get it.

My family and I play games all the time. I have all girls - 7 to 10 and my wife. We usually have 3-4 players. We center in on several board games, all can be played in about 90 minutes:

Settlers of Catan! If you don’t have it - get it now! It has arguably brought board games back in a big way. Wonderful for all ages (my 7 year old can play) and even for old salts like me. I’ve played it dozens of times and still look forward to a game.

Another sure winner is Carcassonne. This one is even simpler to learn, but has a really wonderful strategy. It also has several expansions to increase complexity if that’s what you want. Don’t be put off by the simplicity. It’s really deep in strategy and a good player will usually win.

Ticket to Ride is good on many levels. It has a fun, colorful theme, very easy to learn (about 3-5 min), and has enough strategy so a good player can still usually win, but a lucky player can too.

Lately we’ve moved up to Puerto Rico - a gamer’s game to be sure. The game is a little more difficult to learn than the above, but is what I would consider to be the best board game ever made. Ever. No kidding. And I’ve been playing board games for over 30 years now. I have no idea how to win at this game, yet it keeps pulling me back in. I can’t say enough about it. My only warning would be if your family hasn’t played board games in awhile (or ever), work up to it through the above three.

As an aside, I ditto Shadows Over Camelot if you want a game with a fantasy theme. It’s rather a team-solitaire game if that makes any sense at all. You all play against the board (well, all but one of you). My wife loves it (I couldn’t believe it), but once you “beat” the game, it loses its flavor.

One of the best two player games I’ve ever played is Memoir 44. Yeah, it’s a war game - but man, what wonderful game mechanics! I usually play with my oldest daughter (the game bits are fantastic as are all games from Days of Wonder). It’s like Axis and Allies in the small. You can also handicap the game to help out a weaker player. Great filler when you and another want to play (and if your house is like mine, that happens on a rainy day or two). Some games go as quick as 30 minutes.

Last bit of advice: go visit to read reviews and session reports on all of the above.

My all time favorite is Struggle of Empires, without a doubt the most elegant boardgame Ive played to date. Some of my group’s other favorites:

Twilight Imperium - Epic 4x space game along the same lines as Master of Orion, borrows a ton of mechanics from other games.

La Citta - Good city builder with some area impulse elements.

Wallenstein - My favorite area control game (yes, i like it more then El Grande)

Ra - Favorite pure bidding game

Traders of Genoa - Favorite heavy Euro, like it better then Puerto Rico even.

And of course, the games you can never go wrong with:

Puerto Rico - Widely considered one of the best.

Settlers of Catan - Fun little simple game, good with expansions also.

I support this choice.

There’s really too many choices to list, and so much depends on your own tastes. One place to start is Boardgame Geek’s Top 10.

I also suggest browsing through, as their prices are 35% off retail and their product pages have direct links to games’ websites and entries.

If you’re looking for safe first purchases, I suggest Settlers or Puerto Rico, both good games with broad appeal playable in an hour and a half or so.

Avalon Hill’s “History of the World”… it’s the only world history game I’ve ever seen that actually ends up playing out like the real thing. Plus, it’s got a fantastic balancing mechanism to prevent a runaway victory.

I second Shadows over Camelot and House on the Hill. If you want a fun screw your friends game and family I recommend. Citadels, Titan arena and Fists of Dragonstones.

I’ve been playing pretty much the entire Days of Wonder lineup lately – Ticket to Ride, Pirate’s Cove, Shadows Over Camelot, Mystery of the Abbey, Memoir 44, etc. – and loving them all. DoW games seem to be great at walking the line between strategy and luck, and complexity that doesn’t insult serious gamers while still letting newbies enjoy them. Meaning you can get non-hardcore gamers like my wife into them.

BTW, Ticket to Ride is also online. You get an online code with every DoW game purchased, but can try the game out without buying anything by joining games. It’s just a java ap, so you can get into a game in moments. Incredibly addictive, brilliant game design, especially the European version of the game, IMO. I’ve been crazy hooked on playing TTR online for weeks now.

DoW is also coming up with a full PC game version that’s supposed to be shipping this month.

St. Petersburg but i dont know if its already out in english. Its real one of the best Board - card game mix today.

Nowadays it seems that most board games are coming from our good old germany 8)

Yes, St. Petersburg is out in English now, and I agree that it’s a good game.And I really like Ticket to Ride:Europe; it seems “just random enough” and it moves along quickly.

Some of the choices above I don’t see as ‘family friendly’, but there are some fantastic choices mentioned above that I will reiterate:

Ticket to Ride - There is a Ticket to Ride Europe which is slightly more complex, so I’d stick with the original. Plays well for 2-5.

Settlers of Catan - Not much to say beyond the fact that it is a classic for 3-4 players. The expansion allows up to 6, but I’d stick with 4.

Pirate’s Cove - A fun pirate themed game full of simplistic ship battles and 2nd guessing. Beautiful components to the game in the US version (I have the original German version).

Shadows over Camelot - My favorite cooperative game out there. The threat of a traitor in each game adds tension and this is one of the few games that plays perfectly for 7 (but works from 4 and up).

Puerto Rico - A little more complex, but very much a classic and well worth owning. Plays differently but equally well for 3-5.

Some other great titles that can be easily found would be Cluzzle (a party game where you make clay sculptures that you want your opponents to guess, but not too quickly), St. Petersburg, Carcassonne (not my favorite, but is a classic), and Bohnanza.

Consensus seems to beShadows over Camelot when you’re just looking for a fun filled evening, Puerto Rico when you want a substantial strategy game. I agree with both of those choices.

I dunno… I play Heroscape with my 6 year old son and we both have a really good time. I think it’s pretty rare to have a game that can appeal to such a wide age range.

The Star Wars version of Risk is also pretty good… the mechanic of Palpatine becoming Sidious really adds some time pressure to the game and makes it much more enjoyable for both sides, I think.

Ok, thanks for all the great suggestions!

I do love Memoir 44, but I must say, most of the included scenarios are wickedly lopsided. A good reason to create your own.

Munchkin is awesome. Nuff said!

Diplomacy has always been one of my favorites.

Go is probably my favorite game of any sort. Period.

Killer Bunnies is fun, different, and somewhat tough to learn, though really it’s a simple game with unique play.

Pirates of the Spanish Main is a terrific collectible constructible card game. Watch out you don’t spend all yer money on it!

Blokus is a fabulous Tetris-esque game. The travel version is playable by 2 instead of 4, so it’s a better choice for small groups. Deep strategy, simple gameplay, like Go.

Betrayal at House on the Hill: It’s got like a billion page errata, but it’s a really fun game.