Board gaming 2021: minis are back, baby!

Take a look at Kronomaster Arena. Cute minis, plays like Final Fantasy tactics lite. Eases you in with easy to learn rules and is fun for kids and adults if you’re interested let me know.
Also there is a kids version of Scythe, My Little Scythe which is very cute and still fun.

More abstract but cool and fun is Level99s Bullet
Tetris game with anime girls not overly (or really at all) sexualized.

And that pricetag jumps sharply when you start adding in that stuff, even at their KS pricing. Current gameplay all-in (not counting the base box from stores) is over $500. Not that you need to go all-in by any means.

There’s an iOS version too, I play it on my phone all the time.

Nah, you could just grab an xpac or two that appeals to you. The ones that are all villains are cool because they add new game modes. And backing at any level gets you the massive stretch goal box, which is a ton of variability in new heroes and villains.

Also, Parks is the new Tokaido. Same chill vibe, looks incredible, comes with nice gametrays and you get to learn about the national parks!

Yeah, I’ve been encouraged by several to get that, but my self imposed moratorium on game purchases has stopped that. I hear it is even better.

I think it would be useful to define tactical here, because some of the suggestions seem… off.

Are you wanting tactical on a board? Are you wanting miniatures with templates? Can you give an example of the type of game you are looking for here? That would definitely help.

One thing that jumped to mind that seems about the right weight is the unfortunately long out of print and now expensive Star Wars Epic Duels. Simple boards with some simple terrain, differing figures with differing powers/ decks. A fairly simple, but variable system. It’s absolutely the kind of thing I would reach for for my 7 year old in that mode.

X-wing miniatures is my jam, and also something within reach of my kids ability. That is your traditional type tactical miniatures game. But it is templates and maneuver dials.

Summoner Wars is a simple customizable deck game with a fairly striaghtforward tactical board. Good game, played a bunch on a-synch on ios. But not miniatures.

There is an interesting tactical game that uses Hot Wheels type cars called Gaslands. Haven’t played myself, but I’ve heard good things.

@sharaleo has Mystic Wood a few posts above, and that is another variant on the type of thing that might work.

But give us themes, depth, style you are looking for. It would really help suggestions, and also avoid things like Root which seem to be a very poor fit for what you are looking for.

This was recently relaunched as Unmatched, which Wendelius recommended above. Instead of Star Wars, it’s a variety of public domain characters fighting each other–Robin Hood, Bigfoot, Sinbad, Medusa, etc.

I strongly back @Mike_Cathcart suggestion of Marvel United. It has hit a sweet spot for family time (future step daughters), non-gamer fiance, and super grizzled gamer. It is crazy simple in mechanics, and yet offers solid tactical and resource based puzzles. It moves really fast and pushes cooperation without alpha gaming. It might be one of Eric Lang’s most subtle and elegant designs. Plus, cute Marvel draws the eyes.

Best start is a core set from Target. Then price and options explode. Best add would be to jump into the now ending X-Men KS (less than 24 hrs) to get at least another core plus stretch goal box for lots of bang per buck. The game excels off more since everything can be played together in combination. Unlike other KS games, expansions get opened and played with United.

As @Shieldwolf suggests, Krosmaster Arena is a good one too. That one broke the ice between me and one of the future step daughters so it has a special place in my heart. Start with Krosmaster Jr or a core 2.0 box off Amazon depending on how complex you want to start/ feels right for your daughter.

Between the two, I think Marvel is the better choice. It has opened the door on game and non game experiences; currently both girls have been asking to watch and rewatch Marvel movies together. You can play Marvel United instantly via TTS if you want to try before buy. I did, and I’m glad I did. I’m in super deep now with after market prices, but it’s been an outstanding sweet spot game option. To me, very worth the bridges it’s built along with keeping me engaged as a gamer.

Edit: if you watch reviews of Marvel United, the core box or core only plays tend to be easy and light. There is lots of headroom as you expand. The core box is designed to be the easiest and most accessible entry point. I also think “light” gets misused instead of elegant. It is approachable, yet offers meat. Again, highly rececammed, especially given your specific situation.

Oh nice. I had seen it around, but don’t think I realized it was the same basic system.

That would probably be a great idea then. And Restoration Games, aka Rob Daviau, aka the original designer for Epic Duels.

Sold.

I think light is appropriate. It’s a strong design, with few moving parts. You can, I think, have a lot more moving parts and still be elegant, but have a game that I think would better justify the price and space considerations MU does. (Or you could have light and elegant like MU, but a much tighter and less expensive package. The combination meant I’m going to skip it despite having enjoyed trying it on TTS.)

And some licensed characters, like Buffy. Just not Star Wars, so far.

Sure, I’ll expound a bit, but thanks for all these suggestions! I’ll need to YouTube some reviews for some of these, but I’ve already dropped Santorini in my Amazon cart, seems like slam dunk for playing with the kids.

When I mean tactical, I suppose I’m relating to movement and positioning and using abilities that compliment, compound, and ideally, involve attrition and sacrifice. I feel like a lot of the games my wife has picked up involve clever permutations of weighing the odds and accruing points by managing timing and risk, but they don’t have that managing of units and applying them dynamic that I like. Even something like King of Tokyo, which we do all like, which has fun character cutouts and a ‘map’, is about health points and abilities and timing and risk, not positioning and overlapping and reinforcement etc.

Xwing, sure, that would be ok if it wasn’t Star Wars and laser fighting, but literally transplant it into a hot air balloon game where you’re tossing sandbags into your opponents baskets to make you go up and them down to win would be great!

In a way, I’m thinking of Chess, on a modular 3D terrain map, and rather than simple annihilation, objectives for your pieces to achieve, with a cutesy skin over the top of it. Myth TFL Territories, with bunnies rather than zombies. A lot of tactical games I know of are made to make you buy endless expansions and minis, can be sprawling, and are mature in theme…(Batteltech, Xwing, warhammer etc.) all things I don’t want.

I don’t really think dungeon crawlers or exploration games do it, I think my daughter would enjoy the narrative for a while but to entice the wife to play with us it needs to be tight, have obvious win conditions, not a winding grind through rooms, as too often it’s just a slog to see if you’re character lives or dies early. We do like Labyrinth, though!

I’ll look into a lot of these suggestions. My Little Scythe is intriguing, thematically spot on, not sure if it ticks all my boxes but in the end, any good game will do!

I’m impressed. I don’t think many children go for this.

Yes, kidding.

Games my wife has brought to her job as a teacher are Survive, Carcasonne and Splendor. Those have gone over well.

Command and Colours Ancients? A bit of an out there suggestion but I would have thought an 8 year old could pick it up…

I feel this might be why I’m having difficulty finding a modern game that suits my brief, most tactical games are in the historical/scifi/fantasy battle-to-the-death category, where there are multitudes of them (and if it wasn’t for the kids and wife, I’d still be all in there). It seems hard to find that style of gameplay with a more frivolous thematic wrapper, or that use those mechanics for objectives other than direct confrontation.

(I don’t think there’s anything wrong with introducing my daughter to historical battles, she does have a mild curiosity for the subject, just not sure it’s the right investment in time and effort right now.)

How have we ended up recommending Gaslands and Command and Colors in this thread and rejecting ROOT?? It seems made to order.

(Santorini and Unmatched being other good suggestions.)

I didn’t recommend those 2 (I think they aren’t ideal given the whimsy, approachable theme constraints). That’s why the tactical games I recommended had more to do with dealing with minis / tokens on a map for various game mechanics which are kid friendly.

But I’m also one of the people who think Root is wrong for an 8 year old. Although it very much depends on their patience, I guess. How many 8 year olds do you know who would want to be sitting through the rules for 2 or 3 asymmetric faction powers and victory conditions on top of the main game rules? None of my 4 kids would have at that age. And they have all been boardgamers since around that age or younger. That’s very much a question for the parent, I guess. Maybe Root would be good. I would not start my tactical journey with my kid using that one though.

Krosmaster Arena, I heard, is supposed to be a good tactical battle game. I never came around to buy it, but behind the funny chibi figures is a solid game (so I heard in reviews).

My 9 y/o son had no problem with Root and did first-order tactics (how do I use my abilities to gain advantage, and how do I stymie my opponent) right away. (Second order is: how do I anticipate my opponent’s actions and counter them, which I find is where kids lose the plot.) Our problem was we could never get my daughter to play and 2-player Root is weak, even with AI opponents.