I envy those of you who have seven other people who want to play boardgames with you. It’s a struggle to find enough people to fill up a 4 player game often for me.
I’d say beginner to medium complexity. I’ll check out Azul and Wingspan. Thanks!
edit: Those look really promising. Wingspan may be more complex than we can handle, but I may go for it anyway based on how awesome it looks. They’d love it.
I will second Azul.
If you’re looking for simple and clean but not to be mistake for easy or borish, Azul is actually a pretty good one.
I’ve heard great things about Takenoko … but I’ve never had a chance to play it.
Potion Explosion is another fun one not too hard, fun mechanics. My friend introduced Kingdom-domino as a fun entry game to her family although her kids are not 16. I think it does fine with various ages, but you never know with those later teens. It’s also a compact easy game to take with you if you get the not tower version.
Oh I just thought of the other one that was on the tip of my tongue, Caracassone can be a blast and you can expand it if it catches on or get one of the other themed ones for a change later.
I envy them unless those seven other people all insist on playing one game of 8 players, in which case that would be a total nightmare. I am not sure there’s a single game I like that comfortably accomodates that many players. Two groups of four, please!
Just got done playing my first proper session of Tainted Grail: The Fall of Avalon and came away psyched. Unlike a lot of games, especially from Kickstarters, the rules are mostly pretty straightforward and I only had a couple of unanswered questions (and the answers to those seemed reasonably intuitive, although I guess we could be wrong). We honestly barely found ourselves needing to reference them. Gameplay was primarily a mix of storybook exploration and surprisingly nuanced and challenging tactical cardplay with an impressive range of thematic design.
For example, when hunting a Glade Hare was encountered. It required very little to defeat…but it was an Opportunist, which meant it would get its Opportunity Attack unless two cards were played each turn (as opposed to it only going off if none at all were played). That attack? Run Away. So, you gotta play two cards a turn just to keep in the chase. And it has only two keys to connect to on its card. And only one of those will have any effect. So you probably won’t be able to advance the encounter on your first card. But your second card will most likely be removed by the Hare’s attack phase, and it costs you Energy (to chase it) if you get it close to defeat without actually finishing it off. It’s really quite remarkable how it reflects chasing an agile, scared lapine. (The reward? Food, of course.)
And the storybook encounters were creepy and well-written. Lots of neat details, including character specific options and nearly every location having special divergences for having had other encounters, statuses, etc. Very much looking forward to playing again.
Thanks, Nesrie! Those all look really promising as well.
My all-time favorite Christmas morning was when Santa left the James Bond role-playing game unwrapped under the tree. So now I’m picturing a whole bunch of these gorgeous, fun-promising boxes unwrapped under our tree. Alongside the wrapped presents, that could make for some significant Christmas morning visual wow-factor…
I have always loved complicated games. HeroQuest was an all time favorite of small me, and when it was stolen, I wound up getting another copy. I wanted to tell you to try Zombicide or Dead of Winter or one of those heavy themed games, but the other part of me knows I am drawn to these kinds of games, but I know what it looks like when something bounces off someone so for now… I recommend cleaner games until that excitement sparks.
I still AD&D, Shatterzone, Earthdawn… just a ton of RPG games occupying the shelves not taken up by board games. I would be so into RPGs again if it didn’t take so much dang work to run. One of my all time favorites was TMNT which was my sisters game but just rolling characters for that one was a blast.
Pathfinder Card Games and Gloomhaven are as close to RPG without the RPG I’ve found so far (Zombicide isn’t quite there but still fun), but Gloomhaven is finicky and huge commitment, two of my players don’t like Pathfinder.
I’ll back @Nesrie on Carcassonne, especially the big box packs.
King of Tokyo is a constant favorite, but may be a bit direct conflict for you. Tsuro is a real simple and beautiful game. Honestly Ticket to Ride is a long time best seller for a reason, it is a good gateway game.
Disney Codenames might be one worth a look as you said they are big Pixar fans.
And Love Letter, that is an easy get. Simple, elegant, and a number of themed versions they may like as well.
Thanks, CraigM! I’ll add those to the research pile.
I’ll throw Kingdomino and Gizmos on the pile. Kingdomino is simple and elegant and plays quickly and smoothly. Gizmos is a cool engine builder with a cardboard container full of marbles you get to play with. If you’re looking for something slightly more complex, My Little Scythe seems like it’s pretty cool. MLS is a retheming of the complex area-control/engine builder steampunk game Scythe done by a dude and his young daughter. It was originally a My Little Pony retheme (hence the name), but was transitioned to something more generic for commercial release.
Holy crap, that sounds kind of awesome. I wonder if my daughter would go for it?
Those are super fun ages and there are a LOT of really excellent options for them! I am 100% behind Takenoko; that game is beautiful and fun, easy to teach, but requires some strategy and critical thinking/planning ahead. Anyone can play it, but it takes some work to master. Very accessible to a wide variety of age groups. It’s also not aggressively competitive - yes, they’re working to get the most points, but the objectives are hidden and it’s not like they will have to directly attack each other or ‘screw’ one another over in trying to win.
I agree with @Sharpe on Azul. Wingspan is also great, but it’s got a LOT of elements and is a little complex to get started with, so I’d only choose that one if you’re willing to sit down with them and help them get going.
I also recommend Forbidden Island. It’s a co-operative game for up to 4 people where you’re all trying to escape a sinking island together. Amazon currently has it on sale for $9.99, too, so it’s an inexpensive buy. It requires teamwork and communication and it’s great for all ages at the table.
The 5-Minute Dungeon or 5-Minute Marvel games are also a great choice. Communication, fast-paced action, and teamwork are important in these games, as you’re all working together to take down a boss in less than 5 minutes by playing the correct cards as a team. It’s very exciting and easy to pick up, great for adults and kids alike.
I also would like to suggest Sushi Go Party or Sushi Roll - these are cute, fun, fast, and easy. Great for families! The first one plays up to 8, the second plays up to 5. The art is fun and sounds like it would probably appeal to your kids. Really, anything by Gamewright tends to be a safe bet for great family engagement.
Also, anything by Calliope Games (specifically any iterations of Tsuro or the game Roll For It!) is a great buy for families. The art is fantastic and engaging and the gameplay is fun with a little bit of complexity and friendly competition.
I have a LOT of mixed ages come to my table to play, and I ran a school program for a number of years where I tested and tried a lot of games to see what stuck. I have many more suggestions, but I don’t want to make this post 30 pages long. ;)
Great point, my 8yo loves 5MD. Good reminder that I should break that out this weekend to see if the 5yo can join in yet!
Also a great call.
And one more. I know it’s cool to hate on Exploding Kittens, but we have played more games of this than any other board game. I have 3 copies, two of which are worn to the point of unplayability. It’s cheap, a small box, so easy to throw in a bag for camping vacations, whatever. It’s fun, has a small footprint, is easy to learn, and kids love it.
I didn’t realize that hating on this game was a “thing,” lol. That’s too bad, because as you say it’s great, simple, quick fun. Just make sure that if you’re buying it for your family of kiddos that you check to make sure you’re not grabbing the NSFW edition!
Depending on how many people you want to be able to include, I suggest investing in the Exploding Kittens Party Pack, since that supports up to 10 players and includes the Imploding Kittens expansion.
There is a certain ‘type’ that loves to hate on any game you can buy at target.
Thankfully lacking here mostly.
Mine, under 10, like the theme and chasing down resources, but are a bit too young to appreciate the Scythe mechanics and get frustrated.
My niece loved it.
Heh, considering how much Target has expanded their game options, that seems like a shame.
A game like Villainous, for example, started as a Target exclusive. And was a damn solid game to boot.