Favorite Board Games?

Since Xmas break a few buddies and myself hae been enjoying boardgames again for the first time in a few years. Mostly its been Risk and Samurai Swords and the occasional Axis & Allies. We are all in the mood for something new so today I jumped online and ordered a couple of new games, Arkham Horror and the Doom boardgame. As I was browsing I found myself amazed at the sheer number of boardgames I had never heard of and it got me to wondering which might be worth trying out.

And so this thread is born. I say board games in the title but I’m also interested in card games, dice games, ect. If its fun I’d like to hear about it. What are your favorites?

Pandemic and Formula D were my Christmas presents and have been getting the most play.

My three favorites:

Ra for 3-5 players. The best auction game out there. I’ve introduced it to people who don’t play many games and they always enjoy it.

Tigris & Euphrates for 3-4 players. This is just a personal favorite of mine because of the player interaction.

Combat Commander: Europe for 2 players. Just listing my favorites here, not a recommendation. Avoid if you don’t like wargames or card games or you’re not looking for a 2-player game.

Top 3:

Caylus - Simply the best euro I’ve played

Age of Steam - Im a glutton for punishment, what can I say? :)

Game of Thrones - Like Diplomacy, but more intense, with a little more flavor too…


Some of my favorites…

Axis and Allies (just got the anniversary edition and looking forward to it)
East Front 2 (when I can get a game together)
Advanced Tobruk system (even rarer that I can get this one going, not a lot of experience with it but really enjoyed it)
For The People (a lot of fun the few times I’ve played it)
Got some good mileage out of Squad Leader

Have yet to try but really looking forward to:

SCS Series Afrika 2 and Stalingrad Pocket
Conflict of Heroes
Crusader Rex
FAB Bulge
Here I Stand
Napoleonic Wars
Bitter Woods

Mine currently are, in no particular order:

Arkham Horror (with or without expansions)
Battlestar Galactica
Ticket to Ride: Europe
Red Dragon Inn (technically more a card game than a board game, but still…)

www.boardgamegeek.com is your new addiction:)

My top 10 and hot 10 are here:


Top 10:

Advanced Civilization
Magic the Gathering
Caylus Magna Carta
For Sale
Tigris and Euphrates

Hot 10:

Le Havre
Magic the Gathering
Stone Age
Royal Palace

low barrier to entry favorites

Ingenious! (2-4p)-tile color matching, deceptively simple, really ups the buddy-fuckage with four players and is really easy to teach.

Lost Cities (2p): really easy to teach, borrow some superficially similar mechanics from solitaire, but again adds that Knizia detached screw the other guy twist.

Mr Jack (2p): slightly more complex than the other two, great theme (Jack The Ripper) adapted to deduction gameplay.

[B]Hive /B: One of my favorite games. Evokes an excellent sort of analysis paralysis in people as they agonize around the next step. It’s a highly asymmetrical encounter based game that looks a bit like dominos and plays a bit like chess, but has no coherent resemblance to either. Learn it in like 2 minutes, and the mandatory overpriced expansion (7$ for 2 additional pieces) even felt worthwhile.

[B]Pandemic /B: seemed bland at first, but once we got past the rookie version of the game, it’s actually pretty fun. All coop gameplay means that it’s one that you want to run a short demo game first and then actually start once people know what they are doing (more or less), because otherwise they will fall into a groove of following. Once you are playing blind to each others cards and doing your best to talk through an outbreak, it’s excellent.

[B]Dominion /B: Don’t own it but I like a lot of what I’ve played. Rotating decks, asymmetrical player strategies in collision, and very easy to pick up and play.

More involved:

Agricola (2-5p?): People will disagree with this and claim it’s a great intro boardgame. I don’t think so, I think it’s got a lot of details, setup, and other stuff that makes it a little daunting vs the above. It’s a good time once you get it going, I just find it hard to be interested in the theme connections you are supposed to be using to handle the gameplay mechanics. Basically ,I don’t like farming, but I can still enjoy the mechanics.

Galaxy Trucker (2-4p): Build your own spaceship in a somewhat frantic draw session, gather yourself, and launch that piece of crap through space in order to try and get as much stuff from point a to b intact. The game scales nicely as you get to know it better, and has a really great nerd gratification quotient that can be very seductive, even for those in denial. Here, have a bonafide nerd explain it to you.

Arkham Horror: You’ve already got that right. I loved the base game, or thought I did, but Dunwich Horror is a fantastic expansion. The scalable nature of the game means you can modify difficulty level and amount of variables you want to control with little effort, particularly once you have an expansion or two to sub in and out. The setup/cleanup time is ridiculous, and the game itself can easily take most of a day with only 2-3 players. In terms of value, I would go with most of the conventional wisdom and rank the expansions like this: Dunwich, Yellow King, Kingsport, Dark Pharoah. I have not gotten the newest ones, but I would say Dunwich parts (not the board addition, which I can give or take) are absolutely essential to how I like to play the game. Nevertheless, you should be fine with the base game, there’s plenty to chew on there for a while.

[B]Neuroshima Hex /B: I like it. The new Z man version is a nicely packaged deal, with all of the requisite fidgetiness of a war theme game but little of the tedious detail rules that drive me nuts. They ruined Hammer of the Scots for me, and proved a massive barrier to even getting through a single play of Manoeuvre or Fortress America. I know they’re good games, I just can’t seem to gather the nerd critical mass for long enough to get it done when so many easier-to-explain games are available. NH is about as far as I can get down that road for now.

Still waiting on the international edition of Twilight Struggle (that will have an actual board instead of papery stuff), and I have yet to find anyone that will take me up on 1960.

Also, I buried the lead: Here’s the massive Arkham thread where lots of people contributed to me having a closet full of awesome games in no time at all.

Ugh! You bastards aren’t making it any easier to pick some new games. They all sound like fun!

I think Memoir '44 is a ton of fun for a non-grognard to get their feet wet in wargaming. Plus it’s got all these great little tanks and infantrymen, so if you can’t find anyone to play with, you can always make little ‘vroom vroom’ and ‘pow’ sounds while you send them to battle.

I like Dominion for a bit of quick fun.

Over the past month I’ve tried a lot of board games and my favourite so far has to be Imperial. The setup is that the players are a group of investment bankers anno 1900 with a knack for profiteering. The map is Europe and the players control the six major powers of the time, and gain points as a country they invest in do well, but the catch is that you are not tied to any nation besides your financial stake in them. The player with the most money invested in a country is the one who decides what that country should do. Thus control shifts during the game and countries that do well become increasingly attractive targets for investments and takeovers.

One downside is that the rules for when you can invest are a bit clunky, and my group changed it so that everyone can invest in a given country after that country has had it’s turn, rather than players passing around an investment chip where only the person with the chip can make a single investment after which he passes it on.

Other than that I love it. The theme, the shifting diplomacy, the potential for collusion, backstabbing and piggybacking a successul nation all appeal to me.

I think Command and Colors:Ancients and Battlelore are both better implementations (than Memoir '44) of Richard Borg’s Command and Colors design (which also includes Battle Cry), mostly because the battle back rules make those two more interesting.

I’ve heard that several times before and I believe you when you say the rules are more refined in the later games, but personally I find it more satisfying to replay WWII scenarios than set up battles with fantasy characters. But that’s entirely personal bias.

My top 3:

[li]Tide of Iron-- WW2 Tactical wargame with miniatures or ASL (very light) with toys.
[/li][li]Battlelore-- Command and Colors system in a fantasy setting.
[/li][li]Axis & Allies-- Always a great game if you have enough people.
Games on my wishlist:

[li]Conflict of Heroes
[/li][li]Combat Commander: Europe

I generally like games with lots of theme, as opposed to abstract euro-games. This can be either fictional themes (Arkham Horror) or historical (light-ish wargames.) The games that have most recently hit my table:

Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage: An excellent 2-player light wargame about the 2nd Punic War. It gets held up as a “gateway wargame” but I don’t really know why. There’s not much here that leads into heavier wargames.
Arkham Horror: A perennial favorite of mine.
DAK2: Extremely heavy wargame which I wrote a newbie’s review of on BGG. Not really recommended to anyone other than experienced wargamers.

My next two game purchases are going to be C&C: Ancients and Here I Stand. The latter looks incredible, but I fear I won’t be able to get it on the table that often, due to its complexity and the number of players required.

I’ll also vote for Pandemic and Dominion, both of which I received as gifts recently and have been playing almost exclusively since then. Both are very accessible and play pretty quickly, which has been perfect for my schedule over the last few weeks.

I say this all the time, so forgive me for beating a dead horse, but if you like Dominion, you can play for free at www.brettspielwelt.de and it allows you to avoid all of the shuffling. It has a few dozen other board games there as well.

As for my faves, Goldland, Puerto Rico, Amun Re are games that I will never say no to playing.

There are plenty of medieval scenarios (and even an expansion) that is historical for Battlelore. Without battle back, the tactics are more limited, that’s all.

Re: Dominion on BSW; keep in mind that you don’t get a truly random mix of cards. BSW deals 4 cards from the ones that cost 2 or 3, and 6 cards from the ones that cost 4 or more. What happens is that you basically see the 2 or 3 cards more often (57%) than you would if the deal was truly random (40%). It’s an issue because Chapel is becoming pretty dominant in later strategy and the card shows up more than it should, making some of the games a snorefest.

pandemic is a lot of fun

i’ve been playing it with my girlfriend and some non nerd friends and we enjoy it

I’ll toss a vote in for Carcassone–a friend bought the Big Box that had several expansions packed in, and we spent a night playing a half dozen games, adding one expo after another till we had the whole game assembled. Even with 2-3 people (one guy left later in the night), we had a ton of fun with it.

'Tis a city-builder: assembling castles using wall, grass, and road tiles. . . whoever completes the city gets to keep it, basically, so you’re always worried that your opponent will have the right pieces.

Additions like soldiers, running water, and other characters make it more complex and fun as you go on. . . I really love it.