Son of Recommend me a Boardgame (2014 edition)

Because 214 pages is enough…

Is it though? Is it really?

If we are going to start a new thread can we place a link to the old thread? I think that would be helpful but maybe in the first or second post?

Also, a synopsis of the previous thread content. No more than 10,000 words. Pictures allowed.

I was about to start slogging through the old thread to find this answer, but maybe you guys can help.

I am looking for a few good family games to bring my family together once or twice a week. We are a fairly diverse group:

I am your typical 45 year old PC gaming dork
My oldest (18 yr old step son) is into PC gaming, mostly WOW
My youngest (16 son) is more into sports but does some gaming
My better half is not a gamer at all, but is into family time, so she’s willing to play.

None of us have played any board games in the recent past, so we’re really clueless as to what’s out there and what is good.

What are you looking for? Something light and fast, or long and heavy on strategy? Cutthroat or cooperative?

We got King of Tokyo and Castle Panic for Christmas this year. King of Tokyo is cutthroat, but it’s fairly light, fun, and over in about 30 minutes per game. If you get it I would recommend getting the expansion as well.

Castle Panic is fun and cooperative but kind of lightweight. While I enjoy it, it doesn’t feel like it has “legs” and I wouldn’t really recommend it.

We got Mice and Mystics last year and are playing through again this year. It’s a boardgame / RPG (or more like could be a gate-way to RPGs, you run it without a GM) and is very fun. Highly recommended if you think you’re family would be into that sort of thing.

We’re probably going to be more into the quick games (hour or so), light on strategy, and very light on role playing. I don’t think the wife is going to be into them.

I would highly recommend Forbidden Island and Forbidden Desert. They are inexpensive considering the beautiful bits, cooperative, and fun for just about all ages.

Actually, I just saw the ages of your kids and maybe you should consider Pandemic, which is the game that Forbidden Island is based on, but it’s slightly more complicated with a gritty theme of saving the world from apocalyptic diseases.

King of Tokyo is a great suggestion. If your family likes history, there’s a light civilization building game called Roll Through The Ages (dumb name, great game).

If you are looking for something way less nerdy than all of these, then there are a couple family party games that I could recommend: Apples to Apples is still a brilliant social game if you let yourself get silly with it, and Gift Trap (not sure how hard it is to find) is similarly a light game which works best if you know your fellow players well.

More people should own and play Junta.

15 bux, cheap!

Ticket to Ride especially for a non-gamer.

Settlers of Catan

I cleaned up pretty well at Christmas this year and picked up King of Tokyo, Castle Panic (with Mage Tower expansion), Pandemic (with On the Brink expansion), and Forbidden Island. Finally feel like I’ve established a good base to play from and start dragging some friends into board gaming.

I’ve only played Castle Panic twice, but I agree that the base game doesn’t likely have a lot of legs for adults. I mainly got it for a family game (with my two 6 year olds), but my wife and I did have fun in our run through. Everything I’ve read says that if you’re playing Castle Panic with adults, you need to get the Mage Tower expansion for both the variety and the difficulty. I haven’t played it yet, but I did open the box to look at the components and read the instructions. It definitely seems like it’s going to be much more challenging, and there’s a lot more variety in the bad guys. I almost feel they added too much with the burning mechanic, but I’m holding off judgement until I play it a few times.

Spect, I’d second a lot of these recommendations. King of Tokyo is a great competitive game, and Ticket to Ride is light enough for anyone to learn quickly and play with a decent chance to win. Both are very accessible (Ticket to Ride a bit moreso than King of Tokyo).

I’m also planning to pick up Takenoko soon for a family game. It’s got some cute elements, and it appears deep enough to allow some different approaches and play styles without being rule-heavy.

Get on Youtube, Watch Tabletop from Geek and Sundry see if anything looks good?

Thanks for the suggestions! Here’s what I ordered from Amazon:

King of Tokyo
Settlers of Catan
Ticket to Ride

I think this is only the beginning of a great new trend in our home. We’ve always done stuff together as a family, but never board games. On New Year’s Eve, when we fought over what movie to watch, we realized it was time for something new to bring us together. It was the board game thread here on Qt3 that made me offer it as a suggestion, and it was well received. I’m looking forward to many fun hours of gaming with the family!

You are already well set and yet I’d still add a recommendation for Dixit. I’ve bought that for people of different ages who have never played board games other than Monopoly and Risk and they’ve loved it. Barely any rules to learn at all, simple but challenging and fun. Never yet seen anyone care about winning or losing.

I have plenty of experience playing Ascension through ios, how is playing the actual physical copy as far as tracking everything? Had it on my shortlist of games to possibly buy since it plays quickly and it might be good with middle schoolers I would imagine.

It is excellent! The game comes with little plastic crystal doo-dads to track honor. Otherwise, the only bookkeeping is your rune and power tally when it’s your turn. As you know from the iOS version, this is pretty straightforward at first, but it can get a bit tricky during the endgame, and specifically with some of the later expansions. Nothing you or a middle schooler can’t handle, even though the iOS version has made you lazy.

I can’t recommend Ascension as a tabletop game enough. The cards look great.


Can anyone recommend a game that plays well solo, preferably in under two hours? I’ve enjoyed Elder Sign quite a bit and would like to find more like it.

Thanks! I just didn’t want to be surprised by anything. Use to run a gamers club at the H.S I taught at which was only video games, starting it up at my middle school and will be doing both I think this time.

Look for a solo deck-builder called Friday (based on Robinson Crusoe). I think it’s quite well done and takes less than an hour to play.

Victory Point Games has a whole line of games that are either specifically solo or have a solo mode, several of which Tom has recommended on the front page. Mage Knight is also a really good solo game (the boardgame, that is), especially with the expansion, but is not remotely a two hour game so YMMV. Finally, Sentinels of the Multiverse requires playing three characters by yourself so is logistically complex, but has been the only boardgame I own to really click for me as a solo experience. (I own Mage Knight and most people report it being really good solo but I couldn’t really get into it personally. Much prefer coop on that one.) More generally, many coop games that don’t have some sort of anti-quarterbacking gimmick can be played successfully solo (e.g. Pandemic, Flash Point: Fire Rescue, Ghost Stories, etc, as well as Elder Sign, of course) though you may or may not find any given one satisfying that way.