Board Games Rock

I just ran across a nice article, Why we still love board games. Worth a quick read.

My family and I love board games. We have some cabinets that are overflowing with them, and for the most part we actually play them.

And when I say board games, I mean the actual physical games, not the computer versions of them. I mean, my pals at IconFactory and Coding Monkeys and those other places where they have made iOS versions have done what appears to be a really bang-up job on their adaptations of some of my favorite board games, but I have no interest in playing them, because a board game you can touch and spread out on your dining table is always going to be better.

The article I linked to mentions (and pictures) Carcasonne, Settlers of Catan, and Ticket to Ride.  All three of those are just wonderful. (I barely recognized the Settlers image, though — my copy is second-generation, from the mid-1990s, just after they started producing it in English, and the design has gone through a few changes!)

If you still think of games from forty or more years ago when you think of board games, you are missing out.

If you have small kids, I should point out that you can get kids started on some of these games much earlier than you'd think — for instance with Carcassone, we would just make a "junior" version of it by making the game be about filling out the land tiles, but not keeping score.

If you are giving Christmas gifts (OK, or other holiday gifts, though Christmas is the only holiday that's all about the gifts) then a board game is a great idea.  If your town or region has a local game store, go shop there — you'll get personal recommendations, a hand-picked selection, and a much warmer feeling than if you buy online or from a big box toy store.

Even if you've already bought an online version of one of these board games, do yourself a favor and try it out in physical form. Save the online version for when you are on a road trip and you couldn't bring the box.

Here are some of my favorites, off the top o' me head:

  • Settlers of Catan — The modern classic.  Top of my list, and probably top of everybody else's list.
  • Stone Age — A recent discovery but we are constantly playing this game! Many layers of complexity, many strategies, and good at getting your kids to practice their multiplication when it comes to counting up the final score!
  • Ticket to Ride — This is a series of several games, based on the geography of the U.S., Europe, and more. Try out one of them, and if you love it, try another one.
  • Carcasonne — A tile-building game. Check out their tiny expansion packs that put a twist on the original game!
  • Lost Cities — OK, this is really more of a card game, though it has an entirely superfluous board. While most board games are best with three or four players, this one is for two people. 

There are others I've heard of that are great, such as Dominion, Puerto Rico, etc. We may try them out, but first we're going to have to figure out where we will store them!

(Do you have any suggestions for amazing board games? Leave them in the comments please!)

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