Blokus (I haven’t played this game)
Get Blokus on Amazon.com $21.91
Blokus might have the simplest rules of any game on the market. Put your pieces on the board, touching your other pieces, but only on the corners. Try to get all your pieces on that board. That’s it! But you will forever be experimenting with new tricks and strategies to expand your territory while hemming in your opponents’. They’ve also come out with versions for specifically two-players, Blokus Duo, for youngsters, Blokus Junior, and for the square-adverse, Blokus Trigon with triangular pieces.
Carcassonne (played, would recommend as good intro/light game)
Get Carcassonne on Amazon.com $19.28
Ever heard of a board game with no board? In Carcassonne, you and your fellow players actually build the board yourselves as you play the game, one high-quality cardboard tile at a time. By the time it’s over, you’ll have built such a pretty and unique arrangement of cities, roads, monasteries and fields that you may feel sad to put it away. Carcassonne is quite easy to learn with very quick and simple decisions to make with each turn. And with it’s many expansions the base game can be made exponentially replayable. Consider these two expansions if you’ve already given the base game… Carcassonne: Traders & Builders & Carcassonne: Inns & Cathedrals.
Ticket to Ride (haven’t played but I’ve heard a ton of people that love this game, especially here on OT, so probably a great one!)
Get Ticket to Ride on Amazon.com $37.04
Ticket to Ride is a very popular game that has sold over 1 million copies worldwide. The game board is a map of the United States and Canada where the players compete to build train routes between major cities to score points. It’s easy to learn, fast to play, works great for any number of players 2 to 5, and is almost always a big hit with people who are new to board games. For a European flare try Ticket to Ride: Europe.
Also, there’s a new expansion that is due out before the end of the year that any TTR fans might want to check out! Ticket to Ride: Africa:
Settlers of Catan (game that gets most people into the hobby, would definitely recommend)
Get The Settlers of Catan on Amazon.com $33.60
Settlers of Catan is one of the most popular board games in the world. Each player takes the role of a hardy settler on the uninhabited island of Catan. The island you settle yields five types of raw materials used to build roads, settlements, cities, and armies. However, the resources you’ve got aren’t the resources you need. Trading with the other players is a big part of getting the right resources to build on the island. The player whose settlers are the most successful in colonizing the island wins the game.
Pandemic (great co-op game where everyone tries to save the world from a terrible pandemic, very cool)
2009 Golden Geek Award for Best Family Game
Get Pandemic on Amazon.com $30.09
Four diseases have broken out in the world and it’s up to a team of specialists in various fields to find cures before mankind is wiped out. In this popular cooperative game you must work together with other players using your individual strengths and abilities to treat existing diseases and find cures before time runs out. Pandemic is your prescription for a great gaming experience like you’ve never had before! You can also add even more roles and more challenging diseases to the base game with Pandemic: On the Brink.
Battlestar Galactica (if someone’s a fan of the show, they will LOVE this game. Even if you’ve never seen the show it’s still a fantastic game)
After the Cylon attack on the Colonies, the battered remnants of the human race are on the run, constantly searching for the next signpost on the road to Earth. They face the threat of Cylon attack from without, and treachery and crisis from within. Humanity must work together if they are to have any hope of survival…but how can they, when any of them may, in fact, be a Cylon agent?
Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game is an exciting game of mistrust, intrigue, and the struggle for survival. Based on the epic and widely-acclaimed Sci Fi Channel series, Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game puts players in the role of one of ten of their favorite characters from the show. Each playable character has their own abilities and weaknesses, and must all work together in order for humanity to have any hope of survival. However, one or more players in every game secretly side with the Cylons. Players must attempt to expose the traitor while fuel shortages, food contaminations, and political unrest threatens to tear the fleet apart.
Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game is a semi-cooperative game for 3-6 players ages 10 and up that can be played in 2-3 hours.
- Players: 3 to 6
- Time: 180 minutes
- Ages: 14 and up
- Availability: local game stores, online
- Price: $36-45
Dominion (good card game with tons of expansions available, great for 2 or 3 people)
2009 Golden Geek Awards for Game of the Year and Best Card Game
Get Dominion on Amazon.com $30.72
One of the most innovative and award winning games to emerge from the last couple of years! In Dominion, each player starts with an identical, very small deck of cards. In the center of the table is a selection of 10 other cards the players can "buy" as they can afford them. Through their selection of cards to buy, and how they play their hands as they draw them, the players construct their deck on the fly, striving for the most efficient path to the precious victory points by game end. The base game includes 25 sets of center cards and allows for hundreds of variations. There has also been additional expansions released adding to the fun… Dominion Family
New Dark Ages expansion is now out, check it out here
Escape: The Curse of the Temple (*NEW FOR 2012*)
(For older children/adults)
Escape is a new co-operative game played in real-time directed by a sound track. With all players rolling dice and taking actions simultaneously you have to keep your eye on your teammates and work together to explore a cursed temple. As you roll, you explore new rooms of the temple and sometimes find treasure and other times get cursed and held up. The simultaneous action and tension building time element create a fun challenge that will have you hanging on every die roll. If you’re up for the challenge of a real adventure consider picking this one up.
(For teens & adults)
Get Alien Frontiers on Amazon.com $50.00
Do you have what it takes to be a deep space colonist? An alien frontier awaits the brave and daring! This new planet will be harsh, but if you have the skills to manage your resources, build a fleet, research alien life, and settle colonies, the world can be yours.
Roll and place your dice to gain advantages over your opponent and block them out of useful areas of the board. Use Alien Tech cards to manipulate your dice rolls and territory bonuses to break the rules. Steal resources, overtake territories, and do whatever it takes to get your colonies on the map first! Don’t dream it’ll be easy, though, because the other players will be trying to do the same thing.
(For teens & adults)
2012 Golden Geek Award for Most Innovative Game
Get Risk Legacy on Amazon.com $46.92
Remember Risk, the simple game of world domination where you build armies, roll dice and crush your enemies? This is Risk as you’ve never seen it before. Literally, because you make permanent changes to the board and the rules at the end of every game depending on how it unfolds. This unique idea means that the game grows along with you, and that your actions have much bigger impact beyond a single play session — they mark your game for life! What kind of legacy will you leave?
King of Tokyo (*NEW FOR 2012*)
(For all ages/party game)
2012 Golden Geek Awards for Best Children’s Game, Best Party Game, and Best Family Game
Get King of Tokyo on Amazon.com $31.03
In King of Tokyo, you play mutant monsters, gigantic robots, and aliens vying for the ultimate title in monsterdom, "King of Tokyo". Each turn you get a Yahtzee style three rolls of a set of 6 dice.
You decide with each roll which dice to keep and which to throw for more points, energy, health, or hits to your opponents. In order to win you must either destroy Tokyo by accumulating 20 destruction points or out last your fellow monsters in a bout to death.
This light-hearted, quick to learn, and quick to play game has you laughing with each roll and accomodates a whole family of players.
(For all ages)
Get PitchCar on Amazon.com $58.32
PitchCar is a dexterity game where large, wooden, puzzle-like pieces are used to construct a race track that looks very similar to a slot car track when finished. But instead of using electrons, players use finger-flicks to send little round pucks around the track. This is a crowd-pleasing game to play and watch that few can resist.
Get The Resistance on Amazon.com $13.94
The Empire must fall. Our mission must succeed. By destroying their key bases, we will shatter Imperial strength and liberate our people. Yet spies have infiltrated our ranks, ready for sabotage. We must unmask them. In five nights we reshape destiny or die trying. We are the Resistance!
The Resistance is a party game of social deduction. It is designed for five to ten players, lasts about 30 minutes, and has no player elimination. The Resistance is inspired by Mafia/Werewolf, yet it is unique in its core mechanics which allow for more informed decisions, wilder player interaction, and no player elimination.
Players are either Resistance Operatives or Imperial Spies. For three to five rounds, they must depend on each other to carry out missions against the Empire. At the same time, they must try to deduce the other players’ identities and gain their trust. Each round begins with discussion. When ready, the Leader entrusts sets of Plans to a certain number of players (possibly including himself/herself). Everyone votes on whether or not to approve the assignment. Once an assignment passes, the chosen players secretly decide to Support or Sabotage the mission. Based on the results, the mission succeeds (Resistance win) or fails (Empire win). When a team wins three missions, they have won the game. If you’re a Resistance Operative, expose the Spies as soon as you can; if you’re an Imperial Spy, lie and think quickly to sow distrust and confusion — either way, loud accusations and laughter are guaranteed as deceit and betrayals slowly come to light!
(For two players)
Get Hive on Amazon.com $24.99
Looking for a quick strategic game? You’ve come to the right place with Hive! In this highly addictive game, the board takes shape as you and your opponent lay down your pieces. Each player controls an identical army of bugs, each with its own unique movement. Can you place and move your pieces so that you surround your opponent’s queen bee before he surrounds yours?
Hive comes in three versions: 1. Hive (original) 2. Hive: Carbon (monochromatic) and 3. Hive: Pocket (35% smaller). Both Hive: Carbon and Hive: Pocket include the Mosquito and Lady Bug expansion bugs.
Hive: Pocket’s size makes this version a great 2-player stocking stuffer!
Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game
(For two players)
Get Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game on Amazon.com $29.12
Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game is a tactical ship-to-ship combat game in which players take control of powerful Rebel X-Wings and nimble Imperial TIE fighters, facing them against each other in fast-paced space combat. Featuring stunningly detailed and painted miniatures, the X-Wing Miniatures Game recreates exciting Star Wars space combat throughout its several included scenarios. Select your crew, plan your maneuvers, and complete your mission!
Even though this is listed as a 2-player game. With additional sets of the starter pack or even with some expansions you can quickly add players to the fight. Look for these additonal expansions… Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game Family
JAB: Realtime Boxing
(For two players)
JAB is a strategic boxing card game unlike anything you’ve played before. In JAB, you get direct control over your boxer’s fists, providing an experience as close as possible to real boxing without getting punched in the face. JAB is real-time. There are no turns. You can play as fast as you want, but remember: playing smart is more important than playing fast.
Has a real learning curve, the first few games you’re telling yourself, "WHAT THE FUCK, WHAT DO I DO?!" but once you get the hang of it, it is freakin awesome, and INTENSE
Winning the game
To win the game, get a knockout by throwing staggering haymakers at your opponent until he eats canvas, or strategically win more rounds than your opponent by impressing the judges with your beautiful technique.
How is JAB different?
JAB re-invents the Real-time genre by slowing down gameplay and challenging you with strategic decisions. The innovative engine tests a player’s "strategic agility" by forcing constant quick decisions. It also measures your ability to calmly manage your focus, in a chaotic situation. The JAB engine is designed to be a develop-able skill, much like learning to play a fighting videogame, or even a real sport. Which also gives the game huge replayability.
Finally, you can beat up your friends and family, without the annoying assault charges and anger management classes!
JAB is a complete game, only one copy is required to play.
So how does the JAB engine work? (from a game design perspective)
The JAB engine can be broken down into a series of strategic real-time mini-games (mechanics), all running simultaneously. While focusing on all mini-games at once is almost impossible, all mini-games are equally important to win the game. A good player must not only be good at playing each of the mini-games, but also recognize which one he should be focusing on at any given time. A new player, much like a new boxer who steps into the ring for the first time, can easily feel overwhelmed and freeze up, priming his opponent for a knockout… so STAY CALM.
A Strategic Real-time Game? Pff.
No! It’s true! Every macro strategy or "style" in JAB, has a counter, like real boxing. See Boxing Styles and Techniques on Wikipedia for more info.
To counter a haymaker spammer, or slugger, a boxer must play like an outside-fighter, who focuses on counter-punching, and blocking, and points. An outside-fighter, like in real boxing, will be overcome by an in-fighter, who goes purely for combo points. An in-fighter boxer who is going for combos, will be knocked out by a slugger.
Every Boxer has a style, every style has a counter. What style are you?
Good Party Games
2011 Golden Geek Award for Best Party Game
Get Dixit Odyssey on Amazon.com $32.69
Dixit Odyssey is both a standalone game and an expansion for Jean-Louis Roubira’s Dixit, which won Germany’s Spiel des Jahres award in 2010.
Game play in Dixit Odyssey matches that of Dixit: Each turn one player is the storyteller. This player secretly chooses one card in his hand, then gives a word or sentence to describe this card – but not too obviously. Each other player chooses a card in hand that matches this word/sentence and gives it to the storyteller. The storyteller then lays out the cards, and all other players vote on which card belongs to the storyteller. If no one or everyone guesses the storyteller’s card, the storyteller receives no points and all players receive two; otherwise the storyteller and the correct guesser(s) each receive three points. Players score one point for each vote their image receives. Players refill their hands, and the next player becomes the storyteller. When the deck runs out, the player with the most points wins.
Dixit Odyssey contains 84 new cards, each with a unique image drawn by Pierô and colored by Marie Cardouat, artist of Dixit and Dixit 2. It also includes a folding game board, new rabbit scoring tokens, and a box large enough to hold all the Dixit cards released to date.
Dixit Odyssey includes enough components for up to twelve players and also has variant rules for team play and for new ways to play with the cards.
Also has a few expansions out: Dixit, Dixit 2, and Dixit Journey. All worth getting if you enjoy the game.
2010 Golden Geek Award for Best Party Game
Get Telestrations on Amazon.com $18.00
In this award winning party game, players sketch a word that’s dictated by the roll of a die, then pass their sketch on to the next player to guess what’s been drawn. That player then writes down what they think the word is, for the next player to draw a sketch of. Remember the classic game of Chinese Whispers? This is like that, but with pictures, and it’s proven to be very popular and lots of fun!
King of Tokyo (see above)