Board Game Extras – Introductory Board Games, Part 1

So you are thinking about getting into the board gaming hobby but have no idea where to begin. You have fond childhood memories of playing games with friends and family and now that you have a family of your own, you would like to share games with your own children. Well, we are going to try to help you out with some suggestions that you can play with your kids (depending on their ages, of course) and with your friends. We are going to list the mechanics and explain them so that perhaps you can choose games that sound more like your style. Here we go. . .

Cooperative Games

Cooperative games are games in which the players, instead of competing with each other, are working together to defeat the game itself. The players will all either win or lose together. We love co-op games around our house as we are “care bear” players, so I will list quite a few cooperative games in each of the categories listed here.

Forbidden Island Cover

First up is Forbidden Island. Forbidden Island is perhaps the easiest game on this list and certainly one of the most accessible. The game plays 2-4 players and plays in about 30-45 minutes. The game box says the game is for ages 10+, but I think that this game could be played with children as young as 8.

In Forbidden Island, the players are on an island that is sinking and they must rescue 4 treasures found on the island before it sinks and get off the island to safety. The players are each given a special ability and need to use it in conjunction with the other players to win.

Next up is Flash Point: Fire Rescue. Flash Point: Fire Rescue plays 2-6 players and takes about 45-60 minutes to play. The suggested age limit for the game is 10+ and I agree with this one. There is a little more going on in this game than there is in Forbidden Island, so I think the 10 age limit is good here.

Flash Point Cover

In Flash Point: Fire Rescue, the players are fire fighters taking on a roaring fire that continues to build throughout the game. Each player here can choose a specialty and use it throughout the game or switch them out depending on what is happening. Unlike Forbidden Island, if the players find the base game too easy, there are multiple expansions that can be added to the game to increase the difficulty.

Worker Placement

In worker placement games, players will have a pool of workers that they will send to locations on the board to take advantage of the action of that particular space. In most worker placement games, the first player to send a worker to that space has use of it exclusively, keeping the other players from being able to use it.

Stone Age Cover

First up, Stone Age. Stone Age was recently republished with a two-sided board. The game plays 2-4 players, for ages 10 and up, and takes anywhere from 60-90 minutes depending on the player count. I would not suggest playing this with players much younger than 10, but some 8-9 year olds might be able to handle it. For younger children, there is always My First Stone Age, which is made for children ages 5 and up.

In Stone Age, the players are heads of Stone Age tribes trying to make sure that their tribes survive. They must ensure that the people have food, build huts to live in, collect building materials, make babies, and manufacture tools. Every round the people must have food to carry on, so you better sure you have enough!

The second game we are suggesting for a beginner worker placement game is Asking for Trobils. Asking for Trobils plays 2-7 players, ages 12 and up, and takes about 60-90 minutes to play. I think that the age 12 limit for this game is a good one and would not play this one with kids younger than that, especially if they are new players.

Trobils Cover

In Asking for Trobils (which we call the “orange” game at our house), the players are trying to make deliveries but have to trap trobils, which are pests, that are threatening to stop the players from doing so. You fly from planet to planet, picking up resources, hiring some ruffians to help protect their shipments, and defeat the trobils that are troubling them.

Tile Placement/Tile Laying

After cooperative games, tile placement or tile laying games are perhaps the most accessible games on this list. In tile placement games, the player places a tile and then tries to build up toward the game’s goal from that initial placement. In most of these games, victory points are the goal of the game.

Zooloretto Cover

First up, Zooloretto. Zooloretto is a game for 2-5 players, ages 8 and up, and takes around 45 minutes to play. Age 8 is a good suggestion for this game. The theme of this game, building zoos and installing animals in the pens, will appeal to younger players.  There is also a Zooloretto Junior game for the younger set.

In Zooloretto, the players take tiles that show animals or vendors and put these into the zoo that they are building up, or build extensions to expand their zoo. There are a lot of interesting choices in this game as the players try to build the best zoo possible!

The suggestion that we have for another tile placement game is Barenpark, which is slightly heavier than Zooloretto. It plays 2-4 players and takes about 45 minutes to play. The suggested age range for the game is ages 8 and up, which I think is appropriate for this particular game.

Barenpark Cover

In Barenpark, the players are trying to build bear parks for different kinds of bears, including Kodiak, polar and panda bears. Using Tetris-style tiles, the players try to beautify the parks, filling every square inch of their respective parks. You can do this by building your patrons places to eat, building outdoor spaces, and spaces for your animals to live.

Board Games are Fun!!

This is going to be a multi-part series as we discuss our suggestions for introductory board games. Obviously we find board games to be fun. They are wonderful ways to have multiple family generations sit down to a table and actually talk to each other. They are also great ways to socialize with your friends. We hope you will find a game on our list that sounds like it is right up your alley!

As always, for information on these and thousands of other games, please go to Board Game Geek here.

Thanks for reading!

Stasia and Beth

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