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. . .
Area Control Games
Area control games are those in which the players are trying to take over a specific area of the game board and retain control of it while other players may be trying to steal it away.
Our first recommendation for an area control game is New York 1901. In this game, the players represent builders who are building skyscrapers in the early 20th century. Goals are set at the beginning of the game showing where the neighborhoods are that will score the most points for the players.
Not only will the players build skyscrapers, they can build famous buildings such as the Empire State Building, although they can only build one of those per game. The pieces that each player places on the board are Tetris-shaped and once the player controls the area in which they can place the building, they remove the original Tetris pieces and replace it with the building which can be overbuilt later. Do not take too much time to grab those precious goal spots on the board or you will lose out!
The next game that we are recommending as an introductory area control game is Tikal, which is set in the Central American jungles. This game won the prestigious Spiel des Jahres award in 1999 and is still in print 20 years later. It has stood the test of time.
In this game, the players are exploring the jungle, uncovering treasures and occupy temples. The players will score points for doing both, wisely using their 10 allowed action points per turn. The exploration theme is used terrifically in this game and really shines through as the players are never sure what they will encounter next.
Deck Building Games
Deck building games are ones in which the players begin with a deck of cards. Generally speaking, each player begins with the same deck. Throughout the game, the players will be adding cards to their deck in order to strengthen the actions that they can take. Some of the deck building games also allow players to cull cards from their deck, removing the weaker cards.
We have 2 suggestions for deck building games, one cooperative and one competitive. For our cooperative pick, we are choosing Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle. This game is a terrific introductory deck building game, especially for fans of the Harry Potter books and/or movies.
In Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle, the players play through the 7 books. The first box that the players will go through is very much suited for new deck building players. My husband, who had never played a deck building game prior to this one, and we started with box 1 for him. Now we routinely begin the game starting with box 3, which is designed for more experienced deck building players.
The second game we are recommending for the deck building genre , The Tea Dragon Society Card Game, is a competitive game. The game is based on the graphic novel The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill and the artwork in the game is extremely charming.
In this game, the players each own a tea dragon and are trying to take care of their dragons using the cards that they play. In addition, they are trying to make good memories for the dragon. The game lasts 4 seasons and each player has the opportunity to create one good memory for their dragon per season. At the end of the game, the player who has accumulated the most points wins the game.
Dice games are games in which, you guessed it, the primary components are dice. This does not mean that there are no other components in the game, but that the dice are one of the most used components.
Our first suggestion here is King of Tokyo, which is basically King of the Hill played with dice. Each player chooses a monster who represents them throughout the game. Your monster is busy destroying Tokyo and trying to keep control of the city while fending off the other monsters who are also trying to gain control of the city.
This is done through a Yahtzee-style dice mechanism. The players roll dice to earn victory points, damage the other players, and earn energy cubes, which can be used to purchase cards that give the players special abilities. When one of the players reaches 20 victory points or there is only one player left standing, the game is over.
Our next recommendation is Combo King. In Combo King, the players have a hand of cards, each of which shows a dice roll that they must achieve in order to successfully claim the card. One of the cards might say something like “4 of a kind, 3s or better” and the player will have to make that roll in order to complete the task.
The dice that are rolled can vary between one and eight dice depending on the card that is played. If a player cannot successfully complete a card after several tries, the player can swap in some of the chips that they earn throughout the game in order to swap out that card. One of the great things about this game is that some of the challenges can involve the other players, getting everyone involved.
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