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. . .
Set collection games are those games that allow players to collect a set of items for which they can score points or trade the items in for something more.
Our first recommendation for games in this category is Ticket to Ride. The game plays 2-5 players, from ages 8 and up, in about 30-60 minutes depending on the player count. This is a game that is extremely easy to learn in about 10-15 minutes, but still provides a decent amount of strategy for the players. The age ranges for this game are appropriate, in my opinion.
In Ticket to Ride, the players are attempting to collect sets of cards of a specific color in order to build routes across the United States and fulfill the route tickets that they hold in their hand. There are only 3 actions that can be done on a player’s turn – you either get to draw a card, place trains on the board by claiming a route, or get more tickets. That is it! This game has a high place in my family’s collection. You should give this one a try!
Bohnanza, our second recommendation here, is a party game that plays from 3-7 players in about 45 minutes. The recommended age range is 13 and up. I think the age range could be bumped down a little, but not much more than a year or two. In Bohnanza, the players play bean farmers who are trying to make trades and plant gardens all to get the most profit.
The trick in Bohnanza is that players cannot change the order of the cards that they are dealt. They must play the cards in the same order that they received them. At least one card must be played from their hands, but they can play up to two. The card or cards that are played are planted into the player’s “garden” (on the table in front of them) and then the players engage in trade with the other players to either gain cards that they want or rid themselves of cards they don’t. This game is great fun, especially with more players!
Engine building games are those that allow the players to start a game with practically nothing and by the end, have made an empire for themselves.
Our first recommendation here is Splendor. Splendor plays 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, in about 30 minutes. I think this game could be played with players as young as 8. In Splendor, players play Renaissance merchants who are trying to buy the most expensive gems.
In Splendor, players choose from 3 rows of cards. The easiest cards for the players to acquire are on the first row of the display and the following rows of cards get progressively harder for the players to gain. The cards are acquired by collecting chips that have colored gems on them. Once the players have the chips necessary to get a card, they turn over the chips for the card and put the newly acquired card into their display. The game is over when a player has 15 points.
Our next recommendation is Century: Spice Road which was reimplemented as Century: Golem Edition. There is no difference in the games other than the theme, although the games components reflect the theme. Both Century games play 2-5 players, ages 8 and up, in about 45 minutes. This is a game that I would not lower the age limit for – I think age 8 is appropriate here.
In Century: Spice Road, the players are leading a caravan along the famed Spice Road and they are trying to make profits along the way by selling the spices that they acquire. On their turn, the players can take a card from the display, play a card from their hand, take a victory point card if they have the required cards to do so, or they can rest. As the players gain spices, they can trade them for better spices and claim more victory points.
Card or dice drafting games are games in which the players will draft cards or dice, as the case may be, from a pool of cards or dice.
Sushi Go! is our first recommendation here. It is a party game that plays 2-5 players, although its reimplementation Sushi Go Party! plays up to 8. Sushi Go! plays in about 15 minutes and is suitable for players aged 8 and up. I think that the age recommendation is valid with this game. Like sushi? This is the game for you. The players are going to a restaurant and trying to make the best sushi-based meal that they possibly can.
In Sushi Go!, the players will have a hand of cards – the number of cards is different depending on player count. The players will then keep one of the cards from their hand and pass the cards to the next player, while getting more cards from the player next to them. This continues until all of the cards have been played and then scoring will happen for that round.
The other game that we are suggesting here is a dice-based drafting game called Quarriors, which also uses a deck building mechanic. Quarriors plays 2-4 players, ages 14 and up, in about 30 minutes. I strongly disagree with the age limit for this one and think it could be played with children as young as 8.
In Quarriors, the players all begin the game with the same set of 12 dice and use these dice to gain more dice from the “Wilds,” an area from which the players can draft dice to use them to get more and better dice for their bags. They will draft dice that provide more Quiddity (the money in the game), capture creatures, or learn spells. The person who does this best will win the game.
Board Games are Fun!!
This is the end of our multi-part series that discusses 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 at least one of our lists 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