I need recommendations for board games

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Post by jennypenny » Sat Dec 17, 2011 4:15 pm

We love board games. We usually get 2-3 new ones for Christmas every year, but this year we can't find any we like that we don't already own. What does everyone recommend? My kids love any involving money (Monopoly, Rail Barron) or strategy (think weekend-long Risk game). The only limitation is we have a child who can't write well, so games like Balderdash are tough.
We also love jigsaw puzzles, but some are good and some are awful. Do any of you know any brands that are better than others?

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Post by JasonR » Sat Dec 17, 2011 4:33 pm

Puerto Rico, Pandemic, Carcassonne.
Puerto Rico is intense.

Pandemic is cooperative which is a unique mechanic and actually fun.

Carcassonne is a tile placing game that's more fun with more people.
Many people swear by Settlers of Catan.

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Post by akratic » Sat Dec 17, 2011 4:37 pm

If you guys can handle the complexity of Risk and the length of Monopoly, it sounds like you are ready for the European adult board games.
The gateway game that I can't recommend highly enough is Settlers of Catan. That game is shorter than Monopoly and less complex than Risk, but has dramatically more strategy and fun!
Once you're hooked on Settlers there are a bunch of games to try of different levels of complexity (Ticket to Ride, Pandemic, Dominion, Power Grid, Agricola, Puerto Rico...)
But you really should start with Settlers. If you sort Board Game Geek by popularity, Settlers is #1.

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Post by sshawnn » Sat Dec 17, 2011 5:16 pm

I just received from Amazon Hoyles card game book and a few decks of colorful, playful cards for a Christmas gift to my kids ages 9 and 11. I can't wait to teach them how to play spades! Not board games per se, but certainly in the same vein.

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Post by george » Sat Dec 17, 2011 6:08 pm

We like settlers of Catan and carcassonne. But the games can be tricky, depending on the age. Am thinking about that bloxus game.
You can't beat monopoly though,and silly card games there's a game where you put the cards face down and if the other person says you're lying and it turns out you are you have to pick up all the cards, if they're wrong they pick up all the cards
That's the fun of games, the cheating, the lying..
My family also likes traditional games like careers, and the game of life.
Stratego is ok.
If the child can't write well, perhaps scrabble, you can change the rules by increasing the number of letters each person is allowed and have a dictionary. Its lots of fun when you have to define the word before looking up the dictionary and then try and pretend the definition in the dictionary matches your definition.
Jigsaws- I recommend, wasgij and jan van hasteran - its a funny world. Where's wally are good, are quite complicated though..

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Post by Mirwen » Sat Dec 17, 2011 6:50 pm

I third Settlers of Catan

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Post by Mr. Overlord » Sat Dec 17, 2011 10:41 pm

I've been playing Risk for years and thoroughly enjoy it. Tried Settlers a couple of times and while it was fun, it seemed to me much more based on luck and lacked a lot of the diplomacy and backstabbing that makes Risk so much fun. Maybe I just need to figure out more of the strategy though for Settlers...

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Post by EveMadeline » Sat Dec 17, 2011 11:02 pm

I have never played it, but I have a friend who was obsessed with Settlers of Catan.

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Post by George the original one » Sun Dec 18, 2011 1:53 am

Diplomacy. Nuclear War. Junta.
I didn't think any of them were still available, but they are. Diplomacy and Nuclear War date to the early 60s. Junta came from Jackson Games in the '80s.
Board games can also be mixed together, so you can play Nuclear Risk, Nuclear War Poker, etc.
P.S. One more to add: Robo Rally. This was one of Richard Garfield's (Magic the Gathering) early games. The gameplay surrounding stuck registers was my contribution. It was published as a favor to Richard after Magic the Gathering proved successful.

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Post by aussierogue » Sun Dec 18, 2011 3:03 am

i have the cashflow game...pricey but good

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Post by Surio » Sun Dec 18, 2011 6:54 am

I am going to try and give you a mix of specific childrens' games and mixed-bag games.
I am going to repeat most of what others said.
These are the *games I own* and they have infinite repeat play value:
Puerto Rico (+1 for this! It is a "supercalli...." game.)

Ticket to Ride (W00T! I have Europe, you can choose USA map)

Tikal (a slow game -- lot of snacks will be depleted in the process)

Asara (Also fab..... Trying to build th best tower in town by hook and crook ;-} )
In addition I also heartily recommend these games -- Basically adding to what others said about the other games.
(All these are specially for children)

Niagara (very unique board design and gem collection type game)

Jambo (Village market game)

Zooloretto (I am a big no-no for zoos in real life)

Hare and Tortoise -- the old classic with great game dynamics

Dixit (storytelling game)

Finca -- like Puerto Rico but simpler.

Missisippi queen -- steambot game for family.. Excellent fun
Slightly more grown up.
Pandemic is a great game,

so is a game called Dominion,

Thurn and Taxis (Historical lessons),

Agricola (Puerto Rico in a localised scale).
Share your experiences after you've played them.

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Post by jennypenny » Sun Dec 18, 2011 10:31 pm

Thanks everyone! These were exactly the kinds of games we were looking for. After hours reading descriptions and reviews online, we picked several to put under the tree.
My DH will be able to come home for the week between Christmas and New Years which will be a real treat for us. We plan on spending the entire week in our pajamas playing games by the fire. I'll definitely post reviews of the games here.

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Post by m741 » Mon Dec 19, 2011 1:28 am

Gotta say that the popular board games are really terrible - Battleship, Monopoly and Risk are terrible games, from a gameplay perspective.
I'd also say to stay away from card games such as Magic, Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, etc. Not that they're bad games, but they are addictive and a never-ending money-waster.

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Post by chemkrafty » Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:53 pm

I recommend checking out Board Game Family (theboardgamefamily.com)for some video reviews of lots of family friendly games. Many of the games mentioned are covered but they do a good job of reviewing them across various ages. Personally, i like Robo Rally, Ticket to Ride, Pandemic and have Carcossone, Settlers of Catan, Hive, Battle Cry and some others on my list.

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Post by JV » Mon Dec 19, 2011 4:35 pm

The suggestion may be superfluous at this point, but I've had quite a bit of fun with a card game called Apples to Apples. It's a word matching game played with cards and it can offer lots of laughs with a good-sized group of people.

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Post by FrugalZen » Mon Dec 19, 2011 4:35 pm

If they really like Monopoly check out the enormous lists of Localized and Theme versions at Wikipedia.
You could end up with Hundreds of Monopoly games and all of them uniquely different.

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Post by Chad » Mon Dec 19, 2011 5:41 pm


That is a great group game (Apples to Apples). There is no "right" answer, as the answer changes based on the judge. My 10 year old nephew really enjoyed playing it with adults over Thanksgiving.

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Post by jennypenny » Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:27 pm

I just got home from work to find a box from Amazon with the games we ordered. We didn't order them until very late Saturday night after reading all of the reviews and suggestions (and after too many beers judging from the number of games in the box). That's really fast. Freaky, really. And it was their free shipping rate. Amazon scares me sometimes.

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Post by jennypenny » Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:30 pm

We love Apples to Apples. And Monopoly too. I think we have 7 versions of Monopoly now. It's fun to line up 2-3 boards, combine the money and properties (you can skip the inside rows if you want) and play a megagame over the course of a couple of days.

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Post by BeyondtheWrap » Tue Dec 20, 2011 4:22 am

There's a game that I really like called Fluxx. The only rule is that there are no rules. At the beginning, anyway. Then you start putting down rule cards and it becomes possible to win.

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Post by Landor n Stella » Fri Jan 06, 2012 8:40 pm

A new game that just came out a year and a half ago is called Ascension. It's a combination of the strategy type games, while being similar to Settlers in that you are building up a resource. It's very fun, and can be good for 2-6 players. There are now also 2 "expansions" but really each is a stand-alone game that you can combine with previous versions. Highly recommend it!


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Post by orinoco » Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:48 pm

Another vote for Fluxx (Zombie/Alien/Monty Python versions are all a lot of fun), Caracassonne, Robo Rally.
Not mentioned:
Ricochet Robots - A few years ago I made an online solo puzzle version you can play online to see what it's about (requires an SVG enabled browser).
Saboteur - players are split into teams of miners hunting for gold & saboteurs trying to stop them, no one knows who is who. Fun increases with the level of deviousness of your friends.
Chromonauts - Fun timeline changing game, although altering the time continuum may be a little complicated for younger children.

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Post by Ralphy » Sat Jan 07, 2012 3:56 am

If you like Apples to Apples, I strongly recommend The Game of Things. There's a category card each round (e.g. Things you shouldn't say to your in-laws, Things adults wish they could still do, Things you shouldn't swallow, etc), each player anonymously writes their own response, and you have to guess who said what. Can be be very fun when mixed with alcohol, but it's also open-ended enough to play with a younger crowd.
Count me in for a game of Settlers! I used to work a pizza delivery job where several co-workers and I would show up early to start a game before work. You'd take a turn whenever you were back at the store from a delivery, and if the game wasn't finished by the end of the shift (at 3:30 am), we'd lock the doors and keep going.

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Post by Marlene » Mon Jan 16, 2012 5:05 pm

Settlers is quite fun - and it´s true that the basic version is based a bit more on luck than on strategy - I´d recommend the "Cities and Knights" extension which makes it a more complex and equal game, with nice opportunities for backstabbing without the (for me) adrenalinrushes of Diplomacy.

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Post by starshard0 » Mon Jan 16, 2012 7:35 pm

In addition to what everyone else is suggesting, I highly recommend Agricola. If you're into Clue, you could also try Android, but only if you have a LOT of time to kill learning how to play.

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