While I haven’t been able to play a game of 40k in many years, I have built up a good collection of board games that I love playing with my family. Some are fun and quick games, others are epic times when family visits for the holidays.
While some of these are more common than others, I’ve added all the games we have played multiple times and really enjoy. A few others have been dudes, or just way too much setup time.
What’s great about most of these games is that they are fairly easy to learn and get playing. This is an important factor with two little boys in the house who want to “help.” 🙂
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This was one of the first non-standard ‘board games’ I had ventured into. Dominion is a complex card game that has a dozen or so expansions, each adding a ton of new cards. The rule mechanics are fairly simple, but the vast number of cards make it a very complicated game.
The base game comes with 20+ different card types (think them as unit types). For each game you only use 10 piles, meaning there are tons of combinations of replay available. Throw in a few of the expansions and no two games will ever have the same set of cards.
Ticket to Ride
This is one of those fun/competitive games that everyone can get into because it is so simple to play. The main goal is to build train routes across the map (main game is US, but they have Europe and others too!). You draw victory cards to determine where you need to connect, with coast-to-coast giving you tons of points, and smaller connection giving just a few.
One of the nice things about Ticket to Ride is that it is super quick to set up and learn. So new players don’t get bogged down with learning the rules or waiting for the board to be set up. On the flip side, it is extremely competitive because there are only so many routes between cities, and if you take one part of it, it can severely mess with another player’s plans.
Mansions of Madness, 2nd Edition
I received Mansions of Madness 1st Ed. last Christmas and have been painting up the models as I enjoyed the game. Then 2nd Ed. dropped and my brother-in-law picked up a copy for me. And in my opinion, they fixed all the challenges I had with the original.
MoM like an RPG on a small scale where you play as an investigator trying to solve the riddle. Each investigator has unique stats and abilities to combat the monsters physically and mentally.
Among the changes in 2nd edition is that you use the free app to play as the DM. Not only does this allow everyone to play together, but it significantly speeds up the setup. The app tells you the single map tile to start with and a few clues as where to go. As you explore, it builds up the map and moves the monsters.
A bit on the pricey side, but it is packed with supplies, and the expansions add new monsters and maps to play.
For a fun, light-hearted game, Takenoko is easy to figure out and has plenty to do. As our family is fans of Kung Fu Panda, the idea of playing a game that uses a panda to eat everything while a poor farmer tries so hard to grow the bamboo is lots of fun.
The game mechanics is somewhat similar to Ticket to Ride in that each player has different victory point cards that fall into three categories: grow a certain color/number of bamboo, eat a certain color/number of bamboo, or build a certain color/placement of map tiles.
Turns go quick and the rules are fairly simple so it’s a great game for that random “let’s play a game.”
Eight Minute Empire Legends
This is a game we picked up by recommendation of a games store. While it takes a bit longer than eight minutes to play, Eight-Minute Empire Legends is a quick and easy game.
The basic premise is to take over as much land as possible with your armies. To aid you with this quest, a pile of monster cards give you extra abilities like moving additional spaces or flying over water.
It works really well as a two player game and scales nicely to four players.
On the top of the list for quick, two player games is Quarto. It’s a mash-up between tic-tac-toe and Connect Four, but with a very significant twist. The basic idea is to place a piece such that four of one attribute are lined up: tall/short, dark/light, square/circle, flat/divot.
The twist: your opponent selects which piece you play. The first few turns it almost doesn’t matter, but as it comes towards the end, you have to think about what piece to give. And yes, that means you lose the game by selecting the wrong piece to give!
Each game is super quick which makes this my favorite pick for two player games.
As another land grabbing, world building game, Carcassonne has probably the least player interaction of the games above. The basic premise is that you flip over a tile piece that shows a part of a map. You then connect this tile to the current map such that roads or castles continue.
Your meeples then control different aspects of the tile you put down to gain victory points. The challenge is that you can’t gain those victory points until the section your meeple controls is finished. So if you place him in a castle, it needs to be fully enclosed before scoring the points.
Player interaction comes into play by allowing any player to place a tile where ever on the map. Just about to finish a giant castle? I could add in a castle piece that expands it, delaying your victory.
So that’s my list of favorite board games at the moment. While none of these are 40k/AoS related, they are a blast to play with friends or family. Our Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays have become a traditional time to throw down games to see who is the ultimate holiday victor.
What are some of your favorite games? Add them into the comments below as I would love to find other games to add in.
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