The mind-numbing tedium of MOBAs getting the better of you? Tired of getting teabagged by abuse hurling 14yr-olds? Or perhaps your favourite game just added micro-transactions to part you from your last few quid?
Perhaps you should try board games. Don’t be fooled by sour memories of Christmas Monopoly, board games are undergoing a renaissance. There is no better time to try out some of the new and exciting games on offer. Board games have something for everyone, from intricate strategy to fast and exciting social games.
Board games can offer you everything that gamers are nostalgic about:
- Great local multiplayer
- Big meaty expansions
- No micro-transactions
all at 1000fps!
1If you like FTL: Faster Than Light – Try Galaxy Trucker
So you like FTL? You love upgrading your ship, building your crew, and venturing through the stars, weathering whatever the galaxy has to throw at you? In Galaxy Trucker, you frantically piece together tiles with the aim of creating your ship, hauling cargo, and having the most money at the end of the game. Ship-building is done against the clock with players drawing (using their left hand only) from the same limited pool of face-down tiles. Galaxy Trucker is wonderfully simple, the building stage, essentially being 90% of the game. Once the time runs out, all players inspect each other’s creations to ensure each is ship shape and Bristol fashion. The inspection phase can be hilariously brutal as a single misplaced tile can lead to whole sections of your ship simply falling off.
Following inspection, the ships all depart on a journey to the next intergalactic truck stop. This is simulated by a resolving a sequence of event cards that could be anything from the opportunity to pick up cargo (to be sold for money later) or a ruinous meteor shower. Much like FTL, Galaxy Trucker is filled with moments of despair as your ship is torn asunder. However, Galaxy Trucker‘s rapid pace allows you to learn from your mistakes as each round you start from scratch, building a slightly bigger ship to face tougher challenges.
2if you like XCOM: Enemy Unknown – Try Imperial Assault
XCOM‘s game design bears a lot of similarity with board games, especially managing the XCOM base. I should point out that the XCOM board game actually exists, but that felt like too much of an obvious recommendation. Imperial Assault is a Star Wars game set after the events of A New Hope. Players take the role of rebel heroes in a struggle against the Empire (controlled by another player). Players must progress through a series of story and side missions that form the campaign, leveling and upgrading their heroes.
Much like XCOM, movement and coordinating your squad is crucial to victory. You’ll battle across varied locations from Endor-like forests to the harsh deserts of Tatooine (made from large sections that slot together like puzzle pieces). Take note that the Imperial player should be more of a Game Master than an antagonist. They should aim to give the plucky rebels a challenging but fun experience, rather than mercilessly stomping them into the ground.
3If you like This War of Mine – Try Dead of Winter
If you’re looking for something harrowing, bleak, and difficult, give Dead of Winter a try. Much like This War of Mine, you manage a colony of survivors. While This War of Mine tackles the very real topic of War and its innocent victims, Dead of Winter is set during a zombie apocalypse. But before you yawn and say “surely we’re done with the zombie by genre now?”, let me say that Dead of Winter is a truly brilliant game.
The game is about the people you control and their struggles to survive rather than hacking through zombies. Throughout the game, you will travel to locations, desperately search for supplies, hold back the zombie horde, resolve thematic ‘Crossroad’ events, and try and complete the main objective. To make things harder there is a chance one player is a traitor and actively working against the group. So, as the paranoia sets in and your characters begins to feel the gnawing hunger in their bellies, will you and your friends be able to survive the winter?
4If you like Until Dawn – Try Betrayal at House on the Hill
Eventually, it is revealed one of you is actually the traitor and you are all caught up in the plot one of the 50 different scenarios. Players must then defeat the traitor and escape the house. The game is filled with bizarre and terrifying surprises as the players either cautiously explore, try and desperately survive, or bring doom on their friends.
5If you like Civilization V – Try Twilight Imperium 3rd ed.
Twilight Imperium 3rd Edition (TI3) is a brilliant 4x game in board form. Like Civ games, TI3 can be pretty hefty in both depth and length. This is one to set aside a whole day for. You’ll take control of a unique faction/Civ with its own special abilities. Be warned, if you’re a player who prefers a peaceful path to victory you might not be able to avoid getting your hands dirty. Still, TI3 has more to it than galactic fleet battles. You can profit from trade, embargo players through politics, and discover new planets through exploration. When playing with the expansions these features are deepened even further.
The map is randomly built at the start of every game. Players are given a hand of hexagonal tiles which they place down around the central planet Mecatol Rex. Controlling this planet is invaluable to victory, but inevitably catalyses conflict. For Civ Players more inclined to warmongering, while there are no nukes available, you can build a “War Sun”. That’s right you can build what is effectively a death star; its power almost unrivalled by any other unit in the game. TI3 can seem daunting when you compare it’s large rulebook to Civ V’s relatively simple UI. But the system is surprisingly simple for such a rich game.
6If you like The Call of Duty Series – Try Cash $ Guns
Each round you count down and point your gun at another member of your gang. Thing is, it’s up to you whether or not your gun is loaded. You’ll hold a hand of eight cards, and choose one load into your gun with each round. But, out of eight cards, only 3 are actually bullets, the rest are blank. Once the guns are pointed, everyone has the opportunity to back out (are the guns pointed at you actually loaded?) before the triggers are pulled. Get it right you’ll get to share in the round’s loot. Get it wrong and you’ll take a wound (3 and you’re out).
Spice this gun stew with the role of ‘Godfather’ and you’re really cooking! Put down the controller and give this game a go. If you get tired of it, try printing out a new picture of a man holding a gun. Then stick it to the front of the box. That way you can pretend it’s a whole new game and these same components will last you a lifetime.