With so many games out there, how do you find a game that is a good fit for you and your friends/family? Read on to discover our 10 suggested games everyone should try.
Maybe you’ve been playing Clue, Sorry, and Uno all your life and decided you want to try something new. Maybe you’ve jumped into the newer age of games with Catan, Ticket to Ride, and Blokus, but want to keep exploring the world of games. Well my friend….it is overwhelming. The more I look into games the more overwhelmed I get.
For that very reason Nick and I have each compiled our list of 10 games everyone should try. There are dozens of categories of board games, so we couldn’t pick a game from each category, but we picked a wide range of games. If you try these games from our Top 10 Games Everyone Should Try, you will surely find a game that sparks your interest. And where do you go from there? That, my friend, is the first step into the rabbit hole. As you begin to find games that you just can’t stop playing, gaining an appetite to discover more games that you’ll love, we will be here to help guide and direct you to games that are similar to games you already know and love. You can even check out Nick’s most anticipated games or his current top 50 games!
Enough of the endless ramblings (an ongoing problem for me). Onto our list of Games Everyone Should Try. We labeled them with numbers for convenience sake, not to provide any type of ranking or order.
Kyle and Nick - Pandemic
They may not be universally loved, but everyone should at least try a cooperative game, and Pandemic is the one that has stood the test of time. It pits you and your friends against the game itself. Will you find a cure before time runs out and humanity is doomed? You may find that you prefer a bit more tension and competition between players, but you might just discover that you enjoy the experience and dynamics of working as a team.
KYLE – SUSHI GO PARTY!
An adorable game that is simple enough everyone can play, but interesting enough that few people will turn it down. Sushi Go Party introduces the mechanism of drafting – each player has cards in their hand, selects one card, and passes the rest onto their neighbor. And that is the game. You select and pass cards, with the goal of creating unique collections of Sushi. Different types of Sushi provide different point combinations. It is fast to learn and to play, and did I mention how adorable the little Sushi are? Go find out for yourself!
NICK – THE MIND
The Mind is less a structured game and more a thrilling experience with lots of tense and exciting moments. Super easy and entertaining to teach and introduce to others. Kudos to Wolfgang Warsch for creating such a brilliant and innovative activity!
This simple game throws out everything you’ve come to expect in a standard board or card game (strategic planning, calculated maneuvering, etc.) and boils down the fun to the purest essence of playing by gut feeling. Everyone must cooperate to play their hand of cards in ascending numerical order in increasingly harder rounds without communicating ever. The Mind is surprisingly basic, but you will be shocked by how addicting it is.
KYLE – DOMINION
A unique type of game called deck building. You are certainly accustomed to traditional card games with a center draw pile that each player gets to draw from. How about a game where each player creates their own “center draw pile” that only they get to draw from during the game? This is Dominion, the classic deck building game. This game has personally provided me with hours and hours of entertainement, and is a game everyone should try!
NICK – TIGRIS AND EUPHRATES
This classic was first published in 1997, but the design was so rock solid that it didn’t come with an expiration date and it has seen many reprints since! I’m not a huge fan of Chess, but that is perhaps the best thing to compare T&E to. The difference is that T&E is a 2-4 player civilization-building tile-laying game with a little bit of luck and a lot of hidden information thrown in to keep things interesting.
There is an astounding amount of cleverness and depth to be found within T&E. I’m still a complete novice to it, but there’s no denying that this game is legendary. It’s designs like this one that have influenced my strong preference toward games containing low-complexity rules with high-complexity consequences over games containing high-complexity rules with low-complexity consequences.
Kyle and Nick - Love Letter
What a bang for your buck! Love Letter is nothing more than 16 cards and a few red cubes, but boy can this game entertain. Love Letter lets you use your deductive skills to see if you can outwit your opponents by guessing which card they may have, or at the very least outplaying them by playing one of the 2 cards in your hand. The game plays in under 10 minutes, but it creates an amazing experience and is so simple to learn. This certainly is a game everyone should try, I’ve got a feeling you’re going to love it!
KYLE – DIXIT
Whether you love Apples to Apples due to its party-style fun or hate it due to its tiresome 2000’s popularity, we think Dixit might be the game for you. With gorgeous whimsical art (instead of bland words) and a cleverer scoring system, Dixit is the Apples to Apples killer for us.
One player is the “storyteller” each round who plays a secret dreamlike image from their hand while giving a clue that relates to this image. Next, all other players mix a card of their own among the storyteller’s image, and then the images are revealed and players must vote to determine which card is the storyteller’s. The catch is that the storyteller’s clue can be neither too hard nor too easy, as they only score points (along with the players who guess correctly) if only some but not all of the players vote their card.
If you want to try a cooperative version of Dixit, we also whole-heartedly recommend Mysterium!
NICK – WAVELENGTH
For me, Wavelength beats out other party classics including our very favorites (Decrypto, Codenames, Deception: Murder in Hong Kong, etc.) because of its consistent and simple one-two punch of memorable discussions and exciting reveals. To me, it earns a perfect 10/10, a score which I have never given a party game. Maybe 10 or 50 or 100 plays from now I’ll feel differently about it, but it’s genuinely hard to imagine myself enjoying it any less thanks to its tantalizingly endless possibilities.
This is the kind of production that the designers crafted with the end in mind. They knew that in order to get the most of out of the concept, they needed a device that allows approximative gut-feeling guesses for teammates and dramatically climactic reveals from the psychic. The device is a genius component worthy of Wolfgang Warsch’s brilliance.
KYLE – WACKEE SIX
Wackee Six is a game of speed, where you are trying to lay cards in ascending order in the center of the table…but everyone else is doing the same, so you have to be quick. Think Skip-Bo, but without turns. My mom loves it and my dad hates it. Are speed games for you? You’ll never know till you give one a try.
NICK – CONCORDIA
It still shocks me how short and simple the rule book is for this game. If elegance is a living being, then Concordia birthed it. Your deck of cards are used to their full potential in an impressive Eurotastic way. If you haven’t played this one before, you have no excuse not to.
I’m excited to see my design partner, Kyle, explore Concordia’s core hand-management mechanism in his blossoming family game design, Three Ring Circus. Concordia is the only game I’m very familiar with that has this satisfying hand-builder idea of adding multi-purpose cards into your hand and periodically up-taking your entire discard back into your hand to play again.
KYLE – TICKET TO RIDE
I’m hoping you have tried this game, but if not…try it. Now! Seriously! This is the game that got me to love board games. Ticket to Ride lets you collect cards and lay trains on a map, trying to connect cities and complete objectives. It is simple and elegant, and provides you the player to make interesting decisions every turn.
NICK – ARBORETUM
Arboretum may be as close to perfect as a card game can get. There are so many cards that you want to play but you need to keep, that you want to keep but you must discard, that you want to snatch up but you mustn’t stretch yourself too thin. For a game about pleasant trees, this one is as cutthroat as it gets.
It’s games like Arboretum that have shaped my personal design preferences toward streamlined, tense, interactive experiences that I hope capture and share with others.
KYLE – COVER YOUR ASSETS
Take That! That is the type of experience you are having as you sit to play Cover Your Assets. And that isn’t for everyone, some people just want to play nice and don’t want to steal cards from another player. And others love nothing more than meniacally laughing as they steal the assets, or cards, of another player. You may find that you like to play fair and not hurt any feelings. But you may find that you like the playful banter and competition that Take That games have to offer, and Cover Your Assets is a game everyone should try to decide for themselves.
NICK – CROKINOLE
I have never played Crokinole before I asked for a Tracey board this past Christmas. After watching Quinns’ excellent SU&SD review of the game, I knew that this one was right up my alley and so I took the plunge.
Crokinole is without a doubt one of the sexiest games in existence. From the flicking and gliding to the ricochet clacking to the strategic positioning and jaw-dropping maneuvers… this is as supple as it gets. If there is any game in my collection that I will be playing until the day I die, it will surely be Crokinole.
KYLE – WELCOME TO…
Usually in a game you get mad cause you didn’t pick the right card and your neighbor did, right? No fair!!! Well, in Welcome To each player has a piece of paper showing a neighborhood. You will write house numbers on the houses to form a nice neighborhood. Is this sounding boring? It’s not! Just stick with me. 3 cards are laid out on the table, and each player selects one of the numbers to use and writes it on their paper. Each player has the same cards to choose from throughout the game so there is no “I didn’t get the right card.” Everyone had the same cards. This is called a “Roll and Write” game, and is certainly a style of game everyone should try.
NICK – EL GRANDE
El Grande is the Grand Daddy of area control games, and its buttery smooth gameplay hasn’t aged a day. It is an intense game that I can get almost any group fully invested in. We haven’t even touched the included expansions yet as the base game continues to satisfy. Area Control games have quickly become one of my absolute favorite mechanisms, and El Grande is the epitome of why.
Kyle and Nick - Azul
This list isn’t ranked, but if it were then Azul would be at the top! This is certainly a game everyone should try. In Azul you will take turns selecting tiles from a center pile and playing them in front of you on a player mat. But the order and timing of where and when you play these tiles will make all the difference in scoring big…or barely scoring at all. It is a fun game with tough decisions each round. You will want to play it again as soon as you’ve tried it for your first time.