A Thousand Words: Board games are so much more (fun) than you think

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While the concept of “game nights” are a staple on the collective list of group activities, the vast—and vastly magical—world of board game possibilities remain largely unplumbed by most.

There’s only so many times you can lead a little metal shoe (or hat, car, dog, etc.) around a board while trying to avoid jail and/or bankruptcy before Monopoly starts to get a little stagnant.

The following five games are a few great examples, representing just a small sampling of the nearly endless collection of board games out there.

Tokaido

(Photo by Jesse Kuenzel)

 

 

 

1. Tokaido, 2-5 players.
Players inhabit the role of travelers in Japan. While on your three-day journey across the “East Sea Road” you will make new friends, sample fine cuisine, leave offerings for your patron god or goddess at the local temple, relax in hot springs in the company of some wild monkeys, and capture the stunning scenery in beautiful paintings. This game is beautiful, relaxing, and yet still competitive enough to keep you interested. Who will have the most interesting journey?

 

 

 

Qwirkle

(Photo by Jessie Kuenzel)

 

 

2. Qwirkle, 2-4 players.
It’s like Scrabble, but without the letters, without the spelling, and without the board. Qwirkle is an abstract tile laying game where players attempt to match colors or shapes to gain points. It’s easy to learn, fun to play, and perfect for when you’re looking for a game that will engage you mentally, but not in the mood to spend all night wracking your brains for seven letter words that you can spell with the letters “B, J, Q, O, A, E, and X.”

 

 

 

Pandemic

(Photo by Jessie Kuenzel)

 

3. Pandemic, 1-4 players.
You and your teammates are disease-fighting specialists in a world overrun with…well…disease. Travel around the world fighting infection, building researching stations, and ultimately curing the four diseases that have infected the globe. Will you succeed, or will you allow the world to be overtaken by the pandemic?

 

 

 

Betrayal at House on the Hill

(Photo by Jessie Kuenzel)

4. Betrayal at House on the Hill, 3-6 players.
You and your terminally curious teammates are exploring the haunted mansion that sits on the hill. The house grows as you explore, room by room, and try not to awaken the monsters that lurk within. Who will be the unlucky one who inevitably betrays the group as they succumb to the evil influences of the house? Try to survive the monsters, traitors, and escape with your sanity in tact. This game is the perfect combination of co-operative and competitive play, and has a stellar theme that comes through with every turn.

 

Castle Panic

(Photo by Jessie Kuenzel)

 

5. Castle Panic, 1-6 players.
Protect your castle from the forest filled with monsters bent on destroying your humble abode. Players must work together to defend their castle and survive the seemingly unending swell of monsters. In this light strategy game you will lose, often, but losing has never been more fun, and when you and your team finally do win it will be all the more sweet for your many defeats.