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Ticket to Ride

Getting Started with Board Games

There is a lot more to board gaming than Monopoly, Scrabble, Snakes and Ladders, Trivial Pursuit and Chess. Those games have been around a long time and are probably first on your mind when someone mentions board games. A lot of people will have likely played some as a kid and a combination of familiarity and nostalgia causes people to buy them again as adults. Alternatively they may have put you off board games entirely.

The world of board games (or tabletop games) has evolved a lot over the years and is currently under a resurgence. More modern games have had more thought put into their design giving a better experience. There are also many many choices for practically any occasion and group of players. This isn’t to say you can’t have fun and enjoy older games, there is just a lot more out there for you to experience and perhaps, like myself and others, enjoy even more.

If I asked you who you thought board games were aimed at, a common response would be kids and / or families. Board games can make a great bonding and social experience for families and a fun way to also help kids learn. However most games aimed at kids don’t provide a very fulfilling time for adults as well. There are some fantastic family game options available now which you have a good time with children but also work extremely well when played with a couple or a small group of adults.

The best example of this is the Ticket to Ride series of games. Players compete to collect sets of coloured cards and then trade them in to claim corresponding coloured sections on a map, to complete a route card they get issued at the start. Everyone plays to the end, so no one gets knocked out early and is left waiting for the game to finish. Everyone gets to complete one of their routes, so even if you don’t win kids can still feel that they’ve achieved something. It’s really easy to teach and there is enough strategy in the game to making it fun amongst adults. If there is one game every household should have, this is it! Forget Monopoly, this game is adaptable to the widest groups of players that everyone can enjoy playing it.

Moving beyond games that are great for families to have there are many other categories of games that let you cater for nearly any occasion. There are quick filler games, usually simple to play with a shorter playing time. Party games that again have simple rules but scale up for larger groups of people. There are games that you can play solo if you’ve not got anyone else around. Dexterity games that usually have a more physical element which may require some skill. More recently co-op games have been really popular where you all work as a team against the game. There are games that require you to attack and really compete against the other players. Strategy games which look to minimise luck and can vary in play time. Simultaneous action games where everyone takes their turns at the same time. Wargames which are usually quite in depth strategic games and many more.

Games now have a wide variety of different mechanisms which you may not have experienced before. There is the familiar roll and move like Snakes and Ladders, auctions like in Monopoly, different types of card games, worker placement where you take turns putting your pieces in various spots on the board, role selection games where you take turns picking different abilities, tile laying games, area control, set collection and again many more. A lot of games now also factor in replayability and have options that makes each game slightly different from the last which makes playing the same game again and again less likely to get repetitive and perhaps boring. Small World is a great example of this with many different races which combine with many different powers. They are randomly paired every game and you rarely use them all in each game, keeping the game fresh and requiring different strategies every time.

This is a brief overview to encourage you to dip your toe in the deep waters that is the tabletop gaming hobby. I encourage you to explore the site and keep coming back to find out more as I help guide you to the best games for either yourself, or for great gifts for friends and loved ones.

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