Like every God-loving American with children we have developed a deep and passionate love for board games. If you don’t share the same affection for board games, here’s a video to get you on the straight and narrow. Other than being a pretty great time, I think our love is derived from our desire to have human contact, adult human contact.
In all honesty, I’m actually bummed we didn’t discover this home-based hobby until a little later in our marriage. Many of these games are fun at any stage of life. If you’re single, what a great way to meet chicks (or dudes). If you’re married, without kids, what a great way to save some cash on a date night have some people over to the house for some grub and brew. If you’re old, what a great way to be old.
For us, we discovered this world outside of Monopoly and Clue during a trip to Dallas to see some friends. My dear, home-schooled, friend brought out the most home-school looking games I have ever seen, Settlers of Catan. Long story short, my pessimism was met with an unbelievably awesome time and we scooped up the game off Amazon later that night.
Since then, our narrow-minded worldview on board games has opened our eyes to tons of games you’ve probably never heard of, but there are nerdy families, and just plain nerds, getting their game on and having a great time. So, here’s a list of a few games we have discovered and belong in your game closet on into 2016 and beyond:
1. Settlers of Catan – Cat’s out of the bag and not just homeschooled Christians are
playing this anymore. Settlers boasts a great balance of strategy and luck. Plenty of room to be conniving and ruin family holidays, too. Once you get rolling, you can zip through a full game in less than a half hour. The downside, setup is a pretty exhausting, 7-10 minute process.
Main Pros: Epitomizes good Christian fun, offers a glimpse into the life of a homeschooler, strategies can be developed/changed throughout the game, touches on what we love about Monopoly without requiring a painstaking time investment
Buy here for $44.08. A little bit pricey, I know, but this is the world we live in. If you are going to enjoy yourself, it is going to cost you a C-Note by the time it’s all said and done.
2. Exploding Kittens – Found this game while perusing a news outlet during my deployment. Apparently a few video game knuckleheads came together to build a ridiculous card game and gambled on the fact that others may share in their affinity for explosions and kittens and laser beams and banter.
They launched their game on Kickstarter and had one of the most successful campaigns of all time. Welp, now it’s at Target and of course, Amazon. It takes 2 minutes to learn and each exciting game takes about 8-10 minutes and culminates with every player, except one, succumbing to explosive wielding kittens.
Main Pros: Quick to learn, understood by the most novice of players, quick to play, primed for tons of great house rules, can be played anywhere, it’s only a deck of cards
Buy here for $20. The nerve they have to charge 20 bananas for a card game with only 48 cards. Worth it.
3. Ticket to Ride – This one requires a little bit more investment of time, about an hour. Once again, strategy plays a role but it doesn’t require too much brain power. Just figure out how to connect your little plastic trains from one American city to another American city. Another thing I like, there is a lot less “chance” in this game than in most others. Pick a strategy, apply it, and win…or lose.
Main Pros: Quick to learn, multiple different winning strategies, easy to set up, fun looking game board
Buy here for $32.99 . Should also be able to scoop this one at Target.
4. Carcassonne – Brought to us be the creators of Settlers, Carcassonne is at least a dozen Nerd-Levels higher than most are willing to go. Love the strategy involved in this game. Unlike any game I’ve ever played before. I learned this one during my six months in Qatar and haven’t had a chance to bring it to the family game table, but it’s coming and I can’t wait for the fights it will start:)
Main Pros: Unpredictable outcomes, unpredictable game board, best strategy wins, you can really mess with the other players, game is very mobile
5. Bang! – You’re going to love or hate this one. It’s about a 70/30 ratio in favor of
love. This card game has a spaghetti Western theme and is presented in the way Italians perceive it. Every new game assigns different roles (Sheriff, Deputy, Outlaw, or Renegade) to the players (3-7 players) and their character (with names like Willy the Kid, Vulture Sam, and Turd Ferguson) offers special abilities to accomplish an assigned task. This one takes a couple rounds to really get a feel for it, but once everyone at the table knows what’s going it, it flows fast and is a great time.
Main Pros: Great party game, the game completely changes based on your character and role, one of my favorites
Buy here for $19.99. Only dabbled with a few of the expansions, but so far so good.
What games did I miss? Which games are a must for family game nights or you invite a few couples over for some cheap wine and board games?