10 Best Board Games | December 2016

10 Best Board Games
Best Mid-Range
★★★
Best High-End
★★★★★
Best Inexpensive
★★★
We spent 35 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. For the long winter night, quick lunch with a colleague, or time spent with children, there is a board game for any occasion, and we have found the best options for all of them. From classic board games with a modern twist, to new addictive games that nobody seems able to put down, you will find the entertainment you are looking for. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best board game on Amazon.
10
Perhaps the best thing about the Scrabble Deluxe Edition is that it's as much fun with two players as with three or four, plus it's a great way to help you build your vocabulary. This set comes with a deluxe carrying case for easy storage.
  • rotating board makes game play easy
  • non-slip grid keeps tiles in place
  • board doesn't lock together well
Brand Hasbro
Model A8769
Weight 3.4 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
9
The Trademark Games Trio gives you three games for the price of one, and it includes all the playing pieces you need. The entire set has a high-quality wood construction, and it can fold in half for practical and convenient storage.
  • carved in handle for easy carrying
  • strong magnets hold the case closed
  • pieces tend to slide on the board
Brand Trademark Games
Model 12-2157
Weight 4 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0
8
Asmodee Concept is an engaging game that is fun for the whole family. It prompts you to use your creativity and imagination to solve the riddles from the visual clues. The diverse and fun icons range wildly from ancient samurai to Leonardo DiCaprio.
  • easy to learn the rules
  • fun to play without keeping score
  • no real strategy involved
Brand Asmodee
Model CONCO1
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
7
Monopoly Mega Edition is a modern spin on the time-tested classic that attempts to speed the game up. The game board is 50 percent larger than standard Monopoly boards, and this set features new skyscrapers and depots to match the new thousand dollar bills.
  • buildings and big rents come fast
  • helps to develop math skills
  • games still take a long time
Brand Winning Moves Games
Model 1104
Weight 3.2 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
6
The Game for Fame is one of the few board games that takes a good party and makes it great. It is designed for adults and has no complicated rules or boring instructions. You just get into teams, pick up a Money Maker card and start the fight for fame and fortune.
  • hilarious and original challenges
  • can also be played by teenagers
  • almost always ends with laughs
Brand Banter Board Games
Model pending
Weight 2.3 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
5
Ticket To Ride can be played by two people or as many as five, and it's always just as much fun and as challenging. It has tons of replay value with no two games being the same. The goal is to see the most American cities on a 7-day, cross-country train ride.
  • requires shrewd planning
  • fast games take up half an hour
  • many already know how to play
Brand Days of Wonder
Model DOW 7201
Weight 3 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
4
When it came out several years ago, The Settlers of Catan became an instant classic. They are now on their 5th edition, which features new graphics, board and cards. It's a challenging, rewarding, and fun game that takes about 60 minutes to complete.
  • can play it over and over
  • attractive and artistic board
  • won the game of the century award
Brand Mayfair Games
Model MFG 3071
Weight 2.5 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
3
If you need a game that is just as much fun with two players as it is for a small group, you need Marc Andre's Splendor. Enjoy a simple two-page rulebook that will allow you to get up and running quickly, while the advanced strategy and gameplay develops on its own.
  • core strategy is based on economics
  • never slows from start to finish
  • beautiful art and high quality cards
Brand Asmodee
Model SCSPL01
Weight 2.3 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0
2
If you want a board game that you will not be able to put down, look no further than 7 Wonders, which provides players of all skill levels with an enjoyable experience and does not require hours of time. There is no clear winner early in the game, so nobody wants to quit.
  • games take less than one hour
  • detailed and relevant art
  • long-lasting appeal
Brand Asmodee
Model SEV-EN01ASM
Weight 3.1 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0
1
It's one of the most popular shows on TV and will soon probably be one of the most popular board games. A Game of Thrones allows 3-6 players to take command of the Great Houses of Westeros, and draws them into a war-torn world of sun-scorched sands and lush forests.
  • includes clear and detailed rules
  • attractive marbled plastic figures
  • takes a lot of strategy to win
Brand Fantasy Flight Games
Model VA65
Weight 4.8 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

Bonding On the Board

Whenever the clouds roll in on a summer's day, when the power suddenly goes out and you have nothing but candlelight to entertain you, when there's a sleepy afternoon with nothing looming and a few friends or family members together in good spirits, we inevitably reach for a board game.

The idea behind them is supremely simple. You have a surface on which representative talismans move, explore, battle, or befriend one another. Sometimes the talismans are neglected in favor of a pair of dice and a few strategically positioned tokens. Whatever the precise rules and the precise pieces, a board game elevates your presence with your friends and family.

If you look closely at board games ranging from the most mentally taxing (chess, Monopoly, Scrabble, etc.) to the simplest and least intellectually challenging (checkers, Settlers of Catan, etc.) all of them have lurking beneath the surface a structure that encourages community. There's no time limit to your turn in Monopoly, for example, so you can spend all day on a single game, chatting, cooking, and relaxing all the while with the people you love.

Catan, a much shorter game, actually encourages tremendous amounts of hilarious and, at times, cutthroat negotiations over the raw materials needed to build a farm, a town, or a city, and its gameplay times out to fit a brief escape from the day or to stretch on in a marathon session of games.

The most important thing about these games is that, unless you go and add a consequence for the loser more tragic than having to clean up once the game is done, there really aren't any stakes. You're free to compete at whatever level suits you, and those little moments when your competitive edge flourishes, or your preference to see your friends and family succeed even at a small cost to you will bring the lot of you closer together than you ever could have imagined.

Prepare For The Players

If you want to have a successful experience with a board game, one in which everyone at the table–winners and losers alike–is satisfied, you've got to know your audience. The worst thing you can do to kill a night of revelry is whip out the wrong board game and tax everyone's joy. Even if it's one that you love, you aren't going to play these things alone, so you'd better have a good collection of games at hand.

One of the best things about looking through our list is that the purchase of one board game here rated does not preclude you from the purchase of another. You could get your hands on all of them and use them with different friends or family members depending on their tastes and the mood of the room.

Odds are, however, that you're going to grab one or two off of this list to start, so we've got to narrow it down, and before you even think about evaluating the personality types coming into your game space, you have to know how many personalities you're dealing with.

For example, if you've invited five people over for a game night, chess and checkers (consummate two-player games) won't exactly fit the bill. Similarly, games like Monopoly or Settlers of Catan are decidedly less fun with fewer people. Get a bead on the average size of your playing crowd to figure out the scope of the games you should pick up.

After that, it's all a question of taste. I'm a huge fan of strategy games that allow for alliances between and among players, complete with the opportunity for timely betrayals and a little bit of playacting. These games tend to take a lot longer, though, so if you've got kids of friends with short attention spans, you might not get to finish what you started.

There's a good chance that you've played a game or two already with the people who are most likely to join you on this new board, so take a moment to think about who they are, how they act, and the environment in which you can best them.

The Board Goes Way Back

A lot of board games come with very poorly written instructions, no instructions at all, or instructions so complicated and convoluted as to make the preparations to play the game outlast the game itself. But board games are older than history, which means they're older than writing. So, really, not having written instructions on how to play a game is all part of the tradition.

One of the earliest prehistoric games is called Senet, and evidence of it dates back to Predynastic Egypt c. 3500 BCE. Other ancient games like Mehen (also Egyptian) or Go, from China, date back a similar number of years.

Millennia later, in the United States, games based on Christian morality hit the scene with titles like The Mansion of Happiness or The Siege of the Stronghold of Satan by the Christian Army. This was back in the middle of the 19th century, when advances in agricultural technologies and techniques allowed for an increase in leisure time among the fledgling middle class.

Toward the end of the 19th century, the middle class in America exploded for the first time, and, so, too, did the board game industry, with rags-to-riches titles like The Game of the District Messenger Boy and Monopoly. The popularity of these games remained a constant hum beneath the breadth of leisure activities in the country until rather recently. Since the 1990s, in particular, the board game industry has seen unprecedented growth from exciting new titles and crowdfunded hits, and the numbers continue to rise.



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Last updated on December 15, 2016 by multiple members of the ezvid wiki editorial staff

Our professional staff of writers and researchers have been creating authoritative product recommendations and reviews since 2011. Many of our wikis require expert maintenance, and are authored by individual members of our editorial staff. However, this wiki is currently maintained by multiple members of the ezvid wiki team.


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