So a friend on Facebook had a great question for us this weekend – We are wanting to branch out and get some board games as we realised over the Christmas period that we have nothing. Any suggestions on some good starter games?
What a great way to start the new year than to recommend great gateway games for those new to gaming! So without further ado, in no particular order, Board Together’s top 10 games we think would be great for any collection. (with a slight bias towards Nicola who asked the question 😎)
1 – Ticket To Ride
This would be the game Mike used to get me into the hobby! We enjoy playing Ticket To Ride to this day. In fact we are responsible for quite a few sales of this game. There is a lot of joy in playing it with non/new gamers and seeing them go straight to Amazon to purchase a copy once the game has ended!! It is a super simple game to learn, you collect train cards to place your tokens on the map from one station to another. However, that moment you complete tickets is awesome yet balanced by the despair of someone taking the perfect track and you have to go alllllll the way around the map to complete a route. Great times!
2 – Pass The Pigs
Another fave in our house. Introduced to us by Tamz parents this is a oldie but a goodie. You roll the piggies and depending on how they land you can score points. This is a push your luck game, so you can roll as many times as you like – the moment the pigs roll one with a spot, one without, you loose all points accumulated that turn. It gets tense at times – do you roll? Do you stick? People get egged on in the hopes they fail and the trash talk gets super fun.
This game can be found in W H Smith, especially service stations. In the summer they even sell an inflatable version!
3 – Codenames
So, straight off the bat I should own up Mike and I have yet to play this game. 😱 Oh we own it, it even gets dragged to numerous games nights. Somehow it never sees the gaming table. Do not let this put you off. It is a Spiel Des Jahres winning game. It gets a LOT of love from those who have played it. It became an instant classic party game. (Nicola, if none of that tickles your fancy I know what will – there is a Disney version!!!!)
Description straight from BGG –
Two rival spymasters know the secret identities of 25 agents. Their teammates know the agents only by their CODENAMES.
In Codenames, two teams compete to see who can make contact with all of their agents first. Spymasters give one-word clues that can point to multiple words on the board. Their teammates try to guess words of the right color while avoiding those that belong to the opposing team. And everyone wants to avoid the assassin.
4 – Forbidden Island
(aww, Buddy, we miss ya)
Not all gaming is about beating other players. This is a great co-op game. Now most gamers will recommend Pandemic. And yes you should give that a look, however this one is just as good. You compete as a team to explore an island, collect all the artifacts and get off by helicopter before the island sinks. Sound simple, yet this is a little bugger of a game to beat. It may take quite a few attempts, but when you win it is super worth it. You will feel like a super hero!!
5 – Dobble
This would be a super simple game and great for crowds of people. Effectively an updated version of snap. You match symbols to either collect of discard cards. With various different rules you can play many different ways. Great for a party and little ones could be included if the adults are not too competitive!
6 – Lanterns
A lovely peaceful game with pretty artwork. The object is to lay down tiles in order to collect various colored lanterns. These lanterns are then handed in to score points. A great one for couples to play on quiet nights.
7 – Geistes Blitz
Now, be warned, this could be a dangerous game in the wrong hands. My mother for example! The idea of the game is to look at cards and grab items depending on what the cards say. Best explanation is, you either grab what it is or grab what it isn’t. This may sound confusing, however you will get to grips with it super quick. Before long you will be swiping the tokens off the table and scratching/punching/pushing other players out the way to win!
8 – Love Letter
Another classic game. It takes deduction to work out who everyone is playing and if you name them you eliminate them from the round. At the end of a round person with the highest ranked card wins a token. First person to score enough tokens wins. Best thing about this game is the number of themes. If you like Batman, The Hobbit or even Christmas there is a version for you. These days there is even a big box that can accommodate 8 players instead of the usual 4, making it another great party game. My fave part has always been asking Mike if he is a princess!!
9 – Formula D
OK, you got me, this one really is dedicated to Nicola. We happen to both be massive fans of F1 thanks to her dad! So this is a great way to simulate those awesome races. Great thing is the base game comes with the Monaco track. There are other maps available if you get bored of the same race. Not that you will. The object of this game is to roll a dice to decide how far you will move. These dice relate to what gear you are in, the higher the gear the higher the numbers on the dice. Great you think, slam through the gears and get a-racing. Hold your horses, the map depicts how many times you need to stop on corners and if you go over damage is done to your car. So there is a great balance between which gear you should be in and luck of the roll. The amount of times cars have blown up in flames due to crap rolls and missed corners is awesome. Formula D is another game with different rules. If you get bored of one way to play you can change it up and push yourself to more complicated options.
10 – First Orchard
Nicola has little ones, and there is no way I would let the boys miss out on some gaming! First Orchard is for two year olds and over. We got this game for our little Godson and spent a lot of time researching what makes it a great game. What sold it to us was the number of parents who said it was a game they could play with their kids and not want to murder someone by the end! Too many kids games are simple and repetitive and just down right awful to play as an adult. Not so with this. The aim is to roll a dice and collect all the fruit into your basket before the crow gets into the orchard. Kids can play it solo or with others – great to teach turn order and matching symbols to objects. Big bonus, this is a Haba game. So it is made from beautiful wooden pieces.
There we go. 10 great games to start your collection this year. Have we missed any, what games would you recommend? Let us know in the comments below.
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