As someone who owns more than ten games, I may not be the best person to level with someone on the fence about entering the field. That doesn’t mean I can’t give some good perspective. I once too owned no board games and know some good places to start. This list should give you a sampling of everything board games have to offer. If you have a taste for anything, there are many places to go from here. This is the list of the 10 games to start your board game collection.
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#10 | Terraforming Mars
Rounding out the bottom spot on the list of the games to start your board game collection is a game about Mars. This is the intense one on the list, a game could take 2+ hours. This is an epic engine-building game. You are a corporation whose job it is to make Mars a groovy place. There is a lot to do, get power and oxygen and take on projects and all sorts of stuff. You are not taking on an easy task, it takes some time. This is a great game for getting your feet wet on a game that takes place on such a large scale. Everything else on this list is pretty quick and light, but this is very heavy, in a good way though.
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#09 | King of Tokyo
King of Tokyo is a king of the hill dice game with monsters. Each urn you roll five six-sided dice with 1, 2, 3, heart, attack, energy. You get three rolls to save what dice you want. You are either the one person in Tokyo getting victory points or you are outside trying to get in. Depending on what you roll, stuff happens and it is either about getting to 20 victory points or taking everyone else out. It is a game that will have you turning against one another in no time, but up against the cartoonish fun-loving theme that contains monsters like Godzilla. A good dice game and good example of all-out war against one another. And not in a picking on someone way, that player chose to take Tokyo so if they can’t take the heat that is on them.
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#08 | Pandemic: Legacy
This is a great “campaign” game meaning that your actions from one game continue onto future games and you are usually fighting to complete various missions. This one is no different and all about a major disease breaking out and you and a crack team of scientists and other professionals to take it down. There are lots of campaigners out there but this one is manageable and it also gives you a taste of “cooperative” board games. Games don’t have to be everyone against each other, there are lots of titles out there where it is the group against the game.
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#07 | What Do You Meme
This is the first party game on the list and is here because anyone can jump in for a fun casual game that is for everyone. In what do you meme, people take turns putting up an interesting image and people have to use text cards to choose a caption for that image. Whatever is funniest wins the point for the round. It is very much like cards against humanity but gets the edge because it is a bit safer for more groups to play together. Rounds are quick and you can set the parameters of how big of a game you want to play. You could swap Cards Against Humanity in this spot on the list of games to start your board game collection but Meme appeals to a wider audience.
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#06 | Settlers of Catan
This game is one of the newer classics and a staple of strategy gameplay. One of the most nefarious gateways to board gaming is Catan. It is incredibly simple to learn but hard to master. You have countless roads to victory and on top of that, you have to interact with the other players quite a bit so there is a lot going on. In this game, you strategically place villages in areas to get resources, then you manage those resources to build more stuff. Trust me it is more fun than you could ever imagine. This was an absolute must for the list of games to start your board game collection, it is an icon.
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#05 | Welcome To
This game is Yahtzee for the new generation. This game is in the “roll-n-write” genre which is a game where everyone gets a sheet and each turn marks down a decision (like Yahtzee). In this version, you build your own town equipped with different neighborhoods, pools, parks and more. This game is incredibly versatile in that a game takes only about 15 minutes and 1 – 100 players can play in a game, but that doesn’t make it any less fun. This game is casual but could get very competitive if that is where the players want to take it. Fit for all ages.
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#04 | Clank!
This is our entry into the popular deck-building genre but with some other stuff going on like dungeon diving. If you really like the deck-building genre you should move onto the game Dominion, but this is a good start point. The idea is that you start with little and “buy” cards to add to your stack, continuously re-drawing and getting stronger. In Clank! you have to enter a dungeon (board portion of the game) and steal an artifact before a dragon wakes up. The “Clank” is the noise you make and nothing to do with the video game. This is a lot of fun for many reasons and games are quick and reasonable. It may shock people that this is on the list of games to start your board game collection, but it ticks all the boxes.
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#03 | Ticket To Ride
Ticket to Ride is a little more accessible and feels more like a Hasbro monopoly type game than the euro-strategy gem it is. With some others on this list of games to start your board game collection you may be thinking “that seems all dungeon and dragons like and is too intense for me” but not this one. It is very simple, you are looking at America (there are other versions as well) and it is split into a massive mixture of different color train routes. Using route cards you collect, you have to build a route from point A to point B that secretly only you know about. It is very simple to play and fun for the whole family.
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#02 | Carcassonne
This is probably the simplest game on the list of games to start your board game collection, there are only two rules, place and tile in a way that makes sense and choose to place a figure on that tile or not. In Carcassonne, the strategy game named after the French village, you build out a board instead of starting with a constructed one. Tiles have features like pieces of roads and castles, you have to put them out in a way that is going to let you claim finished areas and get the most points. It is a very fun and satisfying strategy game.
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#01 | Codenames: Pictures
This is the second big party game on the list of games to start your board game collection, and probably one of the best in existence. I have never seen any big group having more fun playing a game than I have with Codenames. A group of at least 4 splits into a red and blue team. You are spies and need to pull your agents from the field. One team member from each team gets a decoder with the location of the agents and they need to give their teammates one-word clues to pick out as many of the correct cards as possible. It is very simple but can get very wild. The pictures edition is the way to go because it crosses language lines and spurs the imagination more.