We all think we know board games. After all, most people have quite a few of them gathering dust in a cupboard somewhere. But the relationship between mankind and board games is truly ancient. There are board games well over 5000 years old. Some of them we even play to this day. Backgammon, for example, is from around that time.
There was a golden age of board games about a century ago, and for much of the 20th century board games were the premier indoor form of entertainment. Then we got stuff like TV and, eventually, video games, which meant that young and old now had a different form of distraction.
Things have changed in the last two decades. People have rediscovered board games and now there are hundreds of unique games to choose from.
What Counts as a Board Game?
Before I talk about what’s included in this section of the website, let’s stop for a moment and define the sorts of games that will be included here. While you might have a clear idea of what counts as a board game in your head, it might not match the common definition of the game type. There are lots of games that can look like a board game, but don’t really count – especially games in the miniature wargame world.
To qualify as a board game, the game has to have a pre-marked board. Think Snakes and Ladders or Monopoly. In addition to the pre-marked board, you also need counters to represent various things in the game. The little race car in Monopoly is a counter and just so you know, I always have dibs on it.
If a game has those two key aspects, then it qualifies to go under this category.
Getting to Know The Boards
Although all board games share those two core features, they come in an almost infinite number of varieties. This is one of the reasons they have so much staying power. Any setting, any narrative, and all sorts amazing and funky designs – there’s at least one board game for every person out there. At least that’s what I’d like to think.
Although there’s plenty of diversity in the design of board games, they do break down into broad categories. In fact, there are several genres of board games, which I discuss in an article dedicated to that topic.
Making Your Own Way
While playing board games is a brilliant pastime, some people go one step further. Thanks to technologies like 3D printing and cheap access to design software, more and more people are designing their own board games. Think it’s hard? Well, I had a look at what’s involved and put together an article on how you can design your own board game.
Finding the Right Play
So, given that we can all agree board games kick serious butt the next question is, of course, which games should you go out and try? Lucky for you, I’ve put together a number of recommendations to make the hunt a little easier.
Just because you’re (presumably) all grown up, it doesn’t mean you want to go straight for the hardcore, complex games your local tabletop nerd is always raving about. Simple and elegant board games are probably a better place to start for most people, so check out my recommended basic board games that are suitable for just about anyone.
On the other hand, maybe you are up for something hard on the old noggin, so I have also dutifully tried to find some of the most hardcore games. These are not for the faint-hearted.
Readers with families might have noticed that modern kids spend all their time with their noses glued to something electronic. However, there are plenty of board games that can entice children over to the analog entertainments. Have a look at my list of board games for kids and see if you can’t hook some of the little suckers.
Although, those same kids might have a good point. There are excellent digital board games too these days, perfect to tide you over until you can get your hands on some real cardboard.