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Classic Games (Games) Entertainment

Fun Tabletop Games? 583

Mr. Ghost asks: "My friends and I have recently been in the market for a good new boardgame or other tabletop game. We have worked through the gamut of games like Axis & Allies, Supremacy, and War! Age of Imperialism. More recently we have been playing tile based games like Carcasonne and Settlers of Catan. I am looking for some suggestions on some new games we could get into."
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Fun Tabletop Games?

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  • civilization (Score:4, Informative)

    by zal ( 553 ) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @09:06AM (#11851696)
    i can higly recommend the civilization boardgame
    • Re:civilization (Score:3, Informative)

      by bhorling ( 42813 )
      I concur with the original poster. To be clear, this is the Avalon Hill version of Civilization, which was the inspiration for the more widely known computer version by Sid Meier's. The board game is long out of print, but you can sometimes find copies of it on ebay. There's also a European version made by Gibsons Games, which is very similar to the AH version.
      • Re:civilization (Score:5, Informative)

        by Lord Satri ( 609291 ) <alexandreleroux@ ... minus poet> on Saturday March 05, 2005 @11:23AM (#11852320) Homepage Journal
        Civilization (Avalon Hill) is really the only boardgame I'll play with my limited time redirected to games (with some Go). Here's why:

        - Almost no luck at all involved, yes this is important
        - It is not exponential: the more you lose, the more the game mechanics makes you win, the more you win, the more the game makes you lose. So you have to be wise in balancing your civilization and adapt yourself to other player's styles
        -You can win without fighting, playing peacefully, you can win through religion, of course you can with with force, etc. There is plenty ways to manage your civilization and they can all be good.

        Only cons is that it is a long game, 7-10 hours. It almost can't be found anymore. Like another poster said, Civ Adv is 200$+ on eBay!!

        Also: bu sure to play Civilization Advanced, since the "advanced" fixes important flaws of the game and is way improved. ...happy gaming ! :-)

    • Age of Renaissance (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Sweetshark ( 696449 ) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @09:28AM (#11851801)
      Age of Renaissance is even better. Its like a improved version of Civilisation. []
      • by jkroll ( 32063 )
        I strongly concur with the recommendation of Age of Renaissance. It is an excellent multi-player game. Even better, it actually plays well with 3-6 players. You don't need to fill out all the factions to have a good game. Most multi-player games fall short if you don't have the maximum number of players.
    • by skogs ( 628589 )
      I know it isn't the most glamorous game available, but really, the game of Sorry can be extremely fun. Its quick, simple rules, and intense competition. You get to regularly sacrifice the good of your own guys, just to kill the guy of your adversary and keep him from winning.

      Must ask yourself this: Do I want to win more than I want the other guy to lose?

    • by Fallen Kell ( 165468 ) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @11:45AM (#11852440)
      If you have a hard time finding the game (and you will since it is no longer being made), I would go check out [].

      Even before you buy the game if you manage to find it, the above site will give you an idea about it and help out with expansions and rule changes for the better of the game. They have done a HECK of a lot of work on continuing the development of the game, adding comodities, calamities, technologies, expanding the board, adding more players, rule changes, etc., which all create an even more interesting game.

      I will say this, if you can not get the Advanced Civilization expansion set, the game is not NEARLY as good. But this is what makes it so hard to find. The regular Civilization game shows up on Ebay about 1-2 times a week and usually goes for around $80 depending on condition. However, Advanced Civ only shows up 1-2 times a month and goes for between $100-200 depending on condition. That is a lot of money to spend on a game if you are not sure you like it. I was lucky enough to play it about a year after it stopped being in production and absolutly loved the game. I was also lucky enough to actually find a store which still had it in stock (I called up every game store I could find, and found a place 80 miles away which still had it, they held it for me and I bought them, if I recall for their retail price of between $35-40 each, which is an absolute bargain now).

      Another GREAT game is Republic of Rome also by Avalon Hill. Again, this is also no longer being made and is fairly rare to find. I didn't want to pay more then $150 for it and it took me 7 months to win an auction on Ebay for that price. Yes, there were several that went for less then that, but those were games that the sellers did not know if all the pieces existed anymore.

      I would also check out other great Avalon Hill games like "Merchants of Venus" and "Blackbeard". Not everyone likes Blackbeard, but we do. We made some rules changes to add another player, it also seems to balance the game better (basically you do not really go in "turns", the person who's current turn it is pulls a card at the end of the turn to find out who goes next (the cards have a place on them for the number of players in the game and either a "blank", "player 1", "player 2", "player 3", or "player 4"). The game was designed for 4 people max, and if the blank come up, it remains that person's turn OR if it come up with your number (say player 3), it is also your turn. The blanks are there for the single player version of the game... Anyway, we changed the rules so you use the line for the number of players that you have minus 1 (i.e. if you have 4 players you use the 3 player game line), and if a blank shows up, it remains your turn, but if a certain player shows up, it is the player who is that many from the left of the person who drew the card (i.e. if player 2 is shown on the card, the person 2 people to the left of the current player now has a turn). I really helps balance the game more as well as give all the people at the table more turns instead of it being the same players turn 3 or 4 times in a row while everyone else does nothing but sit there...

      Again, civilization is probably one of the greated board games ever created, especially if you have a large number of people (8-19 or more with the expanded rules). Now it will take some time for you to get/make the board, pieces, cards, etc., if you use the's expanded board and rules, but it is worth it to do. The regular Advanced Civ game is for 2-8 players and is really good as well (we play this the most, we only use the extra board/rules when we have more players).

      I know I didn't talk much about Republic of Rome. It is too hard to describe. Basically I will give you this paraphrased quote from the rule book "The complexity of this game will make games such as 'Diplomacy' seem like 'Shoots and Ladders'". And to give you a hint, "Diplomacy" is a complex game.... You will proba

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 05, 2005 @09:08AM (#11851700)
    They're a great deal of fun, and drinking your 40s don't mean a thing when you're winning mad stacks.

    Or work up to dice. Shake em up shake em up shake em up shake em. Nothing beats that shit.

  • RISK (Score:2, Funny)

    by saladami ( 827277 )
    Does anything ever really beat RISK? I've been ready to kill people over that game.
    • There are several versions of risk. castle risk, and a risk set in the future where there are undersea cities and colonies on the moon. that's a blast.

  • Great Board Games! (Score:4, Informative)

    by hugerobot ( 634548 ) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @09:10AM (#11851707)
    When me and my buddies want to play board games, its either: 1 RoboRally (with all the expansions, especially Armed and Dangerous), or 2. Cosmic Encounter, which was the inspiration for Richard Garfield to create Magic: The Gathering
    • if you want to get the most of it, find a copy of the game by eon (the oldest i think) and as many of the expansions as you can find (nine i believe). the other good version is by mayfair and it starts with the basic game and the expansion is 'more cosmic encounters'.

      there are two other versions, one by gdw (i think) and one by avalon hill. i don't know much about the gdw version but the avalon hill version doesn't have all the options.

    • by hibiki_r ( 649814 )
      If anyone is looking for a copy of RoboRally, you should know that Hasbro will be reprinting it this summer. We still don't know if there are any real changes from the original, but I don't think they can screw it up too badly.
  • Go, really (Score:5, Informative)

    by gninnor ( 792931 ) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @09:10AM (#11851708)
    If you havent tried go, then I think it is about time to. It has a great handicap system for new players, yet allows people to improve over a life time.
  • Warhammer (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Warhammer and Warhammer 40K are pretty fun. They do require a bit of a commitment though.
    • Re:Warhammer (Score:5, Insightful)

      by seeken ( 10107 ) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @09:20AM (#11851756) Journal
      if by commitment, you mean set up your direct deposit to go to Games Workshop's bank acount rather than your own.

      If you live anywhere near Lancaster, PA, you can get your game on at Cold Wars [] from April 8-10. Run by the Historical Miniatures Gaming Society, but there is also fansasy/sci-fi gaming.
  • I like Risk (Score:5, Funny)

    by RadioactivePorpoise ( 602206 ) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @09:11AM (#11851712)
    Risk is the type of game that rises above the board when you're playing among other adults. What starts out as a game of pieces and movement generally becomes one of political intrigue, making alliances, and casting doubt upon other alliances. We've reached the point where everyone has to go to the porch for a smoke break at the same time because no one feels comfortable about what strategies might be birthed behind their backs...
    • Risk is a great game. very fun, but the LotR version is just too fun (too geeky?)! Risk LotR Edition on Amazon []
    • by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @10:24AM (#11852024) Homepage Journal
      Seriously, the best way to play Risk is drunk at the all you can eat all night buffet and places like Eat 'N Park(I don't know if they have places like that were you are). There is nothing like cold sausage, pancakes, and the randomly belligerent strategies that you come up with while drunk. Classic....or maybe I'm just a dork that doesn't go and get laid when drunk :P
    • by AxB_teeth ( 156656 ) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @11:11AM (#11852260) Homepage Journal
      If you like alliances and political intrigue in Risk, I heartily recommend Diplomacy. Simultaneous movements (everyone moves at once) make for some very interesting situations. There are all sorts of resources online for Diplomacy: I've played with people all over the world at Diplomacy 2000 [], and I've never even owned a board. There are quite a few open source boards/adjucators (they do the logic behind the moves to determine movement success/failure). Of those, I recommend jDip [], a feature-rich cross-platform java version.

      The game can get a bit involved, and there's a slight learning curve (very slight, especially if you've done Axis & Allies). Not for everyone, but it's worth a try if you like Risk.
      • Yes, Diplomacy rocks (Score:4, Informative)

        by sterno ( 16320 ) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @01:51PM (#11853342) Homepage
        Diplomacy is a game of pure neogtiating skill and strategy. It's really a unique game because your success is entirely based on your effectiveness at manipulating your friends :).

        I remember a game I played where one of the people involved was completely honest and open with everybody. However, when he talked to them, he always sounded like he was just about to stab them in the back. So of course people would betray him before he got the chance.

        Of the tabletop style games, this is the only game that my wife will actually play. She can't stand Axis and Allies, etc, but with this game she has had quite a bit of fun.

        One word of caution: NEVER EVER DRINK WHILE PLAYING DIPLOMACY. A game that is primarily based on back stabbing can get people really cranky when they've had a few.
      • Junta [] is a great, less serious game along these lines.
    • Re:I like Risk (Score:5, Interesting)

      by puusism ( 136657 ) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @12:11PM (#11852604) Homepage
      If you like Risk (or LotR Risk), you might want to check out my Risk probability calculator []. You may even find that you should adjust your tactics. :-)
  • Robo Rally (Score:4, Informative)

    by trynis ( 208765 ) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @09:12AM (#11851714)
    I think most geeks would like Robo Rally []. You use movement cards to "program" the movement of your robot in a race against other robots. Great fun!
  • Puerto Rico (Score:5, Informative)

    by Fledsbo ( 11673 ) <oystein@fFORTRAN ... m minus language> on Saturday March 05, 2005 @09:12AM (#11851715)
    Check the top rated games at BoardGameGeek []. My personal favourite is Puerto Rico.
    • Re:Puerto Rico (Score:3, Informative)

      by nitehawk214 ( 222219 )
      I have to concur, Pureto Rico [] and Settlers of Catan [] are probally the best two games my group of friends have been playing recently.

      I enjoy both becuase although the rules are rather simple, the interatcions to actually win are quite complex. And they are both very balanced, so there are many strageties that can win.

      I would say that Puerto Rico is the more balanced of the two; however Settlers relies on some social engineering skills as there is alot of player to player trading nessesary to win.

      Another ma
      • If you want the social engineering skills of settlers without any of the luck or the 'I know who's winning in the first five minutes' syndrome, try El Grande, Traders of Genoa or Modern Art. All three of those have a MAJOR social element, each in its own different way, while all of them are, IMO, substantially better than Settlers.

        As far as availability goes, El Grande will be reprinted this year, while the other two can be found in most online boardgame stores.

  • There are literally thousands of hex grid wargames out there. Avalon Hill, the long defunct SPI, etc. Many of those are still great games. Also many rules for tabletop miniatures which give hours of fun painting the figures, building scenery, etc
  • by shapr ( 723522 ) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @09:13AM (#11851722) Homepage Journal
    IceHouse [] is awesome! It's a game construction set and has rules for lots of games, and you can make up your own. It's perfect for the creative geeky type, for the easily bored type, check it out!
    Looney Labs [] has lots of other neat games too, Fluxx, Aquarius, many more.
  • Go (Score:2, Interesting)

    by molecular ( 311632 )
    mod me down to hell if you will, but might I suggest you try an old and established game: the game of go []
    simple rules, yet computers have no chance against any decent human. addictive.

    • Re:Go (Score:3, Informative)

      by Garin ( 26873 )
      Yes, and another benefit of Go: it can be muuuuch cheaper than some of those hideously expensive board games. Check it out.

      Speaking of cheap, my other recommendation is for cheap-ass games. You can buy about half a dozen of these games for the price of a single "normal" game. In my experience, we get about as much fun out of one cheap-ass game as we do out of a regular game. So that's six times the total fun! Heck of a deal.

      My current favourites: Unexploded Cow and Kill Dr. Lucky. Maybe the C-A games are
  • Settlers Expansions (Score:5, Informative)

    by hivebrain ( 846240 ) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @09:15AM (#11851734)
    If you like Settlers (and who doesn't?), you should pick up the expansions: Seafarers of Catan adds ships, a new resource type and a bunch of different board layout options. Cities & Knights of Catan ads so much it's like a whole different game. Also, check out the game Puerto Rico. Lots of Catan players migrated to it when it was released a few years ago.
    • by rherbert ( 565206 ) <> on Saturday March 05, 2005 @09:39AM (#11851844) Homepage
      Mixing Seafarers of Catan with Cities and Knights gives you a bunch of fairly radically different games as well. And if you're looking for even more alternate scenarios, get Buch Zum Spielen [], which includes a bunch of new pieces and variants from Klaus Teuber. The Mayfair version sells the original German book, but they also provide an English translation (with no pictures). Once you figure out the German words for desert, brick, sheep, etc., it's pretty easy to decipher.
    • by mindriot ( 96208 )

      I agree on both Settlers and Puerto Rico being great games. The minor beef I have with Settlers is that the game, at least in the standard version, too strongly depends on the initial choice of settlements (which in turn depends on the tile distribution and numbering, and the order in which players get to place their settlements). But it's only a minor problem, the game is still excellent.

      I can also recommend Tikal [], which also uses hexagonal tiles and is turn-based, but has practically no random elements

  • by cbelle13013 ( 812401 ) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @09:15AM (#11851735)
    That game was introduced to me about 3 years ago and my now fiance and I play it whenever we have friends over. Since I live in lovely Florida, we had about a month off of work for all the hurricanes. I showed my folks how to play, now my family has been hooked.

    Try getting one of the expansion, Knights of Cattan or Seafarers of Cattan.

    Another good strategy game thats fairly quick is Sequence.
  • Modern Art (Score:2, Informative)

    by Shambhu ( 198415 )
    For quick games, Modern Art [] is exellent. A game takes about 20 minutes, IIRC (it's been a few years). It may not be what you want for your centerpiece game, but it is really good. You're basically buy and selling art pieces (cards) via different auctions. At the end of each round you total the value of the pieces in your collection plus whatever cash you have left over from the buying and selling part of the round. There's more to it than I make out, though, as the value of the work of each artist is based
    • Re:Modern Art (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Fjornir ( 516960 ) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @09:24AM (#11851779)
      From Steve Jackson both Illuminati and Hacker.

      Avalon Hill publishes a game called Diplomacy which I highly recommend -- it's rather like Risk, but without the dice. It is a rather long play though. They've got another interesting game called Wizard's Quest but I'm not sure how hard it is to find a copy these days.

      • Diplomacy is still on print, but man players, me included, think that the only reasonable way to play it is with 7 players. If you go down to 6 or less, the game loses balance. Modern Art, on the other hand, plays well with 4 or 5, and it costs a whole $16 in an online store.
      • Re:Modern Art (Score:3, Informative)

        by Speare ( 84249 )
        Diplomacy takes a lot more talking and a lot less board-play. On every round, an adjudicator would listen to all the move orders, and move all the pieces simultaneously. The game was in how you lie to whom, not particularly about moving the pieces around on the board.

        There used to be an automatic Diplomacy adjudicator by email -- this would let folks take hours or days to run each round. This worked out well for a group of friends at work at lunch time. We'd get the new board layout from the adjudica

  • Board games (Score:5, Informative)

    by deanj ( 519759 ) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @09:18AM (#11851745)
    Fun Again Games [] is a great site to buy this stuff.

    Recommended games: Loco, Princes of Florence, Puerto Rico, Tigris and Euphrates, and RoboRally.
    • Re:Board games (Score:3, Informative)

      by hibiki_r ( 649814 )

      Funagain has probably the larges selection in the US, but it's also the most expensive of the 'popular' online stores. If you're not looking for a simulation of the political situation of germany, or something of that caliber, you'll do better of at Time Well Spent [], Fair Play Games [] or Cardhaus [],just to name a few that will save you some bucks.

  • by fantomas ( 94850 ) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @09:18AM (#11851747)
    because you know you want to believe that the Goldfish Fanciers are secretly controlling the Robot Sea Monsters that are actually behind the Republicans :-) fantastic game...
  • Ogre and G.E.V. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by orcrist ( 16312 ) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @09:21AM (#11851763)
    I don't know if you can still get them, but they were among the best, and very portable too; I don't know how many lunch breaks I spent playing those at school. Ah, memories...

    • Re:Ogre and G.E.V. (Score:3, Informative)

      by Seraphnote ( 655201 )
      Oh yes. You can still get them!

      Metagaming may have died with Mr. Thompson, but Mr. Jackson rescued a few gems.

  • Ping-pong (or table tennis).
  • A pretty good resource for board game reviews, discussion, and other stuff is I recommend it.

    Chris Mattern
  • Invent your own. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sbaker ( 47485 ) * on Saturday March 05, 2005 @09:25AM (#11851790) Homepage
    My son and I invent our own. The inventing process is at least 50% of the fun - and just occasionally, we come up with a really good one. For something totally off-the-wall, try 'Kniggits': ig gits

    (The URL is poorly chosen - it's not actually a paper and pencil game).

    Gotta agree with the earlier post about the old Avalon Hill games - there were hundreds of them and 95% of them were really good. You should be able to find a zillion of them on eBay.

    For something fairly simple, we've had a lot of fun with 'HeroScape' (from Milton Bradley) - but complexifying the game no end by adding our own rules. Also 'Pirates of the Spanish Main' from Wizkids (buy at least 10 packs to maximise the fun).

    No list would be complete without mentioning Dungeons and Dragons - which is as much fun as the people you play it with - and is quite compatible with large quantities of alcohol.
    • I will also second HeroScape. It is a lot of fun with relatively simple rules to start. Unlike most games serious board, you don't need to speed 3-4 hours reading rules before you can get started. You can play it in 30 minute intervals and even combine multiple Heroscapes for massive games. The board also makes a very good BattleTech board.
  • Go (Score:2, Interesting)

    by checazzo ( 861261 )
    Go is the most intense, addicting game I've ever played. Japanese rules are the rule-set we play by and it is amazing. If you have Mac OS X, check out Goban. For Linux, check out GNU Go. It is THE game.
  • I also find that Mouse Trap is a great way to pass the time.

    Other options are the classic Cluedo, or if you really want a blast the exciting Trivial Pursuit is always a crowd pleaser.

    Personally, sometimes I find many of the above games just a little over complicated and confusing and tend to stick with the all time family favourite, Tiddlywinks !

    Hooo Boy, there's a bucket load of fun to be had with those bright little plastic disks !
  • .. Totally different games in style and theme, but both are tons of fun.

    And, TTR won the 2004 Spiel Des Jahres!
    • We have this game. Very simple to play. It won game of the year like settlers. We too were looking for something new to play. We have either worn out our settler friends or we just don't have time to play settlers.

      The goal of this game is to get the most trains, with other points coming from meeting certain destinations. I think it is kind of like settlers crossed with something more simple.
  • Ticket to Ride (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Russ Nelson ( 33911 ) <> on Saturday March 05, 2005 @09:28AM (#11851802) Homepage, by Days of Wonder. We've been playing it at least once a day for the past month. Haven't worn it out from overuse yet.
  • Fluxx (Score:4, Informative)

    by way2trivial ( 601132 ) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @09:28AM (#11851804) Homepage Journal
    can;t be beat.. .html []
    it's only a simple card game, but then it rapidly becomes a complex card game...
    • I'll add a totally gratuitous "me, too!" here. This card game takes most of a table top once you get into it, and it is a lot of fun. Takes a little while to get all the rules down, but it's a great game to keep in your pocket.
  • by szo ( 7842 )
    If you liked Catan and Carcasson, you should really check out Tikal.

  • by loomis ( 141922 ) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @09:33AM (#11851824)
    Why not look at the highest user-rated board games in existence, many or which are new, and then read the comments about the games in order to determine what sounds appealing to you? Board Game has all of this information readily available right here: game rankings []

  • It's an oldie, but grab it if you can find it. It's a fantasy strategy game, played on a hex map but with card draws to keep it unpredictable. Very fun when several people are playing.

  • by lpangelrob2 ( 721920 ) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @09:37AM (#11851838) Journal
    Spin the bottle.

    But don't play it by yourself. That's depressing. And a little creepy.

  • Looney Labs (Score:5, Informative)

    by OpenYourEyes ( 563714 ) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @09:37AM (#11851839)

    Looney Labs [] (and their weekly blog []) make some excellent games that might fit your audience. They are perhaps best known for their card game Fluxx [] (my personal favorite), but also have a number of other games which are more board-game like.

    The one that sounds most similar to what you're looking for is Chrononauts [], the card game of time travel, which involves a time line that you build and control on the table. It also has an "Early American" version.

    As already noted, they make the Icehouse pyramids [] which are most noted for games like Zendo [] and Ice Towers [], but are also used for quite a few others [].


  • by TaxSlave ( 23295 ) <lockjaw&lockjawslair,com> on Saturday March 05, 2005 @09:38AM (#11851841) Homepage Journal

    In Scotland Yard [], one player takes the role of "Mr X" and attempts to evade the detectives. The playing area is a map of London, with routes marked in taxi, bus, underground, and ferry routes. Each player has a set of tickets they can use for each type of route. There are x of taxi tickets, y of bus tickets, and z of underground. Mr X is less limited. Mr X moves in secret, but every few turns, he must show himself.

    I always liked this game, when I played it as a kid. As an adult, I found a copy of it in the game store. I told Chris, the owner, that I had played it as a kid, but forgotten about it. When I saw it on the shelf, I had to have it. It didn't matter that it cost around $30 at the time.

    Chris informed me that this was a standard story. The game was rarely, if ever, advertised. Everyone who bought it did so because they had played it somewhere else, and found it hard to balk at the price. He said they had trouble keeping the game on the shelves. I believe it.

    The beauty of the game is that every person who plays Mr X will do so differently. Inspectors are individuals. Every game is different, though the map stays the same.

    Another favorite of mine is Empire Builder, but we're heading out to the truck stop for breakfast, so you'll have to do your own research on that one.

    • by wolf- ( 54587 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @12:19AM (#11857000) Homepage
      Local Game store went out of business.
      Owner ran a 30% off sale. Picked up a new copy of Scottland Yard that day. Played it with the family, and they loved it. I wasnt sure if they would. My siblings and I played it for hours as kids.

      When I asked the owner why he thought business hadnt worked out, his answer was:

      "I wasnt sure why until this week. A lady and her son came in. The boy saw a game, and excitedly asked, 'mom, what about this one?' To which the mother replied, 'will I have to play it with you?' At that moment I knew that it wasn't that kids didn't want to play new games, but that parents didn't want to play with the kids"

      I'm going to miss that store. We have an entire closet here at the house full of games. About half of them are the basic games one can find at Toys'r'Us and walmart. The rest are the "what kind of game is that???" stuff that really challange the mind. I love it when my kids bring an "off the wall game" and want to learn how to play it. Cooties are still fun for a 5 year old, but when he drags out Zertz [], Apples to Apples [], or Blink [] I know that he is going to grow up with an edge over the nintendo playing couch potatoes. It may not be a financial advantage, but at least he will enjoy the stimulation that comes from trying new things, learning new things.
  • by Obiwan Kenobi ( 32807 ) <evan&misterorange,com> on Saturday March 05, 2005 @09:43AM (#11851856) Homepage
    I've written on these guys before, but let me do so again in a more straightforward manner:

    Buy everything you see here []. I assure that you will NOT be disappointed.

    Days of Wonder is a great company who takes brilliant designs the world over and shares them with a geek-like audience. Me and my wife love Mystery of the Abbey. Think of it like a really interesting, deep version of Clue. No candlesticks, no ridiculous characters, and it actually has -strategy- incorporated, and everyone who has played it loves it immediately.

    And no, I'm not even getting paid to say that (though of course, it would be nice).

    You can also read some (tabletop) gaming blogs:

    - []
    - BoardGames-To-Go []
    - Chris Farrell's Gaming Blog []
    - Jeffro @ Mindsay []

    Lastly, I'd like to say that me and my wife's favorite non-boardgame is Bang! [], an easy-to-learn great mechanic-filled game that anyone over the age of 7 will adore.

    Oh, and of course, get all the recommendations you can handle over at the always fantastic [].

    Have fun!

    Evan [] - CCG Design, Theory, and Commentary
  • Of multi-player (>2) games Puerto Rico and Settlers are the best IMHO. Elfenland, another Game of the Year winner from Germany, like Settlers, is OK but not up on the other two. For two-player, I recommend The Castle --- a two-player version of Carcassone.
  • What about flip cup []? It's played on a table top, cheap, interactive, and only becomes more challenging as you play. Remember to have a designated driver.
  • I strongly recommend Pirates of the Spanish Main []. This is one of the coolest table-top games to come along in a long time, mostly because all it requires is a table top to play. Basically, it is a table top pirate-themed sea battle with little 3-D ships you construct and then fight with.

    Each baseball card-sized pack comes with everything needed to play the simple game (my 7 year old loves this version) and lots of on-line expansions are available to add new scenarios, rules, etc. to make more complicated

  • by orin ( 113079 ) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @09:49AM (#11851884)
    MWDA is a streamlined version of Battletech. The minatures contain the record sheets. The game plays pretty quickly and you can pick up second hand minatures on eBay cheap. An expensive game to play at the tournament competitive level - but cheap if you are just looking for something with your friends.

    Of course you can play Classic BattleTech - though this requires a longer investment of time. Things are quite detailed and it can take quite some time to resolve rounds.

    I play more MWDA now because although I miss the detail of classic BattleTech, being able to fight a company vs company level engagement in 2-3 hours (versus 2-3 days) is a big plus.

    There is a new edition of Twilight Imperium [] out. Highly complex and takes a while to play - but a deep and rewarding experience.

    The "future" version of Risk is quite fun as well.
  • by Digital_Quartz ( 75366 ) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @09:53AM (#11851900) Homepage
    If you're into the tile based games, Zombies [] is kind of interesting, although IMHO it's a little overly random, and not nearly as interesting as the other games you listed. Still, it's fun.

    A game we've been playing lately is Filty Rich [], a "3D" board game by Richard Garfield (creator of, amongst other things, Magic: The Gathering). The idea is you open shops, and then collect income from them, with the objective being to be the first one to buy three luxuries (trophy spouse, patent of nobility, private jet, etc...). The "game board" is a binder with four 3x3 plastic card-protector sheets [] inside. When you open a shop you place it's "sign" into the card-pockets on the sheet (a sign could span multiple pockets), then you roll some dice to see which pockets get visited, and collect income, and then there's a 50% chance you'll move to a new random page.

    The game is "3d" since on a given page you can "see through" to pages underneath. It's quite a clever and fun little game. You can see the rule-book at the link above, if you're curious.
  • by Chuck Messenger ( 320443 ) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @09:56AM (#11851911)
    First, some suggestions on places to find info on what games are good:

    The newsgroup is a great source of info on enthusiasts' opinions on board games. Someone maintains a database of ratings of games, as rated (mostly, or originally) by readers of the newsgroup. Search for "INTERNET TOP 100 GAMES LIST" (posted to the newsgroup every 2 weeks). Here's the current top 10, along with rating (1-10 scale) -- here's the link:

    1 8.494 Puerto Rico
    2 7.865 Euphrat & Tigris
    3 7.756 Die Siedler von Catan
    4 7.742 Die Fursten von Florenz
    5 7.504 Modern Art
    6 7.503 El Grande
    7 7.451 Carcassonne
    8 7.409 Ohne Furcht und Adel
    9 7.399 Goa
    10 7.387 Vinci

    You'll see two of the games you mentioned on the list - Carcassonne and Settlers of Catan (note that the bulk of the best boardgames are German in origin -- the original German names are used in the list). I would guess that if you liked Carc and Settlers, that you match the taste profile of the contributors to the list fairly well, so you'd probably like many of the games on the list.

    I've played maybe half the games on the top 10. Personally, I like Settlers, Euphrat & Tigris, and Modern Art particularly well.

    One important question is: how many players do you have? 4 seems to be considered to be the optimal number for multi-player games (which are the most fun). If you have a different number, then there are specialized lists you should refer to. However, from your post, it sounds like you have several players, so the above list should be suitable.

    Another question is: what type of games do you like? There are economics-style (e.g. Settlers), bidding-style (e.g. Modern Art), deal-making (e.g. Chinatown), path-connection style (e.g. Streetcar), war games (e.g. Axis & Allies), race games (e.g. Detroit-Cleveland Grand Prix), etc. etc. I guess you'd call this the genre.

    Another thing to look for is the game designer. If you like a book by a certain author, you're likely to like other books by the same author. It's the same with games. Settlers was designed by Klaus Teuber -- a prolific game designer. So, you might look for other Teuber games. Many of the top-rated games were designed by Reiner Knizia -- I like just about every game of his which I've tried.

    Another consideration is the complication of the game. You've mentioned Axis&Allies, which is relatively simple, and Settlers & Carc, which are moderately complex. Some of the games on the Top 100 list are fairly complex -- generally, at least as complex as Settlers and Carc.

    Then there's game duration. If you like Axis & Allies, then you're probably not turned off by long-playing games. I'd think most games on the list would be OK.

    There's a great website for boardgame enthusiasts, which you'd probably find useful in looking for new games: Boardgame Geek --

    Finally, bearing all the above in mind, and considering the little scraps of information I have about you and your group, my tenuous suggestions:

    I think you have maybe 4-6 people in your group. You have a taste for long games, and war and deal-making are appealing themes for you. Two classic games stand out in this category: Civilization (the board game which inspired the computer game), and Diplomacy. These are games which I would _most_ love to play, if I had a large enuf group of like-minded people available, and an unlimited amount of time. If you try Civilization, I recommend Advanced Civ over Civ.

    I envy you, just starting to really delve into boardgames, with a group of enthusiastic players. You have some really great gaming to look forward to!

    Good luck!
  • Risk 2210 (Score:4, Informative)

    by bigmaddog ( 184845 ) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @10:01AM (#11851927)

    Risk 2210 is actually a lot of fun. I was sceptical when all the new variants of Risk started coming out, one for everyone and their uncle, but having played this one extensively I must say that it's very satisfying, and going back to the original on the occassions that, for whatever reason, we had to go back to the original, was met with a lot of grumbling.

    It's way more complicated than the original Risk so it takes a while to get into, but some of the complexity goes a long way to alleviating the problems that made the original such a pain in the ass to play some times, like exponentially increasing army sizes and the potential for the game to never end. The rest of it is just fun.

    If you haven't played this version but played the original, here are some highlights of what's new/different:

    • there's a moon that you can fight over
    • there are tons cards that do all sorts of horrible, horrible things to players
    • there's a limited number of turns (5) and at the start of each, you get to bid for the order in which you can go, which adds a cool layer of strategy - even though there are only five turns, there's so much to do that a game can easily last 4-5h
    • three territories get randomly taken out of the game at the start, so the map could potentially be really really wacky, with wide-open continents suddenly isolated, etc.
    • the map is pretty wacky to begin with
    • there are special units called commanders which give you bonuses in combat and each has its own set of cards (you need to have the commander to play them), and which consequently end up as a magnet for all sorts of evil coming your way form other players
    • there's limited resource management of "energy" - you get it much like you get troops, from the number of territories you control + some from cards, and you use it to buy commanders, troops, space stations & cards, and to activate some cards and bid for turn order

    Having said all that, there's nothing preventing people from being very very bad losers, throwing pieces, getting whiny... I hope the next version comes with a tazer.

  • Fireball Island [] is the only game you'll ever want to play once you play it once. You move your little men up and down a volcanic island. Every once in a while the island will kick out a volcanic fireball which will literally roll across the board and burn unsuspecting players who will have to recover in a lava pit. Occasially the fireballs will knock out a bridge you're walking across and you'll be literally knocked into a river or ocean. Oh man what a game.

    Ok, maybe it's not hat great, and maybe I hav
  • For 4 players, bridge [] is the chess of card games. I had it forced upon me, and it took 3 years for me to want to play. Once I decided to take it seriously (but not competitively seriously), I realized just how good the game really was.

    For 3+ players, or those not wanting a game they have to study to get good at, I recommend Cosmic Encounter []. Think Risk where each player is allowed to cheat differently. No game is ever the same. I have the original with 9 expansion sets, and prefer playing with 2 "alien p

  • A Few Suggestions (Score:3, Informative)

    by Zonk ( 12082 ) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @10:05AM (#11851948) Homepage Journal
    A while back we had a 2004 Board Game Gift Guide [] that linked to some good resources. You might try those folks.

    Here are some other games that I have played and enjoyed -

    Tikal []: One of a set of three board games published by Rio Grande Games, the other two being Mexica and Java. Having played all three, Tikal is probably my favorite. In it you play an archeological team unearning mayan-esque ruins for the win. Lots of fun, 2-4 players and about an hour and a half or so needed. Family Friendly.

    Cosmic Encounter []: Definately a more "hardcore" title, the best way to think of this is like Pax Imperia or Galactic Civilization in boardgame format. Requires a large table and has *lots* of little pieces, but it's incredibly fun if you have the time and patience. 2-4 players and about 3 hours (or more, depending).

    Dos Rios []: An incredibly fun game about diverting a pair of rivers such that you have the most plentiful harvest, while avoiding the bandits and your fellow players. Family friendly fun, 2-4 players and about an hour and a half or so.

    221-B Baker Street []: An oldey, but a good game nonetheless. Each time you play you're solving a different case. You travel from location to location finding clues and trying to stop your fellow players from doing the same. Family Friendly, 2-4 players, 60 minutes or less.
  • Shogun (Score:3, Informative)

    by MachDelta ( 704883 ) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @10:06AM (#11851953)
    I haven't seen it mentioned yet, so i'll toss one into the ring: Shogun, aka Samurai Swords, is an excellent wargame. If you at all enjoy risk or A&A style games, give this one a shot (assuming you can find it because I don't think anyone makes it still). I remember having SO much fun playing it... its an absolute riot with the right people. I really loved the for being strategic, yet simple to follow. The majority of the action will always involve one of your three Daymo's (armies), rather than being a complete mess of independant units (ala risk). Every turn was a surprise too, because all players had to secretly distribute their resources (koku) and then reveal their 'plans' simultaneously (seeing who won the ninja/assassin was always exciting). Then you got to draw swords to determine that rounds playing order. Like I said though, people make a difference too. When we weren't moving stuff around on the board, someone was always whispering behind someone else's back... forging temporary alliances, playing all sides, plotting to stab your friends in the back. I think that was the part I liked the most - screwwing with other players heads as a part of the game. You were constantly plotting to double team the most powerful player, and then at the same time ruin your ally to come out on top yourself... only to be drug back down by the heads you stepped on to get to the top. Some games would last for days in a seemingly endless cycle of alliances, betrayals, feints, and strategic wizardry.
    Many a sunrise-too-early crept over the blood stained fields of feudal japan when we dug out that game. Good times! :)
  • I can thoroughly recommend Uno Extreme (possibly known to you yanks as Uno attack []). It's absolutely hilarious, at times turning into a sort of card version of russian roulette, and can also be played with children. Great for playing down the pub, or even at home.
  • Cheapass Games (Score:2, Informative)

    by Shipwack ( 684009 )
    This company makes a ton of wierd, fun, -cheap- games. Prices range from free (on their website) all the way up to $7.50 or so (with most being being 5 bucks or less). They should be in stock at ayour local game store, if you have one. []
    • Re:Cheapass Games (Score:4, Informative)

      by dead sun ( 104217 ) <aranach @ g m> on Saturday March 05, 2005 @11:57AM (#11852520) Homepage Journal
      I really have to second the proposal of adding Cheapass Games to your collection. There's a variety of skill levels to their games, from simple move your pieces to lay tiles properly and thwart others.

      A few of my favorites are:

      Devil Bunny Needs a Ham
      Spree! Hong Kong Edition
      The Great Brain Robbery
      Unexploded Cow
      Captain Park's Imaginary Polar Expedition

      There's a number of their games I haven't played, and more that I have that I haven't listed. However, there hasn't been one that I've played that I didn't really care for. Fun, often quick, always amusing.

  • You could try any of Games workshops range. While expensive to start you can pick one of the smaller games and have just as much funmuch cheaper.

    Necromunda is cyber punk and you control (and level up) a gang.
    Bloodbowl is Rugby only the aim is to hurt the other team as you play.. it's quite fun and again you gain levels on players and such.
    Battlefield gothic is a space ship based game, it's got alot of races but will cost more then the two above.
    Modernheim is a game set in a destroyed city where you control
  • Cranium! (Score:3, Informative)

    by arhar ( 773548 ) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @10:17AM (#11851998)
  • I'm suprised no one mentioned Monopoly. Yeah, I know, too many Bush haters here, but come on! It's just a game!
  • by Chazmati ( 214538 ) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @10:33AM (#11852059)
    See here []. To save you the time, here's a list of stuff I found from that story, games that sounded interesting or worth checking out.

    First, I decided I should really get into Go. Some links from that Slashdot story: here [], The Second Book of Go here [], here [], here [], here [], and here [].

    Other games:
    Apples to Apples - got this for my cousin, they liked it.
    Settlers of Catan - got this for myself, very nice game, try a local hobby shop or here [] or try

    Others: Puerto Rico (Similar to Settlers of Catan), Lord of the Rings board game was mentioned, Kill Dr. Lucky, Deadwood, Give me the Brain, Lightspeed Games [], Fluxx [] is fun, very random and quirky.

    There's more! Mind Trap []
    Munchkin [], Heroscape [], Ticket to Ride, Mystery of the Abbey, Memoir '44, Queen's Necklace at Days of Wonder [], Bang! [], Betrayal at House on the Hill [], Articulate []
    Killer Bunnies (and Quest for the Magic Carrot) [], Illuminati [], Acquire [].

    Some other reviews/top game lists here:
    here []
    here []
    here []

    Happy gaming!
  • Bork Hasbro (Score:3, Informative)

    by korbin_dallas ( 783372 ) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @10:45AM (#11852124) Journal
    I cant believe with all the conspiracy/monopoly nuts we have around here that they missed out on the chance to BASH Hasbro Inc.

    Hasbro spent the 80s and 90s buying up everything. They were even smart enough to buy The Avalon Hill Game Company. AH held the copyrights to a huge stack of games. I mean hundreds and hundreds of games. AH had in the early 80s bought the rights to all the old SPI games. James Dunnigan had created and edited hundreds of games and simulations for SPI.

    Yet Hasbro has not rereleased ANY of these games in their original forms. And apparently plans not to.

  • Junta (Score:3, Informative)

    by just fiddling around ( 636818 ) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @10:49AM (#11852146) Journal
    If you want REAL political intrigue, double-crossing and some strategy, try Junta! from West end Games.

    You are the ruling families of a banana republic (it sounds so eighties!) and the aim of the game is diverting the most foreign aid funds possible in your swiss account.

    Hours of fun, for people with a sense of humour!
  • Acquire (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bastian ( 66383 ) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @11:10AM (#11852250)
    My family and I used to play a game called Acquire, which was centered on the idea of hotel chains growing and merging, and trading in stock on them. (Sadly, there were only mergers, no spinoffs or going out of business allowed.)

    Still, it was great fun, far better than Monopoly, and we would play it maybe twice a month for years.

    One I used to see folks having a great deal of fun with at a coffee shop I used to frequent is Cults Across America. (For reference, these same folks loved to play the stuff put out by Cheapass Games.)
  • by Thedalek ( 473015 ) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @12:50PM (#11852890)
    While I've seen a few mentions of Sid's works here (Most notably Acquire), there are other works by him which are worth looking into. Specifically, I look at this statement:

    We have worked through the gamut of games...

    And wonder if you are aware of Sid's wonderful book, A Gamut of Games which contains protoypical versions of many of his best games, including Focus and Solitaire Dice, as well as some great discussions on gaming from a gamers POV, from a collector's POV, and from a designer's POV. The book is sadly out of print, but used copies can be found in all the old familiar places.

    Next, you'll likely want to pick up a copy of Sid's answer to Clue, that being Sleuth. I find it superior to even Mystery of the Abbey (Which I would probably like better if I could figure out a way to keep track of where stuff is after mass), and it only costs $15 retail.

    Another really interesting game by Sid (and currently being published by Face2Face games, who publishes the current versions of Sleuth and Buyword as well) is I'm the Boss, which is purely a dealmaking game, with plenty of cutthroat action.

    I'd recommend Buyword too, except I've never played it.
  • by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <> on Saturday March 05, 2005 @03:38PM (#11854077)
    Carcasonne, Settlers, Puerto Rico, Tikal, ... each of these is a representative of a refreshing trend that has held on for at least a decade now: The decade of a new generation of german boardgames. It's the first time we actually see leasure products being translated en masse from german into english. I can say that any of these games are good for perfect passtime. is a website that has many official web/internet variants of these types of games with english versions aswell. It's main gaming client runs with java and gives a chance to test games that you might want to purchase as hardcopy. If you find a game that you like I can strongly recommend getting the german version and a seperate translation of the rules, as german boradgames, especially the new generation, are of an impressive quality.
  • Villa Paletti!!! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Gulthek ( 12570 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @10:56AM (#11858333) Homepage Journal
    Everyone must own this game of construction and destruction. It's somewhat like jenga, except someone wins.

    Game of the year for Germany in 2002.

    More info via wikipedia [].

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it is too dark to read.