It’s that time of the year again! It’s the season of celebrations and get-togethers, whether with the family, barkada, or colleagues. Why not make your holiday festivities even more fun this year by bringing fun board games everyone will love?
We’ve rounded up some new drops here for different interests—from newbie-friendly games to more intense strategy games for the more hard-core gamers.
Here are 10 cool board games everyone in your family or barkada will love:
Love those majestic, fire-breathing mythical creatures? Dragons are the stars of the game in Flamecraft, and you are a Flamekeeper.
Gaming Library, which finds the best games in the world to bring them closer to Filipinos, described the game: “Artisan dragons, the smaller and magically talented versions of their larger (and destructive) cousins, are sought by shopkeepers so that they may delight customers with their flamecraft. You are a Flamekeeper, skilled in the art of conversing with dragons, placing them in their ideal home and using enchantments to entice them to produce wondrous things. Your reputation will grow as you aid the dragons and shopkeepers, and the Flamekeeper with the most reputation will be known as the Master of Flamecraft.”
Sounds magical, doesn’t it? Flamecarft is available in standard and deluxe editions.
You get to play savior of the wildlife in Cascadia. A puzzle-type, tile-laying game, Cascadia has you building and growing your own terrain area and working to populate it with wondrous wildlife. You take turns with your opponents.
Gaming Library explained: “You start with three hexagonal habitat tiles (with five types of habitat in the game), and on a turn you choose a new habitat tile that’s paired with a wildlife token, then place that tile next to your other ones and place the wildlife token on an appropriate habitat. (Each tile depicts 1-3 types of wildlife from the five types in the game, and you can place at most one tile on a habitat.) Four tiles are on display, with each tile being paired at random with a wildlife token, so you must make the best of what’s available — unless you have a nature token to spend so that you can pick your choice of each item.”
Another nature-inspired game, the mission in Living Forest is a colossal task: save the forest.
Here’s what Gaming Library wrote about Living Forest: “In Living Forest, you play one of these four Spirits of Nature trying to save the Forest. You’re not alone in this task, Guardian Animals have come together around the Circle of Spirits where you progress to help you. Each turn, they bring some precious elements and if you manage to combine a good team of Guardian Animals, you can perform actions optimally. But beware, some of them are solitary and do not like to meet other fellows.”
Are the nature spirits calling out to you? Get Living Forest here.
Modern Classic Games
Your creative mind is the key to success in this game. In Dixit, one of you, the storyteller, will say a word or phrase to allude to the image on their card. Everyone else must choose a card they think best matches the storyteller’s description, and guess which card they think the storyteller has. Whoever guesses correctly, moves ahead.
Dixit is “brilliant and simple, beautiful and imaginative, and fun for all,” according to Gaming Library. It also described it as a “wonderfully simple game, playable by nearly anyone with whom you share a common language. With a fantastic range of beautiful illustrations and rules that can be understood by children and adults alike, Dixit will appeal to anyone with an imagination.”
Dixit even won an award—the Spiel de Jahres award—for game design in 2010. Get Dixit here.
Ticket to Ride
Don’t have the patience (or attention span) to learn complicated gameplays? You can learn Ticket to Ride in 3 minutes, according to Gaming Library. The rules are simple: “Players collect cards of various types of train cars they then use to claim railway routes in North America. The longer the routes, the more points they earn. Additional points come to those who fulfill Destination Tickets or goal cards that connect distant cities, and to the player who builds the longest continuous route.”
Ticket to Ride may be easy to learn, but make no mistake—the game still requires intense strategic and tactical skills to win.
Cure the diseases that simultaneously broke out over the world, and you win the game. In Pandemic, the players are “disease-fighting specialists” who need to stop the outbreak while also researching cures.
Gaming Library explained the game further: “The game board depicts several major population centers on Earth. On each turn, a player can use up to four actions to travel between cities, treat infected populaces, discover a cure, or build a research station. Taking a unique role within the team, players must plan their strategy to mesh with their specialists’ strengths in order to conquer the diseases. The diseases are spreading quickly and time is running out. If one or more diseases spreads beyond recovery or if too much time elapses, the players all lose. If they cure the four diseases, they all win.”
Ever wanted to be a zoo keeper? Practice your zoo-keeping skills with Ark Nova, which requires you to “plan and design a modern, scientifically managed zoo.” The goal? To establish the most successful zoological establishment. A mission for only the courageous, if you ask us.
Gaming Library described the mechanics of the game: “Each player has a set of five action cards to manage their gameplay, and the power of an action is determined by the slot the card currently occupies. The cards in question are: CARDS which allows you to gain new zoo cards (animals, sponsors, and conservation project cards); BUILD which allows you to build standard or special enclosures, kiosks, and pavilions; ANIMALS that allows you to accommodate animals in your zoo; ASSOCIATION that allows your association workers to carry out different tasks; and SPONSORS that allow you to play a sponsor card in your zoo or to raise money.”
Adventure, fantasy, and war come together in this exciting strategy board game. In Root, 2-4 players will be battling over the control of a vast wilderness.
According to Gaming Library, Root is a “game of woodland might and right. Stalk the woods as one of the Vagabonds, seize the initiative with the Eyrie birds of prey, rule over your subjects as the Marquise de Cat, or command the Woodland Alliance to create a new order. With creatures and cunning, you’ll rule a fantastic forest kingdom in the ultimate asymmetric board game of adventure and war.”
Several expansion packs are available for Root. Check out the base game and get it here.
Unmatched: Redemption Row
A critically-acclaimed and best-selling game, Unmatched: Redemption Row is described to be a “game of tactical combat between unlikely opponents.” The said opponents? Marvel’s “most tortured heroes”: Moon Knight, Luke Cage, and Ghost Rider.
Gaming Library wrote: “As with every Unmatched set, Redemption Row heroes can face off against fighters from other sets, making it a must-have for experienced players or a great entry point for new ones. And Redemption Row introduces item tokens that provide fighters with potent effects. And it’s all brought to life by the masterful illustration of Matt Taylor and Ian O’Toole with the peerless production quality for which the Unmatched line is known.”
Unmatched: Redemption Row is one of many stand-alone expansion packs for the Unmatched system. Get it here.
Obsession (2nd Edition)
If Downton Abbey is your ~obsession~, you might like this board game that depicts the life—and struggles—of restoring a country manor into its former glory, and reinstating a family’s social status.
Gaming Library described Obsession: “In Obsession, your country estate is represented by a series of game tiles describing rooms and outdoor spaces that have been renovated. These renovations enable the family to host social activities—Fox Hunts, Music Recitals, Formal Dinners, Grand Balls—all the while enhancing your family’s reputation in the county and unlocking special abilities.”
It’s like your favorite period drama, but as a board game. Read more about Obsession (2nd Edition) and get it here.