Tell Us Dammit: Board Games

Here's something that continually surprises me at PAX: the amount of people who attend the show purely to play board games with their buddies. It's insane. This is a massively growing thing in gaming culture so I wanted to ask you all about it: have you recently gotten into board games? What games are you playing?

For me personally, board games are something I play sporadically with friends. And I don't really play many 'hardcore' board games. It's mostly things like Balderdash or Scrabble — party games. Occasionally we'll play something like Settlers of Catan, but I'm not into card games like Magic or Netrunner.

But that doesn't mean I'm not interested. Maybe I could be convinced. What board games do you play? What board games do you recommend?


    Ticket to Ride Europe and Airlines Europe are fun for people who aren't huge on games.

    I used to play Hero Quest and Space Crusade with my cousin all the time as kids. Other than that, though, no... Not really in to board games.

      I used to play Hero Quest but cannibalised the figures during high school to play Horde of the Things. I recently re-purchased the original Hero Quest second hand so I could play it with my daughter.

    Playing a lot of Zombicide. Great game!

    On each of the scenarios, it gives you an estimated time to complete, but since we have season 1, the expansion for season 1 and season 2, the time is doubled, which is a bit of a shame.

    Still great to play though, would highly recommend it.

      Have you ever played that as 2 player? How does it work.
      Looking for a few more games to play at home wit just the 2 of us

        I bought this during PAX for myself and my partner to play and weve enjoyed it a lot with just the 2 of us, to the point were already looking at buying all the expansions. Highly recommend even just for 2 people.

          That's what I wanted to hear. It's on the wishlist.
          Thanks to you as well @zimmy

        I had some good fun playing it with two people, iirc we controlled 3 survivors each.

        We even had a bit of a campaign thing going where if a character died then next game they had to be replaced with a different survivor.

    @trjn get in here and drop a master class


        Yes I too was wanting for Lord Of The Board Games to make an entrance ;)
        (although, LOTBG is a fairly cumbersome acronym, can anyone think of anything catchier?)
        Ahh I see your proper post is below, cool

          There are some that call me ... Tim.

          Well, no. Nobody calls me that.

            It is possible you just misheard them saying "Trjn" (which I am presuming is pronounced "Trin") :P
            Personally I'm hankering for Chrissy time, as my sisters are coming to visit and one of them always brings a few new board games to play :)
            Board games rock, that is all.

            Last edited 06/11/14 12:00 pm

              It's a Monty Python reference: Trojan Rabbit. After some shortening and whatnot, it ended up at Trjn but most of my friends call me something rabbit related.

              Family get togethers are actually quite good for board gaming. A few years ago, I introduced my siblings to Ticket to Ride at Christmas. Now whenever I see them (which is unfortunately rare), I try to bust out something new. Last time, it was Coup.

                Yeah I got the Monty Python thing (though I didn't know that's where your handle came from, another mystery solved!), ahh Holy Grail, many a laughter filled night of cones and the python movies back in college days :P
                It was from joining a Monty Python club where we would just order pizza and watch python movies every few weeks in lecture rooms with projectors, good stuffs!

    Cards Against Humanity counts right? That's pretty much it for me.

      I received the Australian version in the mail 2 hours ago.... cannot wait to bust this out.

      For an in-store buy of $25, it's worth it for a laugh.

    More like bored games!

    You've still got it, DC. :P


        One day we're gonna have to engage in fisticuffs!

          How about a vicious game of Hive instead?

            Insult sword fighting? I am rubber you are glue!

              How appropriate, you fight like a cow.


    me and a few mates try to get together every few months and play...
    caverna, GOT, ticket to ride, munchkins, SoC etc

    Settlers of Catan is my personal drug of choice but 7 Wonders is rapidly climbing those ranks, especially amongst my friends who can't get enough of it (and I think it's more accessible for them, which is part of the reason)

    Apart from that I'll play pretty much anything.

    I spent most of my PAX at the tabletop area, although that was mostly driven by the fact prams couldn't be in the expo hall.
    I picked up acquire during PAX which is a nice easy one to get into to. Was described as monopoly scrabble multiple times as we played. Easy mechanics and different strategies make it a fun game.
    Takenoko has a cute panda, what more do you want from a board game.
    7 wonders is a great game for new comers and veterans alike
    I'm a fan of Galaxy truckers and it has difficulty levels so you can play fairly with people of different skill levels.
    Ticket to ride is probably the current 'best' introductory game. Easy, fun, thematically understandable and well balanced.

    The great thing about board games is that there is such a huge range now there will be something for everybody if they are willing to try

      Galaxy Truckers is chaotic nonsense in the best possible way. Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. There's so much joy to be had watching your friends limp across space after you've been annihilated by an asteroid swarm only for them to fall to slavers right before the end.

      Just ask @alexpants about being streamlined and efficient.

      One of the funniest games I've ever played and best of all, most of it comes from the madness that ensues (although the rulebook is pretty witty too).

      Last edited 06/11/14 12:00 pm

        What an adventure me and half of my ship had...

    Went to PAX with little to no interest in board games, over the course of the 3 days I spent most of my time at the tabletops!

    Highly recommend Resistance and Rhino Hero!

    I like to play the games on boards. Betrayal at House on the Hill is great. Sentinels of the Multiverse is awesome. Smash Up is fun. Munchkin is pretty good. I generally prefer co-op games (yay non-competitive!) so Sentinels is probably my number one at the moment.

    Next PAX I'm going to stop pretending I'm there for the vidya games, I'm there 95% to hangout and play/watch board games!

      Sentinels is so great. I wish someone would take it and re-theme it (maybe do a Marvel or DC version or something) with better artwork though.

      I almost didn't upvote this because you spoke positively of Munchkin. I'll let it slide this time only because I know that, in time, you'll learn the error of your ways.

      Board game snob, out!

        Hey, my opinion of it has gone from "great" to "pretty good". Surely that counts for something. It serves as a reasonable entry into playing more and *better* games

        Last edited 06/11/14 11:39 am

          I'm not going to lie, the first proper board games I bought were Ticket to Ride, Munchkin and a Mahjong set that is still to be used.

          I can genuinely see why people enjoy Munchkin and it has its place. That place is simply nowhere near my table.

            Anyway, Cutthroat Caverns does the Munchkin thing better. :)

          You know what, a lot of people have a lot of fun playing Munchkin and why not let them? It's a fun little entry game.

          However, @trjn and I don't really enjoy it so we don't play it.

      I just bought second ed. Betryal at House on the Hill for my wife. I'm sure it'll be right up her alley, what with all murder and possible turning on each other.

    I dunno about actual board games but yesterday I got cards against humanity AU edition, which im sure will be really fun as soon as I have friends.

    I spent most of PAX in Tabletop. It's a great way to try out new games and stuff, plus the activity is inherently much more social so it's better for a social gathering like PAX than, say, sitting infront of a screen after queueing forever.

    I got into Euro-style board games years ago. When I started working, my first office had some board gamers and we'd get together at lunch break to play Carcassonne or Catan or a few others.

    Axis & Allies is a favourite of mine. I used to play against myself when I was in high school because it was so difficult to get friends organised for a weekend game (the game could take three hours or more)

    I also like the Game of Thrones board game - although all my friends gang up on me because they don't trust my motives *whistles innocently*

    Rounding it off - Space Hulk - the re-release from GW a few years ago. Awesome miniatures and a pretty tough game too, if you are playing the space marine side.

      Only 3 hours? You must have been playing the short version :P We used to have epic 7 hour games of axis and allies.

        I used to the play the old Avalon Hill Victory at Sea and Victory in the Pacific games. So good.

        Also there was that one time that I played a single game of 1776 (American Revolution wargame) spread out over a weekend that last about 10 hours.

        Ha ha, yeah. Playing against myself was quicker because I knew the rules back to front and knew the most efficient ways to win. I've had the odd game with four other people and yes, they took forever!

          Ah...I can't believe you always fell for your own plans. :D

            Ha ha, it was more like me just playing on a turn by turn basis, so that I just took the board as I found it at the start of each turn, without planning ahead. To that extent none of the powers consciously worked together except if it was in their immediate best interests. I actually quite enjoyed it. I usually played with the optional rules so that the Axis stood a chance, although I do prefer the Axis powers as I find their strategies more enjoyable to play around with, particularly Japan.

              Oh yeah, I totally forgot about that. Yeah those rules made it way more fun.

    I used to hate board games because they were mainly just Monopoly, Scrabble, chess ect. But at the beggining of this year my brother bought Ticket to Ride and I really enjoyed it. After seeing the table top series from Geek and Sundry I was opened to a whole world of awesome board games that are actually pretty cool. I bought myself Munchkin and a Magic the Gathering Deck Builder set at PAX. I actually got a friend into Magic after we played in on the train on the way home.

    Last edited 06/11/14 11:35 am

    Ah, board games. I like board games.

    My plan for PAX was to get to the Tabletop area, set up camp and play through the weekend. It started off a little like that, with some games of Splendor and Machi Koro. Then we remembered that the rest of the convention was going on and got a little distracted. That being said, I made time to run several games of 2 Rooms and a Boom with 20-25 people and do some other awesome things.

    Back when I lived in Sydney, my girlfriend and I would host weekly board gaming meetups at our apartment. We'd regularly have a good number of people crammed into our little apartment all evening. It was fantastic. Lighter games were the norm for us. Things like Takenoko, Ticket to Ride and The Resistance but my favourite game to bust out was 7 Wonders. I love me some 7 Wonders.

    I also liked pestering @markserrels to try and get to these meetups. Fairly sure I sent him an email every week about this.

    Every time we go on a little road trip out of Dubbo, we tend to pack the boot full of board games and stop by some TAYbies. When we went to my sister's wedding, we hung out with @redartifice and played Suburbia (which I've finally been able to snag a copy of). When we went down to Melbourne so that @freya could do some training, we hung out at @f4ction's with a whole host of awesome TAYbies and played a ridiculous amount of games including Sentinels of the Multiverse.

    I've only been into board gaming since Wil Wheaton's Tabletop series became a thing. That only a bit more than 2 years. In that time, I've discovered this whole new world of genius mechanics, devious subterfuge and amazing social interactions. Before then, I was interested in things like Magic the Gathering, which I find mechanically fascinating even if I don't play (just ask me about fetch lands). So the spark was always there.

    Oh and then there's Qwirkle. Qwirkle is this odd little combination of Scrabble and Dominos that is so simple that I've taught it to people I barely share a language with but have genuinely enjoyed every game I've played. There's enough depth to make things interesting and enough shenanigans that I've started to accumulate stories about what happens in the games.

    I could go on about this topic for a long, long time.

      Ah the love of board games..... Our group is playing our second run of Risk Legacy (which shows how much we liked it the first time), but I always find the problem is getting the non board gamers to appreciate them..... so we have the games like King of Tokyo, Velociraptor Cannibalism, Tsuro which are relatively short but still have some strategy to see who can be converted to the next level..... Which leads me to 7 wonders. Can you give me the Trjn "this game is awesome because" review as I reckon this might be another good one to drop into the games for people who are not fully obsessed category....

        Just to get things out of the way, I'm a massive fanboy of Antoine Bauza (designer of 7 Wonders). Expect gushiness.

        7 Wonders is awesome because it's clever and there is practically no downtime. The game is based around building up a civilisation around an ancient wonder through card drafting. Each turn, every player is going to choose one card from a hand of cards and then pass the rest on. This is done simultaneously and is why the game is going to take 30-45 minutes no matter how many people you've got.

        From those cards and with the specific wonder in front of you, you can try and hone in on specific strategies. You can try and amass a giant army to bully your neighbours. You can be a leader of industry and lead the world in science. You can cover your city in statues and other pretty things or you can just be a rich bastard. More importantly, you can mix and match all of this based on what's coming to you and what your neighbours are doing.

        Your neighbours are possibly the most important part of the game. You only ever interact with the players to your left and right. You trade resources with them and go to war with them. Towards the end of the game, you can score points based off of what they've done.

        It's simple. It's elegant. It has good strategic depth.

        Oh and the art on the cards is pretty damned awesome as well.

      @Trjn do you happen to go/swing by that shop in Tamworth St?

      Every time at the in-laws I normally walk past it and see people playing... but have yet to venture in...

        Gamer's Guild?

        I've been a few times. They do board gaming nights every Monday and some Saturdays but mostly they focus on Magic the Gathering.

    Does Monopoly Count? I play the heck out of that!


      Depending on what you like about Monopoly, there are an insane amount of games out there that handle the same ideas much better. Personally, I like Power Grid.

        We had Monopoly Jr when I was a teenager (with 4 younger siblings...) and to be honest, it was more fun than the adult version. The one we had was fairground themed, so you had to buy ticket stalls for the rides. The highest denomination was $5, and the board was smaller, so it was over much more quickly than a normal game. Planning on buying a version for Batboy when he's old enough to do the maths for it.

          Monopoly is actually a pretty fast game. Most people just add a whole bunch of house rules that slow it down to a complete crawl. People seem to hate the player elimination aspect of it and try to solve it by dragging things out as long as goddamned possible. Then they complain that the game takes too long.

          Monopoly Jr takes a decent approach with the whole "as soon as one player is out, end the game".

          Don't get me wrong, Monopoly isn't a fundamentally bad game. It's just that there are many games out there that are significantly better.

            I agree. What makes games like Settlers, Catan and Ticket to Ride all great is that there is a definite finish and it encourages people to get on with it.

    Does anyone play Star Wars X-Wing?

    My mates and I have all just jumped into that's a really great game, and the miniatures are super high quality too.

    It's cool cos I can also play it in simple mode with my 6yr old son, and we have a blast!

    @markserrels You and your boy will love it (in 5 or so yrs time)

    Also @markserrels...this is out of the blue, but I was having a weekend in Sydney this last weekend, and were you, by any chance on a bus headed from Sydney to Bondi on Saturday morn? I saw a man with the extremely white skin of an office worker, but the somewhat buffed arms of a rock climber who spoke with a Scottish accent the words "Oh it's alright" when a lady was trying to get her pram past....

    Mark...was that, indeed, you?

    Last edited 06/11/14 11:46 am

      I was staring at it longingly in a board game store recently, looks really awesome!

      X-Wing looks fun but it looks incredibly expensive if you keep buying new ships. That's the main thing that's stopping me.

        It can be exy, but the trick is not getting suckered into buying every ship they if you buy from bookdepository, it's quite affordable ($12-15 per ship). I've spent maybe $150 of my collection and it's decent...also, if a few mates are getting into it, you can get different things between you.

        Remember a game usually only has 3-5 ships per side, so even if you owned every single thing, you only use a few per game anyway.

          Yeah, I was also thinking that if I get into it, I might just get the base set and focus on non-EU stuff. I might also try to get someone else to focus on Rebel stuff and only get Imperial stuff and Slave I to split the costs a bit.

            If you just get a core set and imperial aces ($60ish all up) and your mate gets core set and Rebel Aces (same-ish price) you'd have plenty to start you off on some great games. You could do with just that for ages.

              You make it sound so easy. Naturally, this means I must do this immediately and hope I can find these 'mates' you keep referring to.


                I don't know if you're aware of this, but a game is usually a 100 point squad limit (like a loadout allowance). And each ship is worth about 20-30ish you can see that you can generally only have like 3-5 ships in a side anyway. That's why worrying about buying a massive collection isn't really a problem, since you can't use them all at once anyway.

                Of course resisting the urge to MUST....GET...EVERY...SHIP..... is a whole different matter :P

      I've played it with my mate and quite like it. I don't know if we were playing it properly but I found my Darth Vader to be almost untouchable. He won the game as the sole survivor, taking down two opposing rebels by himself, and making excellent use of barrel rolls :-)

    I've dabbled in Risk now and the. Can be fun.

    Have to admit, I am dying to try the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game. Don't know why it calls so strongly, but it does. Can't afford many board games, but there's a column on board games on RPS that constantly makes me drool.

      Rab does some great writing on board games. If you're interested in more of that sort of thing, Shut Up and Sit Down does some great reviews that will make you want to just hurl money at your local FLGS.

    X-Wing, Star Wars Armada, Star wars Imperial Assault, battlestar galactica, game of thrones.

    All amazing.

    I first got into the newer (non-Monopoly) series of board games about 6 years ago when a friend started an online business selling them and asked me to do his website.

    For a brief period, I was playing semi-regularly... then I had a disastrous night with a game of Doom the Board Game that went on for either 5 or 7 hours (players wouldn't abide by the 1 minute per turn house rule).

    Only started getting back into it with another friend then started a fortnightly work lunch break group. My work group rotates who brings in games. So far, we've played Last Night on Earth, Citadel, King of Tokyo and Pandemic. Tomorrow we are playing The Resistance. Our next game will probably be Betrayal at House on the Hill but also want to play Get Bit soon.

    Last night, I put in a pre-order for Star Wars: Imperial Assault.

    Fiance and I asked some of the guys in the boardgaming section of PAX for good board game to play with 2 people & we were recommended Pandemic. We have since played it most nights since then & she has now taken it with her mum out to the country. Fantastic fun & easy to learn!!

      If you get into coop board games, Ghost Stories is fairly complex but I think really good. The two player dynamic is good as you use the concept of the four player game and adapt. It is not simple to learn, but once you know what you are trying to do it is great fun to try and beat it

    Board games! I like board games.

    The one I keep coming back to is carcassonne, it's very relaxing. The good thing about board games is there's really something for everybody, different games will scratch a different itch.

    Coincidentally, a friend of mine is hosting a board game extravaganza in Brisbane this weekend so feel free to come on down. I think they have something like 100 different games to play so yeah, there's a lot of options that are out there.

    Personally I wouldn't recommend Ticket To Ride as an introductory game. Sure it's fairly straightforward but it is a bit dry. Better introductory games for me are games like Munchkin where it's a little bit random, but also has some strategy, and basically everyone has a laugh and some fun. I've had lots of people who were complete strangers to board games love this game. Also there's Robo Rally which is hilarious, just because you get to see people acting out in their heads the directions of the robots (it's hard to describe without understanding the rules). That game is heaps of fun for everyone, even when you're losing. If you haven't tried those games I'd definitely recommend them both.

    Another great game, a runner for the number one board game ever, is Carcassonne. It's really simple to understand, at least to get started, but has a lot of depth to it. Also you can buy the expansions which all change the game in some way but still maintain the same core gameplay. The cool thing is by selecting the certain expansions that match the tastes of the players you can change it from being a more friendly game to a more cut throat game, or a map based game versus a resource based game (just for some examples).

    There's lots of other games I'd recommend if you're a hardcore board game nerd, those are just a few that come straight to mind.

      I second carcassonne, as it really was my intro game to the hobby. Munchkin... I've played Munchkin with new players, yeah, but if I have the choice I don't use it to teach people. TTR ive found people can grok in about 5 Min, which is good for an intro game.

      Co op games are pretty great too, like pandemic and Hanabi

      One of the problems with Munchkin is that it has a lot of referential humour. If you are playing with people that don't understand RPG tropes, they're going to miss half the jokes.

      I have had a lot of success introducing dozens of people to board games with games like Ticket to Ride (and Carcassonne, Hanabi, Qwirkle, Takenoko... it's a long list). Different things will appeal to different people but I feel like Ticket to Ride really is at that sweet spot where it's simple enough to grasp, competitive enough to get into and interesting enough to have people wanting more.

        Hi @Trjn,

        I'm fairly new to board gaming, as are a lot of my friends, and we've been playing the stuffing out of Carcassone (with all of the expansions as well as South Seas) and Cards Against Humanity. I was wondering if you have any recommendations for us to progress our gaming Journey?

        I'm a bit more hardcore than my friends, having playedWings of Victory (I think it's called that) and Twilight Imperium, but I would like to introduce them to something new.


          It depends entirely on what sort of games you think will work for your group. Without really knowing what you like I'm just going to throw names and terms out there, feel free to Google them for more in depth information. Board Game Geek has very detailed information on everything I mention.

          7 Wonders is a favourite of mine and one I've talked about elsewhere in these comments.

          Dominion is a fantastic deck building game that will appeal to people who like trying to make combos happen.

          Battlestar Galactica is a very intense traitor game where someone is secretly working against the group (The Resistance is what I'd recommend for a very light option, Shadows Over Camelot for something in the middle).

          Lords of Waterdeep is an entry-level worker placement game. Tzol'kin and Village are more mid-range options. While Agricola and Caverna are your heavier options.

          Eclipse is kinda sorta not really like Twilight Imperium. It's definitely a lighter game and would be easier to introduce your friends to.

          Rampage/Terror in Meeple City (the game is sold under both names) is a dexterity game where you physically smash a city you make out of meeples. Good goofy fun.

          Galaxy Trucker is a chaotic tile placing game where you and your friends are trying to make it across the galaxy in haphazardly put together spaceships. Great game if you're after an excuse to sit back and laugh as everything goes wrong for everyone.

            Awesome! Thanks so much for that! My Google-fu will be getting a workout this afternoon at work, but now I have some where to start!.

            I think someone else mentioned it previously, but you really should write game reviews. The way you talk about board games is easy to read, and very passionate.

              Not a problem.

              I'm going to try my hand at some board game writing soon. There's just some ground work that has be done before it can become a reality. Thanks for the encouragement.

      I just saw a that at one of the game expo things they had a massive board for robo rally and lego mindstorm as pieces. Looks awesome.
      I have only played the game once but really enjoyed it

      I'm not sure why, but we've initiated the purchase of at least four Settlers games. I wouldn't have called it a "I never play board games"-friendly game and the first game is always a struggle, but without fail whoever we play it with is hooked and the next time we see them they've bought it.

      Railways of the World, which was originally implemented as a board game version of Railroad Tycoon is a great game and works well with new people to gaming too.

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