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Best games and board games

Updated on August 29, 2012

My top 5 board games

In this new era of technology, it is sad to admit that board games and card games are seemingly getting put on the back burner. One fear I have of this trend, is that people are no longer interacting with friends and family as often and having that quality time together. In addition, cheesy as it may sound, many board games require certain skills to be successful and simply playing these games will help many to improve those skills and keep their minds sharper. There is a reason that people who play chess regularly are quite smart (though I am not one of those). Here are my top 5 board games and just a little tid bit about each of them. I will also give them some ratings (1-10, 10 being highest) in different categories.

5. Monopoly

I remember playing this game at my grandparents' house from when I was just a little boy. Me and all of my cousins huddled around the board buying and trading for hours. Learning to count money and negotiate trades. Often forming some type of alliance with others. Monopoly is a classic game with many great skills (strategy, planning, logic, communication, bartering) that are great for people of all ages to work on, and what better way to get some practice than during a friendly, competitive game of monopoly.

Strategy: 6

Ease of play/rules: 8

players: 2-8

4. Scattergories

Only coming in at #4, this may seem like it isn't one of my favorite games, but I LOVE this game. It bodes well with my personality. The premise of the game is to come up with answers to 12 different topics. Each round a die is rolled (26 sided) and a letter is chosen. Every answer that round must start with that letter. Obviously, this makes for a very challenging game. Creativity is a necessity as well as general knowledge (capitol city that starts with k?). My favorite part of the whole game is when questionable answers are revealed at the end of the round, the group must vote to decide if the answer truly qualifies. This can lead to some great arguing (hopefully, playful arguing) as one pleads his case as to why the answer should be accepted. As I said before, my personality loves this type of interaction as you try to get allies to accept your humorous answer. Definitely worth checking out and purchasing. The game is a must have for groups and friends (especially ones with humorous and creative personalities). This game is also fun to play with partners; a fun way to get to know new people.

3. Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride is what I consider the gateway game of them all. It definitely requires some strategy to be consistently successful, yet at the same time, anyone can learn and play this simple strategy game. The map contains cities with train routes linking them. You play the game by completing destinations between cities (varying in difficult and points). The game is very simple to learn and can be enjoyed by the die-hard strategist, or the person with no strategy at all. You will quickly find that this game is enjoyable for all gamers and all ages. It even has many variations of the game out there. Ticket to Ride Europe, Ticket to Ride Marklin, and others. All of these add some minor variation to the game (slight added complexity) as well as a different map to play on, which is quite fun. Once people pick up Ticket to Ride, they often are more willing to try some other strategy games. So, when I'm needing to get more friends interested in strategy games...I often start them on the gateway drug: Ticket to Ride.

Strategy: 6

Luck: 5

Players: 2-5

Ticket to Ride


2. Balderdash

This is, by far, the best game for socialites. Any group willing to be humorous or silly or creative will have a night to remember. Each round, the game requires the players to make up descriptions or definitions to varying topics. For example, one round might be an acronym. ABC. All players will then make up what they believe the acronym could mean. At the end of the round, everyone votes on what they believe the correct answer to be (the correct answer would be intermixed with the rest of the created answers). You get points for voting for the correct answer, as well as points if any other players vote for your submitted answer. Other categories are movie titles, definitions, acronyms, famous people, or finishing a sentence (usually entails some random law in some random place...). This game is always full of laughs at the outrageous descriptions and answers that are submitted, and allows for people to show off their true, humorous and fun personalities. Phenomenal game for groups of people who want to be social and engaged in conversation.

strategy: 2

number of players: 3-8

creativity: 8

And now for the best board game of all time! (drum roll, please...)

1. Settlers of Catan

For any person with a desire for fun, friendly competition mixed with strategy around a board game. This game will satisfy all of the above. The game is dependent on acquiring and trading resources in order to build and expand across the board. The game can be set up in many different scenarios and because of player choice in setting up the board, each game is unique and different from any previous game (which I love). In addition to each game being slightly different, there are many expansions to Settlers of Catan. Some of these expansions allow for new rules and twists to be added to the game, while other expansions will allow more players to play. The game is for 3-4 players (though 2 players can have a great time with some adapted rules). And some of the expansions allow for 5-6 players. This game involves heavy strategy and can include lots of bartering among players for resources. The high need of strategy and the constant variance from game to game make this game a "must have" for any true board gamer. Once you learn the rules, you won't be able to stop playing. Simply addictive.

Strategy: 8

Luck: 4

Time: 30-45 minutes (some expansions might be longer play time)


Other great games???

As you can tell, I love to play board games, and am always looking for new ones to try. With there being so many games out there (and often many of them are not cheap to purchase), it's hard to try every game.

What other board games would you recommend? And if you agree/disagree with some of the above games, please share.


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    • kunynghame profile image

      kunynghame 6 years ago from San Antonio, TX

      RTalloni, yes, it is a great game for all ages. I've had good success with my nieces and nephews as young as 8 being able to understand and play, though it's not going to be as fun for you personally, ha ha.

      Great opportunity to start their brains thinking and strategizing at a young age though.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Have not heard of Ticket to Ride but it sounds interesting for all ages, and especially neat for playing with children--maybe older children? Skills, conversation, a map--seems great for playing with kids!

    • kunynghame profile image

      kunynghame 6 years ago from San Antonio, TX

      Thanks James for your input. Yes, Stratego is a classic game that I loved playing when I was younger. Another great, quick thinking game is Othello. I support any game that requires someone to use their brain.

      You really should give some of these games a try, you won't be disappointed.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

      I must confess that even though I love board games (and card games) I have not played any of these on your list except Monopoly. Maybe I am just behind the times—even for board games. :)

      If I made such a list I would include Scrabble and Stratego.

      Thank you for an excellent Hub. I enjoyed reading it. Welcome to the HubPages Community!

    • WritingItUp profile image

      Writing It Up 6 years ago from New York City

      Agree! Such a shame that board games aren't as popular as they once used to be. My favorite was and still is Monopoly.