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Board Games That Won't Bore Your Family

Updated on December 2, 2011

Do board games have to be boring? No!

It's that time of year again. It the time when the toy industry monopoly trouts out the same old boring board games like Monopoly, Risk and Life but with NEW! EXCITING! twists. These games have been around for 50-70 years and have been played by every breathing human on the planet and versions of them are decaying in the back of nearly every closet in world.

But that doesn't stop the top few toy companies from trying to sell you yet another version of the same game. Buy and sell our national parks with "National Park Monopoly", enjoy Life in a whole new way with "After Life" the heavenly sequel, or play the new sparkily colored pieces and updated map of the "ALL NEW RISK". So what if the game takes four hours and three and a half of those hours your kid is systematically and slowly whipping your butt.

But seriously, we all know that these games of our childhood and our parents childhood and unfortunatly our kids childhood, really suck deep down - most of us just don't realize that there are better alternatives.

What if there were fun, challenging games that only took about an hour to play and you never knew who was going to win until the very end? Can you imagine a game that kept everyone involved through out the game and ended before everyone fell asleep. Well millions of board game players have been playing exciting new games that actually deliver such game play and to top it off they typically have very simple rules that everyone can pick up quickly.

Sometimes refered to as German-style board games or Euro Games or in the Euro Style these tabletop games have simple rules and short to medium playing times. Strategy is emphasized rather than dumb luck found in most American style games. These games also play down luck and conflict and instead are typically based on economic themes such as resource management and keep all the players in the game until it ends. Compared to the old style games, which generally involve more luck and conflict, these games provide a lot more fun for everyone involved, unless of course you are one of those sick individuals who just enjoy crushing the life force out of our opponents when winning and flip the board over when losing.

Another thing about these Euro style strategy games is the ability to expand them. If you really get hooked on one game or another, there are usually expansion packages that add maps or new elements to the game to keep it fresh.

1. Ticket To Ride

Ticket to Ride is a cross-country train adventure game. Players collect train cards that enable them to claim railway routes connecting cities throughout North America. The longer the routes, the more points they earn. Additional points come to those who can fulfill their Destination Tickets by connecting two distant cities, and to the player who builds the longest continuous railway.

The game play is very simple. On your turn it comes down to two choices - pick or play as we like to say when we are playing. You can either lay down a set of train cards and claim a route, or pick cards to build future trains.

This game is exciting to the very end because everyone thinks they are about to win and when someone does win, everyone wants to share just how close they were. If only you didn't go out I was just about to....

  • For 2 to 5 players ages 8 and older.
  • Playing time: 30-60 minutes.
  • Comes with: 1 Board map of North American train routes, 240 Colored Train Cars, 110 Train Car cards, 30 Destination Tickets, 5 Wooden Scoring Markers, 1 Days of Wonder Online access number, and a Rules booklet.
  • Expansion packs add different maps and other elements such as freight cars

How to play Ticket To Ride

Buy The Settlers of Catan

2. The Settlers of Catan

The Settlers of Catan from Mayfair Games is an award-winning strategy game where players collect resources and use them to build roads, settlements and cities on their way to victory. The board itself is unique and variable as you make it up randomly each game. The hexagon tile pieces get distributed to make up the inland and numbers are randomly assigned. You collect resources depending on if you have a settlement touching the various land forms depending if the number on that land form shows up in the dice roll. So a bit of probability (or luck) comes into play but also is part of the planning process when you decide where to build or where to expand to - between the resources and road/settlement building, there is a lot of planning to do plus keeping an eye on what your opponents are doing.

  • 3 - 4 players
  • Ages 10+
  • Games average under 90 minutes

How to Play Settlers of Catan

3. Puerto Rico

Players can act on every turn of the game, allowing them to choose between shipping goods for points or building an impressive city. Players must manage their colonists, erect a variety of buildings, build up their plantation, and sell or ship goods. With dozens of options, Puerto Rico is a streamlined game that can be played in about an hour and handles up to five players.
  • 3 to 5 Player Game
  • 90 Minutes to play
  • High quality farming and economic themed board game

How to Play Puerto Rico


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    • Lady_E profile image


      7 years ago from London, UK

      Very useful to know. I would like to start with the Puerto Rico one...


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