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Best Strategy Board Games 2017

Updated on February 23, 2017

Some of the best memories I have in my family are of us playing board games. I grew up with the board game bug and my kids have caught it as well. This has kept them close to me and my wife and led to a ton of fun as well.

In our family we especially enjoy playing new games to see who can come up with the winning strategy early on. This is distinctly different than the gameplay later on where everyone has already developed similar strategies.

Below I'll take you through a few new award winning games from the last few years that have really drawn my attention.

7 Wonders
7 Wonders

Current Top Strategy Board Games

7 Wonders

Not every game wins the Deutscher Spiele Preis, run by German magazine Pappel-Revue, but when it does you know that it's one you need to get your hands on. My family purchased Seven Wonders a couple years ago and have been playing it regularly ever since.

As a game that takes only around 30 minutes to play, it's easy to get my wife and kids around the table for a quick game before bed. In addition, there's enough strategy and replay to keep you interested.

In 7 wonders you play through the 3 great ages of civilization in order to gain power, prestige, and beat out your competitors. In each age you have the choice of building up quickly or buying cards from certain ages that will give you discounts later on.

My personal method involves taking what I'm given. I take into account the beginning card I'm given, but only so much as it actually gets me points later on. Understanding and counteracting the opponents army strategy is also crucial to your success.

Overall I'd give this game a 5/5 and recommend it to strategy board game lovers everywhere.

Featured Strategy Games

Dominion Strategy Card Game
Dominion Strategy Card Game

Dominion

A 2008 Game That's Still Catching Steam

Although it came out in 2008, Dominion is still in the realm of strategy games that I'd consider "new", as it generally takes a few years for a game to completely catch on. I bought this one just a couple years ago and my kids and I instantly fell in love with it because of its diverse ways to play and strategize.

A typical game takes about 30 minutes to play but is anything but typical. This is because, depending on what card set you choose, each game will have a different set of cards to play with. That means you need a different strategy for each scenario. This extends the gameplay substantially and once you feel you've mastered one strategy you'll find another.

Overall this game is a must-have for strategy lovers everywhere. I recommend using sleeves for the 250 cards it comes with to increase its lifespan.

Forbidden Island
Forbidden Island

Forbidden Island is a 2010 Mensa Favorite Brainy Games Winner. It's a Group Vs. the Board game that has various difficulty settings you can play with. This can take you from extremely easy for kids to extremely challenging for adults.

 

Valdora

Valdora is a game of strategy for between three and five players, designed for ages 10 and older. The object of the game is to strategically collect more gold, silver, and gems than your opponents, in a land far away that is unsettled. Explorers are sent there by patrons, and so explorers eventually bring back part of their findings as a sort of commission.

Abacusspiele - Valdora
Abacusspiele - Valdora

Playing pieces are moved about a board with mines set up in between cities. Players can move their playing pieces on their turns, and refill a coin supply, which is helpful in getting commission as well as paying off other players.

 

Jump Gate

Jump Gate is a space game in which players explore other planets, claiming them and collecting resources, bringing them fame. Whether you are playing with two or the maximum six players, each player will enjoy being a spaceship captain and competing with one another to earn the most points. Points are earned by exploring and claiming planets, as well as collecting resources.

Jump Gate
Jump Gate

The game is arranged with a jump gate board surrounded by eight planet boards as well as a black hole board. Players draw cards in order to be able to move their playing pieces and leave markers on various boards in the game, earning themselves more points, which are counted at the end of the game. Just be wary of the black hole board, because if you happen to leave markers on that board, you lose points at the end of the game.

 

A Good Budget Board Game for the Money - Jaipur

Jaipur is another economic, two player game. Jaipur is the capital of Rajhastan and a powerful city. Players represent traders who compete to become better merchants by drawing and discarding cards strategically. If you opt to sell your cards, you can get chips in return.

However, these chips depreciate in value over the course of the game. Additionally, there are camels involved in this game, which are integral to carrying goods, but the camels cannot be sold for money, adding another strategic element to Jaipur. This game should take about thirty minutes to play.

A Good Board Game for Everyone - Arimaa

Arimaa is a strategy game for two players, and the design of this game is very similar to chess or checkers, with an eight by eight square board. The object of the game is to get a rabbit playing piece to the other side of the board, or else to prevent your opponent from doing so. However, there are four trap spaces on the board, and if one of the playing pieces (all of which are animals of various sizes) gets caught on a trap space without a teammate anchoring him, he must be removed from the board.

Arimaa
Arimaa

Playing pieces have more power according to the size of the animal, of which there are eight rabbits, two cats, two dogs, two horses, one camel, and one elephant. Strategy lies in arranging your pieces however you want at the beginning of the game, so that you can effectively move a rabbit to the other side, or else block the other player from accomplishing this goal. Each turn, a player gets four moves. He or she can either choose to move a single piece four spaces, or else he can split the spaces between playing pieces. All of the playing pieces can move in any direction, except that the rabbits can never move backwards. A player may use two moves to push or pull an opponent’s playing piece using one of the larger animals, which is useful for putting your opponent’s playing piece on a trap space.

 
Age of Steam Bay Area
Age of Steam Bay Area

New Expansions for Classic Games

Age of Steam: Bay Area

Age of Steam: Bay Area is actually an expansion pack for the original Age of Steam board game. In Age of Steam: Bay Area, the railroads that are being expanded across the North American continent come to the Bay Area in northern California. In this strategic board game, players compete to build the most railroads. However, players must be wary of being able to pay creditors, getting the most lucrative shipments possible, designing the best and most popular routes, and matching the tracks with the locomotives, so that they can have the best railroads possible. In Age of Steam: Bay Area, players must get creative in building railroads about the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge, as well as transporting plenty of goods to the ports there.

Best New Board Games for Kids/Children

Angry Birds: Knock on Wood Game

Ok, so the game may not be all that deep or creative but the pieces are fun and simple to use. My kids absolutely love it. Angry Birds has become one of the most popular iPhone games of all time, and a larger version of it is available for iPad as well. So in a lot of ways, it makes sense that someone would turn the same concept into an actual board game, so that you don't have to burn out your retinas while enjoying the game. Angry Birds: Knock on Wood keeps the gameplay we love on the original iPhone app: Pigs have stolen the birds' eggs, making them angry. Anywhere between two and four players can play at a time, and play starts with players drawing mission cards, ranked in difficulty on four different levels.

More Top Rated Board Games for 2014 - Gears of War: the Board Game

Gears of War was a wildly popular video game, which has now been adapted into board game form. Gears of War: the Board Game is designed for up to four players, and the players work together in order to destroy a locust horde by completing various missions. There are extremely realistic playing pieces in this game, each of which begins with a different weapon. Each player gets dealt a certain number of Order cards, and then players take turns playing these Order cards which have various directions on them. After playing an Order card, a player may choose to attack the locusts.

Small World Underground

As few as two and as many as five players can compete in Small World Underground, a game in which players struggle to control more land in a world that is too small for everyone to share. You get a certain number of tokens at the beginning of your turn, and then you can place these tokens either on an empty parcel of land, or else place at least one more token than is already there on an existing plot of land, in order to effectively conquer that area.

Burger Joint

Burger Joint is a two player game in which players are restaurant owners. One of the restaurant owners owns a burger restaurant, while the other owns a pizza parlor. Each restaurant owner must compete to be more popular by utilizing similar menu items but sharing resources at the same time.

TieBreaker
TieBreaker

Tie Breaker

This is probably one of the more uniquely creative games that has come out in the past few years or so, as the purpose of the game is to break any tie that may have ended in another game. So if you get tired of playing board games in which you can tie with other players with no way to absolve the tie, TieBreaker, which is a very simple yet fun game, would be a great investment for you to make.

A meeple (wordplay on people - a meeple is a wooden yellow character) wearing a tie is set on the table. Players then draw the top card of the deck, which has instructions on something skillful to do, i.e. "put anything entirely in your mouth", "say the last names of all the tied players", "spell your last name backwards", etcetera. The first person to complete the task and then grab the meeple wins the game.

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