Top Ten Board Games

Published: May 31, 2014

In the days before video games, Game Cube was just another name for one in a set of dice. The heyday of the board game may have come and gone, but there’s still tons of fun to be found in these low-tech party games. Besides, after the zombie apocalypse, we’ll all still need something to do in our downtime. As a board game lover, here's a list of some of the best.

 

  1. Monopoly

    Legend has it this game, conceived as early as 1903, came about as a cautionary tale about the evils of big business left unchecked. If so the cautionary tale went boom. This game has consistently been hotter than, well, than property on Park Place. It’s been updated over the years to account for inflation, as well as adapted many times. You can buy a Big Bang Theory Monopoly! But if you prefer you can still buy the original game, rent prime New York real estate on the cheap and pay just $50 to get out of jail. Fun for many ages, and educational to boot, no top ten list would be complete without this fun and competitive greed and chance based game. 

  2. Blokus

    1.     Normally I’ll choose a word game every time. This four-player strategy game is an exception to my rule because it’s simple, quick to learn, just as quick to play, and fun for all ages. The goal is to place as many of your 21 game pieces on a divided square board as you can, while trying to block other players from placing all of theirs. When no one can play any more pieces, whoever has the fewest remaining unplayed pieces wins. Fun, challenging, yet simple, and downright addictive. I've played this with group ranging in age from 5 to 55. Guess what? Age was no advantage.

     

  3. Scrabble

    1.     The original word game, Scrabble is fun and just as easy or hard as your opponent is literate. Given seven letter tiles, you make words and cover squares for extra points. There’s nothing quite like the intellectual thrill of playing an X on a triple letter score or getting that 50 point bonus for using all seven letters in one turn. Scrabble has spawned its own tournaments all over the world. Can’t find an opponent? Sure you can. This is a quiet game, but still its educational aspect can't be beat.

     

  4. Taboo

    1.     It’s Thanksgiving and Uncle Bob won’t stop boring you and your extended family with more than anyone needed to know about his prostate. Here’s how to shut him up. In Taboo, you have to 30 seconds or so to get your teammates to guess a word, “prostate” for example, but you can’t say, rectum, digital exam, or TMI. Kid-safe versions of this game make this game fun for all ages.

     

  5. Outburst

    Taboo’s alter-ego, this game’s just as fun, because everyone gets to yell. Given a word or subject, you and your teammates have to call out whatever related words come to mind, in an attempt to correctly guess as many of the ten words on the card as you can. Again, there’s a kid-friendly version. Keep it clean, people.    

  6. Clue

    1.     Clue, or Cluedo if you’re British, is an oldie that never loses its appeal. Clue is simple enough to learn quickly, and complex enough that it’s never the same game twice. Put on your detective hat and solve the mystery of who killed Mr. Boddy, with what weapon and in what room, before your opponents do. This game has such appeal it’s been made into a TV series, a book series, a musical, and a movie. Psst. The movie’s actually quite funny. 

     

  7. Risk

    1.     Like several of these games, Risk can be played online, but there’s nothing quite like the thrill of making alliances, taking down enemies, seeing your own personal armies spread out over a map of the world right on your own kitchen table, and fantasizing about ruling the world. This game is highly competitive and long. Not for the faint of heart, but well worth the time.

     

  8. Scattergories

    Created in 1988 by Milton Brothers, this game is easy enough to be highly accessible to diverse groups. The goal of the game is to think of words starting with a certain die-determined letter and fitting certain categories. The catch is that if you and another player write the same answer no one gets credit. Unlike some of the other games on this list, this light, fun game, good for many ages and tastes, rarely ends in tears. Unless you’re playing with sticklers.    

  9. Cranium

    It’s Pictionary. It’s Charades. It’s Trivial Pursuit. It’s all rolled into one, plus more. You get to hum songs or draw or act or even play with clay all to get other players guessing. There’s something for everyone in this game. It’s just challenging enough, great for a varied groupd, and it’s fun for all ages.    

  10. Trivial Pursuit

    Created in 1979, this daddy of all trivia games has more editions and adaptations than I could name. The goal is to answer trivia questions in several different categories and thereby collect wedges for your pie plate. Some questions are easy, some are hard, but basically, how much useless information do you know and want to show off?    

If I had to choose my absolute favorite from this list, I'd have to go with Cranium because it captures the best of features of a high quality game. It's great for all ages. It's great for the shy or the lampshaders. You get to think and yell and have fun all in one. However, when the power goes off, any of these games would make a great substitute for video games.