Best New Strategy Board Games Reviewed 2013

Playing board games is a holiday and Christmas tradition in my family. It’s one of the best ways to get reacquainted with loved ones and friends. During the year we invite our friends family over for some friendly strategy games. Some players are obviously more serious than others so we typically choose our games based on our company. The table that follows contains reviews for our top ten strategy games this year.

Give Your Family Real Bonding Time

If you can get them away from their cell phones and electronic devices, then even your teenage children will love and ask you to play strategy games with them. This time is crucial not only to strengthening your relationship, but also helps them to develop critical thinking skills. I’m especially partial to strategy games that involve less “luck” and more thinking. It’s been fun to watch our kids grow, develop, and then beat the pants off of us in several of the following games. Without further adieu here’s a list of the best strategy board games of 2011 according to rating, freshness, and staying power (bestseller’s lists). Not all of these games are recent releases, but those which are several years old remain on the list because of our last criteria.

Want to take a look at some party games for this Christmas? Here’s a look at some of the best party board games for adults.

Strategy GamePricePublisher/ Ages/ PlayersDescription/ Review
7 Wonders
Asmodee/ 10+/ 3-7If you're looking for an all new strategy game in 2011, then this is it. 7 Wonders recently won the 2011 Deutscher Spiele Preis which is run by the German magazine Die Pöppel-Revue. This is one of many awards that this enthralling game has been given and I'm sure that there will be many more to come. You and other players play this card game through 3 ages in around 30 minutes. The object is to collect the most points. Some cards make it easier for you further down the road and others have immediate effects. No matter what your strategy there are many ways to win this game. It's well thought out, constructed, not too difficult for beginners, but is complicated enough that you'll enjoy various playing strategies for many games to come.
Forbidden Island
Gamewright/ 10+/ 2-4This is a great new family game because it's a cooperative strategy game where you're trying together to get all 4 treasures by collecting 4 of the same treasure card. At the start of the game the tiles are randomized and players are dropped off on the square that they are supposed to be in order to start exploring the island by taking actions each turn. While you're taking actions each turn to acquire these treasures the island is gradually flooding and sinking while you draw "flood cards". Whether you've never played it before or are an expert you'll definitely lose from time to time because 2 games are never the same and you're constantly trying avoid losing in 1 of 3 ways; if fools landing gets sunk, you can't get one of the treasures, the whole island sinks because of the water level, or if one of the players is on an alone island and it sinks.
Asara
Rio Grande Games/ Rio Grande Games Description:

Compete with your fellow players for the most beautiful towers. Players take on the roles of famous architects and using their chicanery, try to obtain the best construction parts. With these the exuberant towers are erected. Think ahead, use your tactical sense and it will help you to stay ahead of the other players and thereby becoming the greatest architect of the country. Exciting construction entertainment for the whole family.
Agricola
Z-Man GamesThis fun new game pits you as a farmer in 1670 AD with your spouse to start from nothing and then create a farm to live the dream on your own land. For each turn players get to take two actions, one for you and one for your spouse. It's pretty complex and can take as long as 2 hours to play, but if you're the type of person that enjoys a strategy game like Settler's of Catan, then most likely you'll be hooked on Agricola. Who needs Farmville?
The Settlers of Catan
MayFair GamesSettlers of Catan is one of the most popular games in the last decade and it continues to ride the wave on the bestseller's list. It's played with 2-4 players (up to 6 with the expansion) and the object is to get 11 points before your opponents do. This can be accomplished in various ways through constructing settlements, having the longest road, getting victory points, etc... Based upon the resources that you get at first you'll decide one of many ways to play. Before you play you need to know ahead of time that this game should last a good 45-60 minutes so be sure to have enough time. In our opinion this game is best with all 4 people present as it makes your placements a little bit more even. Like Settlers? Try Cities and Knights.
Ticket to Ride
Days of WonderTicket to Ride is another game that's quickly becoming a classic and there are various editions of this game with different rules that make it fun. Up to 5 players can play so you can even invite that fifth wheel friend to come along the ride and join in. The object of the game is to get more points than opponents by completing railway routes through North America, getting the longest train, or preventing your opponents from finishing their routes, thus adding negative points to their totals at the end of the game.
Lost Cities
Rio Grande Games/ From Rio Grande Games:

For the daring and adventurous, there are many lost cities to explore in the Lost Cities Card Game from Rio Grande Games. Send expeditions to the Himalayas, the ever-shifting sands of the desert, the Brazilian rain forest, ancient volcanoes and even deep into Neptunes realm. With limited resources, players must choose which expeditions to begin. Those with high confidence may want to up the stakes: increasing the rewards for success, but risking more should the expedition fail. The player who finds the right balance will find victory! Lose yourself in the excitement of this engaging strategy game!
Dominion
Rio Grande Games/ 13+ / 2-4Dominion is another really great strategy game from Rio Grande Games who continues to impress us with their creativity. It's very balanced as all players start with the same small deck of cards and purchase cards in the middle of the table as they get the money for them. If you take the more efficient route to victory points and can fend off other monarchs with the same idea, then you'll be the ruler of not only your parents small kingdom, but the entire civilization!
Lancaster
Asmodee/ 10+/ 2-5In Lancaster you play as a family of nobles which gives support to the king in order to gain power and prestige. It's a relatively new game from Queen games that few know about but it's worth a look and starting to gain some traction. Similar to other games you are trying to get more points than your opponent, but the strategy goes beyond this. Each player is given a series of knights, which can be upgraded, to go to work for them to rule areas, go to war, or build your castles.
Play as a noble family and give your support to the King and become the most powerful lord of their time
Carcassonne
Rio Grande Games/ 8+ / 2-5This game was released several years ago but is still rated on the bestseller's list. The object once again is to score the most points by placing farmers, knights, and thieves.
Puerto Rico
Rio Grande Games/ 12+ / 3-5
Stone Age
Rio Grande Games/ 12+/ 2-4

If you enjoyed our review or feel like we’ve really missed out on a game that you love, then help us out by leaving a comment with the game and manufacturer’s name, and a description. The table above will get frequently updated and will be influenced by reader opinion.

Top 20 Board Games Overall for 2011 – 2012

Here’s our new table of the top 20 board games overall according to consumer popularity in 2011.

NamePricePlayersCategoryManufacturer's Recommended Ages / Our Recommendation
Rory's Story Cubes
1+Family Games, Dice, Board Games, Kids, CreativityAges 8 years and up/ We recommend 5 and up.
Hedbanz Game
2-6Family, Party, Kids Ages 8-12/ We recommend 6 and up.
Perplexus Maze Game by PlaSmart, Inc
1Kids, Pre-TeenAges 6-14
Qwirkle Board Game
2-4Critical Thinking, Kids, Adults, Parent's Gold Choice Award, EducationalAges 6 and up.
Spot It by Blue Orange
2-8Travel Size, Kids, Ages 7-11/ 6 and up
Richard Scarry's Busy Town
2-4Kids, Young Children3 and up
Bananagrams
1-8Kids, Travel Size, Educational7+
Blokus
2-4Everyone, Kids, Adults, Problem-Solving, Critical Thinking, board game5+
The Settlers of Catan by MayFair Games
2-4 (with expansion up to 6)Strategy, Adults, Teenagers, board game10+
Ticket to Ride by Days of Wonder
2-5Strategy, Adults, Teenagers, Board Game8+
Dominion
2-4Tactical, Card Game, Strategy, Adults, Teenagers10+
Imaginets by MindWare
N/AKids, Young Children3+
Monopoly Junior by Hasbro
2-4Kids, Board Game, Critical Thinking, Strategy5-8
ThinkFun Rush Hour
1Kids8+
Operation Star Wars Edition
2-4Kids, Classic Board Games, Theme8-12
UNO MOO Preschool Game
2-4Kids, Young Childrem 3-10
Harry Potter - The Complete Cinematic Journey
2+Teenagers, DVD Games11+
Quelf Board Game
3-6Card Games, Teenagers, Adults, Party12+
Name 5 Game
2+Party, Family10+
Chutes and Ladders Super Hero Squad
2-6Young Kids, Boys, Theme, Classic Board Games3-6

Board Games for Kids 2011 – 2012

When I was a kid my brothers and I received a new board game each Christmas that we played hours on end. It was usually the best gift we received because it forced us to bond by spending time with one another. In this post I’ll review the board games that are most popular for this year. Only a few of these were actually released in 2011, but it usually takes a couple of years for most board games to get on the bestseller’s list.

Tip for Buying Board Games Online: I recommend that you purchase your board games on Amazon. Individual retailer sites and stores usually set a premium. Amazon is great because it forces all of the retailers, including Amazon, to compete with each other and you can usually get the cheapest price.

Top 10 List of the Best Rated Board Games for Kids Christmas 2011

1.  Rory’s Story Cubes – Encourages Creativity

This game is perfect for encouraging artistic expression in young children. The rules are simple. Roll the 9 dice and then have your child create a story based off of what the dice say. Either arrange the dice in a predetermined order and make them use their problem solving skills or have them pick which ones they want to use at which time. It’s recommended for kids ages 8-12 but my 4 year old girl and 6 year old boy love using them as well. You can also play a game where you make it a short story or take it out as long as you want. My son liked one of them he made up so much that he’s written down on paper.

Overall this is a great game at a great price – under $10. See Rory’s Story Cubes on Amazon or hover over the link for today’s price.

2. Hedbanz Game – Best New Family Party Game

Hedbanz has really caught on since it’s release in late 2010. It’s recommended for ages 8-12 but my wife and I enjoy playing this with our family, friends, and it’s even a success at parties. One of the reason’s is that it’s super simple to understand. Simply place one of the headbands on your head, draw a card, and then you try to figure out what’s on your head by asking other players questions. You start out with coins chips and every time you guess what’s on your head you get rid of one. The first one to get rid of their chips wins.

In summary, there’s a reason that this game is #2 on the bestseller’s list this year – it’s a really fun family game. If I had one complaint it’d be that it’s sometimes difficult to come up with the questions or answer them as another player but after you’ve played it a couple times this becomes easier. See Hedbanz on Amazon.

3. Perplexus Maze Game

I wish they had had this game in the Doctor’s office when I was a kid rather than those boring ones that you just move along the track. This maze game is fun because you can take several ways to your destination by flip twisting and shifting your way through it. It doesn’t get old because of the 100 challenging barriers that that PlaSmart added to it. It has small parts (a marble) so I wouldn’t really recommend it for children under 3.

This is a great game which helps them to improve their motor skills and hand eye coordination. It’s a hit with our six year old boy and I find myself playing it all too often as well! See more about and read customer reviews for the Perplexus Maze Game.

4. Qwirkle – Encourages Critical Thinking and Math Skills

Qwirkle received the parents “gold” award and although it was released a few years ago is still hanging in on the top 5 bestsellers list for board games. You start by drawing 6 different pieces each and then trying to match them up by color and shape. You get a point for each color and shape before you and like Scrabble you can get multiple points by adding a piece that fits to both a row and a column. Additional points can be scored by  making a “Qwirkle” which is made by having 6 of the same shape or color.

Overall this is a great game for kids and adults. It’s been perfect for logical reasoning skills with our kids and quick math/addition skills. This is why Mensa named it their “Mind Game Award Winner”. You can get it new at Amazon for under $15. See Qwirkle on Amazon.

5. Spot It – An All-Around Fun Board Game

Spot it is a great new game that takes matching, a relatively simple concept, and makes it into a competitive madhouse! The game comes with 55 cards and each card comes with 8 images with only 1 matching. Whoever shouts out the symbol first wins. There are four different variations of how you can play the game; The Tower, The Well, Poison Gift, and Hot Potatoes so it never really gets boring.

Overall this is another really fun game for families. It’s small enough that we can take it on trips with us and play it in the car and it doesn’t get old fast. See Spot It on Amazon.

6. Richard Scarry Busy Town

7. Bananagrams

8. Blokus Classics Game

9. Monopoly Junior Edition

10. MindWare Imaginets

Best New Board Games for Christmas 2011 – 2012

If you’ve never had a family game night, you should start one. Even if you don’t like your family, you should break out some old games to play with your friends. But there is nothing more fun that learning to play a new game with people you like hanging out with. Board games give people time to spend together, talking and laughing instead of just sitting around watching a movie. You can also get to know people very well while playing games. Cousin Ed might have been cool, but once you see how brutally competitive he is, you might not be so fond of him anymore as you go head to head to win one of these fantastic games. And with Christmas coming up, these games make great gifts!


Ravensburger Labyrinth Anniversary Edition Family Game 
This is a moving maze where you must obtain certain treasures. There are many routes to take to beat your opponents. Each player has a mission and the person who completes theirs first is the one to win. This is a 25th anniversary edition game that will entertain for 25 more years. With the maze that moves, you will rarely play the same game twice.

Phineas and Ferb Funniest Card Game Ever
This is a great game to play with younger family members who are sure to love the game based on the television show. Phineas and Ferb have interesting senses of humor and very entertaining imaginations. This is a very interactive game that will bring the storylines of the show to your table! It is sure to be a hit for those young ones who already watch the show and would love to be a part of it.

Girls Night Out Pink
Nothing is better than a girls night out, and now you can play a game made for just such an evening! The conversation will range from all kinds of things from intimate to daily topics and you will know just what the girls really think. Based on the topics, this game is recommended for ladies 18 year of age and older. With thought provoking questions to hilarious ones, you will surely get to know the girls even better than you thought you did.

UNO Roboto Game
UNO has been a classic game for decades. Find fun with this new kind of game. The Wild Card will bring the robot to life that speaks and makes unique house rules. As you play, the robot will call out different directions so the way you play will change periodically. This robot puts a whole new spin on the old classic card game. But don’t worry, the same rule applies that you have to yell “Uno!” when you have one card left!

Tivial Pursuit Ultimate Disney Edition
Many people have a hard time playing trivial pursuit, but almost anyone can play this game with ease! And everyone loves Disney, so brush up on your Disney info and get the game going. The whole family gets involved as you must think of answers from the famous stories and movies. There are three question types, Take 2 Trivia, My Disney and Disney List. This game is recommended for ages 8 and up.

Cooking Scrabble
This is yet another classic game with a new spin. This cooking edition game is just like the favorite word game we have all come to love. You can earn bonus points and there are recipe cards to follow as you try to beat the other players with your creative cooking words. And for your tiles, a miniature grocery bag keeps them all tucked away. Make sure to have some snacks on hand as you play because it is sure to work up your appetite!

Beat The Parents
With this game, the kids can be the rulers! The questions are geared to stump both kids and parents alike. Parents are asked questions that their kids should certainly know and vice versa. Do the parents know who stars in their favorite blockbuster movies? Can the kids spell cappuccino? Avoid the wild card spaces or you will go back and that is a sure way to lose the game. The first person to make it to the end with all their tokens wins!

Say Anything 
This game will let you know what your friends really think and let them know what you really think. Maybe in some cases that isn’t such a good thing, but with this game, you are sure to have fun! With questions to push your hot buttons and start some classic debate, to questions that make you really think, you will have fun hearing what everyone has to say. Your answers are written down and the person chosen will pick the one they like best.

Loaded Questions
Do you think you know what your friends and family are thinking? Well this game is to test your knowledge of how well you know them. When you guess their answers to these mind probing questions, you get to move your piece along the board. There are over 500 questions so you might get lucky or unlucky with the draw. Walk away feeling sure you know the people you are supposed to know, or questioning if you know them at all!

Table Topics Family
It is proven that families who eat meals together talk more and have closer relationships in general and with this game you can do it without a meal. This game is sure to get the conversations going with all kinds of topics. You will have fun getting to know what your kids think about topics you would never have thought to ask them about and they will learn more from you as you apply your wealth of knowledge with this game. Your kids will also learn conversation skills so they will be able to talk to anyone of any age confidently. This game comes with 135 questions so the fun will go on for a long, long time.

If you didn’t find what you were looking for, then head over to Christmas Gift Central to see their list of the best new board games of 2011.

Best Selling Board Games of 2011-2012

Who doesn’t love family game night? Is your game closet bursting with old and dated games? If you are looking for some new board games to spice up your social life, look no further. And with Christmas just around the corner, you might be curious as to what kind of gift to get someone you know. It really depends on the person but here we will discuss different types of great selling board games that are currently popular with all ages. So if you want one for yourself, for your brother or your kids, there are plenty of ideas here. Also be sure to check out these party board games for adults.

Goosebumps One Day at Horrorland Game
This is a great game for kids ages 7 and up. Goosebumps is a popular children’s book series with all kinds of spooky stories. Now they can be a part of their favorite stories. This game features an amusement park where your life is at stake. It is full of scary rides full of hidden skulls that want steal the very breath from you. The winner will be the one who can live through all the rides and get back to the entrance alive.

The Game of Things
This game is sure to keep you laughing for hours with your friends. There are several hundred topic cards that require humorous answers. The object of the game is to figure out who said something and trying to match up phrases with the people around the table is sure to be fun. For instance, a question is asked such as “What you would do if you were President”. When the answers are read, the answer with the most laughs wins that round. Answers can be outrageously obnoxious or straight laced and serious. The Game of Things is great for all ages; just make sure to use appropriate responses when playing with younger people.

Nickelodeon iCarly Charades Game
The television show iCarly has been a huge hit among tweens in the United States. She is fun and quirky and so are her friends, as they get into all kinds of pickles. Any kind of charades game is fun, but when you put an iCarly spin on things, they are sure to be entertaining.

Wood Expressions Wooden Sudoku
This is a very nice wood Sudoku set to add to your collection. It includes pull out drawers to store the pieces and is simply beautiful. It is a perfect game for the ultimate strategist. The game can be played alone or with others, so if you find yourself solo on a Friday night, pull out this game! Strategy games have been proven to exercise the mind and increase brain activity. And it has been reported that games like this can stave off dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Black Backgammon Set
Backgammon has been a popular game for hundreds of years. It is believed to have originated in Mesopotamia. Pieces have been bones, rocks, pottery or pieces of wood. This set comes in a beautiful black case with polished pieces. So if you are just learning to play, or are a veteran, having this in your collection of classic games is well worth it. It can be a great gift for a Backgammon beginner.

New Mayfair Games World Without End Family Board Game
This is a unique family game for the adventure enthusiast. The game is based on a novel by Ken Follett. As the game is played, you will find all kinds of adventures and mishaps to work your way through while making sure your character is taken care of. You must keep track of your supplies, money and can work your way up in popularity. Make sure to use your medical knowledge to avoid the evil in the game.

Wasabi
No, this is not a game where you have to eat the spicy goodness of wasabi. Instead, you are an apprentice to a sushi guru. You will have to work with various combinations of recipes and sushi making skills. You can earn bonus points for completing recipes with unique qualities. Have fun with your favorite food!

Deluxe Dirty Minds
Though it makes one think that this game is full of XXX talk, it is known to be the cleanest dirty game. The key is to actually keep your mind as clean as possible while you play the game. Sounds backwards right? Well, that is the point. This game is great for a group setting, but be sure to explain it to all your guests lest they think you are a perverted host. This game is supposed to be even more hilarious than the original.

The Dangerous Book for Boys Game
This is a fun and adventurous game for boys of all ages. It was created after the Dangerous Book for Boys was released years ago. You find yourself shipwrecked but you can save yourself with some smart thinking and good old fashioned fun. It does help if you have read the book but it is not a prerequisite. Every time you have success in the adventures, you earn pieces to build your boat to get back to civilization. The person can sail away is the winner. So test your knowledge of knots, building things and girls to see if you can make your way back home.

Apples to Apples Party Box
This game has been very popular for years and has won numerous awards. Each player takes turn reading a sentence and then the other players must pick one of their one word cards to best represent the subject. Sometimes there is nothing applicable so choosing something funny can earn you the vote. The judge picks the one they like best. The trick is that the judge picks the one they like best, not the one that is the most appropriate. So you are at the mercy of each individual judge. In the game Apples to Apples the fun can then continue when players talk about their choices and why they picked them.

Top 10 Best Rated Board Games 2011-2012

Board games have evolved over time to fit the changes that come in society. Today, in the age of technology, it may seem like board games have been completely eliminated from the everyday household and replaced by video games. However, although video games do have a larger niche in today’s world than does the traditional board game, board games continue to be produced and be popular. Here is a list of the best rated board games today.

1. Apples to Apples
This game has become almost a standard at any major group gathering in which there are groups of people that don’t know each other. In this game, there are both red and green cards (just like real apples!). Players (between four and ten of them) are each dealt seven red cards that each contain a noun. The players then take turns drawing green cards, that contain adjectives; the players that did not draw the green card must choose the red card from their hand that they believe is best described by the green card. The player that drew the green card must then choose which of the red cards he or she thinks is best described by the green card. He or she then gives that green card to the winner; the first player to collect five green cards wins.

2. Scene It
This is a half-digital, half-board game masterpiece, that has been produced in several different versions already during its short lifetime. Scene It is usually based on either a TV show or a movie, and players must select categories from the DVD that comes with the game from which they answer questions. A correct answer moves you forward on the board, while an incorrect answer may move you back. The first player to reach the end of the board wins. For at least two players, but can be played in teams as well.

3. Shadows Over Camelot
This game is essentially based off of another classic game, Settlers of Cataan, just with a different spin on it. In Shadows Over Camelot, anywhere from three to seven players can participate. Unlike most board games, in Shadows Over Camelot the players work together to reach their quest; they are the knights of the round table in King Arthur’s court. Loyalty cards, the progression of evil, and quests make this game interesting. The object of the game is to fill the round table with more white swords than black—a black sword is awarded if a quest is failed, and a white sword is awarded if a quest is successfully completed.

4. I’m the Boss
This board game is creatively based off of the economy, as players are investors that compete to make the most money by making business deals between each other. Players take turns drawing deals, and at the end of the fifteenth deal, whichever player has the most money wins. For anywhere from three to six players.

5. Wits and Wagers
The creativity of the playing of this game is probably what earned it its high rating. Wits and Wagers is for between four and twenty players, and players may play in teams or otherwise. It is a trivia game, and once a question is asked, each player or team places his answer in written form on the betting mat. The players then bet on which answer they think is the most correct. After seven questions, the player who has won the most bets wins.

6. Blokus
This is a simple game for two to four players. Each player chooses a different color, out of blue, green, red and yellow. They then alternate placing one of their 21 colored tiles on the board, and each consecutively played piece must only touch one corner of another piece that has been played. When there are no more available moves, the player with the least amount of colored tiles wins.

7. Ticket to Ride
This board game has been reproduced in multiple languages, including French, German, and Finnish. In Ticket to Ride, players are given colorful playing pieces shaped like trains, as well as “destination cards”. The object is for a player to complete as many routes as possible, by playing the train pieces. At the end of the game, when there are no more available routes to take, players are awarded points for completing the routes listed on their destination cards, and points are also subtracted for failing to do so. At the end of the game, the player with the most points wins.

8. Power Grid
Originally created in Germany, this game has a two-sided board—one side with a map of the United States, and the other with a map of Germany. At the beginning of the game, players choose whether they want to supply power to cities in the United States or in Germany, and then determine a number of cities that wins the game. Once a player has reached that number, he or she wins. This game can be played with as few as two players, and as many as six.

9. Caylus
This is another building board game, in which players build and add to the castle Caylus in France, set in the middle ages. Anywhere from two to five players alternate turns, building and adding on to the castle. During these turns, players earn prestige points by earning royal favors. Once all of the towers of the castle are built, the game ends, and the player with the most prestige points wins the game.



10. Puerto Rico
Another German-designed game with economic aims, the object of this game is to ship goods to Europe as well as construct buildings on the island of Puerto Rico, set in the age of discovery. Three to five players can play, and during their turns they earn victory points for various accomplishments. At the end of the game, the player with the most victory points wins.

These are today’s best-rated board games, those board games that have transcended the power of the video game in the twenty-first century.

Best Strategy Board Games 2011 – 2012

The best strategy games offer enough of a challenge to last throughout several years of play, but are easy enough to understand that players don’t get frustrated and bogged down in the rules. These games all offer unique, endless combinations for lots of varied game play. Some games will require a learning curve to fully understand the rules and options, but once you’ve played a game or two, you’ll enjoy hours of play. Beyond our reviews below take a look at our list of the best new strategy board games.

Best Strategy Board Games 2011

Ticket to Ride – Europe
by Days of Wonder 

A sequel to Ticket to Ride, the Ticket to Ride Europe edition will keep your family entertained as you learn European geography. Players begin with a set of colored train cars and four “tickets” — three for short routes, one for a long route. Each route has a point value. Players draw and collect colored cards in order to place train cars along routes to connect to destination cities. Colored markers move around the outside of the board, showing points collected by building trains. Players add more routes for extra points. Once a player’s train cars are gone, game play is over. Uncompleted routes are deducted from player’s score. The player with the longest continuous train gains bonus points. This game requires strategy and organization skills. The little train pieces are unique and fun. Because of the variety of routes, every game is completely different. Games can be played in less than an hour and are recommended for players as young as eight years old.

Dominion
by Rio Grande Games 

Dominion is a 250 card strategy game offers endless varieties, so the game never gets old. There are 25 categories of action cards, but each game begins with players deciding on 10 categories to play with (the instruction manual offers several recommended combinations). Each player receives an equal number of money cards. Players buy action cards, then play them for points. Strategy must be used to balance the amount of money cards with the actions that earn points to win. Some cards allow players to take others’ points, or gain more money, or take extra turns. The game is incredibly addictive; everyone will immediately want to play another round! There are many add-on sets that can be purchased for an even larger number of possibilities. This is a somewhat complicated game, but it becomes easier to play after the first round. Recommended for ages 13 and up.

Pandemic
by Z-Man Games 

A unique concept: instead of planning strategy to beat the other players, you’ll play collaboratively to beat the game. You will want to play this one over and over until you win. In Pandemic, every round is different, though, and you will find that it’s tough to consistently beat the game. The game begins with four breakouts of killer diseases all over world. Each player receives a card with their job that allows them to work with other players to cure each disease. But, be careful… the disease can spread so rapidly that you end up with a pandemic that wipes out the population. Before each turn of play, players talk to each other and devise a general strategy. You can depend on the strengths of each player’s job, and whatever lucky cards people draw. The manufacturer recommends two to five players at least ten years old, but the game is really suited best for older teens and adults. The game typically wins about 50 percent of the time, making it a constant challenge.

The Settlers of Catan
by MayFair Games $33.60

You need lots of things to achieve settlement: food, roads, resources such as bricks and lumber. In Settlers of Catan, you’’ll start with two settlements and improve them with a roll of the dice to earn points. Interact with others by offering to trade cards, and learn the skills of negotiation. The game takes up to 90 minutes to play, but it consistently wins awards and has been on the bestselling games list in both the United States and Germany. Expansion sets increase the possibilities of play. The game comes with a very detailed, well-organized rule book. At first, you’ll find that looking up questions and rules takes up quite a bit of time, but after playing a few games everyone will understand the strategies and rules. For players as young as ten.

Forbidden Island
by Gamewright $13.44

The least expensive game on our list, this one was created by Matt Leacock, the brilliant designer of Pandemic. Forbidden Island is another collaborative game where the goal is to find four treasures before the island sinks. Each player is assigned a character card, which gives him certain powers and advantages. Island tiles are laid out to make the board. Each game provides a unique layout with unique characters, so the combinations are plentiful, making for a completely different game every round. Particular tiles start to flood, then sink, as you race to find your four treasures.

The game will win about half the time; your team will find victory the other half. Either way, players will beg for “just one more game!” until the hour becomes very late. The artwork in the game is gorgeous and detailed. It won the Mensa Favorite Brainy Games award in 2010.

Best Party Board Games for Adults 2011 – 2012

With the holidays soon approaching and parties being planned you may be wondering what games would be fun, inclusive, and great for a party atmosphere. If you are thinking of doing a board game for your party we have the top 10 board games of the year, both old and new. Fun for all your guests, these games will get everyone up and participating.

Best Board Games for Parties in 2011

Telestrations

First on the list, we have Telestrations. Awarded the Best Party Games of 2011 by Games Magazine, this game is fun and simple. This game is basically the telephone game, but with drawings. You draw a word from the deck and write the word on your booklet. You also draw a picture on the next page and pass it on. It’s a guessing and drawing game which combines Pictionary and telephone for something unique and fun for the whole group. What makes the game fun is drawing skills of the different players may change the word drastically or people may mess up just for laughs. Telestrations not being too serious or competitive makes this game full of fun for the party.

Morphology

If you are looking for a new game that’s easy to play Morphology is the way to go. This game has the quality of Pictionary with a new twist. Players are separated into teams and one person can draw a card from the deck. The card will have a word, but instead of drawing the player must use the shapes and pieces provided to make the word. Like Pictionary, the player’s teammates must guess the word in the time allowed. If the word is guessed correctly the team’s frog gets to move forward on the board one lily pad. Invented by Kate Ryan Reiling, Time Magazine dubbed Morphology the #2 game of 2010. This creative game is a new take on board games and is sure to get your guests having a great time.

Funglish

Third on the list is Funglish. This game is another deviation of Pictionary, but you can’t draw, talk, or act anything out. You draw a card and need to use the provided tiles to describe it. The tiles are descriptive and provide clues so you can arrange them quickly before time runs out. With 120 tiles you’ll find the right words to describe the word and get your team guessing. The word guessing game keeps people on their toes and while yelling out answers the energy of the room goes up, getting the party rolling.


Say Anything

Next up is Say Anything, an opinion party game that’s sure to get everyone playing. One player draws a card and asks the question written. The other players write an answer and quickly put it down, face up so people can see. There are no duplicates allowed. The first player who read the question chooses their favorite and the rest of the players “bet” on which answer they thought you chose, using the provided tokens. This is a fun way to get to know people or to find out what your friends think about the silly questions. It gets people laughing and discussion going, breaking the ice at any party.

Wits and Wagers

Wits And Wagers, created by North Star, can include up to 21 players, making sure no one is let out. This game asks trivia questions, but adds a fun twist. If you think another person knows the answer you can bet on them with provided tokens. You can even bet on your own answer. The closet to the correct answer wins and you could have hit the jackpot. This gambling game gets laughs because of the answer people write down. It could be spot on or the furthest from the answer. The only way to find out is to lay the money down.

Cranium

Want to go back to games you know? Why not do Cranium? This game is diverse, appealing to people from every walk of life. If you’re a Creative Cat you may be asked to make something. If you are a Word Worm, maybe you’ll define something. There is something for everyone in this game and can be played with 4 players or more. Cranium has an element from almost every game. Move around the board or answer a multiple-choice question. You can draw, sing, or mold something out of clay. Whether you’re party if filled with left brainers or right brainers this game is for everyone and is sure to get your guests excited for the night.

Loaded Questions


Loaded Questions is a game that test how well you know people. A great ice breaker, you race around the board by guessing the answers of the other players correctly. This game is opinion oriented and simple to play. As the players move around the board based on the dice roll, they read out the question that goes with the color they landed on and the color coded questions. The other players write down their answers and the first player must match up the answers with the players that wrote them down. For every correct answer the player gets to move forward. The questions are not only funny, but they inspired discussions and form memories. You may win the game and get to know a few people from just playing. Loaded Questions explores peoples’ true personalities and opinions, making it easy to get to know each other, relax, and have a good time.

Tribond

Tribond is another game sure to give hours of fun. This game give simple riddles to solve by asking “what do these three things have in common?” The game resembles Trouble because players each get three pawns and get them all from start to finish three different ways. As you move across the board you answer a variety questions, called Threezers. With each correct answer you get to move which ever die you choose. If two pawns land on the same space they have a battle and have to answer the question read faster than the other. The loser goes back to their original spot. While the game says two or more players it would be better for multiple gaming stations during a party, keeping the fun rolling in different areas. Simple, but intoxicating, the game will keep players entertained for hours.

Scene It

Scene It is one of those games everyone can enjoy and comes in different styles. Star Trek, Disney movies, Friends, or Harry Potter, this game has enjoyable clips and questions about your favorite movies and TV shows. Each Edition is fun and unique, making it a new experience for every game. The game includes trivia cards and questions about the scenes shown, keep the players on their toes for which ever challenge is next. You can sit back and watch the clips or watch the other players race around the board. There is never a dull moment with Scene It.

Battle of the Sexes

Last but not least is Battle of the Sexes. This game pits female against male to see who is better. The fun games tests your knowledge of the opposite sex with questions based on gender. From sports to pedicures this game has is all and surprises you with what the opposite sex knows. A simple board game, the players move with each correct question and each card has three questions. Two pawns may occupy the same space and each team gets two pawns. You win by getting both of your pawns to the other side of the board. Simple, fun, and fast everyone will enjoy the game for hours.

No doubt about it, if you are looking for party fun these board games for adults lead the pack. Whether you’re looking for a brain teaser like Cranium or a guessing game like Morphology these games are sure to get laughs and get your guests ready for a night filled with fun.

Best Family Board Games 2011 – 2012

Playing board games is a great way to bond as a family. You’ll find that your kids learn how to be patient as they wait for their turn, how to help other family members and how to play by the rules. With the right kinds of games, your kids can learn other valuable skills such as spelling, reading, counting, addition and subtraction, and strategy. Make it a point to have a family game night once a week. Pop some popcorn or make a pan of brownies and settle in around the kitchen table for a few hours of laughter, fun and games.

Best Rated Board Games for Families

Hi Ho Cherry-O by Hasbro – For Families with Young Children

You may have played this game when when you were a child, and it still has the same appeal today for kids as young as three. You don’t need reading skills for this game, so the youngest member of the family is able to be competitive. Hi Ho Cherry-O comes with 40 tiny plastic cherries (ages three and up, because the cherries pose a choking hazard for younger children). You’ll fill up the spaces on your tree with cherries, and then spin the spinner to be able to “pick” a cherry or two. Sometimes a dog or bird will “eat” some cherries, and you’ll have to take them out of your basket and put them back on the tree. The first player to have 10 cherries in his basket wins! You’ll need at least two players to play; the maximum is four players.

Wordplay for Kids! by Game Development Group – For Kids in Grade School

Want to work on vocabulary, spelling and concentration skills? This Teacher’s Choice Award winner might be just the ticket. Kids as young as six can play, as long as they have some basic reading and spelling skills. Everyone grabs a pencil and game pad and someone spins the spinner to get two letters that must be used to make a word. Another player can roll the die to get a category. Then, flip over the timer and use your noggin to come up with a great word. Every player gets to move his token farther along the board as long as he makes a viable word, but those who make longer words get to move even more spaces. This is a fun game for up to six players. If you’ve got kids in a wide age range, form teams or maybe give younger players some extra points each turn to even the playing field.

Kids on Stage by University Games – For Active Kids

Kids on Stage is for kids as young as three won a National Parenting Publications award and it’s easy to see why. Basically a version of charades, this game will turn your kids into little actors and actresses and have the whole family laughing. No reading is required; the cards have pictures on them that even the youngest game players can understand. Preschoolers can work on number and color skills as they spin the spinner and them move their game piece to a colored square. They’ll choose a card of the same color, get up “on stage” and act out the picture. Parents or siblings can help, or team up for collaborative fun. Play strictly by the rules and act out silently, or allow some noises for even more hilarity. This game makes a nice transition to play dates as well, since adult help really isn’t needed to play.

Rory’s Story Cubes by Gamewright – For Creative Children

Rory’s Story Cubes is an inexpensive game that is a family favorite, and easy to take on trips to Grandma’s house or on family vacations. It increases writing skills and creativity and can be funny, tragic, thoughtful or even poetic, depending on the writer. Roll the nine cubes, then spend the next fifteen minutes writing a story that incorporates all the ideas represented on the cubes. This game can be played many ways. Each player may make up his or her own story, then read it aloud at the end. Or, the family can collaborate on a story together, with one designated writer. The game maker specifies players of eight years or older, but younger children could certainly be included in collaborative games. Mix things up by only use a few cubes, or give everyone a couple cubes and have them make up a unique story. This game can even be played by one player for individual skill-building.

Apples to Apples Party Box – The Game of Hilarious Comparisons by Mattel  – For Everyone

Apples to Apples just keeps winning award after award, and you’ll quickly see why. It’s a great game for families with older children and teenagers; the manufacturer specifies ages twelve and up, which is pretty accurate. If you find it hard to get your teen talking, this might be the perfect game. Game play is very simple and straightforward. You’ll appoint a judge, then each player gets a set of red colored cards with a noun printed on the reverse side. The judge draws a green card with an adjective on it and places it face-up on the table. Players then choose a card from their hand that is best described by the adjective. Comparisons get funny fast as players attempt to convince the judge why their words are good comparisons. The judge chooses a winner for each round, then another judge oversees the next round. You’ll get stories out of your kids that you would never have imagined. There are more than one thousand cards in this game, so you’ll never run out of creative, funny combinations. Designed for play with four to ten people, but you can certainly play with more.

Best Board Games of All Time

Board games have come to be an integral part of everyday family life in the United States.  We laugh over them, we cry over them, we get angry over them, these iconic symbols of America’s favorite pastimes have the potential to evoke a plethora of human emotions.  So many people want to be the proud inventors of one of these relics of society, but only a few actually succeed in creating a legacy.  Here are the top ten board games of all time.

1. Monopoly

There are few households in the United States without at least a dust-covered version of this game in some nook or cranny.  Monopoly is the classic game that teaches kids to love money, as they circle the board buying or selling properties, paying taxes, and going to jail.  The character pieces in this game are simple, everyday objects, made of metal.  This game has even inspired sweepstakes for the restaurant McDonald’s; its impacts are that far-reaching.

2. Scrabble

Scrabble is certainly not a board game for the faint of heart, as it requires brute intelligence and a way with words and letters. In this game, players draw seven tiles at a time, each with one letter of the alphabet on them (there are also two elusive blank tiles, which can be used to represent a letter of choice by the player who lays it down). Players then connect their letters to those of other words that have been played by the other opponents, and scores are determined by how common each letter is in the English language, as well as where the tile is laid down triple word scores are the most sought-after spaces in Scrabble.

3. Parcheesi 

Although Parcheesi has been marketed as “the classic game of India”, every American household that owns this game has been captivated by the utter simplicity of this game.  Today, the game’s playing pieces are colorful animal figurines that might be found in India water buffaloes, tigers, camels, and elephants.  The object of the game is to circle the board and get all four of your players “home” by rolling the dice.  Safety spaces and blockades make this objective more difficult than it seems.

4. Risk

Risk has the perfect balance of luck and skill required in a board game, in my humble opinion.  In Risk, players attempt to take over the world, using armies that fight by rolling the dice.  Strategic placement of the colored cubes that represent armies can almost guarantee a player a win, except for the element of dice rolling in this classic board game.  Because of this element, Risk can be fun for people of nearly all ages with a basic understanding of numbers and war.
5. Candyland
In terms of board games that appeal to children under the age of eight, Candylandmay be at the top of the list.  The mere ambience created by this simple game evokes general feelings of happiness and being carefree.  In this game, players draw cards that have different colored squares on them, and a player moves his piece to the next square of that color, until he reaches the end of the board.  Passing through lollipop lands and gumdrop forests spark kid’s imaginations and pique their interests.6. Life

Life is the classic game in which players live out imaginary lives by circling a board, drawing life tiles and
earning money depending on their professions and levels of education.  Disaster can strike, children are born, and insurance must be paid in this semi-realistic (but luckily stress-free because it is only a board game) representation of real life.  Players move about the board in cars by spinning
a dial of the numbers one through ten.

7. Clue  
Clue is one of the few board games to have inspired a movie, which was released in 1985.  This game caters to those players with interest in mysteries, as players try to discover by moving through different rooms on the board just who killed Mr. Body.  To correctly solve the mystery, a player must deduce which character killed him, as well as in which room the crime was committed and with which weapon. Although the concept may seem somewhat gruesome, this game has earned its place in the majority of American households.
8. Sorry!
 
Sorry encourages politeness from the players as they bump each other off their spaces.  This four-player game requires opponents to draw numbered cards and successfully take all four of their playing pieces around the board and safely into their home spaces.  Because only one playing piece can be on a space at a time, when a player lands on his or her opponent, he must say “sorry!” before sending that player back to the start.

9. Mouse Trap 

Although this game can be frustrating at times, most people have played it at least once in a lifetime.  Mice-shaped playing pieces move about the board on spaces that instruct players to build part of the mouse trap or collect cheese pieces. Once the mousetrap has been completely built, whichever player traps the other players in the mousetrap first wins. The colorful pieces in this game appeal to small children.
10. Chess
Although this game is not loved by all, most people at least have a basic understanding of this board game that simulates war. This may be one of the few board games that has been sold for upwards of $100,000, depending on the material from which the playing pieces are constructed. The object of this two-player game is to kill your opponent’s king, at which point you have won the war. The various playing pieces have different abilities in movement, and players alternate moving one piece at a time.

These are the top ten board games of all time, although there are many noteworthy board games that couldn’t make this exclusive list. Because board games have become such an integral part of American society, there are thousands of different games that have been invented, and a great many others that are sure to come in the future. Because of this, there are games out there for everyone, depending on one’s interests, and even if only for purposes of nostalgia, everyone should indulge in playing at least every once in a while.

Best Board Games for Kids

When I think back to some of my earliest memories, I think of playing Candyland and other board games with my parents and friends. These games were integral to my learning, and even to my growth as an individual. I remember when I started elementary school that there were board games available for me to play during my free time, and that some of them were downright boring. Which is why we have created a top ten of all time list of board games for kids.

Top 10 Best Board Games for Kids – All Time

1. Candyland

Candyland is an absolute classic, and there are probably very few people that have not been exposed to it. The board itself, with its colorful and inventive places, evokes general feelings of happiness and being carefree. In this game, players draw cards that have different colored squares on them, and a player moves his piece to the next square of that color, until he reaches the end of the board. Passing through lollipop lands and gumdrop forests spark kids’ imaginations and pique their interests. The lack of strategy in this game makes it perfect for children even as young as the age of two.

2. Chutes and Ladders

What could be better than the thought of climbing a ladder to slide down a slide? The concept of this game, just like Candyland, really evokes warm fuzzy feelings. Children simply spin a dial to determine how many spaces they must move, and some spaces attach to ladders that climb higher, while others attach to chutes that send you back a number of spaces. The pure simplicity and idea of this game is perfect for any child that knows how to count. See more reviews.

3. Guess Who

In terms of board games that both cater to children and require minimal deductive skills, Guess Who is at the top of the list. In this game, two opponents draw a character card, of which there are approximately 24.
Each player has his own separate board that has a flip card for each character.
Players alternate asking each other questions about the other’s character, and the first person to correctly guess the other’s character wins.

4. Mouse Trap

The colorful playing pieces and ultimate object of this game are extremely appealing to younger children. In Mouse Trap mice-shaped playing pieces move about the board on spaces that instruct players to build part of the mouse trap or collect cheese pieces. Once the mousetrap has been completely built, whichever player traps the other players in the mousetrap first wins. The rickety stairs, metal balls, and rubber band that are all integral parts of this game are all well-loved by children and adults alike.

5. Connect Four

Connect Four is a simple game that is similar to tic tac toe in nature, and thus its simple nature caters to the younger generation. Two players alternately drop colored pieces in five different rows, and the first person to connect four pieces of their color wins. The game has a simple strategy in determining whether it will be of more benefit to block the opponent, or to strategically place one’s own piece in an advantageous location.

6. Trouble

The unique presentation of the die in this board game is enough by itself to draw kids to the game of Trouble. Up to four players can play at a time, and players “pop” the dice inside a plastic bubble that determines how many spaces they move. Players move their four playing pieces around the board and into their home, and the first one to do so wins. The lack of strategy in this game makes it easy for children under the age of eight to play.

7. Sorry!

Sorry encourages children to learn politeness as opponents bump each other off their spaces. This four-player game requires opponents to draw numbered cards and successfully take all four of their playing pieces around the board and safely into their home spaces. Because only one playing piece can be on a space at a time, when a player lands on his or her opponent, he must say “sorry!” before sending that player back to the start. Once again, the simplicity of this game caters directly to young children.

8. Parcheesi

Also known as “the classic game of India”, the utter simplicity of this game and colorful playing pieces cater to young children. Today, the game’s playing pieces are colorful animal figurines that might be found in India—water buffaloes, tigers, camels, and elephants. The object of the game is to circle the board and get all four of your players “home” by rolling the dice. Safety spaces and blockades make this objective more difficult than it seems. The very simple strategy involved in this game is perfect for young children.

9. Cootie

In this game, players roll the dice to take turns assembling a plastic “cootie” bug, alternately attaching the legs, antennae, eyes, and other body parts. The colorful body parts and shape of the cooties themselves captivate the interest of the younger crowd. The simplicity of this game makes it easy for children as young as the age of two to play.

10. Operation

The board itself of Operation intrigues young children just upon looking at it, and when they see what it can do, they are entirely captivated. A cartoon character lays on an operating table with various holes in his body where small bones are placed. Players take turns trying to remove these bones without touching the metal tweezers to the outlines of the holes, because otherwise the patient’s red nose lights up and there is a jarring beep, indicating failure. This game is perfect for developing dexterity in young children. Variants include Operation Toy Story 3 and Operation Spongebob edition.

There are thousands of board games in the world, but not all of them are suitable for the younger generation. Thus games that cater directly to children are important in today’s society, as they are integral in developing dexterity, strategic skills, and deductive reasoning, as well as a plethora of other life skills.

Best Board Games for Adults

Americans have created thousands upon thousands of board games through the years. Classics include Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, Connect Four, and Mousetrap. However, games like these target children under the age of eight, yet nearly every American plays a board game at least a couple of times a year. This is because board games span a number of different categories and target audiences, and that is why we want to make a list of the top ten board games for adults.1. Scrabble
Scrabble requires a high level of reading comprehension and knowledge of the English language that most children do not possess, and thus targets adult audiences. In this game, players draw seven tiles at a time, each with one letter of the alphabet on them (there are also two elusive blank tiles, which can be used to represent a letter of choice by the player who lays it down). Players then connect their letters to those of other words that have been played by the other opponents, and scores are determined by how common each letter is in the English language, as well as where the tile is laid down triple word scores are the most sought-after spaces in Scrabble.

2. Trivial Pursuit

Trivial Pursuit challenges players knowledge of the everyday world and popular culture, and is thus geared toward an older audience. Players roll the die to move to different spaces on a wheel around the board, and there are six main categories that each space may cover. When a player lands on a space, he answers a question from the category that is covered on that space. Once a player has landed on the six spaces that reward a player for a correctly answered question in each category, the player moves to the center of the wheel and answers a question of the choice of his or her opponent, and if he or she does so correctly, he or she wins. This game has been reproduced with several different themes, such as Star Wars or The Lord of the Rings.

3. Balderdash

Although the name of this game does not seem to cater to adults, Balderdash requires a superior knowledge of the English language to be successful. A die is rolled, and the person who rolls the highest becomes the “dasher”, and chooses a word on a card for the other players to define. They may either define the word correctly or make up a faulty but convincing alternative definition. Then all players guess from all the definitions available which is the correct one, and points are awarded accordingly. When a definition is guessed correctly, a player moves his token one space on the board, and the first player to reach the end wins.

4. Chess

If you want a sophisticated board game, chess may be at the top of the list. Chess is probably one of the few board games that has been sold for upwards of $100,000, depending on the material from which the playing pieces are constructed. The object of this two-player game is to kill your opponent’s king, at which point you have won the war. The various playing pieces have different abilities in movement, and players alternate moving one piece at a time. The heritage and sophistication of this classic game give it an appeal that is more mature than most board games.

5. Risk

Risk has the perfect balance of luck and skill required in a board game, in my humble opinion. The sophistication of the concept of this game caters to adult audiences. In Risk, players attempt to take over the world, using armies that fight by rolling the dice. Strategic placement of the colored cubes that represent armies can almost guarantee a player a win, except for the element of dice rolling in this classic board game. Because of this element, Risk can be a relaxing yet strategic game for mature audiences.

6. Life

Like Risk, Life is another board game that can be relaxing and fun for adult audiences. Life is the classic game in which players live out imaginary lives by circling a board, drawing life tiles and earning money depending on their professions and levels of education. Disaster can strike, children are born, and insurance must be paid in this semi-realistic (but luckily stress-free because it is only a board game) representation of real life. Players move about the board in cars by spinning a dial of the numbers one through ten.

 
7. Backgammon

This board game embodies the sophisticated simplicity that appeals to the adult board-game playing population. In this two-player game, opponents move their playing pieces around the board in opposite directions, trying to both eliminate their opponent’s pieces by landing on them, and moving all their pieces to their inner table, in order to move the pieces home. The first player to move all their pieces home wins.

8. Checkers

Similar to but more simple than chess, checkers is a two-player game in which opponents alternate moving their pieces. The first player to eliminate all of the opponent’s pieces wins. Checkers can be played casually with your family or even in tournaments for the avid fan. In many cultures it’s the game to play with neighbors and relatives. Yes, even over chess.

 
9. Pictionary

This game appeals to adult audiences because of its interpretive nature. Players move around the board by correctly guessing what their teammates draw, and the first player to reach the end of the board wins.

10. Monopoly

There are few households in the United States without at least a dust-covered version of this game in some nook or cranny. Monopoly is
the classic game that appeals to those who love money, as they circle the board buying or selling properties, paying taxes, and going to jail. The character pieces in this game are simple, everyday objects, made of metal. The real estate-inspired nature of this game caters to adult audiences.

Although board games were originally intended for children, adults can have just as much, if not more, fun with these iconic American pastimes. Whether they serve for relaxation purposes or for purposes of competition, board games that target adult audiences are among the most popular in the United States.