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

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.