11 board games you should be playing as an adult

13 Cards

CURATED BY Dylan Matthews

2014-05-13 17:55:05 -0400

  1. Why board games?
  2. Best game for pretending to be Cornelius Vanderbilt: Ticket to Ride
  3. Best legume-themed game: Bohnanza
  4. Best game with a morally repugnant premise: San Juan
  5. Best combination of simple gameplay and over-the-top premise: Lost Cities
  6. Best card game: Dominion
  7. Best game if you need to get people to play with you: Settlers of Catan
  8. Best mashup of Dungeons & Dragons and Risk: Small World
  9. Best game for aspiring German bureaucrats: Power Grid
  10. Best game for aspiring German postmasters general: Thurn and Taxis
  11. Best game for people who miss Harvest Moon: Agricola
  12. Best game for battling Shoggoths: Mansions of Madness
  13. You didn't include my favorite game!
  1. Card 1 of 13

    Why board games?

    Board games have had one hell of a resurgence in recent years. According to ICv2, a trade publication which tracks comics, games, collectible figures, and related markets, the hobby game market (which includes board games, card games, role-playing games, and collectible games) grew 20 percent between 2012 and 2013. The year before, it grew 15 percent; the year before that, 20 percent.

    More specifically, "Euro games" — the term gamers use for German-style board games that emphasize strategy over chance and generally revolve around managing scarce resources — have become increasingly mainstream. Comparing them to childhood favorites, it isn't hard to see why. Games like Candyland or Snakes and Ladders are basically elaborately presented dice-rolling exercises, with no element of strategy or skill. Once you no longer have the brain of a seven-year-old, even games that are mostly rather than entirely chance (say, Monopoly) are boring and frustrating, and ones such as Candyland , borderline torture. The best Euro games eliminate chance almost entirely, and are way, way better for it.

    People around the world are increasingly embracing the German style. Smartphone and Xbox versions of popular Euro games have proven immensely popular; the train-building game Ticket to Ride was the third most popular game on the iTunes App Store upon release, and boosted sales of the physical game in the process. Parks and Recreation gave the genre a boost by revealing that character Ben Wyatt is a nationally ranked player of Settlers of Catan, the first Euro game to go big in the US. And the show took it a step further when the character developed his own Euro game, the Cones of Dunshire (designed for the series by Mayfair Games, the publishers of Settlers).

    But, as popular as the games have become, Euro gaming can be intimidating for neophytes. The games typically require much more setup than traditional games like Monopoly or Scrabble, and have steeper learning curves as well. So here are eleven Euro games, in order of difficulty, for newbies to dive into. Most of them also have versions for iPhone, iPad, Android, or Xbox Arcade, so you can try them out relatively cheaply before dropping $40 or more on a physical copy. Many are also available as modules for Vassal, a free board game runner for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.

  2. Card 2 of 13

    Best game for pretending to be Cornelius Vanderbilt: Ticket to Ride

  3. Card 3 of 13

    Best legume-themed game: Bohnanza

  4. Card 4 of 13

    Best game with a morally repugnant premise: San Juan

  5. Card 5 of 13

    Best combination of simple gameplay and over-the-top premise: Lost Cities

  6. Card 6 of 13

    Best card game: Dominion

  7. Card 7 of 13

    Best game if you need to get people to play with you: Settlers of Catan

  8. Card 8 of 13

    Best mashup of Dungeons & Dragons and Risk: Small World

  9. Card 9 of 13

    Best game for aspiring German bureaucrats: Power Grid

  10. Card 10 of 13

    Best game for aspiring German postmasters general: Thurn and Taxis

  11. Card 11 of 13

    Best game for people who miss Harvest Moon: Agricola

  12. Card 12 of 13

    Best game for battling Shoggoths: Mansions of Madness

  13. Card 13 of 13

    You didn't include my favorite game!

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