What makes a great board game? It depends on the person, but many avid players on Reddit seem to share in many of their own qualifiers. Some love games that offer near infinite replayability and the potential for different experiences on each play. Others want games that leave them wanting more and more. Here are five of the most mentioned games along with some reasons why you might want to pick it up for your next game night with friends.
5. Twilight Imperium (Fourth Edition)
It should come as no surprise that Twilight Imperium (Fourth Edition), or TI4, was mentioned throughout the thread. This is a massive game that demands huge amounts of time compared to other games. Estimated playtime is between four to eight hours, and that's once you know what you are doing.
Once everyone is up to speed, there is often little downtown, making the game a meaningful experience. However, playing this is right up there in difficulty with having a Dungeons & Dragons party meet every week for a campaign session without anyone being busy. It isn’t impossible, but it is improbable.
Players lead a group of a merchants and four assistants through a bazaar to conduct business but must be mindful of managing their human resources in order to complete challenges. Meticulous planning is needed to ensure you are not left without an assistant, and thus unable to act, with the end goal to collect five rubies into their wheelbarrow.
This game is simple and takes only about half an hour to complete, making it unique among some of the other popular games, or behemoths like Twilight Imperium (4th Edition). The game has excellent replayability, making it perfect for quick visits with friends or in between other larger games.
This game is thematically based on Celtic history and lore, and players emerge victorious by becoming elected King of the Island of Inis. Players fight for power and can achieve this goal by being the most capable leader, representing at least six distinct territories, or having clans represent your religion in six sanctuaries.
The name of the game is strategic drafting along with smart bluffing and recognizing what your opponents are up to. This requires a bit of time to become familiar with the cards in the game, but past this, gameplay speeds up and becomes a blast.
2. Great Western Trail
Players become ranchers and need to herd their cattle from Texas to Kansas City, earning funds and points for doing so. The idea is simple but in practice players need to consider carefully how to keep their most valuable cattle in good shape and safe. Hire cowboys to improve the heard, craftsmen to build your own buildings, and engineers for construction of the rail.
The base game is good fun, but the “Rails to the North” expansion really spice things up with new characters and strategy. Like most games, there is great value in playing the game in its base form and with an expansion, both to offer greater replayability and to force different types of strategies.
1. The Castles of Burgundy
Players take on the role of a aristocrats in High Medieval France and work to build settlements and castles, all while trading along the river, exploiting other resources, and using the strategic knowledge of travelers. The popularity of this game should come as no surprise, and has won several awards following its release in both 2011 and 2012.
Special Mention – Android Netrunner
Whether or not one considers Living Card Games to be board games may be up for debate, but the quality of Android Netrunner sure isn’t. Set in the dystopian future of the Android universe, each game packs an intense battle between megacorporation and a hacker for control of data. Along with Call of Cthulhu and other Living Card Games, the value of these games is outstanding, and like a board game, often has everything one needs right out of the box. There may be additional expansions, much like a board game, and those are often great value for the money as well.