We all have that one relative that has a shelf or maybe even a closet full of board games. All the classics are there: Monopoly, Sorry, Game of Life, etcetera. As iconic as all of these games are to some, they are a bit tired and boring to others. However, if you're looking for something to do with your family and friends, instead of blowing four hours on a frustrating game of Monopoly, why not spend it playing a tabletop game?
These games are similar to board games in that some of them can utilize a board as a visual aid, but many of them take place in the mind and are meant to be immersive. So, here are ten of these games that can fit groups of all ages.
As time goes on, all things evolve and change. The games that we turn to for entertainment are no different. Pathfinder is an off-shoot of Dungeons and Dragons that captures and nurtures what many consider to be the game’s prime.
The 3.5 edition of D&D is still one of the most popular to this day; considered to have the perfect balance of complexity and accessibility. Pathfinder, created by a company known as Paizo, operates with the rules of 3.5 and continues to add content to this day. This game is suitable for all those who can read and do the math and perfect those who long for what many consider “the ol’ days”.
This tabletop game is set in a far-flung future where mankind treats planets like the English treated Australia back in 1788; as prison colonies. You and your players get to use the game’s charts to build your own prison planet from the ground up, stock it with prisoners and then play as them in a struggle for power and survival.
Intrigue, deception and more than a little backstabbing will ensue as five players look to become the top dog. This one is most likely not suitable for younger players due to its obvious ties to crime and violence. Still, it'll be a fun pick for you and your friends to see who has the cunning to run a planet full of prisoners.
8 The Sailor Moon RPG
Sailor Moon is an icon of television and pop culture around the world. When she first debuted in the 90s, first as a manga and then as an anime, she took the world by storm, appealing to its targeted female audience, as well as males.
In 1998, a roleplaying game company known as Guardians of Order applied their game system to the Sailor Moon universe and created rules for character building and battle that allow you make your very own Sailor Scout and fight monsters!
This company went out of business in 2006 so now the only way to acquire the game is through the Internet. This link is a safe one to get the rule books and start your own adventure suitable for all ages.
7 My Little Pony: Tails of Equestria
Yeah, you read that title right; My Little Pony has a tabletop game. This is a relatively new product, using the lore and world from the recent television show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. There are several premade adventures, including a sourcebook for the movie that came out in 2017 and a rulebook for how to create your very own pony.
It might seem quite obvious that this is meant for children. A website that sells the game makes a great case of why age-appropriate role-playing games can be a teaching tool for kids. This is also a great way to get your young family into tabletop games and found a fantastic, bonding family tradition.
A fiasco is an event that spirals out of control into utter disaster. Bad communication, hidden motives, or poor decision making can take a simple event or a simple collection of people related through common methods and make things turn for the worse. Thus becoming a fiasco. That is the basis for the tabletop game of the same name.
You and your fellow players create characters and use the rule book to randomly determine how you are related to each other and what event brings you all into one space. It advances in acts much like a play with players working together to tell the story and try to have their character have the best ending possible. This is a great one for parties as a game can be run in a couple of hours.
Munchkin is a bit different than other games on this list. Many of them don’t have “winners” as the point is to work together to form a story or achieve a common goal. Munchkin is closer to the board games you might be familiar with.
It's a card-based fantasy game filled with cute and quirky art where you fight monsters and collect treasures to level up. The first player to get to level ten wins and everyone can sabotage each other.
In addition, they have countless expansion packs that include pop culture, literature and even goes into other genres such as sci-fi and horror. This is another great game for parties that is suitable for slightly older children and adults to play.
If you love high science fiction, criminal life, action, adventure, and intrigue, then Shadowrun is the game for you. In this game, you play as a band of characters who conduct business for those with money and means. These expeditions and errands are known as Shadowruns, hence the title.
This is far removed from the fantasy-like settings of tabletop games as this game features heavy sci-fi themes with a cyberpunk feel. Characters can have futuristic weapons and even body modifications. Depending on the story you craft, this game could be suitable for all as long as they are able to read and do basic math.
Fate is not so much a game but more like a framework for the creative imagination. If you have a world or story that you want to try out, you can use the rules and structure of Fate to do it. In addition, Fate books often come with their own adventures and worlds for you to play with.
This versatility allows you to find or create games for all ages, interests, and groups. One such example is the Secrets of Cats. The premise of this world is that cats are magical beings that protect the human world from other magical threats. With Fate, the possibilities are truly endless.
2 Call of Cthulhu
Lovecraft and his works have experienced a resurgence in popularity in recent years and these tales of eldritch horror have inspired pop culture and games. Enter, the Call of Cthulhu tabletop RPG.
In this game bearing the title of one of Lovecraft’s most well-known books, you and your friends will take up the mantle of investigators caught up in exploring and investigating strange and horrible events.
The mainstay of the game is its sanity mechanic. As you witness unspeakable things during your quest, it takes a toll on your human minds and you slowly descend into madness. This game is not really suitable for younger children as the horror aspects and the sanity mechanic could prove frightening to them but it's a great game to play with your horror-loving friends.
1 Dungeons and Dragons
Last, but never least, Dungeons and Dragons; one of the singular most popular tabletop roleplaying games that have been around for decades. This game is nearly as versatile as Fate as you have the power to make the game whatever you want it to be. You could have a quaint, silly kid-friendly game or a dark gritty game for adults. You could create a quick adventure that can be completed in an hour or two or a sprawling campaign that could go on for months.
Its latest edition is more accessible than ever with simplified mechanics that help those who’ve never even heard of a tabletop game get into the fun. You can purchase the materials digitally or physically and they even have a website, D&D Beyond to help you make characters and campaigns.