Buying a New Board Game

i-f10d95e8e6f67ec21a59a4e315ac20e7-monopoly.jpgLately I've been playing more board games, thanks to gaming friends moving to my area, and also to my son and his buddies reaching an age where they can understand and enjoy games. I have a number of good board games from the 70s, 80s and 90s, and the newest one in the house is Blokus from 2000. Now I'm thinking of buying something new, and I'd appreciate some suggestions.

Here's what I have in mind.

  • A new game, 2006 or later.
  • Suitable for age 12 upward.
  • Typical session length less than 4 hours.
  • English, German or Scandy.
  • Not a spin-off on an earlier game such as Settlers or Carcassonne.

So, Dear Reader, any ideas? Is Thief of Baghdad any good, for instance?

Update 15 June: Thanks everybody for your suggestions! After some serious study on-line, I've ordered Race for the Galaxy, and I'm looking for a reasonable deal on Pandemic in the EU. The only place I've found it actually available is Amazon in the US, which would force me to pay a lot of postage and customs.

Anybody registered on Board Game Geek? I'm "mrund" there, feel free to befriend me.

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I like Alhambra It's a tile-laying game with each player bidding to buy tiles to fit into their city. Points are awarded to who ever has the most of a given building type so there's a strategy to planning which tiles to buy.

I've heard some good things about Pandemic, but havn't had the chance to play yet.

Pandemic is fantastic, good luck finding it. Pillars of the Earth is very popular in my circle of friends. (and the expansion is great) And I can't recommend Race for the Galaxy enough. Stiff learning curve but once you get it, you're off to the races...though I guess it's a bit of a San Juan spinoff, which is of course a Puerto Rico spinoff....

I'm sure if you peruse BoardGameGeek you'll find many excellent ideas.

If you're a board game addict this is a golden age. 2006 is a bit of an unfortunate cutoff point since 2005 was a stellar year for quality games. I would go so far as to say that since 2000 we have had some of the best games ever designed appear excluding a few classic abstract board games and a handful of gold nuggets of the past. One game due for imminent release I have had the fortune to test is Agricola. If it is unavailable I'd recommend 'Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization' or the slightly older games 'Puerto Rico' or 'Caylus'.
I feel really lucky the excellent World of Boardgames shop is based in my town. If there are Swedish rules of any kind they usually have them available.

/Dan Andersson

By Dan ANdersson (not verified) on 12 Jun 2008 #permalink

I enjoyed PotE, but it too is a spinoff of recent games.

One good thing is that it is fast. You can easily play it in less than an hour.

Clicked on the pandemic link now. One should have played the diseases instead, just like in Black Death :)

I've heard great things about Agricola. Can't find it in Stockholm though. But it sounds great. If you find one, let me know where!

One of my personal favorites right now is 'Race for the Galaxy'.

By Akhôrahil (not verified) on 12 Jun 2008 #permalink

I have always been a fan of games which are fundamentally simple, but then yield lots of interesting complexity, such as backgammon. (Incidentally, did you realize that was a description of evolution...?)

Exactly this is what you get from the game Dog, made by Brändi, a Swiss firm run by handicapped people. The best way to describe it to a Swede is as a hybrid of "Fia med knuff" and "Uno". You play in pairs, and the objective is to get all your markers, and your partners, around the board to "home". There are no dice - instead you are dealt a hand of cards, which you play in order to move your markers. Most cards are "worth" their face value, while others have special functions, such as allowing you to move backwards or to switch one of your markers with another players'.

What do I like about Dog? The team element, the strategy and tactics, and of course intensely satisfying opportunity to be ruthlessly evil to your opponents...

As for negatives, I really see only one: you have to be four people to play - no more, no less.

Have fun!

Here are some quick suggestions - I don't know if they meet the year requirement:

1) Ticket to Ride
2) Shadows Over Camelot
3) Oregon
4) Last Night On Earth (Might be considered a PG-13 game)
5) Killer Bunnies (card game)

I have a 10-year old who really enjoyed some of these games. They all take about an hour or so to play.

You can view this article to learn about Ticket to Ride:

You can watch a short video about Shadows Over Camelot here:

Shadows is a cooperative game where you play as knights of the round table. You are playing against the board and trying to stop evil from taking over Camelot. You do this by taking on quests.

If you don't mind a little more of a B-Movie approach and a horror setting, Last Night On Earth - The Zombie Game is interesting. In this game, some of the players are heros trying to win at a scenario and the others act as the zombies, trying to kill the heros.

You can see pictures of the game and learn about it here. This is a link to the game bundle, but we can get it for you individually.

Oregon has gone over successfully, and it is by Rio Grande Games. You are settling the wild west. It has civilization type elements and some of the tile laying that is in Carcassonne. Again, this is about an hour long game.

If you like card games, you may want to check out Killer Bunnies. There are all kinds of crazy weapons and such. Your job is to keep your bunnies alive and starve out the opponent. In the end, you need to claim the Magic Carrot.

Good luck and if we can help you with any of these games, let us know.

I've been playing board games with my teenage nephews for years and have had great success with the following games:

Modern Art
Dos Rios
Niagara (a novel movement mechanism makes this game interesting)
Acquire (a very old game, but one that everyone needs in there game closet)
Citadels (this game needs at least 4 players to make it fun and 7 players makes it a consistent winner with our group)
Tyrus (a fun two-player game)
Lost Cities (two-player card laying game)
Ricochet Robots
Atlas & Zeus (a fun two-player game that may have a little more luck involved than many strategy gamers like)

A good resource for reviews is Funagain Games

It's not new, but i got a game called "expedition" at a garage sale this weekend. It's a very funny game of archaeology in Egypt from the 1980s.
Later this week I plan on putting some stuff up online about it.

My children (who grew up in the 80s) loved a game called "Ur" based on the boards that Leonard Woolley excavated way back when. A search of the web turned up a couple of versions, one at --the play is quick, and this version looks a little better than the one we owned.

WizKids Games in Seattle also makes some tabletop board games, my favorite of which is Tsuro. It's quite lovely and is suitable for 8 year-olds and older. (full disclosure: my son works for the company--but on their Star Wars Pocket Models and other collectible card games).

I can recommend "Citadels" of Bruno Faidutti warmly to you. it's not really a boardgame and it's already from the year 2000 but if you like games of strategy and conspiracy this is cool. the nice thing is the psychological part of this cardgame - have a look at
it's good for travelling and it's cheap and very amusing