Why have you still got Monopoly?

Thankfully popularity for board games has increased massively over the past few years and with crowdfunding making it easy to get ideas off the ground, more and more games are being released. Games that have every theme you can think of, each with a massively different experience. There are alternatives to the old favourites and some of them are brilliant, “must haves”, that should be in your house right now, however it’s still very easy for a game’s creators to fail and the most common area for this is the rule set.

The rules are the most difficult area to do well in because there is such a small target to hit. It needs to be easy to pick up and play but not be too simple that it has no longevity. Rules need to be written so they can be understood without studying the book for hours because nobody is buying the game to have a great time reading rules! Surprisingly poor rule sets can also contain glitches, something that breaks the game so you can’t continue.

Despite this there are loads of games out there that are just brilliant, here are a couple of my favourites:

Zombicide: Black Plague

With an easily understandable theme it’s a great game that can be picked up and played very quickly. Zombicide: Black Plague is a 1+ player, co-operative game where a group of survivors complete missions against a zombie horde during the dark ages. Heroes with Axes, Crossbows and Swords bust open doors and take down zombie walkers, fatties and runners to complete missions and get loot.

Everyone knows the zombie apocalypse setting so there is familiarity straight away, but the dark age setting is a clever slice of originality. Coupled with the well written and clever rules this game is one that will get brought out again and again. One of my favourite features is that this game can be played solo or in any size group, helps you get the most out of the game.

The core set comes packed full of models, tokens and gaming tiles so you have a load to play with but, as with any game, eventually it will get a little repetitive. Thankfully there are some great expansions for this game that add a lot of variety and new challenges, however they are a little expensive. This isn’t a massive issue though, if you get to the point where you need the expansions to refresh the gameplay then you’re playing regularly, and chances are you’ll get your monies worth.

Ticket to Ride

My partner’s favourite game by a country mile, mostly because she always wins. This is a great introductory game. You play a rail tycoon from the age of steam, collecting cards of matching colours to play trains between destinations on a map and build your locomotive empire. A great game that takes about 10 minutes to teach and playable for everyone from 5/6 years up!

Rory’s Story Cubes

Honourable mention goes to this tiny box of fun, 9 die that have images on them instead of numbers that are used to tell stories. I play Rory’s Story Cubes with my sister’s kids, there’s no points, no winners or losers and it’s a great way to pass the time. A really simple game, roll some of the dice to create a character for your story, then re roll all 9 die and tell your story. You can also make it a bit trickier by having a theme for each round.

If your still unsure of what to get or how to choose then of course the internet is packed full of help. either check out some YouTube reviews n play throughs, my favourite is Will Whetons “tabletop”, or have a look at “boardgaming.com”. These can be great if you have a game you want to check out but can be a little overwhelming if you are starting from scratch.

Visiting a local gaming shop is usually the best way to find a game if you don’t already have one in mind. Due to the rise in table top gaming, stores are becoming more and more widespread and any half decent store will have really friendly and helpful staff that will be happy to find you a gem of a game. A special shout out has to go out to my local gaming store “Wargames” in Southport, Merseyside. The staff in there are top notch, knowledgeable and friendly, always up to date with the latest games.

Thanks for reading & happy gaming!