How Do I Start Playing Adult Board Games?
If you have traveled down the board game aisle of your local superstore recently, you may have noticed a few board games that you have never heard of. Sure, there are the classics like Sorry and Monopoly, but these days much of the real estate is going towards new and intricate games that aren’t household names. Yet.
How do you know which one to choose? What are the differences between them? How do you know what is good and worth the money to buy? How do you find people willing to play some of these interesting looking games?
What are Adult Board Games?
For the sake of this article, Adult Board Games refers to any game that is geared towards ages 13+ and is typically far more complex than say, Hi-Ho Cherry-O. Children may be able to play them, but these games are not meant for kids. Despite the title, board games these days can refer to any kind of game that includes cards, boards, dice, role-playing, and/or strategy.
Within board games there are several types of games:
- Roll and move (Monopoly)
- Card games (Cards Against Humanity)
- Area Control (Risk)
- Worker Placement (Agricola)
- Cooperative (5-Minute Dungeon)
- Deck Building (Dominion)
- Secret Identity (Codenames)
- Legacy (Pandemic Legacy)
- Party (Unstable Unicorns)
- Puzzle (Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective)
- Combat (King of Tokyo)
- Role Play (Star Wars: Imperial Assault)
If you have only ever played the classics, it may be a bit shocking to see that there are so many different kinds along with titles that are unfamiliar. It’s okay if you don’t know what all those types mean. If you are just getting into board gaming the more important part is finding some games that are fun and engaging.
What Are The Best Adult Board Games?
I’ve been hosting a monthly board game night at my house for years now and we have all types of gamers who attend, from those who have not played a board game since they were kids to those who have a weekly gaming group. However, there are several games that seem to have become a go-to, ones that get pulled out over and over again either because they are quick or because they are a lot of fun.
Some of Our Favorites:
I like to call this game, Yahtzee on steroids. Each player controls one mutant Godzilla-like creature. Players roll dice that will help them damage other opponents, heal lives, gain victory points, and collect energy tokens that can be spent to buy power-up cards. It’s a combat-style game where the roll of the dice is as important as your own strategy.
Lovingly referred to as The Bean Game, in this simple card game, players plant and collect matching beans to place in their bean fields. However, there are always too many beans to plant and players are often forced to trade and barter to get what they need. A fun strategy game that allows for interaction without being too ruthless.
In this beautiful tile game, players work to create complex tile patterns on a game board, strategically placing pieces in a way that will earn maximum points. A quiet board game, this is one that our regulars like to pull out and play several rounds of as they sip their wine and chat.
This fast-paced cooperative card game will make your heart race and hands shake. Using an app for your countdown, players have only 5 minutes to work through a large deck of cards, matching symbols and using special character abilities. But you must be careful and work together, otherwise you may find yourself down to the last second and not enough cards to defeat the boss monster.
In this quiet worker-placement game, players are travelers on the Silk Road. Moving slowly, players will collect souvenirs, visit the hot springs, encounter other travelers, visit the temples, and build panoramas. The most interesting element in this game is that there are no dice, whoever is currently last on the Silk Road, always goes first.
The rules of Fluxx are simple. Draw a card. Play a card. However, as the game continues more rules are added and the game becomes more complex. Not only is this one quick and easy to learn, but there are so many different versions to choose from. Science Fluxx, Monty Python Fluxx, Pirate, Cthulhu, Batman, Beer, Doctor Who. Something for everyone.
How to Find Board Game Players in My Area?
Perhaps you have played a new board game recently that you had never heard of, but really made you interested in the hobby and types of games. Where do you find more games to play? Where can you test out new games? Meet other players?
- Gaming or Comic Book stores. If you live in any decent sized town there is probably some sort of local hobby/comic/game store. Some are large enough to have tables in the store where players can meet up and play together. My local gaming store also has a large board game library and patrons get to play games for free. This is a great way to test more expensive games to see if you like them before fully committing. Many stores are open to people starting their own groups that meet at the store after all that brings in more patrons. Some places also have special events where players can play-test brand new games, meet with game designers, and play in tournaments. Yes, there is such a thing as board game tournaments.
- Conventions. If you’re the type who loves to get their hands on the newest “toys” then this will be right up your alley. Throughout the year there are several board gaming conventions where you can meet all types of gamers. The most famous is GenCon in Indianapolis, which runs annually at the end of July. Other smaller conventions like the Playthrough Convention in Raleigh, CMON Expo in Atlanta, the UK Game Expo in Birmingham, and Spiel 17 in Essen, Germany, may be closer to home. It’s also typical to find board games at general Comic-Con conventions these days.
- Meet-ups. These are a fantastic way to find a group of people who are also looking for other gamers. Check your local meet-up groups and see if anyone is looking for more people to game with.
- Gaming Organizations. This one may be a little harder to find depending on your location. These groups host meet-up game nights at local pubs, restaurants, coffee-shops, and hotels. Some require a small membership fee although most are free.
- Boardgamegeek.com A vast online website with reviews, articles, and message boards, this is the perfect place to quickly look up what other people are saying about a game, see reviews, and connect with other gamers.
Organizing Your Own Board Game Night:
What happens if you are in a gaming desert? What if there are no gaming groups or meet-ups? Or perhaps you want to meet somewhere more comfortable than a coffee shop. Start your own!
Starting your own game night only requires three things:
- A place to play games.
- A table large enough to play games on.
- Some willing players.
When we first started our game nights we were in a small apartment. We had a card table that would help extend out our kitchen table to play larger games. No one complained although we were careful to keep our guest list on the smaller side because we couldn’t cram so many people into such a tiny space. Now that we live in a nice big house, we have three areas where people can play games and so our guest list has grown considerably.
I use the Facebook Event feature for invites, although you could use any kind of e-vite or email for your guest list. The most important part of our game nights has been consistency. Having a regular time every month allows for people to plan around it, asking for work off or to find a babysitter. This is my wording for our invite:
Once a Month Game Night featuring classic and new board games for every type of gamer. Every 3rd Friday of the month 7-11 pm, unless a holiday interferes.
Bring a friend or your significant other (don’t be afraid to come without them if they can’t make it), maybe a snack or drink, and be prepared to plant bean fields, lay down some train tracks, build a haunted house, or throw down with some trivia. Have your own favorite game? Bring it along.
We have a regular group of about 12-15 people who come. I’ve also found that when I meet new people, inviting them to game night is a good ice breaker and people feel more comfortable hanging out in an informal setting.
And if you are unable to find anyone to game with there are several board games that work well as one-player games and are much more entertaining than Solitaire. Terraforming Mars, Firefly, Forbidden Island, and Burgle Bros all lend themselves well to this.
Starting a new hobby can be a daunting task, especially in a market with so many choices. Hopefully, I have pointed you in the right direction and given you a good place to start.