When you hear the term ‘boardgame’ what comes to mind?
Monopoly? Life? Maybe Risk or even Axis & Allies if you like your games a bit more on the strategic side.
I love a good boardgame, but I like my games to be epic. Thankfully there’s several companies out there producing amazing boardgames that are both fun to play, challenging to master and epic in both scope and theme.
My favorite boardgame makers are Fantasy Flight Games and Days of Wonder. Both companies produce games of outstanding quality in both the areas of gameplay and components.
Perhaps my favorite boardgame is Battlelore from Fantasy Flight Games. Battlelore actually started out being published by Days of Wonder for the first year or two of its existence but was then sold of to Fantasy Flight who’s been keeping it going ever since. Battlelore is a game of medieval armies clashing for 2-4 players. Players set up across the board from one another, following one of many provided scenarios. Determining the outcome of combat is super-simple. You roll a certain number of dice (1, 2, 3 or 4 depending on the type of unit attacking) hoping to roll the color that matches the banners on the unit being attacked.
You use a series of command cards to determine where you are going to attack, and how. Players have the option to play the game as straight history, or to introduce fantasy elements such as magic, dwarves, goblins and monsters.
Even my wife (who is not a gamer) loves this game. Of course, that may be because she usually wins. A couple years back when I owned my game store we would hold regular Battlelore nights and she would routinely demolish even the hardcore gamers. It was quite the site to see.
Another favorite, also from Days of Wonder, is Memoir ’44. Memoir ’44 is a World War II boardgame that uses the same rules system as Battlelore (for the most part). Memoir was developed and released first, so there were some changes between it and Battlelore. But the essence is the same, and they play much the same. So, if fantasy or medieval combat isn’t your bag, you may prefer Memoir ’44.
Speaking of World War II, another great game (this time from Fantasy Flight Games) is Tide of Iron. FFG is well known for making what have come to be called "big box games", and they certainly live up to their name! Retailing on average between $80 and $100 FFG’s big box games come in boxes that have to been seen (and lifted!) to be believe. Yeah, the price tag is high, but you certainly get your money’s worth. Plus, you can play these games for years to come. When you consider how much it costs to take a family out to a movie, or to a show for a couple hours even the most expensive games don’t seem that cost prohibitive.
The world of strategy boardgames is vast. and there really is something for everyone and every taste. Don’t like fantasy or WWII, but zombies are more up your alley? Take a look at Last Night on Earth from Flying Frog Productions or Zombies!!!! from Twilight Creations. Or, imagine a world where GI JOE meets the BPRD and you’ve got a pretty good take on what Tannhauser from FFG is like.
Perhaps your preferences lean more towards the Euro-styled games where it’s not about combat and conflct, but the themes are more mundane like Factory Manager or Agricola, or Settlers of Catan. Some games are competitive, and some are co-operative where you are working together with the other players to achieve a certain goal.
Video games are great. I love a good video game. But, for me, nothing replaces sitting across from friends at a table playing a game face to face.
Here’s a few links for you to check out:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com (a site for boardgame enthusiasts that review and rank games)
Most of the games I discussed aren’t in the game section at TRU or Target. You’ll have to seek out your Friendly Local Gaming Store. If you don’t have one in your area, you I can recommend these online retailers:
Game on, folks!