One of the best discoveries I’ve made during this social distancing/safer-at-home time is Board Game Arena. One of our friends who we frequently play board games with/hosts board game brunch and board game night, suggested we play on this platform since we couldn’t get together… and now I’m hooked. I’ve always loved to play board games, but it’s mind-blowing that I can play a lot of them online. I want to play and review these for you to check out, so board game reviews will be a regular series on the blog.
The games on this site are mostly indie/underground popular- they don’t have many classics like Yahtzee or Monopoly. (they do have Yahtzee though, still one of my favorite classics) Chris and I play a lot of ‘obscure’ board games and we didn’t even know 1/5 of the games on this site. There are 175- I found out because one of my 101 in 1001 goals is to learn and play ALL of them.
Anyway, as I’ve been playing through them I’ve found quite a few I’ve liked (also some that I haven’t… I’m looking at you, Saboteur), and I wanted to share! Most/all of these can be found in both a physical version and an online version, so they are pretty accessible to almost anyone. I love playing online because when Chris isn’t up to it/isn’t available, I can always find someone or a group to play my desired game.
Since almost all of us are at home more often than usual, I figured this would be a great series to add to the blog (especially now!). These are my personal reviews/opinions- you may hate some games I love and vice versa. I know some friends who love Saboteur but it’s just not what I love in a game.
Here are some games I’ve played recently, rated out of five stars:
Stone Age ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
My recent obsession. I’ve been playing on Boardgamearena.com and it’s really fun. It’s 2-4 players, takes about 40-60 minutes, and it’s a balanced mix between strategy, complexity, and luck. Ages 13+. There’s not a ton of interaction with other players (sometimes I like that). You place workers, gather resources and buy cards. Here’s the how-to-play.
The infamous game I’ve mentioned several times above. I played it once or twice with Chris on BGA, and neither of us liked it. Maybe we’d like it more with a larger group. It’s nice because a large or small group can play it (2-12), it takes about 40 minutes, and (if you like this) it features a sabotage style of gameplay. Ages 8+. This game has a lot of interaction and some strategy and luck as well. You hide your identity, place mining cards to get to the gold, and destroy others’ chances of getting to it. Here’s the how-to-play.
Ticket to Ride ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Unfortunately, this one isn’t on BGA, but you can find it on Steam, as an app, or online on their own site. I even got my parents and brother hooked on this game! It was simple for them to learn and I love that it has so many cool expansions. It’s for 2-5 players, takes about an hour, and is a good mix of strategy, luck, and some interaction. Ages 14+. You collect and play matching train cards to claim routes across a territory. Here’s the how-to-play.
Trekking the National Parks ⭐⭐⭐
This started out as a kickstarter! You can play 2-5 and takes 30-60 mins.
Ages 10+. Players compete for points by claiming park cards and collecting trail stones across the US. This was a little too simple for what Chris and I are used to, but we loved the illustrations and the concept. I’d love to play this with kids one day and I think it’s a perfect family game. Here’s the how-to-play.
Mystic Vale ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Chris and I love deck-building games, and this is an innovative take on a similar dynamic. It’s for 2-4 players, takes about 30-60 mins, and requires a lot of strategy but not a ton of interaction. Ages 14+. You can find it on Steam or as an app, but not on BGA. You get a starting hand and buy cards to add to your deck to buy better cards and other achievements. Here’s the how-to-play.
Sushi Go ⭐⭐⭐
This is a fun, easy game. It’s not my favorite, but I like it. I love that it’s on BGA, but you have to be a premium member to play. (only a few dollars a month) You can also find it on the app store! 2-5 can play, takes about 10-15 minutes, and includes a fair bit of luck and interaction. Ages 8+. It’s an easy to learn, pick-and-pass card game set up in 3 rounds where you try to make pairs and combinations. Here’s the how-to-play.
Comment below if you’ve ever played any of these games! Which ones are your favorite/which would you want to try?
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