In the last year, most of my time has been dedicated to board games. I went apeshit and decided to buy a bunch of them and now I have over 30 board games, card games, and dice games. That’s a lot to accumulate in the span of only a few years. Fueled by my love of Dungeons and Dragons, I decided to take the leap and have found many of my current collection through sources like BoardGameGeek.com and The Dice Tower guys. I’ve also gotten recs from friends and those are always indispensable. Not all board games are created equal though, and some of them I’ve bought I’ve only played a couple of times. However, I have some that I keep going back to, mostly ones both me and my wife enjoy playing together. While “board game” might mean Monopoly or Candyland to some, I’m including games that might not technically be board games because they don’t have a board. Whatevs. Here are my current favs that rock my socks. (Note: I’m including some information about how these games play for two players, since mostly me and my wife are playing together. I’m assuming these games scale well?)
5. Dice Forge
This is one of my newest games I picked up and has quickly become one of my wife’s favorites. I consider this a fun dice-chucking game with a nice theme that allows a few different strategies to win. The ability to remove the die-faces (think Lego-style) and upgrade the dice makes it have a great mix-and-match play style. For people new to games, it can be a little confusing from the get-go (the game directions add a fantastical flair that might be slightly off-putting), but once you get in the rhythm, it is really an easy and fun experience.
- Gateway Players: Yes?
- Experienced Players: Yes, but might seem too easy at first glance.
- Rules: Simple, after some “fantastical translation.”
- Good for Two Players: Yes, especially after I found out you get to roll TWO times per turn.
Rocked Socks: 7/10
Probably the most complex game I own, Mombasa puts players in the role of investors helping expand various trading companies in Africa. The game heavily relies on balancing various choices, using resources in clever ways, and even has a stock market mechanic. I’ve played this game a few times and afterwards one time I even said, “Shit, I felt like I spent all day at work.” This game does feel like work sometimes, but keeps the brain firing on all synapses, one reason I dig it so much. The possibilities to victory don’t seem so straightforward as other games. You can expand companies with trading posts, develop your bookkeeping skills (really), or try your hand at trade. Due to its complexity, it’s ranked a bit lower than I’d probably rank it in the future. I imagine this game would play a lot more intensely with more than two players. That said, it’s not a game I’d start late at night even with two players. Despite me liking how it keeps my mind moving, Sunday night isn’t the optimal choice for game time.
- Gateway Gamers: Hell no.
- Experienced Players: Yes, but with the caveat that you should mentally prepare yourself. Watch a few tutorials on Youtube and put on your best thinking cap.
- Rules: Not a “quick glance” kind of deal. Might have to refer to the rules numerous times the first several times you play. Unless you’re just a badass. Then ignore me.
- Good for Two Players: Yes, but I think it would be more fun with 3 or 4.
Rocked Socks: 8/10
3. Dungeon Quest
You will die. If that was not already the tagline for Dark Souls, DungeonQuest probably should have picked it up before. This game’s brutal difficulty and low chance of survival makes it nerve-wracking to play for some, but I personally love the tension that comes with this game. Your goal is to reach the dragon’s treasure horde, steal some shit, and get out before the sun comes up and the dragon is ready for adventurer breakfast. It has a “canary in the coal mine” vibe to it. Add to that the high chance of stepping in a giant spider’s web, getting mauled by skeletons, or have poison darts shot at your face, and DungeonQuest ratchets up the death meter. Again, this style of play might be boring for some or frustrating, I’ve never had this much fun finding empty rooms or getting beat to death by skeletons. If you want something with a little more bite to it and love to put your characters through the meat grinder, then DungeonQuest might be worth a shot.
- Gateway Gamers: I’m going to say no?
- Experienced Gamers: If you don’t like dying, then no. If you like a little punishment in your games, and the joy of surviving a nightmarish dungeon with your head hanging on by a bit of gristle, then yes!
- Rules: The combat system still confuses me and there are a lot of rules to go through with all the different cards. However, I’d say after a few playthroughs, it would be more manageable.
- Good for Two Players: Yes (and even one player!)
Rocked Socks: 8.5/10
This entry is a little unfair to Stone Age, which would have had this spot if not for me recently purchasing Keyflower. I still love Stone Age, but I left it off my top favs because I feel like it’s very similar to Keyflower and there can only be one Highlander style on my list. Keyflower is like several other similar games but on steroids. The introduction of new buildings to add to your village, the arrival of new workers each season, and the bidding mechanic all make this game complex, but never complicated. After one play, I instantly loved it. It has elements of a lot of other games I love (the aforementioned Stone Age, Carcassonne, Catan, etc.) but manages to make the choices you make in earlier seasons greatly affect your later choices. Nothing seems hollow in this game. I can see why it is ranked so highly on BoardGameGeek.com and it has gotten a lot of positive press. It’s really one of the best worker placement games I’ve played so far. If you dig Eurogames, it’s a must-have.
- Gateway Gamers: Maybe, but I’d try something like Stone Age first.
- Experienced Gamers: Yes!
- Rules: There’s some reading to do, but I think once things get moving, the game reveals itself to be pretty smooth.
- Good for Two Players: The amount of buildings and boats to get is reduced, but I actually loved this because it allows for more variety in future playthroughs.
Rocked Socks: 9/10
1. Roll for the Galaxy
Not only my current favorite, but my wife’s as well, this game comes to the table more often than any other game. I love the theme, the art, the dice-rolling and using them as workers, the choosing of phases, and so many other things about this game. It has similar aspects to other games in my collection, but I think Roll for the Galaxy just does it in a fun way that never feels like there’s a lull in gameplay. Rounds are quick and games themselves can end pretty fast if you’re picking up lots of developments and settlements. For some reason, this game also ticks the nostalgia box by making me feel like I’m playing Masters of Orion. If I had to take one game with me on a vacation, this would be the one.
- Gateway Gamers: Possible, but I’d try some easier games first.
- Experienced Gamers: Hell yes!
- Rules: Understanding some of the tiles and how the phases work takes some adjusting, but after that it goes really smoothly.
- Good for Two Players: I find it to be excellent with two players.
Rocked Socks: 10/10
So that’s my Top 5 Favorite Board Games as of this very moment. If you have any requests for video reviews, playthroughs, or have any other games you’re interested in me talking about, leave a comment below. If I own it, I’ll talk about it (or at least tell you what I’ve heard).
What are your favorite board games at the moment? Share below!