6 board games that will revamp your next sober social
Board games are underrated.
It's game night at yours and after setting out the snacks, you take a glance at all the colourful boxes on your shelf. You're tired of losing friendships to Monopoly. You're bored of arguing over whether or not the word "qi" counts in Scrabble. And if you're forced to add just one more strange rule to spice up a game of Uno, you might do something drastic. But don't worry. If you're stuck for new board games to play, we have just the solution for you. In fact, we have six:
Sheriff of Nottingham
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If you want a board game full of deception, bribery and the smuggling of illicit goods, then Sheriff of Nottingham could be exactly what you're looking for. In this game, players are merchants trying to get their goods (cards) to market in small bags. However, each player takes turns being the Sheriff, who is on the prowl for illegal goods being smuggled into the city. The merchants must decide whether to remain honest and legal by declaring a bag full of legal goods, or whether to lie and bribe their way through with expensive banned goods. But be warned: if the Sheriff catches a player with illegal goods, these will be confiscated and the player will be charged with a hefty fine. Let the lying, bargaining, and accusations begin!
Dominion is a deck-builder game that's all about strategy. Players build decks by using treasure cards to purchase Kingdom and land cards. The aim of the game is to get as many points as possible by buying land. However, Kingdom cards give players actions that can help them buy more land, whereas land cards do not. Dominion is all about finding the right balance between Kingdom cards, treasure cards, and land cards to build the most effective deck possible. There are 25 different types of Kingdom card and 10 of these are randomly selected for each game, so there's a lot of variation from one game to another. But if you'd like even more variety, there are many Dominion expansions that can be added to the core set.
Ticket to Ride
For a simple board game that's still tons of fun, try Ticket to Ride. The premise is simple: players need to build train routes connecting cities in North America to one another. At the beginning of the game, players get route cards that detail cities they should connect to get extra points. In order to do so, players must collect matching sets of coloured carriage cards and lay down train carriage pieces along the board on their turn. Points are awarded for each train carriage a player place on the board and for completing any journey cards in their hand. Players can also draw more route cards for the chance to win more points. However, any uncompleted route card will result in points being lost, so be careful not to get carried away when picking up new routes.
Unlike many board games, Pandemic is cooperative rather than competitive. Players band together to battle the outbreak of several diseases that are occurring across the world a the same time. Each adopts the role of a unique disease-fighting specialist with a specific skill to contribute to the team. Two decks control the game: one that dictates the normal spread of the diseases and another that gives players actions but may also cause an epidemic. It's a race against the clock as players travel from country to country removing disease blocks, building research centers, and discovering cures. As more outbreaks occur, the diseases spread faster and further. Players must find all four cures before the diseases get out of control or they run out of actions.
In this card-game version of Russian Roulette, players take turns drawing cards from a deck and pray they don't get an exploding kitten. Using the other cards they have drawn, they can avoid this dreaded fate by looking at the top few cards before they draw, by making the other players draw extra cards, or by shuffling the deck. If that doesn't sound stressful enough for you, you can always get an expansion pack called Imploding Kittens to add to the deck. Not only does this expansion add 20 extra cards, but it also comes with the Cone of Shame: a large cone that indicates the direction of gameplay and must be worn by any player who forgets which way the game is going. So get those cameras ready and be prepared to laugh at anyone who dares ask whose turn is next.
If you want to build and destroy cities then give Citadels a try! Players adopt one of eight or nine different character cards each turn and collect money or building cards as they try to construct their city. Character cards give players special abilities that can range from gaining extra money to destroying another player's building. Each character has a specific order of play and can impact the turns of subsequent characters in the round, so choose wisely! The game ends when one player reaches eight buildings in their city, and whoever has built the most valuable city wins. But be warned, character abilities include stealing, blackmailing, cursing and even assassinating other characters, so be ready for some epic betrayals.