Community J!NX Blog

Not Bored Games

I was thinking that a lot of people are likely to be spending more time with family members they don't see on a day to day basis on account of the holidays. For years now I've been meaning to bring copies of my favorite boardgames to family and friend holiday celebrations, so I thought in the spirit of the season I might run down a list of games that I've really enjoyed, and talk about their possible suitability for introducing newbies to more complex board games.

Let's start with easy mode. A couple of games that are good for ushering people into the world of cardboard adventure:

Carcasonne (6 players):
It's a classic. It's pretty much one of the first games people think of as a Euro board game.The rules are very simple, and for the most part follow a logic that's easy to follow. There's no trading, and no overly complex win mechanics. It can be explained in just a few minutes by just about anyone who has played more than once. Over the years I've found that the faster you can explain the rules to a game, the less likely you are to have people lose interest in playing it. If you've never played it, and you think you might want to have something to do while sipping eggnog over a roaring yuletide fire or something, I suggest you pick up a copy. It sees pretty regular play both personally and here at the J!NX Stonghold.

Also, Meeples are super cool.

King of Tokyo (5 Players):
The art is great, there are a lot of interesting green cubes, and they made their own custom dice. There are a lot of good things going on here. King of Tokyo was created by Richard Garfield, who if for some reason you didn't know, was the creator of Magic:The wallet battering. His background was in mathematics, go figure.

Anyhow: King of Tokyo plays a lot like Yahtzee, so if the prospective players have experience with that, you're almost halfway through the rules. There are some cool battle mechanics, and a lot of the game revolves around a choice to stay in a risky spot for just the right amount of time. It's a cool risk-reward kind of play that no one ever seems to be too upset about being knocked out. It's a very good 'nog-and-pretzels affair. (That actually sounds like a terrible idea, probably don't eat pretzels with Eggnog.)

Ticket to Ride:
Trains are generally just cool. You can disagree, but then you'd be wrong. Ticket to ride is a game I always suggest when a group of players is going to have kids. The concept if the game is easy to follow (build trains!), and the colored cards you use to build the legs of your track are simple to explain. It's actually very cutthroat if played one-on-one, and the level of strategy needed scales nicely to meet up with higher-experience players. It's a solid buy for any game collection that you can use when you want to have a game that allows a relaxed play speed and conversation without totally derailing the experience.

[Photo Courtesy of Cryptozoic Entertainment]

DC Deckbuilding:
I love deckbuilding games. I love every deckbuilding game I have ever played except for one (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!). I could have just made a list of deckbuilding games I think you'd enjoy. (I will if you want me to.) I wanted to suggest Dominion, because it's so replayable, but I decided on the DC deckbuilding game, and I will tell you why:

Even if the other people don't play a lot of board and card games, everyone has at least some experience with DC characters. If your friends have no idea about ANY DC characters, you have way bigger problems than what game to play.

I always look for a feeling of balance when playing a deckbuilding game, and I think DC does a pretty good job here. There are combos that work really well for certain characters, but barring you just being extremely lucky, the other players have a chance to just edge you out of cards you need. All of this occurs at a way higher level of play than you'd expect from newly introduced players anyhow. It's a fun play, and has a decent way to control the length of the game. I wish more games let me chose a sliding scale win condition for the times when I just want to play a short game.

There you go! Four games I really like playing, that get the FuzzyCthulhu seal of approval. Really the idea here is to give you a jumping-off point for getting friends and family to play some games together. Do you have favorite games that you think are good for new players? Tell me about them in the comments!

As always, see you soon!

[P.S. In case you didn't know, we do have a pretty good selection of Board and Card games on the store, and a lot are on sale. If you're grabbing presents, maybe add a boardgame and get free shipping! (if your order ends up $75+). I only thought about this after the post was done!]