The Official List of the Best Board Games

In our house, we have a major obsession (bordering on psychosis, really) with board games. 
It started out when we were first married, we would go to WalMart after work every so often and buy a board game. Eventually, we stopped buying typical WalMart games and started buying a little bit more obscure games online. Now, after a few years, our game closet is completely bursting and every year we add a few new favorites. (Ok, confession: in the last month, between our birthdays and Christmas, we got 7.) 
I don't know if you could call us board game experts (although, go ahead) but we definitely know a lot of good games! Usually whenever someone comes over for game night, we get a lot of "What was that game we played called again??" the next few days.
SO, in an attempt to share some of my wealth of knowledge with you, I compiled a list of our absolute favorites (which I reserve the right to change or add to at any time...)
I separated them by category, but other than that they are in no particular order. Any of the games on this list are ones you should try!
Also, although some of these games may cause some elevated emotions among your friends, they are all guaranteed not to totally destroy your friendships like, say, Monopoly.
You're welcome.

Deception Games

This game starts you off with a secret identity- you're either good or bad, and the only person you can trust is yourself. 
I put these two together because Avalon is basically The Resistance on steroids. (I'm not kidding. They're made by the same people and everything.) We loved The Resistance for a long time, and eventually got Avalon and liked it even more. I will say that although it's one of my favorites, some people at game night just don't love it. This is probably because we have played this game A LOT, and because it's generally the same-ish group and we've all gotten ridiculously good at reading each other, so there isn't much deceit involved in the game anymore. It definitely gets everyone at the table involved and usually ends in a heated argument. I would recommend starting with The Resistance, and although Avalon is fun, it's not totally necessary as they are extremely similar games. Avalon does add some fun new elements for players who already love The Resistance.

Number of Players:5-10

The point of this game is to sneak love letters past all the other characters to reach the princess- and earn those little red cubes. 
Love Letter is easily one of the funnest games we own. It's simple, the rounds go quickly, and it's so addictive to play. This is another secret identity game, but not necessarily a "deception" game, but I put it here anyways because... it's my blog, I can do what I want! 
There are also other versions of the game like Batman, Adventure Time, and The Hobbit, which are all inexpensive and all play the same, so this is a great game to start out with if you just want to test my game-choosing skills. 

Number of Players: 2-4

The premise of this game is that you are villagers trying to run a market, and you have to get your bread, cheese, chickens, and apples past the sheriff... and possibly try to sneak through some contraband. Sheriff switches each round, so the game moves pretty quickly and is a lot of fun.
This is probably my current favorite game in this category. It is super creative and fun, and allows for a lot of interaction and communication between players, and those are my favorite kind of games!

Number of Players: 3-5

Bang! starts you off with a secret identity, and only the Sheriff reveals himself. Everyone is trying to kill certain people and save certain others, and it gets really crazy and confusing- in a good way, of course.
We haven't played Bang! for so long, I almost feel like it doesn't belong on this list. BUT, it was one of the first "obscure" games we bought (if obscure means it's not as popular as Monopoly or Life... Bang! is actually a relatively popular game). It also allows for a lot of interaction between players, and is just a lot of fun!
I would say the only downside to Bang! is that it can take awhile to play, and once you're dead, you're dead. So if you die quickly, you spend the rest of the game sitting around not participating... which isn't fun.

Number of Players: 4-7

Strategy Games

In this game you get to buy rooms and build your own castle- who doesn't want to do that? The creativity and strategy to this game alone make it a lot of fun, but I also love that it works just as well for 2 player, so we don't have to wait for game night to play it.

Number of Players: 1-4

The point of this game is to build a home and farm that is, basically, better than your opponents. There are a thousand different ways to get there, so the game can be different every time. 
This is a really fun game if you prefer working on your own. It's fun to build your own little house and stables, and you can't always tell who is going to win until the end. But the best part of this game has to be the animeeples. Seriously, buy it and you'll see what I mean. 
The one frustrating thing about this game is there is never enough of the wood supply to go around. We basically fight over it for the first several rounds. Maybe one of us just needs a new strategy.

Number of Players: 1-5

The point of Keyflower is to build a village by bidding on tiles and taking actions. Sounds simple, but it is pretty complex.
This one is still really new for us, and it's a really cool game but definitely not one I would recommend if you don't play a lot of board games. Even for us, it took quite awhile to learn and felt a little overly complicated the first time through. But by far my favorite part of the game is the little houses you fold together and stand up to hide your guys behind... I must still be five years old at heart, because they were like tiny little dollhouses and Caleb definitely wasn't as excited about that part as I was.

Number of Players: 2-6

Party Games

In Codenames you start out with 25 cards in a grid on the table, and 2 people give one word clues to their teammates to try to get them to guess their team's words. 
When we first found Codenames, it was listed as "The Best Party Game" and although it's not my favorite game overall, I have to agree that it is probably the best party game we own. Actually, it's so good that whenever we have game nights someone requests it and we always end up playing it all night. (With a closet full of other lonely games!) We've played it so much Caleb and I are frankly getting sick of it, but I think that's a testament to how great the game is.

Number of Players: 2-8+ (Technically you can play with as many people as you can seat around a table. Or standing on bleachers behind them.)

Letter Tycoon is basically Scrabble (but, easier) mixed with Monopoly (but, minus the inevitable bloodshed.) You buy letters, spell words, and make money when other players use your letters.
This is another one of our newest ones, so we haven't had time to get sick of it yet, but I would say it is one of the simplest, funnest games we have. Great for when you are playing with people who don't like to spend a lot of time listening to the rules (ahem, MY family...) or even for playing with younger kids.

Number of Players: 2-5

If somehow you already have all these, here are some games that are still on our list that we haven't tried yet: 

And finally, a brief list of the games you should already own (or else, what are you even doing here?):
Bang (yes, this belongs on both lists.)

And, if this list wasn't at all helpful to you, here is the source of all my powers: We use this site a lot to find new games, and it helps that they are all ranked and reviewed. Go crazy.

NOW... Who wants to have a game night?

1 comment:

  1. I thought that we had the title of game experts/exploding game closet, but I think you may have us beat. I haven't even heard of any of these games (except for the ones briefly listed at the bottom). Thanks for the suggestions! We have played 7 wonders and it's fun, but VERY complicated. I think it takes longer to figure out how to play than it does to actually play it, but once you get it down it doesn't seem as hard. Have you played Cover Your Assets or Hanabi? Both of those are really fun. By the way, why have we never had a game night together?! This needs to happen ASAP!