It’s easy to lose yourself in complete solitude while playing an addictive smartphone game or to spend hours admiring the realistic graphics of a latest-generation video game. Even the old arcades where many of us spent our childhood birthday parties have been abandoned for virtual multiplayer sessions full of webcam-fueled excitement.
Perhaps that is why board games have made such a huge comeback; spending an evening together with close friends is now a deliberate choice, and as such, it deserves to be spent doing something that is equally fun, competitive, and intellectually demanding.
Over the past five years, many die-hard board gamers have rediscovered the unique pleasure of opening a brand new set of cards or of reading their opponent’s strategy on their faces.
Board games can fill up any winter evening with laughter or competitive goodwill, whether you want to summon your inner Napoleon and outsmart your crew or simply need an alternative to beer pong. After hundreds of hours spent at board game cafes and packed living rooms, we have selected the top Fun Boxes available for delivery right now.
Depending on who you are playing with, a match of Catan can become an impromptu lesson on probability, a riveting battle of wills, or an alcohol-fueled bartering market. The basic rules are easy to learn, especially if you use the creator’s own quick videos, and few groups can resist the temptation of a rematch.
This card-based game fits up to 10 people, who will take turns filling in the blanks, answering questions, or creating twisted, yet hilarious stories based off the hundreds of R-rated prompts given. Toilet humor, political satire, kinky jokes, and memes all come together to let you see what your friends are really made of. Do not play this one when grandma is around.
Does that sound incredibly long and complicated? Thanks to its quick draft phases and basic rule set, a match of Seven Wonders can be set up in five minutes and won in less than one very intensive hour. As a bonus, the cards have beautiful art and will trigger all your wanderlust buttons.
In Ticket to Ride, your goal will be to build railways across an American or European map. Collect color-coded cards to claim routes or sections before your opponents and get extra bonuses for super-long sections, continuous routes, monopolies, or by taking side missions.
What often starts as a friendly conversation starter will quickly prompt everyone to dust off their treacherous competitive edge as the final turns prompt risky gambles and aggressive betrayals.
This game is set in 1930s Germany and combines hidden factions, tongue-in-cheek instructions, and a traitor mechanic. Up to 10 people will be divided into two random secret factions – fascists and liberals – and made to compete in mock-elections.
The fascists want to bring Hitler to power while the liberals want to prevent this – all while Hitler himself doesn’t know who he is or who his allies are. Naturally, intrigue, lies, and several rematches will ensue.
In addition to the original Codenames: Pictures base game – which was once dubbed “the Perfect Pictionary for anyone who can’t draw” – there have been several expansions to this game that add sexual innuendos, two-player mechanics, and additional cards.
Risk is a military game where your goal is world domination. That by itself means that it can be a great tool to gauge the quality of your new in-laws or prospective employees. However, if you like to take things a little bit further, Risk cracks the door open for role play. Get in the shoes of a historical leader with classic Risk or immerse yourself in your favorite fantasy universe by opting for one of the themed special editions instead.
Once inside, dice-fueled randomness will prompt one out of over 30 “haunts” or creepy scenarios that will reveal a secret traitor, an evil plot, or the prospect of inescapable doom. Chances of repeat Haunts are scarce, and even if you’ve heard the story before, each scenario plays differently and will have you fighting for your life against your fellow players or the House itself.
Achieve extra nerd cred by writing out the resulting story and posting it online.
The basic gameplay structure owes a lot to UNO, an old-time classic that makes Exploding Kittens easy to learn and catch on to. However, a few key modifications add humor, surprises, and even the chance to cheat lawfully.
In the board game version, you can continue fighting for the chance to exterminate humanity as one of several simultaneous pathogens that threaten to bring the Black Death back. Alternatively, play as one of the countries racing against time to combat the disease. The mechanics are intuitive and yet complex enough that even the CDC can’t predict all outcomes.
Setting up the board and explaining the rule book to new players takes a bit more time than usual, but it’s well worth the effort. The combination of 14 different races and over 20 special powers, plus the unpredictability of your opponents’ whims mean that Small World is one of those games that can be replayed endlessly.
The design is a jewel by itself due to the way the pieces are boxed into the painstakingly detailed card art. Scythe is also a masterpiece of both role play and strategy. It was not designed as a casual game, however, and requires a crowd that has some experience with board gaming. Nonetheless, it is fast-paced, tense, and exhilarating.
Game mechanics are wholesome and simple. Pick a card and test each one of your companions, placing bets on who can guess the approximate date of a quirky historical event. You might end up 50 years off, but it won’t matter if everybody else got the wrong century.
This game takes place in a robot factory, and each player will have to play a fighting robot trying to escape their assembly line. You’ll have a line of commands at your disposal and will have to traverse a terrain full of hidden traps, conveyor belts, and the occasional hit-and-run attempt by your fellow robots. Stop for repairs or accumulate new weapons at your own peril. Only the first one to hit all the checkpoints will make it out alive.
Red Dragon Inn is a favorite haunt of hotheaded adventurers and deadly warlocks, the perfect place to flex your muscles after the adventure is done and to scam your old partners out of their hard-earned money. Call for rounds of shots, gamble, avoid alcohol poisoning, and make sure they don’t stick you with the tab, just like in real life.
In the meantime, you can see some of your comrades get caught, killed, or falsely accused. This would have been the premise of a great immersive video game, but turned into a board game, it scraps the special effects down to the basics and leaves you doubting your own shadow.
This game includes well-known characters and a dynamic bluff-and-barter option, which can quickly turn into a commercial proxy war or a full-blown bribe, depending on how your friends choose to play.