Game night isn’t dead—far from it. As people leave the glaring screens of the office and the university, more and more are looking to unplug, relax, and get their hygge on. What better way than an old-fashioned board game with a new twist? Here are some recommendations to revitalize your game night—no screens allowed!
A quick and easy card game that’s simple enough for the kids (ages seven and up) but quirky enough for adults. Geeky humor abounds in this silly mash-up of Go Fish and Old Maid, or as the company calls it, kitty-powered Russian roulette. My favorite card is the “tacocat” which proudly exclaims, “I’m a palindrome!”
Exploding Kittens is the most-backed project in Kickstarter history. All illustrations were drawn by the infamous web comic The Oatmeal. Gameplay is only about fifteen minutes, which is great as an icebreaker or non-committal opener.
The first expansion to the kitten Kickstarter darling, Imploding Kittens includes 20 new cards illustrated by the Oatmeal and expands the core deck from 5 to 6 players. With topped-up power cards you can reorder the draw pile, reverse play, and pick specific players to attack. Also included is a human-sized “cone of shame” to help indicate which way play is going should it be reversed.
And yet another kittens expansion that does not disappoint! There are 15 new cards and 8 new actions, including the magical “streaking kitten” that lets you safely hold an exploding kitten in your hand. Streaking Kittens is a no-brainer value-add to the original game, and really, you should buy it just for the hilarious name.
A game of royal sci-fi intrigue, Coup is for ages thirteen and up and averages fifteen minutes of gameplay. If you like bluffing and guesswork, then Coup is sure to delight as you try to outwit your opponents. The artwork on the cards also happens to be rather spectacular. This game, like most bluffing games, is best in family or friend groups where everyone is familiar with each other’s personalities.
Do you like the concept of Trivial Pursuit but not the execution? Join the club. I would often “play” Trivial Pursuit by just reading questions because traveling around the board took far too long. Pop Trivia is trivia cards only—no board! The categories are fads, television, film, music, sports, and name the year. Each card is also assigned a decade from the 1950s to the 2000s.
This game is a hit in family groups because grandparents, parents, and kids have more knowledge in certain decades. Grandparents love the 50s and 60s questions, parents love the 70s and 80s, and kids do best in the 90s and 00s.
This game is unfortunately out of print, but it can still be found on the secondary market. Anyone with a love of Greek mythology needs to own this game. The mechanics are similar to Monopoly, but instead of gobbling up properties, you’re acquiring heroes and testing your fate against mythological beasts. The game’s instruction booklet is interwoven with By Jove Stories that are entertaining in their own right.
By Jove has sets of rules for both short and long games (as long as two hours!). Generally the more players you have, the shorter the game. I prefer the long version of the game on leisurely holidays with family. Would recommend at least four players or the gameplay can get tiresome very quickly.
As one of the most popular board games around, you might be living under a rock if you haven’t played Ticket To Ride. In this game, you get to finally live your dream as a robber baron building trains across the rolling landscape of nineteenth century America. This is one game that is still fun with only two players, and gameplay ranges from thirty to sixty minutes.
You might as well get the 1910 Expansion as it’s really an improvement on the original game. The expansion provides thirty-five new destinations, mystery trains, tweaked route values, and a couple new bonuses.
While Europe is my favorite version of Ticket To Ride, the mechanics are more complicated with new elements such as tunnels, ferries, and train stations. Routes and real estate are limited in turn-of-the-century Europe, and only the cleverest strategies will win.
The 1912 Expansion layers on even more complexity with warehouses, depots, cities, and mega Europe. Expect to dedicate more successive plays of Ticket To Ride Europe to fully appreciate the additional expansion.
The fashionably late entry is nothing to sneeze at: Taboo is the classic game of unspeakable fun since 1989. Your goal? Describe a word without saying the word or anything close to it! If you slip up, brace your ears for the buzzer! (Actually, this newest version replaces the obnoxious buzzer with a perfectly adorable squeaker.) This is the perfect icebreaker game with zero setup and loads of fast-paced fun.