Like Pokemon, Polaroid cameras and comic books, board games have seen a resurgent interest in the last few years — and for good reason. Here are the Sheaf’s picks for some of the best tabletop games right now.
Betrayal at the House on the Hill is a co-operative game with a twist. A team of three to six explorers is trapped inside a house that changes with every step they take. Players start off exploring, finding items and encountering omens until one is revealed to be a traitor to the group.
After the traitor is revealed, the remaining explorers must work to take the renegade down, as their lives depend on it. Betrayal at the House on the Hill is a unique experience in every play-through, as the setting and story are determined by players’ actions. Widow’s Walk — the game’s recent expansion — adds even more story options, some written by the creators of Cards Against Humanity and Adventure Time.
If you’re looking for something more co-operative, Pandemic is an excellent choice. In this game, two to four players must work together to stop diseases that have set Earth on a path to extinction. Players travel across Earth’s continents to treat infected populations and build research stations in their quest to stop the diseases.
Each player character has a unique role that assists the group in eradicating the diseases — one player may be a medic, another a researcher and the last a scientist, for instance. The game creates a tense atmosphere by making the players draw cards that can either slow the disease or cause more outbreaks. Can your team cure the diseases before entire cities and continents fall, or will you fall with them?
Boss Monster: The Dungeon Building Card Game is a competitive game for people who love the feel and style of video game classics. Two to four players are assigned 8-bit dungeon-boss roles and each create a dungeon that aims to defeat all adventurers who enter it. The boss who defeats the most heroes wins.
Players take turns building rooms in their dangerous dungeons and casting spells that give them advantages or disrupt their opponents. Anyone who enjoys vintage video games will love Boss Monster’s art direction and its many references. What’s more, you get to be the bad guy for once.
If you’re looking for a game with less strategy and more laughs, this next game is for you. Every nerd has had a “who would win” argument before. Maybe it was about who would win in a fight between Superman and the Hulk. Or between Batman and Ironman. Or between one horse-sized duck and 10 duck-sized horses. Well, in Superfight, you and your friends can finally put your hypotheses to the test.
At the start of the game, players pick three cards from a randomized deck of character cards and three cards from a deck of attributes for them. The resulting combinations can range from a dolphin armed with dynamite to a sasquatch that can turn invisible if it sings show tunes — the combinations are nearly endless.
Once everyone has chosen a character and attribute from the cards they drew, a second random attribute is assigned to each character and then the argument begins. Each player argues why their character would win against all the others, and the winner of the round is decided by a table vote — so make sure to work on your debating skills before you play Superfight!
Though this is just a short and limited list of what modern board games have to offer, there are sure to be games out there that will suit your interests perfectly. If you’re hesitant about getting into tabletop gaming, fear not — there is a game for every skill level and every type of person. No matter what you pick to play, you won’t be bored gaming.
Graphic: Jaymie Stachyruk