The Best Board Games
When it comes to selecting the best board games to play with your friends and family, there is no shortage of classics to choose from. We decided to take a look at some of the longest standing board games, and give you brief description of each game, to help get you started.
When it comes to long time popularity, chess is king (no pun intended!). Having been around for over 1500 years, there’s no doubting that the game of chess has earned it’s place as one of the greatest board games of all time. There is some uncertainty over it’s origins, actual origina, howere records indicate that the first World Chess Championship was held in 1886
Part of the appeal of chess comes from it’s accessibility. The rules are reasonably simple to grasp. Each player begins the game with 16 pieces: A king, a queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops and eight pawns. Each piece has it’s own unique set of rules for movement, and these different abilities give each piece a unique value and power on the board. The ability to use these different moves in combination, alongside thinking strategically and planning several moves in advance, are what gives chess it’s fascinating complexity.
Unlike many other board games, winning is not based on luck or chance. Winning requires skill, strategic thinking and at times, an element of cunning. The excitement of placing one of your pieces in a vulnerable position, knowing that if your opponent takes the bait it will allow your next move to be a winning “check-mate” can be thrilling.
For many years now, computers have made worthy opponents for playing chess, and have become a fantastic way to gradually challenge yourself and improve your skills. It’s even possible to re-enact some of the classic matches from the World masters, to see how you compare.
As well as having fun, chess may also offer other benefits. It exercises both the right and left hemispheres of the brain. Chess is creative and also helps improve your memory, problem-solving, mathematics skills and concentration levels. It encourages planning and foresight.
Risk is a classic board game for two to six players, that involves both luck and skill. It is a turn based game, and the most common version is played with a board that shows a political map of the world that is divided into forty-two areas and grouped in six continents.
The object of the game is to occupy every territory on the board, and by achieving this, eliminate all of the other players in the game. Although the goal is simple, there’s no doubt that Risk can be complex game of strategy. Although the game was originally designed to last around an hour and a half, it’s more common for games to last longer than this.
Some versions of Risk have introduced additional rules such as “secret missions” which can increase the speed of the game. There are also a number of themed versions of the game, such as a Star Wars edition.
Cluedo is a truly classic board game. Players move around the various rooms in a mansion, and try to solve a “who done it” type of murder mystery, by discovering three things: who did it, with what weapon, and where? There are character, weapon, and location cards, and after the top card from each type is secretly placed in the confidential file in the middle of the board,the rest are dealt to the players.
Players then move to a room and make an accusation against one of the characters, stating that they did the crime, in that room, and with a particular weapon. The player to their left then shows them one of their cards. Through deductive reasoning each player must figure out which character, weapon, and location are in the secret file.
By gradually discovering what cards are in the other players hands, the aim is to eventually work out what cards are in teh secret file. Cluedo is a fantastic game for people who enjoy solving mysteries through reasoning.
Yet another classic board game that deserves a place in this list is Battleship. Each player places their ships randomly around their own board, which is divided into a grid, and hidden from view of their opponent.
Players then take turns to call out target squares on the other player’s grid, using letters and numbers to identify the targets. If you hit a ship, a red peg is placed, and if you miss, a white peg is placed instead.
The aim is to figure out the location and direction of each ship on your opponent’s grid and wipe them out. It’s a very simple system, that’s fun to play, and makes Battleship a classic board game.
Trivial Pursuit has to be one of the world’s most famous board games, and has sold over 100 million copies.
The game consists of answering questions on various subjects and collecting the corresponding wedges.
The Trivial Pursuit board is shaped like a six spoke wheel. Players begin at the center of the board, and move out to try to earn a wedge from each of the special category spaces where a spoke meets the outer wheel. The original version of the game has six categories, and these are: Geography, Entertainment, History, Arts & Literature, Science & Nature and Sports & Leisure.
To win the game, you must collect all six wedges from the special category spaces, then move into the center of the board and answer a final question in a category that’s chosen by the other players.
It’s possible to play either individually or in teams, and there are various versions of the game to suit adults and children. There are also a number of popular themed versions of Trivial Pursuit.
The original Trivial Pursuit game is called “The Genus Edition”, and was named “Genus” because the questions are general in nature and cover a large range of topics.
The rules of Monopoly are pretty simple. The player rolls a pair of dice and moves their token clockwise around the board by the number of spaces rolled.
Once you’ve moved your playing piece, if you land on a property that no one owns, you can choose to buy it from the bank. If you choose not to buy it, the official game rules then put the property up for auction.
Once a player owns a property, they can collect rent from other players who land on their property. Properties each belong to specific colour group, and if you manage to own all of the properties in a particular colour group (you have the monopoly), you can then start building houses and then hotels on the properties. The more you build the higher the rent you may collect when someone lands on your property.
The aim of the game is to bankrupt all of the other players and be the last player in the game.
Over recent years, there have been a number of themed editions of Monopoly, so whichever version you choose, you’ll be playing one of the most popular board games of all time.
Scrabble is yet another classic family board game, consisting of interlocking words the criss cross the playing board a little like a crossword puzzle.
The game involves players spelling out words using letter tiles, and different letters have a range of score values. The aim of the game is to achieve the highest score, with scores given for the values of the letters used to spell each word, and bonus points given for using certain squares on the board.
Words may read across or down, and each word must use a letter tile that is already placed on the board.
Each player tries to use their tiles in combinations and locations that make best use of both the letter values, and the bonus squares on the board.
As well as being great fun to play, scrabble is actually educational, as it helps improve your vocabulary by introducing you to new words each time you play.
The Game of Life
Rounding up our list is the fantastic Game of Life. In this board game, the player moves from teenage years through to retirement, going through various life events along the way, such as getting married and buying a house.
Just like real life, the decisions you make along the way affect your finances, and even if you make the best choices, the players must negotiate many unexpected twists and turns along the way.
The game ends when all players retire and the person with the most money is declared the winner.
With so many electronic toys and video games around, its great to see these classic board games still on the best sellers list. If you’re shopping for a gift to introduce a new generation to these games, or just reliving fond memories from playing these games yourself, we hope this list of the best board games has been useful.
Why not take a look at some of the fantastic special offers we have on the best board games.