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International TableTop Day! Some games to consider

International TableTop Day is upon us, and for those that may want to purchase some games for their event, here are some games that I enjoy.

Big Party Games

Other than Apples to Apples and Cranium, not many people know of other big party games.  They can range from silly to strategic.

Wits and Wagers-Excellent party game can be played with 8 people or more on teams.  Trivia based where you guesstimate a numerical value (What percentage of adults have played a board game in the past year, i.e.), and whoever is the closest without going over win (and those who put their voting tokens on the closest) points.  The Party Mix edition adds simplicity to allow for a larger range of gamers.

The Resistance- If one has ever played Mafia or Bang, this game is strategy and wits at the max.  It can be played with up to 10 players, and each person  has a hidden role.  Vote correctly or deceive in order to win favor with the group.

Telestrations- If you’ve ever played Telephone Pictionary, this is the same thing in board game form.  The base game can be played up to 8 players, and the expansion with 12 players.  Quick and easy.  You alternate between drawing and guessing the word as players pass their whiteboard notebook around.  One of my favorite Casual Party games to date.

Gateway Strategy Games

Strategy games can be intimating to new board gamers.  Here are some that are great for introducing the genre.

Lost Cities- Simple card laying game turned board game.  Essentially put down a colored number card higher or equal to the one previous and move ahead that color on the board.  Special tokens on the pathways allow for extra points or moving ahead one space.  2-4 players and a great intro to strategy games.

For Sale-Recently played this for the first time and was extremely impressed.  This card game plays in about 15 minutes which allows for many rounds of play.  The first phase is bidding on numbered cards 1-30 (high is good) which  carry on to the second phase which is a simple trick taking card game based on the cards you won in the first phase.  Made by Gryphon Games, who are releasing quick and easy family strategy games.

Great Wall of China -Another Reiner Knizia game to add to the list (designer of Lost Cities plus 500 other games).  You lay down numbered cards with special abilities to win a wall (points).  Do you battle for the 8 pointer or settle for the easy 4?  A simple strategy game for 2-5 players.

Intermediate Strategy Games

Once you’ve mastered the gateway games, you can move on to intermediate.  These games require careful planning, but still have some randomness involved.

Medici– This bidding game requires careful planning not to spend too much on items for your ship while also making sure your opponents don’t spend too little.  This game is very interactive but there is some randomness involved that one person can get lucky for taking a huge risk with a big payout.  3-6 players

San Juan- Continues to be one of my favorites, this card game based on the board game Puerto Rico can be a big hit. Players use their cards as money, resources, and buildings that make your hand more powerful.  Simpler than Puerto Rico, San Juan can be taught in about a half hour and has fantastic replay value.  2-4 players, and very balanced for 2 player, which is hard to find in a strategy game.

Infinite Cities- Simple, yet addicting tile laying game where each building has special abilities to help and/or hinder your opponents.  This could also be a gateway strategy game, but also works as intermediate depending on the skill level of the other players.  Very high replay value since there are many tiles in the game.

Challenging Strategy Games

Dungeons and Dragons: Wrath of Ashardalon– This board game is co-op but also very challenging.  Follows the D&D world with dungeons, monsters, and heroes.  One must choose carefully their decisions or the whole team fails.  This game took my husband and I about 5 plays before we even got all the rules accurately.  Great introduction to pen and paper RPGs, however.  1-5 players, perfect for players who want to have a challenge at strategy games, but not at the expense of losing to more experienced players.

Space Alert– Another very challenging co-op game in which each player controls a space officer.  Similar to Robo Rally, players must plan ahead to do their moves in order to save their ship. The challenge is planning with other players in the time limit.  Very stressful but satisfying if one can achieve even the easiest missions.  2-5 players.  Very hard on less than 4 players.

Note that this list is not exhaustive.  There are thousands of board games out there.  This list is to serve those that may have not heard of these games and are looking for something new.

I also recommend: Trans-America, Ascension, Alien Frontiers, RA, Blokus Trigon, and Forbidden Island.