To find a board game that best fits you, there are many questions you need to ask yourself that several people do not take the time to answer properly. Let us point out what you need to think about and then help you do something with that information so you can find that match. This is our definitive how to find a board game guide created to match great unbought games out there with a good and loving home.
If you have never played board games and want to try, then buy – Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne or Stone Age (for strategy), Codenames: Pictures or Just One (for party), Sushi Go Party!, Ticket To Ride or Apples to Apples (for family) or Pitchcar (for dexterity).
You might also like: 10 Games To Start Your Board Game Collection
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Know Your Audience
Know The General Areas
Peaceful To Aggressive
Bonus: It is About Deals
Bonus: By Category
Bonus: By Year
Personalized Board Game Recommendation
NUMBER OF PLAYERS | KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
The most important decision you need to make when thinking about how to find a board game or what board game to buy is how many players are in your life. Knowing that you have access to a willing group of four 80% and maybe five to eight 20% of the time is the most important thing to establish in this find a board game guide that you need to be honest with yourself about.
There are great board games for all shapes and sizes but everything is very tailored to player count first and then everything else. The way players interact with mechanisms works very differently. There are draft mechanisms that only work with three players for example. Once you know, you do need to do more research (this find a board game guide will help) because just because a game might say “2 – 8 players” does not mean it is a good game at all those player counts. Figure this out first and then continue.
Past shear count, this is also the stage where you really want to understand your audience. The following sections are going to help you with that, but above all else, different games appeal to different people and just being realistic about the people you are playing with at this point is important. You do not need to know everything just general pillars like if their preference is to attack you, help you or laugh with you.
20 Best 1 Player Board Games
20 Best 2 Player Board Games
20 Best 3 Player Board Games
20 Best 4 Player Board Games
20 Best 5 Player Board Games
20 Best 6 Player Board Games
20 Best 7 Player Board Games
INTENSITY | TIME AND INVOLVEMENT
The second step to think about in the find a board game process is how deeply you want to be submerged into a gaming experience. There are different levels that mean different things.
There are basically 3 unofficial levels of intensity of all board game – light, medium and heavy. The intensity does not relate to any one particular thing like the time it takes, how many rules it has or what it takes to win. You should really think about it in terms of how much your head hurts afterward.
Light board games do not hurt your head at all. They are quick and they are more a caveat for communication amongst a group, just a colorful way to pass time or have such easy rules and minimal actions to take that it is hard to stress about it. In reality, you could not pay attention at all and still probably be ok. Luckily, with fewer components, if you want to find a board game on the cheap side, there are many options here.
Medium games start to make the head hurt pain appear, but it still feels like prideful accomplishment at this point. Here you do need both short term and long term strategies that look past the current action at hand and you do need to be on your game a bit in order to succeed. People who tend to find a board game in this area they like are very happy because it tends to be a magical melding of many worlds.
Heavy games make your head hurt but oh boy in the best way possible. To start, these games tend to be 3 hours plus (and not just a little plus, could be 4 – 10 hours) because there is just so much to unpack. And you unpack a lot, you usually have multiple resources to manage and many many many decisions to make. You need to dive in and focus hard otherwise you are going to get lost quickly. When you go to find a board game in this zone, you want to be sure about these.
KNOW THE GENERAL AREAS
There are many different umbrella mechanics and genres that correspond to different parts of the board game world. There are only so many ideas that can be crammed into board games and so there are some bigger pillars and buzz words that you should be aware of to know the kind of things that that are out there when you are trying to find a board game. These are not genres per se.
Resource Management – A very general term. This is the idea that you are going to get resources to spend at some point. You have certain limitations and based on that you need to make smart decisions where and when to use what you have available. A limit could be hand size and a decision to make would be like “when should I buy a road” and “should it be a road or should it be a highway”. And it doesn’t have to be gold or something like that, you resources can be your cards.
Engine Building – This is another very general term. This is the idea that you start with nothing, uses the little resources you have to put in place little things that are going to make you better, which in turn lets you get even better stuff that lets you get even bigger and better. Like an engine, it starts with hundreds of little pieces and you need to put it together to make one glorious humming machine.
Area Control – Yet another broader term, this has to do when a play area is broken up into sections and you get some kind of bonus by “owning” that section. There are so many games that fall under this wide umbrella. It could be nonconfrontational and all about building up your civilization and it could be all-out war. This is just one of those bigger ideas that make so many board games possible.
Deck Building – Deck Building is its own genre under the larger engine building umbrella. Everyone starts with the same pretty much nothing deck and then you need to buy cards to add to your deck to eventually draw and play. You are building an engine, it just happens to be your deck.
SEE ALSO: 10 Best Deck Building Board Games
Drafting – This is a major selection and action taking mechanism that fuels many things. A draft is when many things are available and players take turns picking and taking things from what is left until it is all gone.
Worker Placement – This is a form of drafting, but it is a more loaded full mechanism that has its own full fledged sub genre. This mechanic is where you have a limited amount of figures (“workers”) and there are a limited amount of spaces where they can go work. Players take turns placing the fgures they have avilable and then reaping the rewards (usually a resource piece of something bigger) of that spot for that turn.
SEE ALSO: 10 Best Worker Placement Board Games
Roll-N-Write – This is a genre originally started by Yahtzee way back when and is blowing up with so many types and thematics. This is when everyone gets their own score sheet, an event happens, everyone simultaneously makes a decision what to do and marks it on their sheet. This keeps going until your sheet fills up (again, just like Yahtzee). This genre is more about the idea and doesn’t necessarily have to contain dice.
SEE ALSO: 10 Best Roll-N-Write Board Games
Dexterity – This is any game where you have to use strength, reflexes, movement and/or all those real life dealing with life coming at you type of skills that is all about reacting in the moment.
Party – These are games that are supposed to increase and spectacularize communication amongst a larger group. These games typically play with how we interact like setting wacky rules or limiting what we can do, or they challenge a knowledge or some idea that gets everyone talking.
SEE ALSO: 10 Best Party Board Games
PEACEFUL TO AGGRESSIVE
There is a pretty clear cut sliding scale across all board games in terms of how peaceful or aggressive it is. There are games that are on the absolute ends of the spectrum and there are hundreds of games at every stop in between. This is really something you should think about when setting off to find a board game. In our experience, people have very strong opinions on whether or not they like being put in a position where they will have choose to do something negative to someone.
Some people love being able to take out that aggression and some absolutely hate being forced into conflict. It makes sense, it all doesn’t stay on the board, these things will bleed into real life and can make some people feel attacked. It really is one long spectrum and knowing which section you and your fellow players can live in will go a long way to avoiding a terrible game experience. This is very objective and hard to think about when trying to find a board game, but it is important.
BONUS: IT IS ABOUT DEALS
You may be ready to take on a few board games but you are not sure where to start. In this case, you should absolutely be thinking specifically about board game deals in your find a board game search. There is very specific patterns to when you are going to hit those. Check out the article When Are Board Games On Sale? to learn more about this. Basically you want to look to the major sales holidays and the major retailers to get those big 40 to 70 percent off of great titles.
Or, if you are ready, you can see what is on sale right now on Amazon. Click here to check the real-time listing of the best board game deals on Amazon.
BONUS: BY CATEGORY
There are so many different niche ideas that people out there care about and find excitement in. This has led to board games being created in every category imagine able from games about zombies to games about trees. Take a look at some categories below. Each is a list of the best games in that genre to best help you find a board game in a topic you may be very passionate about.
About Trees | Abstract Strategy | Animal | Arabian | Based on Books | Bluffing | City Building | Deduction | Dice | Horror | Medieval | Murder Mystery | Nautical | Renaissance | Space Exploration | Sports | Western | Word | Zombies
BONUS: BY YEAR
The earliest board games like chess and go are centuries old. Then you have the Milton Bradley era in the 50s – 70s of Monopoly, Risk and all those family games. Then came the modern era in 1995 when Settlers of Catan ushered in the idea that board games could be so much more than what they were previously and created a renaissance. We are still in that today but with the internet making direct distribution and marketing easy, and crowdfunding platforms making raising money possible, it is even easier to get games out into the world.
These trends have led to the biggest wave of games and popularity for them ever. The last decade saw fantastic new titles and developments and it is fun to look back. Here are the lists of the best board games by year as well as a recap of the whole 2010 – 2020 decade.
OR SEE THE: Best Board Games Of The Decade 2010 – 2020
PERSONALIZED BOARD GAME RECOMMENDATION
Now that you have thought about this information on how to find a board game, you now need to know what to do with it. We contemplated putting many different scenarios here with recommendations so you could match up to where you fit it, but then we came up with a better idea. We thought instead, we would just give you a very personalized and rationalized recommendation from a human based on your circumstances.
After reading through this, email a detailed description of your situation to [email protected] and within 24 hours (that’s the plan) we will have something thoughtful back to you. Add any details you want – the people, your time, what you like, what you do not like. We will absolutely find a board game for you. Try us out, we are up for a challenge.