With the culture around tabletop gaming constantly growing, folks are always looking for a good place to start. Perhaps they’ve only played the likes of Monopoly or Battleship and want to dive into something more fun or interesting. There are countless board games and card games out there, so finding a way into the world of tabletop gaming can be intimidating. Here are some of the best places for any newcomer to begin their tabletop quest.
Forbidden Island is a cooperative game that is very easy to learn and quick to play. Players work together to explore an island to find treasures and escape before it’s completely flooded. The gameplay mostly consists of moving and flipping tiles, so there’s not a lot to learn. Plus, playing cooperatively allows players to learn together more easily.
Catan is a tabletop staple and has served as a gateway into tabletop gaming for many folks. Players trade goods like sheep, wheat, and brick to build roads and settlements to earn victory points. Everyone quickly finds their preferred strategy and are even able to try out different ones each match. This makes it a solid way to get used to thinking on one’s feet and other strategizing skills that can be translated to other games. It’s also one of the most replayable games around.
Splendor may seem like a tad intimidating at first but is actually surprisingly quick to pick up. Players assume the roles of merchants as they collect currency to purchase goods that earn them prestige points. It’s an addictive and clever resource management game. There are plenty of great resource management games out there, but most of them can be tricky for newcomers. Splendor is a fun and easy way to learn while having a blast with your friends.
Sushi Go! Is a fast-paced game in which players take their pick of sushi and pass their hands to each other to repeat the process. Various types and combinations of sushi are worth different amounts of points. Players must make their selections wisely to pick what’s best for them or figure out what their opponents are looking for and stop them from getting it. It’s a simple and quick game filled with strategy, excitement, and adorable artwork.
Munchkin is a silly and action-packed card game in which players explore dungeons to fight monsters and loot treasure. Treasure can be used to help fight monsters. Defeating a monster earns you a level. The first player to reach level 10 wins. It’s fairly simple and blends strategy and luck together to make for a suspenseful experience. The game’s sense of humor is also quite brilliant with goofy illustrations depicting the likes of medieval knights wielding chainsaws and duck monsters. This one will have your heart racing and your friends laughing, which is pretty impressive for something so quick and easy to learn.
Tsuro might be one of the easiest games to learn but can lead to intense showdowns between players. Players play as dragons soaring through the air. Play a tile card in front of your dragon and follow that path. Be careful not to fly off of the board or you’re out. Also be sure to find ways to bamboozle your opponents off the edge. It can’t get much easier than playing a tile and following a path, but it’s still loads of fun.
There’s no shortage of party games like Cards Against Humanity or Apples to Apples, but none are quite like Dixit. Dixit follows a similar formula to other party games, but is rather unique. All of the cards are beautiful pieces of art. The person who’s the judge for the turn gives a hint, and all players try their best to play cards that match that hint while also tricking other players. It’s an especially creative party game that allows players to also think. If you’re someone who has only played party games but want to explore something more, Dixit is that hybrid that will give you something familiar but will let you try out something more strategic.
It’s hard not to love zombies, so why not play a dice game that allows you to take on the role of one? In Zombie Dice, players roll a set of dice to see how many brains they can score or if they get an unfortunate shotgun blast to the face. It’s truly riveting as you rack up brains to see who gets the winning amount first. It’s as easy as rolling dice, but has the suspense and mind games of gambling for fans of the undead.
Ticket to Ride
Like Catan, Ticket to Ride has become another tabletop gaming staple. In this cross-country train adventure, players collect and play matching train cars to connect cities and build the longest railroad. The setup and strategy are both incredibly simple, and there only being two actions makes it incredibly easy to learn and play. Successfully connecting two cities is insanely satisfying and trying to get in your opponents’ heads to figure out which route they’re trying to build is tons of fun.
Most people have probably played Scrabble or at least have heard of it. Imagine that but instead of putting letters together to form words, you’re matching colors and shapes. It’s that easy, but opponents can mess with whichever row you’re aiming for, so be careful. It’s fun, easy, and relaxing.
In Labyrinth, players control a wizard as they explore a moving labyrinth to find treasure. Each turn has the player slide the tiles of the maze and move their piece. The goal is to make it back to their starting circle with each of their specific treasures first. It’s simple for anyone to learn quickly while also proving to be a bit of a thought-provoking puzzle. It’s also quite fun to mess with other players by walling them off.
King of Tokyo
King of Tokyo may be a bit trickier to learn than the rest of the games on the list, but it still serves as a solid gateway into tabletop gaming. Each player plays as a giant monster who wishes to rule over Tokyo. The gameplay, while intense and competitive, is fairly straightforward. Roll the dice to deal damage, collect in-game currency known as “energy,” or heal. Use the energy to purchase upgrade cards to assist you in kicking other monsters’ butts. For fans of monster flicks, this one is a must.