Like their video game counterparts, board games have come a long way in a short space of time. A generation ago, board games were limited to a select few titles like Scrabble or Risk, games which spent most of their lives sat in the attic or at the back of a cupboard. Now, however, there are a myriad of games of different styles and themes to choose from. Many are worth playing, but here are a few to start, or possibly expand, your collection.

Camel Up

Number of players: 2-8

Length of play: 30 mins

In Camel Up, the players are trying to make as much money as possible by betting on the outcome of a camel race. The game does a great job of being light hearted as well as having a number of tactical options. Players can make bets on the result of the front runners at each leg of the race, as well as the overall winner or overall loser. They can also place terrain pieces on the board to affect the camels in the race. Being the first person to correctly bet on the overall winner or loser of the race can net you a huge bonus, but the positions can change several times during the course of the game and each incorrect bet yields a small penalty, so judging when to pick a winner or loser takes consideration.


Number of players: 2-4

Length of play: 20 mins

Kingdomino is easy to setup, and is also easy for new players to learn. It’s a tile based game that involves players placing tiles around their castle to build their kingdom. Tiles have varying terrain types on them, as well as scoring multipliers that players need to use to make an area of terrain score points. Some terrain types, such as grassland, are more common, and can be relied upon to appear frequently, allowing players to build up a large area to score more points. However, this leaves less room for other terrain, and the scoring multipliers may be small. Other terrain types, such as the mines, are less numerous, but feature high scoring multipliers, so even a small area can net a lot of points. A clever design feature of Kingdomino is that your choice of tile also effects who gets priority in their next choice of tile, so it is sometimes a better option to choose a worse tile in order to improve your odds later in the game.

Clank/Clank in Space

Number of players: 2-4

Length of play: 90 mins

Clank, and its sequel, both involve the players delving into an occupied area, stealing a valuable piece of loot and escaping without being taken down by the boss of the dungeon (or spaceship, in the case of the second game). Players gain actions by dealing a hand of 5 cards from their deck, which allow options for movement, defense, and other abilities. Throughout the game, players will buy cards to add to their deck. The strategy in Clank revolves around deciding what pace of game to play. You can choose to take a longer route around, picking up more loot along the way, and invest in cards that pay dividends at the end of the game, or you can take a quicker, higher risk route and get cards with more immediate effects, grab the highest value piece of loot and escape. The longer you are in the dungeon, and the more loot is taken, the more dangerous the board becomes, so deciding when to go for it is a game defining decision.

Sheriff of Nottingham

Number of players: 3-5

Length of play: 30 mins

A game of deception, Sheriff of Nottingham involves players trying to make as much money as possible by selling goods at the market. The crux of the game is that the most valuable goods are contraband, and all the players will almost certainly try to sneak something past at some point. Players choose goods cards from their hand to put in their goods bag to take to market. They can put whatever they want in their bag, but can only declare one legal good type to the sheriff (the sheriff changes every round). The sheriff then decides if they want to inspect any of the player’s bags. If the sheriff chooses to open a bag and finds either contraband or undeclared legal goods, these are then confiscated and the player must pay a fine based on what cards they lied about. The fines for contraband are much higher, but undeclared legal goods are still confiscated and discarded. However, if the player was telling the truth, the sheriff must pay a fine to the player based on what cards they had. An extra layer of fun is that a sheriff can threaten to search a bag, but can be offered a bribe of goods, money, or a promise for later in the game. Sheriff of Nottingham is easy to learn and a great deal of fun, especially with a few drinks.

7 Wonders

Number of players: 2 – 7

Length of play: 30 mins

You could think of 7 Wonders as the Civilization of the board game world, though thankfully it takes a lot less time to play. Players take the role of a civilization related to an ancient wonder. The game is split into 3 ages, and each age involves players playing cards from their hand to create structures, or build a stage of their unique wonder. 7 Wonder’s interesting mechanic is how your buildings and hand interact with other players. Each player has a hand, but after playing a card, everyone rotates their hand, so you know what cards the person next to you will end up with, but you can’t rely on what you may have available next turn. You may end up choosing to build a structure or discard a card in order to stop your neighbour from constructing it. You can also interact to the players adjacent to you. If you lack the resources to build a certain structure, you can pay gold to an adjacent player to gain access to theirs. At the end of each age, you compare your military strength with each of these players, and the winner gains a victory point bonus. If the players next to you go heavy on military cards, you can choose to ignore your military completely and invest in other areas. You can also build cards that make trading with other players cheaper, so you can avoid having to invest in early game resources. Some later game cards give points based on what players either side of you have built. The game feels like you have a number of viable options to win, and nicely treads the line of being strategic, but not feeling too complicated or losing its sense of enjoyment.

Dead of Winter

Number of players: 2-5

Length of play: 90 mins

A team based game, where up to 5 players are trying to survive a zombie apocalypse, attempting to maintain order, keep morale high, and stop everything coming crashing down upon them. Players must complete an overall objective within a certain timeframe, but the odds are stacked against them. Each round, they must also allocate resources to stop sudden crises from taking effect, such as a fuel shortage or an outbreak of sickness, as well as trying to keep morale up, keep everyone fed, and deal with zombies encroaching upon the colony. Sudden events can throw a plan out of order, and trying to gain resources can expose the party to the dangers of both zombies and other human survivors. Dead of Winter wins big points for immersion, and it genuinely feels like you are trying to balance so many different things with a limited supply of resources, and that everything could fall apart at any second. A minor gripe with the game is that it requires a huge number of game pieces and cards to play, and it can take a while to explain the mechanics to new players, but overall, it’s a game worth picking up for those who have some experience with board games and want to expand their collection.

One Night

Number of players: 4+

Length of play: 10+ mins

Though not strictly a board game, One Night is worth including on this list. It’s a variation on the party game Mafia, or Werewolf, depending on which version you may be familiar with, though in One Night’s case each game is separate, with roles changing each time, rather than the game taking place over several rounds. Each player starts a round with a card that determines their role, either on the werewolf team or the town team, and only they know their own role. Each of the players closes their eyes, and through an app on someones phone, a narrator will tell players to open their eyes at various points and use their role’s ability. The Seer can look at some of the player’s roles, whilst the robber can switch their card with someone else. At the end of the night, cards will have been switched, and some players will have information on what cards ended up where. When the night phase ends, the players open their eyes and try to determine who the werewolves are, with the players voting at the end on who they want to eliminate. The trick with One Night is that your team is determined by what card you end up with at the end of the night, rather than what you started with. Players each make claims about what happened, with inevitable disputes about who is lying. One Night is light hearted fun with the added bonus that you can play for as many rounds as you want to fit into an evening, with the only slight downside is that the game can be too complicated to track with more than 6 people.