Board games are experiencing a renaissance as people look for low-tech ways to spend quality time with family and friends and put their electronic devices away.
In many cases, board games are super-cheap – you can grab a good one for under $20. In other cases, there are smart and sophisticated games with tons of pieces, or pieces with intricate detailing, that might cost a bit more. Some are based on popular movies, television series, or books, which adds to the bottom line cost. You might think that board games should be cheap, given how low-tech they are. But there are actually some really great games that cost $50 or more and are worth every penny.
8 Star Wars: Outer Rim
In this game, which is ideal for fans of the popular film franchise, players can select from one of eight Star Wars Scoundrels, including Han Solo and Boba Fett, then test their skills at smuggling, bounty hunting, and more. In order to capture bounties and deliver illegal cargo, you must, of course, travel through the galaxy. Play on your own in a solo-play mode, or with friends and family.
The game is pricey, but it also allows you to collect credits to build your own ship and crew, purchase mods and upgrades, and more. A game can last anywhere from 2-3 hours, and it’s geared towards those aged 14 and up.
7 Trekking: The National Parks: The Family Board Game (Second Edition)
Education wise, this is a great game for the money. Players compete by traveling around U.S. National Parks, claiming Park Cards and collecting trail stones. There's info about each park you can learn from looking at the back of the card.
From 2-5 people can play the 30-60-minute game, and it’s recommended for kids aged 10 and older. Outdoorsy folks will love it, and it’s also a great game to play with the family where everyone can learn about geography and other important facts about nature.
6 Restoration Fireball Island: The Curse of Vul Kar
A reinvention of the original game, which was developed way back in 1986, players move through the path, trying to avoid fireballs, and steal jewels. This new version offers up a much larger island on which to play, faster marbles, and overall redesigned gameplay.
As you move your figures and manipulate features on the island, you will unleash the wrath of Vul-Kar.
From 2-4 people can play, and each game takes about an hour. Buy at the right time, and you might be able to grab it on sale for under its usual list price of $80.
5 Dead of Winter
The world has been overtaken by flesh-eating monsters, and to make things worse, it’s the dead of winter. How will you survive? Up to five people aged 12 and up can play as one of the few remaining survivors who must work together to make it through this horror-filled world.
Dubbed a meta-cooperative psychological survival game, players have to work together to live, each leading their own faction of survivors. But they also must complete a secret personal objective in order to win. That secret objective could be something fairly harmless, or something really dangerous, like sabotaging the group’s main mission. Games last 1-2 hours, and it’ll really get you thinking and strategizing.
4 Star Trek Catan
Given that this game is based on the hugely popular film and TV series franchise, it’s no surprise that it costs a pretty penny. Designed for 3-4 players with a play time of about an hour-and-a-half, players explore space (the final frontier, of course), building outposts and bases, extracting resources, and using a fleet of starships to try and establish supply routes to travel deeper into space. Trade with opponents and neighbors, use Klingons to drive others away and engage in a multitude of challenges.
The game comes with tons of goodies and pieces, including 19 interchangeable planet sector tiles, a 6-part game board frame, 28 outposts, 16 habitat rings, 60 starships, one Klingon battle cruiser, two special victory point cards, 10 support cards, 25 development cards, four building costs cards, 95 resource cards, two six-sided star dice, rules, and an almanac.
3 A Song of Ice & Fire
Based on George R.R. Martin’s novel of the same name, this game sees players battle it out to gain control of Westeros. King Robert Baratheon is dead, just as happened in the HBO series Game of Thrones, which is based on the book, and players can choose to play as members of House Stark or House Lannister.
Build a fierce army led by someone worthy (Robb Stark, Cersei Lannister, perhaps?) and strategize on the best way to defeat your enemies to gain control.
There are five different game modes so you can enjoy playing again and again. While it might be most sought out by those who watched the series or read the books, that isn't essential for gameplay. It's a battle game like any other, and players aged 14 and up will enjoy it as such.
2 Zombicide Base Game
Another survivor-based game, zombies have taken over, and it’s up to players, or a single player, to kill them and eliminate the infected. But the more you play, the higher the danger level gets as the infected grow in numbers.
With a comics-inspired environment, the fun game is suitable for anyone aged 13 and older and is for up to six players. Characters play collaboratively, shifting between prey and predator, trying to both survive and find weapons to fend off the enemy. While killing more zombies increases your skill level, it also results in more zombies appearing, thus keeping you continually on your toes.
There are 10 different scenarios to play on 10 different maps, created using the modular map tiles.
1 Scythe Board Game
Set in an alternate history version of the 1920s, this game follows a capitalist state known as The Factory that is suffering after the first great war. Each player, up to five, has a hidden objective he must complete, drawing encounter cards that guide them on how they interact with citizens. You will also engage in combat through combat cards and choices made throughout the game.
Each person plays as a different fallen leader who is trying to restore his honor and lead his faction to power. To do this, they must get new recruits, resources, build structures, and more. Who will emerge victoriously?
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