What Board Game Should We Play?

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Question

So I found myself at a local store looking at all the different games available and found myself thinking, “What board game should we play?”  There were many different games to choose from, including classic games and brand new games I had never seen before.  So how do you choose from the plethora of games available to build your collection with?

Step 1

The first thing to do is to figure out what kinds of mechanics are found in games that will interest you.  Let’s take a look at some of the basic mechanics that are out there:

  • Dice Rollingdices-1385675-m
  • Card Play
  • Trivia
  • Strategy
  • Word Play
  • Abstract
  • Auction or Bidding
  • Risk & Reward
  • Piece Movement
  • Tile Play
  • Capture or Eliminate
  • Resource Management
  • Memory
  • Timed
  • Cooperative Play
  • Role Playing

This list is not all encompassing, but I think you can get the point.  Looking at the above list what stands out to you?  Make a list of your top 5 from the above list and put them in your preferred order.  Each family member should complete this step on their own.

Step 2

Now it is time to compare your lists.  Put all the lists side by side and compare how each family member made their rankings.  Now we are going to make a Master List based off of those following this simple method:

  1. Number each list in reverse, using 5 for the most preferred down to 1.
  2. Add up each different mechanic listed using that number.
  3. Make a new list using the mechanics in order from the highest to lowest.

Clip BoardStep 3

Now that you have an idea of the mechanics of what your family likes there is one more thing to consider, Time.  Board games can be from short & sweet to long & epic.  Here are the time frames we will use for this exercise.

  • Quick – 15 minutes or less
  • Short – 15-30 minutes
  • Medium – 30-60 minutes
  • Long – 1-2 hours
  • Epic – 2 hours or more

Again, have each person list the games in their preference and repeat Step 2 for these as well.  You will now have a much clearer picture coming into form for what your family is looking for.

ticked-checkbox-1280927-mStep 4

You now have a Master List of what your family prefers for gaming.  This will help you make this crucial decision of what games you should have for your family to play.  From what mechanics they like, to how long they like to play a game.

Now that you have your Master List done, you can start browsing for what to play.  Take time to look at the mechanics & play time of each game and compare that against your list.  The games that rank well with your Master List should be the games that you start growing your collection with.

So when it comes down to, “What board game should we play?” you now have a much better idea of where & how to start.

If you have any suggestions or tips of your own, please speak up and leave a comment below!  Also, if you have any questions, post them below and I will make sure to get you an answer.

James W D
james@familygamenightideas.com

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12 Replies to “What Board Game Should We Play?”

    • Chris, let me do a little research for you and I will let you know. I totally understand how you feel about the playing time with Monopoly.

    • I love board games. As a child, my family and I played games all the time. I love your website! I think we need to get back to that vice tons of video games (love those too) but the board games bring back fond memories of my childhood! Looking forward to hearing from you again!

      • Thanks Andrea! All games can be beneficial, but board games in general have a lot of opportunity to be more so! I am working really hard to show people how fun they can be and all the benefits that come from them.

  1. Thanks for creating this website-what a great idea! I think your information and reviews will help a lot of people.

    Just curious, what would the old game “Risk” be classified under? After I read “Step 1, Basic Mechanics,” it made me wonder. My dad and uncle adore that game-they even got into arguments about it, lol!

    To second what Japhne said, this site sure does bring back childhood memories. 🙂

    • Risk has a lot of interesting mechanics to it. I will see if I can work up a post using Risk as an example for you if you can give me a couple days. I will let you know when its ready. Thanks for stopping by I am glad that I was able to rekindle some of your childhood memories.

      • Hi again, James.
        Thanks so much for your post about the game “Risk.” You sure did that fast! I appreciate it. It is rather cool to be able to come here and get the information and help I need about games. As I mentioned earlier, my dad and uncle adore Risk. But whenever one of them lost, they would be mad for a couple hours-that is how into they can become, :P. Maybe it is a guy thing, since it is a war game. Joke.

        Thanks again, I will be back to check out some more games.

        Jen

        • Jen,

          No problem, it was good timing on your part as it was along the lines of what I was looking to do anyway. As for the after effects of your family’s games, I would say that it is common with Risk. Even the best laid plans in Risk can get stifled by a little bit of luck. Have your dad and uncle ever tired playing Axis & Allies? I have always joked that A&A was Risk on steroids. It does a better job of mitigating out the luck factor and rewarding the strategy side.

          Thanks for stopping by again, I really appreciate it.

          James W D

  2. Hello James,
    I like you website very much. It is beautiful and enticing!! I never knew there was so much to learn about games. It brings back my childhood memories and I want to play those again.

  3. Good day James!

    You know its been forever since I’ve played a board game and after reading your post I think I’ll go shopping for one. My family doesn’t spend much time together so I think this’ll be a great way to bond with them hopefully they don’t get too competitive. lol

    Ke’Aira

    • Thanks Ke’Aira! I hope this guide/site can help you find something that works for you and your family. If you need any help finding a game or games, let me know and I will do what I can to help!

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