Sports is always on my mind. I have a college football podcast on as I’m writing this post and I have big plans to spend my afternoon on a couch watching the NFL Playoffs. So I’m sure some of my posts will get into my favorite topics. Yet, as my fiancee has launched our blog by delving into her inner nerd-love for books, Netflix and movies, I feel it is only fair to get into my love for board games.

I’m not really sure when I really clicked with board games. My family played games when I was growing up, but it was always a struggle to talk them into a game of Settlers of Catan and we usually preferred to take in a TV show. Yet, now, few things in life make me as happy as strolling through a Barnes and Noble and perusing the Board games section. I had quite a few lined up for my Christmas list and family and friends definitely came through for me in adding to my budding collection. As of now, I am still just a dabbler in the world of board games, but some of my favorite times on break have been learning how to play my new games and playing them with my much-less-excited family (thanks, guys!). So, I want to list my 10 favorite games that I have and maybe help some out there plan the next game night.

I will go ahead and provide links to more info for each game in case people want to take a closer look.

For 2 Players:

Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small

This game lets you tap into your inner farmer. You have three workers at your disposal, and over the course of eight turns, you must use them to collect, resources, build fences and stables and ultimately grow your horde of livestock. This game is always very quick (20-30mins) because of the turn limit and its a unique game experience. And you get to play with little wooden horses!

Quarto

Connect Four on steroids. There are 8 different ways to get 4 in a row, but the real twist is that your opponent picks the piece that you have to place on the board. This one is hard to grasp until you get see it and play it a couple times, but once you do it becomes a very intense date night.

The Duke

A kind of combination of chess and Stratego. The random composition of characters makes for dynamic gameplay and the diverse abilities of the pieces makes for a unique experience each time. Easy to start playing, but will take a good bit of time to learn the different strategies.

Party Games:

Wits & Wagers

This was a family Christmas hit! Another quick game because only seven questions are asked. Each question has a numeric answer, but the fun part is that even if you have no idea what the answer is, you have the chance to bet that other people’s answers are better and your betting savvy makes the difference.

Wikipedia: The Game About Everything

I haven’t had a chance to play this with a large group of people yet, but it has three different ways to play and has thousands of trivia questions that are fun regardless of how you’re playing. Any trivia fan will enjoy this one.

More Games:

Tsuro

Keep your rock on the board by playing tiles that keep your rock on the board, while leading your opponents rocks off. This one has some unique strategy elements and gets very intense.

Otrio

Tic-Tac-Toe on steroids. You can play this with 2, 3 or 4 and all of them are a little different. You can get three in a row three different ways and the most interesting element is that you have to rely on your opponents to block others to keep the game alive until one of you can set up an unblock-able victory.

Ticket to Ride

Build a railroad that spans the country. This is one of my favorites and is perfect for a family of 5 (a rarity for board games). This one has a lot going on, but is very simple to play and will be an intense family battle all the way to the end, as each player has hidden objectives that make or break their score.

Forbidden Island

This was my favorite gift this year. I’ve had my eye on this one for a while for its unique cooperative gameplay. You are playing with the other players against the game and it is a race to collect treasures before the island sinks out from under you. The group-think element combined with beautiful game tiles and treasures make for a very enjoyable game experience that is different every time.

Love Letter

I have played this card game more than any other game on this list. It is remarkably simple with just 16 cards and yet it has opportunities for strategic play that combine with a bit of luck to lead to an awesome time. The game is fun for 2, 3 or 4 people, but is probably more fun for 3 or 4 than just 2.

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