5 Games to Get Your Friends and Family Started on Board Games
Do you have a deep love for tabletop games, but have family and friends who are resistant to board game night? Do they balk at the idea of learning rules that are more complex than Candyland? Do they fear they will be trapped in a never ending spiral of anger like their experiences with Monopoly? Have no fear! This list contains five games to introduce your friends and family to. All these games have simple rules, can be played in less than 45 minutes, and won’t bore you (the experienced gamer) to death.
5. Five Crowns
Image credit: Set Enterprises Inc.
Five Crowns is a card game produced by SET Enterprises. It is basically 3 decks of cards with all of the aces and twos removed. This game is a great way to entice fam/friends that may be more inclined towards card games. The rules are very simple. Deal cards, and make books (same type and value card, but can be different colors) or sets (each card is the same color and advances in value order). Match up all the cards before everyone else and repeat for 11 rounds. The goal is to have the least amount of points.
This game is great for the hesitant family and friends. It can be explained in less than five minutes, and once everyone understands the rules it doesn’t require much strategic thinking. Five Crowns plays quickly, is easy to learn, and once everyone has the hang of it your group can carry on a conversation while playing.
4. Tsuro: The Game of the Path
Image credit: Calliope Games
Tsuro is produced by Calliope Games. The game includes a game board, tiles with roads on them, and a stone marker for each player. You flip over tiles and create paths for your marker to follow. The goal is to try to keep your marker from going off the game board. The rules are simple, it is simple to play, and only requires a little bit of strategy. The art on this game is gorgeous. It is so eye-catching theoretically a person could set this game on the table and wait for someone to ask about it. Since it can be explained in less than 5 minutes it will be easy get interest in playing the game. It only takes once and they will be hooked, or at the very least should have more interest in what other types of games exist in this “terrifying” new world of board games. You can always reassure your family that someone, somewhere, is still playing Candyland, they are 6 years old which is the appropriate age for Candyland.
Image credit: Amazon
Kingdomino is produced by Blue Orange Games. The game has wood dominoes that have a value number on the back and scenery on the front. The box includes castles and king meeples in four colors. The goal of the game is to build a 5X5 grid around your castle. Extra points are given if you can keep your castle in the center. This game is very easy to learn and quick to play. If your family and friends have played dominoes before this will be an easy next step. The artwork is adorable and the rules are pretty basic. Match the terrain sides of the dominoes to one another. At least one side needs to match. The restriction of the 5X5 grid and keeping your castle in the center keeps this game entertaining for all levels of players.
Image credit: Z-Man Games
Carcassonne is produced by Z-Man Games. This series has been around for a long time, but it is surprising how many people have not discovered it yet. In this game each player is given different color meeples which work as place markers for scoring. On each person’s turn they flip over a tile from the face-down stack and add it to the game board. Tiles must be added to the game board in a way that makes logical sense. The point is to build and claim monasteries, cities, and roads. The box says the game is for ages 8 and up, but I would imagine that children slightly younger than 8 could easily learn this. Your family and friends will be able to chat while you construct a very odd landscape. Part of the fun of this game is seeing how bizarrely shaped many of the cities become. This game also offers a lot of replayability as the box now includes 2 mini expansions and additional expansions are available as your family/friends become Carcassonne pros. This game exercises your spatial skills. In order to entice a new gaming group to try this game emphasize how easy it is to learn to play and how different it is from traditional board games.
Image credit: CGE
Codenames is produced by Czech Games Edition. Codenames is a word game that consists of cards with words on them are placed on the table and a key card is handed out to the teams. The cards represent codenames for undercover spies. The goal is to find and warn your team’s spies that their cover has been blown before the other team figures out theirs. Clues can only be given as one word and one number at a time. So the clue giver has to think of a way that various words, that have nothing to do with each other, could possibly go together. Not a great game to have a conversation during, but it is a great ice breaker. This game is fantastic for your friends and family that love crossword puzzles, Scrabble, word searches, or film Noir.
Five Crowns, Tsuro, King Domino, Carcassonne, and Codenames are widely available and not too hard on your wallet. You should be able to find these titles at your FLGS (friendly local gaming store). This is our list of easy to teach, easy to play games that work great for getting your family started on their way to board game enlightenment. What games do you recommend to get people started? Let us know in the comments.