Here at highdefgeek.com we love to explore new technologies and innovations in gaming, from virtual and augmented reality to loot boxes and wearable tech. However, many gaming geeks have been going back to their roots in recent years, and have enjoyed rediscovering old-school board and card games which don’t require fiddling around with an HDMI cable.
From ancient strategy games such as chess or backgammon, to 20th century classics such as Monopoly, to more recent titles, more and more people are rediscovering the magic of gathering around a dining room table with friends and playing a board game. The social aspect of a board game evening is something that even the best MMORPG’s can’t quite match, so this resurgence of classic gaming doesn’t seem to be another hipster fad.
If you are looking for a great board game to try out, then consider some of these titles, which are sure to thrill and entertain in equal measure.
Settlers of Catan
This game was developed by German gamemaster Klaus Teuber as a settler strategy game which combines a satisfyingly deep set of tactics with an easy learning curve. The game was an instant hit, selling 30 million copies, and was perhaps the catalyst for the recent resurgence of board games. What makes the Catan world of games so accessible is that they are also available electronically, so even the most stubborn video gamer doesn’t have to miss out. There is even an increasingly popular Catan tournament circuit, where tens of players compete on specially created maps. With a Hollywood film in the running, it seems that the love for Settlers of Catan is just set to get bigger, so why not try it yourself and see what all the fuss is about?
Axis and Allies
Since it came out way back in 1981, this is a real blast from the past, but I played this last weekend and it still feels as fresh and mind-blowing as the first time I tried it. History buffs will love this turn-based game. It involves two teams, the Axis powers (Germany, Italy and Japan) and the Allies (Britain, France and the US), which leads to a nice balance of friendship and rivalry. The rivalry certainly heats up though, as cities change hands and a random shake of the dice can decide the fate of massive countries like China and Australia. Although the gameplay does take some learning, helpful cheat sheets will get you and your friends up and running in no time. Be aware though, that A&A is as engrossing and involving as the fiercest game of Monopoly, and many games have been known to last all weekend, so this isn’t a casual board game for an evening of pleasant diversion. This is war!
Betrayal at the House on the Hill
If you enjoy creepy horror movies like The Woman in Black, or any Hammer classic, then you are in for a treat with this card game. You join together with friends to first build and then explore a haunted old house, until at one point, one of you will decide to betray and hunt down the rest of you. This thrilling skulduggery leads to a similar treasonous dynamic as the classic Cluedo, but hopefully you won’t lose any friendships while playing it. The fact that the house is set up differently in each game means there is endless replay-ability, with each time you play as fresh as the last. Each game lasts a little over an hour, making Betrayal at the House on the Hill just perfect for a party piece or a train trip with friends.
Have you been bitten by the board game bug? Are there are any modern classics which our readers should know about? Let us know in the comments.