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#Ten board games you should play

in half as many minutes

1. Ascension

Ascension

  • Deckbuilding game designed by a pro Magic the Gathering player
  • 15-20 min to play, 2-4 player game
  • Deckbuilding means you start with a few cards and use them to buy more and more
  • You draw from the same pool of cards as your opponent and you try to get cards that work together to score a lot of points by defeating monsters
  • Cards of the same color work together, there's a color that helps you go through your deck faster, one that deals damage, one that gets more powerful the more of that color you play, etc.
  • It's on iOS, get it there, play it on the subway

2. A Few Acres of Snow

A Few Acres of Snow A Few Acres of Snow

  • BEAUTIFUL deckbuilding game
  • Takes about 1-2 hrs, 2 player game
  • You play the two factions in the French and Indian war (France and Britain), fighting over what's now New England and eastern Canada
  • Also deckbuilding: it's very similar to Dominion, but with territory and combat
  • You get cards by capturing territory or drafting them from "back home"
  • It's a little asymmetrical in strategy, the British are better at capturing territory, fortifying and generating wealth, but the French are better at raiding the British and gain money through fur trading

3. Android: Netrunner

Netrunner Netrunner Netrunner

  • This is a lot asymmetrical
  • Richard Garfield (who designed Magic the Gathering)
  • basically Neuromancer: The Card Game
  • Plays in about 1hr, 2 player game
  • One player is an evil corporation attempting to advance a multitude of nefarious agendas, the other player is a hacker attempting to break through their firewall, infect their server with viruses and steal those agendas
  • Corps: play as gene technology company, media network, robotics company, investment bankers
  • Hackers: play as the anarchist "Anonymous" type people, open source movement, cybercriminals

4. King of Tokyo

King of Tokyo King of Tokyo

  • Also Richard Garfield
  • 15-20 minute games, 2-6 players (better with 3-4)
  • Play as Kaiju destroying Tokyo
  • Press your luck game, kind of like yahtzee
  • Parent and kid friendly, basically do 3 things: fight other monsters, heal yourself or upgrade your character
  • There's a bunch of superpowers, still haven’t seen all the cards

5. Eclipse

Eclipse Eclipse Eclipse

  • 4X game - explore, expand, exploit, exterminate
  • Settlers of Catan but in space
  • Compresses Twilight Imperium into something you play in a couple hours (45 minutes / player), 2-6 players.
  • Design space ships, fight aliens, explore the universe, conquer planets
  • Game starts out with the players not connected by the map, you place more hexagons as you explore the galaxy
  • Great user interface design, as you place stuff on the board, your new stats are revealed.
  • On iPad!

6. Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico

  • #4 on BGG, you think Catan is good, this is THE eurogame
  • Resource management game
  • 1hr, 3-5 players
  • Play as settlers and builders of the new colony Puerto Rico
  • Never had this much fun pretending to grow coffee and tobacco and send it back to Europe
  • One person chooses an action (build, grow, sell), everyone takes that action but the person who chose it gets a bonus
  • Actions not chosen are incentivized the next round
  • On iPad

7. Race for the Galaxy

rftg

  • Personal favorite, my girlfriend and I play this a ton
  • 30-45min, 2-5 players, so you can either watch HBO or play this game
  • Very similar to Puerto Rico, you pick roles and then everyone does the action but you get the bonus
  • Build a little engine that creates victory points: colonize planets that produce resources, colonize planets that use them, build upgrades that enhance your engine
  • Cards do what they say, but you also use them as "money", and they're all great so you have to sacrifice one to build another
  • Expansion where you can invade other people's planets
  • Expansion that adds a "dungeon exploration" component that gives you upgrades

8. Cyclades

Cyclades

  • 1hr, 2-5 players (best with 3+)
  • Wargame where you bid on different greek gods favor to take actions during your turn.
  • If you want to invade someone you need to win the auction to buy Ares this round
  • Interesting unit placement tactics, you can invade islands connected by a line of ships (need Poseidon to do that)
  • Summon mythological creatures that help you or hinder your opponent (let loose the Kraken!)

9. Kemet

Kemet Kemet Kemet

  • 1hr, 2-5 players (best with 3+)
  • Wargame that's very similar to Cyclades, but focuses less on unit placement and more on ass kicking
  • You pray and sacrifice minions to the gods at night
  • Use the prayer power to fight during the day
  • Build pyramids and use them to buy special powers for your army of which there are a ton
  • Summon mythological creatures, but this time they are giant stag beetles and mummies
  • Accelerates out of hand pretty quickly

10. Quantum

Quantum Quantum

  • 30 minutes, 2-4 players
  • Available in North America in 2 weeks!
  • Tactical space combat/area control game with modular board
  • Each die is a spaceship and the number on the die determines it's speed but also it's attack power. So a battleship (1) moves only one square but is hard to defeat but a scout (6)
  • Each ship has a unique special power, for example you can take a 6 and re-roll it to change it to a random ship type after you've moved it into position

Hon. Mention: Any Vlaada Chvatil game

I haven't played any of these yet, but the man is unstoppable.

Galaxy Trucker (#68 on BGG) - you build a ship out of ship parts in real time (think Bananagrams), then you fly it meteor showers, pirate territory, and active warzones and hopefully you can deliver your cargo with your ship intact

Space Alert (#59 on BGG) - co-op team survival game that happens in real time where you crew a ship and yell things at eachother like in Star Trek

Mage Knight (#9 on BGG) - which is like a deckbuilding, exploration, tactical, competitive rpg that costs like 90 dollars and the only way to learn it is to have someone who’s already play it teach you. yes!

Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization (#2 on BGG) - Sid Meier's Civilization, but a card game? Haven't played it but it's the second most favorite game on BGG so...

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