Sometimes you want to sit down with a great game and mull over your turns with friends and family.
And sometimes you want to end up sweating through your cardigan as your loved ones catch you in a lie and bring the hammer down!
Modern board games are fantastic at pushing us (safely) out of our comfort zone and forcing us to think fast. Here are eight of our favorite games that require quick wits, nerves of steel, and the ability to perform under – admittedly mild to moderate – pressure.
It’s all fun and games until the dice get locked. An exceptional design from Queen Games, Escape asks you and your friends to charge into a disintegrating temple and escape with your life. A simple roll-to-move game on the surface, Temple quickly piles on the variables as you play. Rooms are added at a rapid pace, crystals need to be collected, and players can quickly find themselves trapped by ‘cursed’ dice. This makes it essential to react with speed and decisiveness – asking you to make the right call on a second-by-second basis. Horrendous for some but, for those looking for a challenge, pure heaven.
Ever find that working together makes decision-making worse somehow? A now long-standing release from the team at Paizo, the Pathfinder adventure card game condenses a hack-and-slash roleplaying session into one setting as your party level’s up and takes on challenge after challenge. The reliance on cards allows for the creation of unique scenarios that require exceptional co-operation, but also the ability to react to the dragon that has popped out of the deck and now threatens to murder all of you. But when you cobble together the strategy, play, or tactic that saves the day…there’s nothing like it. playability and equal levels of stress – this is the perfect pick for groups looking to push the boundaries of what the hobby can offer…all within 30 minutes.
AKA “Just how much of a bull%$£% artist are you?” A glorious design first published by cryptozoic in 2014, Spyfall provides players with a role, a location, and prompts players to ask each other questions. “Are you getting paid enough”, “Do you think it’s safe here?”, “What do you think is going to happen next”. All these are contextualised by who the answerer is and where they know they are. Except…one of you is a spy. And that means having no awareness of any vital data, forcing them to tap dance and act like they belong. If the group can unanimously agree on the spy and they’re right, they’ve won. But if the spy can figure out where they are, they take the win. Combining fast talking, quick thinking, and rules that can be taught in seconds.