Board games: challenging, innovative, and sometimes hard as &^%$
While learning complex rules or edge-case heavy manuals can be tough, the rewards are often worth it. Whether you’re looking for incredible replayability or something that’s a little extra-special. these are games that will stay on your shelf until it collapses.
So, here are eight of our favorite picks that offer incredible rewards…once you put the work in. Starting with-
Part of Knizia’s ‘Tile Laying Trilogy’, Samurai may lack the intimidation factor of the much-loved Tigris & Euphrates, but it’s not to be underestimated. A finely polished diamond, Samurai is a game of area and hand management as you aim to curry favour with the factions that make up your land. This involves placing your hexes in secret and out-thinking and manoeuvring your opponents before they can do the same to you. While the rules are simple, the tricks and traps waiting from your human opponents are far from straightforward. A game of bluffs, double-bluffs, and reading the map as each game extends and twists in a different way. Add in the fact that the game’s scoring is a stress fest in itself (you want the most of each ‘caste’ piece, with ties being managed by the highest value of each) and you’re in for a game that educates you with every play.a game that educates you with every play.
Encountering a game that has a ‘training wheels’ mode is a red flag for some. Discovering that a game has a 2500 year old meta is another. Played on grids of variable size, Go is a game of area control, aggression, and making your opponent look like a fool. Teachable in ten minutes, the game asks players to encircle their opponent’s pieces and claim territory – setting a stone each turn in an attempt to ensnare your opponent. Play is highly instinctual and disciplined, with players requiring advance planning to prevent being dismantled and planning moves ahead of moves with brain-burning frequency. Throw in the fact that it’s absolutely beautiful to look at when on your gaming table, and you’ve got something that’ll not only stay in your collection but your family for years to come.
Ok – so let us get this straight. This is a game that is designed to have low complexity, has one action per turn, and a finite number of cards…and we’re still struggling to win with regularity? Do…do we love Twilight Struggle? Set during the height of the Cold War, the game replicates the push and pull of soft power politics and the hard threat of nuclear war as you attempt to outmanoeuvre your opponent. Each turn, players play a card from their hand and attempt to spread their influence across the globe – all while risking helping their opponent while feathering their own nest. Quick, clean, and agonising to play the game is as close to a full replica of geopolitics as possible with cardboard. Give it a go today and teach those capitalist pigs/socialist monsters who really lost the Cold War.