Board Games: Beginning My Collection

Last week I introduced the idea that board games could serve as a great conduit with connecting and playing games with those that might not otherwise delve into the gaming world.  With that in mind, I’ve decided to start getting a couple of good games in my collection.  I’m new to board gaming in general, so I’ve tried to find games that are “needed” in every collection, but also have a wide variety and appeal to the different groups I’d want to play with.

Board Game Collection

In my previous article, I discussed how I’ve tried introducing myself into the space, and what types of games I thought I’d gravitate towards.  Strategy-heavy games will always catch my eye, but I like to balance that with thematic and narrative based games as well.  Just like my video game collection, I want a board game collection to have balance.

One exciting aspect of stepping into the hobby as newcomer is sifting through all the existing knowledge and starting from square one with a completely clean slate.  I haven’t played any of the big pillars of certain genres.  I don’t own much, so I can start with popular and well-reviewed titles as a foundation.  After getting all of that under control, then I can start to dive into brand new stuff.

Board Game Pieces

With all of these considerations, I also plan to chronicle this collecting on this blog.  That also means trying to sort out what a board game review should consist of.  I’ll need to look for some strong reviews to get an idea of what I like, and then integrate that into my own style of review.

So, without further ado, here are some key areas I’ve decided to beginning building from, and some possible titles I think will fit my purposes based on my research so far:

Light / Family / Party Games

A budding collection should have the “filler” or light games that can quickly be picked up, learned, and played without much fuss.  For the most part, these games might not have a whole lot of depth, but with Thanksgiving right around the corner, I want to acquire some of these titles and put them right to work with family.

Hanabi Game

First, I’ve already picked up Hanabi, a co-op card game that involves sequentially matching various fireworks.  The twist is, you play with your hand facing everyone else, and you cannot see what you have.  You then have to play the 1-5 numbered cards in order, by color, to score a max score of 25.  You can give a limited amount of certain hints to the other players to help inform their choices.

This game appealed to me for a few reasons.  First, it had a strategic element in the incomplete information and having to choose how to navigate playing cards or giving hints.  Second, it is co-op, which is increasingly important in my strategy of reeling in non-gamers into these games.  Lastly, it won the Spiel des Jahres, the largely agreed top award in the board game industry.  If it won this award, its gotta at least be interesting right?

Sushi Go! Game

Next, I also just picked up Sushi Go! on somewhat of a whim.  The game was only $8, and I had read in various places that its a great light game to play with family.  It’s a card drafting game where players take one card and pass to the left, trying to assemble various sushi combos to have the most points.  It looks incredibly easy to pick and play, and while competitive, still seems to light-hearted and not too stressful.

Hopefully I’ll be getting in some good reps on both of these games to start doing some reviews.  I think they will be good first entries as I try to hone what a board game review should include.

Strategy / Management

I know this is not a well defined area to lump board games in, but I am still learning the various subgenres.  With that disclaimer, I consider these games to possibly be slightly abstract, or at least focus on the mechanics of the gameplay over the theme, story, or progression.

Pandemic Legacy Season 1 Full Game

I’ve gone straight to the top of Board Game Geek and acquired Pandemic Legacy Season 1.  As I stated in my previous article, the original base Pandemic game is one that spurred me to explore board games, and the game has received nothing but praise from nearly all corners of the internet.

I love the original Pandemic, and so do several others that I’ve played with.  What better way to enhance that experience then by adding some connected games, with the map, players, and pieces dynamically changing between full games?  The continuity and “legacy” aspect dips a bit into the thematic category, but this is primarily a strategy game.

Pandemic Legacy Season 1 Screenshot of Board

In addition, the game is ranked #1 overall on Board Game Geek.  Who can resist getting what everyone considers to be the best game overall?  It’s like getting into video games with no knowledge, and then buying Super Mario 64 for your first game.  I’m a bit envious at that thought.

Thematic / Narrative

Again, this title is not exactly a well defined formal board game genre, but in my own opinion, I define this bucket as games that focus less on the abstract strategy, and lean less on the fluidity of the mechanics but instead focus energy on telling a story or weaving a narrative throughout the game.  The best of these use the mechanics themselves to evoke and move the theme forward.

In my research, I’ve found these types of games to be slightly heavier or, at least, a bit less accessible for the more casual gamers in my potential player pool.  Therefore, I think my strategy here will be to get some slightly more introductory titles, before moving on to the bigger heavy hitters.

Mice and Mystics Full Game

With that said, I think I am going to try and get Mice And Mystics at a good price.  The game is a “dungeon crawler” of sorts, but is less Dungeons and Dragons and more Redwall.  Redwall is a familiar sight to many, which will hopefully lessen any impact when miniatures and grid-based pieces hit the table.

I’ve heard that this game is solid, but not exactly the pinnacle of the thematic based games.  Like I said, I view this as offset by its increased accessibility.  Once I can establish that these games do not have to be intimidating, I can hopefully transition others into more in-depth games like Gloomhaven or Mansions of Madness.

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective Full Game

I’ve also picked up Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective which I think will be perfect for my significant other and I.  Its a board game without a board, which is odd, but involves trawling through a newspaper and various clues to try and uncover a total of 10 cases.  It’s billed as a thinker, which I think meshes perfectly with the Sherlock theme.  And again, no real hard mechanics, but a familiar, accessible face in Sherlock Holmes.

Conclusion

So, that’s my plan all laid out.  I’ve already made some strategic purchases, so hopefully playing through those titles will help inform my next purchases.

TIME Stories Full Game

I’m sure some will be curious as to what I plan beyond this first wave of acquisitions.  Currently, I’ve taken hard looks at T.I.M.E Stories for the next thematic title, Jaipur as the next easy-going light game, and finally YINSH as a strategy game.

If you have any thoughts or suggestions, please comment below!  I could definitely use some help in figuring this whole thing out, especially with potential Black Friday deals available (and where to find these deals would also be helpful!).

29 thoughts on “Board Games: Beginning My Collection

  1. Pingback: Sunshine Blogger Award – The Codex: Online

  2. You’ve got some solid starting games there!

    A few recommendations from myself: check out Santorini for an awesome 2-player game that looks beautiful and is very easy to learn.

    For thematic you could also splash a bit of extra cash to pick up Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition which can also be played solo. It involves a fair bit of luck and dice chucking but the atmosphere is stellar.

    Karuba is really cool if you like more puzzle style stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the suggestions! I’ve actually looked at both Santorini and Mansions of Madness for the reasons you mentioned. I know MoM is expensive but the theme looks amazing. Will definitely check both out soon.

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  3. I would highly recommend Skull as a simple to learn bluffing game with surprising depth. It has been a riot every time it hits the table with friends and family – including my granddad! I’m sure you could play it with pretty much anyone!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think you should consider social strategy/bluffing games, like Resistance or Secret Hitler. Those are great if you have a large enough group of people. Always a blast with my group if we can get enough people together.
    If you want to go more on the casual side of the genre, there’s stuff like Bang! as well.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve actually been keeping an eye out for both of those. I’ve started to gravitate to heavier games personally, but I am also trying to get a cache of large group/more casual games for those groups of friends that aren’t interested in learning Spirit Island as their first game!

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      • One of the big reasons I really like Resistance and Secret Hitler is that more serious gamers can sit and have long debates/discussions between each turn. It’s great and allows for some fantastic misdirection.

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  5. Cool Read! Yeah I don’t too much about old board games, but I went to the store a few years back and was looking for a board game called “Hotels” which is a lot like Monopoly. I played this game when I was a kid. Come to find out it was only released for 1 year and sells for $150 or more on eBay now.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Great variety of games!

    One factor that I always take into account it setup time.
    If a game takes 45+ minutes just to set up, sometimes
    it takes the fun out of the process. A game can be
    deep and complex, but it should be easy to get started,
    especially when time is limited! The holidays are a
    great time to enjoy some good board game adventures.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I definitely agree — as I have sifted through which games to pick up I’ve become increasingly aware of setup time. Especially if it’s going to be with family etc where the focus isn’t necessarily a game night situation.

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  7. Pingback: My 2017 Gaming X-Mas Wishlist | Particlebit

  8. This seems like an interesting idea, reviewing board games as well as computer games. I have not played any of the games suggested in the article, I remember enjoying Articulate, Cluedo, Atmosphere, the Game of Life and Seven Kingdoms. The games suggested seem interesting and I like the different categories. The Sherlock Holmes game seems very strange.
    How do board games form a narrative? What hints are allowed in the Hannabi game? How does the Sherlock game work? Do you just have to work out the clues from the material like a puzzle?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Board games can build a mission to mission thematic story (if done right). Sherlock is like a kinda board game, where you follow clues in several booklets to compare against Sherlock deductions.

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  9. Solid start!

    I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like Ticket to Ride as a nice gateway game.

    Pandemic Legacy S1 is on my Christmas list, so I’m really looking forward to getting that. The only problem I’ve had with Legacy games is that it can be tough to get your group together consistently (that might not be a problem for you though).

    I’m still waiting on Gloomhaven and hope it comes before Christmas….

    I really enjoyed T.I.M.E Stories, but it certainly splits opinions.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Do you think TIME Stories will still work with just two players playing two characters each? I’ve heard differing opinions.

      Gloomhaven looks awesome – I’m hoping one day I can get it at retail or try it out at my local store first.

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  10. This is a good start to what will be great collection!

    I’m jealous, a lot of those games are one and done, or require the same amount of people over multiple plays. My group is waaay to flaky for me to count on them for that haha.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yea, I’m trying to get a good blend of types of games, and I am finding myself now somewhat shying away from any games that require a consistent 4 players to get through the whole thing and more towards those that 2 can work through. Also need to get some good 1v1 games I think.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Pandemic Legacy is a great experience!

    … I also have probably far too many recommendations 😛

    If you like co-op games, I’d also recommend flash point. It’s a firefighting game, the mechanics are pretty straight forward, but different player roles keep it interesting.

    Also on the co-op side of things I recommend space alert. It’s a bit more complicated, AND is played to a soundtrack so is “real time”. It’s a light hearted game about space combat where you first plan what you’re doing… And then after the chaos of play work out if it actually worked out not.

    If you like ‘worker placement’, I’d recommend Manhattan Project. The retro art style is very cute. Essentially you have to construct better nuclear weapons than your opponent… My only warning would be that the rule booklet is pretty terribly written, making it hard to get to grips with (although actually it’s not too complicated really)

    Oh oh oh… Burgle Bros is also great co-op fun!

    … *Sigh*… I could keep recommending all day 😛

    Liked by 3 people

    • These recommendations are helpful! About Burgle Bros — I haven’t seen an Amazon listing nor have I seen it locally. Was it a Kickstarter only? Flash Point looks right up my alley so it will definitely be added to be my queue of purchases. Space Alert also looks promising, esp the real time aspect. So many to collect!

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  12. I always see Hanabi at my local game shop and wonder if it’s any good! I will have to give it a try now. I only have a small board game collection but it’s definitely growing, I love reading about which ones are good.

    Liked by 1 person

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