With so many board games out there, how does one choose what to play next? For example, how do you choose the best strategy board games? One way is to narrow down the choices by first selecting a category and then seeing what piques your interest from there.
6 Categories of Board Games
We start out with Cooperative Games, and make our way to the Classics. Playing board games is a huge passion of mine because these games create an incredible experience for you and your friends, family, and fellow gamers. The Type of Board Game you play will depend on many variables, the group, the dynamic you want to foster, competitive vs. cooperative, and the general experience.
We created this so that you can see how board games are commonly broken down into categories with a few of our favorites listed underneath as a sample in case you are looking for a new game to play. Check out the types of games out there and see if any catch your eye.
Cooperative games are where everyone playing shares the same goal and wins as a group once that goal is achieved. The individual does not play for themselves nor compete against other players at the table to win.
Depending on your mood, cooperative games can be some of the most fun games to play as the excitement of playing together as a group heightens the fun, and the design and themes of many Cooperatives Games are super good these days.
For example, Pandemic is a great social experience as the players who are disease fighting specialists try to contain and cure an outbreak all over the world. Players really have to work together to be tactical and plan their moves accordingly.
Another good option could be Tiny Epic Zombie from Gamelyn Games where you and other players must meet 3 Objectives in the middle of the mall in the midst of a Zombie Outbreak. A fun feature of Tiny Epic Zombies is there are 5 game modes so should you want to play alone or make it more competitive, those are all options.
For a few other options, see our Best Cooperative Games list.
Social deduction games haven't been as popular with gamers to date, however, there is a loyal base for some games like Werewolf or Resistance. In most social deduction games, the board or components are a minor part of the game.
In most social deduction games, the goal is to figure out where other players stand, e.g. what 'side' they are on, and then attempt to maneuver your way to winning in light of certain 'win conditions.' For example, in Resistance, if you continue to fail missions because you can't figure out who the Spies are in the game, you will ultimately lose.
As a gamer, you either love or hate social deduction. I would say if you like to argue and debate, are okay with ruffling feathers, and are into social cues or using logic, give with Resistance, Secret Hitler, or Werewolf if you have 6 or more players a try.
Party games are exactly what they sound like. Games for a party! These are the types of games you want to play with a group, and a rowdy or boisterous group at that. No one is saying you have to be an extrovert but the element of party games that differentiates itself from other games in some regard is that you do on some level have to put yourself out there. Most party games involve drawing, acting, or saying funny and silly things in front of the group and are on the lighter side. These are the most social type of game out there as part of the game is knowing and being liked by the other players and appealing to everyone's quirks and sense of humor.
An easy and safe game to start with is Apples 2 Apples or Cards Against Humanity for the adults!
This is the most complex category to define as some gamers define Strategy and Euro games differently. This is partly because Euro games are often designed in Europe, thus how the term was coined.
Many of these games are 'heavier' and require an average of 1.5 - 2 hours of game play. Finally, within Strategy and Euro games, there are various other labels that accurately describe what type of game it is. Examples include: worker placement, resource building, tile placement, dice rolling, drafting cards, area control, and so on and so forth.
There are so many however 3 of the most popular and prevalent for players of all skill levels are Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, and Splendor.
Family games aren't necessarily a genre of their own, however, there are many board games out there that appeal to the Family sense and style of play. A game that can easily be played after dinner, or one that has some educational or skill enhancing game could be a good game for the family. Or, a fun board game that can be played over and over, and is the opposite of NSFW, that appeals to many personalities is one I might place in the Family Games Category. This is not to say that these games aren't also a Classic Game or a Strategy Game, but one that is well-rounded and versatile that suits all players at the same time is a good option for a Family Board Game.
There are so many excellent board games for families these days. A few recent additions from this year are Kingdomino, Reef, and an all-time goodie, Dixit.
Classic Games is another category that can be loosely defined. Who is to say what counts as a classic game? Is Monopoly a classic game? What about Ticket to Ride? I have seen classic games described as games from the 80's and also as games that many kids encounter and play at some point or another growing up. I have chosen to take the latter route and define classic games as a more traditional game that most people have played at some point in their lives.
My list includes Checkers, Chess, Chinese Checkers, Othello, Dominoes and Backgammon. I could probably throw Battleship and Guess Who? on there as well.
Tiny Epic Zombie
Betrayal at House on Haunted Hill
Don't Mess with Cthulhu
Cards Against Humanity
What Do You Meme
Wits & Wagers
Settlers of Catan
Ticket to Ride
Castles of Burgundy
When I Dream
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