Boardgames have evolved a long way from the “roll and move” games you may remember playing as a child with your family. Modern boardgames are diverse in theme, range greatly in time of play, and vary greatly in their strategic depth of play. While the element of chance still exists with more modern boardgames, we’ve found that many of the best modern boardgames don’t hinge on the outcome of just a die roll. The cliche that “there’s a game for everyone” holds true, and for those who haven’t recently looked at what the boardgames industry has to offer we’ve compiled several of our favorite modern boardgames which we absolutely recommend you play with your friends, family, or consider as gifts for loved ones this holiday season.
In Sagrada from Floodgate Games players are creating stained glass windows from colored translucent dice. You’ll take turns drafting dice from a pool to place in your window, and no two dice of the same color number can be placed adjacent to eachother within your masterpiece. Sagrada from Floodgate Games has rules that aren’t too complicated to learn, yet actually playing the game can be quite challenging. If you’re a fan of puzzles like Sudoku, then Sagrada is an absolute must-own for your board games collection.
Who’s the G.O.A.T.?
Who among your friends is the greatest of all time at ballet dancing?
Who’s the best a hoola dancing?
Standing on their tippy toes the longest?
You’ll discover the answers to these pertinent questions and more as you compete with your friends to be the greatest of all time. Who’s the G.O.A.T? from Big G Creative is the best new party game I’ve played with my friends in 2020.
Legends of Andor
Not all modern boardgames require you to compete against your friends and family. In fact, our favorite genre of boardgames are called cooperative boardgames, which allow you and your family to work together. Legends is Andor from Kosmos is currently our favorite fantasy-based cooperative game thanks to its unique story elements with multiple scenarios. If picking this game up for yourself or as a gift for another, we definitely recommend also snagging one of the game’s mini-expansions such as the Star Shield, which introduce more heroes to play with, equipment to use, and villains to defeat. While we don’t own and haven’t played with any of the other expansions, the fact that for those who fall in love with Legends of Andor have the game there’s plenty of extra content add more variety and new surprises to additional play-throughs of the game.
In Meeple Land from Blue Orange Games players are creating their own amusement parks by drafting and placing tiles in their park which symbolize different rides. Each tile has different pathways which you must connect to existing pathways. Each ride will let different types of visitors on board and might have special requirements. You’re all vying to attract the most visitors to your rides who arrive on buses, and it’s up to your ingenuity and a little luck to see who’ll have the most successful theme park.
Fog of Love
Imagine roll playing a love story, going through all the ups and downs of a relationship. Will you compromise your goals and tamper your personal ambitions to share your life or be a narcissist asshole and dump them to peruse your personal dreams? Fog of Love from Hush Hush Projects is a game like no other, and much more an experience. It raises questions and scenarios which might spark interesting debates. Fair warning: If you plan on playing with your significant other we recommend gender swapping roles and not drawing from your personal experiences so that neither of you are hurt in real life.
Oceans from North Star Games is a heavier strategic card game where players are creating an ecosystem of species in oceans. You’ll splice defensive and offensive traits onto your oceanic creatures, feed from a reef of fish, and attack your opponents to gain the most victory points. Oceans may be a little more complicated to learn than other games on this list, however it’s important to note that there’s a free Oceans app on ios and android that’ll teach you how to play the game so you’ll be able to try it out against an AI opponent before deciding if you want to purchase this boardgame for yourself.
Chances are you’ve either played or heard of Jenga. That’s what we’d call a dexterity game, a category of games which uses motor skills. Megacity Oceana from Hub Games has players building structures to be added to a city that you’re all creating together. Different buildings require different rules. Unlike Jenga, where you’re rooting for your opponents to fail, in Megacity Oceana you want to see the unique city that you and your friends build as a group. After each game you’ll have an Instagram-worthy work of art, and you can’t help but be happy with the creation you’ve all made together – win or lose.
World of Tanks Miniatures game
When it comes to miniature war games, it can be confusing because there’s hundreds of options to choose from that aren’t all accessible to players who might just be entering the genre for the first time. Equally as massive is the amount of money one might spend collecting all the available units in games that have already been out for years, if you can even manage to track down all of the expansions without paying an exorbitant amount of money on the secondary market. World of Tanks Miniatures Game from Gale Force Nine is a brand new miniatures system that includes everything you need to play this strategic war game included in the core box and at a fantastic price point. While easy enough for beginners to understand, World of Tanks also presents a wealth of depth for enthusiasts of the genre. For those who truly love the system, you’ll be able to dig deeper with more units and upgrade cards to choose from that will certainly be released in the future. The core set to World of Tanks Miniatures Game also comes with a code to redeem in the popular videogame.
What’s Wrong with Grown-Ups?
It would be a misnomer to call What’s Wrong with Grown-Ups from Authentic Agility Games a “game” when playing it feels more like a conversation starter. With 500 questions to spark thoughtful dialogue between players, this “game” plays out like ice breakers among strangers. It feels as though it should be used in a classroom or for group therapy sessions. For those who’re anti social and shy, What’s Wrong with Grown-Ups? might help you learn more about your friends, family, or first date.
Sushi Roll from Gamewright Games is a light strategic drafting game where you’ll be crafting your perfect sushi meal by taking turns choosing dice with different sushi symbols on them and passing them along a conveyor belt. Different combinations of sushi combo with each other to create tastier platters of food that will award you more victory points at the end of the game. You can’t help getting a craving to eat sushi while playing Sushi Roll, and it’s the perfect game to play while waiting for your dinner to be delivered.
All the previously mentioned games are great, but if none of those themes suit your personal taste, or seem like the perfect gift for your loved one, another strong consideration is a subscription to UnboxBoardom.com. Every month you or your loved one will receive an email allowing you to choose from a curated list of three different boardgames. We’ve personally used UnboxBoardom.com, and the brand has been kind enough to offer my readers free shipping on their first order with the code “David” in checkout. Read our full review of UnboxBoardom.com here.