Board games are not just for nerds; they can be fun for the whole family. We picked out the most exciting board games, mainly among the new releases and the tried and true ones, across all categories, ranging from casual games to challenging ones.
Nemesis Carnomorph Board Game Expansion
- Price: $60 to $90, Number of players: 1-5, Playing time: 60-90 min
You might already know the board game Nemesis, which has become a classic in the field of atmospheric games. By 2021, we have seen two major expansions that include new aliens replacing those from the original box. So, in your spaceship, you’ll expect new obstacles and new hallucinations.
Once again, you will find yourself together with other people aboard a spaceship that flies through space, with a simple objective to survive and fulfill your secret mission. The new aliens give a nice refresh to a game that is often even more difficult than before. Aliens are hot on your heels and look forward to tearing you to pieces. Or is this all in your head?
The expansions Psychonauts and Carnomorphs are available separately, and each of them brings only one new race. With Psychonauts, you’ll be confronted with hallucinations and terrifying visions, but they are no less dangerous. The Carnomorphs, however, will be very real and will have a lust for your flesh.
- Price: $60 to $80, Number of players: 1-4, Playing time: 45-90 min
Marvel comics and movies fans will finally get their money’s worth. Publisher Fantasy Flight Games has released a card game called Marvel Champions. You fight with your favorite heroes against nasty villains. Attention – this is an LCG, i.e. a live game, for which more expansion packs will be released. Moreover, a significant expansion, called Rise of the Red Skull, was published earlier this year. It brings five additional interconnected scenarios.
Each player chooses a hero to play at the beginning. They all battle against a common enemy and help each other. Everyone either wins, or nobody wins. The base game includes the following heroes and villains: Black Panther, Iron Man, Captain Marvel, Spider-Man, She-Hulk/Rhino, Klaw and Ultron.
Get everything right, the villain is defeated, and the world is saved, and you win the game. This is a great way for comic book fans to have hours of fun with well-known heroes.
Zombicide 2nd Edition
- Price: $100 to $120, Number of players: 1-6, Playing time: 45-60 min
The Zombicide edition is a proven brand among board game fans. It has undergone many changes over the years and is getting better and better in small steps. Finally, a new Zombicide is released nearly every year, and always in a new setting.
Zombicide puts you in the role of a zombie apocalypse survivor, your goal being to complete the mission. There are more than twenty of them, in most of which you’ll have to try to make your way through the hordes of undead and rescue an abandoned person or find a lost item.
This game is cooperative, has a lot of miniatures, a beautiful game board and, most importantly, fairly simple rules. Do not be fooled by the size of the box. The second edition of Zombicide works very well as a game for casual players who are looking for a not too challenging game that is still fun to play and kills a few dozen zombies on the side. Be prepared to roll a lot of dice, that’s all.
Tainted Grail: The Fall of Avalon
- Price: $90 to $120, Number of players: 1-4, Playing time: 120 min
We now come to the real boxes and the big titles from games for the whole family. Tainted Grail is a spectacular story-based game that takes you to the fantasy world of Avalon. But it’s being devoured by the Divnoth, and you, who are the last remaining heroes, have the mission of saving the world from destruction.
Fall of Avalon’s base box includes a multiplayer campaign. In it, you explore the world, battle monsters and try to survive. The main part of the game is a huge storybook with snippets that gradually reveal the entire dark world.
It is unfriendly, and victory will not be even a little bit easy for you. The story is interesting, and it’s up to you how it develops – the game responds to your in-game decisions. If you cannot find a gaming group to play this campaign with, you can play the whole thing independently.
The only thing stopping you from playing now is that the game is sold out in most shops, awaiting a re-release. The last copies, however, are still to be found in stores.
- Price: $30 to $40, Number of players: 1-4, Playing time: 20-40 min
Project L is a new board game that initially came from Czech developers. The basis of the game is black and white puzzle pieces that you fill with plastic pieces, much like those of Tetris. The aim is to complete as many pieces as possible, earn points, and win that way.
Very simple, this game is perfectly thought out and will entertain both beginners and advanced players. In your turn, you have to plan well in which puzzle you’ll put which piece, if you take a new piece from the supply, or if you feel like doing the next puzzle – you might have several of them in the pipeline.
Pandemic World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King
- Price: $60, Number of players: 1-5, Playing time: 45-60 min
In 2021, Warcraft’s world will merge with Pandemic’s world. Perhaps you know this board game, where you play the role of a scientist trying to stop the spread of diseases.
In this version, you’ll defend not the land, but Azeroth; instead of diseases, you’ll be attacked by the ruthless Arthas. You must fight back together since, like all the games in the series, World of Warcraft is completely cooperative. Still, you’ll also be able to play it alone without teammates.
Its principle is simple: you move around the game board and try to overwhelm the attacking hordes. Simultaneously, you complete the tasks that the game sets for you. Anyone can take on one of the legendary characters from the series.
The board game is thus an interesting combination of a proven game series and a well-known computer template, managing to combine the theme and new game mechanics. It will please both experienced Pandemic players and fans of the computer series. Basic rules are very simple and accessible, making the game suitable for beginners.
Azul: Summer Pavilion
- Price: $45 to $60, Number of players: 2-4, Playing time: 45-60 min
Maybe you know the Azul series, whose third part was released this year. It is an abstract family game where you arrange colored tiles on the board to create coherent colors and gradually build your garden house. Azul: Summer Pavilion has very simple rules and is easy to explain to children, parents and even grandparents.
Each round, take all the tiles of one color or one joker from the selection in the center of the table and place them next to your game board. As soon as all the tiles are removed, try to fill the star board with your tiles. You get points for this.
Look at the end of six rounds to see who has the most points and add up all the bonuses. The game is very simple, but it is also visually funny. It can captivate even those who don’t usually play much. But at the same time, it’s abstract, so you won’t find anything else here except adding stones. So, if you expect a story or more depth, this isn’t for you. Other than that, you’ll be well entertained for a long time with Azul.
Compared to its predecessors, this third part brings new elements and is much more strategic. It is worthwhile even if you already have the previous volumes of the edition at home.
- Price: $65 to $90, Number of players: 3-4, Playing time: 120 min
Who doesn’t know Catan, one of the legends of board games. This year, Albi has decided to bring us an old edition in the form of Starship Troopers. You’ll take command of your nation, build spaceships, upgrade your colonies and try to get bonuses from the alien races scattered across the galaxy. And all of this is based on the rules of classic Catan.
There are individual planets with numbers in the game. Each turn, you roll the dice and receive resources depending on where you have built your colony. Then you can build ships or new bases. You can trade with other players to get what you need in this stage. Then the fun part comes: take a huge spaceship, give it a shake and fly. The objective is to discover and conquer more planets and get victory points as quickly as possible.
The flight itself is a great addition to the game. You often meet someone on the way and draw an event card. You might get ambushed by pirates or help a ship that’s been wrecked get to safe harbor.
It’s such a fun game and different every time, but still very simple. If you enjoy Catan and other strategic family-friendly games but don’t throw you off your game, then this is for you. Starship Troopers is worth buying just for the design and the large spaceships.
- Price: $20 to $30, Number of players: 1-4, Playing time: 30-45 min
From abstract family games, we have already recommended Azul, but also Nova Luna is worth a mention. Though it uses a similar principle, it’s more straightforward in principle, so if you’ve played the author’s previous games, such as Patchwork, you will immediately find your way around. While playing, you will always choose a character from the menu, which you then place on the stacked cards in front of you. The objective is to complete the colored tasks.
Tasks determine which other colors on the piece should be touched. You must plan which piece to take and which to take away from your opponents in advance. But here, too, randomness comes into play, so you need to react to the situation. Furthermore, each piece has a certain value that determines how far you move on the time scale. It will always be the last to make a move, including several times in a row until you pass someone.
Nova Luna is wonderfully simple, it looks very nice, and it goes fast. Rules are perhaps even simpler than the third Azul. However, it does fall into the same category of games – you place chips on colored cards. Still, it is nice family entertainment.
Clash of Cultures: Monumental Edition
- Price: $135, Number of players: 2-4, Playing time: 180-240 min
We will start the selection right away with the biggest game, considering the price and hopefully the size and weight of the box. Clash of Cultures in its Monumental Edition, lives up to its name.
The game will make you the leader of one of the nations that you’ll expand over the map, improving it with technology, implementing religions or political institutions, and trying to eradicate other players and not get knocked down yourself by events and hordes of barbarians.
Clash of Cultures is one of the most complex games for demanding players, but it has everything. The evolution of your civilization, Epic battles, Technological evolution… Everything we expect from great strategy games on the computer. Only here it is a board game that you can play with friends.
With many nations, each with slightly different development and play possibilities and random events, every game is different. Therefore, despite the higher price, it should not be missing in any household of a great board game lover.
- Price: $50 to $60, Number of players: 1-4, Playing time: 30-60 min
Many family games are released every year. Among the most popular games is the Meadow. Players try to collect birds from different continents and create combinations of effects that bring the most points. The newcomer Meadow goes in the same direction.
You find yourself in a forest meadow where various animals live, your objective being to become the best observer possible. Simultaneously, you perform various tasks and try to collect as many points as possible during the adventure.
The game has beautiful illustrations, while it’s not too complex makes it accessible to less experienced players. Still, you need to plan and think about what you’ll do when it’s your turn.