So, you’re thinking of buying a board game perhaps for a spouse, a friend or family. The typical go to point is Monopoly.
I don’t really like Monopoly. It was invented last century. Let that sink in for a while. A whole century!
Its decisions are also sterile; you really don’t get to make any — its all dependent upon a roll and move mechanic that is pretty archaic.
Further, everyone plays the rules wrong. There is no free parking money pot, properties are bought from the get-go; and auctions/trading are meant to be encouraged.
The biggest problem I have is, it takes forever and I don’t feel like its fun or engaging or rewarding to play.
Since then there has been a revolution in board games from Germany and elsewhere typically called Euro Games; these games are more fun, typically don’t have player elimination, everyone is involved and strategy/well-laid out plans are rewarded.
I’ve heard from someone that board games ruins the entrepreneurial spirit. I disagree. If you have the right kind of game, one that is rewards strategy, and reduces luck and promotes core skills like maths, social connectivity and can be fun.
Having played a number of euro board games over the past 3-4 years here’s a few games I would recommend (In no particular order).
Yes; it was invented last century and can be quite dry and abstract; but it beats Monopoly any day of the week.
Its a stock holding game, where you invest or expand hotels that can merge with other hotels and reap dividends to those who have invested in to them.
The game is perfect for those tech startups whom are looking to be “acquired”; as it perfectly reiterates the mantra of building a small company, build its value and sell it!
I would recommend the 1990 version; not the crappy current cardboard version. Or the earlier 1960/1970 versions as these have a unique look.
Link: Acquire (Amazon)
Currently my favorite game right now. Players are investors in Colonial Africa; but don’t let the theme scare you, its actually got a few really good mechanics – one of which is the way it uses cards into discard piles.
Its a stock holding game, where you are trying to push up the price of the various companies you have invested in, but also offers other routes including moving up a diamond track and creative book-keeping; both of which give you points (cash) at the end of the game.
Link: Mombasa (Amazon)
Become a “Monty Burns” industrialist building power plant factories on the map representing various locations such as Germany or the United States (other expansion maps do exist) where you need finances to win power plants at an auction, then buy its raw materials (such as nuclear, coal and oil) in a very interesting supply and demand system — where goods can be cheaper if they are plentiful, or alternatively can be more expensive the higher the good costs are.
Its not a race for money (although that certainly helps), but a race to build a number of power plants that can successfully power a number of cities.
Link: Power Grid (Amazon)
Players operate ships laden with goods through the famous Panama canal from one side to the other, timing their movements carefully and ensuring that they do not leave their goods in the warehouse or leave the ship in areas with big taxes. Timed movements can push out other ships.
It also has a simplified 1 dimensional stock market, and players can invest in rival player’s companies.
In addition, players can add their goods onto rival goods. The reason you’d do this is because if you are invested in the company it can pay off for you too as its value goes up.
Link: Panamax (Amazon)
All these games are a good start for economic board games.