Great Board Games & What We Can Learn From Them
When you design board games, it helps to play great board games. By analyzing what works and what doesn’t, you can create something special of your own.
Let’s talk about the old classics, the new classics, and do a deep-dive into the inner workings of recent games like Sagrada, Azul, and Terraforming Mars.
Let’s look back at the top-selling board games of all time. Some have aged beautifully, some have aged horribly, but in all cases we can talk about them and learn from them.
There are over 100,000 board games in existence. The vast majority have been forgotten and buried in the sands of time. A handful have stood out head and shoulders among the rest.
The board game market as we know it today did not exist yet. Catan was the first major hobby board game to come into existence.
Santorini is a fantastic board game that came out about two years ago. In its heart, it’s an abstract strategy game that could have come from antiquity.
Let’s talk about Pandemic – one of the greatest games ever made. Despite being more than ten years old now, this new classic can still teach us a lot.
Sagrada is one of my recent favorite board games. It is fundamentally a pretty simple game, but it has a lot of really endearing qualities.
I played Terraforming Mars for the first time recently. It is an absolutely fantastic game and really valuable for learning board game design.
Ticket to Ride came out in 2004. Along with games like Catan and Pandemic, Ticket to Ride helped turn board gaming into the hobby that we love today.
Azul has taken the board game world by storm. Like Sagrada, it’s a gorgeous and approachable puzzle game with emergent complexity.
Twilight Struggle is one of the best board games of all time. It’s overcomplicated yet elegant, frustrating yet beautiful. What can we learn from it?
Root is a wargame about adorable animals. Marquise de Cat rules the woodlands with an iron paw. This sets the stage for really clever strategies.
Twilight Imperium is a masterpiece. But how exactly did this extremely long, extremely complicated, and extremely expensive game succeed in the market?
Dinosaur Island was massively successful. It raised $2M+ on Kickstarter and stayed in the BoardGameGeek hotness for a really long time. How’d they do it?
Everdell is a worker placement, tableau-building fantasy board game. It takes its name from a charming valley in the game’s world.
Paladins of the West Kingdom has been on the Board Game Geek Hotness every time I’ve checked. We are going to dig into what makes this game so successful.
Handcuffed to my manager, I reached into the toilet to find a small key. It wasn’t a typical day at work, you see. I was in an Escape Room.
In 2016, Spirit Island raised $84,176 on Kickstarter. Spirit Island has remained on the Board Game Geek Hotness list off and on for almost three years. Its expansion went onto raise almost $800,000.
In 2018, Quacks of Quedlinburg won the elusive Kennerspiel des Jahres award. What can we learn from this award-winning board game with a silly name?
Ah, Monopoly. One of the oldest board games in the store. A top 10 best-seller with over 1,100 versions. It’s also a terrible board game.
Imhotep is a great game and it has a lot to teach board game designers. Let’s talk about what makes this game tick and how you can learn from it!
Escape Rooms are dangerous right now. Exit Games by Kosmos are the closest we can get to the authentic in-person experience right now. They’re pretty good.