Been reading this magazine on and off. Quite a good read and pretty easy to read as a novice who is curious about this type of gaming. I usually find this world impenetrable but can follow the articles fine.
I have been feeling the urge to try some tabletop games but not been sure where to start. Root and Ticket To Ride look good. Not sure about the Star Trek Traxx games. Low cost and have good reviews but I'm not keen on the art style.
I've been pretty deep into the hobby for 6 or so years, but I've always had some hobbyist games in my collection beyond your Monopoly, Cluedo and Risk.
According to www.boardgamegeek.com, my collection currently sits at 145 games and I tend to keep up with what are considered modern classics, the must haves and any current trends.
The main gateway games these days are- Ticket To Ride (Although I'd personally go with Ticket To Ride Europe - it has an extra mechanic and a different Europe map) - There is surprising amount of game here. Whilst some people think it's just a case of drawing cards, noting how many routes your opponent has and what they may be going for to block them whilst also trying to complete your own, it becomes quite strategic. There are also additional map packs suited for different player counts.
Pandemic - A great cooperative game. The luck of the draw can ruin your day, but ultimately it's not very long so you can just reset and try again. You can scale the difficulty as you get more used to the games systems or buy one of the expansions... Or even Pandemic Legacy Season 1 / 2 (each play of the game modifies the game for future plays as the story unfolds, through stickers or adding and even destroying cards etc. - although you need a consistent group to play through 12-24 games of each).
Carcassonne - There are many different Carcassonne versions available. The base game has several expansions, but if you want to limit yourself to a single stand alone box, go with one of the others, such as Carcassonne: Star Wars or one of the Carcassonne Round the World games.
The Settlers of Catan used to be part of the must have gateway games, but I feel it's dated a lot worse than the others.
The Resistance: Avalon is typically the start for social deduction games, but be careful of losing friends as you accuse them of being a spy, and not everyone enjoys lying to each other. It also has a fairly narrow group size sweetspot at 5-7.
As for Root. It does look great, however, it is fairly involved and really to get the most out of it, you need a consistent group who are all looking to explore the possibilities of each faction.
Can I recommend YouTube channels- www.youtube.com/user/NoPunIncluded Shut Up and Sit Down - www.youtube.com/channel/UCyRhIGDUKdIOw07Pd8pHxCw (And their site www.shutupandsitdown.com/, they also have a decent podcast on Soundcloud) www.youtube.com/user/thedicetower is pretty big, I personally don't always agree with Tom Vasel's ratings, but they're good game overviews. www.youtube.com/user/Rahdo is impossibly enthusiastic about the games he features (he openly admits not featuring games he dislikes unless he states it's a paid promotion for a Kickstarter - and then he won't feature a final thoughts video), but he does good game overviews of actual play for 2 players. He only ever plays 2 player, so if you're looking for more, bear that in mind watching his videos.
The are others, but I find them largely intolerable or just shills.
It is indeed a slippery slope of a hobby for many. Fortunately I know Ralph is wise with his money and I think it's much better to have a collection of 10 games that you play a lot, than the route that I've taken of many games I rarely play. Although having said that, most of my gaming time has been taken up with Gloomhaven for the past 18 months.
As for specific recommendations - it's tough to say really. How many people do you think you'll be playing with? How big is the space you are able to play in? Do you want big thematic experiences (affectionately termed "Ameritrash") or more thinky strategic/planning puzzles ("euros")? How long do you want the games to last? How do you feel about dice (after 2 hours, do you want a win to be determined by the flip of a coin?)
www.boardgamegeek.com has many. many threads of people asking for recommendations as they start in the hobby. It can be quite daunting as you just don't know what to try. Fortunately, most cities have some kind of weekly/monthly groups you can attend, be it in a friendly local game store (FLGS), board game cafe or pub. Most are welcoming and will allow you to rock up and try out different games whilst you try to figure out what you enjoy.
edit: One game that might be worth checking out is Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game. It's not really a deckbuilding game like Magic: The Gathering is though- it's more that you start with a simple pool of cards and gradually your pool has more powerful cards added/weaker ones removed as the game progresses. There are many expansions, or indeed if Marvel isn't your thing, there's Legendary Encounters: Alien, Legendary Encounters: Predator, Legendary Encounters: Firefly, Legendary: Buffy and Legendary Encounters: X-Files.
And there's a Star Trek dexterity game due for release later this year - Star Trek: Conflick in the Neutral Zone. few details available yet though!
I tend to find card games very confusing so looking for board games for up to 4 players where I can either scheme to destroy others utterly or team up to defeat some kind of common enemy. Something with an element of hunour/fun. Game times of up to an hour and something that can be easily picked up without much gaming prior experience. Not looking to get into miniatures and the likes of Magic: The Gathering and Warhammer don't appeal.
Last Edit: Jun 24, 2019 11:21:50 GMT by The Doctor
In that case, can I recommend King of Tokyo. Think Yahtzee with giant monsters attacking Tokyo.
It has a wide player count at 3-6 and is luck mitigated die rolling fun to see who is the greatest monster, either by killing your opponents or through earning 20 victory points (VP, a term you'd better get used to).
Whilst it is designed by Richard Garfield (Magic: The Gathering), it is very far removed from it. Essentially you have 6 dice which you can roll 3 times on your turn. Each time you roll, you choose to hold back any of those that you rolled. The dice have on them a claw, heart, lightning bolt, 1, 2, 3.
At the end of your 3 rolls, you count up all the symbols -
Claws - Do the number of dice showing a claw worth of damage to the monster in Tokyo, or all other monsters if you are in Tokyo yourself Hearts - Heal damage to yourself for the number of hearts shown lightning bolt - collect energy cubes (which you can then buy upgrades with at the end of your turn) 1 - If you have at least 1, you get 1 VP 2 - If you have at least 2, you get 2 VP 3 - If you have at least 3, you get 3 VP
Now you'll be asking WHAT IS TOKYO AND HOW DO I GET THERE? Well, if you used Claws to attack someone in Tokyo, that player then gets a choice to leave Tokyo and you are forced in (at the end of the first turn, the first player must enter Tokyo), meaning that you are now the target for EVERYONE ELSE! Survive in Tokyo for a full round and get a bonus! Oh - but you can't use hearts to heal in Tokyo, so whilst there you're just trying to do as much damage as possible and getting out before you're killed.
The only problems are that it is based on dice rolling, but the 3 rolls mitigates that and more importantly it has player elimination... So if someone is knocked out half way through, they're sat there twiddling their thumbs for the rest of the game. But as people get eliminated, the Tokyo full round survival bonus ramps up so the game speeds up to the end, but it is something to consider if someone goes out early. (As a side note - most modern board game designs try hard to eliminate player elimination.)
It has a sibling - King of New York, but this has some extra stuff to confuse the game, so make sure you get the right one.
You may also want to get the expansion Power Up, but try the base game first.
But see if you can find some gameplay videos first, there should be plenty, it's a pretty popular game.
I played Root the weekend before last with a couple of colleagues from work (we have a semi-regular boardgames group at my workplace), and it was a lot of fun. There are four factions in the base game, all of whom play quite differently and are aiming at winning in very different ways - whilst thwarting each others victory conditions.
I quite like Downforce as well - a formula one-esque racing game which has a surprising amount of strategy to it for a mechanically very simple game. It uses a deck of cards, but it isn't a card-game per se, you just use the cards to determine how many spaces each car will move on your turn. The strategy comes from choosing how you move each players car, and which card you play (because each card gives each car a different number of spaces of movement). It can get quite competitive, and even if you aren't winning it can be fun to mess with the leading players in terms of what you do on your turn.
I'd second Pandemic as well - a great co-operative game, I've played both the original version and the dice-based spin-off and once again they are great co-operative games - there is something rather enjoyable in working together to try and contain and cure disease outbreaks before they go out of control and doom humanity. It has a lot of replayability as well, in terms of trying different combinations of the player roles, and developing synergies between them.