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Board and Tabletop Games

by Public Service Associate Luke

I have spent countless hours playing board games with friends and family. We have played everything from backstabbing sabotage to cooperative adventures, and playing these games has created new ways for my friends and I to entertain ourselves. Likewise, board game nights with my family have allowed for all of us to get closer. Some games will make you laugh, some will make you cry, and some might make you very angry, but it’s all in the name of great fun. As the weather gets cooler, board games are a great way to hang out with your people of choice and enjoy the coming fall evenings. This list presents some game options that are more than the typical Monopoly and Candyland, and I recommend all of them as part of a great game night. 

Betrayal at the House on the Hill is a story-driven game that follows a party of intrepid investigators as they adventure into a famed haunted house. At first, your team will work together to explore the mansion and uncover clues and secrets. However, the twist of the game is that one of your supposed friends will reveal themselves to be a traitor! Due to specific events, you will then break away from the betrayer and begin your own objectives to both defeat the enemy and escape the dreaded house. With dozens of story options and hundreds of house and haunting combinations, no two games will be the same. 

The board game version of the summer blockbuster Jaws follows the same game plan. This time,  however, one player acts as the infamous Great White. Players move through two stages of the game: one on Amity Island, where they locate the predator and save swimmers, and the second aboard the small fishing boat Orca where they attempt to both survive and take out the shark. Fending off the vicious attacks of the seafaring monster will take strategy, so the human players must work together if they want to walk away with a victory. The shark is nearly invincible, so it may take some effort before you can take him down. 

Ever wanted to backstab your friends and sabotage your family? Save it for therapy, but in the meantime, try out Coup. This short game takes place in a future where the government is at the whims of whoever pays them well, and players will spend their time plotting against opponents. This game takes fifteen minutes to play, and is extremely easy to learn. With different government agents under your control, you will attempt to threaten and bribe other players into ceding their own power, until you have control of the empire. Be careful when going after your enemies however, as they may have hidden secrets up their sleeves. 

If you are looking for a more peaceful game, then Santorini is right for you. In this game, you take the guise of a youthful Greek god or goddess, and build a lovely island for your people in the beautiful Aegean Sea. Simple enough for elementary school kids while open enough for more complex strategies, Santorini consists of moving workers around the island and constructing your city buildings. The variance comes in the form of the players, who have access to the diverse godlike powers given to them by the gods they chose to play as. Fun, simple, and peaceful, Santorini is a fun family game.

If you are more interested in the role-playing aspect of board games, there is no better one to try than Dungeons and Dragons. At Bexley, we have the Starter Set available, as well as some of the books if you are looking for a deeper game. The Starter Set comes with the required information and rules needed to play your first game, along with a campaign and quests to get you and your party fighting goblins, solving puzzles, dungeoneering, and much more. Dungeons and Dragons is one of the most famous tabletop games ever created, and for good reason. Few others allow the freedom to let players do virtually anything, and those options lead to great fun and plenty of fantasy action. I have been playing with a group of friends for over three years, and some of the most fun I’ve ever had has been rolling dice and arguing about how to take on enemy orcs with my friends. 

Disney Villainous also lets you step into the shoes of a fantasy world, although this time you will inhabit one of six villains within the Disney pantheon. Players will use abilities and cards specific to their villain to try and take over the Disney world, and must stave off the other villains to do so. Captain Hook and Ursula will argue over Neverland, while Jafar and Maleficent might make deals to reach their nefarious objectives. Everyone has their favorite Disney villain, and this game lets you choose yours in the quest for power over the House of Mouse. 

Ticket to Ride is for those players who enjoy the Monopoly genre of board games. Ticket to Ride takes place in the beginning of the railroad era, when robber barons sped to construct as many rail lines as they could. Players act as those railroad tycoons and attempt to gather points by building the longest railroad, as well as establish routes between target cities. While typically peaceful, this game does have the potential to go “off the rails” and lead to some friendly arguments, such as who can take the southern route from LA or who can try to speed up to Canada and block off any pathways from New York. While the BPL has the basic game available, there are other maps players can try, such as Europe and Asia. 

If you are looking for some quick competition, Codenames is a fun, team-based game for up to 8 players. Partners team up to uncover the opposing spies, as played by the other players, but must also keep their identities a secret. To meet these objectives, players must use code words to uncover clues and call out suspicious activity, while also working to make sure those discoveries stay hidden from the other spy teams. Work with a long time friend or spouse to put that partnership ESP into action, or duo up with a new buddy for more of a challenge (and make a lifelong friend in the process!) 

Board games are all about developing new relationships and putting old ones to the test, and having relaxing nights of competitive fun or puzzle-solving. The games I recommended above are all meant for enjoyment around the game table, and can be played with friends and family. Some are short and some may take an hour or two, but I guarantee that they are all worth the time. Some of my best memories were made while playing board games. Here at BPL we have plenty of board games for you to choose from, so you will never be bored again.