When you mention board gaming to people now, there are a lot of people who think of a game like Catan or something that is newer, but you get a lot of people who say, “Like monopoly”. The answer to that question is generally, for most people who talk about board gaming, a resounding “NO!”
With people who think of Monopoly or other classic games, what games can you recommend that might take them further into a journey of board gaming? I’m going to try and take a stab at what classic games can be replaced or have a game that can be used as an advancement into the board gaming hobby.
If You Like Clue
T.I.M.E. Stories or the Escape Room board games, Unlock and Exit are two of the more popular ones would be good options. These games are cooperative, which might be something different, but there is still the puzzle aspect of trying to solve the escape room or in T.I.M.E. Stories trying to solve the case presented to you. T.I.M.E. Stories is my recommendation here, however, there are games like Chronicles of Crime and Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game that if they are looking to solve a murder, might work better, but I haven’t played them yet.
If You Like Chess
Now, I personally think Chess is a really interesting deep game that I’m not good at. It probably doesn’t need to be replaced, but if you have someone who likes Chess, there are a lot of other abstract board games that they might like as well. Onitama is my recommendation here. It’s a fast strategy game where you can have any of your pieces do one of two moves you have in your hand, however, whatever move you use goes into the middle and your opponent will get it in their hand after their move. The game has a ton of really interesting strategy to it as you try and eliminate the others players “king” piece or get your “king” to the opposite side of the board. From there, you can branch into a variety of other abstract games, but Onitama has a nice Chess-like feel to it.
If You Like Risk
I only have one replacement for this game, and that’s Smallworld. Smallworld takes the area control and conquest aspects of Risk and makes it so that you can’t hide in Australia. The conflict in Smallworld is high, but everyone is in conflict, so it isn’t like you should gang up on a single person. The variable powers of the races and then random ability that they get paired with makes this a fun game. It also almost eliminates the die rolling luck aspect of the game as well and the game play is so much faster as it has a limited number of rounds.
If You Like Scrabble
Personally, I think that Scrabble has aged quite well, but can be a bit slow as people try and figure out words. My replacement for Scrabble is Unspeakable Words. The game has a Cthulhu theme on it for no good reason, other than to be silly, but there is luck involved in this game, and the ability to make a big word isn’t always the most useful. And even if you are falling behind and have gone insane, you are still part of the game. It’s a simple word game, there are others out there that I want to try as well, but for someone who likes Scrabble, but it’s too long or they aren’t the best at word placement, Unspeakable Words could be a fun time with them.
If You Like Sorry
Sorry has some very frustrating rules as you race around the board and get sent backwards and then as you are about ready to win, you have to sit there until you roll the right number. It’s a bad game that ends up with people annoyed at each other. I actually have two recommendations, and I haven’t played either of them. The first is CamelUp, it’s a camel racing game through the desert where instead of a person having their own camel, you bet on which camel is going to be ahead at time and roll dice, but if a camel lands on another camel, they stack, and if the bottom camel moves, all of those on top of them move. The other one is similar, but it’s auto racing and Downforce is the name of the game. In this game, you do have your own car, but you bet on peoples cars if yours isn’t doing too well, and you have difficult decisions to make, because you have a card you have to play on your turn, and it will probably move your car, but will also move other peoples cars, so you have to pick which card you play carefully.
If You Like Trivial Pursuit
I have so many issues with this game, one person can simply be better at trivia and run away with this game. And not just that, you might not get the pie piece you need. Most trivia games are going to suffer from the one person knows more issue, so what is a trivia based game that might not do that? Wits & Wagers is my choice. In the game, everyone is answering a question, like how many yards does the record rusher in the NFL have? Now, Gary might be the trivia expert, so his number might end up being the closest, but everyone writes down a number ,and then you bet on which one you think is the closest without going over. So even if Gary always does the best, you can bet on Gary and you can play as many or as few rounds as you want.
If You Like Monopoly
I’m not going to say that someone is a bad person for liking monopoly. I know that a lot of people have fond-ish (or horrible) memories from playing it growing up, because there weren’t that many game options out there. But there are a lot more now. Monopoly is a tough game to suggest a replacement for, because there’s the buying property aspect, there’s a collecting set aspect, there’s the collecting rent aspect, and what is really the aspect that people like in the game? My choice is going to be considered an odd one, but I think that Ticket to Ride can be a decent Monopoly replacement. This is especially true if you’re playing at higher player counts. There’s a card set collection aspect, there are locations that you’re getting to, and there is a take that aspect that you can block someone out of a place that they wanted to go. Definitely not a perfect replacement for Monopoly, but I think it’s a game that someone who likes Monopoly would enjoy.
What other classic games need to be replaced? Are there any games you think would make sense to replace or to be suggested in place of the ones listed that I’ve missed? If so, comment them below.
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