Table Top

The Top 5 Best Classic Board Games

When I talk about board games, I often talk about new games, or newer games. And they are a lot of fun to talk about, but most of us grew up playing older board games, Monopoloy, Uno, and the like. Looking back on them now, they don’t hold up too well, generally. The games are too simplistic or too luck based, but not all of them were bad, let’s look at five of them I consider the best.

So, what are the requirements to make this list. The game has to have been published before the year 2000. I considered going earlier, but that seemed like it would work best. One game you’ll see missing from my list is Chess. Chess is great game, and if you get into it, you can really get into it and get good at it. I wanted to balance how good a game was with how easy it was for everyone to play it. So a game like Chess has too much of a divide between player levels to be on the list.

5 – Balderdash

I’m starting with a party game that might not have made it to the list in it’s original form. Balderdash, when it came out, just had you writing down definitions of words, or what you thought they were and then players voting on which one they thought was right. Since then, they came out with Beyond Balderdash, which is now just what Balderdash is which added in acronyms, weird laws, and movie synopsis. The game is still a lot of fun, mainly because it eventually becomes less of a game and more of a silly activity where people use in jokes from previous rounds and keep those jokes going.

4 – Cribbage

Cribbage is the only pure card game on the list. I like it quite well, in particular in a bar setting. It’s small, not many pieces, and easy enough to teach. There are definitely some complexities to the rules, but I can generally get through them in a pretty quick time frame. I’m sure there’d be some debate about a more experienced player beating a less experienced one more often than not, and I’d agree, but it’s not a massive difference. And once you’ve played a hand or two, you have the general idea.

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3 – Clue

Probably up there with Monopoly in terms of games people think of when they think of classic board games. It, unlike Monopoly, made my top 5. Clue is a lot of fun and I like that it gives you real choices in the game as you craft your accusations. As a kid it took me a bit to get all the subtlies down of game, but now it’s still fun to play once in a while because of the deduction aspect and how detailed you can keep track of notes and how you reveal or don’t reveal information to other players. It’s just nice and clever in how it works. Not one I’d play all the time or want to play all the time but one that hits the table every few years.

2 – Scrabble

It’s close between my top two, but Scrabble comes in at number two. Scrabble is a word game that can be about the big words that you know, but is more about optimizing your points and blocking other players for being able to get large amounts of points. I say that with Scrabble (or Banagrams though I prefer Scrabble) my ability to recognize patterns quickly helps me a lot. And of course knowing all the two letter words that the Scrabble dictionary accepts (I don’t know them, helps a ton as well.

1 – Yahtzee

Probably not a huge surprise that the game at the top of my list is basically a roll and write game. Yahtzee is a game that I might have played too much at this point, because it’ll basically play itself. There is some strategy to it, when to push your luck on the top, how risky you want to be. Otherwise, once you’ve played it enough, you can figure out the probabilities and you adjust your rolls accordingly to it. But I do like this one as a game that you can play and just chat while playing because there are some push your luck moments or exciting moments of getting Yahtzee, but it doesn’t have the most thinking at all times in the game.

There are other older games that I could put on the list as well. I kept Quoridor off of the list because it’s less known, but a good one, just not one that people grew up with for the most part. I personally really like the game SET, but I left that one off because I like the game SET, it’s a pattern recognition game that I’m good at. What are some of your favorite classic board games?

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