Are you tired of playing Battleship with your little brother? Do you want a board game that involves some real mind work? Check these out!
- Risk. The classic strategy board game. Whether it's the original Risk or the new version (or one of the many, many other versions), Risk is a must-play for the intense board-gamer. Start with less than a continent under your control and end dominating the world! Perks: The basic engine caters to any and all genres. There's a Lord of the Rings Risk for fantasy lovers, Castle Risk for 19th-century Europe enthusiasts, Risk 2210 for sci-fi geeks, Risk Godstorm for mythology lovers, multiple Star Wars Risks, Metal Gear Solid Risk, Transformers Risk, and Halo Risk, as well as many others. There's probably no other strategy game that's lent itself so well to so many outlets. So if you don't like the original game, try out one of the hordes of others, because each one changes the game more than a little bit! Quirks: In mainstream versions (if not spinoffs), the player going last has a stark disadvantage. He's forced to choose the last territories, and the other players all have a chance to hack away at his income before he even collects first turn. Some versions try to rectify this situation; some don't.
- Axis and Allies. Another staple of strategy board games focusing just on World War II. A and A is a more complex, more historically accurate Risk. You play one of five major powers: Russia, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan, or the United States. Russia, the UK, and the US fight Germany and Japan, using a variety of units including infantry, tanks, fighters, bombers, submarines, destroyers, aircraft carriers, and more. Perks: It's a history buff's dream! If you can find like-minded friends, this game will provide hours of challenge. Quirks: Russia, the US, and the UK are larger states but start out with less units out on the board, whereas Germany and Japan are smaller but have a much larger concentration of troops at the beginning (Spring 1941, to be exact). This way, the strategy ends up being just about the same each game. Also, some countries are just always going to end up less powerful than others; the United Kingdom, for instance, seldom comes out on top.
- Stratego. Another classic strategy game of bluffing, spies, and bombs. In Stratego, unlike any other mainstream strategy game, you don't know how powerful your enemy is. You could be reasonably sure the piece you're heading for is a 5 (Captain) and attack him with your 4 (Major) only to find he's a 3 (Colonel) and die. That's how ranks work: the lower the number, the more powerful the piece. Perks: It's not just a number vs. number game; there's also bombs (can't attack, but anyone who attacks them dies no matter what their number), spies (who can only kill #1 Marshals and are completely susceptible to attack by any other unit), and a flag, which you have to capture to win. Quirks: The game definitely has its low points and high points. At the beginning, when you have too many pieces on the board and you're just trying to get rid of some of them, it's not the most exciting game. Also, when all your high-ranking pieces are dead and your only hope of winning is that maybe, just maybe, your opponent's #1 will attack a bomb, it can start to be a drag.
What are your favorite games?