I have countless memorable experiences playing board games with family and friends, and I love opening the door for others to have those kinds of experiences as well! So in the spirit of spreading the joy of board gaming, I am holding my second annual board game giveaway!
I have selected ten board games that I have played and recommend, and that I feel represent enough of a variety to provide a good choice for anyone. I will randomly be selecting 3 winners, and each winner will get to pick any of the ten games to receive free of charge! Entering is simple, you just need to be subscribed to my blog at the time of the drawing (see sidebar for the subscription form, or follow this direct link). Now I realize signing up for an email list raises several red flags, so consider these two points:
- The only email sent to this subscription list is a once-a-week summary of new posts that have been made here at Ludo Lodge. Basically, it allows you to keep up with new content without having to monitor the site in any other way, and you can scan the post titles to see whether you may be interested or not.
- Once the giveaway is complete, feel free to unsubscribe! To be eligible, you only have to be on the list at the time the winners are selected, and you can promptly remove yourself from the list afterwards if you do not want to receive the weekly emails. I won’t be too sad about it. 🙂
That is it! I will be selecting three random emails from the list on March 3, 2018. All games will be purchased and shipped through Amazon. I reserve the right to adjust the game list if availability of the games changes (all of them are currently available at standard prices, but I won’t pay a markup if one happens to go out of print in the next month). Should the scenario arise that the game you want is no longer an option, I will work with you to find an attractive alternative.
The only other restriction is that you must have a U.S. shipping address in order to win. Enough with the details, here are the ten games that will be available this year (listed alphabetically)!
7 Wonders: Duel
7 Wonders: Duel is a two player variation of the very popular 7 Wonders, and has managed to exceed expectations and become one of the highest rated two player games of all time. It provides a novel approach to two player drafting that is reminiscent of pyramid solitaire, and is a great option for a strategic game for two people that plays in just a half hour.
The Castles of Burgundy
Stefan Feld is a designer that is known for churning out “point salad” strategy games that provide many different avenues for scoring, all built around clever game mechanisms. The Castles of Burgundy is his most popular design, and is a 2-4 player game where players spend 90 minutes making challenging tactical decisions based on the results of the dice they roll, claiming tiles and playing them onto their own personal board to build up their estate.
Deception: Murder in Hong Kong
Deception: Murder in Hong Kong is an excellent variation on the popular social deduction genre of party games. One player takes on the role of the Forensic Scientist, who knows which of the remaining players is the secret murderer, while the rest are all investigators. The Forensic Scientist is limited to communicate by selecting from pre-defined options on a variety of tiles, trying to point the group towards the murderer by linking to the “key evidence” and “means” cards that the murderer selected at the beginning of the game. But as every player has multiple cards in front of them, interesting discussion ensues as everyone makes a case for what cards match the clues, and the murderer casually tries to throw the rest of the group off their trail. It is quick and greatly replayable, and can support up to an impressive 12 players.
Ethnos is a nice family-style strategy game that has 2-6 players competing for majority in different regions on the map by collecting cards and playing sets of the same tribe or color. Each tribe has their own ability, and each game only uses six of the twelve tribes included, so every game has a different feel as players weigh a variety of interesting strategic tradeoffs. You can find more information in my full review of Ethnos here.
I love cooperative board games, and Pandemic is not only the one that really popularized the genre, but it still remains one of the most elegant and enjoyable designs. If you have never played a cooperative board game before, I highly recommend giving it a try as it allows 2-4 players to cooperate in an effort to save the world from disease, all within an hour. Additionally, there is a world of additional Pandemic content to explore if you enjoy it, from several expansions to the highly popular Pandemic Legacy games.
Roll for the Galaxy
My most played game of all time is Race for the Galaxy, and while it is an experience I love and would recommend, it has a rather steep learning curve. Roll for the Galaxy takes many of the ideas from its older brother and infuses them with a dice-driven game that has a totally different feel, and is much more accessible to new players. 2-5 players will simultaneously roll dice and manipulate them behind their screens, and then reveal to determine what actions all players will get to execute that round. At the end of just 45 minutes or so, each player will have built up their own tableau of tile, representing planets and technologies, in an effort to generate the most victory points. A highly strategic game packed into a relatively short timeframe.
There is a new trend in the design of modern abstract board games where a zero-luck strategic game is created, but then a random element is introduced to the setup that makes the initial landscape of every game a little different. Santorini is one of the best examples of this approach, as it provides an awesome two player abstract game where players build up a three-dimensional city, trying to position themselves to be the first to move one of their workers onto the top of a third level. But what adds a whole other level of interest onto the basic formula (which is great in its own right), is that each player is given a unique god ability that drastically changes how they play the game. Anyone who enjoys cerebral abstract games really owes it to himself or herself to give Santorini a try.
Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective
Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective is the most unique offering in this list of games, as it is more of a “choose your own adventure” mystery-solving experience. The game comes with ten cases, each of which takes several hours to complete and cannot be replayed, as you will already know the solution. Most of the game is spent reading excerpts, taking notes, and discussing what might have happened and what you should investigate next. If you have ever wanted to try and cooperatively solve a mystery like Sherlock Holmes, this game may provide the absolute best approximation of that experience.
Sushi Go Party!
Probably one of the best games to introduce people to modern board gaming, Sushi Go Party! is a light strategic drafting game that has players simultaneously selecting sushi as they try to maximize their points each round. It is easy to teach, plays quickly, keeps everyone constantly involved, and the “Party” edition provides many card sets that change the setup for every game. A great option if you want something accessible that can support up to 8 players.
Ticket to Ride
I have a hard time not including Ticket to Ride on my giveaway list. Despite being 14 years old, it is likely still the best family strategy game for board gamers that are new to the hobby. But don’t be fooled, this isn’t just a light game for inexperienced or less strategic players; I have played Ticket to Ride, including several of its variants, well over 100 times and it still remains one of my favorite quick games. Its elegance of mechanics, replay value in how every game plays out differently, and strong push-your-luck element in choosing how many tickets you pursue keeps it from ever getting stale, even for gamers like me that tend to prefer heavier strategic games.
I hope regardless of how far you have travelled down the rabbit hole of modern board gaming, there are at least a few options listed above that catch your interest. As long as you are subscribed when I pick winners, one of them could very well be yours! Good luck, and I will be updating this post and contacting the winners on March 3rd!