Board games can be fun, but they can also be very niche. Many people don’t want to spend hours trying to learn a game’s mechanics only to get stomped by someone who is much more into it than they are. They’d rather spend their time doing other things than trying to win a convoluted strategy or party game.
However, board games are for more than just the hardcore crowd. As a matter of fact, plenty of board games have been made that try to bring in casual players. With that in mind, we’re exploring 10 board games for people who don’t play board games.
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Don’t let the box fool you, Carcassonne is not nearly as complex as it looks. To be clear, it’s just the opposite. Based on the French castle of the same name, Carcassonne starts with a castle. Players then must place their own tiles around it to expand the landscape and strategically place their followers on the map.
Those who get the most points in the end win. There’s a bit more to it than just that, though; you have to keep in mind terrain and follower types as well as countering what your opponents may be looking to do next.
9 TICKET TO RIDE
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Ticket to Ride is a fun game where players have to build consecutive train tracks across the United States. Points are tracked by how many trains are on the board at any time, so it’s important to not only string your own trains together, but to block other people from gaining the opportunity.
Players are also given objective cards that tell them to get tracks from one city to another. Those who complete these objectives will get more points in the end. All in all, it’s a simple game that relies on card management and strategic placement. It’s easy to learn.
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Bananagrams is like extreme Scrabble. Players will be challenged to make words, but they won’t be taking turns and they’ll be doing it as quickly as possible. In Bananagrams, players are each given an equal amount of letters that they must arrange into a series of words connected like a crossword puzzle.
The first person to use all their tiles with no more extras in the middle is the winner. The Party Edition also includes some unique tiles that change the gameplay, whether it be forcing someone to spell “peel” over and over or blocking someone else from playing a tile on you.
7 CODENAMES PICTURES
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Codenames Pictures is a party game where everyone becomes a spy. Two teams of equal size must work together to find their fellow agents, which can only be deferred by a clue from another team member consisting of one word and one number. The team member giving clues, the spymaster, has to think to give accurate clues that can be easily decoded.
The first team to find all their agents wins. However, there is an assassin on the board, who will make any team instantly lose if they select it. It’s a simple game, but quick and plenty of fun.
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Othello is a simple yet intense game about placing your tiles at just the right spot. Players win by having the most tiles of their color on the board. However, there is a catch. Players can switch the color of their opponent’s tiles to their color by blocking off a line on both sides.
Essentially, you have to create a linear sandwich where your tiles are on the ends and your opponent’s tiles are in the middle. This classic game is very easy to learn, with most players getting it the first time around. However, it can be quite difficult to master.
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Backgammon is one of those games that you hear about at random points, but never sit down to play. Turns out that the game is quite simple and easy to understand. Each player has a number of checkers on the board. The goal is to get their checkers back to their home, which is achieved by rolling dice and moving them across the board’s various points.
Players can stack checkers at certain points to block their opponents and even send their opponent’s checkers to the bar in the middle of the board. It’s one of those timeless simplistic games that can be learned in one sitting.
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Dixit is a cute board game all about weaving magical stories. Each player is given a few cards with nothing more than pictures on them. Players must choose a card and come up with a brief story for it. After hearing the story, other players must play cards down that they think best fits the story told.
Whichever card is selected the most is crowned the winner of the round, granting points to the owner. The winner gains the most points. Dixit is a game all about effective storytelling and careful placement of cards. With it being so simple, it’s sure to guarantee a great time.
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Concept is a game where you’ll have to communicate concepts of varying complexity to fellow players using solely visual cues on a board. The game comes with a set of a question mark and two exclamation points to help communicate sub-concepts to get people guessing on the right track.
The board is littered with small visual pictures that must be used as some sort of riddle to convey whatever concept you’re trying to get across. Sometimes, you could get something easy like Valentine’s Day. Other times, you’ll have to convey something a bit more difficult, like a dinosaur. Players win by guessing the riddles correctly.
2 NO THANKS!
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No Thanks! is marketed as one of the simplest games you’ll ever play. While that will probably depend on the player, there’s no denying that there isn’t a lot to it, which is a good thing to people who don’t play board games. Each player starts with a card and a handful of chips.
The ultimate goal is to get the least amount of points possible when combining the values on all cards accumulated. Players can take a card from a deck, or place a chip on their current card to pass. Eventually, cards will be distributed, revealing who is the winner.
1 SUSHI GO PARTY
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Sushi Go is a card game that just about anyone can pick up and enjoy. Players are presented with sushi cards that they can either keep or pass along. Different sushi cards have different point values, so it’s important to know which combinations will increase your score and which ones will hinder you.
Sushi Go Party is functionally the same game, but it includes a board and more sushi combinations that can change up the rules and what people add to their hands. Built for up to eight players, Sushi Go Party is easy to understand and fun to play in parties.
NEXT: The 10 Best Board Games That Came from Kickstarter, Ranked
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