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The 10 Best Board Games For Beginners

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.

10 CARCASSONNE

GET IT NOW: $30.49

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

GET IT NOW: $44.95

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.

8 BANANAGRAMS

GET IT NOW: $13.80

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

GET IT NOW: $15.99

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.

6 OTHELLO

GET IT NOW: $16.85

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.

5 BACKGAMMON

GET IT NOW: $23.83

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.

4 DIXIT

GET IT NOW: $28.34

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.

3 CONCEPT

GET IT NOW: $35.99

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!

GET IT NOW: FROM $34.99

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

GET IT NOW: $19.99

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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2019-03-16 08:03:57

Joshua Olivieri

Artifact Game: Tips, Tricks, and Hints for Beginners

Artifact is finally here, and players can use a beginner’s guide to help them get started. The long-anticipated digital card game from developer Valve has appeared poised to shake up the genre in a big way for months now, and so far, Artifact is living up to the billing. Putting aside any issues players might have with the way its economy is structured, the game is certainly a hit in the early going, with plenty of people tuning into streams and downloading the game themselves to give it a shot.

One thing that isn’t immediately obvious about Artifact, though, is the learning curve. This isn’t just another digital card game, and Valve was not afraid to introduce some serious complexity to the way its TCG variant is played. Artifact quickly breaks down into some extremely complicated board states, and players who are unprepared for three lane gameplay will often find themselves running out of clock on their turns or getting overwhelmed by all the information that needs processing.

Related: Hearthstone’s Next Expansion Has Been Fully Revealed

Luckily, that’s where we come in. We’ve compiled a short beginner’s guide to Artifact to arm new players with the kinds of tips and tricks that can be lifesavers during early experiences with the game. Read on to find out how to dominate your lane, destroy your enemy’s Ancient, and not make any egregious errors that will cost you a game (though, in a title like Artifact, that is bound to happen eventually).

Artifact Guide: Seize the Initiative

Initiative isn’t too complex as a mechanic – essentially, there is a coin during gameplay that appears on either side of the board, and the person who has that coin has the first action in a given turn. Artifact is a well-balanced game and there aren’t many cards that are complete blowouts, so usually both players will be able to act with their heroes in a given laning phase.

That isn’t always true, though, and the further one dives into Artifact the more obvious it becomes that managing initiative is a huge boon. Cards that say they grant initiative are deceptively powerful, often letting players chain together a few spells in a turn that can disable or outright kill an enemy hero – if you had initiative to start, then that’s almost like forcing them to skip a turn.

What Artifact doesn’t do a great job of explaining is that if a player simply passes their turn without doing anything in a lane, they’ll get the initiative coin for the next lane. Sometimes, if none of the cards in your hand will do much in a specific lane, it’s better to just pass and use them first in a different lane for maximum effect. That helpfully ties in to our next tip…

Artifact Guide: There Are Three Lanes For a Reason

Artifact is about winning two out of three lanes in a given game (or cheesing the Ancient, which is just as risky in Artifact as it is in DOTA 2). While it’s not a bad idea to approach the game as though it is a MOBA, balancing each lane, managing creep for money, and pushing towers when it is most convenient, that’s not necessarily the best way to win. Much like in DOTA 2, it can often be correct to abandon a lane that is faltering to reinforce the other two and try to push those instead.

In Artifact, that can honestly happen as early as a few turns into the game. There are some bad match-ups for heroes out there that can make laning against them extremely difficult. Often, it’s worth it to concede the match-up in that specific lane and attempt to bolster the remaining two before the opponent realizes what is happening.

Look at it this way: if you have two heroes in one lane and three in the other, and your opponent has one or two stuck in a lane that is already being slowly whittled down, then you have a distinct advantage in the other two lanes. This can certainly backfire, and a wise opponent will look to purchase a Town Scroll quickly to get another hero in one of the lanes you’ve reinforced, but this is a basic principle of Artifact that isn’t obvious when you first begin playing. There are three lanes, but you only need to take two to win. It’s simple, but as a strategy, it can lead to some very fascinating decisions that aren’t as obvious as the mantra makes it sound.

Page 2 of 2: Shop Wisely, Solo Queue, and More

Artifact Guide: Shop Wisely

The shopping phase in Artifact can easily swing games. A player who chooses the right items ahead of time, uses them in the right moments, and plans for their enemies items will be rewarded with many a victory that looked impossible.

The thing is, shopping in Artifact is just as difficult as the rest of the game once you’ve got the basics down. As a quick rule, it’s often better to focus on items that will armor up or bolster the health of your heroes in the early game, while weapons like Blink Dagger later in the game become more valuable as time goes on. Weapons that simply boost attack are typically wasted because they will be replaced the most easily once players have a bit more gold, whereas armor is important and can help heroes survive longer. Remember: when heroes die they keep their equipment for the next deployment phase, so investing into heroes is just that. Sometimes equipping a hero who is about to die is still right to set up a better lane for them the next time you deploy them.

Also, Town Portal is your friend. It seems like it is a disadvantage to remove a hero from a lane and have to deploy them again next turn when you begin Artifact, but saving a hero, cheating your opponent out of five gold, and getting to assess the battlefield are all extremely valuable.

Artifact Guide: Solo Queue is Your Friend

Playing against bots in a multiplayer card game can seem silly. The point is to utterly decimate an opponent and extract a satisfactory friend request at the end of the match – or at least it has been, in digital card games prior. If Magic: The Gathering is Wizard Poker, then Artifact is kind of like Wizard Chess from Harry Potter in the sense that it is equal parts refined and brutal, and while the brutality is easy to experience on both sides of the spectrum, the refinement takes time.

That’s why it’s important to practice in solo queue’s bots. Hats off to Artifact‘s development team, because they’ve created a bot system that is genuinely worth practicing against. The AI might not make all the right plays on Normal difficulty, but they’re a shockingly accurate caricature of other fledgling players for sure, and the bots will even teach you a few neat interactions that you can then use yourself.

Artifact is a game of repetition. There’s no way players will get significantly better without putting a lot of time in. Using solo queue guarantees you’ll be able to get a bunch of fast-paced games in, and lets players practice whatever new strategy they’ve cooked up before taking it out into the wilds of competitive play.

Artifact Guide: Resource Management is King

Everything in Artifact is a resource. The game is sublimely designed, and the result is that there are no wasted parts. Mana, cards, gold, heroes, creep, items, and more are all resources that factor into every single turn decision. That’s before addressing more complex definitions of resources like tower health, minion presence, card advantage, and still other factors.

If that sounds like it is a lot to keep track of, it is. But players who want to get better can do so with one core principle in mind: manage your resources to the best of your ability. Does that mean playing perfectly? Absolutely not. Artifact is the kind of game where the player who makes less mistakes typically wins. It’s almost impossible to play flawlessly, especially this early into the game’s life cycle.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t try, and that’s the best philosophy to have in Artifact. To start, try keeping track of gold, cards, and hero abilities – manage the as best you can, every game, and see how you grow as a player. Then incorporate something else into that plan, like items. Evaluate how best to utilize each of them on every turn, even if it means you get close to time.

We’ll level with you. There’s no quick way to get good at Artifact. It’s going to be a long grind to the top, and these tips and tricks are only meant to get the climb started. That said, you could do way worse than trying to keep these five basic principles in mind the next time you play Artifact, and they’ll help you on your way to becoming laning royalty. Happy card slinging!

More: Top 20 Video Games of 2018, According to Critics



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Black Ops 4 Beginners Guide: How to Play (& Win) in Zombies Mode

The release of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 brings with it a variety of different gameplay options for players. Although plenty of eyes seem to be on the title’s battle royale mode, Blackout, the traditional multiplayer modes like Team Deathmatch are still available. Also returning is the franchise’s Zombies game mode, this time with more options than ever before.

Indeed, Zombies is something of a different beast this time around. The mode comes complete with three maps, with two of them on the expansive side to boot. As such, new players might find it a little bit daunting, particularly given the intricacies of the game mode in comparison to some of the more simplistic elements of Call of Duty.

Related: Black Ops 4 Blackout Guide: Pro Tips For Battle Royale Beginners

Thankfully, new players can get a head start thanks to this guide. Read on to learn how to play Zombies mode, as well as some good strategies to help get that first win in what can be a tense and difficult part of Call of Duty.

What’s New In Zombies Mode?

This time around, Zombies is huge, with three different scenarios to choose from. Two of these revolve around Scarlett Rhodes and her band of misfits, with Voyage of Despair taking place aboard an RMS Titanic that had to handle a zombie threat alongside hitting an iceberg, while IX takes the team back in time to face gladiatorial combat in a Roman coliseum. Alongside this, there’s also the option to play Blood of the Dead, with the return of Richtofen, Dempsey, Takeo, and Nikolai.

Within that, the core gameplay loop remains the same. Survive waves of the zombie horde, unlocking areas of the map as and when the points are available, as the fight gets progressively tougher and tougher. This time around, though, it’s fair to say that the levels feel a little more maze-like and expansive, so make sure to be aware of the surroundings at all times to stop from getting stuck in a bottleneck.

Prioritize Your Points

As always, using points effectively is extremely important in Zombies. First and foremost, opening up areas of the map is a given, but more pressing is how the player uses their points towards perks and weapons. Although in early waves things like shotguns and pistols are all well and good, it’s important to aim to get weapons that have a faster fire rate and (most importantly) a faster reload rate as the game progresses. As such, look to weapons like the Spitfire or GKS to be most effective.

It’s also very important to improve the power of weapons as the game goes on. The most obvious way to do this is to keep returning to the Pack-a-Punch Machines once available, which give a 25% boost with each use. This does come at a considerable cost of 2,500 points per use, but it’s an undeniable way to get that firepower up.

Keep Moving

Staying static for too long in Zombies this time around is a recipe for disaster, as there is always the very real threat of being overrun by the horde. Whereas previous games could work with players cementing a position with a strong defensive line, at least for early portions of the game it’s recommended to keep moving. Not only does it avoid the issue of getting stuck in one place, but it also will keep players refreshed when it comes to where the different unlock options are in the map.

Keeping space from zombies is important for reasons other than this, too. Should one member of the team fall, they’ll have to be revived, and with a slightly longer revive time in Black Ops 4 it’s more vital than ever to have enough room to revive a teammate without having chunks taken out by an unseen zombie. This is particularly true when it comes to those special zombies that attack, so always keep an eye out.

Use Your Perks

In Black Ops 4‘s Zombies mode, players are able to use class customization for the first time. This isn’t just there for show, either, as a good grasp of what perks are available and how to use them can make the difference between success and failure. What’s more, the perks that can be chosen can actually work well for a variety of different play styles.

Those who want both power and speed could choose the likes of Deadshot Dealer, which automatically targets the zombie’s head when aiming down the sights, as well as Stamin-Up for a permanent boost to movement speed. Meanwhile, the frost explosion created by Winter’s Wail and the increased ammunition of Bandolier Bandit work well for those whose last stand may come from a more secure position. In essence, it comes down to how an individual best plays the game, and it’s good to have a variety of perks in the team to make the most of these options.

Work Together

As always, teamwork is the key to having an easier run of things in Zombies. Although it’s possible to play the game solo, this is always a challenge, and to help with this there are now bots to play with. Even so, it’s best to play with other human players, and as such taking on the game as a team of four is recommended.

It’s not just a matter of getting other human beings involved in the zombie slaughter, however. Working together cooperatively is key; don’t stray too far from one another, watch out for any fallen that need reviving, and potentially coordinate the perks used to make sure that everyone has bases covered for any eventuality. That way, the team should be set for what the game throws at them.

With these tips in mind, players should now have a solid framework to build on to get through the game’s Zombies mode. Whether taking a trip back in time to arena combat or trying to fight off zombified versions of Jack and Rose, Zombies is always a challenge for players, but with this guidance in mind players should be able to have a fighting chance of beating the supernatural threat.

More: Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Trophy List Completely Revealed



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2018-10-14 02:10:08 – Rob Gordon

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Beginners Gameplay Tips

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is here, and it offers up something of a different experience from the previous games in the series. Rather than the stealth-based gameplay of old, Odyssey doubles down on the RPG mechanics, becoming a huge, deep open world game for players to enjoy. In essence, it takes what worked from Assassin’s Creed Origins and makes it even better.

The end result is a fantastic take on the Greek myth, albeit one that sometimes struggles a little to bridge the gap between open world RPG and its roots in the larger Assassin’s Creed universe. Nonetheless, those changes could leave some players a bit confused as to where to start, and after working through the opening island of Kephallonia things could become a little bit daunting.

Related: Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – How To Get The Best Ending

That said, there are some ways to make the most of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey from the get go. After all, there’s lot to get to grips with before taking on Medusa or hunting after all those legendary armor sets. Instead, here are some tips for how to take up what Assassin’s Creed Odyssey has to offer fast.

Choose Exploration Mode

The most important first choice to make comes before the player even starts the game. When given the option, it’s highly recommended to choose Exploration Mode as the method of play. This is the way that Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was designed to be played, and for good reason; the additional level of emphasis on discovery is a delight to play, and much more fun than simply following map markers to reach objectives.

Effectively, Exploration Mode works by making the player find their own way through quests. NPCs will give hints towards locations to be discovered when talking about the mission in question, forcing players to use a little of their own intuition. This mode also makes map exploration much more fun, with the player finding random locations as they work their way around the regions hunting down quests.

Exploration Mode also means players will make the most out of eagle companion Ikaros. The eagle is not only able to scout out discovered locations, but also target enemies and notable items within specific locations, such as chests or hostages to release. Finally, remember to seek out Synchronization points to boost the power of Ikaros overall.

Think About Crafting Over Cash

Whether armor or weapons, it’s easy to find loot in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. As such, when players notice they have plenty of unused items sitting around in their inventory, it’s extremely tempting to drop them all off at a nearby blacksmith and make a bit of drachmae.

That said, it’s probably best to hold fire of cashing in. That’s because drachmae are not in short supply in the game, and can be picked up from completing quests, in explored locations, or from dead enemies. Instead, consider breaking down weaker weapons and armor into leather, wood, and metal, as these can be useful as crafting for upgrades to the player’s ship or even to beef up items at a blacksmith.

It’s worth bearing in mind that drachmae are needed in a couple of places in the game, and it’s always worth keeping some around in case of having to pay off a bounty to keep mercenaries off the player’s trail when it’s better to lay low. Nonetheless, put money on the back burner, and instead think about how best to boost the overall power of the misthios.

Choose Your Abilities Wisely

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey has a fairly comprehensive skill tree, but there are some abilities that are better to unlock than others. As explained in our guide to the best abilities to unlock first, There are a few essential abilities, with the Sparta Kick being useful from a warrior perspective alongside beef ups to the assassin skill tree such as Shadow Assassin.

Overall, though, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey gives players the greatest level of flexibility in how they choose to play that the series has seen so far. It’s perhaps best to pick and choose skills based on what works for the player in question, providing they keep enough core skills in each area to make sure they can get out of trouble whatever the situation.

Remember you can always change your choices as well, albeit at a cost. A few drachmae allows the player to reset all of their abilities, so if some skills are found to be less useful than others, it’s easy to drop them and rebuild the character from scratch.

Take To The Waters With Style

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey takes the series back to the high seas, and it’s something that is long overdue. With gameplay reminiscent of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, the core way to travel between the different islands is to take to the Adrestia and hop from island to island seeking adventure.

Even though a lot of the gameplay takes place on land, it’s truly beneficial to upgrade the ship regularly. This could mean recruiting new lieutenants, which helps both with buffs to the ship’s power and when boarding enemy vessels, or improving things like rowing power or damage caused by ranged attacks. It comes at a cost in terms of drachmae and consumables, but it’s worth it in the long run.

This is because it’s all too easy to get into scraps with pirates, Spartan or Athenian vessels when out at sea. Naval combat is extremely good fun, but when outnumbered it’s much better to have more firepower onside, and it’s always satisfying to take out those Cult of Kosmos members who happen to captain a ship of their own.

Revel In The Game World

It may feel like an obvious rule to follow, but Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is much more fun if taken at the player’s own pace. The title’s story is a compelling, personal adventure that (generally) ties well into the larger plot of Assassin’s Creed, but the game perhaps works best with the player following their own path and doing what’s most fun to them.

As such, it’s important to stretch your legs in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. Between the Conquest Battles, side quests and other additional smaller elements of the game at large, there’s no reason to purely stick to the main quest. This is something the game expects, too – there’s no real reason to grind in the game, providing players make good use of the enthralling, extra content available to them.

Perhaps the best examples of this are the game’s mercenary system, which leads to some excellent one-on-one fights with fearsome combatants, and hunting down the Cult of Kosmos. Although the cult ties into the larger plot as a whole, hunting down smaller members is a fantastic element of the game, and one that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Those are just a few tips to help players make the most of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. However, with a game as expansive as this, players are best suited to decide how best they want to play the game. Regardless of how they choose to enjoy the title, there are bound to be some surprises along the way.

More: Every Assassin’s Creed Game Ranked



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2018-10-09 03:10:13 – Rob Gordon