Holiday Guide: Six Board Games to Play with Family and Friends

Decrypto, Azul, Welcome To Your New Home, The Mind, and Root // Photo by Aaron Job

Decrypto, Azul, Welcome To Your New Home, The Mind, and Root // Photo by Aaron Job

Monopoly and Battleship still have their charms, but the recent board gaming renaissance means that there is a galaxy of fresher options out there. Minnesota has a wealth of great games stores, and we reached out to several of them to get their tips for the best new board games suited to the diverse mob of family and friends who tend to stack up around the hearth this time of year.

The Mind

Pandasaurus Games

The Mind is a simple but clever card game that was one of the most talked-about games at Gen Con. The goal is simple: cards numbered 1–100 must be played sequentially, but no one is allowed to talk. Read each other’s expressions and attempt to read minds with this light co-op card game. – Paul Zenisek • Owner of Heroic Goods and Games3456 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis

The game pieces of Root // Photo by Aaron Job

The game pieces, board, dice, and cards of Root // Photo by Aaron Job

Root

Leder Games

Designed by local Minnesota company Leder Games, Root is an asymmetrical game (each player has different goals and strategies) of woodland might and right. Clever art and style abound as players play various woodland animals vying for control of the forest. This game has an amazing design concept and charming art. Grab this one today and rule the forest. – Jeremy Nilson • Owner of The Gaming Goat1326 Grand Ave., St. Paul

Decrypto

Iello And Masked Scorpion

In Decrypto, teams compete to guess coded messages sent between teammates before the opposing team can guess them. It’s a great holiday game—easy to learn and quick to play. Decrypto can be played by three to eight people in 15–45 minutes. – Bob Seabold • Owner of Tower Games3920 Nicollet Ave. S., Ste. 150, Minneapolis

The tiles, board, and pieces of Azul // Photo by Aaron Job

The tiles, board, and pieces of Azul // Photo by Aaron Job

Azul

Plan B Games

Azul is 2018’s Game of the Year winner, and deserves both the accolades and a spot on every board gamer’s shelf. Players attempt to collect sets of colorful, Portuguese-inspired tiles to fill their board. Games are short (30 minutes average) and Azul is easy to learn. It plays just as well with two players as four, and no two games are the same. – Jeremy Nilson • Owner of The Gaming Goat1326 Grand Ave., St. Paul

Welcome To Your Perfect Home

Blue Cocker Games & Deep Water Games

A game of building your perfect neighborhood. Play it solo or with as big a group as you want in around 25 minutes. The game is “roll-and-write,” but uses cards rather than dice. Each round, three cards are flipped over to reveal numbers and symbols which are used to fill in house numbers in numerical order, increase real estate value, build fences, pools, and more. Part number puzzle, part competitive game, small or large groups and quick play will definitely appeal to family gatherings. – Bob Seabold • Owner of Tower Games3920 Nicollet Ave. S., Ste. 150, Minneapolis

 

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