We have spent the long last year dabbling in everything from new hobbies to gardening herbs and baking sourdough bread. And along the way, we’ve kind of acquired an embarrassing number of puzzles – swapsies, anyone? – and enough board games to fill a lifetime of game nights.
But are there too many? We think not. And this quintet of new – or unreleased – board games is simply irresistible, offering everything from disruptive charades to odes to Danish architecture and planning rock band tours and philosophical pizza talks. , B-list superheroes and celebrities. Take a look.
At first glance, this game – which was designed by the same people behind The Mind and Monikers games – looks weird: there are tiny cards, each offering a continuum of categories, and a wheel with a colorful pie wedge, hidden by a sliding mechanism. The object of the game? Guess the location of the corner based on just one clue – anchovies, maybe, or Bjork. Or Shia LaBeouf.
On each of the seven spins, a clue giver spins the wheel, takes a peek, and then finds a clue to help his teammates uncover the hidden location. At least in the early rounds, skepticism and bewilderment abound. Björk ?? Is the corner in Bjork?
Soon you are immersed in philosophical reflections, jaw-dropping accomplishments, breathless laughter, and high fives. And then time simply disappears. Suddenly it’s midnight, and you were going to bed, but you really need to play one more – no, five more rounds.
The cards offer categories – a continuum, for example, from hot to cold, hair to hairless, best to worst, or overrated and underrated actors. If the clue giver says “molten lava”, it’s a safe bet that the hidden corner is on the far left of the hot / cold spectrum. But how hot is the “latte”?
In the Rabbit Hole, you’ll analyze clues, debate meanings, and try to figure out what the clue giver meant and whether they prefer their hot or iced espresso drinks.
We found ourselves debating everything from Shia LaBeouf’s filmography to Green Lantern superpowers, Quidditch’s Gryffindor vs. Slytherin, and whether the pizza is whole or split. If all of its pizza-ness is contained in each slice, isn’t the divided pie still whole? What is pizza?
Good to know: This easy-to-learn game is designed for competitive team play, with teams accumulating zero to four points in each round, depending on the accuracy of their guesses. But honestly, it’s just as fun to play in a group without counting at all. With 84 cards and 180 degrees of corner placement possibilities, the replayability is out of the ordinary.
Details: This $ 40 game (released by Palm Court in 2019) is designed for two to 12 or more players, ages 14 and up. It takes 30 to 45 minutes to play.
God hates charades
If the hilarious minds behind Cards Against Humanity tackled charades – and ditch the boring ‘no talk’ rule – this 2018 board game with acting and storyline card games would be the result. Players draw two cards from each deck, then choose the most fun couple to represent: a barefoot Vladimir Putin walking on Legos, perhaps, Helen Keller commanding at Chipotle, or a disappointed Sylvester Stallone who fails a pregnancy.
The actor deck features 200 famous figures from pop culture and history, from Martha Stewart to Kermit the Frog and Neil Armstrong. And the 200 scenarios range from stupid to extremely inappropriate. With 40,000 possible combinations, there is something to delight – or offend – everyone.
Like charades, this game appeals to players’ acting skills, but you can also talk, sing, or do whatever you want – except, of course, read the card aloud – to deliver your clues in 30 seconds. or less.
Good to know: If your audience loves Cards Against Humanity, they’ll love this. If you’re playing with people who blush easily, modify the deck first or let players draw additional scenario options.
Details: This 30-minute game (published by God Hates Games, $ 35) is a natural feast. It is designed for four to 16 players, ages 17 and up, to play as a team.
On tour: United States and Europe
You and your playmates are the managers of a touring rock and roll band in this roll-and-write game, which features game boards with cards and erasable cards with concert locations scattered across the States. United and Europe. It turns out that booking dates for a 100-day tour is considerably more complicated when a pair of 10-sided dice are involved.
The players all use the same American map, or the European map on the back of the game boards. And they also use the same dice rolls and location cards to plot their tour route, with the aim of hitting as many countries or regions. ‘states as possible in numerical order. Each die roll dictates two visit stops. Doing a one and a four, for example, gives you stops 14 and 41, which you place on your map using two of the three location cards you drew for the party. If your options are, for example, Finland, the Czech Republic and Portugal, one player could book Finland for the 14th day of the tour and the Czech Republic for the 41st, while another will choose Portugal for the 14th. and will trade with one of the neighbors in northern Finland. for fewer points but better route planning.
Good to know: This game is the latest reprint of the original On Tour game, a 2018 Kickstarter funded project that quickly sold out. An extension followed. This version combines the two and updates art.
Details: On Tour (Board Game Tables, $ 39) is designed for one to eight players, ages 13 and up, and takes about 20 minutes to play.
It will be some time before we walk around Europe, but this 2020 game helps scratch the itch of travel. It is inspired by the architecture of Nyhavn in Copenhagen, the new harbor district built in the 17th century with streets lined with colorful gabled houses.
Your job: to build one of these beautiful houses, preferably with lots of windows, and bring your Little Mermaid statue to the finish line.
If Ticket to Ride and Tetris had a child in love (who loved historic Danish architecture) it would be this game. You put the tiles together in Tetris style, with cards dictating the type and color of building materials available, a yellow Z-shaped tile with three windows, maybe a red square or a green pair. Completed floors (rows) and sections (columns) earn you points, but if that floor or section is all windows, it’s worth double the points – because who doesn’t love windows?
Good to know: Single-use ability tiles, which can be earned by building on top of certain squares or floors, give you super powers. Do not accumulate them. Use them – especially the thumbnail that lets you restart the clock on this whole ‘one-time’ thing.
Details: Copenhagen (published by Queen Games, $ 44) is designed for two to four players, ages eight and up, and takes 20 to 40 minutes to play.
If you liked Brio trains, Thomas the Tank Engine, or model trains for adults – or Amtrak, for that matter – this game is for you. The objective of Railroad Ink is to draw the longest possible rail and road routes that connect the exits on your game board.
Everyone uses the same four-dice roll to determine their routes, making it a simultaneous game, not taking turns. It is the route-plotting decisions that make the difference between the victory of the railroad and the caboose-ville.
Each dice face sports a different track or road option, with additional single-use junction options available at the top of the game board. The Deep Blue version of this game adds river and lake dice, while the Blazing Red pack adds erupting volcanoes and flaming meteors in freefall – and six other game boards – to the mix.
And if you get both of you In Railroad Ink, your goal is to connect as many outputs as possible on your board. Roll the dice to determine what types of road and rail routes are available this round, then draw the routes on your erasable boards to create transport lines and connect your exits! Try to optimize the available symbols better than your opponents: the more exits you connect, the more points you score at the end of the game, but you lose points for each incomplete course, so plan well!
Good to know: Want to play with more than six people? The game is infinitely expandable. Each box comes with six game boards, so getting the Deep Blue and Blazing Red sets allows up to 12 people to play. (Psst, the same results can be achieved with grid paper and a little pencil work.)
Details: Railroad Ink (Horrible Games, $ 20) is designed for one to six players, ages eight or older. It takes 30 to 45 minutes to play.