What year was the game Battleship first released? If you said 1967, you are right (and you should probably be on Jeopardy)! Nearly a century later, classic games like Monopoly and Yahtzee are still gracing our tables and create moments of joy with friends and family. But why are these games still so popular? Many classic board games appeal to the masses by providing simple mechanics and themes paired with easy to follow rules and quickly became cultural phenomena that have withstood the test of time.
So if it ain’t broke, why fix it?
Like any other industry, tabletop gaming is constantly evolving with the conception of new themes and mechanics. Well over 20 games release every week, so there’s a good chance there’s always going to be something fresh to peak your interest each time you walk through our doors. And as nostalgic as a round of Clue can be, the replayability of any game decreases after so many years of finding Ms. Peacock in the library with the wrench.
Now that you’ve made the decision to retire that old copy of Monopoly that hasn’t had the thimble piece since 1998, it’s time to pick a replacement game. Here are some of our favorite modern games that are sure to entertain.
Having sold over 250 million copies, Monopoly is one of the best known board games of all time. The game focuses on the auction and bidding of properties that offer multipliers when you own more (or a monopoly) of a specific color neighborhood. Negotiation is key in this game, and if you aren’t a diplomatic player you may be left bankrupt or in jail.
If Monopoly is a game that appeals to you, try playing Catan. Catan is a classic that takes negotiation to the next level. Players roll dice and trade with each other for resources which allow them to build routes, settlements, and eventually cities to earn victory points. With over 30 Catan expansions, editions, and variants, you are guaranteed to find the perfect theme for your game group or household.
Sheriff of Nottingham (2014)
If you prefer to bluff your way through a game, then Sheriff of Nottingham will be right up your alley. This game puts the player into the role of a merchant taking their goods through the city gates. Players declare the goods hidden inside their velvet sack to the sheriff. If a player is smuggling illicit goods across the gate, they may negotiate with the sheriff to prevent inspection and possibly confiscation.
Who did it, with what, and where? In Clue, players move around different rooms of a mansion where a murder has been committed. The goal of the game is to deduce the character, weapon, and location of the crime by accusing other players who must reveal any conflicting information they may have. Become a master detective by being the first to surmise the truth hidden within the secret file.
Betrayal at House on the Hill (2004)
In Betrayal at House on the Hill, players will take their turns moving through and placing tiles to explore a haunted house. Though it begins as a cooperative game when enough clues have been discovered, a ‘haunt’ will begin and one player will be forced to secretly betray the rest of the table. Work together to defeat the traitor by collecting clues and items that correspond to your scenario. The base game comes with 50 different scenarios and there are multiple expansions including a legacy edition for maximum replayability.
In Scrabble, players test their vocabulary skills by playing letter tiles from their hand onto a grid board. Using at least one letter from a previously played word, players will attempt to score the most points by forming words from letters in front of them. Points are based on the commonality of each letter and by the position on the board they were placed on. For example, qi (11 points) is the most commonly used word in Scrabble competition.
Another fun game that includes spelling as it’s main focus is Paperback. This game is a deck-building game where players spell words with corresponding dollar values. Players use the dollars earned from the word to purchase more valuable and useful cards. This game even has a cooperative variant.
Letter Jam (2019)
For players looking for a purely cooperative play experience, Letter Jam is the perfect alternative. In this game, players know what letters are in front of all other players but not themselves. A designated clue giver will attempt to encourage players to pick the right cards that will allow them to spell the longest words possible.
Trivial Pursuit (1981)
6 categories, 600 questions. With over 130 editions released to date, Trivial Pursuit tests player knowledge in matters ranging from Brazilian football players to Harry Potter. Players move around the board, answering questions from the category that corresponds to the color of the space they land on. The game ends when they have completed answering questions in all 6 categories.
Wits and Wagers (2005)
Not a trivia buff? Wits and Wagers may still be on the table for you (pun intended). In this game, players answer questions and then vote on whichever player’s answer they believe is correct before the true answer is revealed. You can earn points from both answering correctly or fooling other players into thinking you did.
Originally a pencil-and-paper game, Milton Bradley commercialized and released Battleship as a board game over forty years after its initial conception. Players deploy their varying length ships across a grid hidden from their opponent. Players then take turns guessing corresponding columns and rows to find and sink said ships. Whoever has the last ship standing wins!
For a fresh take on this near century-old staple try Fugitive. In this game, players act either as an unstoppable agent or the fugitive themself. The fugitive will play numbered cards facedown down in order to escape, but they can skip a few steps forward to keep the agent guessing. The agent’s job is to track down the fugitive by card counting and deducing their next step. If the fugitive makes their way out without the agent catching them, they win!
Captain Sonar (2016)
Captain Sonar takes sinking each other’s battleship to a new level with a team-based experience for up to 8 players. Each player has a specific role on the submarine, and it will take impeccable communication to ensure your team is prepared for combat. There are multiple level maps, expansions, and even types of play such as turn-by-turn or simultaneous to appeal to gamers of every level.
Another excellent asymmetrical game to consider is Sabotage. Players split into two teams of villains and spies and race to their individual objectives. Each round, the teams roll and spend dice on actions that help them achieve their goal. The villains need to hack 8 times before the spies hit them 5 times.
See you at Mox
Next time you stop by Mox to pick up a classic game, make sure to check out one of these modern twists. Our Take It Home promotion allows you to get 15% off any title that you play in the restaurant. So sit back, enjoy a craft cocktail, and house made meal. Talk to our expert staff about their favorite new titles that share attributes with favorites from the past. While you’re in, don’t forget to check out our vast selection of puzzles and other loved family activities that are sure to keep you warm and fuzzy throughout the winter months.
-See you at Mox