Tired of Monopoly? The Times asked the owners of Meeple Madness, the board game shop in Braselton, for a list of the games in their shop with the most staying power for families sticking to social distancing.
David Lopata sent us his recommendations, included here:
Scythe (Stonemaier Games)
Players can select to play different factions in an alternate history version of 1920s Europe at the start of each game. Additionally, they choose a unique player board to add to their selected faction board. The different combinations of player board and faction boards offer great different starting points and objectives for each player.
Dungeon Mayhem (Wizards of the Coast)
The original Dungeon Mayhem included four different characters to play — barbarian, paladin, rogue or wizard — each with unique abilities. They followed on with an expansion “Battle for Baldur’s Gate” that added two new characters and, most recently, the “Monster Madness” expansion that adds six new monsters to play.
Azul (Plan B Games)
Each round, the game state is set by pulling random tiles from a bag to build the factory floor. That randomness creates unique challenges with every new round. Additionally, each player board is double sided, so you can switch to a more advanced form of play once you feel like you’ve mastered the original side. They’ve also introduced two new versions of the game that use the same basic rules, but create completely different game experiences — Azul: Stained Glass of Sinstra and Azul: Summer Pavilion.
Tiny Towns (AEG)
During the setup, each player is given a hidden objective (called a Monument) to build. With 15 different monuments in the base game, players will have different hidden objectives each game. Additionally, Tiny Town supports two modes of play — one where each player takes the turn being the Master Builder (who determines which resource is used on that turn), and one, called Town Hall, where the resources used are determined by a deck of included resource cards.
Tiny Towns recently received an expansion as well, Tiny Towns: Fortune, that adds some new dynamics to the game.
Sushi Go (Gamewright)
This is a set-collecting game based on building the best combination of sushi dishes, but uses a drafting mechanic — you pick a card from your hand to build a set and then pass your entire hand to the person next to you (in the first round you’ll pass to the left, the second to the right, the final round to the left). This makes the set collecting much more challenging as it becomes a combination of memorizing which cards are in which hands, and strategizing which ones your opponents need or don’t need.
I tried to pick games that have a range of price points. When I did the first list of games with truly the most replayability, the price points were all in the $60-and-up range, which I don’t think really meets the spirit of the list.
In terms of honorable mentions, I would also suggest you look at a few of these. These are all great “go to” games for short, quick games that require a minimum amount of setup, and folks come back to them often.
Finger Guns at High Noon (Indie Board & Card)
Players argue and debate over who is going to blast who until someone shouts “one two three go!” Then everyone makes a hand sign to indicate their action — whether it’s blasting dynamite, heading to the saloon to recover, or breaking out the big guns — it’s a silly, fast paced game that is easy to learn and plays really quickly.
Happy Salmon (Northstar Games)
Nothing plays more quickly than Happy Salmon — it’s a game that typically takes less than 90 seconds to play with players trying to match gestures (high five, fist bump, switcheroos, or happy salmons), and has folks laughing at the end.
Codenames is one of the most popular party games around. Based on spymasters and agents, it plays with two teams of any size. So a family can play parents against children or divide the groups however they want. In addition to the original game, they have “Extra Large” versions as well as themed versions for Disney, Marvel, and “Harry Potter.”
Fuse (Renegade Games)
This is a timed game where players work together to defuse bombs. It’s timed (10 minutes), easy to learn, and creates a fun amount of tension as everyone works together to defeat the game.
Priya and David Lopata own Meeple Madness, a board game shop at 7400 Spout Springs Road Suite 205 in Braselton.