With the rise of online gaming, sometimes it can feel like the localised co-op experience is going extinct. The experience of going to your friend’s house to sit side by side and play split screen is becoming less and less common, and often you find yourself staying in your separate homes and playing together online instead. Connectivity always has been, and always will be, a cornerstone of videogames, but with this loss of a sense of a physical connection in the more mainstream games, we have to find some other way to meet up and ruin our friendships with our competitive natures.
This is where board games are beginning to come into their own again; they still bring that shared social experience and since there are thousands of new titles released every year outside of the usual Monopoly and Cluedo, you’re never short of options. They can be just as expensive as a videogame, though, and as they’re slightly less widely reviewed your purchase can feel like more of a risk. So, we’ve put together a list of 4 accessible and fun board games that will let you gather your friends, in person and away from the screen, for fun, betrayal, swearing, and many promises of vengeance.
4) Love Letter
Play time: 20 minutes
Love Letter is a quick, incredibly easy to learn game that’s as fun with 2 people as it is 4. In Love Letter, everyone is in love with the Princess, but she’s locked herself in the palace, so your aim is to get your love letter into Princess Annette’s hands whilst stopping her receiving the letters of other suitors. The game only has 16 cards, each player starting with one. Each turn, players draw one card and use one card, trying to expose the identities of other players and remove them from the game. In the end you want to have eliminated everyone else or to have retained the card with highest number.
The game is small and comes in an easy to transport bag, which makes it great for pulling out in the pub for a quick game. It retails on Amazon for £8.70 with free delivery.
Players: 3 – 6
Play time: 90 minutes
Munchkin is a game which has spawned an entire series from a Zombies version to an Adventure Time edition, so you have a lot of choice. It’s a card game which takes a very tongue in cheek approach to the traditional role playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons, playing on their cliches and oddities and making for a more light-hearted and cartoonish experience. Each player starts at level 1 and the winner is the first player to reach level 10. To reach level 10 you and your friends compete to kill fearsome monsters like the plutonium dragon and grab magic items like the formidable boots of butt kicking, forming alliances and backstabbing each other in the process. The game is silly but immensely enjoyable and easy to play, made even better by its wonderful illustrations.
Munchkin retails on Amazon for £21.23 with free delivery
Play time: 15 minutes
In Coup, you’re the head of a family in an Italian city-state, a city run by a weak and corrupt court. You need to manipulate, bluff and bribe your way to power, destroying the influence of all the other families and forcing them into exile. In Coup, there are 5 characters, each with different abilities. You begin the game with 2 cards, each featuring one of the characters, which represent your influence, and your aim is to keep your influence by keeping your 2 cards unturned, whilst revealing everyone else’s. You can do this by tricking them into revealing themselves or by gathering enough money to overthrow or assassinate them.
It’s very quick to get through a game of Coup, and one of the interesting things is that it’s a bluffing game where you can win without telling a single lie. But often it’s far too tempting to lie anyway, just because there’s nothing more fun than adding to the confusion. Conveniently, Coup comes with a small sheet for each player which lists the abilities of each character very clearly, making it easier for you to glance down quickly and lie without hesitation.
Coup retails on Amazon for £12.02 with free delivery
1) Boss Monster
Players: 2 – 4
Play time: 20 minutes
Inspired by classic video games, Boss Monster invites you and your friends to compete in building the best side-scrolling dungeon in order to lure and kill hapless adventurers who are after your treasure. The goal of Boss Monster is to be the first Boss to amass ten defeated hero’s souls, and avoid defeat, as 5 wounds mean a loss.
It can be difficult balancing your priorities in Boss Monster, trying to lure in enough heroes to maintain a respectable soul count, but making sure you’ve built a dungeon strong enough that they can’t reach and defeat your boss. Sometimes you find you have an incredibly strong dungeon no hero will enter, or you have an incredibly popular dungeon that doesn’t hold up against the more powerful heroes. But finding that balance is all part of the game’s fun, and the 8-bit visuals are a delight.
Boss Monster retails on Amazon for £17.30 with free delivery.
All of these games are affordable, easy to learn, and don’t require an entire evening to play, so what are you waiting for? Bring your friends over and defeat them until you are the reigning boss in your city state dungeon with your princess bride at your side.
Main Image: Amazon