10 Games to play if you've played these Classic titles...
Everyone grew up playing the popular mass market games that still adorn the toy shop shelves to this very day, Monopoly, Risk, Trivial Pursuit... So here’s a list of some hobby games that share DNA with the classics that you might want to try out if you have nostalgia for the good old days.
If you’ve played Monopoly … Then play Machi Koro
Monopoly is a game of buying up properties, taxing your friends and having a monopoly over sets in the game. If you like all that then Machi Koro will be right up your street.
In Machi Koro players buy properties, such as shops, farms and factories and use them to generate money to build the four big landmarks that will win them the game. Each building you build has an activation number, every time the die is rolled there is a chance your building will activate.
Blue buildings activate on every player's turn, generally generating a small amount of income. Green buildings activate only on your turn but can generate a high amount of income, often time combo-ing off other buildings in your tableau. Red buildings activate on your opponent's turn and generate money by taking directly from your opponent as they eat in your delicious cafes and restaurants. Purple Buildings activate on your turn and like red buildings often take money from all other opponents at the table.
The goal in Machi Koro is generate enough income to purchase the landmark cards, not only do these win you the game but they also unlock powerful new abilities, such as allowing you to roll 2 dice, or take your turn over if you roll doubles.
Machi Koro still has dice rolling but you can manipulate your luck by spreading out the numbers across your buildings or by doubling down on a few numbers that give you lots of cash. It still has those “take that” elements where players have to pay you money or where they activate your buildings meaning you earn more cash than they did, even though it was their turn, but it does away with the player elimination of Monopoly.
And most importantly it still has the monopoly element. Cards like the Cheese Factory or Furniture Factory can generate massive amounts of income if players are allowed to buy all of them or the requisite buildings to power them. However unlike Monopoly, in Machi Koro, your entire strategy is not derailed by one player buying a single property, it’s less powerful but it's still a valid route to victory.
If you’ve played Cluedo … Then play Mysterium Park
Cluedo is a head to head game of crime solving deduction. Players work against each other to work out whodunit, with what and in where. Mysterium Park takes the deduction part of Cluedo but transplants that beating heart into a cooperative game where all the players are working together to solve the murder in a local circus.
The game is moderated by one player who takes on the role of the murder victim, a silent ghost who can only communicate through visions delivered to the players in the medium of surreal art. Each player must use the visions they receive to identify innocent suspects and remove them from the investigation, before moving on to eliminate various big top locations from the pool of possible crime scenes.
If the thing you like about Cluedo is solving the murder before your friends then Mysterium Park is not going to be a good fit. However if you’re all about the sleuthing then this could be the one for you. When the players have narrowed down the suspect and location pool to three possibilities the Ghost has one final round to help them solve his murder.
Mysterium Park also has a bigger brother, which adds more rules complexity and a larger table presence. In regular Mysterium the players must also correctly identify the murder weapon, or with the Secrets & Lies expansion the Motive, to win the game. They can also add in the clairvoyance rules which brings back a little of the competitive feel from Cluedo as players bid on whether or not their fellows are correctly interpreting their ghostly visions.
If you’ve played Yahtzee … Then play King of Tokyo
Yahtzee is a game of rolling dice, pushing your luck and scoring combos but in King of Tokyo you'll be doing all of that and controlling a giant gorilla that is loose in Tokyo City.
King of Tokyo takes the game engine from Yahtzee, roll 3 times, saving results between rolls and rerolling the rest, but wraps a delicious head to head monster battling game around it. King of Tokyo offers two paths to victory, peacefully through victory points or violently through eliminating the other players.
Instead of standard dice, King of Tokyo uses custom dice, the first three sides have numerals, just like Yahtzee, but the other three sides feature monster claws for damage, hearts for healing and energy for special powers.
Every game of King of Tokyo features a card row of special power cards that can be bought with energy to upgrade your monster. Some offer victory points but others allow you to break the game in fantastic ways. Perhaps your monster grows an extra head or has a baby, develops laser vision or fiery breath. And because the stack of special powers is huge every game of King of Tokyo is different.
King of Tokyo offers the same kind of push your luck excitement that Yahtzee does but with the added ability to brutally dismember your friends in a battle royale in the heart of Japan.
If you’ve played Rummy … Then play Archaeology the New Expedition
Rummy, the card game of set collection is a classic for a reason, but many modern board games have taken this idea and introduced exciting new mechanics as well as a healthy dose of theme. One of my favourites is Archaeology the New Expedition.
In Archaeology you are Archaeologists or perhaps more accurately you are treasure hunters. Each turn you dig for artifacts by drawing a card, you can then trade with the market and sell sets of items to the museum for points. Once you sell a set you cannot add to it but more importantly it cannot be stolen from you.
Seeded into the deck are several thief and sandstorm cards. If you draw a thief you can immediately take a card from another player's hand. If you draw a sandstorm all players must immediately discard half their cards to the market. In this way the game incentivises you to play cards for points early rather than hoarding them for higher scores, but the choice is always yours.
As well as thieves and sandstorms players may also find maps. In the base game maps can be traded to open special tombs within the pyramid to earn you bonus artifacts. However Archaeology the New Expedition ships with several variant ways to play that change up which dig site you are exploring.
Archaeology the New Expedition will give you that same set collection feeling as rummy but with a dose of direct player confrontation and some beautifully illustrated cards.
If you’ve played Jenga … Then play Rhino Hero Super Battle
Jenga is a test of dexterity, stacking wooden blocks on top of one another until one player makes the whole thing fall. Imagine instead if you were anthropomorphic superheroes battling across an urban skyline, building tall towers and hoping that your hero has climbed the highest before the whole thing comes crashing down.
In Rhino Hero Super Battle each players takes on the role of a superhero, be it Batpenguin, or Giraffe Man or the titular Rhino Hero himself. On their turns they take a floor card from a face up display which dictates which cards they must play this turn. It can be one or two tall or short walls or a combination of a tall and a short. At first the walls may only be placed on the circles shown on the ground floor tiles. After that they can be placed anywhere on the structure.
After placing their walls and topping them with their chosen floor the player may then roll a die to move up or possibly down the tower. If another player is on the level they arrive at they will battle with the loser moving down, battling as necessary until all the players are on different floors. The player highest on the tower takes the medal token. The player holding the medal will win the game when the tower collapses unless they are the ones that caused it to collapse.
Rhino Hero Super Battle has all the tension and excitement of Jenga but comes packed with the endearing theme of superheroes in a colourful package. This one plays perfectly with kids, families and even adults.
If you’ve played Scrabble … Then play Wordsy
Many games have come out over the years that have tried to take the crown from scrabble. Most of them try to tackle the problem of the person with the best vocabulary wins. In Scrabble your score is largely based on knowing long words that use more obscure letters, although this is teamed with a form of area control as you try to get your high scoring letters onto double or triple point spaces.
Wordsy doesn’t make any attempt to attack, nobble or handicap the knowledgeable players at the table in any way. Players with an extensive vocabulary can still play long words or obscure words. Unlike other word games, in Wordsy you don’t have a set number of letters you can use to craft your word, instead eight letter cards are added to the centre of the table and your word can use any letters it likes, but you will only score points for letters that are on the table.