How to buy a board game
A board game buying guide
Board games are an easy way to have fun with friends or family. Because of the vast array of board game designs, there are several factors to consider when determining the best board game to buy. The expected number of players and their age levels will help narrow your search as you shop for board games; from there, you can choose a specific board game style while keeping in mind how much time will be available for playing. Then you can decide whether the tabletop versions of these games will suffice or if you require different board game sizes for use while traveling.
>> Consider the number of players
An initial factor to consider when deciding on the best board game to buy is the number of players. Many classic games, such as chess, checkers or backgammon board games, only allow two players. These traditional two-player board game designs are a fun way to spend time with another person while training your brain, as many of these classic board games involve strategy and planning.
Board games are a popular activity for parties and larger get-togethers as well, and you might want to consider some that allow for more than two players. Mahjong sets are ideal for four players, using illustrated tiles in the game much like that of rummy. Certain dice games are also an option for multiple players. Other games might not have a maximum amount of players - these tend to be classified as "party games," and may involve teams of players pitted against each other.
>> Determine the age level
Not every board game is suitable for all ages. Some board games have small pieces that can easily be lost or swallowed by a young child; some require advanced hand-eye coordination that children do not possess. Some board games are too complex for a child to understand, involving elaborate strategy and planning. These are important factors to consider when deciding on the best board game to buy. Many games are designed specifically with children in mind. Kids' board games are simple and straightforward, and in many cases can be educational. Other more complex games like Monopoly have "junior" versions, simplified for play with a child. These variations help develop a child's interest in board games early, so that they will want to play them later in life.
>> Choose the type of board game
Once you have considered the number of players and their age levels, choosing a genre, or type of board game, is the next step in deciding on the best board game to buy. Categorization of board games differs almost as much as the games themselves, and many board games overlap different genres. Here are the main genres, to use as a board game comparison.
- Classic: This category includes timeless board games, such as chess, checkers and backgammon. Because many of these games have been around for quite some time, some have developed a wide array of variations, such as TV and movie versions. Although many are two-player games, several can support more players.
- Strategy: Strategy and simulation games are some of the more complex board game designs, and involve planning and management of resources or units. Although simpler board games can be found in this category, generally they are not suitable for young children or people with short attention spans. War games are a subset of this genre, and include some complex game designs, such as "consim" games, short for "conflict simulation." Consim board game features include managing units, resources, terrain and production to simulate wartime strategy.
- Abstract: Puzzle and word games are in the abstract category of board games. These games do not rely on themes, but instead cultivate a player's ability to recognize patterns, as well as the ability to problem solve. Some of these games contain a randomized element, resulting in increased playability.
- Party: Party games are intended for groups of people, and can range from abstract puzzle games to trivia. Generally consisting of simple rules and a short play time, these games can be learned quickly and usually emphasize fun over winning the game.
- Educational: These board games, a subset of kids games, can help children become excited about learning various topics. A common educational topic within board games is geography, as it lends itself well to board game designs.
>> Consider the time available to play
Some board games require a longer time commitment than others. Strategy and simulation games generally require several hours, as opposed to other games that might last only several minutes. This is an important consideration when choosing the best board game to buy. Time is a limited resource for some people, who might not wish to commit to several hours of play. An alternative is to play longer games in installments, but space could become an issue when leaving an unfinished game out so as not to disturb the locations of pieces.
Another reason to consider the time available is attention span. Children may not want to sit still and concentrate on one game for hours, but consider adult attention span as well. Keep this in mind when planning a party or get-together, as some people might not want to play one game for the entire visit.
>> Consider where the game will be played
A final consideration when deciding on the best board game to buy is the location of play. Although most board games are suitable for playing at home, some board game sizes are suitable for travel as well. Yahtzee, for example, does not use a gameboard in the traditional sense, and is thus playable on the go, such as on a road trip or in an airplane. Specific travel games are available; these are mobile, sometimes simplified, versions of common games that can be used in confined spaces and when on the road.