Board games are undoubtedly alive and kicking in today’s society. Crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter are filled with designers hoping to bring their games to the market. Places like The Game Crafter, Board Game Design Lab, Print Play Games, and others offer options for designers to bring their ideas to life. It’s even easy now to design your own pieces with services like Shapeways and Ponoko.
So with all these new games being able to enter the market, how do you know what games are trustworthy, and what games are bust?
#1 – Peruse the Internet
Perusing the Internet is probably one of the best options for getting information on new games. You might like tile-placement games like Carcassonne, hex-based games like Catan, or straight up board games like Risk or Monopoly. Well, there’s plenty of sites out there that will pop right up when you’re looking for the “top 10 games of this year”.
One of the best sites out there is of course BoardGameGeek, this website holds thousands upon thousands of reviews, forums, blogs, and fans of the countless games that exist. Just by scrolling down the main page, you’ll find tons of different areas to start looking at. On the left of the homepage is a section called the hotness. This section will show you the most trending games, people, and companies so you can find quick games fast.
A more modern alternative to BGG, is Board Game Quest. BGQ has several writers and editors to keep content flowing in a slightly more organized manner.
Lastly, there’s an interesting little website called Board Game Finder that uses an algorithm (and who doesn’t love algorithm’s) that will offer you some suggestions for a new game. I hope to see them add a thumbs down button so you can get rid of games that you’re not a fan of on the list, like TTR.
#2 – Follow Reviewers on YouTube
Yes, YouTube is undoubtedly your best friend when it comes to finding new games. There’s plenty of videos that cover in-depth reviews of games as well as gameplay videos. Here are some that are generally recommended by those in the community:
#3 Visit a Local Board Game Shop
This is a great option, but might not be available to everyone. Local Tabletop stores used to commonly be found in malls, but since the decline of malls we’ve lost a lot of them. Secondly, there’s not any dominant national tabletop/board game chains that exist. You can however, generally find these stores in strip malls, shopping plaza’s, or somewhere near the main street of your town. Wizards of the Coast also has a shop locator for their products, but there will generally be other board games there as well.
Once you find your local shop, check out their website, or follow them on Facebook or Twitter to see if they have any board game events going on. Or just stop in and see if they do any rentals or have some suggestions for games you’ve played before, or are interested in.
#4 Join a Local Board Game Group
There’s always board game groups nearby, and there’s some great websites to find them
- Meetup: Meetup is probably the leader in finding local groups for just about anything. So it goes without saying, that using them to find a local board game/tabletop group is a smart idea. A lot of groups will have what they are doing on the calendar. If you’re having trouble finding a group, try some of these keywords: Tabletop, board game, boardgame, catan, carcassonne. You can also search for the specific game you’re interested in, and see if something hits!
- Board Game Geeks has a forum dedicated to finding gaming groups. Search around and see if you can find anything that works.
- Geek & Sundry also a forum for finding local groups.
As always, if you can’t find anything specifically, make your way to your favorite search engine and see if you can find anything!
#5 Use a Rental Program
Last but not least, there are some board game rental programs out there. One in particular, BoardGameExchange offers a Netflix-esque service that seems to be the most stable service out there. They have different packages that start at $35/month and send at least four games to you every two months. You may keep them as long as you wish (a minimum of two months) before returning them, and get even buy them at a discounted price.
The service may seem a little pricey, but if you’re an avid gamer, the price is actually pretty good. Being able to try any game or expansion and return it with no worries is something that a lot of us would find useful!
These are just five ideas that I could find to figure out the next board game to purchase. I’m sure there are other ways, and I’d love to hear any thoughts you might have! I hope to see board games become even more popular than they are today, as they always provide an interaction that can missing in relationships otherwise. There are some reports that Board Games are becoming more popular in Wall Street, I can only hope that means we’ll see a revival in physical places to enjoy your favorite board game or find a new one.