Strategy Games

Best Strategy Board Games for Families: A How-To Guide

Best Strategy Board Games for Families

In an era dominated by screens, family board game nights stand as a testament to timeless fun, offering a blend of strategy, competition, and camaraderie. Strategy board games, in particular, encourage critical thinking, planning, and decision-making skills, making them both entertaining and educational for players of all ages. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the best strategy board games for families, providing detailed instructions and insights to enhance your game night experiences.

How to play Risk. Best Strategy Board Games for Families: A How-To Guide

1. Ticket to Ride

Overview:

Ticket to Ride is a railway-themed board game designed for 2 to 5 players. Players collect train cards that enable them to claim railway routes connecting cities across North America. The longer the routes, the more points they earn. Additional points come from fulfilling Destination Tickets – goal cards that connect distant cities; and to the player who builds the longest continuous railway.

How to Play:

  1. Setup: Each player receives 4 train car cards and 3 Destination Ticket cards. Players must keep at least two Destination Tickets, but they may return one.
  2. Gameplay:
    • On a turn, a player can do one of three things: draw train car cards, claim a route by playing a set of train car cards that match the color and length of the route, or draw additional Destination Tickets.
    • Completing routes between the cities on their Destination Tickets earns players points.
  3. Winning: The game ends when one player has two or fewer of their colored train pieces left. Players then calculate their final scores based on the routes they’ve claimed, the Destination Tickets they’ve completed, and the Longest Continuous Path bonus. The player with the highest score wins.

2. Catan

Overview:

Catan (formerly The Settlers of Catan) is a multiplayer board game where players assume the roles of settlers, each attempting to build and develop holdings while trading and acquiring resources. Players gain points as their settlements grow; the first to reach a set number of points, typically 10, wins.

How to Play:

  1. Setup: The game board is composed of hex tiles representing different land types. Each player starts with two small houses on spaces where three tiles meet. Players gain resources based on the adjacent tiles’ numbers.
  2. Gameplay:
    • Players use resources (brick, lumber, wool, grain, and ore) to build roads, settlements, and cities. Each of these contributes to the player’s accumulation of victory points.
    • A unique aspect of Catan is the trading mechanism. Players can trade resources with each other, enabling them to get the materials they need to progress.
  3. Winning: The first player to reach 10 victory points on their turn wins.

3. Carcassonne

Overview:

Carcassonne is a tile-placement game where players draw and place a tile with a piece of southern French landscape on it. The tile might feature a city, a road, a cloister, grassland, or some combination thereof, and it must be placed adjacent to tiles that have already been played, in such a way that cities are connected to cities, roads to roads, etc. The player can then decide to place one of their followers on one of the areas: on the city as a knight, on the road as a robber, in the cloister as a monk, or on the grassland as a farmer. As the game progresses, these followers will score points for their owners.

How to Play:

  1. Setup: The game begins with a single starting tile. Each player has a supply of followers.
  2. Gameplay:
    • On their turn, a player draws a new terrain tile and places it adjacent to tiles that are already face up. The new tile must be placed in a way that extends features on the tiles it touches.
    • After placing a tile, the player can choose to station a follower on a feature of that newly placed tile, aiming to control that territory and score points once it’s completed.
  3. Winning: The game ends when all tiles are placed. Players score for incomplete features. The player with the highest score wins.

4. Pandemic

Overview:

Pandemic is a cooperative board game where players work together as a team to treat infections around the world while gathering resources for cures. Players must strategize and plan their approach to stem the outbreaks and epidemics. The game ends when either the diseases are cured or the world succumbs to the pandemics.

How to Play:

  1. Setup: The board represents Earth with cities connected by networks. Players randomly draw roles with special abilities and start in Atlanta, the home of the CDC.
  2. Gameplay:
    • Players take turns moving between cities, treating infections, discovering cures, and building research stations.
    • The game challenges players with outbreaks and epidemics, which accelerate the spread of diseases.
  3. Winning: The players win by discovering cures for all four diseases. They lose if outbreaks spread too widely, if not enough disease cubes are left when needed (representing widespread infection), or if not enough player cards are left to draw.

5. Risk

Overview:

Risk is a classic game of military strategy, conquest, and domination. Players control armies and attempt to capture territories from other players. The goal is to occupy every territory on the board and eliminate the other players.

How to Play:

  1. Setup: The game board is a map of the world’s continents divided into territories. Players decide on the order of play. Each player is allocated a number of armies to place on the board.
  2. Gameplay:
    • Players take turns to reinforce their armies, attack other players, and move their armies across the board.
    • Attacks are decided by rolling dice, with the attacker and defender both having chances to lose armies.
  3. Winning: The game ends when one player controls all the territories on the board, declaring them the winner.

Board games like these not only provide endless fun and challenge but also bring families together, creating lasting memories. Whether you’re building railways across North America, trading resources in Catan, or curing global pandemics, each game offers a unique strategic challenge. By following this guide, you’ll be well on your way to mastering these games and ensuring your family game nights are filled with joy, competition, and strategic gameplay.

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