You May Also Like: Ticket to Ride
The Ticket to Ride board game has become a modern classic, sitting alongside other classics like Catan (or Settlers of Catan as many of us know it as). It's one of those games that everyone should play at least once. Gamers of all levels can appreciate the stellar game design and mechanics. Finding something that can be as fun for someone trying out the board game hobby as it is for a hardcore strategy gamer is quite rare, but Ticket to Ride manages to achieve that feat.
There have been upwards of 20 expansions for Ticket to Ride, usually another sign that a game is really strong. We have excluded all expansions for the purposes of this list, it's a safe bet if you enjoyed the base game you'd enjoy the expansions. Instead, we've focused on games that you may have never heard of or considered but should given their similarities to how Ticket to Ride plays.
Ticket to Ride features three main board game mechanics; set collection, card drafting and route/network building. Again, we decided to focus our list on the set collection and card drafting side of things, as this opens things up to a wider variety of themes.
|Number of Players||2-4|
Forbidden Island one of the classic cooperative board games. Players take turns moving their characters (each with their own special ability) around the 'island', which is built by arranging the many beautifully screen-printed tiles before play begins. As the game goes on, more and more island tiles sink, becoming unavailable, and the pace and tension of the game increases. Players work together using strategies to keep the island from sinking, while trying to collect treasures and items. As the water level rises, it gets more difficult - and sacrifices must be made!
|Number of Players||2|
Another modern classic, Lost Cities is one of the best two player board games. Designed by board game legend Reiner Knizia, this is a card game that was released as part of the Kosmos two-player series.
The object of the game is to gain points by mounting archaeological expeditions to the different sites represented by the coloured suits of cards. On a player's turn, they must first play a single card, either to an expedition or by discarding it to the color-appropriate discard pile, then they must draw one card, either from the deck or from the top of a face-up discard pile. Cards played to expeditions must be in ascending order, but do not need to be consecutive. Handshakes cards are considered lower than a 2 and represent investments in an expedition and add extra points to successful expeditions during the scoring phase. So for example, if you play a red 4, you may play any other red card higher than a 4 on a future turn but may no longer play a handshake, the 2, or the 3. The game continues with players alternating turns until the final card is taken from the deck. Any cards in hand at this point are discarded and players score their expeditions.
King of Tokyo
|Number of Players||2-6|
The King of Tokyo board game throws you smack dab in the middle of a good old monster movie. You play as mutant monsters, strange aliens and gigantic robots - all of whom are destroying the city of Tokyo and pummeling each other to be crowned the one and only King of Tokyo.
At the start of each turn, you roll six dice, which will show one of the following six symbols: 1, 2, or 3 Victory Points, Energy, Heal, or Attack. Over three successive throws, choose whether to keep or discard each die in order gain energy, restore health, win victory points, or attack other players.
The fiercest player will occupy Tokyo, and earn extra victory points, but that player is not able to heal themselves and must face all the other monsters who decide to attack alone!
Throw in special cards purchased with energy that have a permanent or temporary effect, such as the growing of a second head giving you an additional die, nova death ray, body armor, and more.... and this game is an explosive battle every time it hits the table!
In order to win the game, a monster must either destroy Tokyo by accumulating 20 victory points, or be the last monster standing after all other monsters have exhausted their health points.
Both Set Collection & Card Drafting
|Number of Players||2-4|
Splendor is a game of card development and chip-collection. Players take on the role of merchants of the Renaissance trying to buy gem mines, shops, means of transportation - all in order to acquire the most prestige points. If you're wealthy enough, a noble may even grace you with their presence, which gains you further prestige.
On your turn you must choose one of three options: collect chips (gems), buy and build a card, or reserve one card. All the cards you buy increase your wealth, as they provide you with a permanent gem bonus that can be used on later buys. Some cards give you prestige points in addition to the gem bonus. To win the game, you have to be the first to reach 15 prestige points.
The fun in Splendor comes in having to make tough decisions on your turn. Do you take gems to purchase a more expensive card? Do you grab a lower card while you can to build your pool of bonus gems? What card does your opponent want, can you prevent them from getting it by reserving it on your turn? The one clear answer is that Splendor is a unique game that you can spend countless hour bringing to the table without getting tired of it.
|Number of Players||2-4|
|Publisher||Next Move Games|
Azul burst onto the scene in 2019 to huge acclaim. This game is a pattern builder where you select a group of tiles on your turn, using them to construct an attractive set of ceramic tiles for the walls of the King's palace in Portugal.
Players take turns drafting colored tiles from suppliers in the center of the table to their player board. Later in the round, players score points based on how they've placed their tiles on their player board, representing how they have decorated the palace. Extra points are scored for completing sets and specific patterns; unused (or wasted) supplies harm the player's score. The player with the most points at the end of the game has impressed the King the most and wins the game.