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04/26/2021

The Best Board Games in 2021: What to Buy Right Now?

In the era of PlayStations, Xboxes and Oculus Rifts, board games may not be quite as popular as they used to be back in the day. However, the quarantine and other recent events may have brought the appreciation of simpler things back into our lives. 

Board games can be a great way to bond with new friends, entertain a house party or simply spend a nice evening in your own company.  

So, how to choose a good board game for your family? What are the best board games for 2 players? This is what we will try to find out in today’s post.  

What Are the Best Board Games in 2021? 

So, what are the best board games for adults that you can buy and play right now? Here’s our selection.  

Azul 

Azul is the perfect choice for beginner board game players. In addition to being interesting and aesthetically pleasing, the game teaches you all the basics of board gameplay and would make a great introduction to the world of over-the-table gaming. 

In Azul, you need to use solid plastic tiles of different patterns to make a mosaic. 

The setup is as follows: players are artists creating mosaics for Portugal’s King Manuel I. Yes, it may not sound super exciting, but as you get more into the game, things start to pick up. 

Here’s how to play. Players take turns choosing tiles from a common pile before placing them onto their mosaic. In each round, new tiles are taken from the bag and then randomly distributed onto factory boards. 

If you want to take a tile from a certain factory board, you will need to take all the tiles of the same color. The tiles you’ve taken are placed in a row of your choice next to your mosaic. The aim is to completely fill the row and add matching tiles to your wall.  

The trick here is to align the colored tiles. If you are able to make certain patterns or collect sets, you gain points. 

By the end of the game, the player who has accumulated the most points wins.  

It may not sound like it, but Azul is a pretty fast-paced game. It has a simple and straightforward set of rules but is also challenging enough to interest even the most seasoned players. 

Cosmic Encounter 

Cosmic Encounter dates all the way back to 1977. But the game has been reworked for the modern days.  

Think of Cosmic Encounter as a much more exciting version of Diplomacy. The premise for the game is very similar: you need to make temporary alliances to get as much territory as possible under your control. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Well, what makes Cosmic Encounter special is its collection of weird alien species that you get to play for. Instead of controlling warring nations, this sci-fi game puts you in charge of fleets of alien empire spaceships.

You can use the spaceships to invade other players’ planets and expand your influence. You also get to negotiate with other players with the aim of convincing them to send some of their own spaceships to help you attack others or to defend yourself. There are lots of different alien species in the game, each coming with its own set of powers.  

One of the biggest differences between Cosmic Encounter and Diplomacy is the former’s randomness and a large number of unbalanced elements. So, if you love themed board games with some strange mechanics, Cosmic Encounter is sure to hit the spot. 

The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine 

The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine is primarily a card game. Players take turns playing cards during one round. The winner of each round is the player who gets the highest card of the suit.  

Typically, these types of  games are generally meant to be highly competitive, but The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine is much more of an exercise in cooperation.   

As you play the game, you are not allowed to communicate with other players outside of the in-game methods. This may seem a bit strange, but it actually makes sense when you know the game setup. You see, The Crew is about astronauts completing various missions in space — and in space, no one can hear you. 

The game basically relies on players using their intuition to know which cards to play at what time. While luck is definitely a factor in The Crew, it’s not the only thing that matters — by far. The fewer cards are left in the game, the easier it is for the players to choose the best time to play what they have by observing what is left in the discard pile. The player who gets to successfully complete their mission wins the game.

Wingspan 

Wingspan is a relaxing board game about birds with absolutely stunning artwork. So, if you are looking for a chance to unwind over some nice visuals, there is probably no better board game to play. 

Wingspan is packed with lots of fascinating facts about birds, and players need to place them into their chosen habitats. This is an  engine-building game — this means that the players gain and upgrade actions that are designed to be combined with each other. These deep gameplay mechanics make Wingspan particularly interesting and satisfying.  

There are three habitats in total where players can place birds, with each habitat coming with its own associated action. To get a bird into a habitat, players need to attract it with food by rolling and selecting dice results from the bird feeder. Placing birds into their right habitats not only wins you points — there are also bonus effects. You can also get more points if the birds in your habitat lay eggs.  

Once you understand the game and get into the flow of it, you will start feeling very satisfied once you take an action and have that action lead perfectly to another action. Wingspan is beautiful, artistic and incredibly captivating — which makes it one of the best board games out there for both beginners and experienced players. 

Gloomhaven 

Gloomhaven is an exciting game that immerses you into the world of quests, danger and treasures. 

While there are lots of different fantasy games around, Gloomhaven does come with something special that makes it stand out. The game skillfully walks the line between roleplaying and board gaming, offers a variety of quests and is set in a delightfully dark and oppressive atmosphere.  

In the game, players get to become adventurers looking for a job in the aptly named city of  

Gloomhaven. Their jobs then take them on different quests into dark and scary dungeons, which are home to hordes of monsters.  

As you explore the game’s complicated world, you encounter a variety of scenarios where you will need to make narrative decisions with other players. And these decisions come with the potential to change the direction of the whole story. 

Players play cards one by one to perform their character’s actions. And just like with a lot of fantasy games, each character comes with its own unique set of abilities and playstyle. 

There are a lot of things that make Gloomhaven appealing to board game players — but the ability to make choices is definitely a big factor here.  

Pandemic Legacy: Season 0 

Just looking at its name alone, Pandemic Legacy sounds like the perfect fit for our post-COVID reality. However, the game is so much more than just a pandemic experience.  

Pandemic Legacy: Season 0 is a legacy board game that started back in 2015 with Pandemic Legacy: Season 1. Season 0 is actually the last entry in the trilogy. 

The game is set in 1962. The world is in the midst of the Cold War, and a team of operatives are caught in the crossfire between the US and the Soviet Union. And there is a looming threat from a rumoured bioweapon created by Soviet scientists. 

Players get to travel around the world to complete objectives and prevent outbreaks before the game runs out of cards.   

As you play the game, you get to make decisions that affect the narrative. So, you get to take actions that can change the direction of Season 0’s plot. This gives the whole thing a true sense of agency and makes one care about the game beyond just winning or losing.  

The Resistance: Avalon 

The Resistance: Avalon is a game inspired by Arthurian myths and legends. It’s a social deduction game where you are transported to medieval England and become a member of the King’s Round Table. It’s up to you and your teammates to fight for the good side and stop the sorcerer Modred’s many allies. 

Here’s the trick: although all the players in the game may present themselves as knights fighting the good fight, some may be lying about their identities — and, in fact, be secretly on the side of evil. So, while the players on the good side are attempting to complete King Arthur’s quests, the “traitors” will be doing their best to sabotage their attempts.  

In each round of the game, players get to vote on the leader’s choice of companions. Then they secretly play succeed or fail cards that determine the result of the current mission. Three successes gain a win for the good side. Three failures mean that evil wins.  

Avalon is an engaging, fast-paced game that will make a great choice for large groups of people who want to experience real fun. 

Eldritch Horror 

If you are looking for a board game on the darker side, you will love Eldritch Horror. The game will take you into a world that is as fascinating as it is terrifying. Eldritch Horror is a co-op game meant for up to eight players. 

In the game, you will need to make your way through a scary world in search of clues to solve a variety of puzzles and mysteries. Players get to choose between lots of different characters, each of which comes with a unique set of skills and an interesting backstory. Once you’ve picked your character, you will need to guide them through dingy streets, freezing tundras, secret temples, and even different dimensions to complete quests.  

To solve a mystery, your character will need to collect a set of clues. At the end of each player’s turn, the group needs to conquer evil spreading through Eldritch via monster-spewing gates, cults and more. If you fail too many times, your character will suffer. If things get very bad, they will be removed from the game entirely.  

The game keeps players invested through their characters’ persistence. Even though there is very little hope for Eldritch, the game’s characters keep fighting for it through hordes of monsters, beasts and other incomprehensible evil beings. 

This rounds out our list. We hope that this post has been helpful and has at least given you a few ideas on how to spend a nice relaxing evening at home.  

 

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