10 classic and toy store games that dont suck


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Kia Ora Kotou and welcome to ten classic board games that don’t suck now
the idea behind this video isn’t that these are the only classic board games
that don’t suck it’s more about how there are plenty of classic board games
that are still fun to play one thing I see an awful lot of people doing this
hobby is is punch down on toy store games to rip on people because they like
monopoly or Scrabble or whatever the gamers is an arrogance a level of
dismissiveness involved in this process treating people who haven’t converted to
the wonders of Hobby board gaming as though there’s some kind of inferior or
muggles if you would but I don’t want to get too negative on this I’m not here to
bury people because they’re critical of classic games so instead I’m here to
shine a light on some classic games I think a worthy of a second look so if
someone says I really like board games one of these is my favorite you know you
can always consider playing it with them and then maybe sharing a game you like
with them will kick off with some honorable mentions that don’t quite make
the top 10 the first honorable mention is the most obvious game and that’s
monopoly and monopoly isn’t that bad if you’re playing with the auction rules
and you’re not putting money in free parking still not great but it’s nowhere
near as bad as many people make it out to be the next one is backgammon and the
reason it’s not on my top 10 is I’ve never actually played backgammon but
Steph my partner absolutely adores backgammon and has been suggesting we
buy a very expensive set for sometime now so this one gets an honorable
mention because of her and then finally and this is stretching the definition of
what a board game is because it does have a board its darts it darts is a
dexterity game but at most including darts here because if you’ve seen the
television coverage of it it is an amazing example of how you can take a
basic game and turn it into a television event
alright so let’s head into the list the first game I’m going to mention is
bridge now I’ve only played bridge a few times and it was very much in a teaching
situation so a lot of the complex interactions of contract bridge are
completely and utterly lost on me but the main reason I’m bringing it up is
not so much about the game being fantastic although from my limited
players I can see there’s some excellent skill and expertise required to play
this game well it’s about bridges infrastructure now here’s a curious
thing bridge as a game is kind of dying out most
it’s fanbase are quite old and not a lot of new players are coming into the hobby
but what bridge has is unparalleled infrastructure in my city alone there
are seven trust protected bridge clubs and I know this is true across an awful
lot of the first world as well there’s this massive protected infrastructure
here to support the play of one board game but what of that infrastructure
didn’t exist just for that one game what have all these bridge halls at some
point became board gaming halls so the main reason I’m bringing bridge Up is
to kind of suggest to people that maybe you should join your local bridge club
maybe you should get on the committee maybe if you worried about places to
organize events and stuff there’s a great place to start and maybe over time
they might not just be bridge clubs hashtag occupy bridge number nine on my
list is a game that simply makes more money than any other game and people
were talking about Magic the Gathering sale Magic the Gathering suspect money
make it yeah magic makes nothing compared to what poker does poker in
many ways is the default board game evening activity for an awful lot of
people around the world as many of us are sitting down to play Catan or
terraforming Mars there’ll be another table playing poker somewhere else
and while the downsides of poker are the horrific gambling associated with it
which ruins lives and generally causes a lot of social problems poker night with
your friends can be an awful lot of fun it’s just a game it’s not great for
people with addictive personalities but what it has going for it
is it only takes this deck of cards you don’t have to play with money you can
play with chores or buttons or skittles and M&Ms Next games night consider
playing a poker night with a rule that the winner has to spin their winnings on
a board game of their choice but they have to bring to the next gathering
number eight is a game that gets overlooked quite a bit when people are
talking about classic games and it’s one that people disappear but as well but
it’s been a disturbingly influential game and that’s yatzee yatzee taking
five dice rolling them making sense really simple idea a lot of people enjoy
and play this game but there are an awful lot of hobby games highly
influenced by it straight up about elder sign and the
Doctor Who time of the Daleks game heavily borrow from Yahtzee for their
core gameplay I mean it’s not an accurate to call Elder Sign Cthulhu
Yahtzee and yet if someone says yahtzee’s their favorite game taking
gamer elder sign or Doctor Who time with the Daleks or any of those dice
manipulation games like raka will roll for the galaxy those
could be good games for someone who likes the arts even considered trying
you could consider showing them one of those games and seeing if they like it
as well or you could just play Yahtzee it’s perfectly fine notice if it was
while I contemplated not putting on the list because I don’t know whether it
counts as a classic game even though it came out the 60s and I saw it in toy
shops growing up and I know an awful lot of people who wouldn’t consider
themselves board gamers played it and that’s diplomacy now the problem with
diplomacy is that it’s evil it’s an evil evil game it destroys relationships like
very few other games and fact that a boss at work years ago who after
fighting out I like the board games said to me j. I want you to organize the
diplomacy game for the rest of the leadership team we’ll all play in and
you can be the judge and personal updates the board what do you think of
that and my response was chief you do want your team to like each other at the
end of this don’t you upon realizing that introducing diplomacy into his
leadership team would probably destroy his team rather than build it he decided
to back down on that idea but diplomacy is a unique experience and its
influences can be found in games like a game of Thrones the great thing about
diplomacy is its core idea is so refined and so simple within the game that you
can’t distill the concept really any further so all its imitators and games
that have been influenced later have simply been diplomacy and this
mechanic’s diplomacy with this extra added thing and that’s a sign of a
really well-designed game speaking of games that destroy relationships
here’s risk now risk is one of those games gets maligned an awful lot by
people and with good reason yeah the person to fortify as
Australia normally wins yes the game can drag on for an insane amount of time
that people have stockpiled enough resources but it did create a genre
almost by itself and that’s the dudes on a map genre successive games have taken
risk added bells and whistles to it but risk has been just hugely influential
throughout all board gaming from games like access and allies through to modern
takes like blood rage or Lords of Hellas all of them grandfather back to risk and
of course I’ve mentioned spheres of influence which i think is just better
risk in another video but you know what if someone said I want to play risk
that’s the one game I know how to play I’d be okay with that the next
game is the first game I ever read a book about it’s also the only game I’ve
been in a musical about those two things alone should tell you exactly what I’m
talking about and that’s chess I don’t feel the need to say too much about
chess it’s ubiquitous it’s a global phenomenon it’s been played for a
thousand years or more and there are clubs all over the place there was a
Chess Club at our school I imagine there’s a Chess Club and an awful lot of
schools now I’m not the greatest chess player I’m okay I do have a friend who
was one of those people who used to play 16 people at the same time in a park and
I never stood a chance against that guy and it was playing out some that made me
go I don’t think I’ve got the commitment to this game to get good enough to
really really want to play it a lot and I’ll tell you about its popularity as
well there are numerous chess channels on
YouTube with over 500 thousand subscribers and worldwide there are
millions and millions of players and for good reason it’s almost the definition
of easy to learn and a lifetime to master it is a lifestyle game and you
can play for 20 years every day and still not master the game and that’s
amazing in a way next up is one of my favorite games when I was about five six
or seven and that’s Stratego Stratego came out in
the 1940s and if you’re not familiar with it it’s a two-player game with
hidden information a little bit like chess if you’re not too sure where your
opponent’s pieces work Stratego is a capture the flag game so
it is kind of like chess we’re trying to take the king but as pieces are only
revealed when they’re used for the first time and then they go back to being
hidden there’s an element of misdirection and memorization involved
in the game as well so she goes not as deep as chess but it’s just as easy to
teach and I think a bit more fun as well and another game that’s influenced a
fair few games down the years for example Lord of the Rings –
confrontation and a lot of hidden information war games like Europe aflame
and Europe and golfed unlike some others on this list
Stratego is what I actually want to play again like right now if someone had a
copy of it I’d love to give it a go again I don’t think I’ve played it in 25
30 years number three is the king of word games and that’s Scrabble Scrabble
has an amazing following around the world it’s another lifestyle game
that people really seriously get into there’s a New Zealand guy who won the
French Scrabble championship despite not speaking French he just memorized their
dictionary and somehow still managed to win that is an amazing intellectual feat
a terrifying intellectual feat but got an example of the depth of mastery that
can happen in the world of Scrabble Scrabble is one of those games I
legitimately think is better than not just most classic board games but most
hobby board games as long as you’re agreeing on the same set of words it’s
deep it’s intellectually challenging it’s simple to learn but really hard to
master I legitimately enjoy Scrabble and if people are doing that at a games day
I’ll be more than happy to play again number two is the toy store game I think
is the most amazing toy store game that has ever been published the term toy
store games thrown around a bit make light of some games like Candyland or
the game of life games are the high luck and in some cases nothing but luck this
toy store game came out in the 80s and it still holds up well today against a
large number of Hobby games if that game is Scotland Yard to my knowledge
Scotland Yard is the genre defining game for hidden movement in this game one
person is mr. X a fugitive on the run and the other players are various police
trying to capture them and mr. X has hidden movement and can move all around
the board later games like fury of Dracula last Friday and led us from
Whitechapel have evolved this idea and used this idea but they all use the same
core concepts when I played this as a kid it was head and shoulders above the
other toy store games it was a real Mindbender and after over 35 years in
publication there are hidden movement games I think do it better and then I
prefer more but it’s not by much all of the core ideas are in this game and
that’s why I think Scotland Yard is the best toy store game that has ever been
published and one that’s got a profound legacy and hobby board gaming and
finally a game I have only played a few times and that’s just enough to make me
know how utterly ignorant I am of this game and that is go the things I said
about chess and about big easy to learn yet taking a
lifetime to master their absolutely true of go as well if not more so and even
commenting on the game I feel like a tourist describing a country based on
what they’ve seen at the airport goes also the oldest game on this list I
believe and probably has the biggest player base out of any board game and
although its home is very much in China it has become a global phenomenon and
for all the other games in the list if I was offered a chance to play them I
would and I’d be happy to but if someone offered to play go with me
I’d really respect that because I know it’s a game there’s a hell of a lot more
I can learn about and if anyone came to me and said let’s play go I wouldn’t
dismiss them as a casual game Oh a tourist or someone who hasn’t been
enlightened to Hobby gaming I’d probably just look at it as an opportunity to
learn something more so that’s my list and I just finish off by reiterating
what I said at the start if someone’s favorite game is monopoly don’t rip on
them don’t try to flex about your superior knowledge of board games you
just end up sounding like a dick and if you enjoyed this video like it subscribe
to the channel and check out our patreon

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92 thoughts on “10 classic and toy store games that dont suck

  1. There are a lot of bad "toy store games," but there are some great ones too, even for hobby board gamers (a tiny subset of gaming). For instance, here are some Spiel des Jahres winners I've seen for sale at toy/calendar stores in the US:
    – Azul (Winner 2018)
    – Pandemic (Nominee 2009 & Legacy has won twice!)
    – Codenames (winner 2016)
    – Splendor (nominee 2014)
    – Ticket to Ride (winner 2004)
    – Settlers of Catan (winner 1995)
    – Rummikub (winner 1980)
    – Lords of Waterdeep (didn't win anything, but I saw it for sale at deep discount in a calendar store)
    (I've seen even more in my local bookstore!)

    I know a couple who travel around the world playing contract Bridge. In fact, they met on an internet bridge server back in the early 1990's (OKBridge?). I believe Warren Buffett and Bill Gates became friends playing on opposing sides of a regular bridge game back then. I was never into the game, but my college (early 1990's) had a number of players. They were pretty serious/intense. I guess from these stories it indeed has great infrastructure that is dying out a bit, but I don't think the trend is all that dissimilar to chess clubs. #occupybridge #occupychess

    Another recent hobby board game reboot of Yahtzee is Dice Throne.

    If Diplomacy isn't a classic game, neither is Risk. Diplomacy actually predates Risk by one year. It's creator, Allan B. Callhammer, was so enamored by Chess that it draws both its board size and piece number from the game of chess… just spread over 7 players. At my last company (2017) there was a group of engineers who had a long-running game of diplomacy going on when I joined them (2017). They weren't board gamers, but, ironically their boss and CTO was one: https://www.killmerlin.com/about .

    Another recent hobby game influenced by Diplomacy is Rising Sun. Also, obviously any multi-faction game with VPP was inspired by it: Cosmic Encounter, Dune, and Twilight Imperium. These modern takes really did well to get rid of simultaneous turn order which slows Diplomacy down a lot and is super difficult to adjudicate. (We'd only play Diplomacy in college during finals week because it was the only time we'd all enough time to play the 12 hour+ games.)

    Segwaying to Risk. In graduate school, using my college Diplomacy experience, I won seven games in a row in my first year against my classmates—they even tried variant rules in later games. After that they swore we would never play it again. We didn't.

    Some ironic trivia: Although Risk is considered by hobby gamers as a founding game of the Ameritrash genre, it was actually invented by a Frenchman.

    We all know "that guy" in Chess. Mine turned out to be in the office next to mine in graduate school. He was an International Master, but one of the top 10 players in the United States at the time (he just never played enough tournaments to get the International Grandmaster title). Sometimes, he would go to the student club and run simuls against all comers in the club blindfolded. But mostly I knew him as the only person who ate more McDonald's than me. The dude was obsessed!

    I have the same copy of Stratego features at 8:05. I haven't lost a game yet (ever!) since my childhood and that win streak (which is probably at around 30 – 0) is doomed to fall eventually if I bring the game out of storage and play it. The last time I played it I was in my mid 20's, and I'd be honored to have you break my win streak someday. 😀

    Scrabble. Terrible at word games. At a company I was at in 2005-2007, I knew two co-workers that were avid players. They taught me that you don't have to be good with words to be great with scrabble — it's a game where words/letters happen to be a part of it (explaining the kiwi champion of French Scrabble in your story). I still suck at it though. Great game!

    Scotland Yard won the Spiel des Jahres in 1983 and is probably the newest "classic" board game on your list. To this day I wonder if Stop Thief! was an inspiration to that game.

    I got one of my companies deep into Go (and Chess) in 2007-2009. The trick is to play on a 9×9 board. It still has as many permutations as Chess but you can dish off a game during a coffee break. I'd probably still be playing it today if it wasn't for the fact that the reverse side of my Goban is not a 9×9 board but a Shogi board. 🙁

    Thanks for the tour of some great games!

  2. There are plenty of games I missed out that I think are worthy of mention. Either due to me not playing them (mancala for example) or just running out of spaces on the list (Uno).

    What classic and toy store games do you rate alongside modern board games?

  3. You nailed it with this one! There's a channel about appreciating whiskey…where the most important was enjoy what you like. This is what I feel watching this video.

  4. I played a lot of monopoly when I was a teen and never maneged to finish a game. It simply took too long which demonstrates the design flaw. Its a bad board game that happened to be popular bc we all dream of being "rich".

    What do you mean that Bridge Clubs are protected in NZ? Is it possible to just create a board game club in NZ and gain the protected status and also funding for rent?

  5. I like to rip on my one friend who likes monopoly but more as a joke! We end up playing it all the time lok

  6. Oh jeez ya poker is great too! You have to play with money but nothing stops you from playing for 5 bucks each

  7. I would like to see the mentioning of chess would (nearly) always include the other (older) chess variants: Xiangqi and Shogi (the latter I would choose to play over western chess) 🙂

  8. Every time we played risk my one friend found a way to fortify Australia and then would force us to roll through the whole fight until she lost lol

  9. I liked this video a lot. Go, Gomaji (it's vaguely like 4 Square/othello/reversi), and the Asian chess vsrients are quite popular where I've been based in Asia, but what really surprised me was how quick, competitive and popular mahjong is. I'd always thought of it as a Gray Power Game and never actually bothered with anything but mahjong solitaire. I was happily wrong.
    Oh, and Steph is right, you two should get a classy backgammon set that reeks of antique class.

  10. I agree with your partner that you need a backgammon board! Then do a review of it! Good work on this vid, love the message behind it, thank you

  11. Definitely not as popular or influential as games in this list, but still a great classic game – Durak (and another variant of playing it with a bit more depth – Perevodnoy Durak). It's a Russian card game that can be played with a regular deck of cards. The rules are very simple but provide enough depth to make it a really nice filler game. Not something I'd bring to the table during board game night but still a pretty fun game

  12. I love Monopoly, I don't care who knows it!

    Edit: and Yahtzee and Stratego!

    Great list all around! Have at least half of these on my shelf, no shame here.

  13. Love your attitude man, great video!

    Also recently picked up a 80's Ravensburger copy of Scotland Yard, can't wait for my kids to be old enough to play it.

  14. Great video as always, but no love for Clue(do)? Roll to move aside, I think it still stands up as a deduction game.

    (And cinema classic)

  15. You definitely need to try backgammon. It shows that the often hated roll-and-move can be used in a strategic game. It really shines in matchplay (as it gives the skill of a player time to shine) but is still fun casually as the inherent chance of the dice rolls always gives a new player a chance at winning.

  16. I've played all of the game outside the top 3 and would not play any of them except Bridge again – but then I would not play most modern games either & I am a long way removed from being evangelical. I am dreadful at a few of them, including bridge, which doesn't help & do not enjoy them enough to try to get better!

    As pointed out elsewhere Scotland Yard was SdJ in 1983 and that should remind us that it did not start out as a hobby game thing, in fact I am not sure that distinction was really recognised until the 90s with hobby gamers from outside of Germany turning up at Spiel. The original Euros were just the best of the German family games market (best in terms of strategic depth, clean mechanisms and originality). It did push more towards the heavier games peaking with Tikkal I would say but then has gone back to much lighter stuff and even the Kennerspiele is lighter then my taste these days.
    Really liking games does not give any overlap. I like computer games, my nephews like computer games & the young guys at the wargames club like computer games. But I like RPGs, my nephews like driving games and the wargamers like shooters. Of course we all like GTA.

  17. I live pretty close to the Kapiti Bridge Club and have been thinking for some time now of doing what you suggested. MIght have to wander down some time and have a chat with them.

  18. It's my experience that most people have absolutely no idea that good games exist. Evangelizing the hobby seems only natural.

  19. Two spots wasted on Bridge and Poker? I think they should have been honorable mentions, lumped under a single umbrella of "A Deck of Cards." There are plenty of great classics, Spades, Crazy Eights (original Uno), Hearts, Solitaire variants, Old Maid, Go Fish, War, and so on. Lol. I own Stratego and love it, but I'm on the hunt for Electronic Stratego which spices it up by 200%. You forget Operation!

  20. If you like Scotland Yard you should check out “Clue: The Great Museum Caper”. It is the reason I got in the hobby and holds a special place in my heart.

    The board is similar is similar to clues board with the separate rooms with hallways. Except it’s oddly a “3D” plastic board that sits an inch of the table, so it’s interesting to see on the table.

    One player takes the role of the their and receives a pad of paper with the map drawn on it. On their turn they can move 3,2,1, (or I think 0) spaces.

    The guards start the game by taking little stand up paper minis of famous paintings and placing them throughout the board in the colored rooms as they see fit. They then also receive 6 cameras that can be placed anywhere and matter if you place them orthography or diagonally.

    Guards then move by rolling two 6 sided dice. One is a normal 1-6 spaces of movement, and the other is the random action the guard can take that turn.

    The thief is trying to move through the board and take paintings by landing on the spot on their pad of paper. The next turn they move their 3,2,1, or 0 spaces and remove the painting from the board. So now all the guards have a General idea where you are to find you.

    It’s so much fun and the end chase when the thief has been spotted is only highetend (for my family at least) by the hilarity that guards need to land on the thief to capture them (or that’s how my family plays) so it just seems like a bunch of bumbling guards are diving after this person.

    It’s definitely not a game for everyone, and the random movement and action of the guards may frustrate some players. But I love it!

  21. This! This is brilliant! It's the best deconstruction I've seen of the exclusionary gamer mindset, and also a fabulous evaluation of classic games. Go, BTW, has long been on the top of my list of "games I'd love to learn but are very intimidating." 🙂

  22. Great list, I agree with all of it. There are some good classics that are classics for a reason. Still hold up and a lot of modern games are just a fancier version of them. Like Dice Throne looks so pretty, but I know it's just Yahtzee with health bars.
    I love darts. Not sure I'd count it as a board game, seems like a stretch, but it's damn fun. Have had a fancy board in my cart for many months now.
    I really like the poker suggestion to have the winner buy a new board game with their winnings.
    I have almost purchased Stratego a few times, too. Loved that game as a kid. I have Star Wars Rebellion, which I feel scratches the itch for it though.
    Monopoly sucks though.

  23. Unlike many of the people who commented, I think this video kinda missed the mark. I click to watch a video about 10 classic or toy store games that don't suck. Okay, but what I get is 5 games that are, as you call it, lifestyle games: bridge, poker, chess, go, and scrabble. Yah, no shit they don't suck. If they did, they wouldn't still be around and millions of people wouldn't play them. (Also, two of those being card games is kind of a cheat, in my opinion.) But I literally know no one in my board game hobby group (of around 200 members) who would turn their nose up to any of those games and go: "You play SCRABBLE? What peasantry is this?" So again, it kind of missed the mark for me to include those.

    The other five are alright picks, with Yahtzee, Scotland Yard, Risk, Diplomacy, and Stratego being legit things you might call a classic game that influenced later games and which you can still buy in toy stores today. Maybe not Diplomacy, I haven't really seen that game being sold anywhere.

  24. The cheating helps killing Contract Bridge… sadly. Poker is much bigger than Catan and similar games. Its so huge, no.1 played in the world? Problem with Diplomacy is to get 7 players together, and the time to play it finish.

  25. Fantastic video and great list! Very well said, your message is spot on. I would always include Clue on a list like this, just from nostalgic reasons from me playing it so much when I was a kid.

  26. Backgammon is so good! Do play it with her, though maybe not on the super expensive board at first.

    My pick for a "toy store game" is Masterpiece. It's one of my absolute favorite auction games, and that's by today's standards. All the paintings have hidden values that could be as low as 0. Making a heap of money off of a fake painting, only to watch the buyer sell it to another player at a profit? Amazing.

  27. You mentioned that there are newer games that you think do Scotland Yard's thing but better, what are those games in your opinion?

  28. Monopoly is fine. Just play by the rules. Then put it away and play Acquire. Then look into more of Sid Sackson's games and collections of games he didn't make. They're classics.

  29. Are you familiar with the Pure Diplomacy variant? Seven spaces, all with a supply center. Each space can reach each other space. Seven players. Go!

  30. I love Monopoly, not because it's good, owing to the fact that it isn't, and not ironically. Monopoly, as a social experiment, is very interesting. Watching people crack under pressure and go utterly feral when they realize that they've been getting ripped off.

    Also, I greatly dislike Elder Sign, it's just not mechanically interesting.

  31. I sense some fuzziness as to what counts as a toy store game. I might not count Chess and Go, as they're classic games. Backgammon possibly fits here as well, though it's less clear. I might not count Diplomacy or Risk or Scotland yard as they're hobby games (or war games) that simply predate Catan. Poker and bridge are interesting examples, though once you're opening up the list to card games, there's a whole slew of possibilities, so I'm also tempted to put them in their own category. In the end, the most interesting items on your list, to me, are items like Monopoly, Scrabble, and Yahtzee.

  32. I've someones favorite game is Monopoly, I don't think they have or wanted to play more games. I'd rather play several Ludo or UNO games in a row over 1 Monopoly any day.

  33. I've been playing Scotland Yard for years and had no idea it was technically a "toy store game". I guess that kind of gets at the underlying point you're trying to make here: we shouldn't ostracize games based on where someone bought it; if you like it, play it!

  34. Some I feel are a stretch. I wouldn't really consider poker a "board game" or a particular game either. More of a genre as there are endless different poker games.

    The ONE card game not on this list that I feel definitely belongs here is Cribbage.

  35. I like playing backgammon, and I totally suck at chess, but I absolutely love that you mentioned the musical, which happens to be my favorite musical of all time.

  36. I love Stratego. It's part chess and poker. You can play for free online at Stratego.com. Their desktop version is free. It's best to play against other people, since their computer AI opponent is not worth playing(too easy to beat). Also check out my channel or Ouwesok's Stratego channel for good Stratego tips. You can also download a free app for your phone or tablet called "Heroic Battle". It's a Stratego game that can be challenging for beginners.

  37. Several of these games I won't play because they are too hard. Chess, Go, Scrabble and Bridge all make me feel relatively stupid.

  38. If someone tells me thay their favourite game is Monopoly, I would probably out Chinatown on the table and hope they enjoy it as much as I do

  39. I really appreciate how inclusive you are when speaking about games and the people that love them. Your thoughts on these mass market games, and your previous discussion of "gateway" games show thoughtfulness and kindness. I, too, get frustrated with how dismissive some hobby gamers can be sometimes. Love your positivity and approach.

  40. When you said Go, my heart melted. I have loved being a Go enthusiast, and I used to take it so very seriously. It's enlightening. It takes so long to truly learn, and you always learn so much about YOURSELF along the way. it's a philosophy and I love it.

  41. Thank you again for this great, and useful list! I too believe that the question "do you like board games?" is reaching the level of "do you like movies?" with it's divisive nature.

    There are so many ways to approach board gaming, so many aspects this hobby covers, that the answer cannot just be a simple "yes" or "no". Like when you ask people if they like movies, and they say "Yes I like to watch 3 hour long French art films from the 60's" or "Yes I ADORE Ben Stiller movies". We have different taste, preferences, and concepts of "fun". None of these answers should be considered bad or stupid, because movies, just like board games are diverse and can offer significantly distinct experiences.

    I am in the middle of building a board game collection, and the deeper I get into it, the more I have to realize how differently my gaming groups approach the hobby, and how a game can be perfect for someone and a disaster for someone else.

    Your list points out that we should not forget a crucial aspect of gaming when it comes to "non-gamers" : familiarity. Poker, Chess and many of the games you mentioned became part of the global cultural concept of "gaming". For many people gaming is the smooth, well-know, familiar feeling of being a child, sitting down and play these globally known games with their families. For many people this feeling is part of the act of playing. No wonder so many people gets turned off by 30-60 minute long rule explanations, intricate mechanisms, new concepts and complicated gameplay loops. For some people gaming is smooth, relaxing and simple with rules they known for decades, and a gameplay that became second nature, like being at ease around your family. We should never look down on this, but respect it. This hobby is about having fun together, and not about judging someone else's personal concept of having fun.

    Love from Hungary!

  42. Long time Lurker. LOVE the channel!!!! This was one of your most thought-provoking and valuable additions to the gaming hobby to date! Keep up the great work! If you're ever state-side, specifically around Pennsylvania, lets grab a beer (pint) : )

  43. Risk is still an OK game I think, but there are many different versions of the game, and some are better than others. Risk Europe seems to get the most praise, and it doesn't take 4+ hours like the original has a tendency to do.

  44. J, you definitely have to let S teach you how to play backgammon!

    I learnt to play back at the end of the 90s when there was a copy of the Hoyle's Board Games app floating around my former workplace. It included a great version of backgammon and a more complex version of Parcheesi that was also very addictive.

    Backgammon has the perfect balance of luck,logic and strategy.

    Some classic games that I have enjoyed and also played with my kids are Mastermind, Pass the Pigs, Cluedo, Triominos, Kerplunk and Ravensburger's Labyrinth – it has different names in different countries but here in France, it's just called Labyrinth!

    As far as Monopoly goes, my Mum gave us as copy of Monopoly World Edition (but in French) which is a much shorter game.

    I still wouldn't say it's my favourite game ever but I like this version for something that is still familiar to most people but without all the baggage that come with standard Monopoly.

    I also got sick of standard Monopoly as my ex always played with the same damn strategy every single time. He kept my copy of the game post divorce.

  45. The rule for poker is have a buy-in, so all your friends put in a note (the amount obviously depends on your group, but the idea is a small enough amount that you aren't going to be disappointed when you lose it) and everyone puts it in the pot and gets the same amount of chips and you play until someone takes the pot. It costs you maybe £10 if you lose (but going to the movies can cost that amount, at some cinemas) but you still have money on it (we tried playing it with monopoly money and no one takes it seriously without jeopardy) and the winner takes maybe £60 or so, that's a decent little win

  46. I love backgammon. But… you must use the doubling cube, which means there must be money involved. We play for 25 cents per game, so with a redouble you are up to a dollar to the winner. A lot of fun, especially with a glass of sherry. Crokinole also. Wonderful.

  47. Good list. I would personally put Scrabble at number 1, it is a fantastic timeless design. I would also maybe add Cribbage, Mahjong, and Scattergories, why not. If an over-simplified version of the game is good for the Spiel des Jahres, it should be good for this list :). Most importantly, I would put backgammon into the main list (older than Go according to wikipedia), the Big Three games belong together. Backgammon, the game of the Middle East, Man vs Fate. Chess, the game (not originally from but which became ) of the West, Man vs Man. Go, the game of East Asia, Man vs Himself.

  48. watching your video reminded me of my mother saying “bridge is the game of Kings and poker is the King of games” – and you are absolutely right, nobody should be humiliated for loving any game.

  49. I've seen both those productions of chess. First was directed by Craig Revel Horwood, and the second one in London had the wonderful Michael Ball and Tim Howar (saw it 5 times).
    Do you still tread the boards?

  50. Much agreed with the list, though my order would be different. I'm not much of a fan of Go or Scrabble, but there's still a very valid case to be made for this game. I would have put in Ticket to Ride and Skat. Now Skat is an amazing card game, but sadly not much known outside Germany. The interesting thing is that you play a minigame first to setup the main game.

  51. And (because games brings out the chatty in me) – a couple of other games getting pretty constant play with the kids at the moment is Mastermind and Uno. While these wouldn't be my first choice, the kids love playing them because they get a great feeling of mastery when winning. And the long goal is kids who want to learn more games so playing these games with them builds that positive relationship with us as parents and games.

  52. Thank you for this! I recall this sentence from a interesting book about art history (Gombrich, The Story of Art): 'There are no wrong reasons for liking a statue or a picture…There are wrong reasons for disliking a work of art.' A very humane and inclusive view of art – and I like your message as it applies something similar to board games.

    One game that gets ripped on a lot by serious board gamers is Talisman. I've played countless games of Talisman with my family even though I have plenty of other games I'd rather play. Why? Because my son has absolutely loved it from the age of 3, and my wife has fond childhood memories of playing the game. Therefore I play with them, and we have a wonderful time together, spending time with each other and some very nice memories built in the process. Like the time I need to simply role 2 to 6 to exit the woodlands, take a new destiny card and teleport near the center of the board and to certain victory. I rolled a one, lost a battle, had to leave the Woodlands, eventually, died and my son went on to win.

    To me that's the real pleasure of boardgaming – the time spent with people and the stories you create. What are my other options? Refuse to play any games with them until they realize how bad Talisman actually is and how great the other games in my collection are? Nonsense, let's all play and enjoy it together.

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