3 New Board Games to Check Out Right Now

family board games
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Before we had kids, my wife and I used to thoroughly enjoy playing board games. The two of us went head-to-head in countless rounds of Scrabble and Othello, and when friends gathered, we would play long rounds of Ticket to Ride or Settlers of Catan. Then we had kids, and now we usually go to bed early and see our friends once every four or five months. So it goes. (On the plus side, one of our kids is now old enough to play some games with us, which is pretty cool.)

On those rare occasions when enough free time presents itself to allow for the whiling away of time, I still love a good board game. And while the aforementioned classics will always have a spot in our game cabinet (yes, we have a game cabinet, as do all the cool kids), I’ve recently been enjoying a few new games that have shaken things up, refreshing those all too rare game nights.

If you love gaming, you’ll love these three new board games.

Villainous

The Disney Game That Encourages You To be Evil

new board games villainous disney game

There is much to like about Villainous — a new board game from Wonder Forge that pits classic Disney villains against one another — including the surge of nostalgia that will overcome most adults. My favorite aspect of this not-too-challenging but readily enjoyable game is the fact that each player has a different objective and wins by achieving different goals than his or her rivals. Unlike so many zero-sum, winner-takes-all board games, in Villainous, Captain Hook wins by defeating Peter Pan while Jafar wins by subduing the Genie and getting the magic lamp to the Sultan’s Palace.

Don’t worry, all that and the rest of it will make sense within a few minutes of reading the rules and starting the game. The point is that by working at cross purposes with your rivals, the play becomes more sinister and fun (and potentially enraging, sure); you don’t want the same things, but you do want to stop your enemies from achieving their goals. Using Fate Cards, Villain Cards, Tokens, and more, you and as many as five friends — er, foes — will vie to fulfill your evil aims. And all in less than an hour, usually.

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Shadows In the Forest

The Game You Play In the Dark

new board games shadows in the forest game

I got the ThinkFun game Shadows In the Forest earlier this summer because I thought it would be a fun game to play with my son during father-son camping trips, but it turns out that playing on the dining room table is plenty of fun too. In fact, it’s probably more fun than trying to play this game on a table than on a tent floor, and when you have a few more players, the gameplay is definitely more delightful. Shadows In the Forest is unique and simple: In a darkened space, you set up the board and designate one player as the Seeker, while all the rest are Shadowlings. During each round, the Seeker moves a lantern around the board while the Shadowlings move behind the various trees, attempting to stay in darkness.

Look, if you get a group of adults together for game night, leave this one on the shelf. But for a group of mixed ages (the game bills itself as being for kids age eight and up, but kids several years younger than that can handle it), this is an easy-to-learn game that doesn’t take long to play. And, if there’s ever a blackout, you can make hay with this baby.

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Thanos Rising

Maybe Thanos Didn’t Do Anything Wrong?

new board games thanos rising game

There’s a lot of noise on the internet these days about how Thanos did nothing wrong. If that makes no sense to you, don’t worry, little out there on the web makes any sense anyway. And if you don’t even know who Thanos is, that’s OK, too. FYI, he’s a “mutant member of the race of superhumans known as the Titanian Eternals” and a seriously problematic person for all the good people in the Marvel Comics universe, like the Avengers who are always trying to hit and stab and shoot him and such.

To enjoy the game Thanos Rising, knowing all that stuff helps, but it’s certainly not required. In this highly challenging game, which is definitely best played by adults, two to four players use dice and cards as the tools with which they defeat enough of Thanos’ comrades to stop his evil plans (killing most people on Earth). Many games end in a loss for the good guys, which might frustrate some, but will motivate most people to play round after round.

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