Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Top Ten Board Games Of All-Time

Board games date back to 6000 BC. The Chinese were playing them. The Egyptians played them. Had Jesus had a chess set he may have played them (well, his Dad was a carpenter I'm sure he could have whittled a chess set no problem). And even with games consoles and the such board games are still popular.

So without further ado my personal top ten board games of all time.

10. Battleship

The classic war simulation. Everyone has heard of Battleship. Both players stick an assortment of naval craft to a board and then try and sink their opponents before their opponent sinks theirs. The game itself started life as a pencil and paper game back in 1931; before it became the classic board game.

09. Ker-Plunk

How to describe Ker-Plunk to someone who has never played it? Well it is a tube with a load of sticks poked through it; which a bunch of marbles rest on. Players then take turns taking the sticks out trying to not let any marbles fall. The player at the end with the least amount of marbles wins. OK, I admit my description is not the greatest but it truly is one of those games you have to see, and play, to understand. A great game for kids - and adults who never grew up.

08. Monopoly

The real estate board game. Make money by screwing everyone by slamming a hotel on Mayfair; then the rent is two grand. English people got the 'Mayfair' reference everyone else is most likely wondering what the hell Mayfair is. The US get Boardwalk, Germany gets Schlossallee, and Spain gets Paseo Tablado. Basically everyone has their own streets on their version of Monopoly - unlike when the game was created in the 1930s by Waddingtons. Try avoid paying tax (just like Mitt Romney) and don't forget to collect 200 for passing go.

07. Connect 4

If you don't know what Connect 4 is you have picked the perfect time to climb out from under a rock. Connect 4 (also known as Captain's Mistress, Four Up, Plot Four, Find Four, Fourplay, Four in a Row and Four in a Line) involves dropping plastic discs in a plastic grid; first one to get four in a row wins. Two people can have hours of fun (or not) playing this game. More than two people and you'll have to take turns.

06. Buckaroo!

Play centers around a simple plastic model of a mule. The mule begins the game standing on all four feet. Players take turns placing various items onto the mule's back carefully. If you place an item on the mule, and it bucks, you are out. Play continues until there is just one person left. Back in 2006 a child needed surgery after getting hit in the eye by one of the objects being thrown off. Production of the game was stopped for 2 years; and in 2008 resumed.

05. Scrabble

Scrabble, the board game where words don't have to be real words. Well they do but they can be words in the 'official scrabble dictionary'; which contains 100,00+ words. These are words you will only use in Scrabble. The board is 15x15 squares where you can take turns in placing your seven letters to form a word. Certain squares alter the value of the letter (double/triple) and others alter the value of the whole word (double/triple). The winner is the one with the highest score at the end; when all the tiles have been used or cannot be played.

04. Operation

Everyone wants to be a doctor. And with Operation you get the chance without having to worry about being sued. Using tweezers you have to remove a body part without touching the sides. If you touch the sides a buzzer will sound; and the patient's nose lights up. For every piece you successfully remove you get paid for - the winner is the one with the most money at the end. Sometimes, but not often, the winner will eventually go to medical school and open their own private surgery.

03. Cluedo

Cluedo (or Clue) is the board game where you solve a murder. Well, not a real murder, but you still get to solve it. The object of the game is for players to move around the game board (a mansion), as one of the game's six characters, collecting clues from which to deduce which suspect murdered the game's perpetual victim, Dr. Black (Mr. Boddy in the US), and with which weapon and in what room. I always felt bad for Mrs White when they accused her. She seemed such a friendly cook. But it turns out she was killing Dr. Black in the dining room with a dagger. Her parole hearing is scheduled for next year.

02. Chess

The game of war from the ancient times. In looking this stuff up I found out the game originated in India in the 6th century. I'd always thought it was of Chinese origin - which proves I know very little about the origins of chess. You play on a 8x8 board with various pieces which move differently. I started to type the pieces and moves out but just typing the pawns moves turned into an encyclopedia entry (basically it moves forward one square at a time except at the beginning where it can move two and when it captures an opposition piece it does so diagonally). This is where Google is your friend - just search for 'chess moves' if you feel so inclined. The winner of a chess match is the one who 'checkmates' their opponents king. Me, personally, I always found chess a little more fun when the pieces were based on something; such as the Transformers chess set. What could be more fun than the decepticons and autobots doing battle? Quite a lot but it adds to chess.

01. Mancala

Mancala is not a game. I did not know this until I looked it up. It is a family of games. And the game I have always called Mancala is in fact called Kalah. Anyway because I can be stubborn at times I shall continue to refer to it as Mancala. The game requires a Kalah board and 36 seeds or counters. The board has six small pits, called houses, on each side; and a big pit, called a Kalah or store, at each end. Many games sold commercially come with 48 seeds or counters, and the game is started with four seeds in each house. The object of the game is to capture more seeds than one's opponent. Sounds simple. And it is to a degree; but that is the appeal whether you have never played, or you are a Mancala expert, the game is easy to play.

And just because everyone should experience Mancala at least once - here is a flash version provided by


  1. It came as a surprise to me that you are into board games, given your assertion about team-playing... Most (board) games aren't about teaming up anyway, you're just as much “on your lonesome” as in real life, relying on your own skills, wit and bravery in order to become a master player.

    As for me, I love board games and am an enthusiastic advocate for playing regularly in my family.
    Generally speaking I favour a quickie, as it promises instant joy and laughter, over the more complex and time consuming games such as Chess, Monopoly or Cluedo, but it depends on the circumstances.

    Your list is almost 100 % congruent with what games I would put on my top-ten list. For me the value of a game is determined by its simplicity, depth and longevity. Mancala would definitely be among my top-three too.
    #10 "Battleship" I prefer to play the old-fashioned way with paper and pencil. It is called "Schiffe versenken" (Sink Ships) in the land of germs as we don't faff around when at war, we don't aim for anything less than to sink the opponent.
    Haven't played #09 but know the similar "Jenga" well.
    Didn't know that the alternative name for #07 is Fourplay and had to laugh while I pictured the scene.

    My additions to your list would be "Carcasonne", "Dixit" and the classic "Mikado".

    1. Although, usually, the board games themselves mean being a team of one it is a good chance for everyone to just 'hang out' instead of all separate (one watching TV, one on the Internet, one texting, one doing something else etc).

      Yep, Chess, Monopoly, and Cluedo all take time. Them I have to be in the mood for.

      The Germs take war seriously? I would never have guessed. LOL.

      I have to admit the idea of a kids game being called "Fourplay" did seem kind of worrying; but I suppose it goes with the innocence of youth that they got away with it. Most likely wouldn't in today's 'Politically Correct' world.

      I Googled Mikado, because the only thing that sprang to mind was the Gilbert & Sullivan opera, and remember playing something similar as a kid but with plastic sticks - but for the life of me I can't remember what it was called.

      Dixit looks interesting. Carcasonne, when I googled it, reminded me of the Sid Meier computer game Civilization; but on a more simplistic scale. Wasted way too many hours as a kid playing Civilization so Carcasonne would most likely be good fun to me too.


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