Game nights are great: you skip the cost and chaos of going to a bar, actually get to talk to your friends or connect with new ones, and can escape into another world that doesn’t include scrolling through your phone. A true miracle.
For many, the phrase “adult board games” only brings to mind Cards Against Humanity. And no offense to the offensive game, but there are so many other amazing games you should have in your arsenal. Below, a few top picks curated using a mixture of personal opinion, the advice of gamer friends and, of course, the fine work of Amazon reviewers.
The Resistance, $10.83 on Amazon
In a nutshell, The Resistance is about how well you can lie to your friends. The game is set in a dystopian future where resistance fighters face off against a corrupt government who have unleashed spies into to the resistance ranks. Through a series of “missions,” you try to deduce who among you are the spies, and who is part of the resistance. It’s simple, but you’d be surprised how quickly it delves into absolute mayhem in the best way possible.
One Amazon reviewer wrote “currently I (and my group of friends) have played this game over 800 times. So when I tell you that this is a fantastic game, it’s a bit of an understatement.”
Dixit, $27.99 on Amazon
Dixit is unlike any game you’ve played. It’s avant garde, centered around beautifully illustrated cards that are, erm, strange. (Think dogs wearing monocles, a potion master who is also a cat, a sad man made out of paper.) When it’s your turn to go, you pick a card from your hand and tell everyone a phrase, noise, movement—whatever—and they pick a card from their hand that they feel matches that description too. Next, you shuffle the cards and vote on which you think was the original card. If other people snag some votes away from the actual card, they get points too.
One Amazon reviewer wrote about her experience playing the game with a reluctant group of people. “The comments I received were like, ‘This is the most unusual game I've ever played,’ and, ‘I'm engaging parts of my brain that I never use!’ It was a hit and a half, so if you're reading this you need to get this game.”
Betrayal At House On The Hill, $32.45 on Amazon
I’ve never played this game, but 1,950 customer reviews on Amazon give the impression that Betrayal is spooky and fun. The gist is that you are building a mansion, but in the process, may stumble upon an “omen” which then begins “The Haunt.” One Amazon reviewer likened this game to the child of Clue and Dungeons and Dragons. The only downside? Another reviewer complained that the figurines “are very low quality” with faces that look “warped and inhuman.” Noted.
Pandemic, $31.99 on Amazon
In this game, you play a scientist trying to stave off a pandemic outbreak. Based on reviews, this game seems a bit more complicated to get the hang of, meaning it’s probably not the best choice for an impromptu game night. That said, once people understand the game, they can’t seem to stop. One reviewer wrote, “this is one of the best board games I've ever played that features a team dynamic,” adding that unlike the classic strategy game Settlers of Catan, “which will ruin any and every relationship you ever had, this co-op will reveal the true colors of anyone daring to pick up a colored pawn.”
My favorite review read: “We played several games. We lost our first few, then kept winning. Our kids were annoying us with petty stuff like, ‘Daddy, I'm hungry’ and ‘Mommy, my toe fell off’ but sometimes you just have to tell your kids that now isn't a good time, because Daddy is building a research center and then has to fly to meet Mommy in Milan, and there is leftover ham in the refrigerator.”
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