I love games of all kinds, including sports, video games, and of course board games. What's really special about board games is how easy they are to pick up and play. I've got a pretty solid collection of games, but these 5 are standouts for me.
It's a classic. A historic board game, with real international clout. Chess is a masterpiece of a game because as the saying goes, it's easy to learn, but hard to master. I first learned to play chess via The Chessmaster for Super Nintendo, because no one else in my house really wanted to play. I later joined my school Chess club, and I earned the first chair seat for one chess meet, and went on to lose. I was much better in my usual third chair position. As great of a game that Chess is, it definitely takes some convincing to get me to start a game, which is why I ranked it lower on the list.
The first fully cooperative board game I played was Forbidden Island, which nearly made the list, but it lacks the replayability that Pandemic literally brings to the table. For those who haven't played, Pandemic puts you and the other players in the roles of a team tasked with finding cures for four different outbreaks, each vying to wipe out civilization one city at a time. It's daunting at times, but that's what makes it so satisfying when you all manage to work together to find that last cure and save the world.
Much like Chess, Risk is a game I only play every once in a while, but it's worth investing the time. The rules are pretty simple; you move your armies from country to country and challenge the other players, and world domination is determined by your maneuvers and a little bit of luck. This simple rule-set also allows for some home-brewing. I remember playing with my friends and making secret pacts and deals in separate rooms, much like an episode of Survivor. Usually those games derailed into us throwing "kamikaze" pieces onto the board, disrupting the whole flow of the game. Just goes to show there are many ways to enjoy the game.
2. Sushi Go! Party
I picked up Sushi Go! at PAX East 2017, and it's instantly become one of my favorite board games. In it, you pass your hand from player to player, taking one card at a time trying to match different types of Japanese dishes for the most points. I soon picked up Sushi Go! Party, which is more than an expansion. It takes the basic concept of Sushi Go! and adds tons of new dishes and a cool game board to easily keep track of points. And did I mention it has a bunch of little kawaii sushi and dumplings?
1. Trivial Pursuit
If any game is more the opposite of Chess, it's probably Pictionary, but Trivial Pursuit is pretty close. I love trivia, and I fill my head with trivial facts every day. I listen to trivial podcasts, watch trivia shows, and I even read the trivia section on IMDb after every movie I watch. In high school, I was in two trivia clubs. I've owned Trivial Pursuit, Trivial Pursuit Pop Culture 1 & 2, 80's Trivial Pursuit, 90's Trivial Pursuit, and Marvel Trivial Pursuit. You'd think with all the trivia I've stuffed in my head, I wouldn't be able to play Trivial Pursuit so much, but it all disappears somehow and I get to enjoy this one again and again.