Like Board Games? Here Are 6 Recommendations for Designer Alternatives

board games, designer games, recommendations, monopoly, pictionary, dixit, pictomania, catan, the resistance, love letter, clue, machi koro

In my last article, I gave you half a dozen reasons to start playing designer board games.  Now I’m back, and I’m going to suggest a few modern alternatives to some standard board games you grew up with.

Machi Koro

Played Monopoly?  You roll, you move, you make decisions, and you are destined to die in destitution while someone else gloats about their limitless wealth. Your Baltic Avenue goes into foreclosure as they plop skyscrapers into their prized territories. Well, there is a faster, more enjoyable alternative that still provides you the feeling of amassing property — Machi Koro.

board games, designer games, recommendations, monopoly, pictionary, dixit, pictomania, catan, the resistance, love letter, clue, machi koro

Instead of moving along a board, you roll dice to activate buildings. The bakery, for example, triggers on a 2 or 3, and rewards you with 1 coin. It’s that simple. There are four different styles of buildings, including a few that steal from other players, so you can still relish taking someone’s cash and using it to fuel your own victory.

Bonus Pick: Catan

Catan is a little more in-depth than Machi Koro. It’s slightly more serious, but also highly accessible.  It still has the roll-to-trigger idea, but with additional resources. Build cities, establish roads, block opponents, and be the first to 10 victory points. With over 15 years of history, it’s a staple in the designer game world.

The Resistance

Played Clue? Nothing made you feel closer to being the Batman than discovering that the diabolical Professor Plum murdered that poor girl in the study with a lead pipe. But enough criminal politics — let’s procure a game to suit your investigative nature. It’s called The Resistance, a game for 5 to 10 players.

board games, designer games, recommendations, monopoly, pictionary, dixit, pictomania, catan, the resistance, love letter, clue, machi koro

In the distant future, the shadow government seeks to… something something. It’s up to you and your friends to stop them — but not everyone can be trusted. The loyal resistance must go for success, but the spies can tank each mission to prevent victory. The gameplay is fun, and accusations fly everywhere.

Bonus Pick: Love Letter

Don’t have enough players? Then perhaps Love Letter will be a better fit. In this 2-to-4 player game, you use a deck of 16 cards to outwit one another and successfully get your Love Letter to the princess. You can win by eliminating other players or having the highest ranking card. Small, portable, and elegant, Love Letter is comes in additional varieties like Lord of the Rings, Batman, and the recently released Adventure Time.

Dixit

board games, designer games, recommendations, monopoly, pictionary, dixit, pictomania, catan, the resistance, love letter, clue, machi koro

Played Pictionary? Everyone remembers drawing random things in an attempt to get your team to guess your Picaso-like pictures. Doing a little reverse engineering, Dixit gives you the image and asks you to describe it. The twist: everyone else plays a card too, the pile is mixed up, and everyone votes on which one they think is yours. The goal is to stay subtle, but see to it that a few people know what you picked. Gorgeous art and simplistic gameplay guarantee that this game will hit the table time and time again. It also offers heaps of expansions to keep images fresh.

Bonus Pick: Pictomania

In Pictomania, everyone is dealt six cards, and they must secretly pick one. The twist is that everyone draws and guesses at the same time. It’s a little chaotic, but this game for three to six players encourages laughs and highlights various artistic styles. Plus, it’s from one of the best publishers in the business.

If these grabbed your attention, click through any link to buy the game on Amazon and support more great content here at Laser Time. I’ll be back soon with recommendations that are a bit more brain-bending. Cheers, and thanks for reading!

 Article by Dan Simmons of the Gaming Nonsense Uncensored Podcast.

5 thoughts on “Like Board Games? Here Are 6 Recommendations for Designer Alternatives

  1. Nice picks. I slightly prefer one night ultimate werewolf to resistance but that may be just down to the roles throwing in more randomness, it still follows the theme of finding the traitor in your midst.

    Settlers of Catan is great and still makes regular occurrences at my game table.

  2. Matthew Jay: If you like Sci-Fi, I would say give Lost Legacy a go. It’s very similar to Love Letter (same publisher too, AEG) and has a little more deduction to it. At the game end, instead of comparing cards and highest points wins it’s instead trying to find out where the lost legacy is. Could be in the ruins, another players hand or yours! Very fun game, has 6 different versions or so and can be mixed and matched as well.

    RacoonHail: Have you played the expansions like Germany for Catan or the ones like Seafarers and Barbarians? I want to look into some of those myself!

    Brendalf: I am hoping that with a little refinement on our end that Lastertime may consider adding our podcast to their site as well. We do the Gaming Nonsense Uncensored Podcast for tabletop and usually go for theme. For example, our Superbowl episode was Brewcrafters (beer) and Scoville (game about peppers & Chili). http://gnupodcast.podbean.com/e/gaming-nonsense-uncensored-ep-016-we-look-at-scoville-and-brew-crafters-aka-beers-buffalo-wings/

    Austin: I agree about ONUW and I am going to have an article about board game cyborgs: Games that use both board and app on the way soon 🙂

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