10 games to start a board game collection with

10 games to start a board game collection with

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to build a collection around one question I’ve been asked a few times is
if I’m getting into the Hobby what games should I pick up to start with and I’ve
had to think about that for quite a while and prepared a list of the games I
think would make a good starting collection for anyone now this list is
designed around people just getting into the Hobby so it’s not going to include a
bunch of Steven Feld games 18 X X’s coins and heavy war games people can
pick those up later this is a list that anyone can pick up pick these ten games
and have a pretty solid wee collection to start themselves on the board gaming
hobby another thing with this list as all the games will be of low to medium
complexity and reasonably affordable before we get into the list let’s deal
with some honorable mentions first the usual wisdom in these lists is to put
Catan Carcassonne and ticket to ride on them I’m not personally a fan of any of
those games but you probably can’t go wrong adding them to a starting
collection it’s not that they’re bad games it’s just this is my listing
they’re not particular favorites of mine if you want to check out solo gaming you
could also start off with hostage negotiator which is a nice entry level
solo game however solo gaming’s not for everyone so I didn’t include that in the
main list and if you’re a huge risk fan I recommend spheres of influence which
is just better risk but it’s a bit hard to get hold of and not everyone coming
to this is played risk before now we have the honorable mentions out of the
way let’s get to the list the first game is on here because I think no other game
does a better job of easing people into the idea of what modern board gaming is
then between two cities and the reason I like this game so much as a gateway game
or as a teaching game is because all the interactions between players are
positive if you’re unfamiliar with the game you work with the person to your
right and left to collaboratively build a pair of cities and the winner of the
game is the person whose worst city is best so it encourages teamwork
collaboration while still being a competitive game and it also teaches the
mechanics of tile laying, drafting set collection and scoring victory points
from multiple sources I’ve never played a game of between two cities where
there’s been any kind of animosity in the game and I think that’s a really
good start point for anyone building a collection plus it’s really easy to
learn and once some people know the game you can mix them up amongst the people
who don’t know how to play and they can teach the others and are encouraged to
do so because of how the game works next up is the exceedingly clever modern
art now modern art is an auction game with the value of the paintings in the
game is based entirely on how often they’re traded during the game so
players create the value of the art by trading it it’s a really simple clever
and elegant design that’s really easy to teach to people and you can have a hell
of a lot of fun with it auctions are also an idea that people
are really familiar with so it’s not like this is an esoteric out-there idea
if modern art is not quite the right fit for you in this spot you can also
consider either for sale or high-society both are easy to learn family-friendly
auction games another thing people muted the Hobby
might not be familiar with our cooperative games and conventional
wisdom says that pandemic should probably be the first choice here but
I’m actually going to go with another Matt Leacock design Forbidden Island
because it’s that much easier and simpler to get on the table and set up
and it’s slightly cheaper forbidden island teaches the basics of cooperative
gaming and can be used as a launching point to other games in the Forbidden
series or into the pandemics or Thunderbirds or any other type of
cooperative board gaming the next thing I’d like to look at is deck builders and
there are a lot of deck builders on the market some are very good some are not
so good but I think if you’re going to start off of deck builders here might as
well start off at the beginning and that’s with Dominion now dominion is
one of those games that is easy to learn but very difficult to master and I think
people new to the Hobby can pick it up see how it works and have a lot of fun
with it it might take a long time to get mastery of the game but that’s half the
fun of picking up a game like the menu and learning first with Dominion means
you’ll be able to step out into the big world of deck builders with a real solid
grounding of how they work alternatively if you’re a big fan of
eyepiece you might want to check out the legendary series instead especially if
you love marvel or aliens or any of the other franchises they’ve covered next up
is a party game now not every group will want a party game but it’s probably good
to have one in your back pocket and it’s a good part of any collection and you
might know I’m not a huge fan of party games but I’m the ones I’ve played the
resistance is probably the best of them players are secretly assigned as the
teams of resistance members or Imperial spies and they go on a series of secret
missions and the goal is to figure out who the real resistance members and who
are the spies and it can be a lot of fun with a big group that buys into it as an
alternative to the slight you can also pick up code names or probably one night
werewolf all three of those games are solid party games and having one in your
collection would be a good idea now the next game steps up the complexity a
little and it’s seven wonders and the reason seven wonders is on this list is
it scales incredibly well from three to seven players it is very easy to teach
rules and a lot of mechanics that are used an awful lot of other games and
there’s a depth there as well you can’t play this game very casually and have an
awful lot of fun but you can’t actually dig into it and get some mastery of the
game and I think that’s important for starting collection having those games
that you can learn with and you can build up your skills and you can get to
understand how other games work a lot of what happens in between two cities get
styled up in seven wonders so instead of dealing in partnership with the people
on your right left you’re an active competition with them and I feel that’s
a nice evolutionary step to have within such a small collection of games mixed
up as a game I’ve had a lot of success with casual gamers with and that’s as
all now as well as a Thailand game it’s very very simple to learn as well but
again it has that depth in the game that once you learn the basics of it you
start seeing bigger patterns and you see how the game comes together
and it becomes a lot more clever and that’s a recurring theme on this list
picking up games that easy to learn but have that extra mastery that you can dig
into later as all is really popular with people who like playing puzzle so
someone likes doing Sudoku or other things online and you want to get them
into board gaming it’s a great game to put on the table because they look at it
and go I get this as a puzzle you put things here you do that and that’s how
you score points okay that makes sense to me have someone new to the Hobby
those external points of experiences they can latch on to to help them learn
the game are incredibly important other games that could possibly fill the slot
a sagrada santorini century spice road and splendor there are an awful lot of
worker placement games on the market and awful lot of them and i feel any
starting list probably should include a worker placement game one that’s
relatively easy to learn but also has that depth i keep talking about and for
me I’m gonna pick raiders of the north sea now there’s a few other games that
could have come here like Stone Age or Lords of Waterdeep but if the Raiders
are such a clever load of medium complexity worker placement
game that it just couldn’t get off my list the place won’t worker take one
worker mechanic is an awful lot of fun and the art and the theme are quite
evocative as well and again this is a game that’s not super complex and that
people can dig into and learn and master and take those skills on to other games
now a lot of you will know this I come from a wargaming background I’ve played
a lot of war games over the years and in a lot of ways that’s my first love of
them the hobby but there’s not an awful lot of really good introductory war
games there is however memoir 44 any of the commanding colors games could be on
here battle or battle cry commander colors itself but I feel memoir 44 is
the most accessible of them mostly because it feels like playing with toy
soldiers the order system in the game is really interesting it’s a compelling
game to play and again it’s another one of those games that’s simple to learn
there’s a lot more depth to it that initially looks and if you’re not keen
on war games which I totally get I’d recommend replacing this one on the list
with one of the games I mentioned when I was talking about a sword so something
like segrada or splendor instead and finally a pretty simple game that
combines variable player powers area control and competitive play and that’s
small world small world looks really dinky and inviting but it’s a mercenary
and brutal game but what makes it a great game for a starting collection is
that it teaches you about area control games it teaches you about the variable
powers you can have and this game’s absolutely dripping in different
variable powers because each faction you play has a combined race ability and
special ability that makes them unique to play each time it’s also ultra
competitive and it’s good to get a taste of that sort of game to see if it’s for
you and again another one of those games that look simple when you start playing
there’s a heck of a lot more depth of complexity within it so that’s my list
of 10 games to start a collection with I hope you enjoyed it if you’ve got your
own list just put them down in the comments below and if you enjoy this
video like it subscribe to the channel and check out our patreon

About the Author: Garret Beatty


  1. My favorite thing about your vids is how you always offer alternative options for each game. "Want the same game but without X, try Y." Love it.
    So many people on forums say, "oh, this has been done better" without giving examples or saying where.
    Thanks again – keep up the great work.

  2. 1) King of Tokyo
    2) Takenoko
    3) Forbidden Island
    4) Burgle Bros
    5) The Captain Is Dead
    6) Book It! Wrestling Promoter Game
    7) Smash Up
    8) Star Wars Epic Duels
    9) Flux
    10) Zombie Dice

    All super super simple, unintimdating games that look nice, have basic rules that can be taught quickly, are usually quick to set up, colorful, inviting and fun for all ages w/ that easy to teach but lots of hidden strategy involved if you choose to go deeper and gets them coming back for more.

  3. Good grief, I wouldn't use any of your list for a first 10 to buy. Well, maybe 7 wonders. Mad King Ludwig is better for auctions than the ones you listed, so on and so on. Raiders as a first wp game? Absolutely not. Coal Baron far easier to teach and grasp. Best intro deck builder? Clank. Dominion is obsolete. I like most of your vids but feel you are waaaaaay off the mark here.

  4. I would say
    Azul, Love Letter, One Night Werewolf, Carcassonne, Forbidden Island, Ganz schon clever, Coup, Between to Castles, Cash and Guns, and Ticket to Ride. These are all games I have learned easily and loved or that I played with non-gamers and they asked to play again.

  5. Absolutely great video that breaks all my cliche board game lists and provides a great rationale for each game selected in the collection, with alternative games to boot.

  6. Our faves so far are King of Tokyo, Sushi Go and Takenoko. Ticket to Ride is fun, but a bit bland (great for gaming nights with children). I’m so happy to be getting into this hobby!

  7. Mine would be:
    Sushi Go
    Lords of Waterdeep or Stone Age
    Fireball Island (reboot)
    Love Letter Premium
    Dungeon! (or Talisman)
    Escape the Dark Castle
    Flash Point Fire Rescue
    Smack Talk Showdown

  8. I really agree with this list and statement that games like Catan, Carcassonne and Ticket to ride are a bit overrated. I have a question along these lines that maybe you can help me out with: Consider this exact same video, ten affordable and easy to learn games to start a collection, but also aimed at a non-english speaking community where the language barrier can be problematic, hence games that are text intensive like Bloodbowl: Team Manager and Arkham Horror would be out of the question while games like Alhambra and Power grid would be prefered.
    I appreciate your perspective on this, and thank you for considering taking on the challenge. Cheers.

  9. Smallworld is the worst board game ever.
    Every round you have to re-learn the rules of the game, every single time you play the game. And it's not just one different rule, like Flux, it's the rules for every player, which are all different, and all interact with each other. Why would anyone want to play a game that is impossible to learn?

  10. I just wanted to say, that you have made an excellent video for the following reasons.
    1) It's brief
    2) You categorize the games
    3) You mention your own biases (Note I still plan to get Carcassonne)
    4) You give alternatives

    I am new to gaming and while I probably wont get many of the games on your list, you have given me a good place to start and I confirmed some of my choices.

  11. Smallworld is absolute garbage, don't get this as one of your first games. It's not even easy to learn as you'll be checking the reference 50 times per turn. Horrible game and I've seen so many people put off of board gaming entirely because of it.
    Furthermore, if you do happen to like Smallworld, there's a world of way better games that will immediately replace it and it'll just collect dust.

  12. I've played and enjoyed many on your list. Now I'm in love with Evolution:Climate by North Star games. I have the stand alone version. Definitely recommend. I like Agricola too but it's too complex for beginners we've found.

  13. All make sense, tho you shouldn't have to wait to get 6 or more games before trying something slightly more difficult like Pandemic. I think that's not what video implies, but in case that's what you got from it. Often you can rent a game and see if it's for you.
    A great visual party game is Dixit. I feel like you do not need to buy any box for games like mafia, so I am not sure if ultimate warewolf will be worth the money (haven't played it yet).
    Anyways good video. If you may make a video on when it's worth to put cards in the protective sleeves.

  14. In no particular order:
    1. Clank!
    2. Mission: Red Planet
    3. Castles of Burgundy
    4. Love Letter
    5. Codenames
    6. Forbidden Desert
    7. Azul
    8. 7 Wonders
    9. Kingdomino/Queendomino
    10. Quest for El Dorado

  15. Survive Atlantis has proven to be one of the best gateway games in my collection. And it doesn’t get old for me either!

  16. I would recommend Betrayal at the House on the Hill. It is a great tile laying game that includes the traitor mechanic. I loved your list by the way.

  17. Hard to see a list like this where Pandemic is an after thought:) Good list though, gonna give Small World a second look. Glad Bang wasn't on list. that almost got me out of gaming:)

  18. 7 wonders is a great first game like my first game of it I had no idea what was going on was just making wonder on wonder and I won by like 10 points XD

  19. I am very basic as all I like is Ludo,Snakes and ladders,Chess,checkers and Minecraft:builders and biomes. I did expect at least one of these games to be on the list but I guess not and I am kind of disappointed that they aren't on the list.

  20. Kind of beside the point but Incan Gold (now called Diamant) was the game that got me into this hobby seriously. I usually use it to introduce people to gaming and most of them have gone and bought their own copy.

  21. I think every one should own Bloodrage. Every thing you can do is outlined in the board so you don't have to remember rule.
    It takes 5 min to explain as well.
    There are no dice, so there is no luck (my biggest problem with board games), it has amazing miniatures (you control an army of well modeled Vikings), and the game features several ways to win the game. I even won the game by purposely losing every single battle. So it's newbie friendly.

    Now that's amazing.

  22. Well the way I was raised, the boardgames we had were always: risk, monopoly, clue, parchisi, candy land, life, stratego, yatzee, canasta, and guess who.
    I didn't get exposed to what gamers and tabletop people would consider good boardgames until my 30s and it's been an uphill battle to get anyone interested.

  23. i don't have a top 10. but if i have less experienced players around my table, i put on Kanagawa or Isle of Skye. Roborally can be fun too. Number 1 party game: Dixit!

  24. Cooperative games are the worst idea in history of board gaming. Playing without even a chance of crushing your opponents? Why?

  25. I was doubting between smallworld and bloodrage for a nice board game to start with, i finally picked bloodrage. Hope i made the right decision

  26. My only change would be Dominion, as I think the genre has produced shinier games since its inception. For example, Quest for el Dorado has never failed me, has easy rules, cool theme, eye catching, and brings to the list the concept of racing.

    Quacks of quedlinburg is also great for this list, and introduces bagbuilding and push your luck.

  27. 1. Everdell
    2. Star Wars: Rebellion
    3. Cosmic Encounter
    4. A Feast for Odin
    5. Machi Koro
    6. Ticket to Ride
    7. War of the Ring
    8. Summoner Wars
    9. Tanto Cuore
    10. Betrayal at Baldur's Gate

  28. no particular order as any of these could top anyones list:
    candyland/shoots and ladders combo
    trouble(with pop-o-matic bubble)
    deck of cards
    scene it(seinfeld edition)
    a puzzle(500 pc minimum)

  29. Well you lost me. If you don't like Catan or Carcassonne I doubt that i will like your list. They are my favorite easy games because they are fun anyway.
    I watched the rest of the video and I like 7 Wonders and Azul (but really for newbies). I knew i few others but not like that much. Thanks for the video.

  30. Memoir 44 is a brilliant intro wargame. My seven year old is learning how to move units up together for mutual support and thinking about how to organise his units in the present and next few turns units for something they'll do several turns later. It's an excellent teaching tool. Ogre is another intro level game that fits this space well with the newbie taking the ogre. He's been playing that for about a year now but hasn't been very good at improving his handling of a side with combined arms. Something Memoir 44 seems to encourage a little better, possibly because each unit is slightly more robust.

  31. Am I the only one who learned to play Axis and Allies when I was 7 or 8? 😂

    Also, I like Secret Hitler a lot more than One Night Werewolf. With werewolf it takes a while for new players to become familiar enough with the roles in the game to effectively lie about who they are. Whereas with secret hitler it’s a lot simpler to figure out the basics of not giving yourself up.

  32. I'd go for
    Pandemic (coop)
    Quacks of Quedlinburg (bagbuildung, randomness)
    Kakerlakenpoker (bluffing)
    Agricola (worker placement)
    Captain Sonar (party game+real time)
    The Quest for El Dorado (deck builder+racing)
    Power Grid (auctions+economics)
    Dungeon Fighter (Dungeon crawler+dexterity)
    Blood Rage (zone control)
    Mage Wars (mini war game)

  33. So glad I found this video. I’m new to the hobby and was looking for a list or website that would list games that increased in complexity and taught various mechanics in an introductory way that are used in more complex games.

  34. How can you not put Catan, Carcassonne, or, Ticket to Ride on the list??? What are the chances that you don't like any of those? Like most like at least one

  35. Awesome list. Just wanted to mention that I highly recommend Avalon over the resistance. It’s the same game but with a different theme PLUS expansion for almost the same price. The additional roles make the game more interesting and more strategic.

  36. Myself i am not sure if i could brake it down to 10 games, too many great ones. I would go more like 10 types of games such as (of course there are other great types):

    1- A tile laying game (Carcassonne, Kigdomino etc…)

    2- A roll & write game (Welcome To, That's Pretty Clever etc…)

    3- A Coop game (Pandemic, Flash Point: Fire Rescue etc…)

    4- A deck building game (Dominion, etc…)

    5- A route building game (Ticket to Ride, Railways of Europe etc…)

    6- A city building game (Suburbia, Ginkgopolis etc…)

    7- An economic game (Airlines Europe, Vikings etc…)

    8- A card game (Lost Cities, Biblios etc…)

    9- A worker placement game (Stone Age, Village etc…)

    10- A push your luck game (Can't Stop, King's Gold etc…)

  37. Clank
    The Resistance: Avalon
    Quacks of Quedlinburg
    Pandemic Iberia
    Mission Red Planet: 2nd Edition
    Isle of Skye

  38. I have Smallworld Underground and I like it but I'm starting to feel like it's getting somewhat repetitive because when you play with the same number of players all the time you are constantly playing on the same exact map, while games like Catan and Carcanssonne have a different map every game.

    The same goes for Ticket to Ride, once you get a hang of which tracks are the most important, every playthrough is kinda the same. Ticket to ride also suffers from a lack of interactions between the players, this is the most obvious when playing with 2 players. You'll do the best if your tracks are far from the other players. And cutting other players off is rarely useful towards your missions therefor it's almost always seen as griefing.

  39. 1. Reef
    2. Silver and gold
    3. Bang: the dice game / deception
    4. Forbidden desert
    5. For sale
    6. Ticket to ride
    7. Dice throne
    8. Archaeology
    9. Nmbr9
    10. Just one

  40. I just wish there were more for 2 players. Not everyone has a big play group to access. Solo games are ok, but the concept is to play with others. I know it's more fun in larger groups, but life is life sometimes.

  41. Great video! Definitely need to check out Between Two Cities. That's one of few from the list we have yet to play.

  42. Forbidden Island was a great gateway game for me. It has just enough to it to make it interesting without feeling overwhelmed, and it's easy for the more experienced to help the newbs.

    Dominion was our first deck builder, and nearly killed deck builders for me when my husband broke it the second time we played c.c Ascension, of all things, actually saved it for me XD

    Been a hobby gamer for years now and embarrassed to say I haven't played some of these c.c

    Small World is only one of two games that I actually had to walk away from to keep from table flipping o.o;; It might be banned from our house.

    I'm surprised Tsuro, King of Tokyo, Sushi Go, and Sheriff of Nottingham didn't make the list. We had some great experiences getting friends and family hooked on hobby board gaming because of them.

  43. I recently discovered a new favorite game called Clank! and was surprised no one mentioned that one. Really fun and accessible deck builder board game for 2-4 players.

  44. My collection is pretty small (only 6 games), but I played a lot with friends that have larger collections than mine. From your list I've played Forbidden Island, Dominion and 7 Wonders, and they are good suggestions for starting a board game collection. I didn't play Raiders of the North Sea, but I played Architects and I like it, I would recommend it. I've played Sagrada too.

  45. My list would be, using only games that I have:

    • Codenames – Party/Word/Team game
    • Love Letter – Small/Secret Role game
    • Skull – Bluffing/Out on the pub game
    • Azul – Abstract game
    • Kingdomino – Tilelaying/bidding game
    • Century: Golem – Engine builder game
    • The Mind – Co-Op game
    • Klask – Dexterity/Physical game
    • King of Tokyo (Power-Up expansion highly recommended) – Dice chucking/conflict game
    • Quacks of Quedlinburg – Push your luck/bag or deckbuilding game.

  46. Really enjoyed this list. I had not heard of most of these games, but I am intrigued with many. I definitely want to know more about solo games because I don't have many people around to play with. I adore Splendor!

  47. Games my husband and I got into together and enjoy as relative beginners – Coup, Love Letter (fun quick card games), Forbidden Island and Castle Panic (excellent cooperative games), Sushi Go and Machi Koro. I also like Pandemic:Rise of Cthulhu, the Fluxxx cards games and Qwirkle.

    For myself alone, I love love love Kingdom Builder and Tsuro (I play them as apps on my iPad).

    Planning also to pick up Hellapagos to add to my collection.

  48. My personal recommendations (although in no particular order)…
    I) Carcassonne
    ii) Sheriff of Nottingham
    iii) Forbidden Island (Completely agree with the video comments)
    iv) Kingdomino
    v) Colt Express
    vi) Catan
    vii) Codenames
    viii) Star Realms
    ix) Sushi Go!
    x) Ice Cool (always good to have a children's game in, especially one adults can have fun with too)

  49. Great video! Forbidden Island is a great intro co-op for sure! I am a big fan of Roam and Scythe and they are fairly easy to rope new players into 😉

  50. I couldn’t think how to pick 10, so here are the 10 games I will pull out if I have non-gaming people over and we decide we should play a game (no particular order)

    – wingspan
    – tiny epic galaxies
    – century: golem edition
    – azul
    – dominion
    – munchkins
    – pipeline
    – Castles of mad king Ludwig
    – Grimm forest
    – catan

  51. Edit: They're in no particular order.

    Here's my own list with reasons as I go, keeping true to the same structure you have: reasonably light in that the pieces don't overflow out of the box, as well as keeping affordability in mind. As well as giving something of each genre.

    10 Coup – The "Party game". Is a simple game of deduction and deception. Best played with 3 – 5 players, but can be played with just one other person. Each player has 2 cards, from the deck of 15 in the middle There are 3 copies of each of the 5 unique cards. Each allow you to perform a specific action or prevent another player from performing that action. The hitch: These cards are kept secret and are never made public knowledge unless you challenge that player's honesty. And you are encouraged to be deceptive.

    9 Sushi Go. The "Card Drafter" – I want to preface this by saying if you can foot the cost of Seven wonders, it will very likely be a strong pick and a solid choice. However if you want to just dip your toe into the water of the genre before buying a big box game, Sushi go is a much lighter game of the same genre. The lightness and portability of it all comes at a cost, though. It lacks the complexity and consequently the replay Value that Seven Wonders retains. Still though. It's a safer investment for those unsure of the genre. Seven wonders is the direction to look if you fall in love with game. It CAN be skipped in favour of Seven wonders. But as a start up game, both games should be posed to you and I feel It should have been listed as an alternative on this list.

    8 Citadels "The role selection and powers game" In Citadels, a player starts the game with the crown and selects the first card from a roles deck. The role deck is passed around the table, each player taking a card before passing it on. Each role is numbered and has a unique power. After the roles deck is empty, the roles are read out and players who selected their roles take their turns based on the numbers on the roles. The roles with the situational useful abilities go first, while the perceived "stronger cards" go last in the round. The objective of the game is to build x amount of city cards first.

    ——- It's at this point I realized you have probably covered all these games in 3 minutes or less already. So I'll just flesh out my list with titles and genre and people can investigate your channel to find a synopsis. ———

    7. The mind "casual/ co-operative" (brutally difficult, big twist on Co-op genre, and that is that there's no communication allowed. It's very hard to co-operate but not communicate)

    6 Guillotine "Heads will roll" (competitive, point accumulation)

    5 Dungeon Mayhem Living card game. Foundation for keyforge. Alternative could include Unstable unicorns.

    4. One deck dungeon "Dice chucker with result manipulation, powers managment"

    A fun note: every game mentioned above in this list until now all fit in a single shopping bag

    3. Clank! (It's a deck builder) it is a big box game. May not be for everyone.

    2. Dead of winter "Territory control" Assuming everyone has played Pandemic. This is a bigger box, and it is on the more complex side of everything else on this list.

    1 Sub Terra (In replacement of your "anything from the forbidden series" as a more unique substitute for Pandemic)
    I feel it's worth putting Sub Terra's name forward. While smaller than seven wonders, it's the biggest boxed game on my list. Perhaps no larger than

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