This post is part of The 12 Days of Christmas
This is part 4 of a 4 part series meant to give some ideas for those looking for last minute gift ideas, or just interested in discovering some cool games. You may wish to check out part 1, 2, or 3 a look, which are lists of recommended children’s games, family games, and games for newcomers to the hobby (respectively).
This list is for people looking for fun games that have already played several non-traditional board games or for people looking for the next step-up from gateway games. This list will not have any crossover with the previous lists. These games are better for those familiar with a variety of board games, but they could work for people with less experience.
1. Eldritch Horror
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
Play Time: 120-240 Minutes
Recommended Age Group: 14+
Player Count: 1-8
A few years ago and this would have been Arkham Horror, but this game kills it. Eldritch Horror is basically Arkham Horror, but more streamlined with a feeling of greater scale and weight without adding too much complexity.
Each game is done as a mystery style as players work together to defeat an Eldritch God, such as Cthulhu. What I like particularly well about this game over Arkham is the sense of scale. In Eldritch Horror, play takes place all over the globe vs just in a town. This leads to more interesting adventures and subsequent stories to recount to others about your gamming experience. Lastly, the game is still tough as nails which makes it all the better.
You can pick up Eldritch Horror at coolstuff.com for $38.49.
2. Magic the Gathering: Arena of the Planeswalkers
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Play Time: 25-45 Minutes
Recommended Age Group: 13+
Player Count: 2-5
Remember that old game Heroscape? Well here you go, that’s what this game is. It’s nearly identical, aside from the name and a few minor changes. If you own any Heroscape pieces you can make them compatible with this game and vice-versa.
While the game really isn’t all that complicated and could even work wonder for newcomers, I included on this list for those familiar, or looking to be familiar, with the Heroscape franchise.
If you were a fan of Heroscape, or always wanted to give it a shot, here’s your chance to get your hands on it again. This game would make a logical next step for newcomers looking for more, and would make for an excellent addition for seasoned gamers. Even better, it’s not all that expensive! You can find this game online at coolstuff.com for $29.99 or even in target locations for about the same price.
3. King of New York
Play Time: ~40 Minutes
Recommended Age Group: 8+
Player Count: 2-6
If you’ve ever played King of Tokyo, then you’ve probably felt like the game was a bit too simple at some point. While King of Tokyo is better suited as a gateway game, King of New York is significantly better for gamers.
The game features more complex mechanics and has more substance than its predecessor. The only real thing holding this game back is the lack of expansions to expand the game a bit further. That being said, the game is the logical next step-up if you enjoyed King of Tokyo. Even if you didn’t enjoy it, this may be more your speed since it’s a meatier experience.
King of New York can be found at coolstuff.com for $32.99.
4. Mage Wars
Publisher: Arcane Wonders
Play Time: 80-90 Minutes
Recommended Age Group: 9+
Player Count: 2 (3-4 with expansions & second set)
Mage Wars is a mage battling board game where two players pit against each other with either pre-constructed or custom spell books (decks). The game is a lot of fun, but can get pretty complex once you start making your own spell books.
What makes this game unique, is that all the spells in your spell book are available to you right away. This means that you don’t have to worry about drawing a card you need when you need it, however, players must be mindful of when they use their cards because there are only a limited amount of each in the book.
Arcane Wonders has since also released Mage Wars Academy, which is a lighter and easier version of this game. I have not played that one though, or it could have potentially made this list, or another. I just wanted to point this out.
Mage Wars core set is available at coolstuff.com for $39.49.
5. Tragedy Looper
Publisher: Z-Man Games
Play Time: 120-180 Minutes
Recommended Age Group: 15+
Player Count: 2-4 (Best with 4)
Tragedy Looper is a 1 vs all game about adverting a terrible tragedy using… what else? Time travel. The game is actually fairly clever in how it uses this mechanic though, and to avoid spoiling the game I’ll leave it at that.
The biggest drawback for this game is going to be that you should really only play this game when you have exactly 4 people to play it. Ideally, the person who owns the game should know the rules inside and out before playing and be the antagonistic force for the game.
As for the other players, they should be briefed in advance on at least the basic concepts for the game, since it is complicated. Once all players have done the practice game in the rules, the game should be fairly straightforward.
As mentioned, 1 player acts as the bad guy while the others attempt to figure out what causes the tragedy to keep occurring. If the players stop it, they win. If not, they loose and must “restart” and try again.
Tragedy Looper is sold at coolstuff.com for $26.49 but is out of stock at the time of writing (12/8/15). However, the game is in stock at Amazon for $38.49 if you can’t wait.
From these 4 lists, I hope that you were able find some fun games to enjoy for yourself or for someone you know. If you liked what you read please leave a like on these articles and consider following me here, via email subscription, Facebook, or Twitter @JS_Reviews. Did you agree with my list or think I left something out? Let me know in the comments below!