It’s hard to find board games that haven’t been played a million times before. Even a lot of new games are rehashed old games – think Catopoly (which is exactly what it sounds like) or Risk: Game Of Thrones (which is also exactly what it sounds like).
But there are tons of board games that shake up the traditional dice-throwing, card-dealing formula. From marble games to app-based games to German memory games, check out these bizarre board games that’ll provide hours of entertainment.
Kerplunk is a kids’ game with more losable pieces than a puzzle – and the marbles aren’t exactly ideal game fodder for little ones. Still, it’s a lot of fun. The game is similar to Jenga – withdraw the straws without sending the marbles tumbling through the tube.
It’s more satisfying than Jenga, since one rogue move doesn’t send the whole game into disarray. In Kerplunk, players carry on playing until every marble has made its way through the tube. It’s not the most cerebral game going, but it takes a lot of nerve to pull out that next straw.
9 Geistes Blitz
Translated, Geistes Blitz means Ghost Lightning – and it takes lightning speed to win it. This great game requires speedy reactions and a very keen eye. The game seems simpler in theory than it is in practice: look at the card, and pick up the item that doesn’t match either the color or the object that’s shown on the card.
The difficulty isn’t in beating the game – it’s in beating everyone else hovering hawkishly over the table, waiting for the next card to be revealed. Simple, but tons of fun.
8 One Night Ultimate Werewolf
This app-based game is a fun party game for adults, since it relies on strong bluffing and a good memory. Players are designated roles, including the eponymous werewolf, villagers, and troublemakers.
Each player reveals themselves in line with the rules of the game – and then discussions commence. The werewolf must attempt to disguise itself from the other players until the round is over – if another player identifies the werewolf, the jig is up. No two rounds are the same in this quickfire game.
Chess dates back to the 6th century – so maybe that’s why the rules are so bizarre. Who invented that crazy knight move? Still, there’s a reason the game has endured – it’s a brilliant test of logic and strategy.
It takes a long time to become a seriously good chess player – the likes of Magnus Carlsen and Beth Harmon are prodigies, so don’t be despondent if you don’t capture the king in your first, say, 20 games. But with a little patience, it’s a lot of fun to learn.
6 Life On The Farm
Life On The Farm is kind of like a less corporate Monopoly. The game was created by an American family to celebrate life on the farm, and to teach people how to run a small farming business.
Rather than putting others out of business like those money-counting, Mayfair-owning Monopolists, the aim of Life On The Farm is to either retire comfortably or own 60 cows. It might be the most wholesome game in existence.
Nyctophobia is the official term for a fear of the dark – which, naturally, means this game needs to be played blindfolded. It’s a co-op game, so it’s great for anyone who’s more into strategy and less into competitive board games. To play the game, several players will have to escape the Hunter, who can take the form of a Mage or an Axe Murderer, depending on the version. If the Hunter catches up to any of the other players, they win – and only the Hunter has the benefit of being able to see the board.
Since players have to play by feel alone, the sense of apprehension and unease is much higher than in many other games. For a milder experience, play the Mage version. Choose the Axe Murderer version for more unnerving gameplay.
4 Throw Throw Burrito
Made by the creators of the popular card game Exploding Kittens, Throw Throw Burrito is a new kind of card game – one where it’s mixed with dodgeball. This game comes with a deck of cards and two cute squishy burrito missiles, designed to be thrown at your opponents and used as dueling weapons.
The aim of the game is simple – win more points than the other players. But while picking up points is as easy as picking up cards, getting hit by flying burritos causes you to lose points. If you get caught up in a burrito brawl or a burrito duel, be ready to dodge.
3 Shadows In The Forest
This spooky game has a pretty unique premise – it’s designed to be played in the dark. Light the board using the lantern, which can then only be moved by one player who’s on the hunt for Shadowlings. Dodge the lantern and hide out in the forest to avoid detection.
The darkness definitely adds a creepy element to this game – it’s a fun choice for Halloween, or any dark winter night when it’s difficult to see what’s lurking in the shadows.
The only things needed to play Monikers is paper, pens, and a lot of imagination. Each player writes down 8 things – it can be literally anything, from random objects to inside jokes. Be warned: the more obscure the reference, the trickier the game will be.
Split into two-player teams and four rounds, Monikers gets progressively harder as players go from describing what’s on the cards verbally, to using only their heads and faces. Describing “The Lovin’ Spoonful” using only your facial expressions is tough, but it sure is fun.
1 Mr. Bacon’s Big Adventure
If a bacon rasher was a playable character in the Game Of Life, the resulting game would be Mr. Bacon’s Big Adventure. Journey with Mr. Bacon and his family through Mustard Marsh, Gristle Grotto, and a whole host of other meat-themed areas to reach the Great Frying Pan. The player that jumps into the pan first wins.
With a spinner, counters, and game cards, the setup is pretty standard – it’s the setting and characters that make this game more than a little offbeat. But it’s a really fun, fast, family game that’s great for playing over breakfast.
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