Top 5 Games that get people talking around the table

Human interaction is what makes board games one of my favourite activites, having a group of people gathered around a table laughing and engaged with each other is just amazing. It's what sets board games apart from a lot of things for me. Here are my favourite games that get players to look up from the board and engage in interesting and memorable moments together:

5) #XCOM: The Board Game - One of my favourite co-op board games, the app integrates so well and prevents quarterbacking in a non-oppressive way. The fact that you each are in control of a substantially different element of the game means everyone feels important and useful. The interaction comes as you, against the clock, try to plan and respond to what the game throws at you. You each feel like you need the limited resources provided so are negotiating but also aware that your team mates are doing important work. In the second half of each round, where things are resolved, suddenly the time pressure is off but you are all very invested in each dice roll as they have impacts for all of you. The dice are mean in this game, so every victory gets a cheer and failures bring groans but aren't unexpected so it never feels like someone is letting the team down. 

4) #Nemesis - I love the tension in this game, it's semi-cooperative (but mostly competitive) nature means you are invested in what other players are doing and will occaisionally assist each other in a series of alliances of convenience while secretly working towards your own goals. So you chat and plan while also being deeply suspicious of everyone else's motivations. As such, the chat around the table while this is being played is always great.

3) #Captain Sonar - This is a great game if you can get eight people together. Team based games are rare and Captain Sonar really knocks it out of the park. Similar to XCOM, you each have a very specific role but here they are all highly integrated meaning you have to be in constant communication with your team to succeed. Feeding information to each other but because you can take turns as quickly as you are able, there isn't time for you all to weigh up the best move. So you tell your teammates what you can, in the most subtle way you can as the enemy sub is listening in the whole time. There is a wonderful energy to this game I would highly recommend it. And after the game the discussion is brilliant as you all describe the mistakes you made.

2) #Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game (also true for #Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game or #Shadows Over Camelot) - All of these hidden traitor games are great. It is one of my favourite mechanics as any decision can spark suspicion and therefore an interesting conversation. You are for the most part working as a team, so planning and negotiating together but always holding back just a little as you eye everyone up. I like Dead of winter especially as everyone has secret personal objectives and naturally leans towards keeping their own characters alive which means everyone will end up doing things that seems suspicious. This also gives the traitor an excuse for doing unusual things. Similarly the crossroads cards are great for sparking a discussion, occasionally a moral one as you decide between your own sensibilities or what you think might be mechanically best.

1) #Archipelago - You've all heard me rave about this game before, it's, in my opinion, one of the best games to allow players to make interesting deals and negotiate to try and gain an advantage. The semi-cooperative nature ensures forces players to talk about how to handle that turns crisis. But it is also a game where you will lose if you try to go out alone. You have to trade and make deals to get access to certain resources. All the while though you are trying to figure out what your opponents scoring objective is (as everyone scores them) and even this information can bartered for. When I've gotten a  committed group and around this game something pretty magical has happened each and every time.

What games do you find get players talking? Do you like that in a game?



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Supporter13 months ago

Thanks to your lists I'm looking at #Archipelago.  I also love the sound of what may be happening in #Nemesis.  I love the idea of semi-cooperative really competative style of game.  Sounds like it has a strong chance of some back stabbing?

13 months ago

Haha, #Archipelago  and #Nemesis did tend to feature a lot. Both have space for back-stabbing, Nemesis generally has to be less direct. There are some fairly direct actions you can take to hurt other players (set a room on fire, lock them in a room with an alien/throw a grenade into that room) but for the most part you have to be fairly sneaky: you can set the engines to explode but tell everyone they are fine or promise to help someone kill an alien and then after they spend their turn shooting it you just walk away. 

With Archipelago, you can be somewhat more directly confrontational, especially with the use of towns: if you build a town on a hex and put one of your meeples in it, no one can build/harvest on that tile without your express permission and anyone can just walk into a space that is 'yours' (no one really owns anything) and build a town to crew you over. Similarly, we always play that any immediate exchange is binding (i.e. if we agree to trade of two wood for 5 gold then you have to honour it) but anything that isn't immeditae isn't binding, for example: we might make a deal that you give me some resources now to help me build a port but I will let you use that port every other turn to sell your goods. Now I am not in any way obliged to keep that promise. And so you build up this web of deal and loose alliances but at any point someone might renege on those for their own gain or a better deal.

If you want a really back-stabbing filled game then I'd suggest #No Honor Among Thieves, in that game betrayal is baked into the mechnics but you also have to work together to complete the missions: it's glorious!

Supporter13 months ago

Sounds fun!

13 months ago

#Twilight Imperium 4th Edition,#New Angeles, both have massive discussion phases of the game. Everyone needs to plan together while pushing their own agenda. You can't play either of these games without discussion. 

13 months ago

Twilight Imperium is absolutely on my 'one day I will play this' list for that reason, but sadly I don't know anyone who owns it.

Premium User13 months ago

I've played Captain Sonar a couple of times as the Captain. Holy cow is that a stressful job, haha. That is a fun game.

13 months ago

Oh definitely, when all your crew is trying to tell you important information without letting on to the other team and you are trying to sort through it all, it's just brilliant. I love that you can just do things as quickly as you want, but obviously the quicker you go the greater the risk of one of you making a mistake. Also, the moment when someone says 'stop' cause they are launching a torpedo is wonderfully tense.

Moderator Level 113 months ago

And, every time you rave about Archipelago, I want to play it more. 

13 months ago

I shall continue to rave, it's really so so good :D

Moderator Level 113 months ago

So I have heard, and not only from you.

13 months ago

Because it's really so so good! XD

Moderator Level 113 months ago

OK ok ok..... I get it. LOL

Linked Games
Nemesis
Archipelago
XCOM: The Board Game
Captain Sonar
Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game
Linked Topic