If you’re familiar with the Jones Theory of board game collection, you know that you don’t need several games that fill the same role on your shelves. It can be hard to cull games you already have, but you can pre-empt that by not buying extra titles in the first place. It means the games you do have will get more use out of them, and you’ll save money in the process. Here is a helpful little guide that will make choosing between some games a little bit easier.
Get Bosk, Not Photosynthesis
When Photosynthesis came out it caused a bit of a buzz. It was such a beautiful and unique game that it surprised a lot of people. The theme of growing trees in a forest and scattering your seeds around to produce more saplings was pretty original at the time. I didn’t get to try it right away, in fact it was a couple of years before I played it for the first time, and my feelings were a resounding meh. It wasn’t a bad game per se, but it was fiddly with the rotating sun and far too long for what it was. Now, on the other hand, I didn’t have as high expectations for Bosk, mainly because I hadn’t heard anything about it. However considering it was by Floodgate Games and Daryl Andrews (the team that did Sagrada) and Erica Hayes-Bouyouris, I was definitely happy to give it a shot. Bosk is played over two phases where players first take turns planting trees in a forest to control rows and columns, and then in the second phase the wind blows their leaves from their branches to cover the forest floor in an area-control-type mechanic. Bosk is fast, simple, beautiful, and a bit mean, everything I want a tree-based game to be!
Get King of Tokyo, Not King of New York
Trust me, unless you have limitless space, you only have room in your collection for one Yahtzee-style, monster bashing game. While King of New York tried to add a bit more strategy and complexity, the original King of Tokyo is so much better in my opinion. You get three rolls of the dice to earn points, heal yourself, gain energy cubes, or bash the competition. If you’re lucky (or unlucky in some cases), you get to play king of the hill in Tokyo, earning extra points, but taking attacks from all sides. With energy cubes, you can get your hands on super sweet power cards that are either used and discarded immediately or work as a permanent upgrade to your giant beast. KoNY is…ok, but it’s by no means an upgrade on KoT. I can’t count the amount of games I’ve played of the original, and I’m always happy to play again if given the chance. For me, there is no comparison, when it comes to big monsters, Tokyo is the way to go.
Get Decrypto, Not Codenames
This is going to be a bit controversial for a few people, and I want to stress that I really love Codenames. This pick largely comes down to personal taste, however there are some solid reasons too. Firstly, one of your friends had Codenames, that’s just a fact. Probably a bunch of them do. You’re not going to impress anyone with your top secret word game, and you’ll be able to play their copies when you have the chance. Second, I think Decrypto actually forces you to be more clever. Your team sees your words, numbered one to four, but you have to give them clues that will get them to guess a three digit code. The trick is, your opponents get to guess first. In the early going it’s not too tough as the other team cant see your words, but as more and more clues are given, they begin to form a picture and you have to be increasingly careful about how you communicate. It’s super fun to give and receive the clues with your teammates, but you’re equally involved in the opponent’s turn as you try and intercept their codes. You can’t go wrong with either title, but Decrypto gets the slight edge from me.
Get Dice Forge, Not Rattlebones
Both of these games are ‘dice crafters’ and to its credit, Rattlebones was the first one to hit the market, but Dice Forge is so much more fun! In it, you get to roll your dice on everyone’s turn and rake in resources like gold, sun and moon shards, and even points. When you are the active player, you can either complete a great feat, for special abilities or points, or you can visit the Forge and improve the faces of your dice, so each roll you make has better potential. Both games are largely based on luck (they are dice rollers), but Dice Forge feels like it took the mechanic and made the best of it. It’s like a deck builder, but instead of shuffling and drawing a hand each round, you’re rolling and doing the best with what you get. If you’re looking for a quick fresh take on a dice game, Dice Forge cannot be recommended enough.
NOTE: This article is meant for entertainment purposes only and not to disparage any games. Use it for advice if it’s helpful to you, but the DWP recognizes your right to buy any game you damn well please.