We’re all board gamers, we’re all looking forward to opening a new game or two on Christmas Day. Problem is, we might not get it to the table for a while, so here’s a list of games that will wow you simply by opening them up… and that aren’t buried in a Kickstarter. Yes Gloomhaven is wow, but you’d have to go on an eBay safari. Bring on the shiny!
Star Wars: Rebellion
There are a lot of 'Wow' Star Wars games. If you like the ships you can play X-Wing or Armada, if you like the troops you can play Imperial Assault. However, both those involve plenty of booster packs, while Star Wars: Rebellion is a whole heck of a game in a single box. Oh, and you get to play with a Death Star.
A Death Star.
Yep, the many models inside Star Wars: Rebellion includes a plastic orb of death which you can move around a large max of the Star Wars universe. If you like the films, this is a winner.
It’s tempting to exchange this paragraph of text for the word Zombies!!! in 24-point font, but if you like horror films you’re gonna love opening up a box filled with zombie miniatures, and then shooting things as you move around the tiled board. That's Zombicide.
There are expansions galore for this, and even a medieval variant which is just as fun, but in terms of opening a box and seeing your zombie apocalypse daydreams made real this is going to bring a smile. Zombicide is cinema zombies, it’s dice rolling craziness, it actually scales the madness up the more you kill. Oh and it’s co-operative, so peace and love and all that.
Twilight Imperium 4th Edition
Twilight Imperium third edition had a legendary length: you could cook an entire Christmas dinner in less time than it took to resolve who would rule the galaxy. This fourth edition streamlines gameplay and we’ve seen talks of games lasting only four hours… But this is about box love, and the weighty fourth edition is chock full of cards, tiles and lovely little space counters. It’s a box full of wonderful things, and there’s giant cat people in it too.
War of the Ring 2nd Edition
There’s been a big chunk of sci-fi in this list so far, but now we turn to the grandfather of fantasy. For many people, simply opening a huge map of Middle Earth and then fighting a battle across it is all they’ve ever wanted. Also they speak elvish and dislike caves.
Anyway, War of the Ring 2nd Edition doesn’t just have the map, but a lovely collection of tiny armies that you can move around. Prepare to take on the role of Sauron and… well yes you could play the side of good I suppose.
Descent: Journeys in the Dark 2nd Edition
Descent: Journeys into Dark is essentially the fantasy parent of Star Wars Imperial Assault, and you play a party of characters (with miniatures) as they dungeon crawl in a far more eye catching way than we used to do it with squared paper back in the day. Naturally the enemy have impressive figures too, and this is like opening the jazzed up version of Dungeonquest we all wanted. For many, it is the king of dungeon adventures.