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Top 5 Board Games That Are Monsters On The Table

Terraforming Mars

Spooky Season is upon us and all thoughts go towards ghosts, goblins, witches, sweets and monsters. But when I hear the word monsters with board games in mind I think of those games that require the largest table in the house or maybe two tables and a side table. Those games that monster all of the space and take ages to set up and tear down but we love them anyway for their amazing themes, beautiful artwork, clever gameplay / mechanisms, and stunning components.

What better time to play these monster games than when the nights are drawing in and it is getting cold outside. Or even better when you are trying to hide from the trick or treaters as you forgot to buy any sweets. So close the curtains, make some hot chocolate, ask Alexa to play the monster mash and play one of these five awesome games.

Terraforming Mars

What better way to start this list than with one of the biggest table hog games ever, Terraforming Mars. I am sure you have heard of this game before as it has remained in the top 100 games of all time Board Game Geek list since its release and it has had numerous expansions and now two different spin-off standalone games (Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition & Terraforming Mars The Dice Game).

The base game takes up a very large piece of real estate but when you add in the extra boards for Venus Next, The Colonies and then for Parliament (Turmoil Expansion) then you really do need a very large table. However, there is something very special about this game with its card play, engine building and numerous scoring opportunities that keep it coming back to my table.

I would recommend players new to Terraforming Mars stick with just the base game for their first few plays and then maybe add in the expansion called Prelude first as this speeds up the game with some nice starting abilities. But once you are a fully-fledged member of the Terraforming Mars Fan Base you can go all in.


No monsters to see here, nope just cute little animal critters going about their business. That was the original thought I had when I set up just the base game of Everdell. An amazing worker placement, tableau builder game with the cutest animal meeples (see another tpo 5 of mine for games with cute animal meeples) and the most beautiful art I have ever seen in a game.

Then came the expansions, firstly Pearlbrook which added a water board to the left of the main board, then Bellfaire and Spirecrest which added boards to the top and bottom and then any day now two more expansions are due to be released which complete the puzzle and add a new board to the right of the main board.

To successfully play this game now with all of the expansions you would definitely need a very large table or at least a few side tables. But once again the magic of the game with its unique take on worker placement and amazing combos of scoring and abilities with the cards means that this game barely ever leaves my table.

Beyond The Sun

Going back to the space theme with Beyond The Sun from Rio Grande Games. This is an epic game of exploration, technology discoveries (in the form of a Tech Tree), and the colonisation of new planets.

The game is a monster in many senses of the word. Firstly in scope, then in time to play and finally in table hog terms. I love this game so much but will concede that there are a couple of issues with its size. Firstly you need a big enough table to play it and secondly, you really need everyone sitting on the same side so they can all read the cards.

Once you have cleared those obstacles you will not be disappointed with the game. It really is unlike any other game out there. You only have 1 worker and initially, your choices for where to place them are limited but as the game progresses and you open up more and more technologies your choices become vast. The end game conditions can sneak up on you but everything is open information so as long as you can keep an eye on your opponents you will have the best chance of scoring big from the numerous scoring routes you can take. After a few plays, the time it takes to finish the game will be significantly reduced and you will find a 2 player game taking no longer than 45 to 60 minutes.

Ark Nova

Back on Earth now with one of the biggest releases from the last 12 months, Ark Nova from Capstone Games and Feuerland. In this game you get to build a Zoo from the ground up, placing pens, populating them with animals, doing research, working with universities from around the world, completing important conservation work and finally releasing endangered species back into the wild.

Ark Nova takes mechanisms from multiple games and combines them to make a fascinating and engaging experience, unlike any other game. The action selection mechanism is very clever with actions becoming more powerful the further up the track they travel. The artwork and components are amazing and the whole game feels like it has been created by someone who wants the world's zoos to be a perfect place for an animal to live.

But the game is a monster. This is definitely the largest game I own and it takes up the most space on even my big dining room table. The game length is a monster too. My first playthrough with a teach took about 4 hours but I was addicted and we played later on that day and got the play time down to about 2.5 hours. Now we can get a 2 player game done in about 1 hour but it still feels like an epic game with so many choices and different animals to house.

Wreck Raiders

So I am going a bit off course with this last selection as I am choosing Wreck Raiders from Kids Table Board Games (KTBG). One of the main reasons I am choosing this game is its Tardis like box quality. The box is small and unassuming with lovely underwater artwork but hiding within the box are enough components to sink a ship.

Although the gameplay is relatively simple to grasp the amount of space you will need on the table is monsterish. By the time you have set up the main board, shells, treasure tiles, exhibits, aquariums, player boards and divers, dice pool and reef you will be struggling for space on the table. Thankfully, as with all KTBG games, you won't be struggling for fun or beautiful components.

This game has many different ways to score points as you send your divers to underwater wrecks, collect treasures and spend your shells to purchase aquariums. A lovely game that can played by the whole family in just 45 minutes.

I hope you like my list of my Top 5 Monster Games and maybe you feel like trying them out. I would also like to apologise to anyone coming to this list with the hopes of seeing five actual monster games (or games with monsters in them). I am sure that list will be done at some point and sorry for the confusion caused. Now go and put the Monster Mash back on again because it is an awesome song.