Board Game Buyer’s Guide 2017

Board Game Buyer’s Guide 2017

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This year the Keen and Graev Gaming Community got together to pitch in our ideas for a Board Games section of our Holiday Buyer's Guide for Gamers 2017. The results have been awesome so far, and since we know that many of you have already benefited from learning about great games you've never played, we wanted to give the board games their own post.

Each year we plan to have a new board games section, and my hope is to introduce new games in each one -- ideally ones we talked about after playing them that year. This is pretty good for a starting point!

Since today is Black Friday, I know that many of these games are on sale over on Amazon. Clicking on any of the links in the guide or below and making a purchase will give us a small commission to support the blog and community who put the guide together. If you have a great board game shop near you that focuses on board games, as always we encourage you to show your support for those small businesses and hit them up for great advice.


A must own for everyone! Basic premise is that you are a team of scientist trying to cure several pandemics around the world. A great way to get kids and family together working together toward a common goal. This co-op game is one that I’ve never had a problem bringing to the table. Rules are quick and easy to learn and since it is co-op people can freely ask questions around what they should do.


A classic! Catan has been around for a while now and if you own monopoly and clue, you should treat yourself to a “Euro” game. In this game you build roads and cities while rolling dice collecting sheep, wood, and other resource cards building and trading while working toward a victory point condition. 

Ticket to Ride Europe

Ticket to ride is a easy to teach train game of collecting sets of trains while trying to link railways across the board. This game takes the basics of rummy and expands on them with a simple train design and a couple extra rules to have become one of the most popular games of all time. We love Europe edition because of its additional gameplay elements and two-player friendliness.

Sheriff of Nottingham

All of us (Keen and the community) love this game. At its heart, SoN is a very simple bluffing game, but simply shines as you embrace the roleplaying aspect. Very simply put, the game revolves around one player being the sheriff and the others playing merchants trying to get goods into the town of Nottingham. Players have to bluff their way in trying to sneak extra goods or by making deals. It is a quick game with about 5 minutes worth of rules explanation. This is the game we play every year during the holidays.

Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle

Take on the Voldemort and his dark army in this fantastic deck-building game where you assume the role of Harry, Ron, Hermione, or Neville. You'll start with Year 1 at Hogwarts and progressively expand your game with each new year, introducing more rules, abilities, dice, and enemies to defeat.

Big thanks go our to Yotor of the K&G community for compiling and writing up the explanations for most of the games on our list. He is the board game savant!

  • I was at one of the original unveiling/testing of Cosmic Encounter (an early Princecon D&D convention), and watched the inclusion of expacs over the decades, and this game still ranks up there as one of the more enjoyable board games I have ever played.

    Have you ever played the board game version of Civilization? I have it stored away somewhere, but I could never find anyone patient enough to sit through reading the rules. 🙁

    I heard that warring is to be avoided until territories and resources become limited, as the draining effect on the player’s economy is significant.

      • I haven’t played it, I haven’t heard bad things that I can recall, if anything I think the only complaint is what happens with every 4x game. They are longer games. I’m of the opinion that longer games just mean more social interaction with your friends and they make for an overall better experience. I’ve played several 4x, Eclipse is good and will be getting a second edition here soon… but I really enjoy Star Trek Ascendancy its had 2 expansions this year and is fantastic. My brother loves Through the Ages, but if you want to go big. Go Twilight Imperium hands down one of the best possible gaming experiences you’ll have in your life.

      • Have you played the 4th edition yet, and if you have is it worth the $110 price point?

        Scanning FAQ’s it mentions the 4th edition has streamlined tech trees and may include parts of previous expansions to the 3rd edition.