Each of the games we chose for this list is easy to pick up, has a fairly short play time, and is guaranteed to produce smiles from winner and loser alike. After all, rare is the TableTop virgin who cut his or her teeth on a 60-day round of The Campaign for North Africa. Oh, and we should mention that we straight up nixed the holy trinity of gateway games (Ticket to Ride, Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne) from this article. Those three are so popular that we can’t really consider them a harder sell than Monopoly or Risk anymore. On to the list!
For example, in recent years, a free text tool called Twine has exploded onto the creative scene, offering entry-level designers the chance to create their first text and hyperlink-based games with no coding required. Some of these games are as accessible as choose-your-own-adventure books, and others can be more sophisticated, implementing mappable space, objects that can change states, or graphics, sound and visual effects.
And Twine’s just one popular new tool – there are many other ways to build readable, touchable experiences for the wide, wide world. Most modern text games, whether parser-based or hyperlink-driven, can now be played in a browser tab, which means these competition entries can welcome any sort of player.
The great thing about the modern tabletop gaming movement is the incredible diversity that’s available. Your options are no longer limited to four hour escapades in dungeon crawling or cube-pushing. In fact, some really great tabletop experiences can be had in less than 30 minutes—and that’s with beginners as well as experts.
Like all great art and design, these small games are exercises in restraint and result in some really fun games that pretty much anyone can play.
For 2 to 6 players, designed by Sid Sackson, originally published by 3M (now Wizards of the Coast / Hasbro). Acquire is the best-known game designed by one of the true giants of game design, Sid Sackson. When it was first published by Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing (3M), it introduced a new wave of strategy games to many adults. Acquire has been published in too many editions to count, in countries all over the world. It remains popular in strategy game circles, and I very much suspect that it
For 2 or more players, designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, originally published by TSR (now Wizards of the Coast / Hasbro). Before Dungeons & Dragons, there was no real roleplaying game market. After D&D, the term “RPG” became forever a part of our culture. It would be difficult to overstate the influence that Dungeons & Dragons has had on pop culture. It’s the ancestor not only of countless tabletop games, but also numerous online games, such as World of Warcraft.
We went over the last 30-plus years of releases to find the best written stories of all time. These narratives made us feel, made us think, and kept us glued to the screen until we reached the resolution. These games all told stories that only could be possible in a video game, and if we want this medium to keep evolving, then this is the perfect time to celebrate them.