Games I'd Love to Play With My Family, BUT...

My shelves are full of games that I want to play more often. While I appreciate any opportunity to bring a title to the table, there are definitely those that tend to get left behind. Unfortunately, these dusty, shelf-dweller boxes contain some of my absolute favorites to play.

What I wouldn't give to bring out Scythe for a family game night and not do it merely as a joke. My family is made up of amazing individuals, but they have their limits where board games are concerned. Scythe exceeds those limits. By a mile. Maybe two. 

However, there are a handful of games that they've never played (at least not each member of the trifecta- my wife, brother, and sister-in-law) that I'd really like to introduce them to. Below you will find five of them (in alphabetical order), as well as why I think they'd love each one, and why I think they might not. 

A few honorable mentions are there, too. I can't help myself- there's just so many great and lonely games!

#1- Ankh: Gods of Egypt

What is it: 

Ankh: Gods of Egypt is an area control game where players vie to become the most revered god of the Egyptian people. This is done by attaining more devotion than any other player. Devotion is gained by controlling pyramids, temples, and obelisks, as well as by winning battles. In most scenarios there will come a time when the two players with the least devotion will merge to form a more powerful god.

Why I think they'd love it:

The miniatures are outstanding and the rules are surprisingly easy to understand.

Why I think they won't:

The theme of gods battling to be the supreme deity of Egypt probably wouldn't sit too well with my family. Plus, the optics of the game's scope might hinder them from learning how to play.

I can only imagine what it would look like with the 3D pyramids, temples, and obelisks!

#2- Dinosaur World

What is it:

In Dinosaur World, players draft employees at the beginning of a season and then use them on a shared action board as well as within their own personal park boards to build attractions, create dinosaurs, and more. Security must also be maintained to keep the dangerous dinosaurs from causing tragic events. The ultimate goal is to create the most exciting and lucrative park.

Why I think they'd love it:

Unlike Ankh, this is a theme they would really enjoy! Watching your park expand and grow is almost as fun as adorning it with the adorable dinosaur meeples. 

Why I think they won't:

In a word- complexity. There are cards to draft and workers to collect. Then there are the spots to take on the public action board. Oh, and then the private action spots on a player board. And a jeep tour. And dice. And security. And DNA. And. And. And. 

It's not too much if you take it in chunks, but for my family group, there are probably too many chunks. 

Set up isn't even done for the first player! And it's only getting much larger from here on out.

#3- In the Hall of the Mountain King

What is it:

In the Hall of the Mountain King is a resource management game with a heavy dose of polyominoes. You are assembling a team of trolls (in something referred to as a "trollsmoot"), gaining a shower of resources to dig tunnels, excavating important items buried below, and moving statues as far into the mountain as possible to secure a ton of points.

Why I think they'd love it:

My family enjoys games where resources begin to flow, and tile placement games are some of our collective favorites. 

Why I think they won't:

While there are only four phases that can be done on each turn (let's see if I can remember them here: 1- Use a spell and/or a workshop, 2- Recruit a troll or dig a tunnel, 3- Place a great hall, and 4- um, something...?), even I have a hard time remembering what they are. 

Waiting for those sweet deluxe components!

#4- Lost Ruins of Arnak

What is it:

Lost Ruins of Arnak is an adventure game where players gain artifacts, research, and explore newly discovered sites. There are also monsters called guardians that can be battled.

Why I think they'd love it:

First things first- it's gorgeous! Secondly, players only begin the game with six easily explained cards, and the difficulty doesn't ramp up much. Actions and text on cards make sense. This is another easier-than-it-looks game. But unlike Ankh, Arnak has a much more palatable theme.

Why I think they won't:

Worker placement games haven't gone over well historically with my family. The same can be said for deck builders. Add both of those elements together, and I'm not positive that it would be a hit. Plus, this one might push the boundaries of complexity, particularly considering the time it would take to learn and the constant threat of our children needing attention.

My poor excuse for photography doesn't do this one justice. 
My poor excuse is wanting to play more than photograph.

#5- Viticulture 

What is it:

Viticulture is a beautiful worker placement game where players must grow grapes, build their vineyard, make wine, and fulfill orders.

Why I think they'd love it:

It's very tranquil for a worker placement game. The addition of the grande worker means that if you desperately need a spot you can still get to it. 

Why I think they won't:

We're not drinkers, so the theme here isn't going to win them over. But what might keep the family away is the fact that workers must be spread out over two or more seasons instead of being able to collect them anew between each of the seasons to use again.

The gorgeous, subdued color palette of the board draws me in. Another Beth Sobel masterpiece!

Honorable Mentions:

The Crew- We don't have a history of trick-taking games and it shows when I try to explain how to play one.

Forgotten Waters- Time. That's it. Four hours for a play-through is a long time, and I think they'd either make me walk the plank or walk it themselves to avoid the time investment.

Tortuga 2199- Deck building AND fourteen different actions that can be taken on your turn. That's rough.

Townsfolk Tussle- Imagery, mostly- like those pentagram spaces of Will Barlow. We could simply not use Mr. Barlow (my compromise), but time and table space might also be issues here.

What are games that you would like to play more, but can't decide if your family or game group would love them or hate them? Leave them in the comments below!

Thanks for reading! 


  1. Well. Ankh would probably fall into the same category for me. Most fantasy themed games are usually meh with my wife. She cherishes her Euros.

  2. I have the same issue with most of my family. I have found the games that we all enjoy and occasionally try something slightly more intricate if I know they will like the mechanic or theme. My solution to playing the more complicated games I enjoy was finding a local group of similar people through Meet Up, though if then local game stores have a group or would support one. Best of luck!

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