Help us pick the best board game out there
Just in time for the holiday season, let’s talk game play
Board game or video game? Last month we asked Team Power Smart members which one they'd prefer to play on a stormy day, and 75% voted for board game.
And with that, an idea was born. Welcome to our Board Game Battle, and for Team Power Smart members, a chance to win a four-game prize pack. If discussions in our office are any indication, this one could cause a few lively debates. So up front, let’s all agree to play nice and let our votes, our tweets, our online voices, do the talking.
Starting today, we're trotting out 16 candidates for best board game, recognizing that while not all horses in this race are thoroughbreds, most are fairly well known. Board game aficionados (not going to use the word "geeks" here) will dismiss it all as a nod to nostalgia over quality. No Gloomhaven? No Terraforming Mars? Not even 7 Wonders?
You'll also notice that chess, arguably the Best Game Ever, isn't on our list. We left it off, along with the likes of checkers and backgammon, because we want to focus on family and group games that can be enjoyed by three or more players.
Clue vs. Scrabble
A family favourite since 1949, Clue is a murder mystery game in which “clues” help players win the game by eventually figuring out who murdered the game's victim, where the crime took place, and which weapon was used.
Scrabble is a word-lover's dream, a crossword-in-progress in which players rack up points by spelling words and aiming for double and triple letter and word scores on the board. Did you know that, placed on two triple-word squares with Z on a double letter square, QUIZZIFY scores 419?
Monopoly vs. Yahtzee
Who hasn't played Monopoly, where the idea is to be a landowner from hell, buying property, charging huge rents and eventually bankrupting your rivals? Rolls of the dice move your player around the board, putting you in position to buy properties you land on, or pay rent for landing on other players' properties.
A roll of the dice, Yahtzee has been around in one form or another since the early 1940s. Players score points by rolling five dice to make certain combinations over 13 rounds. A Yahtzee is five-of-a-kind and scores 50 points.
Pictionary vs. Ticket to Ride
Pictionary became a party favourite after it debuted in 1985. For some, it's revenge on the word nerds who dominated Scrabble, as imagination and drawing skills rule what is a charades-based game in which teams attempt to quickly identify words "drawn" in picture form by a team member or a rival.
Winner of multiple awards since it arrived in 2004, Ticket to Ride starts with each player receiving four train cards and three Destination Tickets, each showing a city on the board's map. Each player must travel to those secret destinations before their rivals reach theirs.
Trivial Pursuit vs. Carcassonne
Trivial Pursuit is a Canadian invention that's more or less the everyperson's Jeopardy, with your knowledge tested over a range of topics including science & nature, arts & literature, and sports. It reached peak popularity in 1984, but there's a new Master Edition now out with 3,000 all-new questions.
Carcassonne isn't just a fortified medieval town in southern France where you can dine on a fabulous cassoulet. It's an easy-to-learn tile-based game in which players score points for the completion of roads, walled cities akin to the real-world Carcassonne, and churches.
Pandemic vs. Risk
Since its debut in 2007, Pandemic has been wildly popular for its cooperative nature. Two to four players, each assigned as a specialist (dispatcher, medic, scientist, researcher or operations expert), combine efforts to cure diseases before it’s too late for the world.
Risk is the original war strategy game in which armies – and strategic alliances – help players take over countries and regions across the world. Rolls of the dice determine your success in attacking and defending, and the game ends when a single player rules all territories in the world.
Catan vs. The Resistance
Catan is like Carcassonne on steroids, another tile-based game in which players try to be the dominant force on the island of Catan. You don't just build settlements, cities and roads, you also determine the resources (wood, grain, brick, sheep or stone) the island produces as you build your civilization and score points.
Designed for five to 10 players, with no elimination involved, The Resistance is a spy game in which teams strive to complete missions (or sabotage those of rivals) against the Empire by deducing the identities of other agents and gaining their trust.
Apples to Apples / Cards Against Humanity vs. Dixit
A deck of cards decorated with dream-like images, Dixit has sparked a rabid following since its introduction in 2008. Players tell a story based on the visual from a card in their hand, then receive from all other players a card – deemed closest to that ‘story’. The storyteller’s new deck is shuffled, placed face up, and players try to guess which visual spawned the story.
Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity are the same game with two wildly different attitudes, one family-friendly, the other definitely not. In turns, a player draws a Description card, and others submit the Thing card from their hand that best matches the Description. The original player votes on which Thing card is the best match, and awards it (and the next turn) to the player who submitted it.
Cranium vs Codenames
Billed as "The Game for Your Whole Brain", Cranium brings an assortment of challenges to the party: Describing a word by drawing it (eyes open or closed) or by sculpting it in clay; answering trivia questions; unscrambling words, spelling words or guessing definitions; or by performance, including whistling a song, impersonating a celebrity, or acting out a clue.
In Codenames, two spymasters know the secret identities of 25 agents, but teammates only now agents by codenames. Two teams compete to contact all agents first, while avoiding assistance to the rival team or the game’s Assassin.
We're starting with our round of 16, with eight head-to-head elimination duels segmented into four general game categories: Classics, Family, Strategy, and Party. We'll move to our round of eight on December 11, four on December 15, then voting on the final two on Dec. 19.
In addition to the votes on this page, we'll also take into account opinions we hear via our social media channels on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
We'll crown the winner on December 22.
We love that 75% of members polled last month chose "board game" over "video game" as their choice to play during a storm. We love it because we're also mad about board games, and also because we're supportive of anything that takes us away from using electricity.
We've followed it up with this Board Game Battle, and a Team Power Smart December contest prize of a four-game prize pack.
If you're a Team Power Smart member, log in to view your Member Tool Box and insert the promo code – it's a number from this story. If you're not a member, join Team Power Smart today and then log in to your Tool Box and enter. You can start a 10% electricity Reduction Challenge while you're at it, and you'll have a shot at winning the prize pack of Pandemic; Season 1 Legacy, Codenames, Catan, and Dixit.