Hidden board games on the shelves that are worth giving a chance

By Eszter Révész

There has been a surge in the popularity of board games during the pandemic since people suddenly had more time to spend with their families at home. Now is the time to relive the fun of board games, of course, just until someone cheats in Monopoly and a deadly family quarrel starts. While there are many classic board games to enjoy, the market is flooded with several new ones, which are worth discovering. Here you can find five games, which might be lesser-known, but even more fun!

Ubongo! is an intense game to race against time, each other, and your brain. It is a geometric puzzle that requires some level of depth perception. Twelve polyominos are given to every player, each round a new puzzle has to be used, and the dice decide which polyominos to use to recreate the required shape. To win the game, the players have to collect colorful gems with different values, and although being the fastest player has some advantages, one can win even if they are not the brightest mind at the table. The main concept of the game is speed, thus the nine rounds can go by fast. When the players finished their puzzles, they have to shout “Ubongo”, the louder the better. Ubongo is available in several editions, including 3D. In 2008, it received a nomination for the best party game, but it is also a perfect amusement for a family night-in.

Are you afraid of the dark? Be the answer yes or no, Nyctophobia is a board game that offers the unique experience of playing in the dark. The goal of the game is for the Hunted to escape from the forest before the Hunter finds them. However, out of the maximum five players, there is only one, the Hunter, who sees the table, while all the others wear blackout glasses and see nothing from the board, thus the Hunted can only survive if they rely on their senses and cooperate effectively. There are two types of Hunters, the axe murderer, and the mage. While the prior is motivated only by the fastest way to kill, the latter is an expert in mind-games, manipulation, and its primary aim is to cause confusion. So, are you afraid of the dark?

Let your apartment become your Escape Room full of mysteries! If you love escape rooms, I have great news for you: they are available in board game formats, a more pandemic-safe solution for those, who would not take the risk to visit one. They are not as interactive as real rooms, but have the same amounts of mysteries to solve, doors to unlock, and clues to find. Creativity, logical thinking, and cooperation remain the most important tools to solve the problems, but be careful, the time is ticking!

Nowadays, loud Friday night parties are replaced with small, friendly gatherings. If you are ready to start a deeper conversation with your friends or family, Identity – a psychology board game developed by Hungarians – offers a framework that helps improving personal interactions. There is no time limit, the “game” lasts as long as you want it to last, and while its primary aim is self-development, it also has the possibility to deepen friendships.

If you are searching for a game, that is easy to play and is not about the contest, but cooperation, Concept might be the one you are looking for. The concept is built on individual and group associations to reveal the solution. The board is covered with several icons, like food, gender, or different colors, which have to be used to explain a concept. There is one team that describes the concept by placing markers on the icons, which they think to be the most helpful, and the other teams start guessing the concept. Those players, who are able to find out the most concepts, and also able to choose the most suitable icons to help others’ interpretations will become the winners. However, this game is not about winning, but expanding the limits of your thinking and association. Keep an open mind and have fun!

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