How about a playful throwdown with family and friends? Here are 10 games we like to get you started. Prices can vary, so shop around.
Strange occurrences ...
People mysteriously disappear in Arkham Horror: The Card Game. Supernatural forces can lead to insanity. Investigate the strange occurrences in this adventure card game designed for one or two players. (Buy a second copy and up to four people can play.) Play with a deck of cards that you hand-select, building an arsenal of weapons, allies, skills — and even weaknesses. The story unfolds over multiple sessions. $24.99, walmart.com
Azul is perfect for the whole family. Players pick colorful and beautifully designed tiles, then place them in certain sequences to score points. It’s no surprise the crowd-pleasing Azul was named board game of the year for 2018 by an industry jury. For two to five players. $29.49, target.com
It’s Victorian London and Jack the Ripper is on the loose in Whitehall Mystery. In this simple but high-tension game, Scotland Yard police track Jack’s stealthy movements across a numbered board. Will Jack be apprehended before he disposes of the last piece of evidence or will he slip away? For two to four players. $39.95, barnesandnoble.com
Help the mage, wizard, dwarf and warrior steal their weapons in the mall. Everybody in Magic Maze plays simultaneously in this fast-paced, action-packed game. Each player is assigned a specific direction or action, but Shhh! no talking. Work together to help the heroes find their way out before time expires. A party game for up to eight players. Expect lots of laughs. $32.95, barnesandnoble.com
Quick and easy
Sushi Go Party: The Card Game is a quick and easy kid-friendly card game. Pick a card and pass your rejects. Collect the most adorable-looking Japanese treats — sushi, tempura and more — to amass points. Be careful which cards you pass to the person next to you or they might just beat you. For two to five players. $19.50, amazon.com
In Dominion, you and the other players are monarchs trying to expand your domain. Start with a weak deck and acquire more and powerful cards like the smithy, the mine or a throne room to create better and more powerful combos. Dominion is a satisfying game that’s simple and easy to learn; for two to four players. $29.04, amazon.com
All about strategy
Tired of long unbalanced war games that take hours to play? Try Kemet, set in ancient Egypt. This game is all strategy, leaving little room for luck. Customize your army to fit your current tactics by picking magical tiles. Score points by winning battles, securing temples and increasing your magical pyramid powers. For two to five players. $55.99, walmart.com
Go back in time
You and your team are time-traveling agents sent to solve a mystery at a French asylum in the early 1920s. You'll decipher puzzles and gather clues — and may even be led astray by red herrings. Although you’re unlikely to play Time Stories again once you solve the mystery, this unique and cinematic game is worth it. Buy additional scenarios for new adventures. $49.99, amazon.com
A strategy civilization game for two: In 7 Wonders: Duel, players erect buildings like markets, palaces, barracks and, of course, wonders, to amass points. Build these structures by picking cards. Choose your cards wisely; you can help yourself but also thwart your opponent. $26.99, amazon.com
Hurry, time is running out!
Help the ghost of a murder victim reach peace in Mysterium. The ghost can’t speak, but instead hands out illustrated cards to the other players — or “psychics” — that point to clues about the suspect, the scene of the crime and the weapon. Hurry, time is running out. Everybody wins or everybody loses in this game for up to eight players. $44.99, amazon.com