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6 New Takes on Classic Board and Card Games

Just like some familiar favorites with a modern update

spinner image group of assorted newer board games including risk legacy the crew and wits and wages
Jeff Elkins

As a game critic, I have dealt cards, rolled dice and moved tokens by the thousands. But sometimes even a go-to favorite can feel a little stale. With so many new and interesting games on store shelves, here are a few you might like, depending on which classics you favor.

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1. If you like Risk ... try Risk Legacy

The strategy game Risk has been popular since its release in the late ’50s and hasn’t changed much over the years. Risk Legacy turns the classic formula on its head with a big twist: Each time the game is played, permanent changes will be made to the board, cards and more. Occasionally, players will even be instructed to destroy components of the game. A player may conquer a territory in one game and get to rename that territory, claiming it as their own for future games. Just as the real world evolves over time, so does Risk Legacy, with changes in the gameplay, rules and story. By the end, no two copies of this game will be alike, and the board feels like a living, breathing world.

For ages: early teens and up

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2. If you like dominoes ... try Kingdomino

Kingdomino takes the satisfaction of matching the halves of dominoes and adds a colorful kingdom theme, new rules and a new way to score. Each turn, players choose a domino that has one or two types of terrain on it and add it to their kingdom by matching one half to a domino they already have. Creating bigger groups of the same types of terrain will score you the most points at the end. It’s fast, fun, beautiful to look at and easy to learn. Multiple spin-offs and versions of Kingdomino have been released, giving fans even more ways to play.

For ages: child to adult

3. If you like Trivial Pursuit ... try Wits & Wagers

A key difference between these two games is that with Wits & Wagers, all players have a shot at victory, whether they know the answers or not, so that know-it-all friend will have trouble dominating game night. In addition to earning points by answering difficult questions, players score by betting on each other’s answers. This simple but bold change keeps everybody involved at all times.

For ages: child to adult

4. If you like charades ... try Time’s Up!

Time’s Up! is a modern party game that borrows from charades, Taboo and the concept of inside jokes. All teams use the same set of answers and take turns, giving clues to their teammates. Each round, teams are limited to fewer and fewer verbal clues until they can only pantomime.

For ages: child to adult

5. If you like spades ... try The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine

The Crew is a cooperative card game, meaning all players at the table work together. But players can convey only so much information to each other, and when the goal of the game is to play the right cards at the right time, that limited information can be the difference between victory and defeat. Lovers of spades and other trick-taking games will be able to learn The Crew quickly.

For ages: 10 and up

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6. If you like chess ... try Onitama

Although many games have tried to reinvent chess, none have been as successful as Onitama. In this two-player grid-based game, the pieces do not have set movement rules. Instead, Onitama uses cards that are passed between the players to dictate how each piece moves. This small change to a familiar concept creates a game with different strategies, endless replayability and tense gameplay.

For ages: child to adult


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