For the most part, when you sit down to play a board game you expect to sit, think, and move pieces around a board. But some board games get your whole body involved.
Here are five of the best board games that require a bit of dexterity on the players’ part.
Dungeon Fighter is one of my favorite dex-based games. The co-operative game is all about adventurers venturing into a three-level dungeon to fight monsters and collect loot. The board itself is a huge target, which will help players determine how much damage they do to monsters. The main way to hurt foes is by actually throwing the die at the target board.
But it’s not always a simple toss of the die. Some opponents will have special effects, which will force players to throw the die a different way-throw it behind their back, throw it with their eyes closed, throw it under their leg, etc. The game is super ridiculous and super fun. It’s pretty amazing how hard it can be to throw the die in such wacky ways.
Dungeon Fighter is for 1-6 players, takes about 45-60 minutes and retails for $50. There are a ton of different expansions for the game that add lots of different kinds of monsters and challenges.
Terror in Meeple City
Terror in Meeple City, which used to be called Rampage, also gets your whole body involved in the game. When you set the board up, you actually build little multi-level buildings with meeples on each level. Each player controls a monster who is intent on wrecking the city and eating as many people and buildings as possible.
You move your monster around by flicking a little disc that your monster stands on. Once you’ve moved your monster, you attempt to destroy a building and eat people. To destroy a building, you can throw a car at it, which you accomplish by putting the car on the top of the monster’s head and flicking it at the building. Players can also attempt to blow down a building, or if their monster disc is touching the building, they can pick their monster figure up and drop it on top of the building.
Even though you’re trying your hardest to knock the people out of the buildings so you can eat them, if you destroy the building and the people fly off of the board itself, it can do damage to the monsters. So you’ll have to watch out for that. This game is insanely fun, probably because there is something so satisfying about getting to physically destroy buildings.
Terror in Meeple City takes about 30 minutes to play, is for 2-4 players, and costs $65.
Unlike the first two games, Space Cadets is real-time, meaning it’s a timed game. This can make the co-operative game feel super hectic and crazy, as you attempt to work together to guide your spaceship safely through asteroid fields and nebulae.
Each player takes on a unique role: Captain, Helmsman, Engineer, Weapons Officer, Shield Officer and Sensor Officer, all with their own kinds of dexterity challenges. The Captain keeps track of the timer and what has to happen on each turn, while also making sure that the crew is prepared to do their own jobs. They will also play special cards which can help their crew.
The Helmsman is in charge of plotting the course through the sky, and they do this by pre-programming certain turns and moves. You’ll have also have to regulate the speed of the ship. An Engineer will be in charge of energy production, which powers the different stations. In order to generate energy, you’ll be flipping tiles around to match the different symbols that stand for all of the ship’s stations.
The player in charge of the Sensors is trying to lock onto targets or break off enemy ships that are locked onto their ship. To do this, you use energy to place sensor cards on the things you want to target. Those sensor cards will have shapes on them, which you’ll need to try to match with a shape that you pull from a bag, which you will need to try to do by touch alone. If you successfully match the shape, your targeting happens.
The players who are in charge of weapons and shields both have their own dexterity-based tasks to complete in order to fire torpedoes and shield the ship from incoming damage. To get an idea of their tasks, check out the quick videos posted by the designer of the game, which explain each of the different roles.
The game can take on a frenzied nature because of the short time limits on the turns. It’s a whirlwind of fun, and super accessible for all levels of board game players. If you have less than six players, people will have to take on multiple roles, which can be very exciting and stressful. Space Cadets is for 3-6 players, takes about an hour and a half to play, and costs $60.
Aya is a nature photography-themed co-operative game, which I received a review copy of. Players take turns setting up domino-like tiles in between different terrain areas. The tiles themselves are also decorated with a river that is flowing through different terrains. The idea is that you want to build a continuous river through the different habitats. As you place down tiles, you have the option to place a tile with a camera on it. The camera allows you to either put down another habitat circle or place an animal token on top of the domino tiles.
The game takes place over two 20-minute rounds. In between the two rounds you can pause to talk with your fellow nature photographers about what you need to do to score the most points.
There are lots of different ways to score points. The game ends when the timer is finished. That’s when you start knocking everything down. You get two free pushes, and every push after that takes a point off of your final score. You’ll score a point for the environment circles that have their entrances and exits completely covered by tiles matching the terrain. You’ll also score a point for every animal token that is still touching the tiles that match the animal’s habitat.
I’ve never seen a game quite like this one. The mechanics and theme are very unique. I really enjoyed playing and I think it’s a great game for all ages to enjoy. It is for 2-5 players, takes about 40 minutes and costs around $35. It’s not out in the United States yet, but it’s definitely a game to keep an eye out for.
Dimension is a competitive puzzle-solving game about stacking colored balls on top of each other. The game is played over multiple timed rounds. In each round six cards are laid out. These cards have rules on them, like there must be 2 black balls in the stack, black can’t touch green, and blue cannot be stacked under other balls.
The point is to try to follow all of the rules and use as many balls as possible. Each rule you break, you lose two points. Players get a point for each ball that they use in the stack, and if you use all of the colors, you’ll get an extra point. If you follow all of the rules, you’ll get a token, which at the end of the game if you have a lot of tokens you’ll get extra points. If you don’t have any, or only a few tokens, you’ll lose points.
The game definitely challenges you to quickly problem solve to try to build the highest tower possible. It’s incredibly engaging and fun to play, and a fabulous game to introduce to friends or family who don’t normally play games. The rules are incredibly simple to explain, it’s very engaging, and it doesn’t take very long to play. (I find that especially with people that don’t play a lot of games, board games with very complicated rules and a longer playing time can be intimidating and turn them off.) So this game is a perfect gateway game to try to get your friends and family to play games with you.
Dimension is for 1-4 players, takes about 30 minutes to play, and costs $50.