One of the most fun aspects of the board game market is that there is a game out there for every crowd. For example, while there are plenty of great trivia board games made for every crowd, boomers can get something tailor-made for them in games like Boom Again. Which is a trivia board game filled with facts and memories relevant to people who were born in the 50s, 60s, and 70s.
However, shopping for new board games can be tricky, especially if you are buying online. It’s hard to tell which games are fun or well-made based on just the box art or an online ad. Luckily there are steps you can take to reliably find and buy great board games.
1 - Check online reviews
Most online stores have a review section, but those don’t tell the whole story. If a game has a small user base it might only have a couple dozen reviews online, which may not be indicative of how fun the game is. And even popular games sometimes get flooded with positive or negative reviews for reasons that have nothing to do with how fun or well-made the game is.
The solution, then, is to go check the work of people who review board games professionally. Long-form reviews — be it in writing or video form — will give you more to work with because the reviewer will detail what their experience with the game was, as well as what they did and didn’t like. These detailed reviews give you more room to make your own informed decisions.
2 - Peek at the rules
Boardgame rules are often available online, be it on the manufacturer’s website or third-party sources. And reading up the rules can give you a good sense of how well the game was designed, especially if you are a board game veteran. Well-written rules will make you excited to play the game, and it is a sign that the game was designed with care.
3 - Shop by target demographic
When looking for great board games, you can greatly narrow down your search by looking for games that are made to suit your specific needs. This means shopping for games that match the demographic you and your friends are a part of — be it mature games, games for teens, or games made for the whole family — and searching for genres that better suit your playstyle.
For example, trivia games can be great fun for casual play sessions, especially since it’s easy for beginners to jump in and start playing the game. But if you are planning a long campaign with a bunch of dedicated friends, an RPG or complex strategy game may be a better option.
4 - Look into the creators
Just like writers and directors, exceptional board game designers have a unique style that ends up present in most of their work. And some of the greatest game designers in the market have a long history of success designing great games. So when shopping for a new game, checking the track record of the team behind the game can be a good idea.
If you do already own a few board games you like, try looking up the companies and designers behind those games. Chances are they have released other games in the past, which will likely have the same level of quality.