Hey hey folks! This week I'm looking at what I consider to be some of the best adventure board games available right now. See if any of your picks made the cut!
10. Forgotten Waters
Forgotten Waters is a semi-cooperative adventure game from Plaid Hat Games. Players are pirates sailing together on a shared vessel searching for treasure, getting into adventures and generally doing piratey things. The group has a shared objective as well as secret personal goals they are trying to achieve. Using the Crossroads system first introduced by Plaid Hat Games in their zombie survival game, Dead of Winter, players will encounter a wealth of adventure hooks, twists and turns throughout the game. Forgotten Waters features a massive adventure book filled with branching story paths meaning every play though will be a different experience!
9. Adventure Tactics: Domiannes Tower
This 1-5 adventure game has players pick from the 5 base characters and heading out into a fun filled fantasy world to explore the wilderness, battle monsters and other denizens and ultimately reap the rewards of their hard earned questing. Adventure Tactics: Domiannes Tower is particularly notable for its satisfying levelling system which allows players to learn abilities from other classes to enhance their characters. Every scenario will see the characters increase their powers in some way, so even if the adventure didn’t pan out the way you wanted, it won’t ever be for nothing! Great to experience as a solo game or together as a family, as the approachable, colourful world is a welcome introduction for kids to embark on their first adventures!
8. Legacy of Dragonholt
If you’ve never tried your hand at roleplaying games, like Dungeons & Dragons or Pathfinder, then Legacy of Dragonholt is that kid at the back of the class raising his hand and waving it around trying to get your attention, and you should pick him because he really knows the answer! This 1-6 player RPG enables players to embark on adventures in the world of Terrinoth, made famous by the Descent series of board games, without the need of a Dungeon Master to run the game. The comparison to the old Choose your Own Adventure books is a fair one, as there are many similarities here, though the ability to create your own character and be put to the test as part of a group mean Legacy of Dragonholt stands apart from those classic games. The game includes several adventure books and each play through can result in a unique experience based on the decisions of your group!
7. Descent: Legends of the Dark
Back to Terrinoth we go! But this time it’s MOAR!!! Descent: Legends of the Dark is the latest adventure board game from Fantasy Flight Games. This app-driven game is filled with stunning miniatures, amazing 3D terrain and colourful characters. Where Descent 2nd Edition tasked players with a tight, challenging dungeon crawler set against the ticking clock mechanism utilised in similar app driven games like Mansions of Madness or Imperial Assault, Descent: Legends of the Dark allows players the freedom to take their time and explore, well, everything really! See that tree over there? You can climb that tree or partake of the fruit. Is that an old abandoned well? Why not see what secrets it holds by pulling up the water bucket? Leave no stone unturned while battling your enemies. Between games, adventurers can visit the town to rest, upgrade their equipment, craft new items and further the story. So don your helm, heft your sword and see what awaits beyond the shores of that glimmering lake ahead!
6. Stuffed Fables
Few real world events can seek to match the incredible imagination of children. Stuffed Fables is a 2-4 player storybook adventure game that takes place in a world where a child's stuffed toys are trying to protect her from nightmare horrors while she sleeps. An imaginative, lighthearted, and heartwarming approach adventure board gaming. The game play takes place on the pages of a storybook, with each page representing a different scenario where the brave toys raise their wooden swords and button shields to protect the young innocent whose care they are charged with. The artwork exudes charm, joy and terror all at once. The first scenario sees the toys helping the young girl to overcome her fear of bedwetting, this analogue to the simple but very real fears faced by children elevates the game to something greater than mere whimsy. This is a must play for family's with children of gaming age!
5. Mage Knight
What a chonker! Mage Knight is the granddaddy of epic adventure games, and when I say granddaddy, not a doddering old fella who can’t remember where he put his dentures, I mean like a cool grizzled granddad who’s seen some things. What was I talking about? Oh yeah, Mage Knight is a sprawling fantasy adventure of exploration, character advancement and deck building featuring detailed scenarios where players can choose to seek fame or infamy based on their choices. Play it your way, whether that be solo, cooperative or contemplative against other mage knights attempting to make a name for themselves. Whichever path you chose, you’ll become a legend!
4. Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion
While Gloomhaven practically photobombs every game collection these days, it’s younger, quieter brother has managed to build a reputation of its own for being Gloomhaven light(er). Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion takes everything fans loved about the original game and distills it into a fine wine. Gone are the cumbersome map tiles, replaced here by a ring bound scenario map book, just open the page of the adventure and everything you need is right there on the page. At the same time, Jaws of the Lion maintains all the secret boxes, character progression and gentle euro mechanics that hooked players the first time around. This is definitely a situation where less is more!
3. Eldritch Horror
No board game list would be complete these days without at least one mention of Cthulhu. While Arkham Horror was the game that started the Arkham Files series by Fantasy Flight Games, Eldritch Horror is held as being the stronger entry of the two by streamlining the experience and providing a greater scope to the adventures undertaken by the investigators. Players travel the world, investigating locales, uncovering clues, and killing or evading the horrific monsters they encounter in an effort to deny the Elder Gods entrance to our reality. Basically, if it has tentacles, and it’s not an octopus, shoot it!
2. Lost Ruins of Arnak
I love a good adventure movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of my favourites, except when I cover my eyes for the scary part at the end, humans kissing makes me uncomfortable; lips are weird. But apart from knowing that if Indiana Jones had just stayed at home the whole time the movie would have ended the exact same way, I did very much enjoy the adventure elements, and that’s exactly what I enjoyed about Lost Ruins of Arnak. The thrill of discovering hidden artefacts, uncovering vine covered ruins, and exploring an island filled with mystery and wonder made me feel like Lara Croft! The worker placement mechanics suit the island exploration theme allowing you to gradually uncover new locations and actions and limiting your actions to only one each turn ensures you take the time to consider your next or future moves carefully. The replayability is high and the artwork on the board just makes me want to spend more time trudging through the jungle. A great choice for any budding adventurer!
1. Sleeping Gods
Sleeping Gods by Ryan Laukat is one of the best adventure board games to come along in many years. Featuring artwork by the man himself, Sleeping gods is one we’ve covered in the past here at Game Kings, and it’s worth mentioning again because the gameplay is just that good. Unlike many others on this list, Sleeping Gods is one I would confidently describe as uncomplicated. The focus here is on the narrative, and before long the cardboard before you dissolves away and you feel drawn into the world created by Laukat. The crew of the Manticore sail around the mysterious island of this distant world and at every turn there are reasons for me to play “just one more round”. This meticulously crafted world hides hundreds of secrets waiting to be uncovered, and, despite the amount of adventure involved, I’ve sunk hours of time into quietly zoning out, listening to music and drifting slowly from island to island. If you’re looking for the perfect “zen” game then look no further!
Thanks for reading and as always, feel free to share your own top picks here or on our Game Kings Gamers Facebook group! Until next time!